This post would ideally fit into an Astrocade programming sub-forum, but since such a forum doesn't exist, it will live here in the main Astrocade forum on AtariAge.com. I posted a similar thread to the Bally Alley discussion group on Yahoo just a little while ago. While this is a re-post (of sorts), it is actually my hope that this thread catches on and can become a focus area for people interested in programming the Astrocade. If that happens, then I'll pin this thread in the forum so that it doesn't disappear in just a few weeks.
I wrote an article called "Programming the Bally Arcade/Astrocade," mostly to completion, back in 2012. It wasn't until the Astrocade High Score Club peaked my interest again in programming the Bally Arcade system that I decided that it was time to finish and polish the article so that others could use it. I finished it up today and posted it to BallyAlley.com.
You can read "Programing the Bally Arcade/Astrocade," here:
The article explains how to set up the "PS Pad" text editor so that it will automatically assemble the source code of a program that runs on the Zilog Z80 CPU of the Bally Arcade/Astrocade. We'll be using the "Zmac" z80 cross-assembler, which is a command line-only program.
More specifically, you'll be guided through the process required to make "Zmac" the default editor for assembling Bally Arcade/Astrocade programs. Once these step-by-step directions are completed, "PS Pad" will be more than just a text editor; it will become a nearly complete Integrated Development Environment (IDE).
Here is what is covered in this article:
- Astrocade Programming Using the "Nutting Manual"
- Download the "Zmac" Assembler
- Download "PS Pad" and z80.ini
- Download the "Home Video-Game Library" Equates (HVGLIB.H)
- Set Up "PS Pad" for Use with the "Zmac" Assembler
- Test "PS Pad" by Assembling Z80 Source Code
My friend Chris, who isn't an assembly language programmer, was this article's test subject (i.e. guinea pig). He followed all of the steps in the article. When he was done, he was able to assemble the cartridge "Treasure Cove" from its source code. Hooray! Then, because he is awesome (!), he edited the article to make sure it was easy enough for a beginner to follow. Thanks for the help, Chris. You rule!
I am especially interested in hearing feedback from anyone who follows these directions. If you have any questions about programming the Bally Arcade/Astrocade console, then consider this the thread to express your thoughts and comments on the matter.
Enjoy the article!