ANSI art and animations were prevalent on BBS systems in the late 80s and early 90s, and the ANSI art scene continues to thrive today. There are thousands of ANSI art files, with usual extension
.ans, available on the Internet, many from those retro BBS's, and many recent artists' works too.
I would like to easily recreate the experience of viewing ANSI art online by viewing .ans files natively, just using a terminal window and command-line tool to display the text. Based on my limited understanding of ANSI art, I think several retro-computing environmental conditions would need to be emulated within the terminal session. Off the top of my head:
- Recreate the ANSI code page definitions, including all the escape codes that were commonly used in ANSI art. In the old days, I think the MS-DOS "ANSI.SYS" device driver provided this.
- Choose a suitable font that displays all the ANSI text characters in a manner true to the original online experience.
- Ditto for the color palette utilized on old EGA and VGA displays. I think both 16-color and 256-color palettes were common.
- Simulate appropriate output speed of characters to the terminal, allowing files to be viewed as if they were received over a modem connection at, for example, a speed of 9600 baud.
To summarize, if there was an ideal solution, it would work as simply as this:
ansi-cat http://ansiart.mydomain.net/some_ansi_art.ans --baud=9600
And the tool would fetch and display the .ans file in the terminal window using a simulated 9600 bps. Of course, a cross-platform tool is best, but I suppose there are valid reasons this might be more easily accomplished on some modern platforms than others.
Naturally, I will be thrilled with any answer that can come close to this simple experience. I would rather not have to rely on emulation software and old DOS programs to display the art.