Original Tetris "Hybrid" Howto: Simh emulated PDP11 + real hardware terminal
The purpose of this guide is to create a dedicated linux box that boots directly into a pdp11 emulator with tetris on it.
The system is set-up to provide access to the emulator via a physical DEC terminal.
A terminal supporting cyrillic characters (a VT510 or a VT520) is needed.
You need a fresh install of debian wheezy.
netinstall flavour is ok, since we will not need any graphics.
We've chosen to install the Debian OS on a usb pendrive.
Installing Debian on usb media goes on smoothly until the last step.
When it comes to grub2 installation, the installer fails miserably.
Just don't panic, there's an easy solution. Go on telling the installer to skip this step.
After the installation is completed, we will mount the USB drive on a working Linux system and install and configure grub manually, chrooting in the pendrive OS.
Assuming the pendrive is recognized as /dev/sdb we will proceed as follows, as root:
mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys; do mount -B $i /mnt/$i; done chroot /mnt grub-install /dev/sdb update-grub sed -i -e 's/(hd1,msdos1)/(hd0,msdos1)/g' /boot/grub/grub.cfg exit for i in /dev/pts /dev /proc /sys; do umount /mnt/$i ; done
Start the new debian system and install some required packages:
first of all, the simh emulator, as root:
aptitude install simh
then we will install a tool we will use later to "slow down" the emulator. We'll return to this later, now just do it
aptitude install cpulimit
Create a "pdp11" user
Login as pdp11 and download the rt11 disk images
wget http://astio.ciotoni.net/tetris/rl0.dsk wget http://astio.ciotoni.net/tetris/games.dsk
cat > rt11.ini <<__EOF set cpu 11/23+ 256K set rl0 writeenabled set rl0 rl02 attach rl0 rl0.dsk set rl0 badblock ; HERE COMES THE SOVIET GAMES DISK attach rl1 games.dsk set tto 8b boot rl0 quit __EOF
Here's where all the shit gets automated.
Setup the pdp11 user to launch the emulator automatically after login
echo "/usr/bin/pdp11 /home/pdp11/rt11.ini" >> /home/pdp11/.bashrc
Edit /etc/inittab to activate an automatic login on the serial line, as root:
echo "T0:23:respawn:/sbin/getty -a pdp11 -L ttyS0 9600 vt52" >> /etc/inittab init q
If you run Tetris now, you'll notice that the game plays at freakin' speed. This is because the pdp11 cpu is emulated by a processor that is waaay faster.
We know that simh natively supports cpu speed throttling, but we were unable to set it up correctly (or maybe the throttling support is just broken, who knows).
So we've found an "external" solution with cpulimit, a linux tool that is used to limit a process' CPU usage.
We've found that to get proper Tetris speed with our host processor (1Ghz PIII) we need to forbid the pdp11 process to use more than 5% of the CPU.
You'll probably need to adjust this value to suit your host hardware setup.
cat > /etc/rc.local <<__EOF #!/bin/sh -e cpulimit -e pdp11 -l 5 1>/dev/null 2>/dev/null & exit 0 __EOF
Last step is to setup the terminal to talk the VT52 Russian lingo.
Here's the settings of our VT510
- press F3 (setup)
select "Terminal type" -> "Emulation mode" -> "VT52"
select "Terminal type" -> "VT default char set" -> "DEC Cyrillic"
select "Keyboard" -> "VT Keyboard language" -> "Russian"
and of course you'll need to properly setup communication with the host. Here's our setup
select "Communications" -> "Word size" -> "8 bits"
select "Communications" -> "Parity" -> "None"
select "Communications" -> "Stop bits" -> "1 bit"
select "Communications" -> "Transmit speed" -> "9600 baud"
select "Communications" -> "Receive speed" -> "9600 baud"
select "Communications" -> "Transmit flow control" -> "XON/XOFF"
select "Communications" -> "Receive flow control" -> "XON/XOFF"
select "Communications" -> "Flow control threshold" -> "Low (64)"
select "Communications" -> "Transmit rate limit" -> "150 cps"
select "Communications" -> "Fkey rate limit" -> "150 cps"
select "Communications" -> "Ignore null character"
When you're done, it's convenient to save the terminal setup:
- select "Save settings"