An interesting site on the ZX81

Discussion about ZX80 / ZX81 Software
Post Reply
RWAP
Site Admin
Posts: 1306
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 8:42 am
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Contact:

An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by RWAP » Sat Mar 13, 2010 9:00 pm

I have come across the ZX81 Museum which has plenty of pictures of original Sinclair ZX81 hardware and software titles, as well as books some of which I don't even remember, such as Zombies / Sword of Peace by Artic Computing. :D

See http://www.zx81museum.net/

Moggy
Posts: 1771
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:00 pm

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by Moggy » Sat Mar 13, 2010 10:30 pm

Good find Rich
I seem to recall ( thank God for cassette inserts :lol: ) Artic computing was based at James Reckitt avenue in Hull and whilst doing some "reasonable" software I have to say that, in My opinion, along with Galaxy Warrior and Startrek; Zombies and Sword of peace was the biggest piece of crud ever issued!!( to My eternal shame I still have the original tapes) When You look at the stuff Andre and Bobs are doing It makes You wonder how they turned a profit. Or were We more easily pleased then :?:

pglewis
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 12:41 pm

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by pglewis » Sun Mar 14, 2010 6:50 pm

Moggy wrote:[...]When You look at the stuff Andre and Bobs are doing It makes You wonder how they turned a profit. Or were We more easily pleased then :?:
The development tools available on modern PCs gives a huge advantage today. The development cycle itself is cut down considerably with a real keyboard, syntax highlighting editor, modern assembler, and emulators for the code/compile/test routine. You can cobble together simple data extraction utilities in conjunction with sophisticated graphics software in lieu of pencil and graph paper. Then there's the internet to spread ideas and technical information much faster and wider than in the "old days".

It doesn't take anything away from the clever people writing Zeddy stuff now, nor does it excuse poorly written stuff 27 years ago. But it should be remembered that the vast majority of developers for the Sinclair back then were working with their hands tied by comparison.

Mike
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 5:38 pm

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by Mike » Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:37 pm

Talking of Artic and Development tools...

If you open up their Adventures A-D in a hex editor, you'll see all the text for Adventures A-C is ZX code whereas adventure D is in ASCII. To me, this would imply they developed the first three games on a ZX and the last on something else. I wonder what development system they moved to?

Mike

RWAP
Site Admin
Posts: 1306
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 8:42 am
Location: Stoke-on-Trent, UK
Contact:

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by RWAP » Mon Mar 15, 2010 10:30 am

Mike wrote:Talking of Artic and Development tools...

If you open up their Adventures A-D in a hex editor, you'll see all the text for Adventures A-C is ZX code whereas adventure D is in ASCII. To me, this would imply they developed the first three games on a ZX and the last on something else. I wonder what development system they moved to?

Mike
From memory Adventure D wasn't released for the ZX81 or was it?

I guess we have to remember that quite a lot of development in the early days would have been done on a ZX81 with only 16K memory - therefore you could be quite limited in what you could code before assembling or compiling it!!

Moggy
Posts: 1771
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:00 pm

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by Moggy » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:27 pm

Most games were created by profesional software teams not all coders then were bedroom "script kiddies " fumbling about on a lousy membrane keyboard; their first efforts yes but after being signed up by a software house no. Quite a few articles existed by software authors of the time saying how they wrote software on dedicated mainframes with proper keyboards assemblers sprite generators etc ,(Shadow of the Unicorn created on an HM Systems 5 processer setup, Sandy White from Quicksilva and His "Softsolid" 3d engine written on a 6502 machine as a generic 3d engine to be used in any program on any system) and ported to various platforms , the Spectrum especially. Not everything had to be written from scratch, ready made runtime libraries existed even then (how many different scroll routines do you need on a zx81?) the "pencil and graph paper" technique and writing on the target machine is a bit of a folklore misnomer,no company would have made it past the end of the month using such methods.("Freescape" as used on the Spectrum was an early 3d rendering engine C.A.D created using a 32 bit 3d maths transformation formulae in 1985. Hardly string and stickytape stuff.) The laws of company economics applied then as now hence the use of pro teams of writers , musicians, artists and designers using dedicated equipment ,in,some cases single use, rather todays general use pc. I honestly don't think they were as "hand tied " or backward as it might first appear in these Ipod holographic times.

Mike
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 5:38 pm

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by Mike » Mon Mar 15, 2010 9:38 pm

RWAP wrote:From memory Adventure D wasn't released for the ZX81 or was it
It was - I own an original copy somewhere around here. Adventure E, The golden apple was never released on the ZX81 though.
Moggy wrote:Sandy White from Quicksilva and His "Softsolid" 3d engine written on a 6502 machine as a generic 3d engine to be used in any program on any system)
You sure about that?

http://sandywhite.co.uk/fun/ants/

Mike

Moggy
Posts: 1771
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2008 2:00 pm

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by Moggy » Tue Mar 16, 2010 10:12 am

Mike wrote:
RWAP wrote:From memory Adventure D wasn't released for the ZX81 or was it
It was - I own an original copy somewhere around here. Adventure E, The golden apple was never released on the ZX81 though.
Moggy wrote:Sandy White from Quicksilva and His "Softsolid" 3d engine written on a 6502 machine as a generic 3d engine to be used in any program on any system)
You sure about that?

http://sandywhite.co.uk/fun/ants/

Mike

yes Mike I am sure I tried the link you left but not sure what I am supposed to be looking at :? .
Here one quote I took part of the information from...

"Soft Solid 3D Ant Attack
Producer: Quicksilva
Memory required: 48K
Retail price: £6.95
Language: machine code
Author: Sandy White



Sandy White is a quiet Scot and a sculptor by trade. His understanding of three dimensional construction is evident in his game, Ant Attack. Unveiled at the Quicksilva press show, it raised admiring oohs and ahs from the gathering. According to the press release, Quicksilva was so impressed by the stunning quality of the graphics, that they flew Sandy down from Scotland and signed a contract within 24 hours. A patent has been applied for to protect his 3D soft solid routines....."

to read the full article try this link.

http://www.crashonline.org.uk/01/antattack.htm

There is another article/interview i have somewere on dvd that goes into it in more depth how it was written etc,.(I will dig it out if time permits. :)

Regards moggy

EDIT TO POST I found said mag interview Sinclair User #21 1983, the file is over 54 meg so attaching it is out of the question however scanned what I thought relevant, ie Sandy White explaining his generic, or universal as He called, it 3d engine written on a 6502 machine for any platform ,so yes taking the interview to be correct I am sure. Excuse poor quality scan as modern technology is not my strong point ferrite core memory and mercury delay lines being more my era!! :)

Regards moggy
Attachments
sw interview.gif
(51.77 KiB) Downloaded 15272 times
Last edited by Moggy on Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
zx81jens
Posts: 190
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 8:26 am
Location: a Basement in Nienburg / Germany

Re: An interesting site on the ZX81

Post by zx81jens » Tue Mar 16, 2010 1:13 pm

hi!

i think this is not the right way, but i have the solution for adventure D ;-)

greetings
jens
Attachments
adv_d_solution.txt
(4.02 KiB) Downloaded 109 times
eyerything will be okay in the end.
if it´s not okay, it´s not the end.

and: uıɐbɐ ʎɐqǝ uo pɹɐoqʎǝʞ ɐ ʎnq ɹǝʌǝ ɹǝʌǝu ןןıʍ ı

Post Reply