Questions tagged [basic]

For questions about BASIC, a lightweight, high-level programming language favored in retro computer systems.

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13
votes
4answers
2k views

What type of interpreter were most 8-bit BASIC implementations?

I’m a big fan of early/mid 1980s personal computers like the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 and the Sinclair Spectrum. One thing these computers all had was a version of BASIC. Well known ones being MA-...
16
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2answers
2k views

How to decode an audio file which contains an MSX BASIC program? [closed]

I have an audio file in WAV format, which supposedly comes from a cassette sound file. Moreover, it contains a BASIC program, but I don't know how to decode it. I have tried to convert the wav file to ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Sources for some old BASIC games

Poking about in early issues of Dr Dobbs' Journal (the journal of the People's Computer Company, or PCC) I came across a listing for BASIC games available on tape. Many of these are widespread, but a ...
6
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1answer
378 views

Why is ZX80 much faster than Spectrum on Rugg/Feldman benchmarks?

If you look at the results of the Rugg/Feldman benchmarks, shown in this Wiki entry, you'll see that Sinclair ZX80 is much faster than Sinclair Spectrum on all tests despite the fact that both ...
7
votes
1answer
266 views

Any historical references to links between JOSS and BASIC?

I only recently learned of the JOSS language, and then only through a roundabout fashion from an interview with David Ahl where he mentions FOCAL. This led me to read the available manuals for all ...
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, ...
6
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7answers
2k views

What ways are there to “PEEK” of memory sections in (different) BASIC(s)?

Question Was there any BASIC or extension or toolbox for BASIC allowing to PEEK multiple bytes from memory in one instruction - besides the often-used DPEEK (or alike) to read a word? I'm asking ...
7
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2answers
422 views

Saving screen pixels to string in ZX Basic

I remember programming a ZX spectrum in 128 basic (about 20 years ago). I remember I was able to save a third of the screen into a variable. Something like this: 10 LET A$ = [16384 BYTES starting at ...
2
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2answers
404 views

Anyone heard of 'something like' EDITLN or EDITLINE or LINEDIT statement in BASIC?

Anyone heard of 'something like' EDITLN or EDITLINE or LINEDIT statement in BASIC for editing lines of a program's own code while executing ? I seem to remember a statement that was spelled '...
8
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1answer
218 views

String libraries for BASIC

Looking over old BASICs I find two general approaches to handling string variables. HP/Wang/Atari/et al used C-like array-of-char whose memory size is specified with a DIM statement, with the upside ...
6
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2answers
441 views

Read HP Basic (RMB) tokenized file into clear text?

I have a cople of HP BASIC (HP9000) files that have been saved in a non-ASCII format (HFSLIF?). Does anyone know of a conversion utility to get the code readable? The files are already on a win7 ...
7
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4answers
384 views

Library of MS BASIC programs in text format?

I am wondering if anyone has a pointer to a good source of "classic" BASIC programs, in text format. One would think this would be easy to find, but unfortunately VB so pollutes the results as to ...
2
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0answers
277 views

What is this tool that was once used to teach beginner level BASIC?

In the early 1980's there was a small handheld device that looked like a calculator. It was a tool to teach beginner level programming in BASIC. Its ad slogan was "keep it near you". I never had one ...
25
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17answers
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Was self-modifying code possible using BASIC?

Was self-modifying-code possible using BASIC? Parameters: On commonly affordable home-computers before 1984 Code that changes its own instructions while it is executing Using BASIC only Not using ...
47
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3answers
7k views

Strange math syntax in old basic listing

I'm browsing through an old book "Basic Computer Simulation" from 1983. It contains a line of BASIC code that reads: LET Z1 = M * D1 * (PQ / A) [ 3 I understand all of the code except the "[ 3" I ...
9
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1answer
354 views

Purpose of using REM when running TR-DOS commands in BASIC

When running TR-DOS commands from within BASIC, it's necessary to prefix the command with RANDOMIZE USR 15619: REM: first. I understand the former command, but not the latter. For example, to load a ...
3
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1answer
189 views

BASIC09 questions

I only learned of BASIC09 today, and I'm trying to wrap my head around it. The manual talks about it being a compiler, but I'm not sure I see significant differences between its I-code and tokenized ...
5
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2answers
255 views

Was Vilnius BASIC cross-platform?

It is well established that Vilnius BASIC runs on PDP-11 compatible machines. For example, the BK-0010 and UKNC had Vilnius BASIC in ROM. Apparently, it was closely modelled after MSX BASIC, which ...
9
votes
1answer
525 views

Origins of the “array like” strings in BASIC

A number of early microcomputer BASICs had 'array like strings' that were unlike MS's system and instead behaved like arrays of char. Substrings were accessed using a syntax like: A$ = B$(1,5) as ...
7
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3answers
463 views

How to get a plain text file version of a CP/M .BAS (M-BASIC) program?

I have an old game (STRTRK.BAS) from my dad's Kaypro 10 that I would like to convert to a plain text file. Basically, what I'm trying to do is get it onto a modern computer in plain text format so I ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

How can I input a string in ZX Spectrum BASIC using INPUT and not show the quotation marks?

How can I input a string in ZX Spectrum BASIC and not show the quotation marks on input? I've written a program for my 3-year old daughter to type in some letters, but she keeps deleting the ...
2
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3answers
205 views

How to use the MOD operator in TRS-80 model 100 BASIC?

I'm finding the MOD operand is not working when I enter it in the BASIC prompt. This is how I write it out. PRINT 1 * MOD(23) ?SN Error I have looked into a reference guide and it is too broad on ...
2
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1answer
140 views

Decoding the Workings of the TRS-80 BASIC Game “Escape!”

I've decided to port Chase! to Swift, apparently because I am insane. In any event, I'm trying to collect the various switches in versions from the era. One of these is unique, found here under the ...
4
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4answers
561 views

How can I implement the modulus operator in Commodore 64 Basic?

How can I implement the modulus operator in Commodore 64 Basic? There are not a lot of math functions to work with, and modulus would be very handy.
5
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1answer
339 views

Commodore Plus/4 60671 bytes free - how?

It is widely known that, while the Commodore 64 did indeed provide 64K of RAM for machine code programs, only 38K was usable from BASIC; this was because bank switching was needed to get at the rest, ...
17
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4answers
1k views

Commodore BASIC and binary floating point precision

I am mildly curious that though the 6502 provides BCD arithmetic which would be useful for implementing decimal floating point, Commodore BASIC uses, like all (?) Micro-Soft BASIC, binary floating ...
1
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8answers
979 views

Are there any old and nowadays active Operating Systems which has only BASIC Programming Language?

Some old Operating Systems I hear have only BASIC Programming Language. Are there any active and old operating systems which includes only BASIC Programming Language?
4
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1answer
179 views

Why did Extended BASIC on the TI-99/4A only allow 28 of the 32 sprites?

The Video Display Processor (VDP) of the TI-99/4A was capable of displaying 32 hardware sprites. These sprites were unusable with the default, built-in BASIC that TI provided. However, an enhanced ...
5
votes
3answers
227 views

Opening or converting GFA Basic files to something readable?

There is a bunch of GFA BASIC for Amiga files (the source code for Blender's ancestor, Traces, downloadable here: http://zgodzinski.com/blender-prehistory/) that I would like to peek at. Despite my ...
12
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2answers
697 views

Why was BASIC on the Commodore 64 one byte shy of 38KiB?

When you power up a Commodore 64 you are greeted with a friendly message telling the user it has 38911 BASIC bytes free. 38,911 is one byte shy of a 38 KiB (1,024 * 38 = 38,912). What was the reason ...
4
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3answers
884 views

How can I view BASIC code hidden by SYS?

I ran a validation of an old disk, and it turns out this ruined a game (won't load) and deleted my old high score list on David's Midnight Magic. I would like to edit the code to get the high score ...
9
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4answers
741 views

Early BASIC memory management

Can anyone verify or correct my memory here? Long ago, I had access to a Commodore PET which I think had 8kB of memory. Also slightly less long ago, I had a Commodore 64 with its "elephatine" 64kB. ...
10
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4answers
2k views

What are the rules for Applesoft BASIC formatting for code?

What are the rules for Applesoft BASIC formatting for code? I've been doing some BASIC coding and noticed that: 10 input "some question?"; name$ Will be reformatted as: 10 INPUT "some question?";...
14
votes
1answer
549 views

Origin/source of “One Line” one-key game

Circa 1985 in our school BBC Micro lab, we wasted much time playing a tiny type-in game that looked a bit like this: The playfield was filled with a random arrangement of asterisks, and the player ...
4
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0answers
145 views

DTSS software list?

I'm continuing my effort to track down the original author of the early game Chase. I have pretty much concluded it was written on the GE-635 running Dartmouth Time Sharing System (DTSS) and Dartmouth ...
17
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9answers
3k views

What caused the demise of BASIC/BASICA in the late 1980's?

While not strictly adhered to, this is somewhat of a generalization of computer listings found in the more popular magazines of the time - BYTE, Kilobaud, PC Computing, etc. This explains the ...
8
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6answers
1k views

New 6502 BASICs?

I sort of "have a thing for BASIC" right now, which has led to a couple of great exchanges here in RSE about the variations "back in the day". I'm wondering if anyone is aware of other modern BASICs ...
7
votes
1answer
328 views

Differences between 4k, 8k and Extended Altair BASIC?

Various histories state that there were at least three versions of Altair BASIC, 4k, 8k and Extended - plus modifications like Disk. I've found some listings of the 4k, but does anyone have a short ...
20
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3answers
1k views

BBC/Acorn BASIC, what made it so fast?

As I look over old versions of BASIC trying to piece together their history, I come across repeated indications that BBC Basic was really fast. One list puts it running the Ahl benchmark (for all its ...
9
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2answers
2k views

Did Microsoft BASIC ever use Z80 only instructions?

Did Microsoft BASIC (or any of the OEM versions) ever use Z80 only instructions? For the purposes of this question I'm ignoring the equivalent of BIOS I/O layers which OEMs would have provided.
6
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2answers
381 views

What books did schools use to teach BASIC?

What books would have been used to teach school aged kids BASIC in a classroom setting back when BASIC was in common use? 8-Bit computers commonly came with tutorials to learn BASIC, like A Touch of ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Why does this BASIC program declare variables for the numbers 0 to 4?

On pages 150 to 154 of William Tang's (1982) Spectrum Machine Language for the Absolute Beginner, there are these lines of code. (Note GOTO 9000 is the first non-REM statement in the program). 9000 ...
8
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2answers
593 views

ZX BASIC REM statement overhead

Since my other question has been answered and has given me a way to do high-precision timing, I've been experimenting with it a bit. The first thing I did was write a simple benchmark using the FRAMES ...
17
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5answers
2k views

Uptime in ZX BASIC

How can I obtain the uptime of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum machine (ZX48, ZX128, or Pentagon clone) via their BASIC interpreter? Specifically, the same value used by RANDOMIZE 0 to seed its PRNG. I would ...
17
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4answers
2k views

Understanding INKEY$ in ZX BASIC

The ZX BASIC Manual gives the following little program to demonstrate how INKEY$ works: 10 IF INKEY$ <> "" THEN GO TO 10 20 IF INKEY$ = "" THEN GO TO 20 30 PRINT INKEY$; 40 GO TO 10 While I ...
22
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6answers
3k views

ZX Spectrum tokenisation

The BASIC used in the early ZX Spectrum (and also its ZX predecessors) had this weird thing where every single BASIC token was printed onto the keyboard, and for example PRINT or LOAD were entered by ...
19
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8answers
2k views

Which BASIC interpreters support techniques for hybrid programming in Assembly?

It was common with Commodore BASIC (and others, I'm sure) to have machine language encoded in BASIC programs using POKEs or READ/DATA. This was needed for both performance and to access certain ...
9
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4answers
3k 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 ...
19
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4answers
1k views

Was the design of MS-BASIC for 6502 based on MS-BASIC for 8080?

Looking through the source code of the 6502 MS-BASIC, certain parts of it seem more reminiscent of how things would be done on the 8080, then on how they should be done on the 6502. Code to find a ...
6
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1answer
311 views

Determine Character Encoding used on HP 9000 Model 310 running BASIC 5.1

With the help of this community, I was able to copy and emulate a HP9133 HD using Hpdir and Hpdrive. Now, I want to edit, or at the bare minimum, read the programs on the HD. I have extracted the ...