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Porting ZGRASS... anywhere


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1 hour ago, ubersaurus said:

[Tom Defanti] sold his Wisconsin house last November and junked everything. His copies of RT1, GRASS and the paper copy of the ZGRASS source are gone.


Ugh.  That gave me a sinking feeling.  It's a weird quirk of human nature to trash our own personal history so easily.  Why is that something that so many people do when "cleaning house?"  In a way I do get it, as Tom seemed reluctant to get the source code out there since it's under copyright.  Still... it's such a shame.

Now we really have to get the ROM dumped from a ZGRASS unit or UV/1.  It's especially important now that we know that J. Fenton's version of ZGRASS was not even close to the latest version used in the UV/1 system.  That's explained in Kevin's interview with Tom:


I wonder what else was lost in in Tom's collection; I suppose that we'll never know.


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  • 1 year later...

Kevin does have some exciting news concerning the add-under for the Bally Arcade/Astrocade; it may be some time before he can post it here.  In the meantime...


Today, I added twelve screenshots created using the Z-GRASS language and Datamax's UV-1R computer.  Ten of the pictures were created by Copper Giloth and Jane Veeder.  Two of the pictures are uncredited.


These screenshots were clipped and cropped from two different Datamax UV-1R computer flyers from the early 1980s (probably around 1983).  Since the pictures on the flyers are so small (only about 2 1/4" x 1 3/4"), they were scanned at 600dpi and saved in PNG format to preserve as much detail as possible.  My website isn't exactly fast, so viewing the pictures may take a few moments.


1) Six screenshots from Datamax UV-1R Zgrass Computer Flyer:




2) Six screenshots from Datamax UV-1R Zgrass Graphics Flyer:




If you look carefully at the pictures, then you'll see that I'm not the only person who has issues with "ghosting" of my Astrocade pictures.  Some of these screenshots have "ghosting" too.  In particular, you can see it in this one called "Datamax:"




In the next week or two, I'm going to try to add more screenshots to this page from the UV-1 paper folder here:




I've rescanned the folder in at 1200dpi.  I'll clip and crop the images down to 600dpi to try to preserve the detail when I add them to the UV-1 Screenshots area.  There still isn't a way to run Z-GRASS.  And until there is a way to create new images using the language and the UV-1 (if that's ever going to be possible; who knows!), then this is the best we can do for now.



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I added 39 screenshots to BallyAlley that were created using the Z-GRASS language and Datamax's UV-1R computer.  These are from the Datamax UV-1 Folder that I've nicknamed "Datamax Presents Living Art."  Here is a link to the part of the UV-1 screenshot area which includes the 39 screenshots from the UV-1 folder:




I scanned my own folder at 1200dpi and then cropped the screenshots to 600DPI.  If a UV-1 computer system never gets found, then these may be the only glimmer into what sort of pictures can be created in hi-res mode using the UV-1 computer.


The UV-1 folder can be viewed here on BallyAlley.com (these scans were done many years ago; the resolution is quite low):




This same folder can be viewed on Archive.org.  It's part of the "Ted Nelson's Junk Mail Cartons" archive.  In these scans, you'll see the UV-1 paperwork that was included with the folder:




I especially like the group of four pictures that focus on the Columbia space shuttle.  I think the one I've called "Columbia - 'Touchdown'" makes the best use of high-res mode and scrupulous use of the four available colors.




Does anyone else have any favorite pictures that were created on the UV-1?





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  • 2 years later...

Hello Folks, 

Larry Cuba here. It's been a few years since the last post. Anyone still listening?

I still have my UV-1 system. Photo attached. I spent 3 years working on it to produce my film, Calculated Movements (1985).

For bringing up a new system of ZGrass, your best bet is to locate a copy of RT/1.  It's written in C and runs under DOS. So if you can put together a PC with a Targa graphics

board, you'd have a chance. That should be easier to find than a working UV-1. 

If you have an original Mac from 1984, it should run the Mac version of RT/1. Dan Sadowski wrote that version and might still have the code or an executable. 

Someone mentioned Steven Heminover.  I'd definitely track him down. He spent years with DeFant's original Vector General graphics display, restoring it and getting GRASS to run.

He has an actual working GRASS system in his lab in Chicago.  He might have a lead on the DOS RT/1 software. Dunno.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Good Luck,


system only 012 adjusted.jpg

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On 8/31/2023 at 1:22 PM, Larry.Cuba said:

Larry Cuba here. [...] I still have my UV-1 system. Photo attached. I spent 3 years working on it to produce my film, Calculated Movements (1985).


Thanks for the picture, Larry.  I'll respond to this post when I have a bit more time, as I'm catching up from being out of town, otherwise I would have responded sooner.  In the meantime, anyone can watch Larry's "Calculated Movements" film on YouTube, here:



There is a bit more about Larry, here:




If you search my Bally Alley website, then you'll find plenty of other information about Larry and others involved with ZGRASS, here:




I have some questions for you Larry and I'll post them over the next few days.



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