Graphics for S-100 machines (MicroAngelo S-100 Graphics Board by SCION)
cclist at sydex.com
Mon Dec 3 18:32:22 CST 2007
On 3 Dec 2007 at 18:05, Jim Battle wrote:
> Matrox S-100 graphics cards appear once in a while on ebay. They made
> character generators and bitmapped displays as well. They could be
> ganged to make grayscale, or even palettized color, and they made it
> easy to sync them so you could overlay graphics and text.
...and there were others besides the usual gang of Polymorphic,
Cromemco, Vector and North Star. Not rare, just uncommon.
I remember one very nice one (or set)--the MicroAngelo from Scion.
Initially a monochrome version with its own Z80, I think later
editions included multiple planes for color. Very nice and very
One of the problems was the terminal-centric view--i.e. many S100
boxes simply communicated with a terminal over a serial link--far too
slow for decent graphics, although there were color graphics
terminals. And CP/M knew nothing of graphics; there was no
"standard" graphics interface as there was on, say the Apple II or
the PC, so applications software was a problem.
What is hard to appreciate from this time is how revolutionary any
sort of non-TTY interface software was. WordStar, for example, was a
real eye-opener--you hit ctrl-Y to delete a line and it vanished from
the display and succeeding lines scrolled up to close up the gap.
Real meaningful graphics applications would have to wait a bit to
become the rule, rather than the exception. Certainly, larger
memory spaces and faster CPUs didn't hurt.
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