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Vercus
July 17th, 2009, 07:37 AM
Hello,
I have been itchy to use my VT-102 terminal to play old text games (Adventure, Zork, etc). It is going to take a while to assemble my mini-computer system, so I thought in the meantime, perhaps I could use it with more modern computers?
I have two systems working at the moment- a Dell Poweredge server running XP Pro, and a whitebox running Win 98. For whatever reason, the serial port on the Dell is not supported under windows xp, so it is not usable. In fact, connecting anything to it prevents the computer from passing POST.

The Win 98 system works perfectly though. Could I use it with some kind of emulator program to run the terminal? I'm assuming I would connect it to the serial port. What software would I need to make it go? I'm hoping to emulate a PDP/11 and perhaps a disk drive or two to play Adventure on it, and Zork, if possible.

I am new to this, so you'll have to explain it to me like a novice...lol.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks,
Jon

tradde
July 17th, 2009, 10:20 AM
Hello,
I have been itchy to use my VT-102 terminal to play old text games (Adventure, Zork, etc). It is going to take a while to assemble my mini-computer system, so I thought in the meantime, perhaps I could use it with more modern computers?
I have two systems working at the moment- a Dell Poweredge server running XP Pro, and a whitebox running Win 98. For whatever reason, the serial port on the Dell is not supported under windows xp, so it is not usable. In fact, connecting anything to it prevents the computer from passing POST.

The Win 98 system works perfectly though. Could I use it with some kind of emulator program to run the terminal? I'm assuming I would connect it to the serial port. What software would I need to make it go? I'm hoping to emulate a PDP/11 and perhaps a disk drive or two to play Adventure on it, and Zork, if possible.

I am new to this, so you'll have to explain it to me like a novice...lol.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Thanks,
Jon

I'd suggest maybe trying Simh. You can emulate pretty much any pdp-11 you want.
And should be able to connect a terminal if you configure it right. If not you can
at least log on directly and still play Zork. I am pretty sure I saw Zork as park of
the BSD games. But I could be wrong. I know it was on some pdp-11 package cause
I tried it. I used to play Zork on the pdp-10 at Penn State.

Vercus
July 20th, 2009, 01:45 PM
I've attempted to use SIMH, but no go. The emulator itself is impossible. Even when I follow it's syntax to a tee, it refuses to attach files, much less boot. Once I managed to mount a file, but when I attempted to boot, it told me booting is not allowed! :confused:

Perhaps this is some kind of stripped / restricted shareware? I'm starting to think it would be easier to put together and run a real PDP than deal with this emulator. I'm not even close to figuring out how to configure it to look for a terminal on my COM1 port. I'm not sure if it even supports addressing a terminal.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
-Jon

tradde
July 20th, 2009, 02:37 PM
I've attempted to use SIMH, but no go. The emulator itself is impossible. Even when I follow it's syntax to a tee, it refuses to attach files, much less boot. Once I managed to mount a file, but when I attempted to boot, it told me booting is not allowed! :confused:

Perhaps this is some kind of stripped / restricted shareware? I'm starting to think it would be easier to put together and run a real PDP than deal with this emulator. I'm not even close to figuring out how to configure it to look for a terminal on my COM1 port. I'm not sure if it even supports addressing a terminal.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
-Jon

I have had excellent luck with Simh, both for pdp-8s and pdp-11s. Maybe you have an
old version? Are you running it with a DOS window? Simh is not restricted that I know
of. What OS are you trying to use this with? I had to compile the pdp-11 when I wanted
Ethernet support as that has to be added with an external module. Maybe you need to
compile your copy, but it should work as is.

Vercus
July 20th, 2009, 03:03 PM
Hello,
I was trying to get it to run Unix and connect to my VT-102 over my computer's com port. I'm running it on a win98 machine.

I used a version of Unix 5 meant to be mounted as a virtual RK05 drive. I attached it to RK0, and booted it. When I booted it, all I got was a @ symbol, and when I typed commands in, nothing happened. It would just give me another prompt. Even if I typed gibberish, it wouldn't give an error, just another @ prompt. Seemed odd.

EDIT: I did get RT-11 running locally. Haven't tried to get it to run on the terminal yet, but it certainly seems to be going on the emulator. I think I'll pursue this OS for now. How would I get it to connect to the terminal on Com1?

-Jon

Dr_Acula
July 20th, 2009, 04:12 PM
@ symbols might be a baud rate mismatch.

See attached photo - Zork is fun! This is a screenshot of a N8VEM computer and a PockeTerm VGA driver running on an old VGA screen. See the CP/M section for some photos as this has been built with all new components. It uses old-school connections though - eg the connection between the N8VEM and the PockeTerm is a standard 3 wire serial connection using D9 plugs. So instead of the PockeTerm, you could be running your VT102 monitor. Maybe at worst you might need a 25 to 9 pin adaptor.

We have also spent some time adding VT100 and other escape codes to the PockeTerm so it will run games like Pacman. Zork and Adventure don't use those codes though.

So I guess the next step is to get a computer to talk to your monitor.

First step might be to have some fun with the SIMH. I appreciate the frustration if it is not working. What I have done is created the ultimate CP/M computer as a SIMH. All you need to do is run a single file called AltairAll.bat and it opens a window and you have a computer with 1meg drives A to G and an 8meg drive I:. The drives are copied from the SIMH site so there is Wordstar on one and Supercalc on one and games on one and Utilities on one. I put Zork on drive I: See text capture below.

I've put that into one single Zip file. Only trouble is, I'm not sure where would be a convenient place to post this as it is 3meg (max zip filesize on this forum is 97kb) I'll ? do some more experiments on this forum, but meanwhile if you want to sign up to the N8VEM forum and Wiki, go to http://n8vem-sbc.pbworks.com/ and send a request access and then scroll down the right side to the folder Mini N8VEM and the file is called SimhPackage.zip


C:\N8VEM\AltairSIMH>altairz80 all

Altair 8800 (Z80) simulator V3.7-3 build 1016 (scp created Apr 20 2008 at 13:01:
09 with gcc 4.2.3)


64K CP/M Version 2.2 (SIMH ALTAIR 8800, BIOS V1.25, 2 HD, 15-Jan-07)

A>i:
I>zork1
ZORK I: The Great Underground Empire
Copyright (c) 1981, 1982, 1983 Infocom, Inc. All rights
reserved.
ZORK is a registered trademark of Infocom, Inc.
Revision 88 / Serial number 840726

West of House
You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with
a boarded front door.
There is a small mailbox here.

>

cosam
July 21st, 2009, 12:04 AM
I used a version of Unix 5 meant to be mounted as a virtual RK05 drive. I attached it to RK0, and booted it. When I booted it, all I got was a @ symbol, and when I typed commands in, nothing happened. It would just give me another prompt. Even if I typed gibberish, it wouldn't give an error, just another @ prompt. Seemed odd.
The @ prompt is from the primary bootstrap which is used to load the kernel. You need to tell it which kernel you want, and it'll look for it in the root filesystem on disk. The standard one is usually called "unix". IIRC there's a PDF which explains how to get most of (all?) the software kits running.


How would I get it to connect to the terminal on Com1?
I'm not sure its supported but you could check the user guide. If you have a Linux box, you could set simh as a user's shell then log in from the serial port.

SIMH is really good when you get used to how it works. There's also the Ersatz11 emulator if you want to try something else. ISTR it does the serial console thing you want, but I've never used it.

Vercus
July 21st, 2009, 05:20 AM
Hey Cosam,
Thanks for the information. Unfortunately, I don't have a Linux box. Plus, my everyday computer died recently (mainboard+cpu), so I'm using a server (no serial port). This is why I'm having to use the Win98 system.

It sounds like it'll be less frustrating to wait until I can afford to get a PDP setup together. I'm sure it'll be more enjoyable to work with too. Who wouldn't like working with vintage iron?

On the upside, I did connect with the terminal through HyperTerminal. Far from ideal of course, as HT is a terminal emulator, but it allowed me to send some text back and forth and verify that the terminal works, which is re-assuring :)

Can't wait for a PDP! :D

-Jon

tradde
July 22nd, 2009, 02:44 AM
Hey Cosam,
Thanks for the information. Unfortunately, I don't have a Linux box. Plus, my everyday computer died recently (mainboard+cpu), so I'm using a server (no serial port). This is why I'm having to use the Win98 system.

It sounds like it'll be less frustrating to wait until I can afford to get a PDP setup together. I'm sure it'll be more enjoyable to work with too. Who wouldn't like working with vintage iron?

On the upside, I did connect with the terminal through HyperTerminal. Far from ideal of course, as HT is a terminal emulator, but it allowed me to send some text back and forth and verify that the terminal works, which is re-assuring :)

Can't wait for a PDP! :D

-Jon

Any older PC can be turned into a Linux box. Find a neighbor getting rid of an old PC.
Find an old PC stuffed into a closet. See if Goodwill or similar has something for almost
free. It's easy.

Lou - N2MIY
July 22nd, 2009, 02:53 AM
Jon,

And once you have that old PC that Tim suggests you get, you can also put DOS on one of the HD partitions. Then you can do:

CTTY COM1

which will make your terminal (when connected to the first serial port) the console (forget about graphics though.)

Definitely check Goodwill, your town's dump, or be on the lookout on the local "bulk trash day". There are tons of old PC machines out there....

Lou

RetroHacker_
July 22nd, 2009, 04:03 AM
Definitely check Goodwill, your town's dump, or be on the lookout on the local "bulk trash day". There are tons of old PC machines out there....


And Linux runs oun just about anything. One machine I use daily is a 33mhz 486 with 16 megs of RAM...

Under Linux, it's super easy to use a terminal. I do it regularly. Just add a line in your /etc/inittab to call getty on the serial port, and you're good.

-Ian

Vercus
July 22nd, 2009, 06:38 AM
Hey Lou,
You're awesome! I tried CTTY COM1 with the terminal connected to my Win 98 machine, and it worked! I can play Adventure or Zork on it, which is great! I never heard of CTTY before. What a great solution.

Thanks a lot!
-Jon

tradde
July 22nd, 2009, 02:44 PM
Glad to see you are having some fun with Zork and Advent. I remember both very well
back in the day. And as that other guy says pretty much any old PC will run Linux quite
well. You don't need a 300 Ghz processor. :)