The Habitat Hackathon


hab1Greetings! You are reading this page because someone thought you’d be a smart and useful person to add to our Habitat Hackathon. Unlike most Hackathons, where the purpose is to create something new and original, this Hackathon will focus on resurrection of the old. Specifically, Resurrection of Habitat, this original MMO for Commodore 64 from 1986.

This is an incredibly complex project, but the hope is to gather all of these giant, pulsating brains into one room, Sunday, September 28th, in the hopes of getting the game’s server running online, and accessible via the Internet using a Commodore 64 emulator. The event will likely begin around 10 AM and run until we’re successful, or 10 PM arrives, whichever comes first. The Hackathon will be catered, and we’ll be bringing beverages as well, so the event will also be a great time to get together with old friends from the Lucas, VOS, C64 and PL/1 communities.

The Hackathon will take place at the MADE in Oakland, at 610 16th St. Suite 230, Oakland, CA 94606. The MADE is 3 blocks from BART, and 3 blocks from the freeway, so it is easily accessible.

The stack we will be dealing with for Habitat will be quite complex. Here’s what we need:

  • A Stratus VOS server from 1989 (en route already)
  • A PC that can act as a bridge between the VOS server and the Internet, likely by translating x.25 through RS-232 into TCP through Ethernet, or something similar. (task needs an owner)
  • A horde of C64 users with emulators out on the Internet (#c64friends on Newnet)
  • PL/1 compilation, and some PL/1 users (still needed)
  • A local installation of QLink Reloaded, plus modification of QLink (WE NEED OLD QLINK FOLKS. GET US STEVE CASE!)
  • Pizza and Beer (Compliments of Kixeye)
  • Some wizards from the days when computer scientists roamed the earth (A few already coming, could always use more)
  • A terminal emulator for the VOS server. This is most likely just a Linux machine
  • On-site C64 experts (We have one committed, but could use more)

The MADE has computers to be used for the supplemental compute, but they will have to be installed with OS on site. This means we need a few modern Linux geeks to help us out.

This event is invite only, and not open to the public. However, while this is going on, the MADE will be open and visitors will be coming in. For this reason, you are welcome to bring your friends, family and kids to this event. They’re welcome to play games all day while you work on the project. You’re welcome to play games too, of course, but we’ll only have one day when everyone shows, so we hope to get this standing and working on the day of the event.

Post Habitat resurrection, we’ll still need people to help keep the server running until it dies. We hope it will never die, but 25 year old 68000 VOS hardware isn’t exactly easy to get parts for, so we’re hoping to begin porting the server code into C under Linux as soon as the Hackathon finishes. This secondary work, however, will take a very long time and require some very dedicated individuals. We will discuss this aspect of the project during the Hackathon.

So please, feel free to spread this invite around to people you feel are qualified to help us out.


Similar posts
  • Habitat is now Open Source! In 1986, LucasFilm Games and Quantum Link launched an original game world known as Habitat. It was unlike anything available for the Commodore 64 at the time, and it required its owners to be online with a modem-based dial-in service that billed by the hour. Qlink, as it was known, would go on to be [...]
  • Habitat Tech Transfer Docs (August, 1988) One of our founders,¬†Alex Handy, recently got his hands on a habitat “Tech Transfer” document from 1988. It’s a fascinating read on the technical challenges and architecture of Habitat, the C64 proto-MMO that The MADE is restoring¬†and bringing back online. I’ve included a download link and embedded the document below. So what is this? It’s [...]
  • Here Comes Habitat The MADE, a few months ago, quietly began working on reviving the game Habitat for preservation. The period we have thus far completed has mostly been focused on gathering human resources, hardware resources, and assessing the extent to which we can preserve the first Massively Multiplayer game. At this point, we are ready to announce [...]

Open Hours:
Weekends, 12PM-6PM
Gen. Adm: $5, Memberships Available