Re: [stella] Black Box Development system

Subject: Re: [stella] Black Box Development system
From: Chris Wilkson <ecwilkso@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 20:12:32 -0400
I think a PDP class machine, although marketed as a "minicomputer"
at the time, could be considered a mainframe if you're using the
application-based definition of mainframe:  a centralized processing
unit which uses time-sharing to support multiple simultaneuous users
who log in via remote dumb terminals or a through a batch execution
queue (or both).  Of course if you do that, then you could call a
Cray Y-MP a mainframe.  And that's just criminal.  :)

(It's a friggin SUPER computer!  Respect it!)


It makes me to happy to see someone else being crotchety.  On the
downside, it just encourages me.  :)

"But how did Playstation games work if they didn't always have DVD's?"
Damned kids.

About the Black Box, etc...

I don't know if the programmers ever read the paper tape.  Though they
certainly could have.  If people who work every day with assembly can
learn to read byte code ($A9 -> LDA for instance) then I'm sure that
they could learn to read the binary paper tapes.  But who would want
to?  I know that they used logic analyzers to look at code as it ran
on hardware.  This might have done away with the need to look at a tape.

Once you've gone to the trouble of converting to tape and loading it
into the PDP/emulator, it's just as fast, possibly easier, and definitely
more useful to watch the hardware busses and control signals in

BTW, I saw that PDP (or one of its successors) at one of the gameing shows
last year.  Maybe Philly Classic.  Anyway, Pac Man was developed on it,
and the source was stored on an 8" floppy (which was also on display).



On Wed, 20 Apr 2005, Adam Thornton wrote:

> On Apr 20, 2005, at 3:20 PM, Richard Kennehan wrote:
> > Programs were assembled on a PDP-11 model 20
> > mainframe, which then produced a paper tape that
> > contained the BIN.
> >
> Bah.
> A PDP 11/20 isn't a mainframe.  It's a minicomputer.  Kids these days
> think anything larger than a single equipment rack is a mainframe.
> Grumble, grumble.
> I don't know anything about the Black Box, though.
> Adam
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