Monday, 30 January 2012

Vanilla 3D Noughts and Crosses

Another bug found. The code in the previous posting listing the full program has been updated and is now probably bug free. The last bug identified allowed the program to win with some non linear solutions to the game.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Retrospective - Digital Precision's The QL Collection

Here at QL Heaven Digital Precision's bombastic adverts are fondly remembered. Despite the hype and hard sell of their adverts, Digital Precision as a software house had many of the essential and also premium priced QL programs in their catalogue.

When the commercial prospects of the QL market started waining DP dumped virtually their entire catalogue as a bargain bundle. £2100 worth of software for £149 screamed the advert. At the time QL Heaven had never been able to afford to buy much software for the QL and so leapt at the opportunity of this bargain bundle. How many others did so is an unanswered question. The software came with minimal instructions and zipped on 10 DD floppy disks with a bespoke boot program to allow users to choose which package to unzip. Most software came with full user instruction manuals as well. How much of the software was worth anything? Actually quite a lot of it was useful and has stood the test of time. Some of it has continued to be developed including the Turbo Compiler, and Perfection the word processor. Some are now public domain such as SuperForth and some such as Digital C remained a viable programming system capable of making use of the much updated operating system smsqe and the GD2 drivers despite having been written long before these were developed.

One problem QL Heaven encountered on attempting to use the original package was that DP had zipped the source and destination device names as part of the file name of the files to be unzipped which meant that if the system had only one floppy disk drive then unzipping failed. QL Heaven remembers writing a small SuperBasic program to go through the zip files to poke "ram2_" in place of "flp2_" to allow unzipping to the ramdisk as the Amiga 1200 QL emulator was the only QL system available to QL heaven with a disk drive at that time and it only had a single disk drive.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Vanilla 3D Noughts and Crosses Bug!! Drat

Just found in line 540.

It reads          :                          IF my2_count>1 THEN RETURN 1
It should read :                          IF my2_count>1 THEN RETURN i

This improves the behaviour of the program somewhat. Playing it, there still seems to be an as yet undiscovered bug in the code that decides what constitutes a winning line. Back to reading the code again. Ah, the joys of typing in a listing again. One problem is that QL Heaven is typing in from a faded 25 year old magazine that reproduced dot matrix printouts and QL Heaven's eyes are fading. It was not easy to get all those squiggly lines correctly deciphered even 25 years ago. 

Saturday, 14 January 2012

LCD Screen for Qx0

QL Heaven has acquired a Technika LCD 24 inchTV that had a faulty screen cover that had slipped down on the front of the TV by 0.5 to 1cm. Some sort of glue used seemed to have softened. Otherwise the set was fully functional. The TV is a wide screen and defaults to a 16:9 display. It has like many TVs these days a RGB PC port. Since the TV was heading to the dump and QL Heaven was desperate to get the massive 17 inch CRT monitor off the desk the Q60 was tried with the TV. Here is what it looked like.

The Techika model number is LCD 24-620

The image is reasonably acceptable in QL Heaven's view. The full 1024x512 display is not visible with lines lost at the right of the screen and at the bottom. The visible area of the display appears to be 960x480 which is not bad indeed. If it is possible to set the maximum screen size recognised by smsqe to this size then using a TV like this could provide an acceptable display. Has anyone else tried an LCD TV with a Qx0 or Aurora system?

Here are some other pictures also showing 3D Psion Chess running on a Q60 and displayed on a 24 inch LCD screen. Is that good or not.