Shark demo (1994) running on a SGI O2 workstation

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This is one of the demos that were used by Silicon Graphics and Nintendo to show the graphics features of their upcoming game console (Project Reality / Ultra 64 / Nintendo 64) during CES in 1994.

SGI used an Onyx supercomputer to run the demo. I recorded it in 1024×768 (true-color) on a much less powerful SGI O2 workstation (released in 1996). O2 is based on a graphics architecture similar to what was actually used in Nintendo 64. It was a perfect fit for an inexpensive highly-integrated computer as well as a game console.

I would rather use a different SGI computer (Octane2 was my first choice), but O2 was the only machine that was compatible with my cheap VGA-to-HDMI converter.

Prototyping With a Vintage Plotter From 1987

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David (the hardware guy on my blog) made this cool modification. He used the Aritma Minigraf 0507 plotter manufactured in socialist Czechoslovakia to draw an etch-mask directly onto a PCB. He added an ARM-based interface and created the software that can generate vectors out of hi-res images of boards.

Check the video description for more information (including source files to download).

Btw the new version he is currently working on has a laser instead of the pen.

One day at Hewlett Packard in 1991

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After many years, I decided to share this video because of its historical value. I’ve realized that it wouldn’t find its way to the Internet if I didn’t upload it by myself. The video shows an on-site technician team from Germany doing its job – fixing minicomputers and terminals in large industrial buildings. I would like to experience the atmosphere of the good old HP.

3D modeling in 1988

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Long time ago (before I went to college and then got a job) I played a lot with 3D modeling software on PC. My favorite one was LightWave3D. Recently I tried its very beginning – there is something called VideoScape 3D which is kind of predecessor. In the package there is a small program Designer3D which (unlike other 1988 modelers for home micros) allows to make a 3D model using graphical interface instead of text commands.

You can see in the video how creepy the interface was. There are three viewports that cannot be resized or zoomed. I’ve modelled a simple “space ship” with only 20 polygons and it took me an hour to do this.

However, I see very interesting that there is a 10-page manual program that can describe all functions of the program so even somebody who never did anything in 3D can understand it. This is not so easy with today’s 3D modelers.