Articles by Steven


Steven has written 491 articles.
Playing With BASIC by Revisiting My Retro E.T. Game for the ZX81
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…
Posted yesterday 9 min read

A New Year of Challenges to Overcome Breeds Opportunities
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…
Posted Jan 28 3 min read

Cat’s Can Be Fun on Computers Too
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…
Posted Jan 19 4 min read

Building a Star for a Vintage Computer
I missed the Dec 26 deadline for submitting, but did get a star working on the ZX81. My attempt isn’t spectacular, but it does work. I recommend checking out the other entries for Vintage Christmas Star Challenge. # Starting with a basic star. I actually started with a ZX81 BASIC version…
Posted Jan 01 3 min read

Let’s Have Fun Playing Snake on the ZX81
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…
Posted Jan 01 10 min read

More Isometric Fun with Scrolling on the ZX81
My frist isometric test was with a static background. Although that works well, it limits the size of the playfield. Thus, I decided to expand the playfield and scroll it around the player instead. It ended up being a lot more complex than I expected. # Giving it a scroll. To get this working, I re…
Posted Dec 23, 2022 5 min read

A Little Isometric Fun for the ZX81
Looking at various ideas for retro style games, something I’ve been wanting to try has been isometric graphics. I have a pretty good hand on tile based graphics now and wondered if I could do something similar with an isometric set. Hunkering down, here is how my testing is going. # Starting with…
Posted Dec 18, 2022 5 min read

More Mandelbrot Set Fun in Z80 Assembly
Okay, after finishing my BASIC program version of Mandelbrot Sets, I decided I needed more speed. I wasn’t sure if I could write a version in assembly. My concern was the floating point math. After a good amount of research, and trial and error, I finally got a version working. This is my story …
Posted Dec 03, 2022 10 min read

A little BASIC fun with Mandelbrot Sets
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…
Posted Nov 28, 2022 4 min read

Creating a Fun Little ZX81 Implementation of Fizzbuzz
Hey, it’s October. Well, it has been for a few weeks now. In any case, it is also time for a ZX81 program. I recently joined an 8-Bit Programming & Engineering Facebook group and its cover is a photo of a FizzBuzz program in Pascal…
Posted Oct 15, 2022 5 min read

Wasting Time Watching Circles in This ZX81 Demo
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…
Posted Sep 01, 2022 4 min read

A Super Fast Scrolling Demo on the ZX81
Totally divergence from working on Gem Quest. I got around to cleaning up my scrolling demo from last month. In doing so, it made me wonder would it would be like to code it in assembly. The answer is both bland and interesting. Let’s discuss why that is. # Starting from a base. The actually cod…
Posted Aug 16, 2022 4 min read

Super Simple ZX81 Scrolling Example
Although I've been busy working with the ZX81 this month, it has been with my Gem Quest game. Not much to share yet there, but I am working on it. To get in something for the month, I thought I’d share an updated demo program. # An old beginning. I was going through my old programs and found this…
Posted Jul 31, 2022 3 min read

The Monster From the Deep Arrives on Your ZX81
This month’s program is a super simple graphic program I created in 1984 called The Monster. Probably developed as a title screen, the graphic looks like some swamp creature with seaweed hanging off it. I’m not positive what I was going for, but it does look rather imposing. # A tie to an older…
Posted Jun 30, 2022 4 min read

Wandering Down the ZX81 Road
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…
Posted May 03, 2022 7 min read

Racking up a New Score in This ZX81 Animation
Not a lot of time for programming this month, but I did get around to adding coins to my running game. Funny how little things take time to hack about. I’m not completely happy with it, but it works. Run 3 ML does give a whole new meaning to infinite runner. # Grabbing all the gold. There still …
Posted Apr 30, 2022 3 min read

Adding More Movement to My Running Game
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. # Pixel mo…
Posted Mar 30, 2022 5 min read

Working on Bones for a Future ZX81 Game
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…
Posted Feb 19, 2022 5 min read

The Long and Short of Rendering Lego Blades
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…
Posted Feb 17, 2022 3 min read