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The TI Programming Alliance

Posted on 23 September 1998

The following text was written by Patrick Wilson:

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of crappy programs. I'm sorry for being so blunt, but come on... Either you get a crappy program that does one thing good, a program that does many things well but is buggy, or if your lucky, you get a truly great program. Sadly, the latter is very rare. It's been proven, teamwork accomplishes more and better results faster than if the results were from just one person. My point is simple. If the best programmers for the TI-8X (and TI-92) teamed up in a sort of Alliance, then imagine the amount and frequency of high-quality programs that would be made. Below are a few ideas about what this could do to the TI programming community. These are ONLY a few and are not meant to cover all aspects of creating such an organization. I intend for many responses with more ideas to be posted and I hope you expand on my ideas in future articles!

Bug free programs
If everyone developed together, everyone would know what everyone else's programs do and conflicts could be eliminated. One way to accomplish this is to have a web site listing all resources used by all programs and which ones have been specifically requested by a developer to be for use only with their program since it might contain volatile information or program specific data.

Shared variables
It would be nice when if you enter a game, be it Mario, Vertigo, Penguins, whatever, you would be greeted by a splash screen with the game title, and your name. Also, what about other personal information, like registration, if programs got good enough for shareware. This would also allow for system wide preferences like contrast, text size, preferred grayscale bit depth, and other things.

The Ultimate OS
The 85 is a good example of where this feature is sorely needed. Usgard, ZShell. They have different programs that will only run on a certain shell. If the alliance were to make a universal OS that would run all programs, then we would have no need for porting. Imagine a multitasking OS that would let you run one program while suspending one. You wouldn't actually have that program open, but it would save the last place or action that the program was performing. Once you were done, you would open the program again and, voila!

Plug In Architecture
This would make programs more effective. Instead of having a lot of programs, you would only need one called a "Dock" or plug in dock. One for math, science, and utility plugins. In the long run, you would have many more programs but the total space taken up by all the programs would be considerably less.

  Reply to this item

Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"
Jason Noble
(Web Page)

I am a TI-85 ASM and BASIC programmer and I would be interested in joining the Alliance. Just mail me if anyone starts up a web-page where we can communicate to the TI-community.

Reply to this comment    16 June 1999, 08:20 GMT

Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"

does anybody serriousely expect this page to anounce a competeing page? i mean realy, besides, there are allready pages that are beginning to go coop.

Reply to this comment    7 July 1999, 02:12 GMT

Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"

What we need is not just a alias but a set of standards for people programming to follow.
That way one program would be just as easy to use has the next one. Like on windows
almost all programs have a File,Edit and Help menus thatís what we need for calculator

Reply to this comment    30 July 1999, 04:40 GMT

Re: The TI Programming Alliance
musicdesp01  Account Info

i represent Grey Light Creation Software Studios. And i would like for my GLCSS (Grey Light Creation Software Studios) to join the allaince also
i am the only member in GLCSS SO IF U WANTA JION JION

Reply to this comment    30 September 2006, 00:11 GMT

Re: The TI Programming Alliance
musicdesp01  Account Info

okay i am back but with good and bad news. It all depends on how you look at it. Yesterday Grey Light Creation Software Studios has changed it name to Grey Light and will use Grey Light Creation Software Studios as a department. But to get back to the issue Grey Light is now officially getting out of the Alliance cause of this. Grey Light's Chief Executive Officer has issued that Grey Light officially leave the Alliance and in return that a new Alliance be formed. So the big new is that Grey Light has officially created the Grey Light Ti-Alliance with a distinct seperation of powers. Grey Light currently sends one represenative to the Grey Light Ti-Alliance governing board wich is checked by the board of commisioners who are commisioners of each department of the Grey Light Ti-Alliance. Grey Light will soon be launching a webpage for the allaiance wich will be made of groups and indivual programmers.With groups sending a represenative and the indivual programmers representing themselves.In addition to each department oversees anything from for example asm to basic.
If u wanat jion Grey Light Email me at musicdesp@hotmail.com
and if u wanta jion the Grey Light Ti-Alliance.
email me at

Reply to this comment    3 October 2006, 21:16 GMT

Re: The TI Programming Alliance
musicdesp01  Account Info
(Web Page)

heres Grey Lights Webpage

Reply to this comment    3 October 2006, 21:54 GMT

Miguel Sotelo Account Info

Im designing a Starup program for a TI-83 plus but i was wondering if it was possible to accsess applications ar at least theapplications menu from a program please respond

Reply to this comment    25 May 2007, 05:07 GMT

Well make one already!
Brian Brown  Account Info

Ok, if you want one you've got one. I agree completely, and I'm trying to do it. I need: Programmers, Artists, Debuggers, Beta Testers, and Web Design Experts to start a team I'm calling Subsonic Software, it will be composed of about 10-30 people, depending on how many reply. The catch: none, no cost, just good games and programs. I want to tackle TI83+ Assembly games first since that's what everyone wants because TI83 ASM games aren't compatable with TI83+. If your interested, e-mail me at brian_brown@earthlink.net and/or reply, stating what job you want and your programming experience.

Reply to this comment    2 December 1999, 05:44 GMT

Re: Well make one already!
Bill Conant  Account Info
(Web Page)

I would be willing to fill the Artist/Web Design positions for Subsonic. IF you need BASIC programming, I can do that too. Some fine specimens of my handiwork are available at http://www.crakkerz.com/calcfiles.htm/
Email me at... oh, just click on the link by my name, I'm too lazy to type it out.

Reply to this comment    4 August 2003, 04:18 GMT

here to join
Tim Sprau  Account Info

i am starting a programing corperation named natas inc. and i'm willing to join and make a few programs as long as i'm able to put my logo somewhere in it or at least credit on the corperation and not just me at the credits but right now i'm working on making windows but i don't have anything yet that i can show you but i do got a 83 plus rom for the virtual calculater that i will send to you if you would like it becouse it does make testing a lot faster and better but i havn't figured out how to export programs but you still can import them and play them like it was on your own calculater but the speed doesn't work the best with my calculater becouse it is a silver edition that i would recament to anyone becouse of the space it has and everything. if there is anyone who knows how to archive a program using basic then please let me know becouse part of my windows is archiving parts of the windows that arent needed untill used and re archived after. my e mail is speedy16190@yahoo.com for when and if you need to get ahold of me and to let me know if i'm part of the team.

Reply to this comment    18 January 2004, 23:38 GMT

Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"
Jason Hsu

I think that is totally necesary. This is a lot like windows. after so many third parties porgrammed uniformly and cleanly, all ( or most of ) windows' programs are efficient, and have the same format for compatability and ease of use. The calculator community seems to lack this, so programs cannot all be similarly reliable and bug free.

BTW, does it seem like all of a sudden writing an article is THE thing to do?

Reply to this comment    24 September 1998, 00:33 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"
Andrew Marks

Who ever gave you the idea that windows programs are efficient. Visual Basic, one the most popular windows programming languages is devoted to the concept of massive, bulky, slow, and all-around-inefficient code.

Reply to this comment    24 September 1998, 01:19 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"
Paul DeLeeuw

First, I would like to say that this thread gets a little off topic. However, what the previous comment says is that VB code gets bulky. Although in versions up to 4.0, VB code programs get a little extreme ("Hello World" mysteriously finds 512KB!), the latest version, 6.0, and Visual C++ 6.0 actually rival each other for speed. This is due to the fact that now VB is compiled to native code. I beleive it also means that 6.0-compiled programs have no "vbrun60.dll" library. They still aren't perfectly efficient, after all, it is Microsoft, but they are much better and faster than before.

Reply to this comment    24 September 1998, 04:00 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"
Nick Bellman
(Web Page)

Not true... in VB6 you need to distribute the bulky MSVBVM60.DLL, and to make it worse, updated versions of OLEAUT32.DLL and such. The compiled code is a lot faster than VB4 and below though.

Reply to this comment    30 December 1998, 20:03 GMT

Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"

Windows programming is more efficient only in the sense that it is device independent. Thus freeing the programmer from dealing with pesky video controlers etc. So in that respect a GDI type encapsulation of the various calculators would be fantastic, but in my humble opinion, impractical if not totally crazy.

However I have come across one X Window style project last year (i.e. a platform independent system for TI 8x calcs) - but haven't investigated since.

Reply to this comment    24 September 1998, 04:08 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"
Eric Haskett

Someone needs to set some programing standerds before everyone just goes out and makes programs. the programs sould be able to share and understand variabls. Math and science programes should be able to be interchangable, like a real computer!

Reply to this comment    24 September 1998, 20:34 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"
Matthew Bledsoe

Don't forget were talking about calcultors not computers. All the TI-8x calcs are setup differently thats why we don't have interchangeable stuff only ports of them. But all IBM PC's and clones are for the most part exactly alike thats why stuff is so interchangable for them and also why they're so commonly used (unlike the pityful Macs =) ).

Reply to this comment    25 September 1998, 20:10 GMT

Algebra is cool!!!

With an alliance controls for games and what not can be stardarized so that there is no need to be confused on how to play something. For example: Every program could have the same escape(teacher) key.

Reply to this comment    26 September 1998, 00:48 GMT

I GOT mostly a 83 and 83 Plus Assembly gaming clan READ ON
Zac Targac  Account Info

Speed Publications
Is a gaming group who already has 8 programmer and some one has made Diablo 2 and Aled is on and he MADE A FEATURED TI PROGRAM
Tyron For the 83
We Know Assembly We Got Experience
Needs ports and programmer
Email ME If you want to join
i check my mail 3 times a day:)

Reply to this comment    22 April 2001, 04:26 GMT

hey you!
MalAmen  Account Info

Your e-mail doesn't work, I wanted to join your group...
Why did I even bothered? Look at the date of the post i'm replying! He probably died of old age allready!
Bah... well, hope is the last one to die!

Reply to this comment    21 April 2004, 21:03 GMT

I volunteer
(Web Page)

First, I'd just like to say that I seriously doubt this "TI Programming Alliance" will ever happen. Similar to that super-shell discussion earlier on ticalc.org, most people are content to say, "yeah, that's a good idea" and leave it at that. Out of all of the people who read this article, only one single person volunteered to actually try to make this alliance. There should have been at least 5 people volunteering to get this alliance going.

Now, if someone actually does have the balls to work toward an alliance, there are couple of base things you're going to need.

1)Web page-probably the most vital part, this page needs a short web address, (i.e. www.tialliance.com). E-mail just isn't very interactive, and for this alliance to work, members need to be able to see the power of the alliance and be able to interact fully.

2)Forum-like I said earlier, e-mail is just plain crappy; a more interactive means of communication is needed. There are loads of free forums out there, try a couple and find one that you like. Ticalc.org could really use some more interactivity; a forum would really be nice.

3)Voice-if this alliance is going to attract people, it's gotta have some soul in it. This means a cool logo on both the web page and all programs made by the alliance, a snappy slogan, and a color-coordinated web page that fits the theme of the web page. When people see a program made by the alliance, they need to be in awe at the quality and aesthetic appeal of the program/game.

4)Realistic goals-a friend of mine(http://ohara.home.texas.net) has this annoying habit of wanting to do a million things at once for his webpage. Usually he gets nothing done and instead decides to change his layout(he's done this 3 times and still no actual content on his page). What I'm getting at is that the alliance shouldn't shoot for making program for all the calculators in the beginning. I suggest the TI-85 and TI-86, which have a wide user base and are very similar, and the TI-83, which practically everyone at my high school has(3,600 people, no joke). After the alliance gets maybe 5 high quality programs out for these calculators and estabilishes itself as a programming force to be reckoned with, it can spread out to other calculators. What I mean is that it should focus on the 85, 85, and 86; it could make programs for other calculators, but should concentrate its efforts on those three...er...platforms, so to speak.

5)ASM and Basic Tutorial-after spending about a month searching for a quality ASM tutorial, I still have yet to learn how to use the putsprite routines effectively. In most cases, a tutorial has only 1-4 lessons, which rarely make it to showing how to display a pixel. If a high-quality tutorial is made, the alliance can expand much quicker, training programmers, in effect, to be familiar with team strategies that will be needed when programming for the alliance. Not only this, but a BASIC tutorial is needed. This will serve to convert TI-xx game players into programers. Hopefully, after someone plays a game made by the alliance, he might be interested in learning to program. Starting out in basic and learning the ropes of programming would almost definitely be easier than jumping straight to ASM. Currently, there are fewer and lower-quality BASIC tutorials than ASM tutorials. Not only this, but most tutorials are geared to people who already know how to program. What is needed is a tutorial for people who can't program. If this can be accomplished, the number of TI-xx will balloon exponentially.

6)Leaders-as I stated at the beginning of this expansive comment, we need leaders to take charge. Get some courage and sign up for something!! Don't just sit at your computer and type in comments like, "good idea!" or "yeah, let's do that!". The success of this alliance will be determined by the success of its leaders.

7)Organization-this alliance is going to need an organizational system to keep order. Although making everyone equal is a nice idea, it doesn't get things done. A select group of people need to maintain power over the alliance. Just like our current governmental system, this needs to have a system of checks and balances to keep a small group of fools from ruining the entire alliance. Not being very well learned in democracy (I take US History next year), I don't know exactly how this could be accomplished, but I can suggest some general groupings: each section of the alliance can have a group of 3-6 leaders, which will represent the views of the members of the alliance on their section. These leaders need to be experts at both TI-xx programming and/or whatever their group is centered on. Some examples of groups would be: TI-85 ASM group, web page group, BASIC programming group, and a tutorial group. All of these groups together will be the governing body of the alliance, voting on major, global alliance decisions. What this means is that each group will be in charge of it's section, but for things pertaining to the entire alliance, the entire body of groups will discuss and vote on issues.

Now that I've finished my comment, I think that this alliance could be possible, if some of you bastards will get off your asses and contribute something (I don't need no stinking *'s). I myself, would like to help with the web page and possibly TI-86 programming. Right now, I'll try to organize all of this stuff, but I don't think that I would be the ideal leader for this alliance. E-mail me your comments, a group would would like to be in, or anything you would like to help with(web page programmers desperately needed). I hope we can actually get this alliance finished; I also hope this is the longest comment ever written (it has taken me about an hour to write). Actually, it could probably be it's own article(it's got to be better than the main one that we're all responding too. I gotta go to a UT game(they're playing Rice) so I'll apologize for not proof-reading.


Reply to this comment    27 September 1998, 00:08 GMT

Re: I volunteer
Ken R

I agree in every way and if someone will teach me how to program 83 asm i will be a member or if not i can be a betta tester
please respond asap

Reply to this comment    27 September 1998, 13:54 GMT

Re: I volunteer
Sean Stephenson

I agree about the tutorial part. I would love to see a more thorough introduction to assembly programming for the z80 and the TI-86 in particular. Some of them are very good up to a certain point, but they don't go far enough to be truly useful. Even for those of us who program in assembler on intel x86 systems, not enough specific information is given to get a good start on the TI calculators.

Of course, I haven't looked for any for the past few months so if you have just put out an incredible tutorial please don't be offended.

Reply to this comment    27 September 1998, 23:05 GMT

Re: I volunteer
Matthew Bledsoe

Ok here's my reply to each number

1)I agree it needs a web page if it ever comes to be.

2)Same as 1 a forum would be vital for discussions (it gets hard on mailing lists when people don't include what they replying to).

3)Voice would be good but all those aren't needed to acquire it.

4)You can have lotsa goals as long as you have enough people to fill them out.

5)There are tons of good tutorials for ASM (I've never really tried to find BASIC ones). Try Dux Gregis' ones or some of those other big names in the TI world.

6)Leaders would be very good. Maybe some of the big wig programmers would work (if they'd opt for the job).

7)A democracy might not be THAT good look at where its gotten America. We got scandals and affairs left and right. Heck even our leader, the person everyone is supposed to look up to, is gettin frisky with people other than his wife! But that won't necesarily happen to this alliance seeing as most of the programmers are 16ish.

I know I flamed the alliance idea earlier but the more opinions I read and the more I think about it it might work with the right people and ideas that forge it.

Reply to this comment    28 September 1998, 02:35 GMT

Re: I volunteer
Brandon Sterner

I volunteer for the 83 part. I already have programmed a few 83 asm games. We should get together some time on irc and discuss this.

Reply to this comment    28 September 1998, 04:02 GMT

Re: Re: I also volunteer
MalAmen  Account Info

I think that the creation of an Alliance would be very profitable, as people could help each other in progressing and at the same time create something worth of having bought the calculator (more than it is currently). I volunteer in 83+ asm and basic programming, even thought that I only recently learned asm, I would help gladly!

Reply to this comment    20 April 2004, 20:42 GMT

Re: I volunteer
Miles Raymond
(Web Page)

I do say! Here Here! I'd love to volunteer to be on the web/graphics group. I bet I could come up with tons of ideas for logos. Something that could be small and put into every game the TPA makes. I just have one question, leader, is the TPA going to make just games?

-Miles Raymond

Reply to this comment    29 September 1998, 03:50 GMT

Re: Re: I volunteer
(Web Page)

Heck no, we're not going to just make games. In fact, most of the programs that I would consider good are my geometry and algebra 2 basic programs. In fact, I doubt there will be very many basic games at all made by the TPA, seeing as they are large and slow. Most of our basic programs will probably be in the mathematics or sciences department.


Reply to this comment    29 September 1998, 06:23 GMT

Re: I volunteer

i volunteer to help with whatever i can. i did some basic programming on my old casio, but that was a while ago. but if someone is willing to teach im willing to learn. also, i have a TI-89, and i dont think many people do so i could help greatly if i learned how to program

Reply to this comment    2 October 1998, 23:50 GMT

Re: Re: Article: "The TI Programming Alliance"

I think the best way to get cross-platform compliance would be for programmers to write in a language that will compile and run on any of the ti-calcs. We already have a great start for this in the small c compilers available on this website. If someone with enough skill could write an optimiser for those, you would just have to write the c code once, then compile it for every system and get efficient code.The problem I see is the difference in screen areas between the 85,86 and 82,83. The programs made for the 82 and 83 could always be run in a smaller window on the 85 and 86, but not the other way. Unless 85-86 users will be willing to put up with the small screen and subsequent performance hit(from the need to recalculate the position of every pixel), programmers would be forced to still write two different versions of every program they write.

Reply to this comment    5 October 1998, 01:11 GMT

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