What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

The place for codemasters or beginners to talk about programming any language for the Spectrum.
oanime
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by oanime »

ellvis wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 11:11 am
I won't go into details about writing the code (I use VIM as editor, AS as cross-compiler and FUSE for testing, everything chained together using make file), but for the music I can recommend Arkos Tracker 2 http://www.julien-nevo.com/arkostracker/ which run on PC, is multi platform and support directly ZX Spectrum. You have even few player routines to choose from (full player, space restricted player etc.).
Arkos tracker looks awesome. Seriously!

Thanks!
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oanime
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by oanime »

Ralf wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:49 am
The important question here is if you would like to program in assembler or something else?

Because you actually have a choice. You can use assembler, you can use compiled Basic, you can use compiled C
and you can also use a game editor like AGD.

If you decide to go higher language/game editor way then some things become easier and some harder. A lot of stuff
is already done for you so it requires less effort to make a game. But you are also limited to the functionality that your tool offers,
sometimes simply you cannot do things that you would like with the tool.

For graphics you definitely should try out a tool called Sevenup:
http://metalbrain.speccy.org/

It converts PC graphics to Spectrum format. Okay, there actually isn't any Spectrum graphics format :) so it just converts the graphics
to lists of bytes. And you configure the order of bytes yourself and later write yourself a drawing procedure which uses this
chosen order.
I'm definetely going to use ASM. This is just for fun. And using assembler makes me be really focused. I want to create a game for the speccy but I need to taste the metal again :). If I would use AGD for example I would feel guilty in the end ç:D
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Alone Coder
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Alone Coder »

oanime wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 1:27 pm
I see some people just use a text editor and a compiler and man, this is awesome because for me I think I would iterate really slow when hunting bugs. Or am I missing something?
If you use old versions of Sjasmplus, it exports labels in the format that Unreal Speccy debugger knows. So you just trace in the debugger using these labels, and you can change code and data, make conditional breakpoints and memory access breakpoints, load&save memory, count t-states.
Sadly it doesn't export labels in range #0000..#3fff.
Modern versions of Sjasmplus have incompatible labels. Maybe somebody could make a converter?
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Ralf
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Ralf »

I'm definetely going to use ASM. This is just for fun. And using assembler makes me be really focused. I want to create a game for the speccy but I need to taste the metal again :). If I would use AGD for example I would feel guilty in the end ç:D
Okay, is this case a typical configuration that people use on PC is asm compiler + text editor + emulator. You can mix then in different combinations. Compilers don't have own GUI, they just read some input files and write out output files so they are usually called from another program.

Your typical workflow looks something like

- write your code in text editor
- run some macro in the editor which runs the compiler with your code file as a parameter
- compiler creates a file possible to be run in an emulator
- you run it in the emulator and check the result

I don't know about the Visual Studio thing that you mention, is it in some way different ???

One problem in this approach is debugging. You write the code in text editor and run it in emulator. Emulators have own debuggers
which display running code but this displayed code is without any comments, labels and other stuff that you have in your source.

I've heard someting about some recent tools that enable to debug your actual source code but don't remember the details.

Remember that people may use some tools for years because they got used to them and don't try out new stuff. You are in different
position, so check different option and choose the one that fits you best.
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Seven.FFF
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Seven.FFF »

Zeus is a combined IDE/assembler/debugger which allows you to debug your own source files.
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Alone Coder
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Alone Coder »

For native development, ALASM is better than Zeus :)
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Seven.FFF
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Seven.FFF »

Zeus is a crossassembler with source debugging by the author of the original Zeus. I wouldn’t recommend using native tools in a thread like this.
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Andrew771
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Andrew771 »

I use EmuZWin emulator for assembler coding and debugging, all in one is convenient. And I use the cross-compiler ZX Like Pascal for a high-level programming language + my sprite converter.
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Mad Fritz
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Mad Fritz »

Andrew771 wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 3:59 pm
... And I use the cross-compiler ZX Like Pascal for a high-level programming language + my sprite converter.
My Russian is a bit rusty after too many years not being forced to use it :lol: - is there an English manual by any chance?

BR / Andy
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Andrew771
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Andrew771 »

Mad Fritz wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 5:16 pm
My Russian is a bit rusty after too many years not being forced to use it :lol: - is there an English manual by any chance?
A brief English description is here
Complete not found... :D Ask what is not clear, I will answer (in topic for Pascal)
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