Personal Computer News

Commodore 64 Sound & Graphics
By Melbourne House
Commodore 64

Published in Personal Computer News #078

We live in times of increasing sophistication in the computer world - hardware, software and peripherals are all growing closer to our ideals. The same also applies to computer books. While the program listings format, the barely helpful subroutines format and the rewritten manual format appear with monotonous regularity, a brave new world of books is dawning.

Among these new-style titles is this one from Melbourne House. Yes, there are listings, yes there are explanations but, by God, it's practical. You might actually want to use this book.

Everyone knows you can't sell a game written in Basic, but everyone also knows that writing long machine code programs is akin to do-it-yourself dentistry. In that context Peter Falconer's book is to be welcomed with open arms.

Here in one source is a collection of ready-to-run routines that take much of the pain out of writing machine code games. If you've ever wanted superfast fine scrolling, or those stunning soundtrack effects, or interrupt-driven graphics it's all here.

The format of the book has much to recommend it - Mr. Falconer starts with a game written in Basic and then introduces the necessary machine code routines to give it some speed and class.

In addition, you'll also find a collection of utilities that can be applied to any game or program including a faster interrupt scheduler that makes background music and windowing easy (well, relatively).

Have no illusions, machine code programming is never as easy as Basic no matter how many utilities, aids or attempts you have, but it isn't as hard as many people assume.

Peter Worlock