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A "Basic" CocoSDC menu?

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So I am at the point now where i've familiarized myself just enough with the Tandy Color Computer 2 interface and history and whatnot that I can load some DSK images from the CocoSDC and I even managed to sort of customize an old type-in christmas program from a 1982 issue of The Rainbow magazine. From what i've been able to tell, there isn't currently a menu system for the CodoSDC for loading images. What i'm wondering is would it be possible to write a very "basic" Basic menu that has a list of the games in a given directory and uses the cursor keys or the joystick to move through the list and select a game. From there, the program could issue the Drive 0,"game" and LoadM"game.bin" commands for me. I don't have a particularly good understanding of Extended Color Basic yet so i'm not sure how to approach this and where i'd look for useful references, but it does sound like it would be useful at least as far as static game lists are concerned.

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i just got my SDC and I can't tell you how useful this would be. I am not familiar with the disk interface commands except for dir -.'

I bet we COULD make an indexer for a modern PC and drive a menu. Hmmm. I don't know all of the dev environments as I am just getting into this too. But yeah - I find the lack of an interactive selection menu displeasing as well.

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i just got my SDC and I can't tell you how useful this would be. I am not familiar with the disk interface commands except for dir -.'

I bet we COULD make an indexer for a modern PC and drive a menu. Hmmm. I don't know all of the dev environments as I am just getting into this too. But yeah - I find the lack of an interactive selection menu displeasing as well.

Well, essentially you have to set the drive(0 usually, though 1 is supported as well) to mount a given .dsk file as so: DRIVE 0,"GAME.DSK

 

Although the way my sd card is set up, I can swap GAME.DSK for the name of the game directory and it loads just fine. Anyway, after the dsk is loaded, type DIR for a directory listing on the disk. Then if you need to load a .BAS file: LOAD"GAME.BAS

 

If you need to load a .BIN file: LOADM"GAME.BIN

 

If it's a .BAS file, then you hit run. If it's .BIN, EXEC.

 

So my thinking is that a basic program could issue these commands for me depending on which game was desired from a menu. So, i'm in a hypothetical list of games on the SD and say I want to play Arkanoid. I select it, then the basic program runs "DRIVE 1,"GAME.DSK", "LOAD"GAME.BAS", "RUN". At least in theory. I don't know the instructions to actually do that, though, and I suspect you'd have to load the disk with the menu every time. Also, you might have to hard code the menu to load each game explicitly as opposed to it recognizing new titles.

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So my thinking is that a basic program could issue these commands for me depending on which game was desired from a menu. So, i'm in a hypothetical list of games on the SD and say I want to play Arkanoid. I select it, then the basic program runs "DRIVE 1,"GAME.DSK", "LOAD"GAME.BAS", "RUN". At least in theory. I don't know the instructions to actually do that, though, and I suspect you'd have to load the disk with the menu every time. Also, you might have to hard code the menu to load each game explicitly as opposed to it recognizing new titles.

 

We could probably get a menu to launch the games.  It would be great to be able to make a CFG file on a modern computer with the launch instructions by program and have the basic program load that menu file.  It is a nice little project.  I do not know file i/o in Coco basic at all however.

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We could probably get a menu to launch the games.  It would be great to be able to make a CFG file on a modern computer with the launch instructions by program and have the basic program load that menu file.  It is a nice little project.  I do not know file i/o in Coco basic at all however.

There was a BASIC menu program I typed in from a magazine back in the day.  I'm sure it could be modified for use with the CoCo SDC.
Sadly, I don't think I have any CoCo disks anymore.

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http://www.cs.unc.edu/~yakowenk/coco/text/diskbasic.html

 

Ok guys - we have a nice open command for random access.  I think the best way to do it would be to create a launcher .BAS file for every game you wanted to access on the menu.  If we had that then all we need is this in the data file:

 

Game, Status Bar Notes, Launcher Path

 

Now we need to know the right record length to use.  The screen just has to show the game name and we have 32 x 16.  The status bar is going to take the bottom row so that is 32x15.  We need a border but we can do that with black so we us two characters across and two characters down.  So that is 30x13.  We need a title row so that is 12.  If we do 9 characters per game we can get 3 across which would be 36 games per screen.  The status bar is 32 characters long, so we have that length.  Lastly the launch path should be whatever the max is for the OS but since we don't know that and we know that we have an 8 character limit if we want to stay compliant, lets just go 3 nested so we can cover:

 

"ABCDEFGH/ABCDEFGH/ABCDEFGH/ABCDEFGH.BAS"

 

Now that is 39 bytes for a launch path.  We have 9 bytes for the game, 32 bytes for the Status Bar notes and 39 bytes for the launcher.  80 bytes per game entry.  We'll be using random access because the SDC is nice and fast.  Text mode ASCII should be fine for our purposes.  There are 652 games on my SDC off of the Games-C2 directory.  It will take 52,160 bytes to hold all of those games which is noise space for the SDC. 

 

(Anybody know the file size addressing limit in the SDC Disk Basic?)

 

I wish I had a great dev environment for my coco-2.  What is the best emulator to use?

 

Chris

 

 

 

 

 

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I wish I had a great dev environment for my coco-2.  What is the best emulator to use?

 

Chris

 

I've only used two emulators so far. Xroar on OS X and VCC for Windows. VCC, bear in mind, emulates a Coco 3, but has quite a few customization options.

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It took me a while to sort out the documentation for the CocoSDC, and I would love to see a menu system too. 

 

I wrote up some basic instructions when I was dealing with it, as much for myself in a month or a year when I pick it back up again, as for everyone else. The link is here:

 

https://sites.google.com/site/cocosdquick/

 

Since the CFFA3000 for Apple II systems was my first flash card adapter for vintage computers, everything I use is compared to that, and nothing measures up. It has a simple menu driven interface, some disk imaging options (wish it could do copy protected stuff too), and is very reliable. It should  be the template for all similar devices. A menu system like that one for Coco would be awesome.

 

That being said, I'm on the verge of messing around with FreHD and MISE for TRS-80 Model I. I hope those are somewhat friendly to use. 

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