RE: [stella] the joy of 6502 assembly

Subject: RE: [stella] the joy of 6502 assembly
From: "Garon Grainger" <garon@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 25 Jun 2002 00:49:15 -0400
Hi Kirk,

I started The Dig started as a personal reference for me to source code
and binaries that I was finding contained in the Stella archives. I got
obsessed and it snowballed.  I didn't want to step on any toes and I
still don't. 

I purposely tried to avoid duplicating information I found on other
pages. Most people didn't seem too concerned about keeping track of the
demos and early attempts at games but I found them intriguing. Nick
Bensema, Bob Colbert, Dan Boris, Eckhard Stolberg, and Ruffin Bailey all
had original content, development tools, etc. while I concentrated on
the archives. Nick Bensema's site housed a majority of the docs and
seemed to be the unofficial homebrew final release page.  I believe a
lot of the people who had been on the list awhile could care less about
The Dig as they had old archived email, and all the original source code
and binaries posted to the list. It's more of a site for someone new to
the list, as a portal to the archive. Yet, with my
every-thing-and-the-kitchen sink approach there's error laden code right
beside the glistening gems. So I'm sure in many ways it's even a
hindrance to the new user.

Back in February I did a semi-major update. (I started by doing a major
update of the source and binaries pages, bringing them up to date but I
never managed getting it quite finished and into the database.) During
the revision I noticed that there was still no centralized spot on the
net for documents and other things so I added the docs, tools and
disassemblies pages. 

I even started programmer specific pages: like one just for Andrew
Davie's QB, Manuel Polik's Gunfight, or Thomas Jentzsch's Thrust since
they were so great at sharing with the rest of us in there game creation
process. I believe I even started an unofficial homebrew final release
page for the best-of-the-best demos and games. Yet those pages never saw
the light.  I wanted to pull together articles, reviews of homebrew
releases, and include them on pages specifically for the programmers and
their games, but meet with some resistance.  I was even going to put up
a games-in-development page of sorts and found Albert Yarusso's,
AtariAge, site doing a fantastic job of that already. I even thought of
doing a bulletin board a number of times but didn't want to take away
from the Stella List. AtariAge has done it, and it's seems to have only
enriched and provided other areas for 2600 programming discussion, and
found people I'm sure may never have located the Stella List.

The Tools page, yes, has quite a bit of offsite links. I almost didn't
even put it up. Bob Colbert's, Eckhard Stolberg's, and other pages have
a lot of great utilities but I didn't feel they'd appreciate me have
local copies of their tools. Their sites deserve to be visited as there
is a wealth of information there! Local copies would get outdated, while
off-site links should get you the most up-to-date version. I try to give
a link to the page of the utility as well as a quick download link
directly linked to the file. I'd love to mirror utilities however, and
anything else; but I still think an off-site link to the originator of
the file would be helpful to the user wishing more information.

The source and binary pages should have local copies of all code and
binaries though there maybe a few holes. They also have off-site links
back into the archives to the original posts, so that people can retrace
the original discussion for code optimization offered after the post,
discussion in general, etc. 

I'm not exactly clear on what you are suggesting undertaking, but there
are quite a few good posts in the archives regarding such things as a
Stella FAQ or Stella Guide to Programming; which are needed in and of
themselves but are essentially what is needed for the skeleton of an
all-encompassing 2600 programming website. I believe I may even have a
page with links to those posts if you are interested. 

Glenn Saunder's I believe once suggested a community website of sorts
for 2600 game development. If everyone could house their relevant data
on one site, I believe this would achieve what you're after. 

Every time I get interested in attempting to program for the 2600, I
just end up scouring the archives and updating the site. So, I'm the
last person you'd want to ask for technical help, but if there's
anything else I could do to help feel free to ask.

If there are specific 650x assembly language references you'd like to
see added just send me the links, or make the page yourself and I'll
link to your site!  :)

Good luck,

P.S. Thanks for the Atari Force compliment, no one's ever commented on
them before. 

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