Re: [stella] Argh, the dreaded question

Subject: Re: [stella] Argh, the dreaded question
From: "Christopher Rydberg" <solitaire0@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 03 Aug 2001 18:46:29 +0000

Don't worry about flames here. I don't think anyone here is too elitest or rude. Now to programming. I'd say run down to your local used bookstore and check for any old 6502 assembly programming books. It's not neccessary, but it wouldn't hurt to have for reference. Then download the following from wherever you can find them:

Distella.exe - disassembler

DASM.exe - assembler

Stella.pdf - nice guide to everything 2600. Here all the info you will badly need is clearly spelled out. This should be read from start to finish before trying anything so that you get some foundational information and vocabulary into your head. I would also say you should print this out to have as a seperate reference off your computer.

VCS.h - an include file for compiling

Asm1step.txt - a nice guide to assembly on the 6502 with lists of commands and some example code. I would say this as well should be read before trying to do anything.

VCS_Graphics.pdf - these three sort of lump together as they are part of a little graphics short that tells you about VCS graphics, 8-bit registers and hexadecimal numbers. It's not required but running through it will give you a nice sense of accomplishment as well as some general information that will be useful later and a little practice with hex.

an emulator of your choice
a few ROMs to study - these you probably already have but now you can dissassemble the code and look at your favorite classics in a new way. You can also test your new code in the emulator

After reading through and goofing around with this stuff you absolutely must go to Nick Bensema's site.

Here download and examine until you can recite and understand backwards and forewards these two items

nb6502_1.sts - Nick's atari Cycle Counting guide
nbtia_1.asm - Nick's How To Draw a Playfield tutorial. This is the begining of probably 70% of what's hapening here now. You will learn so much.

After that stuff go to The Dig here.

These guys archive 2600 code. Once you've got some basics down you can go here and find out how to do almost anything you want with the 2600. After a week or two of goofing with this stuff 12 hours a day WRITE A GAME. By this point ideas will probably be spilling out of you and you'll be remembering this game or that and wanting to do this or that to it, etc. Then you're in for as long as your energy and interest hold out. Good luck and have fun. Also, always read every mail from the list even if you don't understand the code. It's like a mailbox full of free lessons. Anyway, good luck and feel free to mail me if you need any of those files. I have them all.

Christopher Rydberg solitaire0@xxxxxxxxxxx

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