Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Basic programming.

I've been thinking more about writing a simple BASIC with some of the features I listed yesterday, and the more I think about it, the more I think Sony were on to something - if only they'd done it right. YaBasic on the PS2 was a great idea, but the BASIC was buggy and you simply couldn't do very much with it. Not only that, but there was no way to get programs out there to others short of handing over a memory card with a program on it. No, whats needed is an XBox arcade style thing where you can upload your programs and give them out in an easy to reach place.

Heres what I'm thinking... Write a nice version of BASIC, add some simple sound and sprite control, along with something for them to peek and poke, and perhaps even do a little bit of ASM when the mood takes them. The package starts up in a fullscreen editor just like the spectrum and C64 used to, which means all a kid needs to do is boot it up and go. Then, get it on a cover disk so that everyone can get it - or somehow sell it cheap or something. And then let kids have fun. A cross between spectrum and BBC basic would be great. Simple graphics controls, UDG graphics and sprites (which appear like the hardware ones on the C64) and perhaps even some sort of scrolling system. This should let anyone write a nice simple 2D game.

I dont think 3D should really be used. Things get complicated once you add that, and if you make it available, people want to jump right in and write Quake - thats not the idea. We need nice simple 2D games that let people learn, and then give them more direct access to the machine so that you can expand your understanding.

Now...while MS might let you sell a version of BASIC, Im not so sure about allowing assembler since that "could" then compomise the whole system. Once you can run user code... you can find holes and open the flood gate. Im sure it wouldn't be long before someone got a way to load hacked games from it. Perhaps running a simulated language 6502, Z80 etc. would work fine. Of course... it would probably be no quicker than the BASIC thats being run, so why bother... I need to think on it a little more.

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