Saturday, October 11, 2008

Flight Simulator in BASIC

I remember years ago that there was an instrument-only flight simulator written in BASIC and ported to different computers. It wasn't much to look at because it was all character based. Tom Nally has just released an open source flight simulator with graphics and sound, all written in Liberty BASIC. This one blows the doors off that old classic. Check it out here.

Monday, October 6, 2008

CP/M and the Z-80 Softcard

When Patrick Alessi and I were working on our original inventory software (called Forecaster-Buy) for the Apple II+, Patrick wanted to expand our marketing reach. He decided to purchase a Z-80 Software for the Apple II and also a copy of CP/M.

This was a completely different environment than the Applesoft BASIC interpreter that comes built into the Apple II+. It reminded me somewhat of the HDOS that ran on my father's Heathkit H-89 computer. You first booted up the CP/M operating system before you could do anything else, like writing software.

You run a copy of MBASIC (Microsoft BASIC-80) to develop in BASIC, and then used a copy of BASCOM to compile this. Then you had to link the software with a library. This was all new to me.

We also purchased an 80 column card for the machine. The Z-80 Softcard, the 80 column card and CP/M didn't get much use because soon after Patrick went out and bought an IBM PC. CP/M would quickly fall out of favor, although in later years I would be reintroduced to it for a time.