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Spectrum 512

Spectrum 512
Spectrum 512

SystemAtari ST
Floppy (3.5")1

Antic Software

Atari ST

Release Date: 1/1/1987
Manufacturer: Antic Software
Donated By: Ted Starr
Spectrum 512 was a computer paint program by Boris Tsikanovsky that enabled the creation of images with more than 16 simultaneous colors. Boris accomplished this by using a special display algorithm that dynamically reassigned the color palette three times per scan line for a total of 48 unique colors (out of 512) per scan line. Unispec—which was not published by Antic—was basically a second-generation Spectrum 512 that added more sophisticated features, including the ability to do page-flipping animation.

Boris immigrated to the United States in 1979 from the Soviet Union. In college, he studied physics and applied mathematics. Boris began programming in 1985 on the Timex/Sinclair 1000 for fun, and took an interest in graphics. Boris explains:

You had to pull pretty ingenious tricks to get any meaningful graphics out of the Timex/Sinclair. Basically, you had to play with fragments of the 8x8 bitmaps representing text characters to produce lines, curves, etc. Very convoluted. Nothing as straightforward as simply being able to set a given pixel to black.

Boris found gratification in discovering unconventional ways to get a computer (the Timex in this case) to do something well that it wasn't originally intended to do (make pictures). When Boris got an Atari ST in 1986, his first major project was to break down the computer’s 16-color limitation.

Spectrum 512 Floppy (3.5")
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