Welcome to Atari Dev Studio for designing homebrew games for the Atari 8-bit systems (Atari 2600 and 7800). Atari Dev Studio is a one-stop-shop for any programmer and includes a number of built-in features to allow you to design, develop and test games for your favourite system. Get started with batari Basic (2600) or 7800basic (7800) using easy to learn BASIC-like languages or go hard-core with assembly using dasm. During development test your creation using the Stella (2600) or A7800 (7800) emulators right from within Atari Dev Studio.
During the development phase of the extension I've added some developer output to assist with any issues that may appear. To view this output, open the VS Code Developer Tools by selecting Help -> Toggle Developer Tools from the menu, and in the debugger window ensure the Console tab is activated. This information may help identify the area where the extension is failing to process as expected.
7800basic is a BASIC-like language for creating Atari 7800 games. It is a compiled language that runs on a computer, and it creates a binary file that can be run with an Atari 7800 emulator, or the binary file may be used to make a cartridge that will operate on a real Atari 7800. 7800basic is derived from batari basic, a BASIC-like language for creating Atari 2600 games. Special thanks to the bB creator, Fred Quimby, and all of the the bB contributors!
Stella is included as part of this extension with many thanks to Stephen Anthony. Stella is an external project and can be downloaded separately here. If you enjoy using Stella place consider donating to ensure it's continued development.
About 2 years ago my friend Nick Bensema told me about a ATARI cartridge he owned called a "Supercharger" which was originally used to load some specially made games via audio cassette. The cartridge itself had a 1/8" mono jack and you would use it with any old tape player. He then demonstrated it's use by playing back MP3 files of games that were made using his smartphone. He said there were utilities to take an ATARI ROM file and convert it into a MP3 or WAV file that could then be used with the cartridge. This got me to thinking that this would make an excellent instant development system, and I could for our hackerspace provide a real Atari 2600 to use with it.
Sounds way too ambitious using the 128 bytes of ram the 2600vcs actually has.My idea here though was to put together hardware that would have been available in the same time period the 2600 was being phased out, IE what someone could have done with sort of period correct hardware. In many ways I didn't get there though, as the Starpath Supercharger cart was released in 1982, the video game crash happened in 1983, the cart was discontinued in 1984, the 386 was introduced in 1985, however the SoundBlaster was introduced in 1989. I have a friend who had a Commodore 64 (introduced in late 1982) wired into the supercharger cart, which would have been the closest thing to a makeshift dev system back in the right time period of the cartridge.I found loading by audio like this thing does rather quick and convenient though, less cumbersome than even one of today's flash carts.
After a whirlwind four weeks of development, MAME 0.249 is ready forrelease! Highlights this month include improved Atari 8-bit familyemulation, a newer version of Kyukyoku Tiger with a two-playercooperative mode, another version of The Crystal Maze promoted toworking, and lots of prototype cartridge dumps for consoles includingthe Atari Lynx, Nintendo Game Boy and Super Nintendo EntertainmentSystem. There are also eight e-kara cartridges, including a rare e-karaWeb cartridge containing twelve youth-oriented songs.
The XGameStation Micro Edition (XGS ME) is a complete game development kit inspired by classic systems such as the Atari 2600, 800, Apple II, C64 and Nintendo Entertainment System. The XGS kit includes a fully-assembled XGS unit with all necessary cables and accessories, a full-length eBook written by Andre LaMothe on the design and programming of the XGS along with all the software necessary to create your own games, demos, and experiments. The book introduces the reader to analog/digital engineering, then gradually explores the entire design of the XGS's hardware and software.
So, you're interested in learning more about how to program the Atari 2600? This page will provide you with a list of links to other pages that contain useful information, tools, source code, and documentation that will get you going. But be warned! Programming the Atari 2600 is a lesson in patience, as it is unlike programming any other console! But this challenge is part of what makes writing software for the 2600 appealing--that and it is one of the few systems where one person can design and write a game from start to finish.
6502.org is the definitive source of information for anything related to the 6502 series of processors, such as those used in the 2600. This includes documentation, source code, development tools, various projects, forums, and more. You'll want to keep this page bookmarked if you're going to be doing any Atari 2600 programming.
DASM is a versatile macro assembler, with support for target microprocessors including the 6502 and 6507. It is the standard assembler for all 2600 development and it is strongly suggested for 2600 programmers to download and use the VCS.H and MACRO.H files as well to match common [Stella] standards.
(Turbo Rascal SE, TRSE) is a complete suite (IDE, compiler, programming language, image sprite level resource editor) intended for developing games/demos for 8 / 16-bit line of computers, with a focus on the MOS 6502, the Motorola 68000, the (GB)Z80 and the X86. TRSE currently supports application development for the C64, C128, VIC-20, PLUS4, NES, Gameboy, PET, ZX Spectrum, TIKI 100, Amstrad CPC 464, Atari 2600, 8086AT, Amiga 500, Atari 800, BBC Micro, Mega65, MSX, Apple II and the Atari ST 520. With the benefits of a modern IDE (error messages, code completion, syntax highlighting etc) and a bunch of fast built-in tools, it has never been easier to program for your favorite obsolete system!
Hampshire's library hosts a game lab with modern consoles setup with a projector and surround sound, available for use by any student, staff, or faculty member. In addition to modern consumer consoles, Hampshire also has historical consoles (like Atari 2600) and modern development consoles (like Oculus Rift with dev kit 2). Along with the game lab, there is an ever-growing game library that includes hundreds of digital and analog games available for students, staff, and faculty to check out and play.
I also bought a set of the Atari 2600 keypad controllers. The overlays come with the cartridge, and the controllers mate together to make a primitive sort of keyboard. (Also, if you were wondering what kinds of things I do with my ad revenue, buying crap like this is a big part of it, sadly.)
You'll notice that all the other screenshots of Atari 2600 Basic Programming on the web are essentially blank. That's probably because I'm the only person crazy enough to actually try programming in this thing. It may look painful, but you have no idea until you've tried to work with this funky "IDE". It's hilariously bad. I could barely stop laughing while punching away at my virtual keypads. But I have to confess, after writing my first "program", I got that same visceral little thrill of bending the machine to my will that I've always gotten.
Previously thought to be only a rumor, programmer Tod Frye recently confirmed that this game was indeed once in development. Although the technically challenged 2600 was woefully underpowered to produce the split screen scrolling required by Ballblazer, Tod apparently had a demo up and running (various reports put it somewhere between 30% and 60% complete). The whereabouts of this demo are currently unknown.
Circus Charlie A port of the 1983 Konami/Centuri coin-op. Parker Brothers announced Atari 2600 VCS, ColecoVision, and Commodore 64 versions of this title, and prototype boxes were shown in a CES press kit. According to a Parker Brothers internal marketing release schedule, this game was scheduled for a September 1984 release. The C64 version was actually completed but never released by Parker Brothers (it was eventually released by Konami in 1987). According to Phil Orbanes, former Senior VP of Research & Development at Parker Brothers, the VCS version received "some coding" at the very least, and may have been completely finished. The programmer is unfortunately unknown, and as yet no prototypes of this game have surfaced.
Not really a game, but another 'cool programming technique' for the 2600 that Mattel thought they could design a game around. Programmer Stephen Roney had developed an interesting programming effect on the Intellivision where a moving circle of light could illuminate the background and any objects within the circle. Another Mattel programmer, Ron Surratt, was asked to duplicate this effect on the 2600. Once it was shown that it was indeed possible Mattel tried to come up with a game to fit the effect, but closed their doors two months later.
A Proposed title for the ill-fated Atari Graduate add-on computer. A WIP version of this game was shown at at least one show before being cancelled (along with the Graduate). According to one eye witness, it was "The most flickery thing I'd ever seen". This isn't surprising considering the amount of objects that would be needed to be shown on the screen at one time was well beyond the poor 2600's capabilities. A picture of the title screen exists showing some pretty nice graphics for the 2600.
The main advantage of this architecture is fast development time and potentially lower latency with limited serialization/deserialization events. The most challenging disadvantage is the growth of a single codebase over time that may become difficult to maintain, test and deploy. 2b1af7f3a8