Monday, January 29, 2007

Time is full but there's always room for CoCo

Here's a nice change. Well, mostly nice. I just haven't had much time to get on the PC lately. :) The bad thing is I haven't had much time to answer email, update the website and blogs, or post in the message boards. The upside is that the free time I have had has been spent in front of my CoCo! :)

It started out wanting to play Pegasus and the Phantom Riders on the CoCo 3. Still fun, even in black and white, but, well, it's in black and white. The game uses artifact colors on the CoCo 1/2 composite output in PMODE 2 and 4. (These are "faked" colors in a two color mode, achieved by alternating pixels in specific patterns. The effect, on a TV set, is color from a black and white picture.) So that's no good on a CoCo's RGB output.

Thanks to the guys on the message board, that problem is fixed. Robert Gault, jmk, NavyDave and Retro Rick all had suggestions on how to fix it. That got me into writing up a quick program to scan for the correct addresses with the game loaded in memory. Meanwhile, super CoCoists Robert Gault whipped up a disk patch that switched the game down to PMODE 3 and poof, 4 colors. Playing with the PALETTE command prior to starting the game, and using Robert's patch, the game plays AND looks great again. You can read the full thread here:

The CoCo Forums - CoCo 3 Patch for Pegasus

After a night of research, I decided to finish my little scanner program, just to see if I could locate the correct addresses. Using the information from the above gentleman, the CoCo 3 manual, and articles from the The Rainbow, it worked. While messing with it though, I got sidetracked into playing with the PALETTE command. I hadn't used this feature in, oh, 18 years or so? So I started writing up little programs that would display boxes in the various graphics modes and let me switch the PALETTE colors by loading the slots and trying different combinations. Which took another few days, of course.

Then... :) I started messing about with using the CoCo 3's PALETTE to animate the little boxes and a stick figure. Cool. So that ate up a few days as well. Now, I've got to get back to finishing up the memory scanner/PMODE locater thingie, but it's slow going thanks to lack of sleep.

So basically, a lot of fun, but nothing particularly useful out of almost two weeks of playing. But that's kind of the point...

It's great to play with the CoCo again. I recommend it to anyone. Turn off the PC, the TV, the books... and just start messing with your CoCo. One thing leads to another, and just out of this little playtime I've got about a bazillion ideas for games, programs, and other exploration I want to try. The accessibility of the CoCo makes it so easy to create. That might be the single most important draw of this machine. Whether you're a rank amateur, like me, or an electronics/programming wunderkind, have a day or two, or week or two, with your CoCo, uninterrupted, and see what happens!

Okay, not I'm late on my assignments for Mary's CoCo Nutz! E-Zine, so I best get going... :) (That's a plug, by the way. After you spend all that time on your CoCo, sent your creations in to Mary!)

Angel's Luck,


powered by performancing firefox

No comments: