Jump to content
pboland

COMPUTER INTRO! Can I do this?

Recommended Posts

I've always wanted to be able to program a game for the OD2. The problem is, I know nothing about programming. So, I'm hoping by using the COMPUTER INTRO cart I will have a little bit better idea of what it might take to program a game for the system.

 

Yes, I know this cart is just a primer and you really can't program a game with it. I'm just trying to get my foot in the door with programing for the OD2.

 

I've read that COMPUTER INTRO is actually quite good for what it is. I'm not sure how much (if any) of this cart really applies to actual OD2 programing, but I thought it would be a good experiment to see if a total non-programmer can truly follow it and if it really helps to get me closer to programming a game (1978 style). 

 

So, I guess this topic is going to be me documenting my progress and if I have any issues (hopefully those in the know can help) :)

 

I don't know, it might be a total waste of time, but either way it will be interesting to hear others thoughts on the COMPUTER INTRO! cart and what I'm trying to do.

 

One other thing, I had to print out the huge manual for this cart as I don't have the original spiral bound manual. I do however have the three panel reference Flow chart "thingy" (technical term)🤪

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve need to revisit this gem. Of course you can’t store anything you write so strike one.

 

I seem to remember output being limited to one row/line so strike two.

 

The manual was fascinating and it really was programmable. Always remember it as being cool to do something nobody else could in the 70s.

 

Great imagination fuel.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/8/2021 at 12:40 AM, Airshack said:

I’ve need to revisit this gem. Of course you can’t store anything you write so strike one.

 

I seem to remember output being limited to one row/line so strike two.

 

The manual was fascinating and it really was programmable. Always remember it as being cool to do something nobody else could in the 70s.

 

Great imagination fuel.

Yes, you are correct about not storing programs and the one row output. To be honest I don't think the storage issue is really that much of an issue. The max size of program you can make is only 100 lines (00-99) and since the commands are quite small it doesn't take that long to input a program. At least from what I've done so far.

 

One line output is fine by me cause it's less to worry about at my level of understanding. :)

 

I have started using this cart. I thought the membrane keyboard would be terrible, but to my surprise it isn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'm not saying it's great or it wouldn't be better to have a real mechanic keyboard, but it really isn't as bad as I thought it would be. My guess is because we are all use to pushing buttons on a glass screens these days. It helps that my O2's keyboard is quite sensitive too. So, I don't have to push that hard.

 

I've only made it to the second program in the manual, but I'm currently playing around with what little of learned (modifying the code to change little things here and there).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very small update/comment,

 

It looks as if the "YES" & "NO" keys are the same as the "Y" and "N" keys. At least based on the output I'm seeing. And from what I can tell those are the only duplicated keys on the keyboard.

 

Were any games made that used the "YES" and "NO" keys as input?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, pboland said:

Very small update/comment,

 

It looks as if the "YES" & "NO" keys are the same as the "Y" and "N" keys. At least based on the output I'm seeing. And from what I can tell those are the only duplicated keys on the keyboard.

 

Were any games made that used the "YES" and "NO" keys as input?

I want to say that at least one of the Master Strategy games used them - The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt, possibly.  I think Blackjack may have as well, but it's been a long time.

 

Out of curiosity, what's giving you the Y/N output for YES/NO keypresses?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, x=usr(1536) said:

I want to say that at least one of the Master Strategy games used them - The Great Wall Street Fortune Hunt, possibly.  I think Blackjack may have as well, but it's been a long time.

 

Out of curiosity, what's giving you the Y/N output for YES/NO keypresses?

Well, I'm not 100% sure those key are truly identical. I was playing around with the "Addition - Program C" program and even though it's meant for numbers I was pressing letters just to see what would happen. Each letter had some kind number assigned to it? (Hex code maybe?) The key "Y" would return the same number as the "YES" key. And the "N" and "NO" keys returned the same number as well. Again, I don't know if this is 100% proof, but at least in this little program those were seen as the same key press.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, pboland said:

Well, I'm not 100% sure those key are truly identical. I was playing around with the "Addition - Program C" program and even though it's meant for numbers I was pressing letters just to see what would happen. Each letter had some kind number assigned to it? (Hex code maybe?) The key "Y" would return the same number as the "YES" key. And the "N" and "NO" keys returned the same number as well. Again, I don't know if this is 100% proof, but at least in this little program those were seen as the same key press.

 

My recollection is that they aren't the same, but by the same token it's been quite a while since I would've been poking around in that neck of the woods.

 

Try this: if you have the Speedway / Spinout / Crypto-Logic cartridge, start up Crypto-Logic.  Enter a word with both the letters 'Y' and 'N' in it; see if it works.  Now try the same word again, substituting 'YES' and 'NO' for 'Y' and 'N'.  I'm reasonably certain that 'YES' and 'NO' will not appear as 'Y' and 'N'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, x=usr(1536) said:

 

My recollection is that they aren't the same, but by the same token it's been quite a while since I would've been poking around in that neck of the woods.

 

Try this: if you have the Speedway / Spinout / Crypto-Logic cartridge, start up Crypto-Logic.  Enter a word with both the letters 'Y' and 'N' in it; see if it works.  Now try the same word again, substituting 'YES' and 'NO' for 'Y' and 'N'.  I'm reasonably certain that 'YES' and 'NO' will not appear as 'Y' and 'N'.

I just tried the Crypto-Logic game. The game see YES & NO the same as Y & N. No difference.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, pboland said:

I just tried the Crypto-Logic game. The game see YES & NO the same as Y & N. No difference.

 

Hm.  OK.  Don't know what to say, then - it's possible that they generate the same keycodes, but it's also possible that the software reacts to them as if they do even though they aren't.

 

Short of disassembling the O2 BIOS or game itself to see what's going on, checking the traces on the keyboard would at least rule out a physical connection and give credence to (but not completely prove) the idea that 'Y' and 'N' are generating the same keypresses as 'YES' and 'NO'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/8/2021 at 7:06 AM, pboland said:

 

I've only made it to the second program in the manual, but I'm currently playing around with what little of learned (modifying the code to change little things here and there).

Very cool and good for you! This being an assembly intro cart makes it more interesting than a really limited BASIC intro cart.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/23/2021 at 7:28 PM, Airshack said:

Very cool and good for you! This being an assembly intro cart makes it more interesting than a really limited BASIC intro cart.

Thanks!

So far the programing manual is set-up to program in hex first. That's where all the explanation is done. The assembly is listed at the end of each program mainly as reference. I've been trying to enter the programs both ways (mainly to try and understand each function). The more I work with this cart the more I'm starting to understand. And to be honest the harder it's looking as if I would ever be able to make a functioning game. There is just so much to keep track of.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/19/2021 at 7:30 PM, pboland said:

It looks as if the "YES" & "NO" keys are the same as the "Y" and "N" keys. At least based on the output I'm seeing. And from what I can tell those are the only duplicated keys on the keyboard.

 

Were any games made that used the "YES" and "NO" keys as input?

That's correct.

On Odyssey2, Videopac, Videopac+ and variants, Y and N keys are electrically the same as YES and NO respectively. No software can differentiate between them.

 

g7000.thumb.jpg.242938e8d75789e3e3cfd55fa93b7946.jpg

 

jet_25_keyboard.thumb.jpg.9f2a1fb8b42e54ec08c999fa8c259371.jpg

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I wanted to give an update to this topic. I got to page 60 in the book (One Digit Division) and I haven't gotten back to it since. I had a lot of things come up, but I going to try to get back into this.

 

I'd like to say I'm just scratching the surface of Assembler programing for the OD2, but to be honest I think it's more of just a scratch of a scratch. This is just a primer and I don't know if its really going to help me get any closer to learning to program for the OD2. I'm beginning to think I'm just not cut out to program. You have to be a very detail oriented person, and my wife (who is a programmer) had to help me better understand a few of the lessons in this program. I (we) did a slight detour as I wanted to make a small program for a "running man". With my wife's help, I did it (well, she did most of it). I definitely have a much greater appreciation for people who can program games for these consoles.

 

Anyway, I'm going to get all the way to the end on this program. I just need to find the time to do some more with it.

 

BTW @ alex_79, Thanks for the confirmation on the "Yes" & "No" keys.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/19/2021 at 7:00 PM, pboland said:

This is just a primer and I don't know if its really going to help me get any closer to learning to program for the OD2. I'm beginning to think I'm just not cut out to program.

You're making a giant mistake by assuming that 40+ year old consumer programming tools are in fact "intro." The best way to train yourself to program on a retro system is to use modern software tools on a modern PC. Wrap your mind around that fact that we've had 40+ years to develop tools (editors, manuals, cross assemblers, graphics toolkits, emulators, etc) which greatly assist one in learning to program a retro system in 2021.

 

Saying retro-programming is not for you after using the O2's Computer Intro cartridge is like saying you'll never learn to surf after trying to surf using a piece of driftwood. Modern surfboards make it easier.

 

It works like this:

 

1. You design the game framework using a graphics editor, not graph-paper as was done in the 70/80s.

2. You code your game using a modern editor on a modern (portable too) computer, not the Odyssey2 (NOTE: games of the era were not created on the O2 either)

     - ask around AtariAge and you will find the best editor for the system you are coding for....

3. Modern games for retro systems can be written in Assembly which is a poor place to begin. Many retro systems have BASIC language programming kits which allow you to use a compiler to transform BASIC code to Machine Language.

 

Ask around....

 

In my humble opinion the Odyssey2 Computer Intro cartridge is nothing more than an interesting artifact. Good on you for learning it because some really important concepts are covered in there...GOOD JOB! I plan to revisit that manual and cart now that I've got a few BASIC and Assembly games (TI-99/4A) under my belt. The only reason I'll revisit it is for nostalgia. I'm going to have a great time doing so but have zero expectations that it will really teach me anything meaningful. It was aimed at people whom had never touched a real computer. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/24/2021 at 1:25 PM, Airshack said:

You're making a giant mistake by assuming that 40+ year old consumer programming tools are in fact "intro." The best way to train yourself to program on a retro system is to use modern software tools on a modern PC. Wrap your mind around that fact that we've had 40+ years to develop tools (editors, manuals, cross assemblers, graphics toolkits, emulators, etc) which greatly assist one in learning to program a retro system in 2021.

 

Saying retro-programming is not for you after using the O2's Computer Intro cartridge is like saying you'll never learn to surf after trying to surf using a piece of driftwood. Modern surfboards make it easier.

 

It works like this:

 

1. You design the game framework using a graphics editor, not graph-paper as was done in the 70/80s.

2. You code your game using a modern editor on a modern (portable too) computer, not the Odyssey2 (NOTE: games of the era were not created on the O2 either)

     - ask around AtariAge and you will find the best editor for the system you are coding for....

3. Modern games for retro systems can be written in Assembly which is a poor place to begin. Many retro systems have BASIC language programming kits which allow you to use a compiler to transform BASIC code to Machine Language.

 

Ask around....

 

In my humble opinion the Odyssey2 Computer Intro cartridge is nothing more than an interesting artifact. Good on you for learning it because some really important concepts are covered in there...GOOD JOB! I plan to revisit that manual and cart now that I've got a few BASIC and Assembly games (TI-99/4A) under my belt. The only reason I'll revisit it is for nostalgia. I'm going to have a great time doing so but have zero expectations that it will really teach me anything meaningful. It was aimed at people whom had never touched a real computer. 

Thanks for the insight.

 

I can tell you that I am very much aware that one doesn't program games on a video game system. As to what I've found about coding games for the OD2 is, they are pretty much still written in Assembly using a text editor (like Notepad++). The text file is converted to a .bin and ran in a emulator for testing. As far as I can tell, there really is no modern tools (other than the text editors and emulators) that is used to program games for the OD2.

 

I know for the Atari 2600 there is "Batari Basic" which is modern framework for making Atari 2600 games. If you know of some modern tools/framework that can make it easier for me to understand and code OD2 games, I'm all ears.

 

My purpose for using "Computer Intro" was to get a very basic understanding of how the OD2 works. I've programed in Basic back in college (1994 time frame), but it was to run CNC machines. As a mater of fact it was Qbasic. I never really retained that info as I never had to use it outside of school. That time frame things changed really quickly and programing in Qbasic for CNC was obsolete by early 1995 (at least in my area). I've never had to program anything like a game. Sure I've made small basic programs that were used to calculate things, but those never approached the complexity of anything more than displaying a number and a small line of text.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/19/2021 at 10:00 PM, pboland said:

I'd like to say I'm just scratching the surface of Assembler programing for the OD2, but to be honest I think it's more of just a scratch of a scratch. This is just a primer and I don't know if its really going to help me get any closer to learning to program for the OD2. I'm beginning to think I'm just not cut out to program. You have to be a very detail oriented person, and my wife (who is a programmer) had to help me better understand a few of the lessons in this program. I (we) did a slight detour as I wanted to make a small program for a "running man". With my wife's help, I did it (well, she did most of it). I definitely have a much greater appreciation for people who can program games for these consoles.

Don't be discouraged! The Intro is fantastic fun and you learn a lot at the low level with machine code, but it's low level so everything is tedious.

 

Consider You have 100 lines for code with the O2 Assembly intro while the Atari BASIC Programming intro for the 2600 allows only 9 lines of code but because it's BASIC actual games and musical compositions can be coded in 9 lines as shown in this fun demo video

 

BASIC is where it's at for not needing to be detail oriented because it's designed to be extra high level handling many of the detail oriented tasks that would take many lines in asm and other high level languages not designed for beginners.

 

Using BASIC to create Arcade retro console games Today:

 

You may like SuperCharger Disk BASIC and batari BASIC for the Atari 2600 console or IntyBASIC for the Intellivision, they let you create video games with minimal coding in BASIC that are compiled into Assembly! :) 

 

There are complete examples of writing arcade games in only a few lines of SuperCharger BASIC with a tutorial here

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...