[stella] getting started

Subject: [stella] getting started
From: "Glenn Saunders" <cybpunks@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 26 Sep 2001 20:53:08 -0700
What you need to understand is that you don't come to Stella to learn
assembly language.

I wouldn't be that discouraging.

I've never written 6502 assembly before but after looking at the source on the list for some time, through osmosis and a crapload of outside reading, I think I get the fundementals. Using the existing how to draw a playfield code as a bedrock to generate a stable display and gingerly altering it from there, it's not too daunting.

Now, I've got experience mostly in cushy interpreter languages like BASIC, Javascript, and Cold Fusion, so Assembly was a big leap, but decent fundementals in structured programming do translate over intact. As long as you have an aptitude there, one should be able to pick up 6502 assembly no problem. Assembly on a more complicated processor like a Pentium or a PowerPC is a different story altogether, though.

Of course, you can't be too ambitious to start out because if you aren't the best assembly coder in the world you are going to wind up not being able to implement a lot of features due to inefficient coding practices. But it should be possible to write a first-generation style game as a first 2600 coding experience in a 4K footprint that would otherwise be an optimized 2K game. While a minimum level of competence is required, the 2600 scales downward and upward with the skill-level of the programmer involved.

Stellalist really is an apprenticeship of sorts. We should all be helping eachother out, and that includes newbie assembly tips too. Like I didn't know what "ds" meant in DASM and now I think I'll be using it for almost all my RAM equates.

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