Octoate

Feb 132017
 

A new version of the HxC floppy emulator software for Windows was released in version 2.1.6.0. Besides some non Amstrad CPC releated features, it contains the possibility to add DSK files to the batch converter export list now.
The HxC floppy emulator is a device, which emulates a floppy disk systems by using disk images, which are contained on a SD card. It is the defacto standard for Amstrad CPC users to replace the internal or add a new 3″ drive. Thanks to Norecess’ great HxC floppy configuration software, it is nicely integrated into the system of the Amstrad CPC and very easy to use.

You can download the latest version from the HxC floppy emulator homepage.

Changelog for v2.1.6.0

  • XML format definitions: Korg DSS1 DD disks added.
  • XML format definitions: Emax II disks added.
  • Command line tool: USB loader -> Raw loader added.
  • Amstrad DSK file added to the batch converter export list.
  • New Writer: Thomson *.FD writer.
  • Thomson *.FD loader fixed: Side 1 ID corrected to 0.
  • D88 Writer fixed: Cylinder and Side ID correctly set.
  • ImageDisk (*.IMD) export: Deleted data mark and data CRC error flags supported.
  • FAT12/16 Disk browser: Entries First cluster readback corrected. (With high word uninitialized).
  • IMG loader: More disk sizes support added.
  • DosDiskBrowser: 1.743MB & 1.764MB added.
  • 64bits systems: Batch converter and Dos Disk browser issues fixed.
  • MacOS X & Linux version: file export -> Auto-append the file extension.
  • Track editor: Disk flux stream reverse function.
  • Track viewer & editor: GUI layout changed/updated.
Feb 022017
 

The first competition of the year in which you can participate is clearly the BASIC 10Liners competition for all 8bit computers with line oriented BASIC dialects. In 2011 and 2013 the contest was an internal competiton of the retro computer meeting NOMAM in Lübeck / Germany, but a lot of contributions came from all around the world in 2014 and only one was produced live on the meeting. So if you are able to develop a BASIC program for one of the allowed systems, you can submit your contribution (deadline 22nd April 2017):

Systems:

  • All 8bit computer systems

Authorized BASIC dialects:

  • All line oriented BASIC dialects

You will find more information about the contest on the BASIC 10Liners competition homepage (scroll down for the english translation). You can also have a look at the results of the last year.

Jan 252017
 

A new version of the Z88dk development environment for Z80 based computer (e.g. Amstrad CPC, Cambridge Z88, MSX, Sinclair ZX 81, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, etc.) was released. The release is a transition release on the way to v2.0 which aims on using both, the SDCC compiler and the Small-C compiler, to combine their advantages, which leads to much faster and smaller output binaries. You can choose between using the Small-C compiler with the old and the new C library or use the SDCC compiler with the new C library. The new C library also introduces full C standard compliance to Z88dk.
The newest version can be downloaded from the Z88dk homepage. The source code is available on GitHub.

Changelog:

Package:

  • The win32 and osx packages are complete and now include the zsdcc & zsdcpp binaries. zsdcc is z88dk’s customization of the sdcc compiler. Other users can compile zsdcc from source.
  • A VS2015 solution file is now available in z88dk/win32 for building all z88dk binaries except zsdcc & zsdcpp. Instructions for building zsdcc & zsdcpp can be found in the install instructions link above.

ZCC – Compiler Front End:

  • M4 has been added as an optional macro pre-processor. Any filename ending with extension “.m4” will automatically be passed through M4 and its output written to the original source directory with the “.m4” extension stripped prior to further processing. The intention is to allow source files like “foo.c.m4”, “foo.asm.m4”, “foo.h.m4” and so on to be processed by M4 and then that result to be processed further according to the remaining file extension.
  • In conjunction with the above, a collection of useful M4 macros has been started in “z88dk.m4” that can be included in any “.m4” file processed by zcc. Currently macros implementing for-loops and foreach-loops are defined.
  • List files ending with extension “.lst” can be used to specify a list of source files for the current compile, one filename per line. The list file is specified on the compile line with prefix @ as in “@foo.lst”. List files can contain any source files of any type understood by zcc and individual lines can be commented out with a leading semicolon. Paths of files listed in list files can be made relative to the list file itself (default) or relative to the directory where zcc was invoked (–listcwd). List files can list other list files, identified with leading ‘@’.
  • zcc now processes all files it is given to the final output file type specified. For example, with “-E” specified, all listed .c files will be run through the C pre-processor individually and all output copied to the output directory. Previous to this, only the first file listed was processed unless a binary was being built.
  • -v gives more information on what steps zcc takes to process each source file.
  • -x now builds a library out of the source files listed.
  • -c by itself will generate individual object files for each input source file. However, if -c is coupled with an output filename as in “-o name”, a single consolidated object file will now be built instead of individual ones. The intention is to provide a means to generate identical code in separate compiles by allowing this single object file to be specified on different compile lines.
  • Better error reporting for source files with unrecognized types.
  • Better parsing for compile line pragmas; pragma integer parameters can now be in decimal, hexadecimal or octal.
  • -pragma-include added to allow a list of compile time pragmas to be read from a file as in “-pragma-include:zpragma.inc”. This way projects can consolidate pragmas in one location; this is especially important for the new c library which uses pragmas extensively to customize the crt.
  • -pragma-export added, is similar to -pragma-define but the assembly label defined as a constant on the compile line is made public so that its value is visible across all source files.
  • –list will generate “.lis” files for each source file in a compile to a binary. The “.lis” file is an assembly listing of source prior to input to the linker.
  • –c-code-in-asm causes C code to be interspersed as comments in any generated assembly listing associated with C source files.
  • “.s” files are now understood by zcc to be asz80-syntax assembly language source files. This allows sdcc project files written in assembly language to be assembled by z88dk. asz80 mnemonics are non-standard so zcc attempts to translate to standard zilog mnemonics before assembling. You can see the translation to standard zilog form by using “-a” on a compile line. This is still a work-in-progress feature.
  • –no-crt allows compiles to proceed without using the library’s supplied crt for a target. The first file listed on a compile line will stand in as the crt and will be responsible for initialization and setting up the memory map.
  • Temporary files are always created in the temp directory. The option “-notemp” has been removed.
  • Library and include search paths have been fixed to honour the order specified on the compile line. This allows the user to override library functions when desired.
  • Source files are now processed from their original location so that includes can be properly resolved. Previously this was only done for .c files but this now applies to other file types.
  • clang/llvm compilation is in an experimental state.

Continue reading »

Jan 162017
 

4Sceners and Bitfellas published their favourite demoscene productions for the year 2016 and it is great to see three Amstrad CPC productions in their list, too. Ranked on 3rd place in the category “Best Music Disc” you will find the CPC vs. Virgill music disc by Tristar and Red Sector (TRSI). The other two productions can be found in the “Best Scene Game”. The awesome Pinball Dreams preview by the Batman Group ranked on the 2nd place (hey, this is just preview – what can we expect from the final product :-)) and ranked on the 7th place you will find the game Outlaws by RetroBytes which won the CPCRetroDev 2016 competition. You can have a look the complete results on the 4Sceners website (german).
It is always great to see Amstrad CPC productions mentioned in demoscene :-).

Jan 072017
 

McKlain, who is well known for the music in several Amstrad CPC productions (e.g. Wake Up, Breaking Baud, Space Moves, Megablasters: Escape from Castle in the Clouds and even the all-time favourite Nyan Cat remix ;-)), has just released an album on Bandcamp with his CPC music. Be sure to listen to it and maybe you also have some money left over after christmas to buy the album ;-).

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