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Andy Selle Releases SpaceWar Source Code
Posted by Nathan on 17 September 2003, 00:16 GMT

Andy Selle released the source code to his game SpaceWar on Friday. This was one of the early ZShell programs. For those of you who may not have been around at the time, ZShell was the very first assembler shell written for the TI-85 calculator. At this time, TI did not have any sort of ASM support, and a loophole was found in the TI-OS which allowed arbitrary code to run. By installing a modified backup file, you could install ZShell, which then provided ASM support to other ASM programs on your calculator.

This is a fun little game that has link support between two calculators. It's not the most impressive or advanced game, but it is indeed a piece of history which still has a place deep in the heart of many people who were around back in 1996, like me.

 


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Re: Andy Selle Releases SpaceWar Source Code
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

YES! A new article! Well, I don't know all that much about the TI-85, so I don't have much to say about this. Anybody want to fill me in on some information? :)

     17 September 2003, 00:23 GMT

Wow... noboby beat me.
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

Now, I was just wondering... why didn't he release the source code before? They have disassemblers out there, don't they? Did he copyright it or something? I just took a look at the game... it looks interesting... kind of like the asteroids-type games.

     17 September 2003, 00:33 GMT


Re: Wow... noboby beat me.
Nathan Haines  Account Info
(Web Page)

All creative works are copyrighted at the time of their creation.

Anyhow, he just never got around to releasing the source code. At the time it wasn't super common, and it was his first game ever, so the code was really rough and he's not too proud of it, actually. ;)

But Andy always figured he ought to do it some day. It's a bit of a piece of history, in my mind, and I'm happy to hear he finally got the time to get it out there.

It's a two-player game, with a gravity well in the center of the screen, and you basically try to kill the other guy. I've only played multiplayer maybe three times on the calculator, but David Ellsworth did considerable work on a PC version of the game and we used to play that constantly when I would visit. It was one of the first graphical games written for a computer--these are the big mainframes. That's more of the historical side of SpaceWar. You can find it in the Jargon File.

     17 September 2003, 01:01 GMT

Re: Re: A Title Like That Deserves Deletion
Ti-89_Coder Account Info

Actually, I believe Spacewar was not just one of the first computer games, it was THE first one. Yep, prior to Pong, Asteroids, and Adventure, there was Spacewar. How 'bout that: first computer game == one of the first calculator games.

     17 September 2003, 03:06 GMT


Re: Re: Re: A Title Like That Deserves Deletion
Gergely Patai  Account Info
(Web Page)

I think the very first computer game was a card game more than 30 years ago.

     17 September 2003, 21:31 GMT


Re: Re: Wow... noboby beat me.
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

Wow... userID 9...

Well, that's cool. At least he's still 'active' enough in the TI community to release the source code to a game that he made a long time ago.

Does he still have the PC version? :) What language was it written in? (lol... I'm too curious)

     18 September 2003, 01:33 GMT


Re: Re: Andy Selle Releases SpaceWar Source Code
KermMartian Account Info
(Web Page)

Nice! It's good that he released the source code. Pointless this long after the program was released, but cool nonetheless.

     17 September 2003, 14:36 GMT

Re: Andy Selle Releases SpaceWar Source Code
DWedit  Account Info
(Web Page)

Why wasn't the source code released with the program in the first place? If you're giving away your program for free, make the source code come with it. Then GPL it or something :)

     17 September 2003, 06:53 GMT

Re: Re: Andy Selle Releases SpaceWar Source Code
Morgan Davies  Account Info
(Web Page)

If you are going to ask that question you can't just apply it to this program. Most/all early written programs were released without source. There are hundreds of programs without available source.

     17 September 2003, 08:51 GMT


~
angelboy Account Info
(Web Page)

Some people don't want others stealing their ideas.

     17 September 2003, 13:53 GMT

Re: ~
coinmanz  Account Info
(Web Page)

There is a great way to release source and not worry about much of it being stolen: learn to read/write/edit HEX. Hex is simple...SpaceWar is a fun game and i'm glad the source is out. I've started encoding all text/graphics data in hex. SpaceWar rules, though I must use YAS to play it (Kirk meyer released a similar game in 2000 for the 86).

     17 September 2003, 17:36 GMT


C9=RET
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

In hex? It's a big time saver to use ASM... and since ASM compiles directly into machine code, there's not really any use for hex...

     18 September 2003, 01:46 GMT

Re: C9=RET
KermMartian Account Info
(Web Page)

The whole point of compilers like TASM is to make ASM easier, i.e. text tags like `ret' and `push' instead of C9 and 3A.

     19 September 2003, 14:16 GMT


Re: Re: C9=RET
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

Right. ASM is just a human-readable form of the binary machine language. There is no need to program in hex. And besides, if you don't want your source stealen... don't give out the source! (Or don't upload it...) I think that's pretty weird not to upload your source, though. If person1 made a great ASM routine that person2 could use... person2 should just be polite enough to give person1 credit for using their routine. I see nothing wrong with that at all... releasing source can only help other programmers improve.

     19 September 2003, 16:21 GMT

Re: Re: Re: C9=RET
ti_is_good_++
(Web Page)

What if you're selling a program? Then you don't want everyone to know your source code-like the person who one-upped MS Flight Sim and ended up drunk and uploading his source to the net-fortunately at about 2:30 AM and not when people would find it. Why help the competition? I know this refers to source for freeware, but what if you spent 6 months developing a technique, post a demo, and end up with everybody copying your technique and your sales of your real program are undermined?

     19 September 2003, 21:53 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: C9=RET
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

Well, the people who borrow the code, just should first ask permission to use it in their program, and also give them adequate recognition for creating that particular routine/piece of code.

     20 September 2003, 16:06 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: C9=RET
Frank A. Nothaft  Account Info
(Web Page)

Well, if you don't have permission, IT IS against copyright law...

     21 September 2003, 01:30 GMT


~
angelboy Account Info
(Web Page)

But most people *don't* ask for permission

     21 September 2003, 03:47 GMT


Re: ~
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

Well, then you can get back by 1) removing their program and 2) letting everybody know that they did that.

Besides, I would expect most people to be kind enough to at LEAST give credit for the code, even if they don't ask first. Besides, at least for this... they're calculator games, not programs that people pay for. So, it's not that big of a deal. Besides, since this is a community, we're supposed to help others expand with their programming capabilities and stuff... hiding code doesn't help anybody learn. (unless they code REALLY poorly) ;-)

     21 September 2003, 17:10 GMT


Re: Re: ~
Frank A. Nothaft  Account Info
(Web Page)

I like to hide code because I kinda am overcompetitive.

If someone does use your code without your permission, you can technically sue them for damages.

     21 September 2003, 20:59 GMT


Re: Re: Re: ~
Nathan Haines  Account Info
(Web Page)

Not unless you're registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, you can't sue for damages. The only thing you can sue for is for them to stop infringing on your copyright. Once your work is formally registered, then you're free to sue for damages.

Of course, your work gains copyright protection the moment you create it! But if you're going to release source code, personally, I'd just GPL it and be done with it.

     22 September 2003, 00:56 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: ~Asking for permission
Memwaster  Account Info

I am currently working on an RPG for the TI-83+ in app form, and I have painstakingly asked many programmers (you know who you are) for use of their subroutines.

None of them said no.

Secondly, realeasing souce code is a great help to use as a example for beginners (when I started, I read alot of code).

Finally, as my RPG is expanding to take up 2 flash pages, I am very thankful for Benjamin Moody to release the code for a multi-page app. This is the first publicly released multi-page flash app available.

     5 October 2003, 12:17 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: C9=RET
Matthew Marshall  Account Info

You read the Popular Science article entitled "Austin and Goliath" did not you? Now if only he would go further in smashing Microsoft by porting X-Plane to Linux...

MWM

     22 September 2003, 16:30 GMT


Re: Re: Re: C9=RET
Frank A. Nothaft  Account Info
(Web Page)

Dude, when I release some ASM programs, theres no way in hell that I'm letting people see the source because theres gonna be someone ripping off my code and putting it in a really bad program. The people who download it see my name associated with it and there goes some respect. Also, once you release the source theres no real way to prevent people from using your code in ways you don't like, and if you wrote something really remarkable, people will get lazy and stop trying to improve your code and progress as we know it stops.

     21 September 2003, 01:27 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: C9=RET
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

"The people who download it see my name associated with it and there goes some respect."

Who's fault is that? ;-) lol

But seriously, if people want to use the source that badly, they CAN disassemble the program...

And if you want to make it illegal for them to take your code, copyright it or something. Then, it's more of a big thing if you find out that they took your code. Besides, that would scare most people off, I'd think.

     21 September 2003, 17:15 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: C9=RET
Frank A. Nothaft  Account Info
(Web Page)

Technically, all creative works are copyrighted at creation. Wether a calculator program is a creative work can be argued.

I'm also very restrictive. Also, there are times when you don't want people to use your standards. And I'd rather have to work against someone elses standard, instead of competing against people using my standard.

     21 September 2003, 21:03 GMT


Re: C9=RET
Eugene Talagrand Account Info

Hex could be used for the insane people who wanted to program assembly directly on their calculators - make a list, or vector with the list of bytes in hex, then use a simple program to convert it into a string for execution by ZShell.
You needed to carry your own little lookup table for the different meanings of each byte.
The biggest problem with this approach, other than the fact that it took forever, was that if you crashed your calc you lost your program -- which is why I never got past "Hello world"

     26 September 2003, 09:43 GMT

Re: GPL
Travis Evans Account Info

I thought the GPL was supposed to help protect against stealing ideas? Everyone knows who wrote the original code, and people can modify the code to make it better.

BTW, can't the ticalc.org server at least be polite and send me back to the article response page I requested after I verify my email address (you know, that 120-day verification thing) so I don't have to go back and go through the same links I did to post in the first place?

     17 September 2003, 19:02 GMT


Re: ~
Adm.Wiggin

no source wont help with stopping stealing of ideas... all that does is make it so that you cant copy their way of doing things. you could steal any idea you want, no source just makes things harder...

     18 September 2003, 23:19 GMT


Re: Re: ~
no_one_2000_  Account Info
(Web Page)

You could disassemble it, right? The only problem is that the labels and variables won't be named something that's easy to understand, but you can still get their code, kind of...

     19 September 2003, 16:23 GMT


Re: Re: Re: ~
Frank A. Nothaft  Account Info
(Web Page)

No, thats not what he's saying. Let me put it like this:
Lets say I invented the wheel, but made it from stone. You see it, and make it with rubber and groves.

That is essentially stealing someones idea.

     21 September 2003, 01:33 GMT

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