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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What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by oanime »

Hi,

I owned a zx spectrum when I was young and would like to get back into game programming on the zx spectrum. As time has passed I have ran away from low level languages like asm, C, C++ that I used to use on the 80/90/00 and got into others more high level like java, python, c#, etc. You know, to make a living you need to be productive.

About a month ago I decided I wanted to get back to the roots and create a really simple game for the spectrum. Just for the fun. And today started to read about the toolchains available, etc. but, to be true I'm really lost.

I have found something that seems to be of my liking called spectnetide -> https://dotneteer.github.io/spectnetide/
It seems it has anything I could need to start my journey. But, I need an sprite/animator editor and something to write the music (I have found some trackers but don't down if the output is suitable to be imported and played on the spectrum in game).

So, could you please help here and add a bit of information about the best tools I could use to build a game for the speccy? What do you think about spectnetide is it worth it or is there something more conformatable? And what about the sprite editors/animators and music?

I always prefer to work with native windows tools because It feels a bit awkward to work on a real/emulated spectrum these days.

Thanks in advance!
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Joefish
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Joefish »

I write Z80 code in Crimson Editor, compile it with PASMO and test it in ZXSpin, via programmed hotkeys.
Screens are done in ZX-Paintbrush, music in Beepola.
Sprites I'm actually sketching in my own tool running under ZX-DS on a Nintendo DS! Once done, it doesn't take me long to just type the hex for the graphics straight into code.

Any data I need processing I usually write a bit of C code and build with the command line compiler from MS Visual Studio Free Edition or use an old copy of Borland visual C++ if I want GUI controls.
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Cosmium
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Cosmium »

Blogger Rob has some useful stuff about developing for the Spectrum on the PC and has listed step by step instructions on setting up a development environment with the free text editor ConText, free assembler Pasmo and Spectaculator emulator:

https://zxspectrumdev.blogspot.com/2009 ... nt-on.html

I can attest that this setup works very well (though that spectnetide environment does look interesting..)

Have fun getting back into 8 bit development!
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Ralf
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by Ralf »

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.
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catmeows
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by catmeows »

oanime wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 11:07 pm
Hi,

I owned a zx spectrum when I was young and would like to get back into game programming on the zx spectrum. As time has passed I have ran away from low level languages like asm, C, C++ that I used to use on the 80/90/00 and got into others more high level like java, python, c#, etc. You know, to make a living you need to be productive.

About a month ago I decided I wanted to get back to the roots and create a really simple game for the spectrum. Just for the fun. And today started to read about the toolchains available, etc. but, to be true I'm really lost.

Thanks in advance!
You have basically four options:
- cross assembler: Pasmo seems to be most popular but there few other that are usable
- c compiler - offers higher level abstraction without closing door to inline assembler, it has some libraries covering most typical problems
- boriel basic - a basic compiler that borrows a lot from modern languages, it also has some libraries
- authoring tools like AGD
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PeterJ
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by PeterJ »

I keep it simple and just use Pasmo and Notepad.
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azesmbog
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by azesmbog »

SJAsm+ + Crimson Editor
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ellvis
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by ellvis »

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.).
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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 »

My current toolset:
Sjasmplus, Total Commander, Notepad++, Unreal Speccy (Pentagon/ATM, and the debugger!), Fuse (48/128/+3)
trdtool or nedotrd (from NedoOS) for .trd, bin2tap for .tap
nedores (from NedoOS) and con18 for gfx conversion from .bmp, Photoshop, ZX Paintbrush or BGE
mhmt and ZXRar for compression
Pro Tracker 3.73 for music
AY FX Editor (from Evo SDK) for sound effects
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oanime
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Re: What tooling to use to start zx spectrum game programming?

Post by oanime »

Thanks a lot for all the answers.

I'm really used to debug code. I mean, I'm not too good on reading the code and just extrapolate what it does. I can do it, but it takes more time for me than for other programmers I know. So, be able to debuggin ins important to me.

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?

This is one of things I really love about spectentide.

Cheers.
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