Sunday, 31 October 2021

RetroChallenge 2021: Happy Halloween!

Well just to prove that I haven't been completely skiving off lately, here are some videos of a couple of projects that I have been doing this month.  The first is the slide show from the Cocotalk Live presentation I did a week ago.  The kind folks there organized a show focused on the MC-10.  Great to finally see some of the folks I've been corresponding with since the days of the old MC-10 Yahoo group.  Anyone remember Yahoo?  Thanks especially to Curtis Boyle for all the coordinating for the show.  

The other video is of a program called DRAC that I worked on recently.  James Host the admin of the MC-10 Facebook group challenged folks to come up with some seasonal programs.  So I whipped up something quickly over an evening.  Just stole some ASCII graphics of Dracula and some lips with fangs from the Net.  Plot them using SET/RESET.  Little graphic work with my SKETCH program for some big text and graphics for a few wee animated bats and Bob's your uncle.

I decided to put them on my real MC-10 and then put them on a loop using the MCX-SD.  Just have each program RUN the other.  MCX BASIC lets you use a filename with RUN so you can easily chain programs together.  Who says BASIC isn't useful anymore!

Saturday, 30 October 2021

RetroChallenge 2021: Greg Dionne's BASIC Compiler Compared to Interpreted BASIC

Well this hasn't been my most productive Retrochallenge. My real job has finally caught up with me and I find myself unable to devote the same amount of time I used to for coding.  Or perhaps it is simply life that has caught up with me and body, so that I no longer have the spare energy to devote to amount of coding I might otherwise like to do.  I can't be sure.

In any case I can report that Les Cavernes basically works as I think it was intended to work.  It's simply not an overly great game. It's a simple little type-in program RPG/Text adventure hybrid that provides a very basic level of game play.  Still, an interesting little bit of type-in history.

My compiled Freecell is working well.  It seems to play a decent little game of solitaire.  And all I had to do was mangle a beautifully designed piece of QBasic code (nicely indented and without line numbers) into a GOTOed piece of nightmarish 8-bit Color Basic code.  Kind of like taking a Porsche and removing the body and putting a rusty Volkswagen Beatle body on to the chassis instead. The original code was from some French bloke.  His site can be found here:

He's got a bunch of other programs in Qbasic.  Mostly puzzle games.  I might try converting some of these others to Micro Color Basic.  But it was really Freecell I wanted to try.  I thought it would be a good test for Greg Dionne's Basic compiler because QBasic programs are compiled, and I suspected it would run a little slow under regular interpreted Basic on the MC-10.  Here's the comparison:

Interpreted Basic Freecell:

Compiled Basic Freecell:

My wife Patty has played it a number of times.  She's an experienced card player, so I hope her assessment is a good indication that all the bugs are out.  Still if anyone would like to play, it can be played via the following link. After you select "Play" below select the "Educational" programs item and then choose "FREECELL" from the "Cassette" menu of the Javascript emulator and type EXEC in the main window: