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Atari BASIC and Raptor BASIC+…


jericho_21
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Got a question to anybody out there.

 

If one learned Atari BASIC, would that make it easier to learn Raptor BASIC+? It is just a hunch, and I know that they are two different programs, but they are both BASIC at the core. I was thinking if one could brush up on one form of BASIC, (s)he would be better at the other. Thanks. :)

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Got a question to anybody out there.

 

If one learned Atari BASIC, would that make it easier to learn Raptor BASIC+? It is just a hunch, and I know that they are two different programs, but they are both BASIC at the core. I was thinking if one could brush up on one form of BASIC, (s)he would be better at the other. Thanks. :)

Definitely if you know a version of basic then it will help you learn another. There are always platform specific details to learn though and even the way of doing particular things. Eg. in Raptor / Rb+ you have to learn about the assets and object list in order to display graphics. Then there are the functions to call to play sounds. Things like that. But the main flow and structure and even commands you use from basic will be the same or similar.

Edited by Sporadic
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It's been many moons since I last fiddled with Atari Basic, but here are some main differences off the top of my head:

 

  1. Atari Basic has line numbers, rb+ doesn't.
  2. Atari Basic is an interpreted language: you type the code in the target machine and you run it immediately. rb+ is compiled: you have to edit the code in an editor, save the file, compile it and then send it to the target machine or emulator. Of course if you set up your environment this can be pretty seamless.
  3. In Atari Basic all variables have one of two types: floating point or string. In rb+ you get floats but you can also define integers of various sizes. This can add a speed boost but will confuse if a variable type is supposed to be a float but declared integer.
  4. Of course the two machines (Atari 800, Jaguar) have vastly different hardware, so rb+ has lots of specialised commands to manipulate and take advantage of it.

But like sporadic said, the most important thing is to start using either basic, start to lay down your code and get it to do what you want. What I said above is trivial compared to this :). So just get started and everything will get clearer!

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My experience with batari BASIC (2600 BASIC compiler) and computer oriented BASIC dialects has taught me this: Atari hardware is weird shizz and requires a different thought process.

 

I'd take on Raptor BASIC+ and learn through Raptor BASIC specific resources. As you use it and have questions that'll provide useful feedback so the documentation can be improved.

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Agree with the above. If it's Jaguar you want to target, jump in to rb+ and begin learning about the weird and wonderful Jaguar as you go. Everything you learn will be 100% helpful and useful, whereas learning all that line number atari basic and hardware-specific features stuff, it's wasted effort and might even make things seem more alien when you do get around to rb+.

 

You might be surprised just how much you can do with just a few commands thanks to Raptor, but a little background of the included tutorials, particularly tutorial 0, is essential before you begin fiddling. that's where I'd say spend your time - learn about the Jaguar, the Object Processor and Raptor, not Atari Basic.

If more people do this from scratch, experience and feedback will help make it easier for the next people trying their hand.

If more people do this from scratch, experience and feedback will help make it easier for the next people trying their hand.

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Well, RB+ is more Pascal like than Atari Basic. Knowing A8 Basic should help you get a better understanding of how loops, if statements and arrays work but it's too different to be of much help. As sh3-rg writes, raptor is the hard part in getting to work with RB+ and not the Basic part. Still I recommend having the BCX manual open because that basic has some syntax and logic differences to "normal" Basic that you need to know.

 

The main problem with Basic is that the last standard was defined in 1991 and every basic version ever since is its own thing. There are object oriented basics (like Gambas) there are normal procedural basics like BCX and everything in between. I guess the fact that the language has fallen out of grace with programmers hasn't helped either.

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My experience with batari BASIC (2600 BASIC compiler) and computer oriented BASIC dialects has taught me this: Atari hardware is weird shizz and requires a different thought process.

 

Well, allow me to partly disagree with you on this :).

 

First of all, why "Atari hardware is weird shizz and requires a different thought process"? Why singling out Atari here? Are Basics of other computers different? More compatible? Is it, for example, possible to get a program written for C64 Basic and diretcly load it to Spectrum Basic and run it without any modifications?

 

Have you tried the stock Atari Basic on Atari 800? Or the plethora of Basics available on ST and 16/32 machines (GFA Basic, Hisoft basic, Fast basic, etc etc)? Personally having used them I had no difficulty using newer Basics like Visual Basic, Dark Basic, Blitz Basic etc. And those have tons of extensions specialised for graphics and sound.

 

But you mention batari basic. This is a very specialised language for a machine that was never supposed to have Basic. Yet brilliant people actually sat down and made a Basic subset that is tailored for the VCS hardware, a games machine. I suppose that the rest of the Basics you've tried are also specialised like 7800 Basic etc? Those are also cut down and tailored Basics, designed to make most of the target hardware.

 

What are your expectations from a Basic language? Do you want to type in listings from old magazines? Draw lisajous or pie charts? Or run the Ahl benchmark and see how "faster" one Basic is compared to another? Or you would like to make more advanced stuff like games or demos? Then you are going to need more specialised commands that suit the hardware.

 

All Basics have things in common to a degree but the moment you want to do something other than simple programs you're going to have to learn the hardaware and use it. Now, if this is done by POKEing all over the place or using extended commands, that's up to the implementation of the language. So, to come back to the quote above, I'd like to extend it to: All computer hardware is weird shizz and require a different thought process.

 

batari basic is a specialised language. rb+ is also specialised. Atari 800 Basic? Not at all, it's quite generic with some extensions to support the hardware better. With specialised languages you are indeed right that they require a different thought process. And it makes sense: these languages are trying to squeeze the best performance out of limited hardware. Of course you'll have to deal with variables that are bytes. Or limited RAM. Or weird video modes. Or lack of a print statement (people don't realise it but print is actually one of the most complex commands there is because it is flexible and tied to the target hardware). But one thing's for sure: they are called Basics because they do have some common syntax compared to "normal" Basics. So you don't exactly start from scratch. That's the reason why I chose Basic to wrap raptor. People just cringe when you tell them to write in assembly language. Basic puts people at ease relatively speaking.

 

Anyway that's all I wanted to say. this post is not meant to be sarcastic or accusing anyone of anything, Just putting a few things into perspective!

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10 PRINT "Everything GGN says is true and Geminitronic is correct in saying you'll have to think about things differently when it comes to how Raptor leverages the Object Processor and how the Jaguar produces an image on your screen";

20 GOTO 10

 

In fact, there's a pretty clever little getaround with rb+ that allows you to do some of the primitive BASIC stuff such as PRINTing text and PLOTing pixels. But as soon as you're up to speed with Raptor's object handling fun, you ain't going to want to fanny around with any of that anymore!

 

So if it's Jaguar things you want to make, I still say get a feel for how the Jaguar does things and how Raptor exposes lots of the fun to you (in fact, without even having to write a single line of code or have any sort of understanding of programming concepts, just text-editing existing files! :D ). You can absolutely jump in to rb+ with zero programming experience if you are patient and are willing to learn, not just want someone or some text book to dump it in your lap.

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Agree with the above. If it's Jaguar you want to target, jump in to rb+ and begin learning about the weird and wonderful Jaguar as you go. Everything you learn will be 100% helpful and useful, whereas learning all that line number atari basic and hardware-specific features stuff, it's wasted effort and might even make things seem more alien when you do get around to rb+.

 

You might be surprised just how much you can do with just a few commands thanks to Raptor, but a little background of the included tutorials, particularly tutorial 0, is essential before you begin fiddling. that's where I'd say spend your time - learn about the Jaguar, the Object Processor and Raptor, not Atari Basic.

If more people do this from scratch, experience and feedback will help make it easier for the next people trying their hand.

If more people do this from scratch, experience and feedback will help make it easier for the next people trying their hand.

Then I will work on Raptor BASIC+ exclusively then. I thought there would be so many significant differences anyway that you would be right about that. Good idea. Thanks. :)

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