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How can I start programming?

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#1 Pixel Toad OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 2, 2019 12:08 PM

I wan t to start programming games for the atari 2600 but don't know how.  Help please.    (Batari Basic doesn't work)



#2 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 2, 2019 12:19 PM

Are you saying that batari Basic isn't working for you, or that isn't what you want to use?

 

Have you done any other kind of programming before, or would this be your first time programming on any platform?



#3 danwinslow OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 2, 2019 12:31 PM

Be aware that this is not an easy goal, even if you already have programming experience. Aside from Karl's question above -

Have you searched for threads about 'how to program 2600' here? There are many such threads.

It's too big of a subject area to just say 'please help'. There are also other online resources about programming for the 2600.



#4 scitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 2, 2019 5:15 PM

Run away!!! Not only is the coding itself challenging but learning it is hard because the info is fragmented across lots of different tutorials, web pages, and Atari Age threads. In addition to those, I recommend this book by Steven Hugg. Be very patient. It will be frustrating but very rewarding if you can stick it out.

 

I have heavily commented code on the web page for the game I made. That is one way to learn after you have the basics down.


Edited by scitari, Wed Jan 2, 2019 5:17 PM.


#5 Pixel Toad OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 3, 2019 4:51 AM

Are you saying that batari Basic isn't working for you, or that isn't what you want to use?

 

Have you done any other kind of programming before, or would this be your first time programming on any platform?

 

Batari Basic doesn't work it always shows an error message when I try to start it and it's my first time programmming. 



#6 JeffJetton OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 3, 2019 6:29 AM

 

Batari Basic doesn't work it always shows an error message when I try to start it and it's my first time programmming. 

 

 

Welcome Pixel Toad! I think it's great that you want to learn programming. You didn't choose the easiest thing to program, but don't let that stop you. :-)

 

What is the error message that you're getting?



#7 KevKelley OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 3, 2019 7:41 AM

I had an error screen pop up on me on one of my computers. I ignored it and didn't x out of it and bB worked fine. And it wasy first time playing around with it (with very old and basic experience of basic.)

#8 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 3, 2019 8:11 AM

As mentioned, for someone new to programming, the 2600 is a challenging first platform, to say the least.

 

From the above, I assume you are trying to use the Visual batari Basic IDE.  Take a look at these instructions to make sure you have the latest build of it and bB itself, and have them installed correctly.  The batari Basic Commands Reference is your guide to all things bB, and the batari Basic forum is the best place to ask questions and search for issues you encounter.  Good luck!



#9 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 3, 2019 8:29 AM

batari BASIC is the easiest way (especially with Visual bB).

 

If you tried reading through Random Terrains website and asked questions in the forum and can't get it.. well.  The Atari 2600 is not a good starting point for you.

 

It's OK to fail at something.  Learn what your limits are and find a new direction.  Once you have more experience try again.

 

I already suggested starting with YoYo Games Game Maker for PC.

https://www.yoyogames.com/

 

If you must start with a classic console try NES Maker.

http://www.thenew8bitheroes.com/



#10 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 3, 2019 11:16 AM

 

Batari Basic doesn't work it always shows an error message when I try to start it and it's my first time programmming. 

 

Have you ever used any version of BASIC even a long time ago?   



#11 BNE Jeff OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 5, 2019 5:46 PM

This is an easy tutorial that holds your hand the whole time:

 

http://atariage.com/...mming/2600_101/



#12 orange808 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 7, 2019 6:21 PM

Start small.  When we were kids, they sold books of Basic games you could just type into your C64 or Apple ][.  I started out tinkering with those one summer.

 

If you're experienced with game development, have an eye for pixel art, and know a little about playing piano, batari Basic is dead simple--and you'll have a working game in a jiffy.

 

The documentation is well maintained.  Random Terrain maintains a pretty good reference.  I remember asking a question about rom sizes and the documentation was updated the next day.

 

Remember, there are no platforms out there that don't hit you with gotchas and no project ever goes as planned.  

 

Experienced game devs can produce quality bB games without much of a learning curve. 

 

A first time developer should probably start simple.

 

Try modifying this one:

https://github.com/mad4j/atari-mssnake


Edited by orange808, Mon Jan 7, 2019 6:22 PM.


#13 JeffJetton OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 9, 2019 5:06 AM

Start small.  When we were kids, they sold books of Basic games you could just type into your C64 or Apple ][.  I started out tinkering with those one summer.

 

 

 

Ha! Me too. I used to check David Ahl's book of BASIC games out from the library constantly.

 

It was a great era to learn programming in.  :)



#14 Mr SQL OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 9, 2019 11:36 AM

I agree with these ideas, learning programming by typing in fun game listings from books and magazines is the optimal way to learn myriad  programming concepts; paint the fence/sand the deck; now we call this learning technique gamification.

 

Here's a thread with related ideas:

http://atariage.com/...sic-time/page-1



#15 Karl G ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 9, 2019 11:57 AM

I don't know if it's the optimal way, but it's certainly a fun way, and how many of us got our start BITD.  A few years ago I made an attempt to teach my boys programming via GW-BASIC running in DOSBox.  Nowadays it looks like there is an open-source GW-BASIC clone that doesn't need a DOS environment.



#16 JeremiahK OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:41 PM

I will just re-iterate what has already been stated.

 

START SMALL!

 

Play around with the beginner tutorials, like "2600 101" and Spice's "Collect".  (If you want to code in assembly.)

Make small non-game projects on your own, draw some simple graphics.

Work your way up to making a simple demo, then a simple game.  It takes a lot of time and effort to get over the learning curve.


Edited by JeremiahK, Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:49 PM.






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