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Assembly for the masses!

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Come with me, if you will, back about 9 years into the past.
Its summer, early June, and in a bed room in Ipswich a young Phantom is sat, bent over his computer (which might account for his spine clicking now.. hmmm), then an Atari STe, hacking away at some assembly, his Devpac and assembler guide book on one side, source code on another and infront of him a memory map of the Atari range of computers. Watch now, as after two days at this he tests his code and, to his delight, it works.. the strains of a mod file can be heard coming from the computer and he lets out a "wooohooo" of delight.

June, 1996.

Now, back to the present day and as noted in my pervious journal entry I have purcashed a GP2X handheld game platform with an eye to producing some code for it and maybe even some games!

However, with this comes one important thing; assembly.

The problem with modern processors is the buggers are so damned complicated; out of order execution this, SSE that, floating point the other.. headache. headache. headache.

Now, I really enjoyed my time writing assembly code, call me a masochist if you like but I did enjoy my time in the trenches fiddling with bits and registers and working out cool ways todo stuff and when you only have 8Mhz to play with, well, its kinda important.

Now, while the ARM cpu which powers the GP2X is a bit more powerfull than my old MC68K based Atari, the arch is simpler, the instructions while more complex I can follow and as such it looks like programming it in straight assembler could be... dare I say it.. fun!

I've spent the past few hours looking over the programming guide for the ARM processors and just looking at the code has me thinking back to that day, 9 years ago, when my fiddlings got a 50Khz mod replay routine to work and I want that kind of feeling again. The feeling of man vs machine on such a low level.

Yeah, there are those who say productivity is important, and yes it is, but whats the point without a little crazy fun every now and then [grin]

I probably wont write a whole game in assembly, for one thing I dont have that much time, however I'm going to look into hacking the thing a bit, get some fast copy/display or sound routines going if I can.. work out some funky way to abuse that 2nd processor the thing has.. and then build a game on top of it..

Seems like a fun way to spend a couple of weeks if you ask me [grin]
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