Questions tagged [assembly]

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

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20
votes
12answers
6k views

Was memory corruption a common problem in large programs written in assembly language?

Memory corruption bugs have always been a common problem in large C programs and projects. It was a problem in 4.3BSD back then, and it's still a problem today. No matter how carefully the program is ...
14
votes
1answer
505 views

SYSENTER/SYSEXIT broken on Pentium Pro and Pentium II?

I was just reading 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 ...
4
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2answers
383 views

The use of segments in non-relocating assemblers

I've been looking at a bunch of different 6502 assemblers recently (dasm, ca65, xa, kickass), and many of them have support for multiple code segments. Some of these assemblers can generate ...
0
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3answers
240 views

How was “Super Mario Bros” made with Assembly if the DASM compiler came out in 1987?

Would somebody care to explain how "Super Mario Bros." was released in 1985. But the DASM Assembler came out in 1987? The 6502 Assembly language was introduced in 1975. How would you compile/...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

Defining zeropage address labels in xa assembler?

I am trying to use the xa assembler to write some 6502 code. According to the documentation, I can define a zeropage segment using the .zero pseudo-op. I was hoping to do something like this: .zero ...
4
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2answers
609 views

Z80 PIO Keyboard [closed]

I am working on designing a Z80 computer and I would like to use a PS/2 Keyboard for input. I would like to use a PIO to communicate with it, but I am having trouble finding any documentation online ...
3
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2answers
290 views

Mysterious things happening to stack when running a debug session

When I run a debug session using FreeDOS and DEBUG.EXE, I get a session like the following. I've added a description of what I saw as annotation on the image. Each step, I've printed out the stack ...
14
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1answer
1k views

How can a Z80 assembly program find out the address stored in the SP register?

I'm wondering how to write a program in Z80 assembler that discovers the value stored in the SP register. From what I've seen, the only instructions that touch the SP register are: LD SP, HL/IX/IY EX ...
5
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4answers
333 views

Better way to do Z80 “bank switch & call”?

I have a memory setup where the whole address space can be exchanged (default 2 slots with 2 banks each, but may change depending on "expansion cards" plugged in). Banks are switched by ...
11
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1answer
1k views

Identifying this 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
1answer
344 views

Why is my program outputting only zeros to the data bus during I/O operations?

I'm building a breadboard Z80-based computer. As now, I have the CPU hooked up to an EEPROM and an I/O device (an HD44780 character display) with appropriate decoding logic. The ROM chip starts at ...
10
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3answers
948 views

Make the “z80asm” assembler place an instruction at a known memory address

I'm writing a very basic OS for my homebrew Z80 computer. As an absolute assembly language beginner, I managed to obtain a working "os plus memory monitor" that can show memory content and ...
0
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3answers
186 views

c64 copy chars to sprite issue

How to do correct copying char to sprite ? Lets say 1st char is at $2000 second is at $2008 and copying to sprite at $2480. And with this we can copy 1 char to top left position of 1st sprite. But ...
20
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1answer
1k views

When did the IBM 650 have a “Table lookup on Equal” instruction?

In 1959, Donald Knuth wrote an assembly program named SuperSoap for the IBM 650. Here is the manual, and here is a listing of the program (in SuperSoap assembly language). Quoting from the abstract: ...
0
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0answers
55 views

Run ca65 assembler with intermediate step of resolving macros

I would like to convert an assembler program in ca65 with macros into assembler code with resolved macros in order to carry out manual or automatic optimizations with the resulting code. Then, the ...
12
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2answers
1k views

How would I reliably detect the amount of RAM, including Fast RAM?

If I was to write an Amiga game, what would be the best/most reliable way to detect how much RAM is actually available? Looking at Action's Guide to AGA-Fixing!, he mentions Faulty Memory Detection: ...
6
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2answers
397 views

Labels in cc65 inline assembler with #define macro

In general, it is possible to use inline assembler statements within C macros, for example #define toscreencode(C) (__AX__ = (C), \ asm("cmp #$60"),\ ...
13
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5answers
4k views

Was Family BASIC for the NES/Famicom powerful enough to create full games and applications?

"Family BASIC or Famicom BASIC is the consumer product for programming Nintendo's Family Computer video game console of Japan." wikipedia I can't seem to find much info about Family BASIC ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

8086 duration of program

I have the following assembly code for 8086 MOV AL, [BX] OUT DX, AL The bus clock frequency is 1MHz. Access to memory is done without WAIT, and to I/O with one WAIT tick. How I can calculate the ...
4
votes
2answers
182 views

Were there “higher level programming” macro packages for the IBM Macro Assembler?

The IBM/360 Macro Assembly language was quite powerful, allowing non-trivial compile-time string manipulation. Did macro packages exist which would facilitate programming at a (slightly) higher level, ...
34
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14answers
8k views

What “unusual” syntax assembly languages are/were there?

This question may have the apparent form of a question soliciting a "list" answer, but I'm expecting the list to be very short, so please bear with me. What "unusual" syntax assembly languages are/...
10
votes
1answer
642 views

Difference between INT 0x20 and INT 0x21 (0x4C)?

Checking the MS-DOS interrupt list we see INT 0x20 "Terminate the program" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DOS_API) but if we check the same page we see INT 0x21 with function 0x4C will &...
61
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13answers
15k 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
461 views

Putting code into two different memory areas with cc65/ca65

According to cc65 / ca65 documentation, the .org directive does not affect the placement of the code unlike with other 6502 assemblers. The docs suggest defining a memory segment with the intended ...
15
votes
1answer
481 views

Where and when did the “.s” suffix for assembly-language source files originate?

The closest I was able to find on StackOverflow is What are .S files?, in which no answerer addresses why we use .s for assembly. (And .S for preprocessor/macro assembly; and gcc -S to produce ...
4
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1answer
244 views

Does a defacto format exist for Commodore 64 SID music?

I first learned about tracker / mod music on my Amiga in the early 1990's. I remember fooling around with Protracker, listening to mods with Intuitracker, and coming to the realization that all those ...
1
vote
2answers
297 views

Performing 16-bit port I/O on the RTC

Why can’t the RTC (0x70, 0x71) read and write 16 bits at a time? For example: mov ax, 0xa8f out 0x70, ax I have found in a 286 BIOS that did this (BIOS ID string: S286-6181-...
9
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a way to link object files for DOS from Linux?

I'm able to use NASM to assemble simple COM files from my modern Linux computer, but how can I create a DOS EXE file while still in Linux? Specifically, I am interested in a solution that will target ...
21
votes
2answers
1k 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, ...
4
votes
2answers
116 views

6800 I flag at reset

I have written an emulation of the Heathkit ET-3400A microcomputer trainer in Java, mainly to see if I could do it and to get my feet wet in Java. Odd question, but there's a discrepancy (one of many,...
3
votes
2answers
373 views

How were games and programs written for the C64 in assembler in the 80s? [duplicate]

Were developers using monitors like e.g. "Supermon+64", "Merlin 64" or "Monitor$C000" and cartridges like "Final Cartridge", "Action Replay" (both of ...
6
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3answers
429 views

Did the Apollo Guidance Computer or other multi-ROM machines subdivide code between ROM chips/modules to facilitate partial updates?

The Apollo Guidance Computer had its code stored in six modules that held 6 kwords of storage each, and the design of each module was such that changing even a single bit after construction would have ...
5
votes
2answers
283 views

Commodore Plus/4 jiffy clock tied to screen refresh frequency? (warning: flashing images)

Warning: There are flashing images below, do not scroll down if you are sensitive to them! According to various sources (for example this for the Plus/4), both the C64 and Plus/4 have a "jiffy&...
1
vote
1answer
181 views

Working on programming a retro z80 computer (SDCC error)

I am working on coding a driver of sorts for a Z80 based computer I am making. I am compiling with SDCC and I have been getting the following? ASlink-Warning-Undefined Global 'data' referenced by ...
16
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4answers
1k views

Toolchain and workflow to build CP/M

Building my own version of CP/M has always been a fascinating to-do project. Problem is that it seems that the source code is not in regular assembler, but some kind of macro-assembler like language ...
2
votes
0answers
126 views

Help debugging a circuit/code for Z80 and TMS9918ANL

I am working on designing a Z80 computer that utilized the TMS9918ANL for graphics. I am currently just trying to make sure the TMS9918ANL is working, so I hooked up the control pins the bus (...
10
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2answers
713 views

Trying to understand some assembly syntax in the Unix v7 write system call

so here is the code: (which comes from here, I've also verified this source is in my unix v7 distribution). For reference, this is running on a PDP-11 simulated with the simh program (so please keep ...
2
votes
1answer
237 views

How to implement a 'write' function in pdp-11 / MACRO-11 / ODT using simh?

So, I'm working on a project where I'm aiming to get the first winner of the IOCCC (obfuscated c code contest) dissected down to the last detail... The program is mullender.c which you can find by ...
16
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12answers
7k views

How can a Z80 assembly program find out its own memory address?

I'm wondering how to write a program in Z80 assembler that discovers its own memory location. I thought that maybe I could somehow load the program counter PC into, for example, BC. Is there a way ...
90
votes
8answers
27k views

Why would a NES game use an undocumented 1-byte or 2-byte NOP in production?

Reading the NESdev wiki page on CPU unofficial opcodes, I see a few games use an undocumented 2-byte NOP instuction in production: Puzznic, F-117A Stealth Fighter, and Infiltrator use $89 #i. Beauty ...
5
votes
1answer
350 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 ...
17
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3answers
3k views

Was there any automated unit testing prior to 1972?

Prior to 1972, was there any automated unit-testing? Did any assemblers include a testing a framework? I can find some academic journals on this topic from the late 70s -- most of which I don't have ...
1
vote
1answer
301 views

Using Bresenham's circle algorithm (or another alternative algorithm) to draw an arc [closed]

I'm trying to create some graphics function for a ZX Spectrum (Z80) machine in assembler. I already have the basics except for the arc. I know that there must be some way to draw an arc using the ...
8
votes
1answer
681 views

On the LR35902, what does the assembly 'LD (HL-),A' do?

I'm working on implementing the instructions of the z80 chip inside a gameboy for an emulator. I'm starting with the instructions in the boot rom that sets everything up. I've implemented the first 3 ...
35
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8answers
8k views

When and why did high-level language compilers start targeting assembly language rather than machine code?

From what I've read, the first FORTRAN compiler built a machine-code program entirely in memory; it was, in fact, designed to read the entire source code of the program, and then sequentially load ...
10
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2answers
461 views

How do I tell vasm to allow white spaces?

I have recently been learning to use vasm. For those that don't know, vasm is a cross-platform assembler for multiple types of processors such as the M68000. http://sun.hasenbraten.de/vasm/ I am ...
1
vote
6answers
2k views

Compile the 6502 assembler source code for running on modern computers [closed]

I want to make an executable file for modern computers that you can download and run without any other software, using any kind of a 6502 assembler. Can I compile source code, written for the 6502, ...
11
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3answers
403 views

Do any 6502 assemblers have better support for self-modifying code?

I find I keep on doing things like this: raster_interrupt: bgnd_color = * + 1 lda #$00 sta $d021 ; rest of interrupt handler so that I can do this kind of thing elsewhere in my ...
8
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4answers
1k views

Imaging a HDD from DOS over Serial

I have recently fixed an old IBM Clone, which has an MFM hard drive. The PC booted up fine, but then I saw, that a few years back, I have deleted a few important files (probably by mistake). The ...
1
vote
1answer
356 views

Were all NES games 16 kibibytes or less?

While searching on the Internet and Quora, I found disassemblers for Pac-Man, Galaxian, and Super Mario Bros. The thing that puzzled me, was while Super Mario Bros was arguably quite a complex game ...