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Make Looping Demo IBM 5151 and TRS-80 Model 4

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    Make Looping Demo IBM 5151 and TRS-80 Model 4

    Okay, so I have the 5150 now up and running with its 5151 monitor and the TRS-80 M4 has taking it's spot next to it. I want to demo these machines by having them running and displaying random text on the screens. I have a number of apps I can run on them, but they would be static and bad for the screens. Having random, yet not seeming random, data on the screens would allow me to have them on as long as I like without worry.

    So what is the best approach? Should I create a bunch of TXT files and write a BASIC program to open the files and print out the contents to the display? Is there a better way, or something already done I could use? I did get my hands on a copy of Visicalc that has a demo, but the copy protection removal rendered all but running from HD unusable. Any other older apps out there with self running demos? Maybe a demo used on the display floor?

    Thanks!

    #2
    The posibilities are infinite...

    You could use some existing demo and use it, such as 8088mph. For your purpose, I'd choose the party version, as it doesn't ask for user input, so it's better for an unattended loop. For this continuous loop you could build a .bat file like:

    Code:
    demoloop:
    8088mph
    goto demoloop
    While it's true that this demo shows all its glory on a composite monitor or NTSC TV, on a TTL monitor is still very much impressive.

    Another idea is using a game like Space Ace, with its impressive cartoon like animations, even on CGA (!!!). The demo of this game loops endlessly. I remember circa 30 years ago that on a big store they put this game on PC compatibles with VGA to awe the customers. They achieved it: at least it had a great impact on me.

    If you want to code something by yourself, I think the BASIC program could be a good idea, as it's one of the quickest to use programming languages. You could use the RANDOMIZE function to generate random coordinates and to randomly choose a DATA line containing text (RESTORE). The text could be stored on DATA, in order to simplify things instead of reading the disk.

    Code:
    DATA "This is a text"
    DATA "This is another one"
    DATA "Etc"
    I assume you have knowledge in BASIC, so I explained it very schematically.

    Comment


      #3
      I re-read your post and saw that you have a 5151, so this makes unuseful the CGA programs I recommended. Sorry, I read fast and assumed you used a CGA monitor. You still could use a Hercules card and a CGA emulator program to run Space Ace. I don't know if the 8088mph demo could work trough an emulator as it's a very specialized software.

      Comment


        #4
        Just having BASIC print out some short text files would be boring. There were a few old text mode BASIC programs that did things like display a digital clock or a random maze which could break up the monotony. Unfortunately, the ones I remember expected user input to start and thus would need some editing and additional editing to CHAIN to next program in the loop. The time needed to rewrite the line numbers to work with a MERGE might be excessively long. On the IBM PC, some of the music samples included with DOS could be played while showing a given text file which would also provide a bit of a delay before the next screen is displayed.

        Comment


          #5
          Another fun thing you can try, if you're up for it, is to try and find a few BASIC games that have some kind of "attract" mode, that idle state waiting for the game to start.

          Take those, hack them a bit to just do the idle mode and then, after some period of time, CHAIN to the next hacked game. Just have A chain to B chain to C chain to A again.

          Comment


            #6
            One problem I am having is the poor quality of the archives out there. About half the BASIC programs for the TRS-80 I have looked at were stored in state that could not be run without extensive revision.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks for all the great ideas and input. It would be great to find a game or such for the IBM that had an attract mode and ran on the Hercules MDA. That would fit well. The TRS-80 M4 I have has some games (slots, poker, etc.), but they all required user input and has too much static graphics on the screen to feel comfortable leaving for any length of time.

              Yeah, just scrolling text would be kind of boring, that's for sure, but at least it would be doing something. There is one program I have tried to remember the name of so I can try and find it. It was back in '84 when I was at DeVry. The IBM PCs were pretty basic machines and there was a program that did 3D plots. You know the type that is like a ripple on the water if you were to drop something? It was so cool back then and I was completely amazed. Wouldn't be so exciting now, but it would be fun to have different plots like that rendering on the screen.

              Comment


                #8
                Many arcade games for the TRS-80 have cycling attract modes, particularly the Big Five titles. (Meteor Mission 2, Robot Attack, etc.) But strictly speaking you'd be running your Model 4 in Model III mode to use them.
                My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs Also: Blogspot

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Eudimorphodon View Post
                  Many arcade games for the TRS-80 have cycling attract modes, particularly the Big Five titles. (Meteor Mission 2, Robot Attack, etc.) But strictly speaking you'd be running your Model 4 in Model III mode to use them.
                  That would still be ideal, especially if there are no static images.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Well I found one of my old DOS games (Echelon) and it has a locked demo and runs on Hercules graphics. So it does take 5 minutes to load, but it seem to be doing okay. I'm glad I have the 4869 external drive unit so I don't have to stress the OEM internal drives. If I kill this one, I can put just about any 360KB drive in it.
                    Attached Files

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Tincanalley View Post
                      Thanks for all the great ideas and input. It would be great to find a game or such for the IBM that had an attract mode and ran on the Hercules MDA. That would fit well. The TRS-80 M4 I have has some games (slots, poker, etc.), but they all required user input and has too much static graphics on the screen to feel comfortable leaving for any length of time.
                      If those are in BASIC, it would likely not be that hard to replace those user inputs with delays and just entering the commands. I appreciate, particularly on TRS-80s, that the BASIC code can be a bit opaque, but it probably wouldn't be that hard, depending on your comfort level.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by whartung View Post

                        If those are in BASIC, it would likely not be that hard to replace those user inputs with delays and just entering the commands. I appreciate, particularly on TRS-80s, that the BASIC code can be a bit opaque, but it probably wouldn't be that hard, depending on your comfort level.
                        They aren't basic programs. I did find a disk with graphic files and a program to display them. I am going to make a program to run the run the program with the file names and let it run in a loop. Best I can do for now.

                        Comment

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