Posted By azog on July 30, 2012
It seems like I’m bouncing from project to project lately. Actually, this particular post is something that was done some time ago, wrote up, and put into limbo while I was waiting for other odds and ends to come together.
I was trying to find a SCSI CD-ROM for the Falcon, and while I prowled around eBay, I put this project aside and decided to work on some Commodore stuff. Now that those projects are in a holding pattern, the reverse is true. And of course, when something super exciting like the 64NIC+ came along, that trumped everything else.
With higher compatibility than the TT, the Falcon was a no-brainer upgrade from the ST. I think Atari might have realized any potential Falcon buyer would be upgrading from an ST, and therefore might have an investment in Atari hardware; in this case, the monitors. The proprietary video port on the back of the Falcon allows you to plug in one of (at least) two adapters.
The one on the left is for VGA monitors, while the one on the right is for either a color (SC1224) or monochrome (SM124) monitor.
We tend to call anything with an HD15 video port “VGA”, but in the most fundamental definition, VGA simply means a resolution of 640 by 480, which is the base resolution of the Falcon in VGA mode. But even by the time the Falcon was released in 1992, basic VGA was pretty lame, as better resolutions had already been available for a couple of years.
To offset this limitation, there were several video enhancers. The one I originally had was called the ScreenBlaster.
It’s an odd contraption. The big adapter plugs into the back of the Falcon, and then you attach the VGA adapter to that. The ribbon cable goes around the side of the machine to one of the enhanced joystick ports. These joystick ports were basically analog-to-digital converters (ADC). Of course, you’d lose the joystick functionality, but there are two ports anyways.
When you attach this whole conglomeration to the Falcon, it gets kind of ugly…
Install the software, and then when you reboot, you have a choice of various screen modes.
I think these modes are just stored in an INF file, so you could edit to suit your own video display. These were the days of CRT monitors. LCDs and so on weren’t common for home use, so some of the resolutions and scanrates may look interesting.