Archive for March 2016

SUMMING UP: WHY THE COMMODORE 64’S BASIC V2 WAS CRAP AND HOW SOME PEOPLE MANAGED TO PROGRAM THE C64   Leave a comment

SUMMING UP: WHY THE COMMODORE 64S BASIC V2 WAS CRAP AND HOW SOME PEOPLE MANAGED TO PROGRAM THE C64

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I was working on an amazing post explaining how to draw lines on the Commodore 64 in Assembly Language. This technique could have been used to enable people to create wire frame graphics, like in the amazing, ground breaking game Elite, created on the BBC Micro, with its beautiful BBC BASIC language, containing procedures, REPEAT…UNTIL loops, long meaningful variable names, and a built in Assembler, allowing lines of Assembly Language to be mixed with BASIC in the same program.

The article I was working on was based on a listing in “The Commodore 64 Machine Language Book” by Data Becker/Abacus. Unfortunately, this document was on my laptop which was stolen/thrown away by the same technophobic bastard I was staying with who threw me out on the streets to die after eight days. I should have kept a backup somewhere, even storing it on a cloud system. I’m now typing this on an Android phone with a 10cm screen using Microsoft Office Online and Google Docs and saving it by uploading to Outlook Microsoft Word Online as well as Google Docs. Unfortunately, Microsoft Office Online for Android doesn’t seem to have a Select All function!

Now, let’s get down to summing up why the Commodore 64’s BASIC V2 was crap and how some people managed to program the C64. I decided to write this in the form of a bulletted list, but I don’t know if I can format it like that on my Android phone.

Why The Commodore 64’s BASIC V2 Was Crap

  • It was an old BASIC available to Commodore at no extra charge under their perpetual licence from Microsoft bought FIVE YEARS PREVIOUSLY
  • Commodore founder Jack Tramiel was a miser
  • Commodore wanted to screw more money out of Commodore 64  owners by selling them cartridges,  such as “Simons’ BASIC” and “Super Expander 64”,  containing the missing commands,  but not even allowing them to create stand alone software
  • Commodore/Jack Tramiel  were too miserly to pay Microsoft any more money for an updated BASIC, unlike Tandy/Radio Shack, Dragon and the MSX Consortium
  • Jack Tramiel refused to pay a fee for BASIC for each computer sold because “I’m already married”
  • Jack Tramiel’s experience of being an Auschwitz survivor gave him the attitude business is war
  • Jack Tramiel was obsessed with destroying his rivals such as Texas instruments and Atari

How some people managed to program the Commodore 64

  • They had lots of experience using mainframe computers before microcomputers even came out (e.g. Jim Butterfield)
  • They had  owned an older Commodore computer which was less complicated than and partly compatible with the Commodore 64 (e.g. TMR, Jim Butterfield, Jeff Minter)
  • They didn’t pay much attention to the official Commodore 64 manuals telling them that they were supposed to program in BASIC V2 PEEKing and POKEing any numbers from 0 to 255 to five digit memory locations (most C64 programmers)
  • They were autistic (not many people like to admit they’re autistic, hence the lack of names)
  • They were excellent at maths (TMR)
  • They bought one or more really informative books by Data Becker (republished by Abacus) or Compute! instead of crappy books by Sunshine or someone else
  • They bought a Commodore 64 much later than 1984 when a lot more details of how to program it and software tools as well as cheaper disk drives were available (most Commodore 64 owners)
  • They learnt to program in BASIC, then 6502 Assembly Language on a non Commodore computer, such as the Acorn Atom, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Apple II, or Atari (eg Paul Roper, Dave Braben)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, written entirely on my Android phone*, then posted using the WordPress app. That’s all for now. I hope to make another post soon.

*Although the post above was written on an Android phone, it later had some headings emboldened, as well as bulletted lists added using the WordPress editor

 

Posted March 19, 2016 by C64hater in Uncategorized

DEBUNKING TMR’S “CODE NOTES – ELECTRIC CAFÉ”   Leave a comment

DEBUNKING TMR’S “CODE NOTES – ELECTRIC CAFÉ” 

electric-cafe-c64-1

I’m afraid I’ll have to keep this post fairly short, thanks to the destruction of my way of life by a property developer who evicted me, Landlords who wouldn’t rent to me, and a so called friend who took me in under his roof, but then only eight days later threw me and my belongings out on the streets to die and stole my laptop! I’m typing this in another public library, but I’ve been forced into temporary accommodation outside London now and it’s not that easy to get to the nearest library.

 

In a recent post on https://c64crapdebunk.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/code-notes-electric-cafe/ TMR of the rival blog “C64 Crap Debunk” said that I had said it was impossible to programming the Commodore 64, then posted notes about another demo, which was actually created in 1988. This demo consists of some sampled Kraftwerk (note spelling, meaning factory) music, so this means it wasn’t programmed by the demo creators. Apart from this, the demo was created in 1988, which was 3-4 years after I gave up on the C64. This was partly because I was worried that was how long it would take me to learn to program it. In the meantime I expected all kinds of things may happen, such as lots of new computers coming out, existing computers becoming more popular, etc, etc. The main thing I thought was why make life more difficult on myself than I had to by using the C64 with its recycled PET BASIC, which had no commands for colour, graphics, or sound and no alternative to that BASIC which could produce stand alone programs or was well supported by magazines articles or books giving lots of listings showing how to program in it. The vast majority of C64 listings were in Commodore BASIC V2. Also, TMR had the cheek to mention the German 64’er magazine, which he previously described as irrelevant, just because it was in German and not available in Britain in 1984-1985, when I owned a C64. What a hypocrite!

 

What actually happened during 1985-1988 was that the Amstrad CPC joined the Spectrum and C64 as a widely supported format, the Amiga and Atari ST were released, had different models and got cheaper then more popular, Amstrad released a cheap PC clone, then other PC manufacturers followed suit, the Sinclair QL and the Enterprise flopped, and MSX was discontinued in the English speaking World where MSX2 was never released. By “the English speaking World” I mean countries where hardly any other languages are spoken, making censorship easier. There are English language versions of MSX and MSX2 games though.

 

Apart from the above, the Amiga and Atari ST computers used the 68000 CPU, and there were articles in the general, non format based, computer press about how amazing 68000 Assembly Language was, with lots of additional instructions that made it easier to program in than 6502 or Z80 Assembly Language, so that was yet another reason not to bother with the Commodore 64.

 

That’s all for now! I’ll make another post ASAP.

 

Posted March 11, 2016 by C64hater in Uncategorized