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ColecoVision Diversion




Due to RL, I wasn't able to finish Chun-Li in time so it's been placed onto the back burner. I also got a little burnt out on Atari projects, so Frantic has joined it for a bit.


I recently acquired a ColecoVision (CV) and have decided to spend some time getting to know it better. I never had one growing up as I'd already switched to computers before it was released (I got my Vic 20 in 81). I did get to play one at a friend's house though. I've ordered an Ultimate SD Cartridge (like a Harmony for CV) so I can write something for it. While I await it's arrival I've been setting up a CV development environment on my MacBook Pro.


I like to use jEdit as my editor and have been working on creating the mode file (syntax highlighting rules) for it. This is what it looks like so far:




The mode file is called assembly-z80.xml and can be found at the bottom of this blog entry. To use it, you need to install it into your mode directory. To find your mode directory, do the following in jEdit:

  • select the Utilities menu
  • select the Settings Directory option
  • select the modes folder


A window will pop up. On the Mac it's not a normal Finder window (don't know about other platforms), so you won't be able to drop the assembly-z80.xml file into it.




What you can do from here is:

  • highlight the path (mine is /Users/darrell/Library/jEdit/modes)
  • Command-C to copy the path
  • switch to Finder (so you see Finder next to the Apple in the top-left corner of your screen)
  • select the Go menu
  • select the Go to Folder... option
  • Command-V to paste the path
  • hit return


Now you can drop assembly-z80.xml into this folder. Don't close it yet though as you're not done. You need to edit the catalog to add the following. I've attached my catalog file at the bottom of this post so you can see it in context.

<MODE NAME="assembly-z80"     FILE="assembly-z80.xml"


Once the catalog and mode file are in place, quit and relaunch jEdit. From then on any file with the extension of .z80 will automatically be colorized based on these rules.



I've also built the current version of zasm for 32-bit Intel. Documentation can be found here, and the executable can be found in this project I've been experimenting with:



blogentry-3056-0-47963000-1329438986_thumb.png blogentry-3056-0-12819800-1329438992_thumb.png








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Very cool! :) I'm glad you decided to give the ColecoVision a go. It's a great little system with tons of cool quirks, and I bet you can easily give Pixelboy and J-F a run for their money on 'best homebrews ever made'! :)

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The SF is just an experiment with newcoleco's Sprite Demo and some graphics I had handy. While the sprites can be twice as wide(they can be 8x8 or 16x16) as on the VCS, the VCS sprites do not have a height limit. The snowman in Stay Frosty is 25 scanlines tall, so I used 16x16 sprites and split him into body & head. The sprites are also monochrome, so you have to overlap them to get multicolor characters. Overlapping is not without issues though as even though the CV supports 32 sprites, it can only show 4 per scanline. The snowman is using 4 sprites, with 3 overlapping at at given point. This means I could only show 1 other sprite in the same horizontal zone as the snowman. Other objects would be drawn using character graphics, so only fireballs would be affected by the limit. And since fireballs naturally flicker, 2 per zone is easily done.


I'll probably expand this experiment to a full blown game later, but first I'm going to do an original game, Dragon Defense Squad. I've had the idea for a while, just never got around to it on the VCS. It's basically Dragon Riders of Pern meets Missile Command. The bonus round is important as Dragon Dung is used to revitalize scorched earth.

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The siren call to finish Frantic got me. I'll return to my ColecoVision Diversion when Frantic's done as I still plan to do DDS on the CV.

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