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