SAGE II, IV

Hogyan, milyen eszközökön, eszközökkel készültek a Spectrum programok anno 198x-ben...
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Csatlakozott: 2012.01.07. 23:12

SAGE II, IV

Hozzászólás Szerző: MailMiner » 2012.02.06. 18:52

Mint azt korábban említettem a kutatás eredményeképpen email váltásba kerültem egy korábbi Ocean / Imagine fejlesztővel, Doug Burns-szel. A sinclair.hu-n van egy létező rovatunk az "Arcképcsarnok", illetve Asimo korábbi ötlete a Szoftverfejlesztő cégeket bemutató rovat témájával is egybevág, ezért arra gondoltam, hogy készíthetnénk Doug-gal egy email interjút. Különös tekintettel arra, hogy ez irányú kérdésemre egyértelműen pozitívan reagált, sőt maga ajánlotta fel, hogy további fejlesztőkkel hozna össze minket azonos céllal. Ezzel tovább bővülhetne a rovatunk.

Ezért arra kérnélek benneteket, hogy kezdjük el összedobni a kérdéseket, amiket fel szeretnénk tenni Doug-nak és akkor azokat megszerkesztve egyszerre juttatjuk el neki.

Itt pedig közreadom azt a levelezést amit eddig vele folytattam, egyrészt kedvcsinálónak másrészt a "fejlesztő gép - developer machine / system" email folyam mintegy bonus track-jeként.

Latyi.ca

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Csatlakozott: 2012.01.07. 23:12

Re: SAGE II, IV

Hozzászólás Szerző: MailMiner » 2012.02.06. 18:52

Hi Peter,
Sorry for the slightly sluggish reply but I'm really busy at the moment.
Anyway, more in-line ...

Peter Lakatos wrote:
I'm Peter Lakatos from Hungary. I am part of a Hungarian Sinclair club and a private emailing list. We have a public web page http://www.sinclair.hu <http://www.sinclair.hu> as well as a private one, too. First of all, I would like to ask you about a possible email interview with you, because we try to ask interesting people about our common hobby and we publish the result on the webpage.

No problem at all. What's more, I can probably put you in touch with one or two other, better, coders who might be happy to do an interview, too.
As I'm sure you know, I was a very small part of the industry.


But I'm so curious to ask you about the software developer environment. Recently we tried to figure out how was happened the industrial game development for the Spectrum. I have a picture in my memory that there was a developer machine or system and it was connected to a Spectrum. I heard some romours of it, but I didn't find any evidence of it. A few days before I found the "Commercial Breaks - A documentary about the Imagine and Ocean Software" and I saw office computers next to the Spectrum. In an interview Colin Porch told that "the source code was on the SAGE development machine". Is this SAGE machine the SAGE II or SAGE IV from Sage Technology of Reno?
http://www.thebattles.net/sage/sage.html


Okay, let me take the simple question first. Yes, we did use the SAGE II and SAGE IV at Imagine and, when they went bust, Denton Designs bought a lot of the stock so that's what they used too. (Nice link, btw, thanks ;-)) On the Sage 2, we predominantly used UCSD-p (and later CPM/68K) and used idris(?) on the SAGE IV. In truth, I think it was part of Imagine's 'spend lots of money, get the best, have fun and go bust' strategy and I don't think other companies used such expensive or cool kit, but they were *very* nice ;-)
As for a single developer machine or system, there was no such thing. What most companies did was buy a micro-or mini-computer that would allow us to work on and save code and all they were interested in was did it have the necessary cross-assemblers and linkers? For example, the Apple II with Z80 expansion was popular, as was the BBC and at Ocean/Imagine, we used the Tatung Einstein. But, and this is important, two things didn't matter
1) What CPU the development system used. For example, the SAGEs used 68000 but - as long as there's a Z80 assembler that runs on it, we don't care.
2) In most cases, the cabling and download software to download the code from the dev machine to the home computer was developed in-house. In fact, many things were developed in-house - graphics programs, linkers and so on - because there isn't a big market for that kind of thing. Not in those days.
So many different dev machines were used - I alone used SAGE, then Tatung Einstein, then BBC - and each company had their own different environment, always with a cable attached to the Spectrum/C64 or whatever.


Did you use a special hardware to connect the developer machine to the Spectrum?

Sometimes just a simple cable,sometime a black box, but yes. Particularly important because developing games leads to lots of crashes, you wouldn't want to lose your code, and because we needed all of the system resources to make the game work - no room for the development tools on the target machine.
Can you imagine the frustration of RAM-pack wobble and tape drives when you're writing assembler? (Actually, no need to imagine - I experienced it at home before I got my first job at Imagine)


Did you compile the source code on the developer machine and carry the object code to the Spectrum?

Kind of - down the cable. See above.

Which kind of developer system did you use (SAGE or ...) ?

Again, think I answered that one already - I used several. I also developed directly on a ZX81, but not commercially!

I would like to make an article about the game developing for our website.

Yeah, I think that would be really interesting - far more interesting than anything I've done since ;-)

Sorry about the straightforward questions and I hope that you will have time to answer them.

Not at all, it's good to know someone's interested and I still think it's interesting myself ;-)
Cheers,
Doug


Thanks.
Best Regards,
Peter Lakatos


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peter Lakatos wrote:
I am perfectly understand the importance of a developer machine connected to the home micro, because:

- access to the micro's whole memory (fill up with the object code)
- the source and compiled code can stored independently from the home micro
- a robust machine with
* a real keyboard
* advanced storage possibility (floppy disk and hard disk later)
* in some cases faster CPU and more stable OS on the host


Absolutely - all of those reasons you mentioned. I did develop on a ZX81 when I was an amateur and it was *painful* :-(

I also understand that there weren't any SuperSpectrum for development, no Spectrum Development Environment, but I found an interesting custom development environment from Design Design called the Beast and the Basil: http://www.crashonline.org.uk/08/rebirth.htm

As I mentioned we sometimes spent quite a lot of time writing the tools that would be used to write the games. In fact, one of my very first jobs was to try to write a games designer, but Imagine went bust before it was completed ...

Thanks again for your answer and I would like to keep to contact with you.

No problem.
Cheers,
Doug

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Csatlakozott: 2012.01.07. 23:12

Re: SAGE II, IV

Hozzászólás Szerző: MailMiner » 2012.02.06. 23:23

ez a Sage II sem semmi gép... 82-ben hozták ki, és már akkor ismilyen paraméterekkel bírt! Döbbenet! Még 10 évvel később is megálltaa helyét! Mennyibe kerülhetett akkor? Asimo

Hát elég nagy összegek repkednek. Az a 7000 font nem tudom, hogy egy darab gép ára volt-e, de a szövegkörnyezetből arra következtetek és egyébként is Európában minden drágább, mint Amerikában, így elképzelhető.

http://www.crashonline.org.uk/08/rebirth.htm

We don't go out and spend £7,000 on Sages like Imagine did when they were still alive — it didn't get them very far. You're wasting your money. Basil cost about £500 not including the discs. Imagine had 20 Sages and had placed an order for 34 more!' He looks scandalised at us.

http://www.old-computers.com/museum/com ... c=607&st=1
PRICE $3,600 (1 disk drive and 128 KB RAM version)

Latyi.ca

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