[stella] Debugger

Subject: [stella] Debugger
From: Glenn Saunders <cybpunks2@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 06 Jul 2002 10:59:16 -0700
At 12:03 PM 7/6/2002 -0400, you wrote:
About the debugger for the Stella emulator, I've just got to spend
a few hours syncing up my patches (which are against Stella 1.1) with
the current CVS code (stella.sourceforge.net). Then it'll be time to
give the debugger a nicer user interface...

I hope you know how important this thing is to 2600 homebrewers!

PCatari's debugger is good in principle but PCAtari in general runs like crap on Windows 2000/XP, which leaves developers like me with having to basically do everything via trial and error. I tried running the PCAtari debugger but it's just too unstable to fiddle with.

When I was actively working on Death Derby I would literally change one line of code at a time and see if it broke the kernel. If it did break I really never knew exactly why because I couldn't single-step through the code. I could put a BRK in and wait for the program to go black but that is about it. It's like the old days before they used logic analyzers. I had to do everything in my head, tracing the machine state in my head. It's a good exercise but it's too time consuming even with instantaneous assembly. As a newbie at 6502 assembly it would be far more useful to have a debugger so I can see how the code executes instead of just guessing how it executes--or dumping my code to the list for somebody to explain to me how it executes ;)

I think that once Stella has a decent debugger (hopefully one that can somehow show where the scanline is in mid screen) that all us newbies that are not on DOS will be able to make a lot more progress in our games.

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