Space Travel (was Re: Data General Nova Star Trek)

Charles Anthony at
Thu Apr 7 18:08:42 CDT 2016

On Thu, Apr 7, 2016 at 9:51 AM, Swift Griggs <swiftgriggs at> wrote:

> On Thu, 7 Apr 2016, Pete Lancashire wrote:
> > Star Trek was a quite common BASIC (game ?) program on at least the HP
> 2000
> > time share systems, I've seen quite a few variations, on ran on RT-11.
> That reminds me of the "Space Travel" game/sim that Ken Thompson wrote for
> the first copy/iteration of Unix.
> Did anyone ever actually run/see that? There are some screenshots online
> but
> I'm curious how the original Unix on that old PDP was hitting a
> framebuffer.
> I'm really curious to know how Ken & Dennis approched it, and how far off
> from today's crazy graphics interfaces was it.
I was just looking at that graphics system; Multics had a monitor system
called XRAY that could see into memory and display live data on a PDP-8
with a 338 display. Looking at the space war source, it seems that it used
an earlier iteration of the 338, but with the same basic architecture. It
was a vector graphics display, the controller reading a command list from
memory consisting on X/Y/intensity values being fed to ADCs connected an
oscilloscope or monitor.

I have some code that does an X-11 emulation of the Atari Tempest vector
graphics display; I'm thinking of wedging it into the simh PDP8 code to
emulate the 338 and PDP-1 displays.

DECUS has PDP-8 software that runs on the 338, and the spacewar source is
available, so that should be emulatable as well.

-- Charles

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