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Old 04 September 2007, 18:01   #1
P-J
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A newbie to the Amiga and ASM, what approach to take?

Hi all

I realise there is a sticky at the top of this forum but it's difficult to know what I should and shouldn't be doing.

I've been game programming in BASIC since I can remember and I'd like to mess around with 68k ASM on the Amiga. Of course, like a lot of people, I have no idea where to start. A lot the tutorials have a stupid learning curve, a lot are incomplete and a lot tell me nothing about the Amiga itself

I do understand the fundamentals of ASM from dabbling in 6502 some twenty years ago, but I don't really know much about what software I need to get started, which tutorials are best for someone like me (not a newbie to programming or computers, but a newbie to ASM) and where is best to start. Also some links to good commented source code would be cool

Any help much appreciated

Last edited by P-J; 04 September 2007 at 18:08.
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Old 04 September 2007, 18:30   #2
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this older site might be of some help http://www.algonet.se/~davsjo/amigaasm.html

or this http://www.amigau.com/c-programming/...mblerlinks.htm


or take a look at this http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=10878


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Old 04 September 2007, 19:00   #3
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I would go to http://aminet.net/ and check in the dev section for asm sources. Depending on what your goal is, you'll need to know how to open a screen and or window, fool around with copper lists, viewports, etc. The sources on aminet are a great place to start.

Way back when, the A68K was the top dog compiler and blink was the linker of choice. You SHOULD be able to find A68K on aminet, however I don't know about blink.

Good luck with your efforts!
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Old 05 September 2007, 00:15   #4
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Thanks for the info. It all looks a little difficult to get into though.
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Old 05 September 2007, 01:14   #5
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@P-J

if i could recomend, teach yourself 'C'... its not difficult, infact there are plenty of resources on the NET that will have you up and running in no time.

There are many beauties of 'C' but one that i think YOU might be interested in is the fact you can compile your 'C' source to Asembly on a particular machine, and from this you can 'LEARN' how to program Asembly routine by routine. (just remember to comment your work)

there are many other reasons to learn C or even C++, its almost as fast as Asembly, infact i believe well written code would be hard to distinguish any discernable speed difference.

There are many resources and IDE's available for C on the amiga, some VERY powerfull one's I used to write a routine in C and then refine it in Asembly, its a very powerfull tool
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Old 05 September 2007, 01:15   #6
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Floppy disk

My advice would be to go for Devpac 3 assembler which is the best assembler on the Amiga in my opinion. The last version for the Amiga was 3.18 which was released in 1997. This comes with those all important include files and a great debugger.

As for information on learning 68k I would recommend the route I took (and am still taking). I bought a few assembler books off eBay. The best for learning 68k programming seem to be 'Amiga Assembler' by Paul Overaa and its big brother 'Mastering Amiga Assembler' also written by Paul Overaa. The first book is a gentle introduction to 68k on the Amiga and the second book goes into more depth and explains with more complex source code.

You won't go too far wrong with those books... if you can find them! I've just had a quick look on eBay and found nothing. Keep checking though as they do appear every now and again. Good luck!
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Old 05 September 2007, 10:54   #7
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Thanks for the info guys, much appreciated

I guess I'm trying to make up for lost time here by learning Amiga ASM. I always wanted to do it when I was younger but couldn't afford books/PD disks and didn't have any friends who were coders so the barrier to entry was too high.

I will definitely check those books out, but for now will continue my projects (Hunter related ) on the PC side. I guess with all the power we're afforded on PCs there's no reason not to code in BASIC
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Old 05 September 2007, 12:03   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
I will definitely check those books out, but for now will continue my projects (Hunter related ) on the PC side. I guess with all the power we're afforded on PCs there's no reason not to code in BASIC
oooooooooh, tell more tell more. Are you having a go at writing Hunter in DarkBasic or something? I'm working on some PC game stuff at the moment as well using OpenGL. At the moment I'm working on a 2D scrolly game which might turn into a Dizzy game.

I am also working on a 3D action/adventure which could very well turn into a Hunter remake. We'll have to see. I've got so many remakes I want to do its mindboggling. An EOB and DM remake is also on the cards.

Do you have ay screenshots of your project or is it still early days?
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Old 05 September 2007, 13:20   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve View Post
oooooooooh, tell more tell more. Are you having a go at writing Hunter in DarkBasic or something? I'm working on some PC game stuff at the moment as well using OpenGL. At the moment I'm working on a 2D scrolly game which might turn into a Dizzy game.

I am also working on a 3D action/adventure which could very well turn into a Hunter remake. We'll have to see. I've got so many remakes I want to do its mindboggling. An EOB and DM remake is also on the cards.

Do you have ay screenshots of your project or is it still early days?
Hi again mate

At the minute I'm writing a rather snazzy Tetris rip-off for the GP2X but have laid the groundwork for a multiplayer Hunter remake for Windows/Linux. Using OpenGL to render the GFX, but keeping the exact same feel and look as the original, without the problem of it running at 5FPS I don't even know how it'll work yet, but I would imagine the easiest method would be capture the flag, reds against greens like the original. All I know is it is something I'd like to realise, and with todays languages it would be a piece of piss compared to the task that the original developers faced!

When I say 'laid the groundwork' I mean I've done all the tests to see if it's feasible with my limited knowledge and I think it is. As soon as my 'Extris' is released for the GP2X I'll be starting it properly.

Both your projects sound rather cool-- Any screenies?

Also, how are you at retro-graphics (i.e. pixel drawing)?
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Old 05 September 2007, 13:39   #10
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Here is a screenshot taken from my Eye of the Beholder 3D engine from last year. Mainly just an empty level you can walk around with no monsters. If you've played EOB you might recognise the location as the first doorway you come across on level 1.

Pixel art? I'm absolutely useless! I just haven't got the patience for it. I'll have to see if anyone on here wants to help out on the graphics side.
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Old 05 September 2007, 15:47   #11
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That looks rather cool-- How far along is the project? I read your post but is it still active? Have you done all the hard work?

Shame you're not a pixel-artist. I could really do with one right now
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Old 06 September 2007, 14:20   #12
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That looks rather cool-- How far along is the project? I read your post but is it still active? Have you done all the hard work?
Thanks.

The project was really more of a test bed for my 3D engine. I'm not sure how far along my engine is yet. Maybe around the 50% mark. There is still plenty of hard work to be done on the engine before the game will be playable. Currently it just loads in a Lightwave model of the level data and generates texture information and you can control the camera and walk around the level. There is no level interaction yet and I need to convert the level data into a BSP file. I need to add collision detection for the walls, monsters with AI as well as all the fight mechanics and spells and HUD etc. So there is tons to be done. Still its all good fun.

Quote:
Shame you're not a pixel-artist. I could really do with one right now
Ask around here. Surely there must be a few people who are dab hand with dpaint and willing to help you out on your game project.
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Old 09 September 2007, 22:53   #13
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(unfinished) 680x0 assembler tutorial aimed at BASIC programmers

I started learning 680x0 assembler in 1998, when I found an assembler-course on Aminet (before that I wanted to learn assembler but didn't know where to get info about it). I found ASMOne (and it's fork ASMPro) to be an easy to use assembler. In 1999-2000 I started to write an assembler tutorial, which I unfortunately never finished. I think I wrote it especially with people in mind who had experience with BASIC (the person I wrote it for started with AMOS I think, like me). Sadly the guy stopped learning assembler (can't remember why), so I never finished the tutorial.

I've zipped the tutorial, in case you or anyone else could use it.
It's in Amigaguide format. You can download it here:

http://www.gamecult.eu/SPC/Spellcoder_ASM.zip

ASMCourseP06.guide is the original one I was writing in 2000.
ASMCourseP06_updated.guide has updated links/email adresses for 2007, but otherwise is the same.

You can get ASMOne from here: http://www.theflamearrows.info/documents/ftp.html
And ASMPro from here: http://surf.to/asmpro
(you can probably get both from Aminet too)


Good luck learning 680x0 assembler!


p.s.: tell me if you see mistakes in my tutorial, since I was thinking about making a online WIKI-style version of it.
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Old 09 September 2007, 23:30   #14
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Hey there, and thanks for the post.

I've just ordered 2nd hand book on Amiga ASM so I think your tutorial will come in handy!
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Old 10 September 2007, 13:27   #15
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I've been tinkering since the start of the year. The basics of 68k are pretty easy to get to grips with, I bought Amiga Machine Language, from Abacus and that got me up and running pretty quickly. Atm I'm doing everything through WinUAE and AsmPro and it works quite nicely.

There's a lot of stuff to learn on the Amiga - I started with the Copper, then tried blitting things before struggling for a while with Interrupts. Slow process, but one of the most rewarding coding experiences I've had for a while. It's great to actually learn a language that's not some syntactical relation to C

Good luck, these forums are excellent for support and help
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Old 10 September 2007, 14:55   #16
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Great stuff all, keep it coming!
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Old 17 September 2007, 10:55   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bburtonpa View Post
I would go to http://aminet.net/ and check in the dev section for asm sources. Depending on what your goal is, you'll need to know how to open a screen and or window, fool around with copper lists, viewports, etc. The sources on aminet are a great place to start.

Way back when, the A68K was the top dog compiler and blink was the linker of choice. You SHOULD be able to find A68K on aminet, however I don't know about blink.

Good luck with your efforts!
Depends on how you define 'way back when' I suppose. First, there was Seka and Devpac. (And as usual a little war between the two groups of users, sigh... hehe) Then Promax took the Seka source and improved it immensely, thus ASM_One was born, the first choice for many because of its usefulness and interactivity. It spawned numerous improved versions as years went by. Then in 92 a bunch of people got PCs and did cross-assembling.

I'd say, if you do huge projects or apps that are straight-forward, go with a command line assembler. Argasm is a very nice oldskool choice for that. If you want to have fun, explore and experiment to make the custom chips do your bidding, go with the ASM_One macro assembler.

And don't call an assembler a compiler! Compilers are for translating higher level languages into binaries, assemblers encode what is already at the lowest level from text to binary.
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Old 18 September 2007, 13:45   #18
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I learned a bit of 68k myself earlier this year so for what it's worth, here's a shopping list for what I personally found to be of most use...

For picking up a bit of assembly language I read a book called 68000/68010/68020 Primer (ISBN: 0672224054) which I found to be good for beginners - enough detail to be useful without being overwhelming.

For using what I'd learned and applying that to the Amiga I got hold of a copy of the Amiga Hardware Reference Manual. I used the 3rd Edition but I suppose any edition would do. Nothing else to say about this one really, it's the bible as far as understanding the Amiga hardware and getting it to do what you want goes.

For assembling the code I used Devpac 3.14 - mainly because I find it the easiest to use out of the ones I've tried, it's quite forgiving if I do something stupid like stick the wrong extension on an opcode for example, either correcting the error in the background on assembly or throwing out a useful error message so I realise what I did wrong. At the end of the day, for me, I've always managed to use it to get working code together pretty painlessly.

The editor in Devpac's pretty nice too but I prefer to use a text editor on my PC and then migrate this into Devpac just to do the final assembly. The best PC text editor I've used for this is Ultraedit-32 because it's got good macro functions and also lets me save the text with Unix-type LF line terminators meaning I don't get any horrible spurios things in my text once it's been moved to the Amiga.

Other than that, just try to get hold of some working source codes and try to work out what's going on in them.

Hope this helps and make sure you let us know how you're getting on and show us the results!
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Old 18 September 2007, 13:48   #19
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Hope this helps and make sure you let us know how you're getting on and show us the results!
Just reading through a couple of books I swiped from the Amazon marketplace thingy. Once I get down to some real work I'll let you know
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Old 18 September 2007, 14:36   #20
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The HRM and other amiga goodies are available to read online and print off!

I found bugging the knowledgable guys (Galahad, Codetapper and Stingray mostly) on IRC to be a fab learning resource. All the other guys help alot too (Redblade, X_to etc) so ask away!

Finally it's best to just play, see what happens and learn from your mistakes.. if you get stuck then ask
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