Tag Archives: ansi

Birthday screens using GIF -> ANSI converters

Earlier this year I set up my very own Synchronet BBS. I had been a cosysop for many years as a kid, but I never had my own BBS on my own hardware.

My little BBS is a private one for me and my kids. My oldest daughter uses it the most.

As we got deeper into summer, I thought it would be fun to make some special ANSI birthday screens for my daughters to see when they logged in.

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Telnet to a BBS using a PC terminal program within the DOSBox emulator

Login screen for Digital Distortion BBS as seen in Telemate under DOSBox.

Login screen for Digital Distortion BBS as seen in Telemate under DOSBox.

A few months ago I wrote about my experiences trying to telnet in to Atari BBSes using an emulated Atari on my Mac.

Basically the solution boiled down to this: Use tcpser4j to change a telnet connection to a serial connection, use socat to pipe that serial connection to a file, and set the Hatari emulator to use that file as a virtual RS232 device. After those steps, I could run my favorite old Atari ST terminal programs like ANSIterm and Freeze Dried Terminal.

Recently I decided I wanted to do the same thing with a DOS emulator like DOSBox — but for different reasons.

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Video: “The Joy of ASCII with Bob Ross”

This awesome new YouTube parody is like nostalgia squared. It imagines the late painter Bob Ross … if he had been an ANSI artist instead (though the video calls it “ASCII” art).

If that whetted your appetite for more ANSI, then check out 8BitMUSH, an intruigingly retro virtual world.

Telnet to a BBS using a terminal program in the Hatari emulator

UPDATE (2020-09-03): In the years since I wrote this blog post, I have found some ways to improve this process. Please read my new tutorial on how to telnet to a BBS using a terminal inside the Hatari emulator.

When I was a kid calling BBSes, I used an Atari ST computer. But I seldom used the ST’s native terminal mode: VT-52.

The reason is simple. Atari’s VT-52 mode offered only 4 colors in medium resolution. PC clones, however had an 80×25 mode with 16 colors and special graphics characters. This was known as ANSI.

PC BBSes with their colorful ANSI graphics were dominant in the early to mid-1990s, while Atari BBSes were dying out. Since I was mostly calling PC boards in those days, I used a terminal program called “ANSIterm” which could display ANSI graphics on the Atari ST using special tricks.

I’ve been thinking about Space Empire Elite, one of the first BBS door games I ever played. SEE was written for Atari ST BBSes. It supported VT-52 as well as plain ASCII, but not ANSI. But I had never seen it in VT-52. How would it have looked? I was curious.

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