Slowly making my way through books some 30 years out of date, and I’m struck at how educational writing has changed. The writing back then was very amateurish with ideas and topics presented in a fairly mundane way or too often drifted off into irreverence, caught up in an topic that could have been dealt with in fewer words and made more consumable. I suspect the reason for this was; these books were rushed to meet a market need, quality was ditched in favour of speed, and there wasn’t an able editor to go through the material and offer constructive feedback for a re-write or request for diagrams. All this is pandering to the hubris within me that I feel I can do a better job at explaining what’s going on and pitching in a way thats both fun and easy to learn, but the reality is, who would care? It’s a retro scene fetishism only. It would be like writing a book about how 3.5ich disks worked! They are dead, something only for the few remaining sadoid retro die-hards to indulge in. The written archaeology of obselete tech. Anyway, I’m somewhat underwhelmed by it all thus far and its given me a fresh perspective on how great the writing is in for example books printed by O’Reilly. I still have 3 or 4 more to read. Slow but steady progress. Definitely no stand out books thus far. Hopefully theres a gem amongst the rubble.
posted on August 16, 2018
There’s quite a few books on Spectrum Z80 machine code, most are ancient and sadly are showing their age. Below is a picture of all the books I own on the topic. This is a collection of stuff I’ve had since I was a teen and carried it around for 30 years, stuff found in carboot fairs and eBay. I’ll go about reviewing each one in the “books read” section.
posted on August 12, 2018
There’s a quite a lot online to learn Z80 Assembly. Here’s the areas that I found most useful:
First, you’ll need somewhere to code in. I recommend Simon Brattel’s Zeus. It works out of the box and has everything you need. Its Windows native, but using Wine/Crossover you can get it running on the Mac perfectly fine. You can go down the Visual Code route, and/or Sublime Text, but I found this a fiddlier path and more effort required, so Zeus for me.
Second, you need to learn stuff, I recommend the best way to gain the requisite knowledge is this order:
- Darryl’s YouTube vids (2 hours).
- Jonathan Caudewell’s document (not all, but read at least up and including chapter 4) (approx 4 hours)
- a quick look at Deans website and his write ups about assembly, memory and the routines he’s created (1 hour)
- then off to the ROM disassembly and just spend 30 minutes there to give you an appreciation of what went into the ROM.
Finally, sign yourself into Facebook (i loathe FB and only use it to get access to this group) and request to join the Z80 group. You can ask questions if stuck, or just reading thru the daily posts which alone will give you knowledge by osmosis over time.
The above is just getting your feet wet, you won’t be doing much at all even after you’ve just chucked 10 hours into it, but it will give you a good foundation. So I’ve done all the above and I’m raring to go. What I need now is some working examples, exercises and deeper dive knowledge to grok it all properly. Next, we need some books to read and work through.
posted on Aug 4, 2018