Questions tagged [assembly]

For questions about Assembly Language in general. Also use the appropriate processor's tag.

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7
votes
3answers
325 views

Has there ever been a instruction set architecture that did not require instruction decoding at all?

I am studying basic principles of instruction set architectures and am considering what it would take to not have any instruction decoding at all. I.e., all the control lines of the computer would be ...
61
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10answers
7k views

Why is the processor instruction called “move”, not “copy”?

Many processors have an instruction called "move" (sometimes spelled MOV) which copies data from one location (the "source") to another (the "destination") in registers and/or memory. It does not do ...
15
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3answers
2k views

Why are branches relative in many 8-bit CPUs?

I was looking over an old article on the 6809 and was perusing the opcodes and noticed that the branch instructions came in two flavors, long and short. That sparked a memory about one of the 6502-...
13
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3answers
1k views

Memory models for assembly libraries for Turbo C

Turbo C follows the Intel Memory Model where in Tiny, Small and Compact models calling a function is near but in Medium, Large and Huge models calling a function uses far calls. If I want to develop ...
4
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0answers
95 views

MICRO 800 assembler?

I'm reading (well, writing...) about the FLOW language and it mentions the "MICRO 800 assembler". This was in the early 1970s, and I can't imagine what this might be. The context suggests it was on ...
3
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1answer
193 views

Adding control characters to string constants in ca65 assembler

According to the cc65 documentation, a string constant in assembler programs can be defined with the .ASCIIZ command. However, I could not manage to sneak control commands in, for example, the ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

Different handling of ASCII interpretation between ca65 and cl65

I stumbled upon a divergence in the ASCII upper case/lower case handling when using assembler and linker of the cc65 suite separately (I used cc65 V2.15 on Win10). For a test I made the following ...
5
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1answer
265 views

How can I change the MSX function keys using ASM?

How can I change the texts assigned to MSX function keys using Z80 ASM?
14
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6answers
5k views

How slow was the 6502 BASIC compared to Assembly

Imagine a modern computer, where let's say Python is a high level programming language and needs to be interpreted in order to execute a piece of code. You could write some code in C, compile it, ...
19
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3answers
3k views

What makes MOVEQ quicker than a normal MOVE in 68000 assembly?

I'm "re-learning" 68000 assembly language and came across the "MOVEQ" command that is labeled "MOVE QUICK". According to the NXP Programmers Reference Manual (reference below), the command MOVEQ (...
28
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9answers
9k views

How did early x86 BIOS programmers manage to program full blown TUIs given very few bytes of ROM/EPROM?

I've always wondered how so much functionality and relative luxuries(CMOS Configuration Utilities. See: https://geekprank.com/bios/ for an example) included with most popular x86 BIOSes could be ...
8
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1answer
198 views

Are there any PDP-8 assemblers that create linkable object files?

I am currently writing a compiler for the PDP-8. The compiler is going to translate source code into PDP-8 assembly code that calls some runtime routines to perform high-level functions such as ...
5
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1answer
373 views

What can an 8086 CPU do if an x87 floating-point coprocessor is attached to it? [duplicate]

As far as I know, old x86 CPUs (for example: the 8086 CPU) couldn't do floating point arithmetic, and in order to be able to do floating-point arithmetic, an x87 floating-point coprocessor should be ...
7
votes
1answer
354 views

What's the fastest way to ignore keypresses?

I'm writing a game for the IBM PC (running MS-DOS), complete with fancy cutscenes. Unfortunately, though, the keys pressed during those fancy cutscenes are carried out once the fancy cutscene has ...
5
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5answers
523 views

Did any assemblers work like this?

Once you get past the stage of manually entering numeric machine code, the most primitive programming tool is a machine code monitor. Intended primarily as a debugging tool, this works with a target ...
4
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3answers
413 views

Z80 unexpected output

I am trying to build a Z80 computer inspired by Grant Searle's design. I'm starting simple, with just a clock (clocked by an AVR pulsing at at 12.5 Hz for testing), a Z80, and a 8K EEPROM with a ...
9
votes
1answer
768 views

Looking for a specific 6502 Assembler

I found some 6502 assembler code for a Commodore 64 program that uses meta commands like #include "foobar", define the address to be assembled to via *=$1234 and define labels without a colon. ...
6
votes
3answers
629 views

Comparing Signed Numbers on Z80 (8080) in Assembly

How do you compare two signed numbers in Z80 assembly? According to this site, To compare stuff, simply do a CP, and if the zero flag is set [then] the argument[s] were equal, else if the carry ...
6
votes
1answer
426 views

Common practices of programming the AY-3-8910 on Amstrad CPC: via Firmware routines or directly?

I'm starting to learn how to program in assembly (z80) on the Amstrad CPC computer. As an high level developper i find it pretty fun and i learn a lot of things about computer and CPU architecture. ...
32
votes
6answers
10k views

Which was the first programming language that had data types?

Machine language (and Assembly language) don't have the concept of data types, so if you want to add an int and a float variables in Assembly, you have to use the appropriate Assembly instruction that ...
21
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5answers
8k views

Will PC-DOS run faster on 4 or 8 core modern machines?

When I run PC-DOS on my 4 core AMD Phenom chip, does it take advantage of the extra parallel CPU's? If not, is there a way to coax DOS to use all available CPU's or does this require specific ...
1
vote
1answer
263 views

What don't I understand about this LR35902 code?

The question you are now reading is about a comment on this question, about overflow bugs in some Pokemon game. A comment on that question says: It was Game Freak's first project. They just were ...
0
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6answers
981 views

Can you compile 6502 assembly into a stand-alone PC application? [closed]

6502 assembly is a language meant for humans to write themselves, not compilers. It's an older Assembly that powered the olden days of computing and consoles such as the NES and Atari 2600. I want to ...
0
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2answers
494 views

Does anyone have an x86 EGA draw pixel routine?

So far, I have gotten by with using the BIOS draw-pixel routine here: http://stanislavs.org/helppc/int_10-c.html This works of course, but I can't imagine that commercial games used this BIOS call as ...
14
votes
1answer
517 views

Why does AT&T syntax use * and $?

In a comment to an answer about AT&T assembly syntax, another-dave asked the following: DEC used #foo for an immediate operand in -11 assemblers; the Unix guys apparently preferred $foo, which ...
12
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2answers
655 views

How to use the “darker” CGA palette using x86 Assembly?

For those of you retro developers out there, I am having a hard time figuring out how exactly to select the "darker" color palette in 320x200 CGA mode. Here's what I have so far: setup_cga_graphics: ...
4
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1answer
263 views

What was the first publication documenting AT&T syntax assembly language?

What was the first publication to document what is (now) known as AT&T syntax assembly language?
8
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2answers
1k views

What is the meaning of M in the Z80 statement ADD A,M

Recently I have been trying to compile CP/M 2.2 from source. When I try to assemble, everything works except for the instructions ADD A,M and SBC A,M, which the assembler returns a syntax error. I ...
12
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2answers
921 views

Does the Commodore 64 have the PHX opcode?

Code written for the Commodore 64 sometimes uses the PHX opcode, which should push X onto the stack. There also are plx, phy, ply. These were apparently added on the CMOS versions of the 6502; very ...
3
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2answers
319 views

How to express hi/lo byte of a label in crasm

I am trying to move my project from xa (which I found rather buggy) to crasm, which is the other 6502 assembler that comes with debian. My project contains a lot of lines like ldx #<pname ldy #&...
2
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2answers
369 views

Using C64 floating point kernal routines with 16 bit integer

How to use floating point kernal routines for 16 bit arithmetics such as: $1234*$ABCD or $1234/$ABCD ?
9
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1answer
1k views

Why does this 6502 code push a function address onto the stack before calling?

I am learning how to program the Atari 800 by examining some tutorial code that came with the IDE/Assembler I am using. I am using the MADS assembler for this. putchar_ptr = $346 csrhinh = 752 ...
8
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2answers
856 views

How useful were the 6809/6309's indirect addressing modes?

Much like the VAX, the 6809 and 6309 have a preponderance of indirect addressing modes (in VAX parlance, "deferred"), though neither go so far as to include a VAX-like doubly-indirect mode. To what ...
16
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2answers
5k views

What does “jmp *” mean in 6502 assembly?

Right now I am learning 6502 assembly. Currently I am using the MADS assembler to program for the Atari 800. This program is just a small tutorial program that came with the assembler zip file I ...
1
vote
2answers
509 views

Resource for 6502 assembly directives?

I am currently learning about 6502 assembly. One of the documents I am learning about it from is a super mario bros. disassembly document. When I was reading the code I noticed part of the code had ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

6502 CMP instruction doesn't compare as expected

I am trying to code in 6502 assembly and for some reason the CMP instruction doesn't work. For example: CLD LDY #$03 LDA #$00 LDX #$05 CMP Y BEQ Equal STX $0200 Equal: BRK ...
7
votes
2answers
574 views

When did Intel undergo the SEX change?

I am reading the book "The 8086 / 8088 Primer Second Edition" by Stephen P Morse. In it on page 54, it says The 8086 provides instructions to facilitate the task of sign extension. These ...
9
votes
2answers
924 views

What is an “unused” memory address?

Reading this page on Commodore 64 memory structure and usage I stumbled across a cell where the table claims that this memory is unused. What exactly does this entail? Does this mean that if you ...
58
votes
13answers
14k views

Were later MS-DOS versions still implemented in x86 assembly?

Recently, Microsoft published the source code of old MS-DOS versions on GitHub. What is odd in my opinion is the use of x86 assembly language for everything. The assembly language would not be my ...
13
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1answer
371 views

SYSENTER/SYSEXIT broken on Pentium Pro and Pentium II?

I was just What is linux-gate.so.1?, and it says this Intel recognized this problem early on and introduced a more efficient system call interface in the form of sysenter and sysexit instructions. ...
6
votes
1answer
553 views

What instructions for the 8086 and subsequent x86 CPUs are not available in Long Mode?

I know from this answer that, Modern x86 CPUs are binary compatible with 8086. You can literally run 8086 binaries on a modern PC, in real mode. (The species analogy is a stretch here, but works ...
6
votes
4answers
782 views

Reason behind “ASCII Adjust” instructions being ASCII and not BCD?

I'm just curious if there was ever other instructions that were more ASCII-centric than the CISC associated ones we're left with now? Specifically, all the Binary Coded Decimal (BCD) instructions ...
57
votes
3answers
11k views

Why did DOS use dollar-terminated strings?

According to a few tutorials I am seeing, DOS used dollar-terminated strings to write to the terminal. This seems to also be documented here on INT 21H. AH = 09h - WRITE STRING TO STANDARD OUTPUT ...
2
votes
1answer
132 views

Can't enable list even with “enable run-stop” poke

Well, I've downloaded an old non-English textual adventure, which of course, "for the sake of professionalism" have list disabled. Even after entering pokes for enabling "run-stop/restore" and for ...
2
votes
1answer
573 views

What do the addressing modes imm, dir, and abs mean for the 65c816?

From http://www.6502.org/tutorials/65c816opcodes.html#6.1.1.2 For the CPX instruction: E0 3-x 3-x imm x.....xx . CPX #$54 E4 2 4-x+w dir x.....xx . CPX $10 EC 3 5-x ...
21
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3answers
2k views

Why use repeated STZ instructions with the same operand on the 65C816 for the SNES (Super Nintendo)?

Please consider the code in Super NES Programming/Initialization Tutorial/Snes Init. Here is an excerpt: stz $2113 ; Plane 3 scroll x (first 8 bits) stz $2113 ; Plane 3 scroll x (last ...
12
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2answers
526 views

Early 65C816 CPU's SEP and REP instruction are followed by a NOP?

Why did early versions of the 65C816 CPU need a suffixed NOP to every SEP and REP instruction? I saw comments in some source code pointing at this. Looking around in official WDC's documentation and ...
3
votes
1answer
582 views

How does JSR actually work on the 65c816 CPU for the SNES (Super Nintendo)?

Take the following machine code for the 65c816 for the SNES (Super Nintendo): 00000000 ea ea 78 18 fb c2 18 a2 ff 1f 9a 20 fa 80 e2 20 |..x........ ... | 00000010 a9 80 8d 00 21 a9 e0 8d 22 21 ...
13
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8answers
3k views

Uses for the halt instruction?

What was the halt instruction in early CPUs such as the Z80 and 8080 used for? Here's a description of the Z80 instruction: The HALT instruction suspends CPU operation until a interrupt or reset ...
21
votes
2answers
850 views

What are these tiny TSRs doing?

I've been puzzled by this for a while now. The (very old) game Phantasie comes with three small TSRs that are run prior to running the main game executable. This is the content of the file PH.BAT, ...