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Category: Programming

Programming in C on the ZX Spectrum

Programming in C on the ZX Spectrum

Back in the 1980’s, if you were writing code for the ZX Spectrum, you could use the built-in basic interpreter or Z80 machine code for better performance. Now there are other options, including higher level languages such as C. z88dk is a great project that allows you to compile C for the ZX Spectrum and ZX Spectrum Next. It also includes some libraries to make doing common things easier. There’s a great getting started guide here and I’ve included my…

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Compiling Z88DK on the Raspberry Pi

Compiling Z88DK on the Raspberry Pi

The Z88DK project provides C compilers and libraries for over 100 Z80 machines, including the RC2014, ZX Spectrum and ZX Spectrum Next. Here are some quick notes showing how I got Z88DK working on my Raspberry Pi 4. Just installing z88dk via apt resulted in an old version, so I opted to install from source instead. Dependencies First I installed some dependencies: – Code Download Then I downloaded and uncompressed it: – Compilation Here is how I compiled the software…

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Resources for Programming the Z80

Resources for Programming the Z80

Books on Z80 Programming The classic book is Rodney Zaks’ Programming the Z80 from 1979-1981. It is freely available (with the author’s blessing) here. Another Z80 book from the late 70’s is “Z80 Assembly Language Programming” by Lace A. Leventhal. You can download a copy from the internet archive here. A more modern book for Z80 programming is “Jumpstart Z80 Machine Code” from 2016. It has mixed reviews on Amazon and focuses on the Ti-83 calculator but it may be…

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Starting Emulator Development

Starting Emulator Development

Writing an emulator for a CPU or entire system is a great programming project. Some of the old 8-bit CPU’s can be emulated fairly easily and running them at a decent speed isn’t a problem for modern PC’s. In addition to the CPU, code will be needed to emulate any graphics and sound hardware too. Here are some notes on where to start. CHIP-8 Chip 8 is usually the first place to start – its actually an interpreted programming language…

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Write 8-bit code in your Browser

Write 8-bit code in your Browser

8bitworkshop is a fantastic website that lets you write and test code for a wide range of retro 8-bit computer systems within your browser. It has a great IDE with memory browser, disassembly etc. The ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, MSX, Atari 2600, NES and Sega Master System are among the supported systems. The functionality is amazing, a lot of hard work has obviously gone into this project. The owner of the website has also released a range of books. These…

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