Re: [stella] BAStella Language Reference V0.000000001

Subject: Re: [stella] BAStella Language Reference V0.000000001
From: Glenn Saunders <cybpunks2@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 00:45:13 -0800
This sounds like a very ambitious project and I can't wait to see a proof of concept. Given how limited Atari 2600 Basic Programming was, I wonder just how much more can be done with the aid of cross-compiling on a machine 1000 times as fast as the VCS.

My first suggestion here is to provide a mechanism for variable reuse.

This could be done either through overlays (being able to manually assign a variable's address storage ala equates) or the implementation of local/global variables where the compiler automatically allocates and deallocates RAM when necessary.

This is really going to be a key feature in order to do anything productive...

Also, for the graphics datatype, you should allow for 0 with the period, not just the space. It's hard to visualize a bit with a space, especially when you are using a nonproportional font.

I would also try to allow for:

ADR() (to retrieve the address of a variable or register)
USR() (machine language subroutines)

I would also try to provide an abstraction layer for controller and console routines, so you can set up automatic debouncing.

You may also want to implement simple automatic boundary checking/wraparound for the sprites.

I also think that in the long run it might be better to enforce strict timings on VBLANK processing. I don't think anybody is going to want to play a 2600 game that stutters because the processing is constantly spanning frames. At least it needs to inform the user when there is likely to be too much calculation going on during VBLANK.

I also see no reason not to support passing arguments to functions. These would wind up becoming temp variables that survive only during the calling and called functions.

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