Articles by Steven

Steven has written 496 articles.

Solving the Sticker Mystery: Crafting the Perfect LEGO C-3PO Name Plate

C-3PO and Boushh by Steven Reid

I recently purchased the Princess Leia (Boushh) Helmet. It looks great next to my other helmets, including the custom C-3PO Helmet MOC I assembled some time back. The problem is C-3PO doesn’t have a matching name plate. I’ve been wanting to fix that for some time, but couldn’t find a decent template. Given up, I decided to create my own. Follow along to see how I made it.

Exploring Chunky Graphics: A New 3-Color Screen Mode for ZX81

Chunky Plot, 2022 by Steven Reid

Out on a run back in November of last year, I had this idea to create a 3-color screen mode of the ZX81. The idea was to use the checkered, or gray, graphic characters to add a third color. After reading about the C64 color modes, I called it chunky graphics as an homage to its wide pixel format. The pixel’s are chunky due to the 2x1 ratio and not being square. Let’s dig into the details.

Meow in Motion: A Z80 Assembly Version of a Classic Cat Animation on the ZX81

Fast Cat (Cat ASM), ZX81 Screenshot #2, 2023 by Steven Reid

After finishing the basic version of the cat animation, I wanted to improve the frame speed. This meant converting from BASIC to machine code. My first thought was to do the conversion with MCODER II. I dropped that idea, deciding to focus on a custom z80 Assembly version. Ergo, cat written in assembly or Fast Cat is, well, a faster version and a bit more.

ZX81 Digital Rain: A Retro Display of the Matrix Code

ZX81 Rain, Chroma ZX81 Screenshot, 2023 by Steven Reid]

The holiday's provided me a nice break to enjoy writing code. During that time, I revisited my digital rain program. For ZX81 Rain, I cleaned up the colors and added a little randomness to where the drops start. Nothing super exciting, but the overall effect is much nicer and looked good in both black/white and color on the ZX81.

Revamp Your Blog Editing Workflow: Unlock the Power of BBCODE with Custom Bootstrap Icons

CMS Editor using Bootstrap Icons, 2023 by Steven Reid

It’s been awhile since I talked about coding on my site. I’m still using a custom Perl CMS—although the group I worked with has long since disbanded. In any case, I’ve generally used a more basic editor on my site. Although I’d love to someday integrate something more complex, the simplicity has made it easy for me to maintain my blog. But, that doesn’t mean I can’t make it better.

Accelerating FizzBuzz on the ZX81: A Basic Guide to High-Speed Integer Printing

FizzBuzz 2, ZX81 Screenshot, 2023 by Steven Reid

Reading some old programming books from the eighties, I saw that the ZX81 had an ABS command that made me think I could improve my FizzBuzz program. It was late and my mind mixed that command with a modulus one, which the ZX81 doesn’t have. In any case, it offered me an excuse to fix the latency introduced by printing numbers.

Playing With BASIC by Revisiting My Retro E.T. Game for the ZX81

E.T. 23, Getting a Phone Piece, ZX81 Screenshot, 2023 by Steven Reid

I had this idea the other day. One of the problems I’ve had with the ZX81 is printing numbers, which is pretty slow. Due to this, many of my games avoided printing them. delaying showing score until after play has ended. My idea was to try to find a way to speed that up. Not only did I find a way, I decided to implement it in an older game of mine: E.T.

A New Year of Challenges to Overcome Breeds Opportunities

Melba, Idaho, 2023 by Steven Reid

With any new year comes a unique set of challenges. For 2023, that includes a number of external pressures that will shape the year to come. From managing inflation, a burgeoning recession, and controlling what you can, the year is looking to be one filled with both struggle and opportunity. Facing that head on, I signed up for a 50K that I ran last week. A picture from that run now sets the tone of my site.

Cat’s Can Be Fun on Computers Too

Cat Animation, 2023, ZX81 version by Steven Reid

A recent post in a Facebook BASIC group of a cat animation. A couple of other members converted it to their BASIC code of choice. Mine being the ZX81, I promptly worked on a version for it. I created a mostly full screen version, which tends to show how slow the ZX81 really was. In any case, it was quite a fun little exercise.

Let’s Have Fun Playing Snake on the ZX81

Snake! Growing Screenshot, 2022 by Steven Reid

I’ve been on a retro computing binge lately and was recently watching one on programming on what it was like to program in the 80’s. Having lived and programmed during that time, I know full well what that was like. But the narrator was showing off an Apple ][+, a computer I didn’t own. Although I programmed on an Apple ][ in high school, my memory of it is vague at best. But what was really interesting was what he was programming a snake game. Being something I’d never tried myself, I thought now would be as good time as any.

A little BASIC fun with Mandelbrot Sets

Mandelbrot Sets, ZX81 Screenshot, 2022 by Steven Reid

Fun with Mandelbrot sets. I never thought I’d say that, but here I am doing just that on the ZX81. I ran across some fun discussions on them. They are often used as benchmarks, but I just wanted to create some interesting pictures. This is my version using Sinclair BASIC that creates a few interesting ones.

Wasting Time Watching Circles in This ZX81 Demo

Circles, ZX81 Screenshot, 2022 by Steven Reid

I ran across a ZX81 forum post showing a fast way to print a circle in BASIC. It was based on an article for the Atari back in 1983. I was surprised how fast the routine was and wondered how it would in assembly. Long story short, I built a screen saver for the ZX81. Sure, the ZX81 really didn’t need one, but the circles are fun to watch.

Wandering Down the ZX81 Road

Road, ZX81 Screenshot, 2022 by Steven Reid

I had this idea on Sunday that led to today’s program—more about that in a minute. One of those sit down and do it programs, I banged this out pretty quick yesterday. Not wasting time, I decided today I’d share it. Road is a very simple program that I never intended to make. But here it is, so lets talk about it more.

Adding More Movement to My Running Game

Run 2 ML, ZX81 Screenshot, 2022 by Steven Reid

Well, hard to believe we are turning the corner on March and heading into April. Spring is edging its way in and it is time to get outside and work in the yard. This made me want to kick my ZX81 program to the curb, but it didn’t feel right. So, I bundled up my current progress on Run.

Working on Bones for a Future ZX81 Game

Run ML, ZX81 Screenshot, 2022 by Steven Reid

For some time now, I’ve wanted to build a running type game. The kind where there is a single key to press and releasing it makes you take an action. There are lots of variations on this theme, and it seemed like something fun to try. Idea in hand, I began by building out a rough look for the game.

The Long and Short of Rendering Lego Blades

Katana by Shipmaster,  2022 by Steven Reid

Wandering through Mecabricks the other day, I ran across a fun pair of Mini-Katana’s by Shipmaster. Digging deeper, I also discovered his excellent Katana. Both models really appealed to me. Given my recent binge watching of Forged in Fire, both made for excellent subjects to render. As is usual for me, I promptly saved the models and fired up Blender.