[stella] Re: Stella Migration Update

Subject: [stella] Re: Stella Migration Update
From: SeaGtGruff@xxxxxxx
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 19:08:19 -0400
Al wrote:

> One thing the new list needs is a description of what the Atari 2600
> Stella Programming List is.  Presently, all I see is this,
> "This list was designed as as support group for Starpath CD owners
> and anyone else trying to write 2600 games or just to understand how
> they work. Since 1996, Stellalist has established itself as THE
> meeting place for the select few people around the globe who still
> understand the 2600 to congregate, share techniques, and learn from
> each other."
> I think it might be time to update this and am open to suggestions.  :)

I'm a newbie to the list, so my opinion might not seem as important to those 
of you who've been here for a while, but here are my comments:

For the most part, I like the wording of the original charter. I think I'd 
change "This list was designed..." to read "This list began...", because it 
implies that the list is alive and evolving. One doesn't need to have a Starpath 
CD in order to program the 2600, but if the list was formed primarily as a 
support group for Starpath CD owners, then "began" seems to better imply that the 
list has been evolving since then.

And I would change "... THE meeting place for the select few people around 
the globe who still understand the 2600..." to "... THE meeting place for people 
who want to understand the 2600...", because it sounds less egotistical and 
clique-ish, and more welcoming.

As for whether discussions of batari BASIC programming should be allowed, I 
vote yes, but with an explanation. Programming the 2600 in batari BASIC is, 
like it or not, programming the 2600, so it falls under the spirit of the 
original charter. However, it might be better for *beginning* programmers who are 
trying to *learn* batari BASIC to have a separate list or forum where they can do 
that-- such as the batari BASIC forum at AtariAge. So this doesn't mean that 
batari BASIC programmers can't post to the Stella list, but they should 
probably try to target their questions to a forum or list where the other members 
will (1) better understand what their "special needs" are, and (2) be more 
interested in replying to their questions. Some of their questions might be 100% 
appropriate on the Stella list, but other questions might be far better off 
directed to a forum that's specifically dedicated to batari BASIC.

As for the 7800, I think that if this is the *Stella* list, then it makes 
sense to keep it focused on the 2600-- but that also includes 2600 games which 
are programmed to be 100% compatible with the 7800, hence there could be some 
discussion of the 7800 in that context. Discussions related to programming games 
which are purely for the 7800 would be better off taking place in another 
list or forum, for the same two reasons given above with respect to batari BASIC 
"newbie" questions. After all, (as far as I know) this list doesn't include 
discussions about programming the 800 or 5200, so why include the 7800-- except 
when it comes up in direct connection to the 2600. For example, I think 
discussion of the 800 might be fine, too, *if* it dealt with porting a game from the 
2600 to the 800, or vice versa-- in other words, if there were some direct 
relevance to the 2600 and its specific technical features.

I've programmed on the 800, I'm interested in learning to program the 7800, 
and I'm starting to program in batari BASIC-- but I started learning how to 
program the 2600 using assembly language, long before batari BASIC was ever 
released, and I joined the Stella list to talk about 2600 programming, not about 
programming the 800, 5200, 7800, ST, etc., or to learn how to *use* batari 

Also, there have been several recent posts about DASM, and one might argue 
that if posts about batari BASIC are offtopic here, then posts about DASM would 
in turn be more appropriate to a list or forum that's dedicated to DASM-- and 
yet, I think they are perfectly legitimate in this list, *if* they're focused 
on using or improving DASM for the specific purposes of programming the 2600 
(which they were).

Anyway, that's my $0.02!

Michael Rideout
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