Sunday Things - warbird edition

posted in Links by Cargo Cult on Sunday February 12 2017

A hangar, neglected and abandoned since soon after the war became irrelevant. Sunlight streams through grimy windows on to faded plastic and tarpaulin sheeting covering unidentifiable mechanical shapes, spattered in the dust and detritus of decades.

He walks over to one of the lumpen masses, its covering still faded but clear of dust. Pulling aside the sheeting, he pauses briefly to admire the war machine beneath.

Built in the closing stages of the war, not long before both sides' struggle became pointless in the face of a third, ascendant superpower - its shape clearly echoing the lines of earlier machines but with a last-ditch internal hardware layout inside. This particular specimen is clearly not abandoned, at least not now - cleaned up access ports and new umbilical cabling show the man's work over the years. But beyond this functional rehabilitation, unmodified - true to the day it first left its long-forgotten factory.

He pulls out a device from his backpack, tiny and implausibly powerful in comparison with the old war machine before him, but still a direct descendant of that new enemy's clunky past. Loaded with newly engineered firmware, designed to circumvent this relic's system limitations - he plugs it into a cable harness, preparing for upload to the old bird. Firmware to make the machine's main engine and awkward yet hugely capable auxiliary power unit beat as one, in perfect synchronicity - firmware designed with the knowledge and experience of decades of work, to carry the weapon originally wielded by that new enemy but in a manner long thought impossible.

Transfer complete, he begins the boot process. The Atari Falcon030 shall fly again - and a friendly flight over old Amiga territory seems strangely appropriate, just for old time's sake...

Atari BadMooD

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Atari BadMooD: alpha preview - Doom running on a 16MHz, 14MB Atari Falcon030 from 1992, in 16-bit colour using the audio DSP as a coprocessor. More information here.

Atari Quake 2: Continuity

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Atari Quake 2: Continuity - not the full game, but a map renderer running on that same 16MHz Falcon platform, this time emulated in Hatari. Fully 3D with texturing and coloured lighting - positively ridiculous, with the DSP heavily relied on for texture mapping and maths work. More information here.

Atari Quake 2: Anomalous Code

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Atari Quake 2: Anomalous Code - and now that Quake 2 map renderer showing some Half-Life maps. Wait, what? While a computer from 1992 displaying a game from 1998 may no longer seem as impressive, it's hard to remember quite how fast home computers were progressing in the 1990s. Buy a machine, and it would be antiquated in a year. To compare, the computer I run VR stuff on at home is about four years old - albeit a bit over-specified for its time, and with a new (but already outclassed) GPU in it.

Bonus Soviet NASA corner:

Article comments

mixer's gravatar

1. Intro

Posted by mixer at 6:16AM, Sunday February 12 2017

Really nice intro !

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