Computer Graphics’ Archaeology: the HP 9845C Demo

The Hp 9845C , introduced in 1981, was the top-of-the-line model of the 9845 series, it was the very first HP computer supporting color and it was capable of tremendous computer graphics.

It offered hardware accelerated vector drawing and polygon fill features, and  supported fast matrix operations for rendering 3D models. It was intended for use in scientific and engineering environments, but it was really a multipurpose system. It was even used for the graphic scenes of John Badhams “War Games” in 1983.



The demo programmed to show the computer graphics performance was remarkable: its Basic program required two two full tapes as distribution media and the main program alone consisted of more than 4000 lines. It demonstrated the computer’s high resolution graphics with up to to 4,913 colors and implemented many state-of-the-art concepts in computer graphics and human interaction, such as 3D shading, ordered dithering, wireframe rendering, interactive light pen control and color infographics.

Here’s some screen grabs. You can see an original video from “Sonda”, a Polish Television Show in 1980 (Part One, Part Two, Part Three).

Informations and images via: The Hp 9845 Project.

Related: “Despite its horrible name” (a post with early graphics imagery generated through Autocad)

























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