When [Michael Gardi] completed its reduced replica of the DEC VT100 a few months ago, he made it clear that the project was only to look like a vintage terminal on the outside. A glance inside the case revealed nothing more exotic than a Raspberry Pi running its default operating system, making the terminal just as well suited for classic game emulation as it is for connection to a remote system. But as any hacker knows, some projects end up developing their own lives.
It started off quite simply. Adding an RS-232 Serial HAT to the Raspberry Pi meant that the 3D printed VT100 could actually function as a serial terminal using software such as
minicom. Then [Lars Brinkhoff] to be involved. He loved the look of the printed VT100 and thought it deserved better than a generic terminal emulator. So he went ahead and started developing a custom terminal. simulator for it to run.
The idea here is that an 8080 emulator is actually running original VT100 firmware ROM, warts and all. It emits all the beeps and beeps you’d expect from real hardware, and there’s even an OpenGL trick used to mimic an old CRT screen, with scan lines and a soft glow around the characters.
Naturally, visual effects consume a fair amount of processing power, so [Lars] warns that anything below the Pi 4 will likely experience slowdowns. Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from running the simulator on your desktop computer if you’re looking for that classic terminal experience.
Did this magnificent recreation of the VT100 have to have a true serial interface or a simulator that recreates the unique menu system of the original? Not at all. Even without these additions, it blew us away when [Michael] first sent. But are we glad these guys took the time to perfect this already stellar project? We think you already know the answer.