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"Hickory, Dickory, Dock" for TI-99/4A, COMPUTE! Magazine Conversion

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Another authorized conversion to the TI-99/4A of programs appearing within COMPUTE! Magazine, from Volume 8, Number 5, Issue 72, May 1986, Pp. 38-49.  This game appeared after COMPUTE! Magazine dropped support for the TI-99/4A.  From the article:
 

Quote

"Hickory, Dickory, Dock" offers an enjoyable way for children to learn how to tell time. Type in the program for your computer, then save a copy before running it. Because every version works much the same, read the general instructions first, then refer to the specific notes for your computer.


When you run Hickory, Dickory, Dock, it displays a round clock face as well as a digital display. Four different activities are available. The first option lets youngsters practice telling time. As the positions of the clock hands change on the screen, the digital clock display changes as well. This shows the relationship between the spatial position of hands on a clock face and the numeric representation of time.

The other three activities test a youngster's time-telling ability for hours only, hours and half-hours, or five-minute intervals. Move the hands to the correct position, then press RETURN (or Enter) to enter the answer. After five correct answers, the program plays a brief song and displays some graphics as a reward. After three incorrect choices, the program automatically moves the clock hands to the correct position.

 

 

I am working on another program and took a break to cast eyes on this. I was surprised to feel it is good enough to present in its original form and I will come back to it later to spruce it up.


My TI-99/4A conversion is built to appear like the Apple II version. I felt it was a superior presentation to the other 8-bit systems, the ST version looked horrid, and I would be hard-pressed to duplicate the graphics of the Amiga version. While this is another tackling during my early programming years and could use a rewrite and optimizing, the end result is not terrible. I was concerned about its performance, but playing the C64 and Apple versions in emulation I find that it is pretty much on-par. In fact, with some optimization and a version for Extended BASIC, it could out-perform the original versions.

While comparing the game in emulation, I was reminded the Apple II version does something really cool with the hour hand. The hour hand is positioned commensurate to the minute hand.  For instance, the hour hand is half-way between hours at the 30-minute mark. I remember typing this game into the class computer and playing it, but I had forgotten about my deliberations on replicating this and deciding it was too much graphics to work with.

 

AppleWin_ScreenShot_000000001.png.96cbb42c1e089081c7f3d11470a596af.png     HDD_420.png.e4e181275e57b139900a01bc0b2606c7.png

Apple II screen on left showing hour hand proportionate positioning, versus the Commodore 64 screen on the right

in which the minute hand covers the hour hand.

 

875008780_hickorydickorydock(1988).png.46450f4c4a52f19603c3b14eb32ccb85.png

TI-99/4A Conversion

 

My conversion was written on a console with only the Program Recorder. I discovered in later years that if the final COMPUTE! authorized release from 1990 is run on a system with a disk controller, the program runs out of memory even after issuing CALL FILES(1). This post includes my original 1988 version, only.  The two should be functionally the same, just in 1990 I included the COMPUTE! disclaimer which is a lot of text.

HDD1988.zip

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8 hours ago, HOME AUTOMATION said:

Say, do you know if that uses the 9901's timer!?

As the string says, "I'm a frayed knot."

 

But, I did get my 1990 version to load into Classic99 using CALL FILES(0) and loading it from tape.  In 1990 I added the hands to the controls area at the bottom, and also made "H" and "M" advance the respective hand, while "1" and "2" move the hand backward.  This was to help compensate for the performance lag in drawing hands: if we start at 12:00 and the time to match is 11:55, a lot of time is spent getting there.  I had considered starting the hands from random positions, as well, but that is not part of the original game.  I also found a couple of my original graphics worksheets so when I do the 2021 release it will be included.

 

288176921_hickorydickorydock(1990).png.5eb99112b567a99135a5bff1d54a8b87.png

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Getting the clock hands to display properly is not trivial in TI BASIC as you have to re-define characters on the fly. I remember doing something similar in XB to draw a function. Very nicely done.

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2 hours ago, Vorticon said:

Getting the clock hands to display properly is not trivial in TI BASIC as you have to re-define characters on the fly. I remember doing something similar in XB to draw a function. Very nicely done.

Tah.  I have a graphics sheet where I plotted all of the positions from 0° to 90° over eight characters for each, except for 0°, 90°, 180°, and 270° which use only one character as they are straight.  The definitions are stored in an array, and the characters for each hand are redefined as moved.  In this program each hand position has a static routine which plots the hands, with the appropriate stop point for the short hour hand.  I probably should have stored those H and V coordinates in an array, also, maybe working out a relative formulation for each quadrant.  Between loose programming and a lot of char data, memory is tight!

 

I was 14 years-old at the time and had only ever had access to BASIC.  Later that year I would get a MiniMemory and started learning 9900 programming, but only as support routines for BASIC such as character definitions, screen plotting, the [email protected] routine from the MM manual, sprite handling, and little else as I began my move to the Commodore 64.

 

I am not aware of any other game like this on the TI and I would like to spruce it up before summer visitors :)

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On 5/23/2021 at 8:36 PM, OLD CS1 said:

I have a graphics sheet where I plotted all of the positions from 0° to 90° over eight characters for each, except for 0°, 90°, 180°, and 270° which use only one character as they are straight.

Notice where I also started on the half-hours, but it would have consumed too much memory.

hickory, dickory, dock hands gfx wksht.png

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