BBC micro differences and similarities

Anything relating to non Sinclair computers from the 1980's, 90's or even before.
MrPixel
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BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by MrPixel » Wed May 02, 2018 5:47 pm

How does the BBC micro differ from the zx spectrum in terms of graphics, sound and control? also, what do they share? is there anything that makes the BBC micro stand out?

(for some reason, coding in assembly for the micro is harder than on zxspin)

by the way, the left and right bracket keys have been switched to arrows in Beebem. has anyone else experienced this?
Last edited by MrPixel on Wed May 02, 2018 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PeterJ
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by PeterJ » Wed May 02, 2018 6:36 pm

Apart from being of a similar era there is nothing else I can think of which is similar to the Spectrum.

Sir Clive was not happy when the BBC chose the Acorn BBC rather than his ZX Spectrum as their computer of choice. If you search around there was a BBC documentary about this called Micro Men. It was also widely used in schools. It was also 2 or 3 times the price of the Spectrum and used a different CPU.

I believe it has a built in assembler.

Watch a review here:

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MrPixel
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by MrPixel » Wed May 02, 2018 6:59 pm

this is the article i pulled the idea from:http://www.cracked.com/blog/revisiting- ... ern-gamer/

granted it's a lot shorter than this one (and the author really needs to add a hotkey for reset and allow a way to save to .tap or disc)

Moderation Action (PJ): I have deleted the video as it seems to show a computer screen for 5 seconds then jump straight to a leather repair video. Can you try adding the video again? If you don't do it within two hours, ask R-Tape or I to do it via a PM.
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PeterJ
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by PeterJ » Wed May 02, 2018 7:11 pm

I'm not sure what you are asking? Those screens in the link aren't from a BBC micro.
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Joefish
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by Joefish » Wed May 02, 2018 8:27 pm

The BBC is very different. For a start its BASIC runs a LOT faster than Sinclair BASIC and includes an assembler for programming machine code.

Completely different CPU (6502), though it runs twice as fast as the similar 6510 in the Commodore 64. Processing-wise it's comparable in power with the Speccy, but needs a different approach to programming machine code.

It has multiple graphics modes, from simple text-only (even Teletext compatible) up to hi-res monochrome and per-pixel colour displays. But, it only has 32K of RAM so the more detailed screens can swallow most of that memory leaving little room for program code. Some games use timed interrupts to swap the screen mode part-way down the screen to save memory. Its text-only modes simply store the ASCII code of the character at each position and an INK and PAPER colour for the whole screen. You can't change the colour per-character in TEXT mode.

The pixel modes had 2, 4 or 16 colours, but the machine only actually had 8 colours. Colours 9-15 were the same 8 colours but inverting on a regular flashing cycle. You could redefine the 2, 4, or 16 colours on display to be any of the basic 8 colours or 8 flashing colours, so for example you could define two or more screen colours to appear the same.

It has multi-channel sound, and can hardware scroll the screen left and right (up and down is more complicated). But there's not much memory for screen buffering so anything other than simple scrolling games tend to flicker a lot as the display is redrawn.

There are some brilliant, colourful and noisy clones of early arcade games for it, and it was home to some highly original games (the original Elite and Sentinel, though the former suffers from flicker and the latter is slow).
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Alessandro
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by Alessandro » Wed May 02, 2018 8:56 pm

PeterJ wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 6:36 pm
If you search around there was a BBC documentary about this called Micro Men.
It was not a documentary but a fiction (or "comic drama"). And an enjoyable one, I must say :D I even translated Matt Westcott's subtitles for it into Italian.


PeterJ wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 6:36 pm
It was also widely used in schools.
Here is a photo I took during my visit of the Cambridge Computing History Museum showing what a computer lab in a British school during the '80s would look like (click on it to enlarge it):

Image

Despite this, it was also used for game development, as Joefish pointed out. The second time I went to Rome for the presentation of the Spectrumpedia, a number of historical items were on display, including the BBC Micro used by Dino Dini to code Kick Off.
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PeterJ
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by PeterJ » Wed May 02, 2018 9:04 pm

When I started working as a computer technician in a local College in the very late 80s they still had a BBC Econet network system and a full time network manager for it! I remember a few years later throwing about 300 BBC micros in a skip. Imagine what I could have got on eBay now!
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MrPixel
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by MrPixel » Wed May 02, 2018 9:09 pm

this is the listed basic for my game on Beebem (sorry for the long list)

Image

i need a way to allow for a yes or no choice at line 66
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PeterJ
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by PeterJ » Wed May 02, 2018 9:16 pm

@MrPixel I'm no BBC Micro expert but you want to look at control structures. You can then follow a path depending on the input.

http://central.kaserver5.org/Kasoft/Typ ... /Ch16.html

If you have more detailed questions I suggest you join a BBC micro forum such as stardot.

PS. You can do very similar things in Spectrum BASIC. Read the Spectrum Programming manual I sent you last month.

You seem to have moved from Atari, to Sinclair, to BBC. The C64 was very popular is the USA and has sprites available from BASIC. You may find that an option for you. The BASIC is not very good though IMHO.

The MSX is also an option. Very good BASIC (written by Microsoft) and Sprites from BASIC. Not very popular outside of Japan though. The graphics chip used in the MSX only told you there had been a sprite collision and not which sprites had collided though.
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R-Tape
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Re: BBC micro differences and similarities

Post by R-Tape » Wed May 02, 2018 9:17 pm

PeterJ wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 9:04 pm
When I started working as a computer technician in a local College in the very late 80s they still had a BBC Econet network system and a full time network manager for it! I remember a few years later throwing about 300 BBC micros in a skip. Imagine what I could have got on eBay now!
:o

And I felt bad because I let 2 BBCs go to the skip at my workplace few years ago! I think they were used for data logging, and therefore probably ended up producing bona fide scientific research. I found some ZX81s and 16K Speccys during a cleanout of the more hazardous area of the Chemistry dept, I wondered if they were used for science - and they might have been, but I also found a lot of game cassettes...

@MrPixel email sent about line 66. Don't forget our Wolfman game :mrgreen:
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