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Pie in the sky?


RobertLM78

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It's strange, I remember Elite for the Amstrad CPC (the computer I had after the TI) as having filled polygons, but when I look at it on YouTube it looks like a disappointing Spectrum conversion:

Which version can I be thinking of, or is there another similar game? I never had an Amiga, so that's not it. I remember playing Frontier (Elite II) on the PC quite a lot, but that's not it either.

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It's strange, I remember Elite for the Amstrad CPC (the computer I had after the TI) as having filled polygons, but when I look at it on YouTube it looks like a disappointing Spectrum conversion:

Which version can I be thinking of, or is there another similar game? I never had an Amiga, so that's not it. I remember playing Frontier (Elite II) on the PC quite a lot, but that's not it either.

All 8bit versions were wire vector based, the Amiga,ST,PC and Acorn Archimedes all featured filled graphics.

 

The only game on the Amstrad I can think of that had filled polygons and was set in space was Starstrike II.

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If you liked Elite so much, you'll probably like Oolite :D.

 

The thing that's disappointing about E:D is that it will only be for Mac and Windows :(.

I already have Oolite installed on my PC and am reasonably impressed with it, the thing that impresses me about the new Elite is that as well as updating practically everything-it is sticking pretty closely to the original game mechanics.

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Contiki has come up many times over the years. I spent a lot of time looking at it myself. I won't discourage anyone else from pursuing it, but my reason for abandoning it was that all applications need to be natively compiled, which is kind of a pain for a "cross platform" OS. On the plus side, the applications exist and just need to be compiled. ;)

 

Now that we have a working GCC, it's a pretty feasible project.

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Contiki has come up many times over the years. I spent a lot of time looking at it myself. I won't discourage anyone else from pursuing it, but my reason for abandoning it was that all applications need to be natively compiled, which is kind of a pain for a "cross platform" OS. On the plus side, the applications exist and just need to be compiled. ;)

Good to hear that it has been discussed :D.

 

Now that we have a working GCC, it's a pretty feasible project.

That's something I was thinking, too. I need to learn how to use it (GCC for the TI, that is), I just haven't taken the time to sit down with it yet.

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Now that we have a working GCC, it's a pretty feasible project.

 

That's true. Though I worry about memory size on the TI. Seems to me you get more efficient code from the 8-bitters. What I mean is that the 8-bitters will produce 8-bit instructions whereas we're at a minimum of 16-bits. Of course, some 8 bit CPUs also have 16-bit instructions (LDIR on the Z80 is 0xEDB0 IIRC) but you get the idea. I would imagine that an identical C program compiled for say, a 6502 or Z80 and the TMS9900 might be 25% shorter on the 8 bitters? I've no evidence or experience to back that up, just a gut instinct.

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What I mean is that the 8-bitters will produce 8-bit instructions whereas we're at a minimum of 16-bits.

 

In turn, we have five different addressing modes and 16 registers. And a MPY and DIV instruction (ask C64 people :-D ).

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That's true. Though I worry about memory size on the TI. Seems to me you get more efficient code from the 8-bitters. What I mean is that the 8-bitters will produce 8-bit instructions whereas we're at a minimum of 16-bits. Of course, some 8 bit CPUs also have 16-bit instructions (LDIR on the Z80 is 0xEDB0 IIRC) but you get the idea. I would imagine that an identical C program compiled for say, a 6502 or Z80 and the TMS9900 might be 25% shorter on the 8 bitters? I've no evidence or experience to back that up, just a gut instinct.

It depends as much on the compiler as the processor, but...

 

Since your question got me curious, I looked at the only example I have, which is Mr Chin. On the Coleco using SDCC for the Z80, the code was 28,016 bytes (area _CODE). On the TI using GCC for the 9900, I got 22,412 bytes (area .text). They look like they have the same content. (So, that speaks well to the GCC compiler size!)

 

If you actually think about the 8-bitters (and I've only really done this now, after seeing the result), it makes sense. There are very few single byte operations you can really do in a row - the limited number of registers means you need to reach out to memory often, which is at least two bytes and often three. By contrast, the high number of registers on the 9900 means most of our memory operations can be two bytes, and we don't need to spend as much code shuffling data in and out of the 'right' register, or into registers at all in many cases. Good theory anyway ;)

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