Lot #317
Atari 'Mondo Bondo / Boffo' 3-D and Video Processor Archive from the collection of David Sherman


Extensive archive of development material related to the Atari, Inc. video processor project ‘Mondo Boffo’ and the 3-D processor project ‘Mondo Bondo,’ deriving from the personal collection of hardware designer David Sherman, who worked on these processors between 1980 and 1983 during Atari’s graphical evolution. The archive, which contains an abundance of schematics and hand-annotated worksheets and diagrams that Sherman used to lay the programming foundation for Atari games like Space Raiders, Blasteroids, and I, Robot, has been divided into the following bundles and binders:

Mondo Bondo / Mondo Boffo hardware bundle:

- A flow chart for the Mondo Bondo u-code with database description, showing the entire state transitions of the Mondo Bondo (3-D math and object formatting engine for the video machine); an important document, which is essentially the only ‘picture’ of the microcode operations
- A large vellum hand-drawn schematic entitled “Block Diagram, New Mondo Boffo ‘Assisted Bit Map,’ with a Xeroxed copy that shows 65k Ram timing
- A schematic of a “Mondo Bondo Block Diagram” showing the final 1Kx52 microcode
- A schematic of a “‘Final’ State Diagram MBII”
- Two final review sets of schematics for licensing to Taito—one eight-page set marked as “Schematic Ice World’s CPU PC BD, and an 11-page set marked “Schematic Ice World Video PC BD”—both annotated on the first page in red felt tip, “9-7-83, T.T.” Ice World was the development code name for the innovative arcade shooter game I, Robot

Mondo Boffo II hardware bundle (three folders):

- Folder marked “Mondo Boffo II,” containing a Xerox of wire wrap board placements, pull-up header locations, an SSI list of part counts, power connections for “Space Raiders Mondo Boffo II” by Doug Snyder, an MBII “Interconnect Harness” drawing, and a schematic marked “Regulator/Audio II, P.C. BD”
- Folder marked “M. Boffo Doc,” containing a schematic set with a simple interim “Matrix Processor/Divider” that was discontinued when the final Mondo Bondo was available, simple CPU schematic pages, a hand-drawn Mondo Boffo II wire wrap schematic check plot, loose sheets of “Dram Write Control Proms” content, sheets marked “High Res Mondo Boffo Additions” for ‘pixel splitting’ to obtain 512 apparent resolution, and generic schematic for a 6809 Dev System Interface
- Folder marked “Mondo Boffo II,” containing a loose address decoder drawing, a “Final State Machine” drawing for the video processing block, a Xerox of the hand-drawn 16K Dram timing diagram, check copies of interconnect harness variations, a Xerox of a “Block Diagram New Mondo Boffo” with hand-drawn 16 K drams, and various loose sheets showing address decoder logic, “Space Raiders MBII Interconnect Signals,” an address space drawing, details of address space for setting up the video process from the CPU, an RGB pinout, and a Video Board Parts Cost, with chip count and cost estimate

A “Mondo Boffo” hardware bundle file:
- A 5-page programming model packet for Mondo Boffo, featuring basic features distributed to a few programmers for comment; a simple write-up of accumulated boundary coordinates to delineate color regions
- An 11-page handwritten “Description of Space Raiders” packet, which Sherman recalls: ‘An original for an earlier version of the idea attached to a simple game idea called Space Raiders. I think the game was a first-person ‘Asteroids’ idea on a raster screen, so the extremely limited hardware could have been justified. The idea was dropped even though the game idea lived on and was used in some documentation.’
- Schematics for simple proposed “Test Patterns”
- A large vellum hand-drawn schematic marked “Mondo Boffo, Master Timing Diagram”
- A large vellum hand-drawn schematic marked “Block Diagram, Mondo Boffo, Alias ‘Space Raiders’”

Three-ring binder marked “Mondo Bondo III,” which contains the very first version of the 2901-based Mondo Bondo design with 265-x rams in the place of the u-code rooms, which allowed the new debug code to be quickly downloaded for the initial bring-up. Includes numerous hand-edited schematics and notebook pages. According to Sherman: ‘We expanded the depth as went to avoid a new wire wrap debug effort by simply pulling CE chip enables from rams soldered and stacked on top of each other to fit into the existing wire wrap sockets to get 512 and 1K depths. This schematic was ‘cobbled together’ from the Blasteroids schematic, new schematics designated Mondo Bondo III, and new development ram schematics simply called ‘Math Box Development Rams.’

Three-ring binder marked “Mondo Boffo III,” containing sundry hand-annotated schematics, diagrams, and programming instructions. According to Sherman: ‘This binder is still the 16K drams design (Mondo Boffo II). I believe it was labeled Mondo Boffo III because it was a new wire wrap board to support the bring-up of the Mondo Bondo III 3-D math processor. At the time, that eliminated confusion so techs and myself knew which wire wrap was which since the development was occurring with an overlap in time. The actual 65K dram system (actual Mondo Boffo III) first development schematics have not survived; surviving documents are of the first PCB set.’

Three-ring binder marked as “Blasteroids,” which was a very early code name for the hardware that was attached to a proposed first-person ‘Asteroids’ game on a raster display. The binder contains hand-drawn wire wrap instructions, as well as instructions and diagrams for an edge connection wiring harness. Sherman notes that this ‘probably does not match up with any existing wire wrap schematic.’ In overall fine condition.

From the Collection of David Sherman

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Science and Technology
  • Dates: #650 - Ended December 15, 2022