Reid's For Fun


My personal blog for what interests this computer guy. Web development, LEGO ray tracing, ZX81 retro computing, writing and photography.

Your Imagination Is Required With Comp Control for the ZX81

Comp Control,  Commands Screenshot, 1984 by Steven Reid.

As a young teenager, I often wrote programs that I would integrate into other play. In this case, I had probably watched War Games again. The idea of a computer talking to you made for some fun fantasy play. Comp Control a little pretend play where my lowly ZX81 mimicked a much more sophisticated world. Iím sure I was running around my room thinking up some crazy way to save the world.


Revisiting Running Blender in Apple Silicon Using a MacBook Pro M1

Spring Fall v2 by Steven Reid, on Flickr

While watching a review for the new M1 iMac, they ran the typical Blender test as a benchmark. That wasnít overly surprising, but the reviewer did say something that peaked my interest. Apparently, the latest version of Blender now supported Apple Silicon. Tucking that tidbit away at the time, I got around to downloading LTS 2.93 today and giving it a whirl.


Trying My Hand at Animation by Moving a Sailboat on My ZX81

Picture In Motion, 2021 by Steven Reid

I was hoping to have finished Gem Quest by now, but May didnít afford much time. With Summer arriving and the pandemic seeming to be winding down, at least in Boise, my attention is elsewhere. With a short list of ideas, I decided to play off last month's theme. Picture in Motion isnít new, but it is more interesting to watch.


Having Fun Learning How to Draw Lines on My ZX81

Picture Asm, by Steven Reid, 2021

When Simeon Dwyer shared his machine language line drawing routine, I immediately thought of redoing ďThe Picture.Ē Most of my z80 assembly has been with my Gem Quest game. I decided it would be a nice diversion to work on something else, even if a quick one. Picture Asm is the result of that diversion.


Not My Best Try at Programming an Ultima Clone

ZX-Ultima, by Steven Reid, 2012

Iíve talked about ZX-Ultima before. It was first attempt at building an Ultima like game on the ZX81 using BASIC. Written in 2012, it was a pretty ambitious project for me. I really enjoyed playing Ultima III on my C64 as a teenager. I always wondered what it would look like on my ZX81. It was bad. Yet, at the same time you could see the seeds of what would come later.


A Developer Diary in Pictures for Gem Quest, a ZX81 RPG

Gem Quest, Darkness Screenshot by Steven Reid, 3/07/2021

If youíve been following me the last couple of months, you know Iíve been revisiting Gem Quest. Intended to be an Ultima style game for the ZX81, outside of a few demoís I really hadnít gotten far. That isnít the case now. Iíve spent the last month learning z80 assembly code and hacking my way through the game. Tracking my progress, Iíve been capturing that journey in pictures and movies, which Iíve uploaded into a Flickr album.


How to Build a ZX81 Ultima Game Part 2: Gem Quest

Gem Quest, ZX81 screenshot, Steven Reid, 2016

After sharing Tiles, I started to dig into my previous attempts at building an adventure game. Digging through my past research, I thought about encoding the world differently. Sadly, my experiments using MCODER failed. This spurred me to try assembler again and, to my surprise, build a good start to my game. But first, a trip down memory lane and review my first attempt at building Gem Quest.


How to Build a ZX81 Ultima Game

Tiles, Creating World ZX81 screenshot, Steven Reid, 2013

In 2012 I wanted to see if I could make an Ultima style game on the ZX81. I had an ambitious plan centered on the tile based graphics. After a few months of testing, I was able to create a working prototype called Tiles. Although the game isnít done, the idea behind it shows promise. You can move around the map using the standard ASDW movements. Other commands are placeholders for what could be. This article explores how Tiles came to be.


My Adventure with Appleís M1 and Blender

497 Galaxy Explorer by Steven Reid, on Flickr

Although my late 2013 MacBook Pro still works well, it was showing itís age. Sadly, I found it freezing from time to time and generally not running like it used to. Given that my Windowís laptops lasted only a few years, Iíve been very happy with longevity my mac. Yet, this was going to be the last year it received an OS update. With the release of the M1, I took the opportunity to upgrade and try it out. That means it was time to render some LEGO bricks!