Your choice MSX or C64

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Van wolf_

Ambassador_ (9816)

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20-11-2018, 13:10

One of the many problems in this oranges 'n apples debate is that people tend to compare computers by waving with the best productions. If you look at Space Manbow, then the MSX is the steamroller and C64 is the road. Yet there are also C64 productions which are the steamroller while MSX is the road. MSX2 with bitmaps look good as long as not much is redrawn all the time and nothing is scrolling horizontally. So, KV2 and Usas look good. But as soon as things start scrolling horizontally, then C64 has the edge - regardless of how blocky its graphics are. Of course you could revert to screen 4, but then the tiles look more primitive than those on a C64. Space Manbow is quite an exception, but most software houses weren't called 'Konami'.

Van CX5Mer

Champion (322)

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20-11-2018, 14:20

I'm actually talking about PROGRAMMING the C64 compared to programming MSX. I've been trying to work out how anyone could learn to program the C64 if it was their first computer. Some C64 programmers learnt Assembly Language/Machine Code on older computers, such as the Commodore VIC-20, Atari 400/800, Apple ][, or Acorn Atom, but as Gail Wellington of Commodore UK (who IMHO is an evil bitch/collaborator in the C64 con) said in 1984, most Commodore customers were first time buyers in the following video just after 9 minutes in https://vimeo.com/119227995 Of course, the Commodore 16 and Commodore Plus 4 were much better than the Commodore 64 when it came to programming, but they lacked a synthesiser chip and sprites, only having a 2 channel tone generator and an attempt to create software sprites in the BASIC. I was amazed to read a full list with explanations of powerful MSX BASIC commands in the first British MSX magazines, or even just in a supplement which came with another magazine. To sum up, on the C64, instead of a simple command like SCREEN 2, you need the commands listed below. Which do you prefer?

1000 POKE 53265,PEEK(53265) AND 239

1010 POKE 53265,PEEK(53265) OR 32

1020 POKE 53272,(PEEK(53272) AND 200) OR 8

1030 FOR I=8192 TO 16191

1040 POKE I,0

1050 NEXT I

1060 FOR I=1024 TO 2023

1070 POKE I,1

1080 NEXT I

1090 POKE 53265,PEEK(53265) OR 16

1100 RETURN

Van smx

Resident (40)

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20-11-2018, 15:18

I think differences between 8Bit computer are the reason why we love them.
Nowadays every media has powerful capabilities in sound and graphics.
But 8 Bit era was a period of different machines and pros and cons are a trademark of.
So I like Msx but I like also C64 and Zx Spectrum and so on.
And what I like is that every machine has plus and cons. A game is black and white but very playable on a machine or has a beatiful scroll on another one but lacks something on other aspects or has a choppy scroll but the best arcade conversion for 8Bit computer and so on.

Van hamlet

Scribe (3188)

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20-11-2018, 15:25

CX5Mer: Why do you "work out how anyone could learn to program the C64 if it was their first computer" if you think the C= is crap?
I do like the way you have to dig deeper in the Commodore way of programming. Use a variable one around in the appropriate memory place for something to cause. What is wrong at it.
(Of course it is easier to name PI at the value 3.14159265359 than to calculate it . The seemingly more cumbersome one lets the programmer understand what it does, doesn't it?)

Van TomH

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20-11-2018, 16:28

I think the C64's only real problem, as a whole package, is the lacklustre BASIC — it's a lot of interesting hardware (especially the sound chip), but no effort whatsoever is made to expose it via BASIC. So for the target audience of first-time computer buyers, it's like saying that, sure, the features are there, but not for you. Professionals only, please.

Most of my childhood BASIC programming was various attempts to write games, which were usually composed of lines and circles and the occasional asterisk engaging in some sort of struggle. On a C64 it would have been only the asterisks, at character-grid-aligned locations.

A C64 is still infinitely better than a games console, though. It boots into a programming language. That already puts you into the top tier for any of my 1980s interests.

Van JohnHassink

Ambassador (5457)

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20-11-2018, 16:46

TomH wrote:

games, which were usually composed of lines and circles and the occasional asterisk engaging in some sort of struggle.

Heheh, nicely put. Smile

Van Shinobi

Expert (124)

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20-11-2018, 19:28

CX5Mer wrote:

BTW, I have done a blog about how crappy the C64 is compared with MSX as well as lots of other computers, but I'm not sure if I should post a link in this message, due to the risk of harassment from C64 fanatics who may be reading this..

You got a nice story there, send me your link, please.

For me, in Iraq I don't think Commodore 64's were even there, I don't think we imported them due to MSX Arabic computers, since MSX used Arabic language, it was dominated.
C64's BASIC is not good, but I think in those old computers it make a little difference since for games they used Assembly.
Colors were washed out.
I don't like the sound, it's not a clear sound when used in demos, my be if used in plain way. generating square, triangle waves it would be better than pushing it to do more.
Keyboard design (Arrow keys) is awful, MSX keyboard is more standard, in games you must have joystick in C64, but in MSX you don't have to.
Other than this, C64 games are good due to that cpu writes directly to memory that is read directly by the GPU.

Van skumlerud

Resident (46)

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20-11-2018, 23:14

CX5Mer wrote:

BTW, I have done a blog about how crappy the C64 is compared with MSX as well as lots of other computers,

It's like the last 30 years never happened Big smile

Van CX5Mer

Champion (322)

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21-11-2018, 03:29

I think I should tell everyone that I've found out a few very important thngs about how to program the C64, which have made me feel a lot better about failing to learn how to program it, then selling it 10-11 months later.

1. Ignore any books published by Commodore about how to program the C64, because they mainly tell you to program it using the crappy built in BASIC V2, using countless 5 figure memory locations with PEEK and POKE commands.
2. Read as many books as possinle published by Data Becker/Abacus about how to program the C64.
3. Never think about C64 memory locations in decimal, use hexadecimal instead.
4. Make up or use an equates file for use with an Assembler, containing lots of lines with the EQU directive to assign meaningful labels to memory locations, so you don't have to remember the locations themselves.
5. Learn 6502 Assembly Language on another computer or emulator, such as the Atari 8 bit, Apple ][, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, Acorn Atom, Oric 1/Atmos.
6. Give up trying to program the C64, then go and program a well designed computer such as MSX instead.

MSX computers come with a BASIC that understands hexadecimal numbers, and they have ROM routines for colour, graphics and sound, while the C64 ROM has no such routines!

Van Shinobi

Expert (124)

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21-11-2018, 15:11

CX5Mer wrote:

MSX computers come with a BASIC that understands hexadecimal numbers, and they have ROM routines for colour, graphics and sound, while the C64 ROM has no such routines!

That's ok and I recommend it. But what was/is your solution to problem of slowliness is BASIC, some people used Kun Basic compiler that came on cartridge.

and to be fair, MSX commercial games used Assembly language for the Z80 so I think it's no difference than C64 programmers who used Assembly for 6502. The only difference the MSX programming and memory layout and mapping is easier than C64.

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