[stella] compiler

Subject: [stella] compiler
From: Glenn Saunders <mos6507@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 20:55:23 -0800
I think it might be possible to make a compiler with the Supercharger as a target platform such that you can do a lot of basic game engines.

The reason being that you can abstract away kernel creation by using large strips of RAM for things like the sprites and the playfield. In that way it becomes more like the Atari 8-bit. Intra-frame activity would then be mostly block-moves of data into these strips of RAM to move sprites vertically.

DD would have been a lot easier with Supercharger RAM, that's for sure, and I probably wouldn't have had to have a striped playfield.

Without a lot of RAM there is no way to have any single generalizable kernel. Every kernel has to be optimized for particular screens and none of them "do it all" so to speak. You could have a library of stock kernels and write within that environment, each with their own limitations, though. You'd probably still have to have a few variations with the Supercharger approach but each would be more powerful kernels.

If the Supercharger had more than 6K to work with it would be a no-brainer, but with just 6K it would be a little hard for a compiler to lay out the memory and bank around transparently. But I still think it's doable.

At 01:32 PM 1/26/2004, you wrote:
Yes I think a lot of us have been somewhat missing in
action lately, myself included. :)

I'd be interested in your ideas on compiler design for
the 2600.  I was actually doing some investigation
into this as well a while back but everyone seems to
think it would be next to impossible to put together
anything useful.  It would be an interesting exercise
in abstraction principles to say the least...


--- Roger Williams <mer02@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> My how the wheel turns.
> It's been more than a year since I even turned on my
> 2600.  Just recently
> I had to investigate compiler design for a project
> at work, and it reminded
> me of my unexplored ideas on doing a compiler for
> Stella.  And then
> I remembered how long it had been since I checked my
> mail on this account.
> During 2003 I had a tree fall on and nearly, but not
> quite, destroy my
> house,
> followed closely by a flash flood that nearly, but
> not quite, destroyed my
> car, and I had to have all of my teeth capped.  For
> four months we had a
> computer on the dining room table because GF's
> office was unusable
> during the house repairs, and for several months the
> TV and stereo and
> everything in its cabinet, including the 2600, were
> in storage.
> If it seems that I almost dropped off the face of
> the Earth, well I guess I
> almost did.  But I'm back.  And I have some ideas.
> But now I have to
> find all my old Stella docs and unbury the PROM
> programmer from the
> pile of crap that somehow got dumped on it during
> the home repairs.
> I just enjoyed this too much to forget about it.
> Time to get back in.
> --Roger Williams
> Archives (includes files) at
> http://www.biglist.com/lists/stella/archives/
> Unsub & more at http://www.biglist.com/lists/stella/

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