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Thread: Videobrain

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada
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    This is the most complete system I found on Craigslist. I couldn't buy it because the seller wouldn't ship I kept the pictures so they are not mine but it is an almost complete system. Wish I could have bought it.

    00A0A_l32dJYdqSPu_1200x900.jpg

  2. #12
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    To me it's entirely possible there was a tiny APL for the F8. When Jerry D. Fox's 'Tiny BASIC for the F8' appeared in Dr Dobbs (volume 4, #39) he claimed it was "fairly easy" (his words) to port 8080 Palo Alto Tiny BASIC. Note that this Tiny BASIC code has been cleaned up and assembled a few years ago by an F8/VideoBrain enthusiast, not sure on its current state though.
    BYTE had a double issue theme on writing tiny APLs for micros in mid 1977. and DDJ had an 8080 tiny APL caled EMPL in April 1977 (https://archive.org/details/ddj-1997...Micro-APL-8080) maybe this was ported to the F8.
    Also in Dr Dobbs Journal #1 (http://www.6502.org/documents/public...dobbs_journal/) there was a "BASIC and APL"-flavoured effort called CASUAL that fitted into 2k of memory.
    So yes, I think its plausible some simple APL-like language likely existed for the F8 but if you are expecting a full APL\360 implementation you might be rather disappointed
    Some day I'll get back to working on my own F8, the Fairchild/Mostek F9 Evaluation Kit board.

  3. #13
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    They definitely had some kind of plan to put it out there, at the very least. The cart was called "APL/S - The Computational Language". The question is, did it ever get out or did they fold before it happened. I'm assuming it at least existed as a prototype/development kit for their own use. But yeah, I think by now if someone had it, they'dve let us know.

  4. #14

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    At this point I'm going to say it was most likely prototype only (I'm sure it was at least in development). Maybe some escaped or were given to employees to take home for testing, but I doubt it had an actual release.

    At this point I'm only missing the Expander 2 (Ianoid has one so I know that exists) and the box for Money Manager as well as the box for the system itself. Ianoid also has that Information Manager prototype too that we need look into more sometime, but without a manual figuring anything out is nearly impossible.

  5. #15
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    I wonder how hard it would be to reverse engineer the thing. I'd love to see what it is capable of.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by falter View Post
    I wonder how hard it would be to reverse engineer the thing. I'd love to see what it is capable of.
    To me it seems like a Fairchild Channel F with a keyboard and an expansion port. I'm sure MUCH better games could have been made but I doubt it could do much more than some of the later Channel F games.

  7. #17
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    I'm really hoping to educate myself and learn more about how to reverse engineer and do coding. I never liked either before, but as a vintage collector with a lot of short-lived machines, I'd love to learn how to push them to their limits and use capabilities that may have been underused. Videobrain, native C128 mode, etc.

    I'm sure the Videobrain has some major limitations but it'd be interesting nonetheless to probe the limits.

  8. #18

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    The VB had sprites but the Channel F didn't. This limited what the Channel F could do in real time as well as possible overlays. If I recall correctly the VB had collision detection for sprites as well. I suspect that the Channel F still had more time to mature but the VB hardware should have been able to create better games, The hardware is not always the best predictor of final quality.
    Dwight

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Elvey View Post
    The VB had sprites but the Channel F didn't.
    Really? I never knew that. Too bad none of the games seem to push the system, they're all super primitive.

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