VIC-20

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AHendersonUK
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VIC-20

Post by AHendersonUK » Mon May 28, 2012 10:31 am

I'm not too sure why but I want a VIC-20. Seems cheap enough. Wanted a retro machine and fell on this one. A good idea? Never used one but was looking at teaching myself BASIC just for the hell of it and I know this machine comes with the option to learn it. Others do as well I guess. Just after opinion really. Also looking at C64 and ZX Spectrum. All just about as old as I am so looking for that nostalgia hit.

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The Laird
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Re: VIC-20

Post by The Laird » Mon May 28, 2012 10:39 am

A Speccy +2 or +3 is a great choice if you want to learn BASIC. There is loads of info out there on the Speccy, probably more than any other computer and the 128k machines have a brilliant editor built into the BASIC on them. The +2, +2a and +3 machine also have the advantage of having a built in cassette recorder or disk drive for saving anything you do too.

AHendersonUK
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Re: VIC-20

Post by AHendersonUK » Mon May 28, 2012 11:36 am

I used to have the James Bond version of the ZX Spectrum+2. No idea whatever happened to it.

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Juggernaut Headcrush
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Re: VIC-20

Post by Juggernaut Headcrush » Mon May 28, 2012 12:35 pm

AHendersonUK wrote:I used to have the James Bond version of the ZX Spectrum+2. No idea whatever happened to it.
I bought that very one on Ebay last year, boxed and in perfect nick, for about £40. And somehow the guy managed to sneak another Spectrum +2 unannounced into the box. :shock:
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Antiriad2097
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Re: VIC-20

Post by Antiriad2097 » Mon May 28, 2012 1:24 pm

AHendersonUK wrote:I want a VIC-20....looking at teaching myself BASIC. Also looking at C64 and ZX Spectrum.
If you want to learn BASIC, then the Spectrum is the only one of those really worth considering.

The Commodore implementation of BASIC is rudimentary so you end up delving into peeks and pokes to get anything done.

Sinclair BASIC is fairly standard and much easier to get results from.

If you're going for a Spectrum, you want to look at anything from the 128 onwards (128, +2 or +3). In the 128 BASIC editor on these you can type normally instead of using the odd key combinations of the old 16/48k and +. Altogether a much more pleasant experience.
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Re: VIC-20

Post by StarshipUK » Mon May 28, 2012 5:27 pm

I learnt basic on a Commodore Plus 4 (even though it does not have the best keyboard) when I was rather young and should have been playing games instead.

It came with an excellent large A4 book and two demo tapes called:
"An introduction to Basic - Part 1" - http://plus4world.powweb.com/publicatio ... pid=400051

That might be a good easy way to start though before moving on to more advanced things.

The Commodore Plus 4 had an even more advanced Basic (V3.5) than the Commodore 64 (V2) ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_BASIC ), but Basic on all platforms has slight differences, even though in most cases the logical theory is the same.

I would start on a C64 though, rather than a Plus 4 or VIC20 (which has a limited amount of memory).

A version of "An Introduction to Basic - Part 1" was also released for the C64, but I do not think Part 2 was released at all (except perhaps for the VIC20 - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Introduction- ... 3f17945348 ), but Part 1 still covers a fair bit ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/COMMODORE-64- ... 256cd7e06b ).

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Re: VIC-20

Post by Antiriad2097 » Mon May 28, 2012 5:36 pm

If you're going for a 3rd party BASIC or another language then I'd suggest the C64, but the built in one is dreadful.

Take a look at BASIC listings for C64 vs Spectrum. Sinclair BASIC is far more legible.

If you're willing to get your hands dirty with assembly, then C64 might be easier since there's more hardware assistance.
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Re: VIC-20

Post by The Laird » Mon May 28, 2012 5:38 pm

As said though, Commodore BASIC is rubbish.

The best BASIC of the 8-bits is probably on the BBC, bloody excellent.

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Re: VIC-20

Post by Antiriad2097 » Mon May 28, 2012 5:43 pm

BBC BASIC is good, but not quite as standardised as Sinclair BASIC.

If we're throwing our favourites out there, Oric has a good one. Took me no time at all to swap from that to Sinclair since there's so many similarities. The move to BBC wasn't quite as straightforward, but still relatively painless.

With the C64 I just gave up after a while and played games instead :lol:
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The Laird
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Re: VIC-20

Post by The Laird » Mon May 28, 2012 5:44 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:BBC BASIC is good, but not quite as standardised as Sinclair BASIC.

If we're throwing our favourites out there, Oric has a good one. Took me no time at all to swap from that to Sinclair since there's so many similarities. The move to BBC wasn't quite as straightforward, but still relatively painless.

With the C64 I just gave up after a while and played games instead :lol:
Yeah BBC BASIC is far from standard but bloody powerful and compact when you learn it.

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TMR
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Re: VIC-20

Post by TMR » Tue May 29, 2012 8:01 pm

AHendersonUK wrote:I'm not too sure why but I want a VIC-20. Seems cheap enough. Wanted a retro machine and fell on this one. A good idea? Never used one but was looking at teaching myself BASIC just for the hell of it and I know this machine comes with the option to learn it. Others do as well I guess. Just after opinion really. Also looking at C64 and ZX Spectrum. All just about as old as I am so looking for that nostalgia hit.
If you're just looking to learn BASIC for the hell of it they're all much of a muchness really since you're always going to have to learn the caveats; Commodore BASIC V2 lacks graphics and sound commands so does things with POKEs (BASIC 3.5 and 7 for the 264 series and C128 respectively have commands), Sinclair BASIC doesstring handling differently to the various flavours of Microsoft BASIC, stock Atari BASIC treats strings as arrays so is nonstandard in a similar but different way and there's no real standardisation between dialects for graphics commands, mode selection or much else either. If you're wanting to take what you learn on the 8-bits onto more current machines, a Microsoft dialect is probably best although it won't offer a massive advantage in the long run.

But if you're wanting to use a BASIC to produce playable games, these days it's well worth considering cross compiling for just about any 8-bit machine; the process isn't going to kick up any nostalgia because the code is all written with a text editor on a current-ish desktop, but it does mean that you're never going to lose work due to a failing 25 year old PSU or accidentally clobber your listing with a rogue POKE.

There are platform-specific cross compilers using variations on BASIC or other high level languages out there such as Atalan (Atari 8-bit but i believe the plan is to expand out to other machines), Slang (in it's Xlang cross-compiling flavour, for the C64), Batari BASIC (Atari 2600, again could be expanded to others at some point - this one has seen a huge amount of use) or CPC BASIC (guess which machine that's for =-) whilst Z88DK and CC65 churn out reasonably well optimised code for Z80- and 6502-based machines respectively from C source.

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