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Zgrass Announcements ZGrass Announcements

Announcements pertaining to the ZGrass and UV-1.

UV-1 Folder ZGrass UV-1 Folder

This folder (for holding paper) is covered with pictures created on a UV-1. Since UV-1 pictures are so hard to find, this is probably the most you will ever see, so don't miss your chance.

ZGrass Documentation "ZGrass Documentation"

User Manuals on the ZGrass language and other miscellaneous ZGrass docs.

ZGrass Screenshots "ZGrass Screenshots"

Screenshots of pictures created using ZGRASS.

UV-1 Folder "ZGrass / UV-1 Magazine Articles"

If one compared the Astrocade to the Atari 2600 for magazine coverage, you would find that there was an avalanche of articles that covered the Atari machine, but few that covered the Astrocade. The UV-1 was covered even less. Here are some of the articles that have come to light about the UV-1 and the language that it used, ZGrass. Special thanks to Tom Defanti for sending me photocopies of these articles (it seems like he had any mention of the UV-1 or ZGrass!).

Datamax, Inc. January 15, 1983 Price List Datamax, Inc. Price List.
January 15, 1983.

A ZGrass base unit cost $2,495. Systems were available for: $12,039, $16,144, and $17,344.

Datamax, Inc. January 15, 1983 Price List - Revised Datamax, Inc. Price List.
January 15, 1983 (with 1984 Revisions).

This is the Datamax UV-1R price list from January 15, 1983, but it has hand-written revisions for price reductions. This was sent to Michael Matte in July 1984 when he was inquiring about purchasing UV-1 blueprints.

Here is one price reduced example: the UV-R1 computer in January 1983, cost $7,695. By July 1984, the price of the UV-1 was down to $2,000; that's only six months later! That's quite a decrease in the price of the system!

Datamax, UV-1 Letter Datamax, Inc. UV-1 Letter.
TDS, Inc.

Describes the features and options of the UV-1 Colorgraphics Computer. From the letter, "The UV-1 and ZGRASS - The UV-1 is a system for Audio Visual application and Real Time graphics displays. It is the most advanced graphic system with a user-oriented language. Ten years in development, it is the microcomputer most suited to producing visual on a television set."

Datamax UV-1R Zgrass Graphics Computer Flyer Datamax UV-1R Zgrass Graphics Computer Flyer

The UV-1R Zgrass Graphics Computer puts computer graphics capabilities into the hands of the graphic artist. The UV-1R uses advanced video game technology and the powerful Zgrass language to produce exciting video images and high-speed animation.

Zgrass is a high-level, interactive computer language that was designed to meet the demands of the artist. Zgrass simplifies the creation and manipulation of graphics in real-time. In Zgrass, complex computer graphics and realtime animation sequences can be produced in minutes without advanced programming knowledge.

UV-1R Specifications:
  • User Memory - 32K RAM, expandable to 64K for CP/M compatibility
  • Screen Memory - 256K RAM, with 192K usable as solid-state disk cache
  • Resolution - 320 x 201 x 2 bits
  • CPU - Z80 with hardware-assisted arithmetic processing unit
  • Palette - 256 colors, with four colors displayable per area
  • Firmware - Zgrass-resident 32K EPROM
  • Output - NTSC composite video (RS170), RGB (optional)
  • Ports - Two RS232C
  • Interfaces to: Graphics tablet, 5.5 Mbyte 5.25" Winchester drive, up to eight 5.25" floppy drives, printer, plotter
  • Front panel connections - Headphones and four joysticks
  • Sound - Three-voice synthesizer
Datamax UV-1R Zgrass Graphics System Flyer Datamax UV-1R Zgrass Graphics System Flyer

This UV-1R with its accessories is a complete UV-1R set-up. This computer system was available from Datamax, Inc. The "R" in UV-1R stands for Rackmount, as this is the system that is meant to go in a rack in a production studio. The UV-1R used the same three Bally custom chips used in the Bally Arcade/Astrocade; it ran in hi-res mode.

In January of 1983, the complete system in the picture would have set you back about $17,000! The UV-R1 computer, just the stand-alone system, without the accessories, in January 1983, cost $7,695. Michael Matte, who sent the flyer from which this picture was scanned, included a revised price list from July 17, 1984 which shows the reduced price of the UV-1 to be $2,000 only six months later! That's quite a decrease in the price of the system!

Max Performs Magic Max* Performs Magic.
* The Datamax UV-1R ZGRASS Graphics System.
"Back Stage," Page 16.
December 3, 1982.

This advertisement is for a third-party dealer called Miller: The Professional Video Source, located in New York, New York. I wasn't even aware that the ZGRASS system was sold via stores; I thought that they were mail-order only. This ad is part of the Bob Fabris collection.

"MAX creates computer graphics and real time animation for your video productions at an affordable price (the system starts at $11,000).

"Once you begin to understand MAX's language (Zgrass), then the magic starts... Zgrass, respected as the best language for video graphics, gives you easy, fast, flexible and powerful tools without the need for an expensive computer programmer."

The default download is a 5MB jpg file. The ad is also available in other formats:
Zgrass Postcard "Video Games to Video Art Postcard"

Viper Systems Z-GRASS Color Artwork Viper Systems Z-GRASS Color Artwork

This promotional picture for Viper System's unreleased version on the Z-GRASS hardware was on a business-sized card (about 3"x3") from the Bob Fabris Collection. The Z-GRASS hardware itself is nowhere in the picture. Perhaps this was meant to be a logo for the upcoming hardware. The small card was created from a large original oil painting.
  1. Viper Systems Z-GRASS Color Artwork - A TIF version of the picture. For archiving purposes.
Zgrass Graphics System "ZGrass UV-1 Graphics System Poster"

This poster, titled, "Bally's Low-Cost UV-1 Zgrass Graphics System," highlights many of the features that were touted when Bally was going to release the ZGrass system. When the UV-1 was released by Datamax, most of these features were included. The two images on the poster were created by Frank Dietrich and Copper Giloth.
  1. Bally's Low-Cost UV-1 Zgrass Graphics System (Text) - A file containing all of the textual descriptions from the UV-1 poster.
  2. Bally's Low-Cost UV-1 Zgrass Graphics System (JPG) - A high-quality picture, although to keep the filesize down, there is some loss of quality.
  3. Bally's Low-Cost UV-1 Zgrass Graphics System (TIF) - A 35 megabyte 300-dpi TIFF version of the poster. For archiving purposes.
Zgrass Information Group - Intro Letter "ZIG (Zgrass Information Group) - Intro Letter"

This introduction letter states the purpose of the ZIG organization. This document was included with a letter to Bob Fabris in 1983.
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