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[Rant] Origin of the Boing BallANN.lu
Posted on 15-Oct-2004 23:13 GMT by Darth_X7 comments
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Did you know that the boing ball pre-dates the Amiga? From the book "Home Computer Wars" by Michael S. Tomczyk, here is a quote:

"Working against incredible deadlines, and under strong political pressures, Yannes spent a marathon week of all-night engineering sessions to put together a computer we could show at CES. The result was nicer-looking than most people expected, especially considering it was a Frankenstein monster thrown together from old spare parts and obsolete products that Yannes literally cut apart and put together in a different form.

The No-Name Computer (alias MicroPET) was a very simple system, assembled by hand and stuffed in an old Commodore desk-top calculator housing. The housing was two-tone plastic, cream-colored and black, and was shockingly compact: about five inches by nine inches, and about three inches thick. For a keyboard, the engineers used the cramped red-and-blue square metallic keys from the original PET computer. The keys were all squeezed together, even closer than the keys on a typical pocket calculator. Teachers liked the old PET keyboard because it was easy for children to use, although touch-typists hated it because there was no spacing between the keys. In any event, it was only a prototype.

At the heart of Yannes'prototype were MOS Technology's 6502 microprocessor and the Video Interface Chip (VIC). Although this was the first time the chip was used in a functioning computer, the VIC had been demonstrated in public before, way back in 1978. The original VIC chip was shown at the 1978 Consumer Electronics Show, with the intention of attracting a manufacturer who wanted to use it in a videogame or similar device. To show what it could do the chip was programmed to bounce a colored ball around TV screen. But no manufacturer wanted to use it. Now, two years later, the VIC chip resurfaced, this time not as a chip but as a computer. Jack's attitude was clear. If nobody wants to use the chip, we'll use it ourselves.

Origin of the Boing Ball : Comment 1 of 7ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous (194.86.94.42) on 16-Oct-2004 08:28 GMT
If I remember right the real boing ball as we know it was first used much before Commodore bought Amiga, when Amiga prototype was still called Lorraine.

Ofcourse it's possible it's as old as you say, but was it really that same ball we know or just coloured ball ?
Origin of the Boing Ball : Comment 2 of 7ANN.lu
Posted by Gareth Knight (81.174.201.167) on 16-Oct-2004 19:57 GMT
In reply to Comment 1 (Anonymous):
Though only semi-related, Atari also used the red & white checkered ball in a commercial for the Atari ST during the late 1980s.
Origin of the Boing Ball : Comment 3 of 7ANN.lu
Posted by Anonymous (213.204.156.166) on 16-Oct-2004 20:52 GMT
In reply to Comment 2 (Gareth Knight):
AtariOne Rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Origin of the Boing Ball : Comment 4 of 7ANN.lu
Posted by Darth_X (Registered user) on 16-Oct-2004 22:11 GMT
I should have re-read what I typed before clicking on post. The reference should have been to point out the similarities between the VIC chip bouncing ball DEMO at CES 1978, and the Lorraine (amiga) bouncing ball DEMO at CES 1984, not whether the ball in each case was coloured or checkered. ;)
Origin of the Boing Ball : Comment 5 of 7ANN.lu
Posted by Tronman (69.29.198.228) on 17-Oct-2004 15:47 GMT
Wow! You mean there is actually a computer history book that devotes more than the line 'oh yeah, besides Apple and PC there were Atari and Commodore.' and the other 300 pages are about Apple and PC..?! Coool!

That was one major disappointment I had with that 'Revenge of the Geeks' TeeVee show done by the Apple guy. He did this whole two hour show on PBS about the early days, and he didn't even MENTION C= the company that drastically outsold his beloved AppleII, let alone Atari or anyone else. Mattell Aquarius.. Totally snubbed!!
Origin of the Boing Ball : Comment 6 of 7ANN.lu
Posted by Neko (Registered user) on 18-Oct-2004 20:03 GMT
Hardly surprising.

A bouncing ball is hard to show animating when it's smooth.

To show off the easiest thing is to make it chequered. To show colour, you pick
the brightest non-sickening colour you can think of. You spin the ball and
bounce it against another checkered background.. et voila. Viable tech demo.

The ubiquitous "teapot" is used in 3D modelling now for the same reasons; it
show curved surfaces, hidden surfaces, double sided surfaces, concave
sections, all kinds of crap.

The "cow" is the testbed for NURBS.

Every tech that is to do with graphics has a quick and easy demonstration
of it, the boing ball is the 2D sprites contribution..

Neko
Origin of the Boing Ball : Comment 7 of 7ANN.lu
Posted by Lou (141.155.37.8) on 18-Oct-2004 21:30 GMT
The bouncing ball demo was provided with the RAM expansion module that Commodore made for the C128. It may have been the same referred to for the MicroPet.
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