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Classic Games (Games) Entertainment Games

Intellivision Operating System Revealed 309

Thanks to an anonymous reader for pointing to the IntyOS site, which has released Version 0.2 Alpha of a "multitasked operating system for the Intellivision console." According to the site, IntyOS "..includes a powerful GUI which handles a mouse pointer, windows, menus, icons, etc", and was "..written from scratch in CP-1600 assembly language in order to fit exactly to the hardware specificities of the Intellivision. Its main goal is now to see how far it's possible to go with today's technologies on such a limited system from the early 80's" There's also a site mirror available, and the demo ROM is viewable in a Java applet.
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Intellivision Operating System Revealed

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  • Bye Bye. (Score:3, Funny)

    by OS24Ever ( 245667 ) <trekkie@nomorestars.com> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:45PM (#6297391) Homepage Journal
    Bye Bye IntOS. Slashdotted in 0.33 seconds.
  • Games (Score:2, Funny)

    by blackmonday ( 607916 )
    But will it still play Burgertime?
    • Re:Games (Score:3, Funny)

      by Surak ( 18578 ) *
      Burgertime! Yeah! That was COOL game. Until I got a job in fast food anyway. :)

      Was that released on Intellivision? I remember playing it on ColecoVision [colecovision.com], but I suppose since they were contemporaries it could have been released on Intellivision. :)

      • Re:Games (Score:2, Informative)

        by Tarrek ( 547315 )
        It sure was released on the INTV! A great version [intvfunhouse.com] too.

        Curious about more this system has to offer? He's a Top 25 thread from Digitpress.com, one of the greatest retrogaming sites out there: Some other great INTV Games [digitpress.com].

      • Wow! It's so weird how the most "off the wall" items come up soon after they're originally mentioned!

        I was just talking with my wife about memories of playing Intellivision over at the next-door neighbor's house, when I was a kid.

        Burgertime was, by far, the most-liked game on the system. (To be fair, I don't think the neighbor girl owned too many Intellivision games, but I recall a rather cheezy football game and a few others. Burgertime really stood out as superior.)
  • But... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Gibble ( 514795 )
    Can I still use my old intellivision games with this?
  • Sounds like it was fun to develop. Hehe now some people need to code lots of apps for it like P2P ;) And so how long before someone ask can the OS be used for a beowolf cluster?
  • by Savatte ( 111615 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:48PM (#6297424) Homepage Journal
    can Doom run on it yet?
  • by rdewald ( 229443 ) <rdewald AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:48PM (#6297437) Homepage Journal
    Why do this? Because it's there? I have a Tandy 102 without a working "P" on the keyboard someone could have. Maybe it would be neat to write a OS without using any P's.
  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdavidb ( 449077 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:48PM (#6297441) Homepage Journal

    http://intyos.spatula-city.org/ [spatula-city.org]

    • So they left out the comma...

      News for nerds AND stuff that matters. You get both. (OTOH, that's English, not Boolean.)
    • News for nerds IS the stuff that matters ;) Nothing else does... if your not a geek you just wouldn't understand.
  • amazing (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:49PM (#6297447)
    whats next, getting linux to run on an abacus?
  • by binaryDigit ( 557647 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:50PM (#6297465)
    The old Intellivisions didn't need a fan right? Just take the guts and stick it into a l33t case. It already has video out right, as well as audio. This could be a sweeet part of your home entertainment system or in your car. If you had a big enough cluster of them in your trunk, you might even be able to play a 8kbps mp3! I bet VIA is shaking in their boots, expect a lawsuit from them on these guys any minute now!
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) * on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:50PM (#6297472) Journal
    I swear, this is still more proof that *BSD is dying.
  • by MeanMF ( 631837 ) *
    How come nobody has posted a lame joke about SCO suing Intellivision yet?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:51PM (#6297477)

    lamefiltersuxlamefiltersuxlamefiltersuxitsnottoo manycaps
  • Hot damn. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Civil_Disobedient ( 261825 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:52PM (#6297491)
    If someone can fit a GUI'd, multitasking OS in such a small amount of physical memory, why does Windows have to take up so much, or even Linux for that matter? I realize that programming in assembly is a bitch over C++, but surely Microsoft, with it's paid developers, could accomplish something streamlined like this.

    I wish Gates would hold off on innovation for a couple of years to produce such a beast. I, for one, would gladly pay for an Assembly-optimized, thoroughly bug-fixed version of Windows.
    • by gearheadsmp ( 569823 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:56PM (#6297552)
      I for one welcome our new Assembly Optimized overlords.
    • Heh! I would love to see the Assembly freaks do Linux. Has any group of crazies yet come forth to try it?

      • Do you mean write the entire OS in assembly? There are a couple of projects that use Linux Assembly's [linuxassembly.org] mini distribution of tools coded in 100% asm for space reasons but I'm not sure if writing the entire kernel in asm would be practical.
        Oh wait...
        • Well there really isn't much practical about
          an OS for intellivision either lol....

          But hey if it were in assembly, the whole thing would be fast and small...

    • It has no networking code, only has to work with one type of video chip and one type of audio chip, doesn't have to support endless storage configurations, no printers, no USB ports, etc.

      When you only have to target one very clearly defined platform that's never going to change, it's relatively easy making something small.

    • I have problems seeing why an OS should take several gigabytes as well (as Windows XP for instance)

      Take a look at MenuetOS [menuetos.org] for example (also mentioned on slashdot [slashdot.org] earlier). It's a pre-emptive multitasking OS with many apps, games and utilities..

      ..and the distro is on one floppy!

      Ofcourse, it's all written in x86 assembly. Seriously, give it a try, I guarantee you some eyebrow exercise. :)
    • Lots of reasons (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @05:19PM (#6297765)
      A big one is hardware abstraction. Sure, you can produce a 100% optimised 100% assembly program for a given system configuration. However I for one value the ability to have different hardware. For that you need abstraction. The Os needs to present a unified API for a given function (like OpenGL for graphics) and then handle the abstraction to the driver layer.

      Another bigge is features. So great, they got a multi taking OS that runs a clock and such on an old system. Show me one that does the same things Linux or Windows does (like have a full featured web browser, 3d graphics, sound, etc) and then I'll jump on the bloat train.

      Then there are others like maintainability, expandibility, portability and so on. Go ahead and write a major application, like something on the order of Office or Mozilla in pure assembly. Supposing you can even tackle that task, then try and maintain it. For even more fun, try porting it. You'll quickly see why C++ is a plus.

      Yes, modern stuff does tned to suffer form some bloat since hardware allows it, but there are plenty of legitimate reasons to use the extra power available.
    • OSes are like diskspace and memory, they will grow to whatever is there.

      M$ does make a lighter version of windows called WinCE, and there are embedded Linux distros for limited hardware as well.
    • They sort of did, the first edition of WinCE ran in some rediculously small amount of ram, and it had support for a large subset of Win32 system calls. Sure it had its problems but it's not like MS has never written a fairly svelte OS.
    • ..an Assembly-optimized, thoroughly bug-fixed..

      Now, THAT is an oxymoron!
    • I believe "Assembly Optimized" and "Bug Fixed" are mutually exclusive terms. Especially when discussing entire operating systems.
    • Part of the problem with Windows is that they compile the binaries to the least common demoninator. Imaging how much faster Windows could be if they were to release binaries optimized for a Pentium 4, for example instead of a Pentium 1 or 2... or if they released the source so people could tailor it to their hardware...

      As far as Linux, if you just spend an evening rebuilding your kernel and apps and target your processor properly, you *will* see a marked increase in performance if you're running a reasona

  • by nzyank ( 623627 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:52PM (#6297492)
    My first console was the Intellivision. Bought it so that I could program it when they released the keyboard. Still waiting.
  • 8 MOBS... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nhaze ( 684461 )
    Roughly, an Intellivision includes: ... a 'Standard Television Interface Chip' (STIC) with a resolution of 160x96 in 16 colors + up to 8 'Moving OBjects' (MOBS)
    I was curious if someone familiar with older processors could explain the significance of independent MOBS? Are these small independent caches for storing sprites or something?
    • Re:8 MOBS... (Score:5, Informative)

      by schon ( 31600 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @05:04PM (#6297625)
      I was curious if someone familiar with older processors could explain the significance of independent MOBS? Are these small independent caches for storing sprites or something?

      Sounds like they are sprites - hardware ones, that is (sometimes called 'BOBs').

      You create a bitmap in video memory (video memory was a section of RAM that was accessible by the video chip), then point a hardware register to it - the hardware takes care of drawing the sprite on the screen.

      Typically you animate the sprite by changing the pointer to point to a different image.

      The sprite hardware typically had location register(s) as well, so you could move the sprite on the screen by changing the X/Y registers.. the C64 had two registers (split over 3 bytes) to control the X/Y location of a sprite, but some systems (such as Atari, IIRC) only had one location register (for horizontal location), and you had to redraw the sprite to move it in the other direction.
      • Nope (Score:4, Informative)

        by CausticWindow ( 632215 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @06:41PM (#6298396)

        BOBs are Blitter OBjects. Not hardware sprites.

        • BOBs are Blitter OBjects.

          On the Amiga, yes.. I seem to recall that it was used on a different platform, but stood for something else (I didn't remember the acronym for the Atari was PMG, until it was pointed out in a reply.. *sigh* it's been too long since I did any of that.. :o)
      • Ah! The Atari. I read through the OS listing in my youth. The Atari had what were called Player/Missile Graphics (PMGs). There four "players" that were one byte wide, and ran the height of the screen. There were also four "missiles" which were two bits wide and also ran the height of the screen. The four missiles could be grouped to become a fifth player. The images were placed on the screen by the ANTIC chip. Each of the four (or five) players was moved horizontally by setting a byte. Vertical moti
    • Re:8 MOBS... (Score:5, Informative)

      by SirWhoopass ( 108232 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @05:07PM (#6297642)
      You're missing the critical component: the processor.

      An Intellivision contains a General Instruments CP1610, which is a 16-bit microprocessor. More details available here [intellivisionlives.com]. The Intellivision contained a rather powerful processor for it's day, which is probably why this is possible. You could buy a keyboard for it (which contained additional RAM) that allowed you to program it in BASIC.

    • MOBS == sprites (Score:2, Interesting)

      by nzyank ( 623627 )
      Don't know much about the Intellivision HW because I went and bought a TI which HAD a keyboard, but, yes, MOBS are the same thing.

      First time I remember hearing the term 'sprites' was with my TI-99/4A, but the concept's the same. Moveable Object Blocks in case no one else has de-acronymed this yet. I would suspect 'sprites would have been the term used on the Vic-20 which had come out sometime around then or slightly earlier.
      • I would suspect 'sprites would have been the term used on the Vic-20 which had come out sometime around then or slightly earlier.

        The Vic-20 never had sprites. That was the C64.
        • The C64 had 8 hardware sprites, and hardware for horizontal scrolling 0 to 7 pixels (so you could do a byte copy for smooth scrolling), among other things. The official name for the sprites on the VIC2 chip (as used in C64) was MOBs - it's in the early documentation, but eventually sprites became the normal word including in semi-official and even official docs
  • wanged.

    Way to break the link slashdot.
  • It's a shame... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JFMulder ( 59706 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:53PM (#6297512)
    ... there is no way to make your own Intellivision cartridges. I still have my Intellivision I and II (the brown one and the gray one) and they're still working! I'd be nice to try this on a real Intellivision.
    • Re:It's a shame... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Windcatcher ( 566458 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:57PM (#6297556)
      Chad Schell made a run of Intellicarts that let you download just about any game to your real Intellivision. It's only too bad he stopped after around 100 or so...

      And yes, I have one :)
    • Are there any third party intellivision games? I opened up an intellivision cart once to see what was in it, and was shocked to discover that it had a SMT IC in it, covered with a blob of wax or whatever that crap is.

      In any case I would imagine that the documentation on the cart port is around somewhere and that it might not be THAT hard to interface some kind of PROM to it. But, maybe I'm wrong.

    • Re:It's a shame... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Mr Z ( 6791 )

      Actually, there is. I've sold several 4-Tris cartridges. And no, don't ask if I'll make any more. I will if and when I do, and no sooner.

  • by paroneayea ( 642895 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:54PM (#6297528) Homepage
    So wait, someone's installing an OS on a retro system... it isn't Linux... yet it's being posted on Slashdot?
    What's going on here?
    • The first person to port Linux's source to assembly....
      *makes Dr. Evil pinkie motion* ...wins a nurse shark with a laser pointer strapped to it's head!
    • Yeah, when I started reading the blurb, I was expecting the punch line to be that it was really Linux re-done in asm or something. We're conditioned here on /. I guess.
  • Imagine ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by Etyenne ( 4915 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @04:55PM (#6297538)
    ... a Beowulf cluster of Intellivision running IntyOS ! w00t !
  • by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @05:01PM (#6297595)
    The local cable TV system in Dubuque Iowa did an experiment with Intellivision, back in the day. Intellivision users could get a special cable adapter and play other users across the cable net. This was the first networked multiuser video game system in the world. The system also offered text chat. It was a short-lived experiment, IIRC it only lasted a year or two, then Group W Cable discovered it wasn't making any money on it, so they pulled the plug. Still, it was an awesome precedent.
    • Are you sure you're not remembering the PlayCable [intellivisionlives.com] module for the Intellivision? It was available in limited areas and allow subscribers to play a number of games that were downloaded from cable TV onto the system.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Back in 1982 in Ottawa (Canada) they started a network called NABU. For about the price of a C64 you got hardware that would hook up to the TV network and you could download software including games and personal finance software. You could also get a hard drive and printer for it.

      Bandwidth was 6.4 MByte/sec. In 1982.

      For more information see:

      http://www.ewh.ieee.org/reg/7/millennium/telidon /t elidon_nabu.html
    • AFAIK, Intellivision was the first system to have a RTS/SimCity-ish game: Utopia [vgmuseum.com]. You controlled a couple of islands, and had to collect resources and such. Very fun and innovative game for the day.

  • That's pretty smart, getting free advertising to a nice target demographic.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @05:05PM (#6297630) Homepage Journal
    then what? Inty office? How long until vi is ported? emacs? Mozilla likes to run on everything, is Sun now obligated to write a virtual machine FOR the Intellivision?
  • You've got to be kidding. I didn't know Intellevision could run DOOM [spatula-city.org].

    Will Grandma ever stop calling my Game Cube "Nintellevision?"
  • Wow, and it's faster than Java's own AWT ;)
  • They were awesome, a spectecle of graphics and sound. The controllers looked more like telephones mixed with a tv remote. Anyone remember that metallic disc? I also remember getting a B52 bomber with the voice synthesis cartridge addon for it. Hardly understable, I was amazed at the time haha. Memories..
    • Er, that was B-17 Bomber, with the objective of the game being to bomb Europe. The B-52 bomber version of the game would have been far more fun :). In addition, in a rare display of good taste, B-17 Bomber was not released by Mattel in Europe.
  • Now THAT's computational power...complete with crappy 8-bit music. I love it! I'm always impressed when people go out of their way to write OS's for obsolete hardware of such small footprint. Makes my LC III running Linux look..so..ordinary.

    www.32bitwonder.org ...because it's possible
    • You have the Intellivision confused with that other piece of crap, the Atari. The Intellivision in 1981 was fully 16-bit. By contrast, Microsoft sold 16-bit operating systems until 1997 or so.
  • I remember when I used to have free time.

    I'd read the article, but I have 25,000 lines of VHDL to write today.

    *sigh* :-(

    • I'd read the article, but I have 25,000 lines of VHDL to write today.

      Do they all have to be different?

      for (i=0;i<25000;i++) printf("...\n");
  • The value of an Intellivisions console at your local thrift store has now risen from $7 to $8!
  • by adzoox ( 615327 ) * on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @05:48PM (#6298034) Journal
    Actually, the intellivision with boxes and games with boxes and overlays go for quite the collector's price on eBay.

    NO CONSOLE to me has ever matched the ease and useability of the Intellivision controller. Modern football games are just eye candy and very confusing to me. With the Intellivision you had to understand plays and you could enter them privately without the other guy seeing them on the screen. If someone can see what you are about to run, what's the point? (No, I haven't forgotten that one could run backwards 70 yards and throw the ball the length of the field) Also, Utopia was true HOURS of fun between my brother and I as well as Triple Action Biplanes and Tanks. It was simple but took skill and thought.Games also required imagination. So these consoles also have historical value in the quality of games they had. The Intellivision was truly the Apple Computer of Consoles. Superior product/better graphics/easier to use & underdog.

  • These people are obviously talented so surely there must be something that they could that would be much, much, much more beneficial to the computer world than this. Like another poster asked (in my words) "why is Windows so big if they can do this on such an old machine?".
  • and someone has WAY TOO MUCH of it appearently... :-)

    But seriously, who cares about Intellivision, I want to run OpenOffice on my 2600 game console.

  • Intellivision Lives! (Score:3, Informative)

    by gklinger ( 571901 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @06:34PM (#6298350)
    It's slightly off-topic but I figured that if you're reading this thread and feeling nostalgic about Intellivision, you might be interested to know that the original developers have set up shop online and are selling emulators and games. You can learn more here [intellivisionlives.com].

    Be forewarned though, playing those games will shatter your fond memories. You really are much better getting MAME [mame.net] and playing the arcade versions which hold up a little better.

  • astrosmash flashbacks!

  • by raistphrk ( 203742 ) on Wednesday June 25, 2003 @07:38PM (#6298778)

    This sounds like an Ig Nobel Prize [improb.com] candidate to me. To quote the website, "Every Ig Nobel Prize winner has done something that first makes people LAUGH, then makes them THINK. Technically speaking, the Igs honor people whose achievements 'cannot or should not be reproduced.'"

    Sounds like we have a real winner, unless they've ported NetBSD to a toaster yet.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.