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Max_Chatsworth

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Posted (edited)

Do you remember your first useful program ....something of substance/note beyond:

 

10 PRINT "HELLO Max Chatsworth"

20 GOTO 10


What was your first computer you used...and what year/how old were you?  What languages and gear?

 

Are you still a programmer today?  If so what kind of work are you doing?  

 

 

Edited by Max_Chatsworth
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My first "Hello" program was on a TRS 80 using basic in 8th grade.  My first useful program was in Atari 8bit Basic in 10th or 11th grade. Simple inventory management programs, and attempts at games. Made a Kaboom style, a mazegame style, and and Airwolf interactive story adventure game back then which was fun for exactly 2 plays. :)

 

Majored in Computer Science in college, and was in MIS / IT field ever since.  

 

Edit - it's funny how memories start to return after I start thinking about something.  I now remember I did a Blackjack game in Atari Basic. And some kind of space game,  ripping off Star Raiders.  I spent some time on this one but only partially recall it.  It had a hyperspace sequence where you tried to keep the scope centered. I remember at the beginning  of each stage there was an animated sequence where a vector space structure approached you , redrawn  bigger frame by frame... But I cannot recall the main gameplay at all now. Crap,  this is going to bother me now. Maybe I never finished it. 

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In sixth grade, I wrote an Atari BASIC program to give me remainders from division problems rather than decimal answers.

Obviously not particularly intricate, but awfully handy at the time. :)

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Can't remember what my first useful program or game was.

 

Early ones I did on multiple computers were variants of Surround (the 2600 game) and the Lunar Lander types.

And Escape which I later redid and renamed as Moon Shuttle (not really related to the arcade of the same name).

 

The best Lunar Lander game was on the 800XL, I did that in Basic + asm with a bunch of DLIs for plenty of orbiting rocks.

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Posted (edited)

My first ones were graphical stuff. On PMD85, which is super simple Czech school computer with 8080. Programs which draws rocket, or helicopter, from lines. I was like 12. I was never really interested in anything useful, just games and GFX. Basic on PMD had simple software sprites, so I tried making a game with that, but I soon moved to assembler, as it just wasn't sufficient.

I had a book from a friend about machine code for 8080 .. I carefully wrote down all instructions, flags, codes .. but when I returned the book to him I said: ok, I know how to move numbers around, but how can I do anything besides that !? Ah, good times.

And yeah, IT college, and IT work since then. Both our college and early companies were all friends from IT club on elementary school.

I only moved to Atari recently, as it has best community around here.

Edited by R0ger
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During the latest years at school, I wrote some simple BASIC games, first using a ZX81 at home and then 600XL and 800XL at school. I also designed a small database for a school event, and a special program for a teacher to speed up the knowledge test (with alternatives) review, using punched cards similar to the old 80 columns IBM ones and a device connected to the joystick port to read them.

 

In the recent few years, I've been programing in BASIC again, releasing many small games.

 

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It would be cool to see all the old programs people did or see them re created... even expanded on... giving some inspiration or ideas to the base

 

AD&D stuff always interested, so many different hand made one's were done, seeing them all and picking the best parts of each could lead to an extremely well don suite for the 8 bit, many used pre campaign, some used during. :)

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Posted (edited)

That I wrote? Nope. I remember one of the first (possibly THE first) listing I typed into a computer, though. Pretty sure it was in C&VG and it was Snake for the Spectrum. So, I'm one of the lucky few who know that Nokia didn't invent it.

Edit: Actually, I think I do remember the first meaningful program I actually completed and used. It was a pixel plotter on the A8. I used it, with the help of graph paper, to methodically create, pixel by pixel, a recreation of a screenshot from Xenon and the title screen to Bubble Bobble. Might still have it on a disk somewhere. Really need to get my stuff set up again so I can go through all those lovely floppies.

Edited by Tickled_Pink
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22 minutes ago, _The Doctor__ said:

It would be cool to see all the old programs people did or see them re created... even expanded on... giving some inspiration or ideas to the base

 

AD&D stuff always interested, so many different hand made one's were done, seeing them all and picking the best parts of each could lead to an extremely well don suite for the 8 bit, many used pre campaign, some used during. :)

I had a character gen/sheet, a monster creator (made my own monster manual with it since most of my players had bought the MM and knew the stats and weakness of the monsters by heart) and a map/dungeon layout creator. I was limited to what the 1027 could print to draw those map since it's all that I had at the time.

 

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I wrote a rudimentary Apple II program that kept track of every student, their grades, absences, etc. back in the mid 80s for my high school in Pascal. I went back in the early 90s to visit and they were still using it, much to my amazement.

I wrote some interesting stuff when I was a CS student in college but don’t remember much of what I did. The last programming I did was back in the 90s when I contributed to some open source stuff. Now I can barely write a simple Basic program. You don’t use it you lose it I guess.

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I got my 800 XE in 1988 as gift for my 'Jugendweihe'. That day I typed in the first BASIC programme from the manual and adjusted some of the errors that where in the book. Later I did some things in Turbobasic and Quick. Then I learned coding in 6502 ASM. 

In the school we did a lot with Turbopascal. I used my Falcon with Purepascal... A lot better UI and much faster than the machines in school 🙂

 

Actually I code most times in 6502 ASM (a big project is on the way 😉) and at work some VB.NET.

 

Known (?) work: some intros for NYD, Another Pong, some intros for ABBUC e.V. Magazin, GFX0SCROLLS, Purepascal library for using Jagpad

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First computer I used:  Wang 2200T in 1979.  I learned BASIC on it.

First computer I owned:  Sinclair ZX81 in 1981.  I ordered the kit version for $99.99 out of a magazine.  The assembled version was $149.99.  I later got the 16K RAM Pack for it.  I still remember the pain of having the RAM Pack come loose and losing all of my work.

Second Computer I owned:  Atari 800 in 1983.  It took me a while to save up enough money to buy the 800 & a 1050 floppy drive.  I used it with the 12" B&W TV I got for the ZX81 until I could buy a 17" color TV.  For a long time, I kept the B&W TV stacked on top of the color TV.  I programmed mostly in BASIC, but also learned 6502 assembly and did a lot in that as well.

Third Computer I owned:  Atari 130XE.  I had both Ataris hooked up to the same TV using RF and could switch between them.

Fourth Computer I owned:  Poquet PC, an 8088 clamshell portable that ran on 2 AA batteries, monochrome LCD CGA display, had MSDOS 3.3 and used PCMCIA cards as "floppies".  I got this one since I worked at the company in the early 90s working on the BIOS.  I had never used x86 assembly before, and was not familiar with the PC BIOS, so I was "clean".  When I started there, my manager had me first write a "Hello World" program in assembly using the microsoft assembler, then a TSR to do something simple.  After that, I wrote a simple character-based Pac-Man game (I used the solid & hollow smiley characters for the ghosts, and the <V>^ characters (they alternated with another character to eat, maybe the line characters - |, or maybe an O, I don't remember?) and showed it to my manager.  He said something like, "OK, you've got the hang of it.  Now on to some real work."

Fifth computer I owned:  AMD 486 DX4 PC that I put together around '93 or '94.  I didn't really do much with this one, and had packed away all of my Ataris by then.  I used computers at work all day and wasn't interested in using them at home, and had developed some other hobbies by then.

 

I still have the first 4 computers.  I'm retired now, after a career programming almost entirely in assembly language starting with the 8088, 486 & Pentium, and then on various common (Microchip, Zilog, Cypress) and proprietary microcontrollers.  It is not an exaggeration to say that my fw is in billions of devices. 😀

 

Now that I have some free time, I have dug back out my Ataris and am getting back into them.  I do miss having a paycheck, though....

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Max_Chatsworth said:

Do you remember your first useful program ....something of substance/note beyond:

 

10 PRINT "HELLO Max Chatsworth"

20 GOTO 10


What was your first computer you used...and what year/how old were you?  What languages and gear?

 

 

My first useful program was written for my TRS-80 Model 1 in BASIC back in 1981.  I was 17 at the time.

My friends and I were into wargaming at the time, and our "Goto Game" was "Star Fleet Battles".

The game was fun - but a turn could take HOURS - since there was so much bookkeeping performed.

 

The biggest time sink for our gaming group was damage allocation.  If a ships shields were knocked down during an attack - you used two 6 sided dies to roll damage on a complex chart.

If you rolled a 7 (for example) , you would find the row for 7 in the chart, and read the damage type from the first column for that row.

If your ship no longer had any of those, then you'd move to the next column for 7 and take that kind of damage.

 

It was very common to have have 50, 60 or more hits that needed resolved before game play could continue.

One person would roll the dice, another would look it up on the damage allocation chart, and the person whose ship was being attacked would dutifully record it.

 

For the rest of the group - watching and listening was about as much fun as watching paint dry, and it took almost as long.

 

My program reduced the number of people involved to just 2, the person recording the damage on his ship - and the person hitting ENTER for the next damage roll.

It made it quicker - but seeing that my model 1 wasn't very portable - it was impractical for every day use.

 

1 hour ago, Max_Chatsworth said:

Are you still a programmer today?  If so what kind of work are you doing?  

 

 

 

Yes.

I write programs in Python (mainly) to test new firmware builds for wireless networking products that the company I work for develops.

Just like back in 1981, I'm still automating repetitive tasks using computers.

 

Edited by Calibus
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Posted (edited)

I wrote a lot of things back then, I don't remember which was first.   But I wrote various utilities (some for AD&D as well)

I wrote maze games, a casino game with slot machines and blackjack, a Xevious style game, an Ultima-style game that I was working on forever, a tetris-style game, a text adventure parser.

 

A lot of my things were "lost" by the 410 cassette recorder lol.   I remember writing a series of simple games inspired by Dragon's Lair.  They would present an ATASCII scene, and you would issue a joystick command to get out of your predicament.  I finished 3 of those game, I started working on a fourth one which was going to be a lot more advanced, but I kept losing the code, and had to start from scratch 2 or 3 times before giving up.

 

EDIT:  I did manage to keep the code to some of my stuff from those days,  but some is unfortunately lost.

 

I do some programming for my job, sometimes for personal projects.   But not as much as I did back then

Edited by zzip
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My first computer was an Atari 800. I remember programming three games, all in Atari Basic. All three were written somewhere between 1979-1981. The first was a Snake copy. The second was a blocky Donkey Kong knock-off, where you had to get to the top of the platforms to rescue a golden trophy (with only two screens). And the third was a knock-off of Climber 5, which at the time I didn't know about. I was trying to combine Donkey Kong and Preppie. You had to climb to the place where the dot was, touch it, and then return to the staring point, without getting caught by the monsters. All three were lost when my disks went kaput in the 1990s.

These days I tinker with Linux distros, but I really would like to learn to program games again. I suppose I should start reading and learning and then give it a go. I was never a very good programmer, but I really enjoyed it.

 

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I actually do not remember the exact year, must have been 83 when I got an 800 XL, which literally fell off an Atari truck. ;)

For the first few weeks I only had the computer and no mass storage. So I typed in listings from magazines and hoped that no one switches off the computer.

In school I used it for for my math homework, but sadly I do not have the tapes with my math helper programs anymore. No one realized that I was using a computer, as simply no one else had one. But then I got so lazy, that I printed out the results with my 1020 and glued it into my exercise book.

Never did something really advanced or fancy but after learning Java, Javascript, C#, PHP, Perl etc. for my job, I started digging into coding on the Atari again and now are improving my BASIC skills and started learning assembly language.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Max_Chatsworth said:

Do you remember your first useful program ....something of substance/note beyond:

 

10 PRINT "HELLO Max Chatsworth"

20 GOTO 10


What was your first computer you used...and what year/how old were you?  What languages and gear?

 

Are you still a programmer today?  If so what kind of work are you doing?  

 

 

 

The first program I wrote was in BASIC on an Apple II, which was a school computer.  The program was kind of a Choose Your Own Adventure game. Not sure what year probably 80/81 so I would have been 8 or 9.    The first computer I owned was a TI-99/4A.

 

Yep, still a programmer, writing web apps in C# as my day job.  Still writing code on my Atari as a hobby.

 

Edited by Gibstov
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My first exposure to programming was BASIC programming on the Atari 2600. Through an unusual set of circumstances, I ended up with keyboard controllers for my 2600. So, I went looking for something to use them with and found BASIC.

 

As simple as the experience was, I was hooked.

 

I got an Atari 800 in January, 1982 and I wrote a slot machine and a game called Money Hungry (which I reproduced from scratch a few years ago after having lost all my original disks due to downsizing offer the years). I also wrote a program to create paper inserts for Audio Cassettes that listed the cassette name on the spine and the contents on the side.

 

That fall, our school got a PC lab with Apple ][e's. They offered computer classes. I talked to the teacher and told him what I had been doing on the Atari and he suggested I skip the first class and go into the advanced class.

 

In school, we wrote a program in Pascal to play Kalah. The game had to be one-player against the computer. You could make the computer as simple as just randomly picking moves or as smart as you wanted. The game let you choose whether the person or the computer went first and we had a tournament playing 2 computers next to each other with a competing program running on each one. Best of three coin toss to see who goes first.

 

My program came in second, likely because I lost the coin toss.

 

When I got my ST, I didn't program too much on it, but did do some things in BASIC.

 

I spent a lot of time programming Hypercard Stacks on Macintosh, including a DM and Player stack for AD&D. (When the DM would attack, it would say ouch for every point of damage it did to the player.)

 

I programmed in a language called CASL (Cannot believe the site is still (somewhat) active) for Palm Pilots and released several games for it including Comp IV and Merlin clones. I also wrote an app called Apprentice for D&D and Decker for Shadowrun.

 

I have a few score card apps (Miniature Golf, Mexican Train Dominoes, a card game called 13) in the iOS App Store that I wrote in Corona.

 

In my professional life, I started out of college programming IBM 370 Mainframe Assembler for a bank that I still work at today. I don't do as much coding now as most of our software is purchased, but I get to do a little here and there.

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My first program I was proud of was named "VEGAS JACKPOT II". It was a crude slot machine emulation written in Atari BASIC - three reels (no graphics, just numbers on the reels), but it had PMG overlays. It was written in 1995 and I was 11 years old. It took me three days to program, but meant a lot to me.

 

Next significant one was a silly game called Mr. GAXX. A white PMG character jumping over boxes made of GRAPHICS 2 characters. Multiple screens, energy indicator, joystick controls, collision detection, ML routine for quick vertical movement of the PMG character.

 

I once rescued the games from tape (it was "EMGETON LH" - my only Emgeton tape I ever had) and I still have these games. Good when you want to see something amusing or you need an deterrent examples for beginner programmers.

 

Yes, humble beginnings, but also a foundation of my later career in IT.

 

 

 

 

 

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Good question.

 

I consider myself a "hobbyist" programmer at best. None of my stuff has ever been "ready for prime time", that's for sure. But I have written a few programs for various needs I've had over the years.

 

My first program was written in Atari Basic on an 800xl. The first few I can't even remember. Let's see, I wrote one that made loading screens for games. Then I wrote one in Basic XE that split up large files and also reassembled the smaller files back into the original large file. And there were some others in between I can't remember. I also wrote several little "modules" in Action! for BBS Express Pro. I was about to dig into Assembly but then I ended up getting an Atari ST and that new environment took away my 8Bit time.

 

I "dabbled" in GFA basic during my short stint on the ST, never really wrote anything of note, and then a friend gave me an old 386 PC and I found myself moving on again.

 

I've written several little "utils" on the PC over the years, all command-line oriented and written in FreeBasic. They're geared toward certain tasks, usually where I can't find a program to accomplish the task or I'm not satisfied with said programs that are available. Let see, I've done a file appending program, a file renamer, a Hex dumper, a string searcher(similar to MS FIND), a password generator, several text file utils, several utils that work with file-lists, a CRC calculator, a MS WAV file splitter/combiner, an MP3 time/stats lister, a program to generate batch files to assist in the creation of animated GIFs, and even some Atari 8-bit related ones like an ATR directory lister and file integrity checker, Koala2BMP, ATASCII to ASC converter, ATR patcher for old SIO2PC files to work in emulators, ATR file extractor, and an ATR Boot Disk Menu Maker. There's also a couple others "in progress".

 

It's been an ongoing thing....Seems like I'm always finding a need to write another little util for something.

 

 

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I learned Z80 on a TRS-80 that I saved up on a paper route to buy used. Later I got a 400, again self bought, learned 6502 (and also BASIC). Never really stopped programming, went on to 68000, C, C++. After college all of my jobs have been development related.

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First computer a borrowed Commodore PET, just typed simple BASIC programs from the manual and toyed with them, also

tinkered with machine code.

 

That started me into Computers and they were a focal point for the rest of my working life, was lucky to do some amazing stuff over the years

and although retired now, I still write some software most every day, mostly for my 8 Bits, but also ST's , Arduino, Raspberry Pi, even Cygwin64.

 

It showed my how diverse a career you could have if you were lucky to be around when this all started.

I was trained as an Aircraft Navigation and Autopilot Engineer in the RAF, but was lucky to be drafted to a section that wrote programs

to do in-circuit testing of aircraft PCB's, later I designed/built/programmed a more sophisticated Auotmated Test System for

Aircraft "Black Boxes". 

 

I left the RAF and went to work for a Major High street bank, how different could that be ?

and later as a Test Analyst testing major infrastructure systems for lots of major companies including the Gas and Electricity

network infrastructure.

 

Retired now, I miss some of that, but not the pressure etc.

It's all for fun these days and I'm so very glad I kept all my Atari stuff and found you guys here 💗

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My first computer was a ZX Spectrum (or rather the households first computer). I don't recall writing anything meaningful on it, apart from listings from magazines.

The first really useful program I wrote was a simple payroll system, on my 800XL, so that my father knew what to pay me each week.

My first commercial application was a DTP app for a local cartoonist, written for Windows 3.1 in 1990 (?).

Still programming for a living, but miss the days of when you had to really think about how to fit what you wanted into memory and how to get the best performance out of things.

 

Some of my peers (mostly at least 10 years younger than me) wonder why I spend so much time trying to optimise code and avoiding libraries to keep app sizes down and performance up. I guess it's a hang up of when we had to do everything ourselves.

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