About IntyOS
 Online Demo

 1. What the heck is an Intellivision?
The Intellivision videogaming platform was released by Mattel Electronics in the early 80's and was a popular and powerful system at the time.

Roughly, an Intellivision includes:
  • a General Instruments CP-1610 processor running at 895 KHz (yes kids: that's "KHz")
  • a 'Standard Television Interface Chip' (STIC) with a resolution of 160x96 in 16 colors + up to 8 'Moving OBjects' (MOBS)
  • a sound chip handling 3 channels + a noise generator
  • some built-in ROMs
  • 240 bytes + 80 words of RAM (!)
  • 2 hand-controllers (with a keypad, a disc and 4 side buttons)
You may have a look on the intellivisionlives website for more information about it, if you're curious. This site is maintained by former Intellivision programmers (known as the 'Blue Sky Rangers').

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 2. Is there a built-in operating system in the Intellivision?
Well... There's indeed a built-in ROM known as the 'Executive' or the 'Exec'. After a system reset the Exec will look for a game to run and display the standard title screen. It also includes a default interrupt handler and a set of common subroutines such as a random number generator, scoring routines, frequently used sound effects, etc.

I guess that could be called an 'operating system'.

At any rate, IntyOS is not built on top of the Exec. It's completely independant of it (except for the 'Reset' and 'Interrupt' vectors which can't be modified by software).

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 3. What is this "IntyOS" useful for?
There are in fact two different answers to this question.

1. If you're a die-hard fan of the Intellivision, then I'm sure you'll find that pretty cool to have a rather evoluted multitasked OS with a desktop on your Inty! And hopefully different additional tools and programs will soon be developed!

2. If you never happened to have an Intellivision or don't even know what it's like, then ... ok: I'm not sure you'll find it useful :-) But you may still see it as a somewhat interesting technical experience... maybe.

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 4. Is it possible to run IntyOS on an actual Intellivision?
Sure! That's actually the best option.

To do that, you'll need to upload IntyOS to your Intellivision using an Intellicart. This great piece of hardware was produced by Chad Schell of Schell's Electronics. Unfortunately, it's not under production anymore (at least for now). We're all anxious to see an 'Intellicart II' coming up someday.

Details of the upload process are explained in the user documentation.

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 5. Is it possible to run IntyOS on an Intellivision emulator?
Yes. See Intellivision emulators in the downloads area and the user documentation for more information.

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 6. I'd like to write programs that can be run under IntyOS! Can I do that?
Coolness! Yes you can.

First of all, you'll have to learn the CP-1600 assembly language and play a bit with it. Go here to get Joe Zbiciak's SDK. It includes a detailed documentation, all required tools and a bunch of examples. Believe me: even if you're not familiar with low-level programming languages, it should +NOT+ be an impossible task. Don't hesitate to ask questions in the IntvProg discussion list. We'll help you!

When you're ok, go straight to the programmer documentation to learn the specificities and API functions of IntyOS.

Have fun!

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 7. Why is it not possible to run Windows, instead?
Hmmm... you're kidding, aren't you?


Today's versions of Windows need between 32 and 64 Mb simply to load, start and do nothing. That's 1000 times the whole memory range of an Intellivision or more than 150,000 times the size of its built-in RAM. Furthermore, I guess it should take approximately 24 hours to start Windows with a 895 KHz processor :-)

Well. That's the way things have gone. Today's hardware is terribly fast and powerful but in the same time softwares keeps getting heavier and slower.

So, the IntyOS project can be seen as an attempt to demonstrate that it is possible to build a small 'Windows' on an obsolete system in less than 8Kb of pure assembly language, and make it run as fast as possible.

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 8. Does that mean they finally released the Keyboard?
Question seen on Slashdot - Score:5, Funny

Indeed! They were actually waiting for us to release IntyOS. Sorry about this little delay. :-)
Learn more about the "Blue Whale" here.

More seriously, IntyOS works on any unexpanded Intellivision or clone, user inputs being done on the handcontrollers. You do need an Intellicart, though.

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 9. Is IntyOS compatible with the ECS?
Not yet. But that's on the TODO list.
Learn more about the "Entertainment Computer System" here.

At any rate, future versions of IntyOS will remain fully compatible with a Master Component deprived of any extension.

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