GFABasic or STOS or other?

GFA, ASM, STOS, ...

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GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby AtariSociety » Sat Nov 04, 2017 5:20 am

Been ages since I did any programming. Hmmm... 1980s on my Atari 800 and maybe a little in early 1990s on my then Mega 2 S. I been wanting to tinker and maybe re-learn to program with a goal to create some silly game. I own several Ataris.... 520ST, Mega 2ST, and Mega STe. Wondering what you all recommend... GFA Basic or STOS or is there something else I should consider. I like the idea of an easy to use editor or IDE and understand maybe the GFA Basic has a little better editor to work from? But STOS is maybe better for creating games.

I am guessing I can buy these USED... for the books basically... and then download recent versions that can run on a Mega STe, as that may be the best machine to code from.

Any tips would be cool.

Thanks

TJ

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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby Arne » Sat Nov 04, 2017 6:58 am

To some degree I would say: Depends on what you want to do.
I started with CBM BASIC, later GfA Basic. Was nice. One day I wanted to compile my GfA program that was running fine in the interpreter. It compiled without errors but when I double clicked the compiled PRG it bombed out. That day I dropped BASIC at all - except for very, very small tools that usually don't see the light of the next day when they did what I expected.
IMHO it is much more difficult to write modular code in BASIC than in C/Pascal/Modula2. Currently I stick to C and Assembler on Atari or Delphi on th PC. In the company I work for we use C/ASM for the embedded projects, too. But C/ASM got a steep learning curve of course.
Just my 2ct and other people surely have better experiences with different BASIC flavours
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby vido » Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:27 am

As Arne says it depends what you want to do.
But if you want to have game running on most Atari platforms including also Atari clones, I would recomend you GFA Basic. GFA Basic is still supported and developed further by Lonny (lp). As I know right now he is working on new version of GFA Basic and some new functions will be also suitable to develop games.

Anyway ... I would recomend you to visit Lonnys page http://gfa.atari-users.com/atari/ and take a look.

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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby FedePede04 » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:06 am

Arne wrote:To some degree I would say: Depends on what you want to do.
I started with CBM BASIC, later GfA Basic. Was nice. One day I wanted to compile my GfA program that was running fine in the interpreter. It compiled without errors but when I double clicked the compiled PRG it bombed out. That day I dropped BASIC at all - except for very, very small tools that usually don't see the light of the next day when they did what I expected.
IMHO it is much more difficult to write modular code in BASIC than in C/Pascal/Modula2. Currently I stick to C and Assembler on Atari or Delphi on th PC. In the company I work for we use C/ASM for the embedded projects, too. But C/ASM got a steep learning curve of course.
Just my 2ct and other people surely have better experiences with different BASIC flavours


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i would say on the ST, and if you have to learn a new language, why not Assembler, it is not much harder, a little more work but you also get a good speed increase
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby Arne » Sat Nov 04, 2017 8:24 am

FedePede04 wrote:i would say on the ST, and if you have to learn a new language, why not Assembler, it is not much harder, a little more work but you also get a good speed increase

Ouch... 8O
You really want to throw a poor gal with BASIC background into the ASM tar-pit?
IMHO ASM development takes much longer than coding the same in C. The assembler doesn't warn you as a/any compiler/interpreter can.
Don't want to start a war on programming language religion. :coffe:
I use ASM just for very small tool functions or for TOS/diagnosis cart patches - but you can't use something else than ASM for these purposes properly.
What I missed in GfA in the old days (don't know how it's today) was a proper debugger. Since I had contact with TurboPascal 6.0 on the PC I did not want to miss such a sophisticated tool.
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby wongck » Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:54 am

I think STOS is no longer being update while GFA basic is.
So no brainer on which to use.
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby simonsunnyboy » Sat Nov 04, 2017 10:18 am

For starters, use GFABASIC. It has best support (you can clearly see this here on this forum) and it will bring you very far. You have to create really huge projects (for Atari scales) to begin to see its limitations.

Most games by Paradize have been made with GFABASIC for example.

Do not use STOS even if it has special commands for games. It was structurally outdated at its introduction in 1988/89 with line numbers and few statements for structural programming and a garbage editor.
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby lp » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:07 pm

It really depends what you are planning on doing. If you want to write games in ST low and line numbers don't prematurely age you, then STOS will do.

I use PureC for things BASIC can't do, like LDG modules.

I use Devpac assembler for small bits of code where I want an extra boost in speed. That applies to PureC and GFA. Writing an entire project in assembler takes some serious dedication and good commenting skills.

I use GFA for everything else. It's true there is an update in the works. A little over 256 new commands.

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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby mpattonm » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:12 pm

lp wrote:... A little over 256 new commands.

:O

Now this is a but off topic, but is there a documented and working way to put GFA Basic on cartridge? Or Micron perhaps? Just for fun, not for serious coding.

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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby lp » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:51 pm

mpattonm wrote:
lp wrote:... A little over 256 new commands.

:O

Now this is a but off topic, but is there a documented and working way to put GFA Basic on cartridge? Or Micron perhaps? Just for fun, not for serious coding.


GFA was on a rom cart at one time. Probably rare as hens teeth. Very last thing on the page. :)
http://www.stcarchiv.de/stc1987/05/cebit-87

How to do it yourself I am not sure, but the format for rom carts is documented I think in the Atari Compendium or similiar books.

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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby simonsunnyboy » Sat Nov 04, 2017 3:53 pm

That will require work as the normal code is not able to run from ROM. Having a cartridge containing a ROM drive from which you can load might be an option. At least the interpreter should fit in 128K.
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby darklight » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:16 pm

Boo hiss! STOS is amazing, and if you are looking at writing games, then I'm sure the library of extensions for STOS will blow away anything available for GFA. However I'll concede that the editor & support for GFA will be much better.

I believe the best resource for STOS nowdays is [Exxo's STOS pages](https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/STOS_index.htm)
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby christos » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:40 pm

darklight wrote:Boo hiss! STOS is amazing, and if you are looking at writing games, then I'm sure the library of extensions for STOS will blow away anything available for GFA. However I'll concede that the editor & support for GFA will be much better.

I believe the best resource for STOS nowdays is [Exxo's STOS pages](https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/STOS_index.htm)


What you said is absolutely true. There are though two major problems with stos. Line numbers and performance. Also if you look you can find various routines that will work quite well for writting games in gfa. Basically it is a bit harder to get started but it is easier to get going.
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby charles » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:18 pm

im finding omikron is a good middle point between stos and gfa .....
ive dealt with gfa for years, truly if fun is to behad any basic will do ..and for the most part learning is the fun .
coding is rewarding ,,with any language.....now u see why you should have never stepped away from coding..
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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby thomas3 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:29 am

darklight wrote:What you said is absolutely true. There are though two major problems with stos. Line numbers and performance.


STOS's performance issues can be significantly mitigated if you just consistently follow a few optimisation principles... and abandon any attempt to write well structured programmes. Structure is for squares anyways ;)

What it also has in its favour are the extremely fun accessories and development tools.

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Re: GFABasic or STOS or other?

Postby Stethane » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:52 pm

And if you want to try STOS, check out my program STOS Buddy. http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=71&t=27553
It has just about every STOS document or tutorial in one help file and a ton of STOS game and program listings with syntax highlighting and mouse-over descriptions of every single command including for all the popular extensions.


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