Not rocket science – part 3

Debunking Oh that would be very difficult! – part 3

Meanwhile, my opponent TMR of the blog has degenerated into creating demos for the Amstrad CPC computers as seen in his post ! Obviously, this is totally irrelevant.

The author is about to regale his readers with tales of the London housing market in a blog supposedly about how some people learnt to program the C64 and has the sheer gall to call someone else’s post “totally irrelevant”. As noted on a few occasions previously, neither your correspondent or this blog are bound by any “rules” or topics set by the author – his own posts tend to struggle in that department too – so there’s absolutely nothing at all to stop us exploring tangents that aren’t directly related in this way despite what the author’s ego may be telling him.

It’s also interesting to note that first relevant definition of “degenerated” says “to fall below a normal or desirable level in physical, mental, or moral qualities” so, presumably, the author feels that your correspondent’s temporarily moving his attention from the C64 to the Amstrad CPC is a notable drop in either moral or mental standards and we’re therefore left wondering what it says about the author’s own move between said machines back in the 1980s…?

For people trying to defend the C64, they can only do this by programming the C64, showing other people how to program the C64, or an easy way how other people could have learnt how to program the C64.

The number of people who learnt in the 1980s, with the constant stream of new releases and the sheer quantity of user-developed programs that are freely available to download are all that’s needed to defend the C64 in this context and thoroughly debunk all of the author’s claims on their own without any help.

Learning how to program an Amstrad CPC has nothing to do with learning how to program a C64. The Amstrad CPC range of computers has over 150 BASIC commands, while the C64 has only about 72 BASIC commands. The Amstrad CPC computers came with a nice thick manual, bigger than the “Commodore 64 Programmers’ Reference Guide” mainly about Amstrad Locomotive BASIC, as well as the parts of the system, but not about Z80 Assembly Language/Machine Code.

And your correspondent wrote his demo in Z80 assembly language so the BASIC, its commands and the book that documents them aren’t relevant.

Of course, this latest program with the caption “Oh, that would be very difficult!” (i.e. detecting and acting on sprite collisions on other computers compared with the C64) is in the amazing MSX2 BASIC or MSX BASIC 2.0.

Let’s pause here dear reader to note that, despite all the claims the author has previously made about BASIC dialects and the capabilities of systems like the Atari 8-bit, BBC Micro or Sinclair Spectrum, he’s settled on the MSX2 which wasn’t released until three years after the C64 to “demonstrate” whatever point he erroneously feels is being made. Had he used a computer which was released either before or at the same time as the C64 it might have made sense, but “skipping over” these systems in favour of a later one implies that the author feels they would also find it difficult as well – if that’s the case, singling the C64 out is simply hypocrisy.

The Amiga started off with the similar AbasiC, also by Metacomco, but the post Tramiel era Commodore soon bundled the Amiga with AmigaBASIC by Microsoft instead.

If your correspondent’s memory serves, AmigaBASIC was only present with Workbench 1.2 and 1.3 and superseded by the scripting language ARexx for Workbench 2.x onwards.

After learning the fundamental principles of programming, then they may have liked to take things further by delving into Assembly Language/Machine Code, possibly starting off by incorporating some routines listed in books or magazines.

Your correspondent wonders what happened to the author’s previous claim that “computer manufacturers themselves are responsible for providing documentation about how to program and use their computers” because he stated in that post a belief that “Commodore should have provided Assembly Language listings for simple games and applications in their own manuals” (your correspondent has added emphasis) but for some reason doesn’t see it as an issue if manuals for other computers refrain from doing this. Again, this is hypocritical.

By now you should be all be familiar with BASIC commands such as PRINT, GOTO, GOSUB, INPUT, REM and RETURN, which even appeared in Commodore BASIC V2.

The author should probably have linked back to the posts where he explains these commands more fully for reference considering how spread out the series is.

I have no idea how anyone could do this in Commodore BASIC V2 on the C64, but it would obviously be even more difficult than making two sprites bounce off each other!

So he comments that he doesn’t have the knowledge to make any assumptions about how difficult or otherwise this task would be before immediately taking an uneducated guess at said subject. Your correspondent doesn’t even have to do any work since the author has essentially debunked himself!

So, I’m feeling really pleased with myself now that I’ve finally managed to post and explain a program about the simple building blocks of a game. I now plan to quickly take things further while I still can.

During the time from the author’s first article to this one your correspondent has written and released seven one-file demos, coded three more which are scheduled to go out in the near future, completed a large C64 game which uses just over 62K of the memory, taught himself a couple of new platforms to the point where he has what at least appears to be functioning assembly language code, taken equipment to a large gaming event to exhibit recent releases for 8- and 16-bit systems and written over a dozen articles of varying sizes about programming for various endeavours.

Your correspondent isn’t one to boast but there’s no way to compile a list like this without it seeming that way…

Unfortunately, I’m being evicted from my flat by a nasty property speculator! At the moment, I’m just waiting for a letter telling me when the Bailiffs will come to carry out my eviction.

I live in London. Landlords have made things a lot more difficult for people in London now, causing what they call a “housing bubble”, so I’m worried I may never get another flat to live in. I am a city dweller and can’t bear to live anywhere except a city, but even if I did agree to move to a smaller town, I don’t know if I’d succeed, or how depressing my life would be there. I’ve visited Birmingham, which is definitely a major city, a few times recently, but didn’t find out anything about renting a flat there. All of this means I could die soon.

I’d like to consider myself a  reasonably compassionate person so, despite the insults traded in both directions online and me still finding a few of the posts reprehensible, I’m going to drop out of “character” for a moment and wish Paul the very best of luck with what’s going on in his life right now. I’ve been through something that was a bit similar a while back and honestly wouldn’t want that for anybody so take care of yourself and, if you end up in a dump, shove the belongings that don’t fit into storage and start looking for somewhere better and perhaps outside London at your own pace.

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