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[AQUARIUS] BLBasic v2.0


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BootLoader BASIC is the answer to two requests on the ATARIAGE forums; To be able to start BASIC programs when turning on the Aquarius computer just like a cartridge and to have the most common used machinecoded routines available.

After experimenting with a script to convert a .CAQ file into a .BIN file, BootLoader Basic v2.0 is now the new version to create bootable BASIC programs on the Aquarius. Together with the Virtual Aquarius, BLBasic provides a complete environment to create, test and dump your BASIC programs.

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BLBasic v2.0 adds the following new commands and functions:

- GET - Get (an area of) the screen into array
Syntax: GET (x1,y1)-(x2,y2), array

- PUT - Put array back to screen
Syntax: PUT (x1,y1), array, action

- SCR - SCReen scrolling or background color
Syntax: [ UP | LEFT | DOWN | RIGHT | color ]

All these commands can be used in your own ROM file as well.

To create your own BASIC ROM:

Load the BLBASIC.ROM in the Virtual Aquarius.
Next load your BASIC program by typing, quick type or loading cassette.
Type the command LDUMP

IMPORTANT: Before pressing RETURN check the Virtual Aquarius printer settings!
Go to Configure -> Printer and configure the "Filename for Printer Output"
Make sure you send the output to a new file (!)

After checking the printer settings press RETURN at the LDUMP command
Rename the output file extension from .txt to .rom or .bin and load the file into the Virtual Aquarius.

NOTE: After the LDUMP statement the created ROM will be in a "STATIC" or "FINAL" state and cannot be changed. Any changes should be done against the original source code (cassette file or quick type text file).

BLBasic v2.0.zip

The zip file includes the following:

README.TXT - this text
BLBASIC.ROM - ROM to load into the Virtual Aquarius
BLB-Manual.pdf - An enhanced manual in PDF format with many examples and technical information
Manual Examples - A folder with all examples from the manual
Demo - Demo BLBIRD.TXT to test BLBASIC/LDUMP functionality
SOURCEv2.0.ZIP - Z80 assembly code to create BLBASIC

Version release:

v1.0 - 04/01/2014 - First release
v1.1 - 08/01/2014 - Bug fix; Set RESTORE and redirect intermediate mode
Bug reported by "pset" at atariage, dd. 07/01/2014
v2.0 - 14/12/2014 - Added commands


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Thank you, Martin! I'm glad to see you back with a new Aquarius project; I'm finally finding the time to get back to it myself. Good choice on the new commands: being able to copy and move arrays of characters and do four-direction scrolling opens up lots of exciting possibilities. I'll give this a try next week!

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Great job Martin!


These new commands are very much appreciated! :) Also I really like the professional touch you have given this project by adding that nice Aquarius style manual :thumbsup:


Hopefully more people will give programming on the Aquarius a try now.It has never been any easier to make some nice things happen in Basic. :)


Keep up the good work :thumbsup:

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  • 2 weeks later...

PSET reported a bug with BLBird.

Turns out if you start Virtual Aquarius and start immediate a ROM created with BLBASIC (like BLBird) it will report a FC error when a PUT command is used.

If you start Virtual Aquarius, load BLBasic v2.0, press ENTER, and then load BLBird -> everything runs fine.


In other words, the PUT command was not correctly initialised in BLBoot modus.


This is a bugfix v2.1 for BLBasic, it only contains the ROM and source.

Please use BLBasic v2.0 for the manual and examples.


BLBasic v2.1.zip


Kind regards,




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If you type "Scroll Left" Or "Scroll Right" or even "Scroll bob" etc and hitting return causes the screen to goe black.




You can type CLS in the black screen mode to recover your Aquarius, but we lose bug hunting details.



Here's some wonderful Aquarius colors to scroll

10 A = 12289+39
15 B = A + 1024
20 FOR X = 0 TO 15
30 FOR Y = 1 TO 39
35 POKE (B+Y),X+Y
200 R=INT(10*RND(1)+1)
400 NEXT Y
500 NEXT X
600 GOTO 20
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Oh never mind that SCROLL bug, I see its setting SCR OLL and OLL = 0.


Changing background color is a handy function.


Indeed, the Aquarius BASIC interpreter doesn't need spaces between commands and/or variable name. It recognises SCR as the statement but didn't recognize OLL and asumes it is a variable (OL as Aquarius only accepts 2 letter variable names).

So this is standard behaviour.


You can play around and use commands like SCRUB or SCREENWIPE :D




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