Re: Aw: Re: [stella] Player data loading...semi newbie

Subject: Re: Aw: Re: [stella] Player data loading...semi newbie
From: "Glenn Saunders" <cybpunks@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 21:41:58 -0700

There have been several threads of "Oh...I didn't know DASM could do that" lately. Part of the reason is that it's simply big and bloated. I think with too many changes, DASM is going to become unwieldly. Not unlike Emacs, it's the end-all-be-all solution.

Most of the features that make it bloated nobody ever uses and were added long ago and without the 2600 in mind.

Regardless, assembly processing is instantaneous for me on my Athlon 700 box, as it was on my PII350 also. You'd have to bloat it up considerably more for it to noticeably slow down.

I also don't know why it can't have features added that are highly specialized for 2600 coders. I, for one, haven't used many of the standalone 2600 utilities out there, primarily because they tend to only work under DOS or Windows95. And even then, you're talking about an extra step of grabbing their output and putting it into DASM. Most of us author almost exclusively within the sourcecode, line by line, so any additional tool to help us visualize natively in DASM where DASM automatically untangles the bits is good as far as I'm concerned.

It's like, we'll never have a high-level language for the 2600, so any sort of automation whatsoever is a welcome thing. There is no need to be sticklers to traditional assembly syntax. The easier it is, the more people are likely to get into this hobby and actually finish a game.

Just because we're writing for the 2600 doesn't mean we have to stick to doing it the way it was done in the seventies. The original programmers were always trying to upgrade their tools back in the day. We should do the same.

Beyond what was discussed I'd love to have a utility that would let you highlight a range of lines of code and it would automatically generate cycle timing notation for it. (Of course, that's more of a text editor function than a DASM thing).

I mean, let's eliminate the drudgery of 2600 coding wherever possible to make room for the real artistry.

At that point maybe it isn't DASM anymore, maybe it's more of the beginnings of a true 2600-specific IDE. I know someone else is working on just that, but until then, we've got to make the most of what we have.

Don't get me wrong. I like DASM the way it is already, especially when coupled with the color-coding of TextPad, but if we've got people here who know how to enhance it and are willing to spend the time on it, I don't think they should be discouraged.

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