Timeline of Computer History
 

Graphics & Games  
1963
The DAC-1 System at GM Research Labs, 1965
DAC-1 computer aided design program is released. In 1959, the General Motors Research Laboratories appointed a special research team to investigate the use of computers in designing automobiles. In 1960, IBM joined the project, producing the first commercially-available Computer Aided Design program, known as DAC-1. Out of that project came the IBM 2250 display terminal as well as many advances in computer timesharing and the use of a single processor by two or more terminals.
1972
Original Atari Pong Gme Screenshot
Pong is released. In 1966, Ralph Baer designed a ping-pong game for his Odyssey gaming console. Nolan Bushnell played this game at a Magnavox product show in Burlingame, California. Bushnell hired young engineer Al Alcorn to design a car driving game, but when it became apparent that this was too ambitious for the time, he had Alcorn to design a version of ping-pong instead. The game was tested in bars in Grass Valley and Sunnyvale, California where it proved very popular. Pong would revolutionize the arcade industry and launch the modern video game era.
SuperPaint system in 1973
SuperPaint is completed. SuperPaint was the first digital computer drawing system to use a frame buffer—a special high-speed memory—and the ancestor of all modern paint programs. It could create sophisticated animations, in up to 16.7 million colors, had adjustable paintbrushes, video magnification, and used a graphics tablet for drawing. It was designed by Richard Shoup and others at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Its designers won a technical Academy Award in 1998 for their invention.
1977
Atari VCS Prototype
Atari launches the Video Computer System game console. Atari released the Atari Video Computer System (VCS) later renamed the Atari 2600. The VCS was the first widely successful video game system, selling more than twenty million units throughout the 1980s. The VCS used the 8-bit MOS 6507 microprocessor and was designed to be connected to a home television set. When the last of Atari’s 8-bit game consoles were made in 1990, more than 900 video game titles had been released.
1986
Pixar Headquarters
Pixar is founded. Pixar was originally called the Special Effects Computer Group at Lucasfilm (launched in 1979). The group created the computer animated segments of films such as “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “Young Sherlock Holmes.” In 1986, Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs paid 10 million dollars to Lucasfilm to purchase the Group and renamed it Pixar. Over the next decade, Pixar made highly-successful (and Oscar-winning) animated films. It was bought by Disney in 2006.
1989
   The concept of virtual reality made a statement as the hot topic at Siggraph´s 1989 convention in Boston. The Silicon Graphics booth featured the new technology, designed by the computer-aided design software company Autodesk and the computer company VPL. The term describes a computer-generated 3-D environment that allows a user to interact with the realities created there. The computer must calculate and display sensory information quickly enough to fool the senses.

Howard Rheingold described, "shared and objectively present like the physical world, composable like a work of art, and as unlimited and harmless as a dream." First practical for accomplishing such tasks as flight simulation, virtual reality soon spread much further, promising new ground in video games, education, and travel. Computer users are placed into the virtual environment in a variety of ways, from a large monitor to a head-mounted display or a glove.
1990
VideoToaster Installed at Local Television Station
Video Toaster is introduced by NewTek. The Video Toaster was a video editing and production system for the Amiga line of computers and included custom hardware and special software. Much more affordable than any other computer-based video editing system, the Video Toaster was not only for home use. It was popular with public access stations and was even good enough to be used for broadcast television shows like Home Improvement.
1992
Original Movie Poster for Terminator 2: Judgment Day
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” opens. Director James Cameron’s sequel to his 1984 hit “The Terminator,” featured ground-breaking special effects done by Industrial Light & Magic. Made for a record $100 million, it was the most expensive movie ever made at the time. Most of this cost was due to the expense of computer-generated special effects (such as image morphing) throughout the film. Terminator 2 is one of many films that critique civilization’s frequent blind trust in technology.
1993
Box Art for Doom
“Doom” is released. id Software released Doom in late 1993. An immersive first-person shooter-style game, Doom became popular on many different platforms before losing popularity to games like Halo and Counter-Strike. Doom players were also among the first to customize the game’s levels and appearance. Doom would spawn several sequels and a 2005 film.

 


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