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Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:22 am
by max badwan
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Not a synth, but it is analog!
Vintage analog computer, circa 1959, from Poland.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:24 am
by Alex E
But can it run Crysis?

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Sun Apr 26, 2015 5:41 am
by Stab Frenzy
Check out Dewanatron, they might make something that you like.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:56 am
by SeventhStar
How about this vintage analog computer, Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-1:

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PDP-1 was also first produced in 1959, like the computer in the original post. Only cost $120,000 ($967,925 in today's dollars).

PDP-1 ran the first minicomputer game, Spacewar!, by Steve Russell (who I saw speak at GDC, in San Francisco, in 2013).

The very clever, Larry Rosenthal, designed his own TTL-based computer (that's right, NO Microprocessor) to run his version of the game, called Space Wars / Space War. His TTL computer was FASTER than the current available Microprocessors, at the time he started working on it, in 1974. Not just a TTL logic board, hardwired for one game, but a TTL computer, that executed program code! Unique in the coin-op arcade world and awesome at the same time! No crude, low-res, raster, pixelated graphics either.. Just smooth alias-free vector lines!

There is some bad-a*s, vintage, TTL mojo, going on inside this Samsonite suitcase, that housed Larry's prototype computer:
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Cinematronics built the first version, in 1977/1978, selling for $2000 ($7200 today):

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Vectorbeam, built the second, smaller version, using higher quality components in 1978/1979:

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More arcade games (Rip Off, Star Castle, Armor Attack, etc.) used this same hardware design, through 1982, using discrete analog sound boards, and still, NO Microprocessor..

Atari jumped on the vector bandwagon, with Lunar Lander and the infamous Asteroids, in 1979. But they used Microprocessors, so they aren't as cool ;)

The discrete sound boards, generated sound in a similar manner, to the vintage synths, we talk about on this forum.. Just another example of Vintage Audio Synthesis Awesomeness that is connected with Vintage TTL Logic Awesomeness 8-)

I really like these old vector arcade machines, can you tell? The guy posting about the Polish computer, didn't know what he was starting here..

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:28 am
by Ashe37
Alex E wrote:But can it run Crysis?
Yes. At one frame per day.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:14 pm
by madtheory
SeventhStar wrote:How about this vintage analog computer, Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-1:
That's a digital computer though. Analogue computers are a different beast.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_computer
TTL based arcade games are digital too.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 3:01 pm
by commodorejohn
The PDP-1's a beauty alright :) I just wish I could manage to get down to the Computer History Museum on the occasions where they're demoing theirs...

(Trivia, the PDP-1 was home to one of the early experiments in digital synthesis, the Harmony Compiler...)

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:12 pm
by Bitexion
And everyone should be wearing unicolored leotards by now. With pointy bits on them. Where's my jetpack?

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 4:48 pm
by silikon
Bitexion wrote:And everyone should be wearing unicolored leotards by now. With pointy bits on them. Where's my jetpack?
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All joking aside, things have worked out pretty well.

It doesn't feel like such a long time ago that I had a SUN Sparcstation 20 for a workstation (which had dual 85MHz processors and 512MB of RAM onboard, with a 4GB HDD and a 24-bit color video adapter running Solaris 2.4) working on SGI Challenge servers as well as the SUN SparcCenter servers and some antique (even at that time) HP 700-series servers.

It's insanely funny now to me to see rooms of those machines essentially eclipsed on SoC machines that use a drop of electricity.

All in all, we haven't ended up like a Woody Allen film (and thankfully, because I would NOT be prancing about in one of those one-piece things.) and things are progressing at amazing leaps.

...but then I don't know if my ramblings are even close to being on topic... :oops:

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:47 pm
by Walter Ego
silikon wrote:All joking aside, things have worked out pretty well.

It doesn't feel like such a long time ago that I had a SUN Sparcstation 20 for a workstation (which had dual 85MHz processors and 512MB of RAM onboard, with a 4GB HDD and a 24-bit color video adapter running Solaris 2.4) working on SGI Challenge servers as well as the SUN SparcCenter servers and some antique (even at that time) HP 700-series servers.
My father still has a SUN system set up in his basement. He was VERY excited to take it home from his work in the late 90's. Solaris was a pretty cool GUI in its day.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:06 pm
by commodorejohn
I had a couple Sun SPARC boxes briefly, but I never used them for much. They didn't seem all that great despite being 2x166MHz systems, probably because they were from that awkward period when everybody was ramping up clock speeds as far as they would go but main-memory speeds were still stuck around 386DX levels, but I'm sure they were pretty damn cool back in the day. I much prefer my DEC gear for mucking around with, anyway.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Mon Apr 27, 2015 8:58 pm
by SeventhStar
madtheory wrote:
SeventhStar wrote:How about this vintage analog computer, Digital Equipment Corporation's PDP-1:
That's a digital computer though. Analogue computers are a different beast.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analog_computer
TTL based arcade games are digital too.
I stand corrected on the PDP-1. My mistake. I just know it as the birth place of Spacewars! It was the coolest thing they could come up with to demonstrate its capabilities at the time.

I never said the TTL arcade games were all analog. The CCPU TTL board and the video board are digital. Only the Audio Board is analog (electronic analog, same classification as the analog synths, by that wiki definition). The audio boards have hardwired circuits to create each individual sound, using VCOs, low pass filters, envelope circuits, and CCAs (control current amplifiers, instead of VCAs). CCAs are amplifiers that generate a current waveform characteristic of an input voltage. Never heard of the CCA terminology used in a synth though. If these boards are not electronic analog, then I don't see how most of the vintage electronic analog synths are true electronic analog either..

A DAC was utilized in some of the audio circuits. And of course, a DAC for converting the digital signal, coming out of the video board, into an analog signal, to drive the Vector CRT monitor.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Tue Apr 28, 2015 5:05 am
by synthroom
I had forgotten about Space War! I remember playing one ca. 1978. The only other video games I had played at that time were Pong, Asteroids, and Night Driver.

I love the monitor on that PDP-11!

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:13 am
by piRoN
commodorejohn wrote:The PDP-1's a beauty alright :) I just wish I could manage to get down to the Computer History Museum on the occasions where they're demoing theirs...
Yeah, I made the CHM a priority when I came over to the 'States earlier in the year, but it was the wrong week for the PDP-1 demo. Still totally worth the 13,000km trip though.

Re: Why can't they build them like this?

Posted: Wed Apr 29, 2015 2:17 am
by commodorejohn
Indeed :)