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Any BBS programs for the VIC-20?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, I wrote VIC-Net for the VIC-20 back in 83. Took about half a year to write. When I started working on it I was still using a tape drive as I didn't have a floppy drive. I got that for Xmas and went live in January after the dedicated phone line was installed. I had:

  • one 1541 floppy drive
  • Cartridge Port Expander (CPE)
  • 3K RAM Cartridge
  • 24K RAM Cartridge
  • Automodem (1650)
  • 12" B&W TV
I posted photos of the 24K and CPE here. The CPE let me plug in the 3K and 24K cartridges at the same time.


Due to how the VIC's memory map was laid out, and the fact that its video chip could only access the built in 5K of RAM, the 3K ended up ignored by BASIC if an 8K or larger RAM cartridge was also plugged in. I stored my machine language I/O interceptor routine in the 3K.


The BBS was written in BASIC and just did standard PRINT to the screen and INPUT from the keyboard. The interceptor routine would take anything PRINT and also send a copy of the character out the modem (converting for ASCII callers if required). Any modem input (converted to PETSCII if required) would appear to the BBS as though it were keyboard input.


What was odd was people wouldn't believe that I had the BBS running on the VIC, "but it's just a toy computer" was a typical response. Another common response was "but the screen is only 22x23" - apparently they didn't comprehend that the screen size of the BBS's computer was irrelevant to the data being transmitted over the modem. I'd offer to let them come over and see it, but nobody took me up on it.


Later I ported the software to the C=64, and finally the C=128. I maintained both 64-Net and 128-Net and added features like real-time music, joystick control, redefinable character sets, etc. I wrote up a blog post about that, it includes a video of the BBS in action.


One of the last things I ever did with the software was to add ANSI support to 128-Net. This let callers on the "new" computers (Amigas, PCs, etc.) see the different colors and a subset of PETSCII graphics.


I'd started working on BBS software for the Amiga when I got access to the internet at UH. That was before web browsers - we used email, usenet for discussions, FTP sites for files (NASA had a huge repository of Amiga software), Gopher (kinda like a web browser). To find things we'd use the search engines Archie (FTP), Veronica (gopher) and Jughead(gopher).

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  • 10 months later...

SpiceWare, I've very interested in your BBS software for the Vic20. I recently wrote a terminal program for the Vic20 and would also love to host a BBS on a Vic20. I currently run Centronian BBS on a C64, but its older brother also needs some love :) Do you still have the VIC-NET code, and would you be willing to share it? Would be pretty sweet to have a Vic20 BBS online again in 2016!

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That sounds awesome. VIC-20 was my first machine would love to see some BBS action running on it. Could never afford any connectivity back in the day when I had it. Had to get a part time job stacking shelves just to buy Jelly Monsters and other cartridge classics.

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