Reid's For Fun


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

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!


How I Used My ZX81 to Draw the Iconic OP Logo

OP, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 2020

As 2020 wound down, I had a couple of different ideas for new ZX81 programs. Most of them were graphic programs of various sorts. Themes ranged from dumpster fire pictures, an advent calendar, a virus action game, to a solo RPG. Although they were all great ideas, I didn’t think I’d get any complete enough to publish. In the end, I decided to enter in one of my old graphic programs of the Ocean Pacific logo.


Happy Holidays! Here Is a Fun Render to Close out the Year.

1628 Santa with Reindeer and Sleigh by Steven Reid, on Flickr

Tis the season to render Santa. Well that wasnít really my plan, but it worked out that way. I was browsing around Bricklinks, mostly trying to update some of the recent sets. Searching for a small reindeer figure, I ran across LEGO set 1628 Santa with Reindeer and Sleigh. A great set from 1989, it looked like it would be a fun set to render.


Creating Charts on Your ZX81 Couldnít Be More Simple

Charts, ZX81 Screenshot of iPhone Data by Steven Reid, 2020

As usual, I procrastinated a bit in finishing my ZX81 program for November. Between holidays, work, and NaNoWriMo, I didnít get around to it until this last weekend. I decided to try something a little different for this monthís program. The program itself, Charts, is a simple line graph plotteróspelling and bugs galore. As interesting as that program is, the real story is how I entered it.


Entering a Program Shouldn't Be This Frustrating

Star Probe Redo, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 2020

Back in July, I made a mistake and entered in Star Probe again. I had forgotten that Iíd already shared it. But, unlike my first attempt, I had taken a different approach which made it a much different game. Jumping ahead, I decided to finish what I started. Here is Star Probe Redo, an updated version as Octoberís program.


Here Is a Silly Test Program for the ZX81

Test, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid, 2020

September proved to be a rather busy month, at work and home. It isnít unusual for me, and I usually find time to throw a render or program together. As this month closed, I found myself in need of a program to share and not a lot of time. While cleaning up a few things on my laptop, I found this little test program I wrote last month that fit the need.


Here Is My Crazy Idea to Make a ZX81 Game with a Printer

Printer Car, circa 1983, ZX81 Screenshot by Steven Reid

Back in the day I learned to program on school PDP-11 with a 6 teletypes and a CRT attached. I was still in computer club at the time, thinking the 8" floppies were pretty cool. To my despair, the poor thing died that Summer and, when I took my programming class, it was on an Atari 800. But the programs I wrote the previous year stuck with me. Printer Car harkens back to those days.


Now Is a Good Time to Build My Mini ZX81

Mini ZX81 by Steven Reid, on Flickr

A retro blast from the past! The four chip Sinclair ZX81 was the first computer I owned and I thought it would be fun to build a LEGO version of it. The 2K of memory (in my US version) was pretty limited. An essential accessory was the 16K RAM which allowed you to fully use the screen and enjoy some fun, if blocky, games.