Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Oct 2007 13:46 UTC
Amiga & AROS Ars Technica has published part four in their series on the history of the Amiga, starting with Amiga being bought by Commodore. "One hugely positive benefit about being owned by a large computer company was that the Amiga team no longer (for the moment, anyway) had to worry about money. The team was moved 10 miles to a spacious, rented facility in Los Gatos, California. They could afford to hire more engineers, and the software development team went from having 10 people sharing a single Sage workstation to everyone having their own SUN on their desk."
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Memories
by Edward on Mon 22nd Oct 2007 16:15 UTC
Edward
Member since:
2005-09-17

I still have my C64 in my closet, plus I reprogramed half a game once. I didn't purposely do it, but god if I got a book I prob. could have taught myself to prog. Now you actualy need to take a class to program.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Memories
by jack_perry on Mon 22nd Oct 2007 17:01 in reply to "Memories"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

Not really. In many respects, programming is far easier today than it was then. Especially graphics programming! Those GETs and PUTs and POKEs and PEEKs were awful. Now you just have to read a book carefully, and it explains the structures with great examples. Since the structures have meaningful names, as opposed to random addresses in memory (or seemingly random), it's much easier to move off and do your own thing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Memories
by torbenm on Wed 24th Oct 2007 08:38 in reply to "RE: Memories"
torbenm Member since:
2007-04-23

PEEKs and POKEs were indeed awful, and it didn't help that characters had a different code when POKEd on the screen than the ASCII code used in strings, nor did the lack of colour attributes for individual pixels on the C64 help.

I did some graphics on the PET and later a bit on the C64 (I never owned any of them, though), but most of my early graphics programming was on my own BBC Micro, which I bought around 1982 IIRC. The BBC micro had a vastly superior BASIC to the Commodores, including real graphics commands (points, lines, filled triangles, flood fills and more) and structured programming (repeat and while loops, multi-line if-then-else and recursive procedures and functions with named parameters), so programming was a joy compared to the C64. And with separate colour attributes for each pixel, colour graphics were a lot easier.

I agree with the original poster that getting into graphics programming is more difficult now than it was then. When you started your home computer, you were directly brought into an interactive BASIC environment and could start typing, editing and running programs, and a graphics environment was easily initialized (on the BBC, you just wrote "mode 0" to get a 640x256 b/w screen, "mode 1" to get a 320x256 4-colour screen and "mode 2" to get a 160x256 8-colour screen). In most PC programming languages you need to include a graphics library and call an initialisation function with zillions of arcane parameters, and if you want to plot text, you have to first load fonts and then specify half a zillion parameters to the text-plot functions. Sure, all these parameters allow flexibility, but they also raise the entry barrier.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Memories
by Doc Pain on Mon 22nd Oct 2007 21:23 in reply to "Memories"
Doc Pain Member since:
2006-10-08

"I still have my C64 in my closet, [...]"

Same here, too. :-) There must be approx. 5 C64s down there in the cellar, next to two Amiga 500s, an Amiga 1200 and some Atari XL, XE and ST stuff... In fact, I'm very sad I didn't experience these computers very much. :-(

"[...] plus I reprogramed half a game once. I didn't purposely do it, but god if I got a book I prob. could have taught myself to prog. Now you actualy need to take a class to program."

I don't think so. "Ordinary people" - and please excuse that I use this term - may need to be taught programming, but "real man" - sorry again, folks - teach theirselves programming. Good literature, tutorials, examples and today the Internet do help. But when the Amiga was up to date, there was no Internet for everybody, so you usually learned from books and other programs. This kind of autodidactic learning may take more time than taking a class.

Regarding graphics programming, the C64's PEEK and POKE and GET and PUT were not very intuitive, but almost arbitrary. The famous KC series built by RFT in the former GDR, operating on CAOS (not the CAOS mentioned in the article) and BASIC already had "real" commands for creating graphical primitives, composing sound and controlling I/O ports - see RFT KC85/3, RFT KC85/4 and robotron KC87 if you like. These devices could not compete with the Amiga, but with C64 for sure.

http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/kc_muehlhaus...
http://www.robotrontechnik.de/index.htm?/html/computer/kc_dresden.h...

With today's high level languages with their many abstraction layers and virtual concepts programming is a lot more easier, I think, but you need to know your toolset very well. And you usually need more than just an editor.

But please, don't confuse programming with just writing code (implementing), because programming is much more: Planning, researching, coding, testing, debugging, debugging again...

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Memories
by sbergman27 on Mon 22nd Oct 2007 21:52 in reply to "RE: Memories"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

"""

I don't think so. "Ordinary people" - and please excuse that I use this term - may need to be taught programming, but "real man" - sorry again, folks - teach theirselves programming.

"""

I would be more inclined to say that "ordinary people" go to school to learn to program because there's money in a programming career, while "real men" (and women!) learn programming any way they can... school, tutorials, whatever, because they love it and have a passion for it.

Reply Parent Score: 4