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(Update 24. May 2018)

Red Baron (Atari 1980)

[ Game Info | Pictures | Manuals/Datasheets | Repair/Restore | ROMs | Reproductions/Spares | Mixed Stuff ]

New: Pictures of the Cockpit (22. Nov. 2008)
Information missing: Any info about a Cabaret (Mini). Pls. contact me, if you can help.

Game Info

Overview - Red Baron was developed by Atari in 1980 and came out about one year after Battlezone. It is a b/w vector game and also the first first-person-perspective flight simulator. It features a single analog joystick housing a fire button. Goal is to shoot down enemy biplanes, blimps and ground targets during a WWI dogfight and survive the hostile fire..

From Original manual:
"Atari's Red Baron (TM) game is a one-player game with an X-Y or vector-generator monitor. The game depicts a first-person's view from a World War I biplane cockpit. The player's goal is to destroy as many biplanes, blimps, tanks, pillboxes, pyramids and buildings as possible." "Players can maneuver their airplanes with the joystick control. Moving the joystick in its four directions creates a sensation of diving, climbing, or banking to the left or right."
The name "Red Baron" is derived from the nickname of the german WW1 flying ace "Manfred von Richthofen" who's preferred plane was a red Fokker Triplane. Obviously the game's artwork is derived from that era too using the colors and the iron cross sign. The surrounding monitor bezel shows two machine guns with their fire aligning with the centre of the monitor. The Red Baron upright cabinet production units is in fact the same as a Battlezone and many Battlezone were converted into Red Barons in the factory with the Battlezone artwork still under the Red Baron artwork. A limited amount was also built in a Cockpit and a Cabaret (Mini) version (Cabaret to be confirmed). As opposed to the Battlezone monitor mount using a dual way mirror to mix a background picture with the monitor's, in the Red Baron the player looked directly into the vertically mounted 19" G05-802 Electrohome Monitor.

Cabinet Types
» Red Baron Upright - June 1981 - Production: 1,500 units - price $1,995  - measures/weight?
» Red Baron Sitdown (Cockpit) - May 1981 - Production: 504 units - price $2,795 - measures/weight?
» Battlezone Cabaret - does it exist?

The game consists of three PCB's, a Power Supply and the XY b/w Monitor..
1. The AVG PCB (Analog Vector Generator) has a 6502A CPU running at 1.5Mhz with 16k of ROM for the actual game. The ROM features extensive selftests for troubleshooting and alignment. The 6502 CPU is supported by a VSM (Vector State Machine) on the same AVG PCB. The VSM takes care of the vector graphics display by reading the graphics information, deposited by the 6502 CPU into the Vector RAM,  out of this shared memory. 2. For the more complex 3D computations an AUX (..iliary) PCB contains four 2901 bit slice processors forming a "MathBox CPU". Where the AVG PCB can easily be converted from Battlezone to Red Baron, the the AUX PCB can't as it is much differently. The third PCB is the AR2 PCB (Audio Regulator 2) which regulates the DC Voltages and amplifies the sound fron the AVG. Sound is generated by a POKEY chip with four independent voices for music and sound effects. The chip handled Input/Output lines as well and was an Atari development, also used in a variety of home computer systems from Atari. A new feature was the adaptive game difficulty depending on the average game playing time of the last 32 games. This was to avoid excessive game playing times of the skilled players and at the same time to enlarge the time for beginners. An onboard NVRAM (Non-Volatile Ram) stores game settings, three top scores and average game playing times.

G05-802 b/w vector monitor from Electrohome was originally used. Also the Wells Gardner 19V2000 can be installed.

Clones/Bootlegs - not known

Cited from the newsgroup: rec.games.video.arcade.collecting (Matty-T):
"There were a handful of proto's released in dedicated cabs. I had the opportunity to work on S# 13 I believe it was. The cabinet was significantly smaller. It has a few details different from the BZ conversion as well. The inset graphics behind the bezel were scaled down in comparison to the conversion kit. The bezel was as well IIRC.  The marquee may have been the same, and the control panel was definatly the same size, appearance, etc. The rest of the cab was much shorter in height, and some custom wood lay right underneath the bezel IIRC. It was nothing special, but definitely original. Some day I'll get some pics up. As I recall all the electronics are the same, etc. it was really just a shorter, more attractive cab. Why they tooled up for a dedicated run, then decided to go conversion is probably a matter of field test results and cost. I would imagine at the time that operators earnings were dropping on BZ, and releasing it as a kit to convert the cabs was more attractive to operators then Atari asking them to buy a whole new game....."
The ownerof the Red Baron prototype answered:
"I present here my Red Baron prototype.  Fixed by Matt, as a matt-er of fact...   This is the game he is speaking of. Serial # 3, not for sale. They do exist..."
For a picture of the prototype see the "pictures" section below.O

Other  Info Sources

» Red Baron on K.L.O.V. ( The "Killer" List of Video Games) - www.klov.com

» Red Baron Upright [ link ]
» Red Baron Cockpit [ link ]
» Red Baron Cabaret (Mini) [ link ]
» Red Baron Upright Prototype Serial #3 (owner: "ed" www.ataboy.com) -  Pic 1 - Pic 2 - Pic 3
» NEW! Red Baron Upright Prototype Serial unknown (owner: Francis Mariani at Ataricade) -  Pic 1 - Report on Rotheblog
» PCBs & other  pics -  [ link ]
» Monitor Electrohome G05-802  -  [ link ]

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Manuals/Datasheets/Technical Info

Red Baron - Upright
» Red Baron UR Service and Operation Manual - TM-169 1st
» Red Baron UR Schematics (six pages) DP-169 ... -01A -01B -02A -02B -03A -03B 
» Red Baron Monitor Operations and Service Manual - TM-151 3rd

Red Baron - Cockpit
» Red Baron Cockpit Service and Operation Manual - TM-171 1st
» Red Baron Cockpit Schematics (six pages) DP-171 ... -01A -01B -02A -02B -03A -03B
» Battlezone Monitor Operations and Service Manual (G05-802/5) - TM-151 3rd

Red Baron - All Models
» Theory of Vector Generators & Vector Monitors - The secret life of Vector Generators  -  The secret life of of Vector MonitorsProgramming the Vector GeneratorTheory of Vector Generators - AVG Description (Atari Internal) 5.2 MByte
» "A Hitchhikers Guide to the Atari Digital Vector Generator" ( Philip Pemberton, Dec. 2005) - [ PDF ]
» Datasheets for electronic components - CPU 6502A - EPROM2716 - PROM 82S129 - Static RAM 2114 - D/A Converter AD561J - TTL Logic 74LSxx - AMD2901
[ Up | Game Info | Pictures | Manuals/Datasheets | Repair/Restore | ROMs | Reproductions/Spares | Mixed Stuff ]


Repair Tips
» B/W XY Monitor FAQ V1.2. - http://www.ionpool.net/...bw_vector_monitor_faq.pdf
» Adjust +5V on an Atari AR1 or AR2 Power Supply - http://www.elektronforge.com/AdjustAtariPS.htm

Restore Pages



» Red Baron ROMS as .zip. Seven (7) 2716, one (1) 2532 and TTL PROMS (see readme.txt)  - http://www.ionpool.net/...red_baron_roms.zip
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» Upright - Control Panel Overlay / Sideart (not orderable, but Archer produced some) -  Link to KLOV Forum
» Joystick is planned from www.ram-controls.com - http://www.ram-controls.com/products.html
» Have also a look in the "Link Collection" section.

Spares - General - have a look at the "Link Collection" section to find sources. I can help out with single items, if you don't find them elsewhere. A non conclusive List is in the "Electronics / Parts" section.


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