Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

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lowrybt1
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:42 pm

Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by lowrybt1 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 1:14 am

Hello,

I'm joining the osiweb forum and am so thrilled to see that there is still a dedicated corps of OSI users and experts. I'm not an expert but I am a lifelong devotee to the OSI C1P. At the age of 16, with help from my parents, I purchased a C1PMF from Polk Hobby in downtown Manhattan. I can no longer remember the names of the people who staffed Polk's computer department but at the time they seemed like rock stars to me. I cannot begin to estimate how many hours I spent in the rather dark and somewhat damp basement space of the store where the OSI equipment and accessories were tucked away. To get mods added to the machine (RS-232, etc) I would regularly schlepp my heavy, C1PMF in its giant box from my apartment on 96th street down to Polk's on 32nd street and 5th avenue, riding the M4 bus all the way -- with passengers staring and wondering what in the world was in the blue and white box labeled OSI that sat on (crushing) my lap.

I treasure those memories and experiences. Learning to program (write Basic code) on the C1P, to tackle problems using Boolean logic\code, implement bubble-sort routines and grasp the power of DIM statements helped me to evolve from an average student to a motivated student. By the time I entered college as an engineering student and had to confront my first FORTRAN course, I was more than ready for the challenge. Converting decimal to hexadecimal or octal or binary was no problem. I learned how to do all those things on my C1PMF.

My two magnum opuses on the C1PMF were two complex programs both written in Basic:

1) a rendition of the popular Atari Lunar Lander game that could be found in arcades all over during the late 1970's and early 1980's. I wrote a version in under 8K that presented players with a continuous, mountainous lunar landscape with a lander that could pivot through the 0', 90', 180' and 270', with variable thrust and a gravity coefficient. It was the most efficient code I ever wrote, full of peeks and pokes and USR(x)'s. Of course, no sound.... But so what?

2) a first-of-its-kind scoring and seeding program for fencing competitions (my father and brother were Olympic-level sabre fencers). The program followed all the conventions of the Amateur Fencers League of America rulebook. In real-time, at a competition, scores would be entered for individual competitions and placements\seeds would be dynamically updated and printed on site. The software was used once -- in parallel with the old, manual process of the time -- successfully.

Not long after I completed the fencing program, OSI announced that it was calling it quits and I was heart-broken. I remember going to the last OSI user group meeting I would ever attend, in NYC just south of Madison Square (the Madison Square, not Madison Square Garden) around 20th street near Park Avenue. There were maybe 20 of us then and I really wanted to cry. I couldn't understand how something so cool could just stop. 30+ years later and as chief information officer for a college in the US, I understand now how and why that happens.

My next leap was to the Sinclair QL -- which I still have and has been modified over time to work with the HcX SD disk emulator, a 68020 and 4MB of RAM. But enough about the QL.

I want to bring my C1PMF back to life. It hasn't weather the years well and somehow I have lost all of the floppies. I still have the cassette on which I stored the Lunar Lander program and recently loaded into WinOSI where it performed wonderfully -- with one or two very minor glitches rendering the surface features of the moon. I would love to make it available to anyone who wants to try it and would appreciate guidance on how best to do that.

The fencing program is my own special memory -- now eclipsed by much more sophisticated and capable competition management software.

My two greatest challenges at this point: (1) getting the C1PMF to power back up and show the old D\M\C\W or whatever it was. Once I get there, and I will, I need floppies with OS65Dv3.x I've seen some explanations of how to recreate the floppies by loading code through a serial port. And I see that an image is available on Dave's amazing web repository. Both approaches exceed my understanding and skill and I'm hoping there might be someone on this forum who how can provide an actual 5.25" boot disk or who can indicate in layperson's terms how to write the disk image to an actual floppy from WinOSI.

Looking forward to being part of the OSI community again.

Tom Blum
C4PDF w. 24K, 2 x 5.25 MPI B-51 drives
C1P RevB with fully-populated 610 board and A-13. Klyball D-13.
Spares: 600 Rev.D, 610 board, 540A, A-13 with homebuilt data separator, MPI B-51 logic board (w/o data sep module) and mechanicals

MK14HAK
Posts: 343
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:49 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by MK14HAK » Mon Mar 09, 2015 3:14 am

Welcome Tom.
Probably easiest if you send a floppy to someone from the first home of OSI and get a bootable returned floppy. Keep us posted on getting your C1 booting.
600RevB:16K,2MHz,64x32,470,CEGMON
SuperKit:502,540B,542B,CEGMON, 8" and 5" FDDs
Cards:PE IO,6522 D-A-D, AY3-8910,ProgramGraphics,Color,UK101
WIP:HexDOS,FDD Emulator

nama
Posts: 299
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:44 am
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by nama » Mon Mar 09, 2015 8:55 am

Hi Tom,
Did you save your Lunar lander program as a .wav file?
How did you load it into WinOSI?

Cheers

Phil

2P (1mhz 32k) - 502 + 8k + CEGMON + garbage collector fix BASIC, D&N MEM-CM9 + 24k, 540 (mono), D13 + Gotek
4PMF (2mhz 24k) - 505, 540, 527, D13 + 5.25" + Gotek
Superboard RevD - CEGMON
Spares - 2 x 527, 1 x 527 [600, 610, D13 boards]

lowrybt1
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:42 pm

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by lowrybt1 » Mon Mar 09, 2015 6:34 pm

Hi Phil,

I have it as .wav file and in TXT (.BAS) format. Regards, Tom
C4PDF w. 24K, 2 x 5.25 MPI B-51 drives
C1P RevB with fully-populated 610 board and A-13. Klyball D-13.
Spares: 600 Rev.D, 610 board, 540A, A-13 with homebuilt data separator, MPI B-51 logic board (w/o data sep module) and mechanicals

nama
Posts: 299
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:44 am
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by nama » Tue Mar 10, 2015 7:08 am

Would love to try it out.
I'll PM you.

Phil

2P (1mhz 32k) - 502 + 8k + CEGMON + garbage collector fix BASIC, D&N MEM-CM9 + 24k, 540 (mono), D13 + Gotek
4PMF (2mhz 24k) - 505, 540, 527, D13 + 5.25" + Gotek
Superboard RevD - CEGMON
Spares - 2 x 527, 1 x 527 [600, 610, D13 boards]

dave
Site Admin
Posts: 560
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:24 am

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by dave » Tue Mar 10, 2015 3:14 pm

Hi Tom,

Welcome! Great story.

If you are agreeable, I'd love to host a copy of your lunar lander program on the site. The software section has been much neglected, but I think that 2015 is the year it will become a meaningful resource.

Please, consider posting your repair efforts in a thread here on the forum. Even if you don't need help, your progress can be a useful reference, or inspiration, for other doing repairs in the future. And if you find yourself in a tight spot, you may well get some help.

I will be happy to get you set up with a boot disk. PM or email me.

Dave

nama
Posts: 299
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:44 am
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by nama » Fri Mar 13, 2015 8:52 am

I think your lander game has the potential to be a lot of fun.
It's certainly fast enough, but I feel it suffers from not having 45 degree (diagonal) positional control for the lander. Having only 90 degrees makes it extremely challenging. After 20 mins of playing I still hadn't managed to land, and I was really wishing I had more control over the ship. How difficult would this be to add?
OSI_LANDER.jpg
LEM2-goodscrnclear
OSI_LANDER.jpg (42.28 KiB) Viewed 7530 times
Phil

2P (1mhz 32k) - 502 + 8k + CEGMON + garbage collector fix BASIC, D&N MEM-CM9 + 24k, 540 (mono), D13 + Gotek
4PMF (2mhz 24k) - 505, 540, 527, D13 + 5.25" + Gotek
Superboard RevD - CEGMON
Spares - 2 x 527, 1 x 527 [600, 610, D13 boards]

nama
Posts: 299
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:44 am
Location: New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by nama » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:42 am

Was thinking the 45 degree graphics could be something like this...
lander45.jpg
lander45.jpg (14.36 KiB) Viewed 7487 times
grid.jpg
grid.jpg (23.81 KiB) Viewed 7487 times
Not perfect, but as you are probably aware, 45 degree graphics are tricky.

Phil

2P (1mhz 32k) - 502 + 8k + CEGMON + garbage collector fix BASIC, D&N MEM-CM9 + 24k, 540 (mono), D13 + Gotek
4PMF (2mhz 24k) - 505, 540, 527, D13 + 5.25" + Gotek
Superboard RevD - CEGMON
Spares - 2 x 527, 1 x 527 [600, 610, D13 boards]

lowrybt1
Posts: 135
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:42 pm

Re: Lunar Lander

Post by lowrybt1 » Mon Mar 16, 2015 8:36 pm

Phil,

I completely agree that a 45-degree approach attitude would enhance the player experience. As for landing the thing as currently designed, 20-minutes without success seems too long. By any chance is your board running at 2Mhz. Also, I can't remember if I incorporated a 4th thrust setting (the 4 key). Give that a try. If I did build it in, it should buy you additional time to manage horizontal and vertical momentum. The key to successful landing is to have a horizontal momentum coefficient of zero and a vertical momentum coefficient between 0 and -2 (downward).

An alternative to the 45-degree graphic and all the attendant peeking\poking might be an additional 45-degree thrust setting (maybe the slash key) that is available only when the lander is in a leg-down position. No need then to change the craft's attitude; would only have to poll the keyboard, decrement the momentum levels accordingly, and let the craft drift accordingly. For some day when there is free time....

Tom
C4PDF w. 24K, 2 x 5.25 MPI B-51 drives
C1P RevB with fully-populated 610 board and A-13. Klyball D-13.
Spares: 600 Rev.D, 610 board, 540A, A-13 with homebuilt data separator, MPI B-51 logic board (w/o data sep module) and mechanicals

dave
Site Admin
Posts: 560
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 5:24 am

Re: Does anyone remember Polk Hobby?

Post by dave » Mon Mar 16, 2015 9:35 pm

Tom,

That looks really nice. Any chance of your posting it here, or send me a copy? With your permission, I'd like to host it on the software page.

Thanks,

Dave

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