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Pain, suffering, and being a kid with a TI


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#1 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:22 AM

As a second-day TI-99 owner, my son was on cruise control today while I was at work. He wrote a text "choose your own adventure" style game in XB which he apparently worked on for something along the lines of 4-5 hours (according to my wife). She took this picture and sent it to me at work. She doesn't know much about all this stuff, but she said he "was on line 2000," which I took to mean he had written a considerable amount of code. Even my wife... who generally dislikes my hobby in a passive way... said she played his text adventure and thought it was "pretty cool." Coming from her, that is insanely high praise for anything TI-related.

Well.... as things go, he decided to save his progress to tape so he could go eat dinner, etc. He did so, then switched off the console, and went on about his business. Shortly after dinner, he had an idea and wanted to incorporate it into his game... so, as you do, he went into his room and fired up the TI, attempted to load his game and.....

I don't think I need to finish that sentence. Apparently, he was attempting to use SIDE B of his cassette, having saved something on SIDE A yesterday.... He had the right idea.... but somehow he thought that by pressing the ZERO counter button that it immediately took him to the beginning of the tape. When he attempted to record his program, it cut off 9/10 of it, because he started his recording at the end of the tape.


The horror--oh the humanity of sadness and despair!!!! When I finally got home, he was trying frantically to load it up for me to play it, and yet nothing but DATA ERRORs showed onscreen.

We had a short tutorial on magnetic tape media and how to properly use SIDE B. Then we sat down and tried to hammer out what he had done earlier in XB.... but he felt dejected a bit, and I could tell he was tired. So we saved our meager progress to tape and then started a new program where we made a giant butt fly across the screen while changing colors. :)

The pain of data loss is real, folks.... especially if you're 9 years old.



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#2 zylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:26 AM

I knew that feeling well with type-in games on the VIC. A lesson well learned.



#3 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 12:28 AM

That bloody SUX!  Dad, take pity on the kid, get him a TIPI, please.



#4 arcadeshopper ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:11 AM

at least he didn't accidentally hit fctn= instead of shift=   this is the cross we had to bear

 

Greg



#5 HOME AUTOMATION OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:10 AM

The year was '94... All was lost... Tapes, notes, prototypes... everything, and more!

24 years later, I now work quite literally; feverishly.

Both to recover and excel. Qapla' Bucko!

 

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#6 LASooner ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:24 AM

Well, on the positive side, he may learn that when you have to rebuild code, you sometimes do it better the second time.



#7 chue ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:47 AM

Losing code - It's happened to a lot of us, me included.  Many years ago when I was a college student, I spent many a night in my campus computer lab writing code.  On one occasion, I had been up all night doing one of my programming assignments and thought I should clean up my directories.  This was all command line stuff back then, and I did a "delete *.*".  I was horrified when I realized I was in the wrong directory.  I managed to stop the deletion process, but lost a lot of my code.

 

It was definitely a hard lesson.  On the plus side, I learned to be more careful in the future.  Also, since I had written the code once already, it was easier the second time.

 

You can rebuild it Bucko!



#8 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 9:59 AM

I'm still losing stuff... 3AM just the other day, I was dead tired, went to delete the call log in my phone... ended up deleting the contacts instead.  :mad:



#9 unhuman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 10:52 AM

That brings back memories for me.  When I was a kid, my TI-99 ran quite hot and XB if just touched would freeze the console.  I lost more than my fair share of stuff back then... 

 

If he's doing choose your own adventure stuff, it'd be really good to teach him data statements and how to connect rooms to eachother.  That'd reduce the amount of code he's got to write significantly and make the code more reliable as well.  It's a challenging concept since it's a fairly abstract concept.



#10 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 11:30 AM

Yes... right now I am letting his mind kind of wander in the code. Occasionally I'll stop in and offer him a little advice, maybe give him a trick or two. He knows GOTO pretty well, but last night I introduced him to GOSUB.... that changed quite a bit in his thought process. This weekend, I'll likely start working with him on graph paper so he can learn some graphics stuff. I'm just kind of letting him teach himself right now. He has the blue and the green book, and when he has questions, he asks. When he is getting frustrated on a concept, I step in and help him with some little ideas or ways of thinking about things.

He is a pretty adventurous kid, so I won't be surprised if I come home to a maxed-out VDP, with my kid asking me about 32k. :)

Anyway, he homeschools, so we are letting his TI programming make up a big chunk of his "school time" right now. He loves it, it forces him to think and problem solve, and so I think it is a perfectly appropriate way to spend the majority of his homeschooling time working on little text games.

#11 jrhodes OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:27 PM

I like text adventures, but i usually end up getting hopelessly lost, and resorting to finding a walkthrough.

I like gamebooks, like the Tunnels and Trolls solo's too.

When you get it all done, i would love to give it a go.



#12 adamantyr OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:39 PM

Poor kid! It's happened to all of us.

 

It's always good to keep notes on all your programming projects. All of Aperture's levels were sketched out on graph paper, I found my archive of it not long ago.

 

For my CRPG I used to keep tons of paper notes, these days I'm mostly digital, due to the sheer amount of data. I've even considered putting up the files on GitHub so I can track changes more easily... I've had a few times where files haven't been kept in sync between desktop, laptop and USB stick.



#13 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:29 PM

Poor little dude!  I have tons of paper notes and then some digital stuff now.

 

The bane of my childhood programming was FN-=, lol.  Nothing really gets you down like rebooting after working on stuff and forgetting to save. ;)



#14 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:44 PM

Anyway, he homeschools, so we are letting his TI programming make up a big chunk of his "school time" right now. He loves it, it forces him to think and problem solve, and so I think it is a perfectly appropriate way to spend the majority of his homeschooling time working on little text games.

I think that's a great approach!  (Both the homeschooling part and the programming part.)  Programming exercises the mind in several ways, especially on older systems like the 99/4A which can't do everything for you.  My first computer was the 99/4A, and my exploration of that machine got me started on a hobby, and on a career path, that I've enjoyed all of my life.

 

I can definitely sympathize with losing data to a mishap with tape.  I've had eaten tapes, worn-out tapes, programs recorded at the wrong volume, partially overwritten programs ... just about everything that could go wrong.  Before I even had a tape drive (and a compatible data cable, which my Dad finally made for me), I had to re-type my programs every time I turned off the machine, so re-doing my work was something I had already gotten used to.  What I always found, though, was that I had a pretty good memory of what I had done, and that re-thinking the program also gave me the opportunity to improve it in some way.

 

If your son likes programming adventure games in BASIC, I'd highly recommend this book (it was one that I had as a kid).  It taught me a lot about programming and organizing data, and as I recall, there are specific notes on adapting the sample code for TI BASIC.



#15 Tursi OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 4:42 PM

Totally get the dejection too.. when I lose code the very last thing I usually want to do is start over. (And yeah, I still do. Fact of life, unfortunately. Computers have no soul.)

 

I had a program I'd done long ago that played a little circus animation. It was the only program I ever saved without doing the verify step, since it always works, right? Not this time. When I loaded it, it didn't give me any data errors, but it didn't stop loading at the end of the noise, either. Eventually it would time out and complain NO DATA FOUND.

 

I found I could rewind the tape a little bit, hit play again before it timed out, and it would somehow "successfully" load, except that the first 100 lines were corrupted and listing them displayed garbage. If I started running after that part (which just lost some of the introductory text), the rest of the program ran fine.

 

However, I couldn't /fix/ it. Deleting one of the corrupt lines just moved the corruption to the next line of code. Back then I had no way to export the code for editing or re-import (today I'd have tried saving in merge format and trying to edit that, or at least saving a listing and editing that), so I lived with it like that for years... until all my tapes were lost in a move.



#16 carlsson OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:12 PM

While coding on the real hardware probably is more fun for a 9 year old, consider steering him into cross development fairly early on. Yes, it would mean dull emulation to start with, but on the other hand far less risks to run out of storage space as well that he could save backup versions or one day even become advanced enough to use a versioning system... ok, maybe I'm getting a little ahead of what a 9 year old would handle.

#17 nanochess OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:33 PM

I've lost so many things along the time in all ways.

I know the feeling.

I hope your son is brave enough to attempt again coding his adventure. :thumbsup:

#18 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 5:35 PM

He's been on it since I left for work. I think he is officially back in the saddle. :)

#19 twoodland OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:03 PM

If your son likes programming adventure games in BASIC, I'd highly recommend this book (it was one that I had as a kid).  It taught me a lot about programming and organizing data, and as I recall, there are specific notes on adapting the sample code for TI BASIC.

 

https://computerarch...entureGames.pdf



#20 LASooner ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:37 PM

I think that's a great approach!  (Both the homeschooling part and the programming part.)  Programming exercises the mind in several ways, especially on older systems like the 99/4A which can't 

 

If your son likes programming adventure games in BASIC, I'd highly recommend this book (it was one that I had as a kid).  It taught me a lot about programming and organizing data, and as I recall, there are specific notes on adapting the sample code for TI BASIC.

 

 

It's on the internet archive
https://archive.org/...adventure_games



#21 Ksarul OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 7:51 PM

Turtles and I also know this pain. The worst one for me was a power outage right in the middle of a program save. It trashed almost everything I had on the disk (I tend to save each iteration of a program sequentially so that I can regress to an earlier version if I need to). I was not a happy camper--but I did recode it, as it was something I wanted to do. I'm not sure if the second iteration there was better or not, but in the end, it worked, and that was what was important.



#22 InsaneMultitasker OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 27, 2018 8:57 PM

It is never fun to lose something you created.  The great thing is that he picked up and started again, and didn't let the disappointment kill the desire to program...



#23 digdugnate OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 28, 2018 6:57 AM

i will say he has more fortitude than i did from the last time, so that's awesome.  :D 

 

i was coding something I think for a music competition here on the board, had gotten into a groove and working on sprites, then BOOM.  FN-=

 

I hadn't saved in a while, and all i had was my graph paper/notes for the sprites and some notes I had written down for how i was doing the music.  I was so irritated I scrubbed the whole thing.  :(  

 

Keep it up, little dude!  It is awesome to see the progress of the 'next generation'.



#24 --- Ω --- OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:44 AM

Turtles and I also know this pain. The worst one for me was a power outage right in the middle of a program save. 

 

There is one accessory that is a must (IMHO) if you only have a TI with a cassette storage device.  While full blown outages are not common, glitches are more common than you realize.

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#25 Willsy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:23 AM

Hey Owen, is that a beige TI? My God man! What sort of parent are you? :-)

Seriously though, that's a lovely story. Our 8 year-old son has learning issues so he's a long long way off from being able to do something similar. It breaks our hearts but in all other respects he's fit and healthy so we count our blessings. It could be worse.

Great story man!

Edited by Willsy, Fri Dec 28, 2018 10:25 AM.





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