About 30 years ago, I had some computer programs published in popular UK computer magazines of the time. Simple graphics experiments that I’d written while still at school. Time has passed, and I’d lost any record that I had – apart from my vague recollections. But this summer, I was visiting the UK, so I decided to dig up my past in the British Library, and indulge in a little microcomputer nostalgia.
I had to wade through several thick bound volumes from the archives before I struck gold. Glossy-page recollections of a very different technological time. 8-bit microcomputers. Most were slow, black-and-white, with blocky lo-res graphics and no sound. But with these humble and primitive beginnings – the consumer Home Microcomputer boom took off in the UK, just before it took off in America.
In the hours that I spend flicking through the archived magazines – I found the two wireframe graphics programs that I remembered. Both written on the school RML 380Z. And a machine code utility, (which I don’t remember), but obviously written on my friend’s Sharp MZ-80K. The final program, I lifted from a digital online archive. It had been written on my own Sinclair ZX81 – the first computer I owned. I’d worked a summer job in a green-grocers to afford it. It had 16Kbytes Ram, a “real” keyboard, built from a Maplin kit, and a DK-Tronics ROM with extra character sets. Programs were stored on cassette tape.
All my published programs were written in BASIC. Some have Z80 code thrown-in. In those days, I could write Z80 machine code, straight from my head, directly in Hex.
It might be cool if anyone’s up to the challenge of re-writing the old 380Z BASIC code using contemporary Stage3D or WebGL instead. Any takers?
Here are the full published listings of the two wireframe graphics programs. graph3d (Practical Computing. September 1983. Pages 154 and 157). and plotting (Practical Computing. March 1984. Page 172).
The final two programs are hybrid BASIC + Z80 code for manipulating the memory-mapped display in weird and wonderful ways. Likely not relevant to the way things work nowadays – but nostalgic nevertheless. Here’s the listing for the ZX81(Sinclair Programs May 1983 page 20):-
And here is the program for the Sharp MZ-80K are here: MZ80K1 and here: MZ80K2. (Personal Computer World. Pages 265 and 266).
If you’re reading this – and you also remember those days with fond nostalgia – feel free to leave a comment below.