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ICE: A new BASIC-like programming language for the CE calculators
Posted by Xavier on 19 July 2016, 20:53 GMT

ICE

Recently, Peter "PT_" Tillema uploaded an interesting program: ICE Compiler.
It has nothing to do with the TI-83/83+ shell.

ICE compiles a TI-BASIC-like language into eZ80 binary, the native machine code of the CE calculators. Because it's not interpreting TI-BASIC like the OS does, execution is generally much faster. This makes us think about Axe Parser, for the monochrome TI-Z80 series, which needs no introduction.

So far, there have been two versions. Version 1.0 provided primitive syntax like variables, If, loops, operators, etc. Version 1.1 added essential features like string displaying, label/goto, getkey, input, and brought other improvements... The set of features should make you comfortable for writing all sorts of utilities, games, etc. in a higher-level language. The .zip file you can download also includes a list of commands and additional technical information.
The roadmap for v1.2, expected within the next few months, contains For loops, sprite-related commands, Text(, simple list support, and several other nice features making ICE even more powerful.

Wondering what ICE code looks like ? Well, it's pretty much your standard TI-BASIC code, and Peter has provided an example of the good old number guessing game in the archive. We can see the inline hex ASM snippet feature in action towards the end, too, which is pretty fancy (and something only the 68k calculators are able to do by default)

We can't wait to see how ICE evolves over time and what people make with it !
Oh and by the way, Peter has made ICE open-source on GitHub, so happy bug-hunting and contributions for those interested to lend a hand !

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ticalc.org is 20 years old!
Posted by the ticalc.org staff on 21 June 2016, 21:42 GMT

ticalc.org is 20 years old today! All of us involved with the site would like to thank all of you for creating and sharing and learning with us.

Several of us involved with the site over the years have shared their own reflections on ticalc.org below including (in alphabetical order):

Help us celebrate by sharing what ticalc.org has meant to you in the comments!

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GalagACE
Posted by Xavier on 19 June 2016, 20:51 GMT

GalagACE

Today, let's talk about a game recently made by Kevin "DJ Omnimaga" Ouellet, for TI-84 Plus CE / TI-83 Premium CE calculators. Its name is GalagACE, it's a fancy color Shoot-em-up remake of the B&W version (also by DJ) from... 2002 (!), then called "Space Invaders".

DJ has cleverly used one of the "hybrid BASIC" libraries available on the CE, this time an ASM sprites library by "grosged", which does the heavy lifting for the graphical operations happening in the game.
(We shall remind, like DJ did, that there are also some pretty awesome ASM shoot-em-up games for the CE, harnessing the full power of the device)

In addition to fancy sprite graphics, you'll be able to fight your way through 18 stages, 6 bosses, with your ship firing up to 3 bullets at once on the screen. The game is clearly playable, and makes for a rather cool showcase for hybrid BASIC ;)

A detailed readme file is available, and explains controls, gameplay, and more. DJ has also uploaded a video of the gameplay on YouTube if you want to see for yourself before playing.
Enjoy!

  Discuss (2 comments)  

Two fun agility games for your CE
Posted by Xavier on 4 June 2016, 15:25 GMT

SwipeCE

This news item is about a pair of games for the TI-84 Plus CE / TI-83 Premium CE, programmed in C by "Unicorn". They are in fact both remakes from original smartphone games. The improved TI-eZ80 hardware, with a faster CPU and more RAM than the TI-z80 series, makes such endeavours easier; the higher-resolution, color screen helps provide a user experience closer to the original games.

First, in SwipeCE, you need to press the arrow keys corresponding to the one displayed on the screen... but with a twist : if the arrow is dotted, press the arrow key for the opposite direction - watch out, you only have a short amount of time for that!

StackerCE

Then, in StackerCE, with a recent update using all kinds of neat colors (which you can adjust), you need to stack moving blocks on top of each other... and of course it's getting faster every time ;)

For both, a longer delay between key detection might have been useful, since the games will repeat the key if you do a "long" press - but hey, that could be seen as an additional challenge ;)
Have fun :D

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