Date   
Re: BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 v0.19b released

 

This is a rather trivial post, mostly to flag up that I do read the messages and have some interest in SDL.  I just needed to write a script to automate creation of a complex Excel formula in text form (because Excel can't do it and I have no time or inclination to figure VBA out).  BBCBasic has always been my scripting language of choice.  So I updated my SDL to the latest version and wrote the necessary program in BBCSDL (on Windows, using RTR's IDE) rather than in BB4W.  Naturally it worked fine.  I had an initial usage glitch because I started writing with lower case keywords before that option was set.  Setting the option doesn't recapture lines already written, you need to navigate to the lines themselves.  I suspect BB4W has this same behaviour.  Sorted out in a few seconds.  I expect that virtually all of the stuff I currently do with BB4W would work equally well in BBCSDL, which bodes well for cross-platform work, hence my next point.

I've been told that the Gemini PDA I supported on Indiegogo will be shipping in the new year.  For those who haven't heard of it, this is akin to a modern implementation of the clamshell Psion devices, except now with wifi, 4G (if you want it), lots of memory, a touchscreen as well as a proper mechanical keyboard, six ARM CPUs and dual boot to Linux or Android - neither of which I know how to use.

So one of my first familiarization tasks next year will be to install BBCSDL for Android and have a play, make sure I can do BBCBasic development on the move on that platform.  I'm not sure what use I'll make of Linux, and that triggers a question.  The release announcement for BBCSDL on Linux says x86 only.  Are there major obstacles to supporting Linux on Arm?  I'm not saying that I think there's any point to it, but I'm wondering whether the omission is simply due to there having been no reason to do it because Linux on Arm is not particularly common.

All this leaves my iPad as the only device that resolutely refuses to offer language support of the type that can get to the bare metal.  I think BBCBasic on iOS would be an absolute hoot, and of course it would be offered through an unparalled sales channel (the App Store).  I know from work I did with an app developer some years back that regular C code can be imported into the ObjectiveC framework that iOS apps use.  So, if Apple were to relent and make it possible to deliver at least some functionality of a BASIC interpreter on iOS, there are probably app developers out there that could take a C implementation, say BBCSDL, and bolt it into IOS.  That I would pay for!  All for now -- K

Re: Wiggio closing down

Richard Russell
 

On Tue, Nov 21, 2017 at 09:24 am, dai_m_leeds wrote:
I've got Jon Ripley's Cardlib, and the BB4WMAPMLIB, and various versions of David Williams' GFXLib and GLib, for example, if that's useful.
Those specific libraries were only ever available from the authors' own sites, not from Wiggio.  They must not be uploaded to a public repository without the explicit permission of the copyright holders.

Richard.

Re: Wiggio closing down

dai_m_leeds
 

On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 09:18 am, Richard Russell wrote:
There are now quite a lot of links at the Wiki (particularly from the 'Libraries' page) that go nowhere.

Hi Richard,

Maybe it's not a total disaster: I've got some of the libraries, and others may well also have some. Maybe if you post a list of the (most important?) "missing" files, we can try to reconstruct the archive?

I've got Jon Ripley's Cardlib, and the BB4WMAPMLIB, and various versions of David Williams' GFXLib and GLib, for example, if that's useful.

Best wishes,

D

Re: Wiggio closing down

Richard Russell
 

On Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 11:18 am, Neil Murray wrote:
I received the information message at the top right 'You must be an organizer to access that page'.
Thanks for the confirmation.  Obviously at some point Wikispaces has introduced that restriction (one can understand why).  Requesting Jonathan or myself to do an export - so long as it's only infrequently - is a practical solution.

Richard.

Re: Wiggio closing down

Neil Murray
 

I became a member, opened 'BB4W Wiki' and signed in.
Then from groups.io, clicked the link 'export page'.
I received the information message at the top right 'You must be an organizer to access that page'.

Re: Forces of Darkness - BBCSDL version

Richard Russell
 

In case anybody is interested, you can find a video of Forces of Darkness running on a Raspberry Pi 3 here.  It doesn't always manage to keep up with the full frame rate (50 Hz) but it's remarkable that it runs as well as it does on such a low-powered machine.  Most Android devices will have a faster processor than the RPi, and quite possibly a faster GPU too, so the program should run at least as well on that platform.

Even if, like me, playing that style of video game doesn't appeal, you can still marvel at the skill of the programmer, and hopefully be impressed by what a program written in 100% BBC BASIC can achieve.  If you are inclined to try your hand at something similar, looking at the FODSDL source code should give you plenty of ideas.

Richard.

Re: Wiggio closing down

Richard Russell
 

On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 03:29 pm, Alex Farlie wrote:
I don't think I am a member on the Wikispaces wiki.  If it's anything like Mediawiki installs, export is per page, not per wiki though :( 
It has always been possible to export the entire BB4W Wiki, either as HTML, Wikitext or PDF.  This is one of the reasons (along with the syntax-coloured BBC BASIC code listings, and the lack of advertisements) why I considered it worthwhile to pay to continue to use the Wikispaces service.  If you aren't even a member of the Wiki, I don't think you can really complain about any shortcomings it may have!

Perhaps somebody who has actually bothered to join the Wiki (and there are currently 148 members) can check whether they are able to access the export page or not.  If it turns out that only organisers can (which means me and Jonathan Harston), it isn't exactly difficult to contact one or other of us to arrange an export.  In the past such exports were copied to the Files area of the group (the old Yahoo! group at the time) but I don't think anybody has asked since we migrated to Groups.io.

Richard.

Re: Wiggio closing down

Alex Farlie
 



On 18/11/2017 22:40, Richard Russell wrote:
On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 02:24 pm, Alex Farlie wrote:
Sadly I don't know of an easy to archive a copy for my use though :(
Assuming you are a member of the Wiki, can you not see the export page ?  That used to be available to all members, but maybe I'm now the only one who can access it.


I don't think I am a member on the Wikispaces wiki.  If it's anything like Mediawiki installs, export is per page, not per wiki though :( 

Alex Farlie.

Virus-free. www.avast.com

Re: Wiggio closing down

Richard Russell
 

On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 02:24 pm, Alex Farlie wrote:
Sadly I don't know of an easy to archive a copy for my use though :(
Assuming you are a member of the Wiki, can you not see the export page ?  That used to be available to all members, but maybe I'm now the only one who can access it.

Richard.

Re: Wiggio closing down

Alex Farlie
 



On 18/11/2017 21:39, Richard Russell wrote:
On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm, Alex Farlie wrote:

at least consider some form of persistent permanent archive for the content
I'm certain that a few people took their own copies when it looked like the Wiki would have to close a couple of years ago, when Wikispaces started charging for it.  Each year since the cost has gone up by more than can be justified by inflation; I think another payment must be due soon.

Sadly I don't know of an easy to archive a copy for my use though :(

It's a major pain that wikispaces, isn't seemingly compatible with the archive.org page archiving system.
Is it "incompatible" or have the pages been explicitly flagged as 'do not archive'?


302 and incomprehensible redirection, which is good as incompatible :(




Alex Farlie

Virus-free. www.avast.com

Re: Wiggio closing down

Richard Russell
 

On Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 12:13 pm, Alex Farlie wrote:

at least consider some form of persistent permanent archive for the content
I'm certain that a few people took their own copies when it looked like the Wiki would have to close a couple of years ago, when Wikispaces started charging for it.  Each year since the cost has gone up by more than can be justified by inflation; I think another payment must be due soon.

It's a major pain that wikispaces, isn't seemingly compatible with the archive.org page archiving system.
Is it "incompatible" or have the pages been explicitly flagged as 'do not archive'?

Richard.

Re: Wiggio closing down

Alex Farlie
 



On 18/11/2017 17:18, Richard Russell wrote:
On Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 04:26 am, Richard Russell wrote:
There are a number of files referenced at the BB4W Wiki which are stored at Wiggio so I will try to remember to move those
I remembered, but despite Wiggio not (at the time) having yet closed the files are no longer accessible; sorry.  There are now quite a lot of links at the Wiki (particularly from the 'Libraries' page) that go nowhere.  Still, if there really are fewer than 20 active users of BB4W worldwide, as seems to be widely believed, it's completely irrelevant.  I might as well close down the Wiki (that will save me some money too) and all the support groups and forums for all the difference it will make.  Farewell BBC BASIC.

If the user base has got to that point (which I don't think it has), at least consider some form of persistent permanent archive for the content, It would be a shame to loose the valuable technical content that's been contributed on the wiki and on the forums. 

It's a major pain in the [REDACTED] that wikispaces, isn't seemingly compatible with the archive.org page archiving system.   Some of the forum pages on bb4w.conforums.com and bbcbasic.conforums.com are present in archive form. but archive.org's crawler seems to also be incompatible with forum style cgi derived links (Sigh).





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Re: Forces of Darkness - BBCSDL version

Richard Russell
 

I've updated FODSDL.zip to provide support for playing the game using only a touchscreen (i.e. without a keyboard) for example on a mobile device - although it works on my Windows laptop as well. My recommendation would be to use a stylus rather than your finger however!

The download link is the same as before. The file is a bit smaller now (35 Mbytes compared with more than 50) because I've downsampled the background bitmaps to reduce the memory footprint.

Richard

Re: Wiggio closing down

Richard Russell
 

On Thu, Nov 9, 2017 at 04:26 am, Richard Russell wrote:
There are a number of files referenced at the BB4W Wiki which are stored at Wiggio so I will try to remember to move those
I remembered, but despite Wiggio not (at the time) having yet closed the files are no longer accessible; sorry.  There are now quite a lot of links at the Wiki (particularly from the 'Libraries' page) that go nowhere.  Still, if there really are fewer than 20 active users of BB4W worldwide, as seems to be widely believed, it's completely irrelevant.  I might as well close down the Wiki (that will save me some money too) and all the support groups and forums for all the difference it will make.  Farewell BBC BASIC.

Richard.

Re: Apple phasing out 32-bit support

Richard Russell
 

On Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 03:50 am, Richard Russell wrote:
For example suppose you specified four parameters in a SYS statement: couldn't (in principle) BBC BASIC pass the first parameter in *both* RCX and XMM0, the second in both RDX and XMM1, the third in both R8 and XMM2 and the fourth in both R9 and XMM3?  That way the called subroutine (which knows what parameter types it is expecting) would always find them irrespective of the types!
Sadly I realised recently that this strategy has a fundamental flaw: it can work when all the parameters are of the same type (i.e. all integer or all floating-point) but not when there is a mixture.  For example consider calling a function which takes one float parameter and one integer parameter:

  SYS "function", myfloat#, myinteger%

For this to work, 'myfloat#' must be passed in the first floating-point register (XMM0) and 'myinteger%' in the first integer register (RCX).  The scheme I describe above would end up passing 'myinteger%' in RDX, which is wrong.  Back to the drawing board!

Richard.

Forces of Darkness - BBCSDL version

Richard Russell
 

I'm very pleased to announce the release of the BBCSDL version of David Williams' prizewinning video game Forces of Darkness. It may be downloaded as FODSDL.zip (note that this is a large file, more than 50 Mbytes).

The game will run as a demo on all the supported platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Raspberry Pi, Android, Amazon Fire TV) but requires a keyboard - or Amazon Fire Remote - in order to be played. When running on a Raspberry Pi or Android device it automatically configures itself to a low memory mode of operation, with reduced features. Even so, you will need to configure the RPi for 256 Mbytes of graphics memory (raspi-config utility).

Forces of Darkness requires BBCSDL v0.19b, which I released today. Attempting to run it with an earlier version will likely give poor results. It makes heavy use of accelerated 2D rendering so the performance will depend very much on the GPU in your PC. I will be interested to learn how well it works compared with David's original.

The principal objective in converting the game has been to demonstrate the capabilities of BBCSDL, and to show that translating a BB4W+GFXLIB program to BBCSDL (or coding a game from scratch) is relatively straightforward. The conversion was achieved largely by replacing GFXLIB calls with exact or near equivalent SDL function calls. The resulting program is 100% BASIC, with no assembler code and no custom libraries or DLLs.

I cannot guarantee that the game is actually playable, since that is not my area of expertise! It is possible that the different (and less accurate) collision-detection mechanism may have affected gameplay; if anybody is able to contribute a recorded 'demo data' file that plays the game to completion I would be pleased to receive it.

Richard.

BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 v0.19b released

Richard Russell
 

I've updated BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 (BBCSDL), to version 0.19b. This interim release improves performance when running programs that make heavy use of SDL API calls, such as Forces of Darkness. The various editions may be downloaded as follows:

The Android edition will also run on the Amazon Fire TV Stick.

I have also taken the opportunity to incorporate an enhancement requested by a user: the ARM assembler (i.e. as used in the Android/ARM and Raspberry Pi editions) now accepts the syntax Rn-Rm (where m > n) as an alternative to a comma-separated list of registers.

So whereas previously one would have had to write:

Code:
      push {r1,r2,r3,r6,r7,r8,r9} 

one can now write:

Code:
      push {r1-r3,r6-r9} 

Richard.

Re: BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 v0.19a released

 

I agree with Nigel and add my thanks along with Ian K.

 

I believe the majority of users are delighted and amazed by Richard’s incredible programs,  although I understand some lamentable souls have caused unwarranted anguish.

 

I wish I could contribute more but know my limitations.  To use BB4W (about seven hours a day for the last many years) has undoubtedly been my single greatest source of pleasure.  (Apart from the obvious.)

 

Congratulations, Richard.  I am sure most sensible users of your product stand in awe.

 

Regards,

 

Bob.

Sent from Mail for Windows 10

 

Re: BBC BASIC for SDL 2.0 v0.19a released

Nigel Holland
 

Hello Richard,
I just wanted to say thank you for all your hard work on BBCSDL. I have been one of those group members that have been lurking in the background, interested in reading the posts in this group, and keeping up to date with developments. My use of BB4W over the last few years and more recently BBCSDL as been limited to producing small programs for "recreational  mathematics" and some astronomy algorithms - probably nothing more than using the software as a glorified calculator . However recently I have had more time on my hands than usual and have been able to make far greater use of your software. Indeed I have been able to delve more into the capabilities of BBCSDL and have been astounded by what you have created, especially in respect of the cross platform capabilities.

Just seeing, for example, in this latest release of BBCSDL the Ceefax example program working flawlessly on my android smartphone, Amazon Kindle, Raspberry pi and my windows Laptop, has put a smile on my face and amazed all those I have shown.

I very rarely post in discussion groups or forums ( I should find the time to contribute more). but I have at times been surprised by the lack of feedback and acknowledgement you have received (I'm just as guilty of that as anyone elae). This latest release especially seems to have gone by without a great deal of acknowledgment, so I would  personally like to partly remedy that, hence this post; to give you my thanks and appreciation. Please if you can, do keep up your good work.

Nigel 

Wiggio closing down

Richard Russell
 

Anybody who needs to know should already be aware that Wiggio, which hosts a BB4W support group, is closing on 17th November (I have reason to believe that this time it really will happen, unlike the false alarm in December last year!).

If you are reading this you are evidently subscribed to one of the remaining forums (Conforums or Groups.io) so from that point of view you don't need to take any action. However some of you may have used Wiggio as a files repository (I know I have) so you might want to check whether there are files there that you link to from a website or post, and if so move them elsewhere.

There are a number of files referenced at the BB4W Wiki which are stored at Wiggio so I will try to remember to move those too. If you do find any broken links let me know.

Richard.