Thursday, August 1, 2013

Major Setback and final Push to the End

Last weekend as I was adding some features to my BAM program, I started having keyboard issues again. I found some new continuity problems on the ribbon cable due to stress from bending. I tried a few things to fix the problem, as I didn't want to keep cutting back the ribbon cable. I thought I could solder a little bridge on the cable, but the soldering pen melted right through the plastic. The traces are too thin to solder. I tried taping on aluminum foil traces with mixed results. In the end, I had to just keep cutting the ribbon cable back to an area without cracks. I barely finished that tonight.

I had some new features I wanted to add to BAM, but I quickly ran out of memory, so I couldn't implement scoring, marking mines or verifying that you found them all. So the game is pretty incomplete, but that's all I could fit in memory. I also picked up some pretty horrible coding practices from tricks to save memory on the TS1000. Things like: 10 LET O=PI-PI 20 LET I=PI/PI
Then using "O" and "I" instead of 0 and 1. Apparently, this saves memory by evaluating math with the constant PI, rather than the 5 byte long numbers for 1 and 0.

Anyway, I'm done. The BAM game is available for download as a .P file, but it's not that exciting. It's really quite sad considering the time I spent on it. I just found myself unable to be productive with only 2k of memory and a difficult to use BASIC editor. The source is listed below in image grabs from the impressive TapeConverter program for ZX81.

I never got around to making the memory expansion card with all of the keyboard issues, although I do have the parts ready to solder.

As promised, I am also offering up the working TS1000 as a prize in the RetroChallenge. I wouldn't mind keeping it for 6 months and giving it away at the end of next year's Winter Warmup, but I'll leave that up to the organizers.

Thanks for the memories TS1000!