Tag Archives: hatari

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

A screenshot of ANSIterm running in the Hatari emulator.

I’ve written in the past about my adventures telnetting to BBSes from terminal programs running inside the Hatari emulator. I’ve made some changes in my process and I thought it would be good to explain everything, step-by-step. It’s not for the novice, but it is rewarding.

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Hatari, Lantronix, and CosmosEx: My quixotic quest to play “Thieves Guild”

Allow me introduce you to the “Thieves Guild Emulator,” a graphical front-end client for the Atari ST BBS game “Thieves Guild.”

(Update: I have replaced the original video I posted with a new version that includes the game’s sound effects, as well as some gory combat)

It took me a long time to reach the point where I could make that video. In this blog post, I’m going to explain that journey. I’ll also tell you a bit about the game itself. In fact, maybe that’s where I should begin.

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Emulation is time travel

Some say time travel is impossible. But they are wrong. You don’t need Doc Brown and a DeLorean; all you need is an emulator.

Lately I’ve been using DOSBox, an awesome cross-platform IBM PC emulator, to try some old BBS utilities from the 1990s.

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VT-52 demo: Beat Nick Part 2

Since I began telnetting into Atari ST BBSes again regularly, I’ve gotten interested in VT52, which was the Atari ST’s native terminal mode. The Atari supported 16 colors in low-resolution, and 4 colors in medium-resolution (80 cols).

If you know BBSes, you can think of it this way: VT-52 was to the Atari ST what ANSI was to the PC. Using VT52 codes in a text file, you could make colorful menus, animations, and sounds.

Anyway, a while back I came across this VT52 demo by Synergy from 1992.

I thought it would be fun to fire up the Hatari emulator and watch the demo. I captured the animation as a video so that you can see it, too:

Pretty impressive when you consider this is generated by just a text file.

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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