The author gets distracted – again

Debunking Debunking TMR’S “Code Notes – Planet Invasion”

I’ve just recently found out that TMR of the opposition blog C64 Crap Debunk has started writing his own original posts instead of just debunks of my posts, so this must be opposed! No mercy will be shown!

It’s amusing to think that the author actually believes that he is showing “no mercy”… that said, we probably shouldn’t be surprised dear reader since he considers his drivel to be a debunking of what your correspondent wrote when it crashes and burns spectacularly on that front as well.

In his post “Code Notes – Planet Invasion” on TMR presents a video of a C64 demo, which was produced in 1987. This was about two years after I was pushed to the verge of a nervous breakdown by Commodore BASIC V2, then gave up on the Commodore 64 completely. TMR doesn’t present any evidence that this group started programming the C64 in 1984 or 1985.

Obviously this is because there’s no evidence available either way but the author has also misrepresented what your correspondent wrote; the original post said that they possibly started during that same 1984/5 time period” with the key word there being possibly, although a couple of years from starting to learn in 1985 and releasing Planet Invasion in 1987 actually seems quite reasonable unless the author thinks they learnt the C64 significantly faster than that when he couldn’t, of course.

After I gave up and sold my Commodore 64, some other books and software may have been released to make it slightly easier to program the C64, although of course these were probably all third party books and software, not released by Commodore, the culprits who caused the C64 to be so f*ckin’ difficult to program in the first place.

So difficult in fact that it’s possible to find tens of thousands of user-created programs online for the C64, significantly more than there are for pretty much any 8-bit platform. And we have to pause and note dear reader that the author has just taken a wild, illogical guess based on no evidence whatsoever that “some other books and software may have been released” in a vain, almost childlike attempt to excuse his own failure there. The problem is simply that the author gave up where others didn’t,not that some magical book or piece of software materialised after he was gone that presumably then traveled back in time for all of those people who started learning before that point[1].

Of course, as you may have already guessed, in his post about this demo, TMR doesn’t give a flowchart or list even one Machine Code/Assembly Language, or Commodore BASIC V2 instruction showing how this demo was programmed, so that means he doesn’t actually explain how to program this or a similar demo at all.

Of course the author has made a false assumption about who the audience for your correspondent’s post was and mistakenly believed that he was meant to be part of said audience; it was merely a discussion of the techniques behind the demo and assumed some prior knowledge of the C64 that the author demonstrably doesn’t have. Discussion on programming like this can happily occur at a more general, theoretical level which doesn’t need code fragments or flowcharts[2] to be of use or interest.

To cap it all “The Harlow Cracking Service” stole some music by Rob Hubbard, probably because they couldn’t write their own music. I think this was because there are no commands to produce music on Commodore BASIC V2 as used on the C64, so this helped prevent the group from getting used to writing simple little tunes, which would have got them started.

Not having commands from BASIC has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on people working in assembly language so this is a patently false “argument” even before we note how the author is making baseless assumptions about why the developers didn’t compose their own music – we can’t even assume that any of them had the knowledge required to do so! And it’s worth pointing out that, although it might be ripped from a game, the music was composed and programmed by someone who learnt from and worked with the same resources available to the author; based on his early releases, we can definitively say that Rob Hubbard learnt C64 programming during 1984 since some of his earliest credited works date back to that year.

On a more general note, ripped music in demos and crack intros was a mainstay of the cracking scene generally during the mid to late 1980s with many examples on the Atari 8-bit, Spectrum or Amstrad CPC as well as the C64; successfully ripping the music from a recently released game took some skill and demos are at least in part about demonstrating that kind of programming ability.

[1] Yes dear reader, your correspondent is aware of the paradox but doesn’t feel we should be too rigorous when using time travel for sarcasm.

[2] Assuming your correspondent feels it was worth bothering with a flowchart in the first place of course, which he doesn’t.

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