If you ever used a home computer in the 80’s you probably learned the BASIC ‘Hello World’ program as your first endeavour, which prints that message onto the screen. You might have even played around with it, and changed the message, probably to something rude on a computer in a high-street store. We’re not doing that here, although we could, and here’s why.
The ‘Hello World’ program is actually quite complicated – you need to design a graphic for each of the 7 unique letters to show, the list which dictates which order to show them, and the function the actually put each letter onto the screen. That’s quite a lot of work for a beginner! Ah, some of you might think, doesn’t the Spectrum have all that in the ROM, can’t we just use that? Well yes, it does, and yes, we could, but using the ROM for everything won’t teach you how to do each aspect, and if you get too reliant on the ROM you begin to notice that it’s actually not that fast. When I started to learn assembly over 30 years ago that’s what I did – followed a book which used the Spectrum’s ROM to do nearly everything – but quickly became aware that everything was running slowly, and that was the reason. The game turned out okay – it was called Stranded and you can download it from my website at www.bobs-stuff.co.uk – but it wasn’t what I planned to write because I had to scale back my plans as everything got slower and slower. What I meant to write eventually became Stranded 2.5.
So we’re going to start with something else, something quite uniquely Spectrum..