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newcomer to ti994a, questions regarding "breaking out of basic"


ramidavis
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Hello, i am new to the ti994a, but not to BASIC in general (I know a touch of C64 BASIC).
I had a chance to pick up my ti994a at a local thrift shop for $20.00 so i jumped at it.
It came with the computer, speech synthesizer, double joysticks unit, data recorder and cassette cable, and 16 modules (See end of post for a list).
Sadly, Extended BASIC, Mini Memory etc were not in there.
I had been playing around with it for about 2 weeks when i discovered a game online called "Morphy".
I was able to download it, and get it running on real hardware (Converted everything with the CS1er program to .wav files).
Then i found a demo that runs a "Hello world" message in ML, and another demo with ufo sprites.
This has me thinking 3 things:
1. Is there any other games besides morphy that can get out of basic, and can be loaded on an unexpanded system, or is Morphy the only one like that?
2. If the speech synthesizer is plugged in, and you knew ML good enough (not me), would it be possible to use the trick from the "Hello world" demo to jump to a ML program that actually "says" hello world, using the speech synthesizer and no other command modules plugged in?
Or, failing idea 2...
3. Could a ML program access routines stored in a module? That is, could you have Alpiner or some other game that uses speech plugged in, escape from basic to a ML program (Like the above mentioned demos do), and access the modules routines? Or would the routines on the module still be "invisible", even to a ML program?

The modules i got, all working:
Meteor Multiplication, Scholastic Spelling Level 5, Parsec, TI Invaders, Congo Bongo, Milliken Math Sequences Percents, Car Wars, Football, Buck Rogers Planet Of Zoom, Word Radar, Munch Man, Milton Bradley Hangman, Tombstone City, Computer Math Games VI, Alpiner, and Blasto

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3. Could a ML program access routines stored in a module? That is, could you have Alpiner or some other game that uses speech plugged in, escape from basic to a ML program (Like the above mentioned demos do), and access the modules routines? Or would the routines on the module still be "invisible", even to a ML program?

 

Welcome to the forum:

 

One answer to your questions in number 3: A “command module” can contain ML programs, those could access the speech module and use it. Such module may or may not work on a non expanded console, depending on its demands.

Edited by Dexter
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IIRC, there are BASIC programs that have assembly imbedded using SYSTEX. That may be what Morphy is.

 

seniorfalcon has created a BASICLOADer that allows you to run assembly programs without requisite Editor Assembler module, but I am pretty sure it must be from diskette. I may be wrong there.

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You are very limited in access to any form of ML programming from straight TI BASIC. The Playground is pretty much the only way to directly break out of that box. As to using ML in cartridges, the first thing you need to know is that cartridges may contain ML (most third-party cartridges), they may contain GPL (all TI cartridges have some), or they may be a mix of the two (most TI cartridges and some third-party cartridges). You probably could write a Playground routine to access ML stuff in a cartridge--but it will probably require a 32K memory expansion to work, as you only have 256 bytes of CPU RAM available to you--and a lot of that is where your registers live in an unexpanded system.

 

I hope this answers the question. The suggestions to track down Extended BASIC (adds lots of useful commands that would help you here) or a Mini Memory (adds commands and 4K of CPU RAM) were not frivolous, although they may have seemed so on first glance. For someone using a mostly unexpanded system, the Mini Memory may get you the closest to where you want to be, just because it gives you enough space to run some Assembly stuff that you can stuff into a 4K space.

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@ramidavis:

1. Is there any other games besides morphy that can get out of basic, and can be loaded on an unexpanded system, or is Morphy the only one like that?

There are at least two other assembly games that can be run on an unexpanded TI99. The three programs I wrote are the UFO demo you mentioned and then SameColors and Life. Both can be downloaded in the TI BASIC section of TI Gameshelf.

2. If the speech synthesizer is plugged in, and you knew ML good enough (not me), would it be possible to use the trick from the "Hello world" demo to jump to a ML program that actually "says" hello world, using the speech synthesizer and no other command modules plugged in?

I believe you would be able to do that. I don't know enough about the speech synthesizer to be able to say for sure, but I think that it is possible.

3. Could a ML program access routines stored in a module? That is, could you have Alpiner or some other game that uses speech plugged in, escape from basic to a ML program (Like the above mentioned demos do), and access the modules routines? Or would the routines on the module still be "invisible", even to a ML program?

The code would not be invisible, but even so this is probably not very practical. First, you would have to know what code is contained in the module. Assuming you had that information, it is still pretty likely that the code in the module would overwrite memory locations used by the playground loader and crash the computer.

Programs created with playground are TI BASIC programs, at least as far as the basic interpreter is concerned. They can be loaded from disk or from cassette. But you wouldn't be able to simply type one in because ascii codes are used that cannot be entered from the line editor. The bottom line is that programming in assembly with an unexpanded console ain't gonna happen. You need the EA cartridge or mini memory, 32K and a disk drive in order to do this. Once the program is created it is saved as a BASIC program and then no extras are required.

So Ksarul's advice is good - find an XB or minimemory cartridge and get into programming with that. You can write assembly language programs with the mini memory and a cassette recorder, but it is not the easiest thing to do. Editing the program is pretty much impossible. Back in the day there was a Dow editor/assembler for the mini memory that supposedly made things easier, but I have no experience with that.

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IIRC, there are BASIC programs that have assembly imbedded using SYSTEX. That may be what Morphy is.

 

seniorfalcon has created a BASICLOADer that allows you to run assembly programs without requisite Editor Assembler module, but I am pretty sure it must be from diskette. I may be wrong there.

 

I actually loaded the demo/test from my phone ;)

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