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escanive

Programming for Texas Instruments calculators (TI-BASIC and Z80 ASM)

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Hi, I saw that the post about TI-84 Plus programming has been closed, so I'm starting a new one here. First of all, I would like to recommend TI-BASIC to anyone who has a TI-Calculator that suppords it and who wants to learn programming. For me, it has really been a great way to enter the world of programming (after having learned TI-BASIC, I started learning PHP which I feel that I'm now beginning to master rather well). If you are new to TI-BASIC, I recommend reading the manual that came with your calculator (don't have the manual? It's probably available for download from the TI website). Looking at code written by others and experimenting with it is another great way to learn the language.

I'm now intending to learn Z80 ASM to make games for my calculator. Do you have any comments, questions or tips? Post 'em here for your fellow (and coming) TI-Programmers to read :D

Edited by escanive
Removed some old links.

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Ti-Basic helped me get through boring classes in middle-school :-)
I had an old-school TI-85, and by the time I started learning z80 asm, the 85 scene was long dead. I often tried to emulate effects I'd see, using my own algorithms, and compare efficiency. As an introductory machine language, it's not such a bad thing to learn.

Anyways, last year I ended up making a small demo for the Ti-85, including traditional demoscene effects like plasma and rotozoom. I also tried emulating some effects (although I admit my implementation isn't as good) that I saw in games like Plain Jump, and modeled the font off of another demo. A video can be found here:

I've since started work on a z80 raycaster, but that project is on hold since I've mainly moved on to the PSP for my mobile development fix.

To be honest though, z80 based calculators are a dying breed, but there is a such a wealth of information out there it is easy to develop for.

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Original post by Daniel Talagrand
To be honest though, z80 based calculators are a dying breed, but there is a such a wealth of information out there it is easy to develop for.
I don't think they'll die out until the TI-83+ and compatible calculators (TI-84+) stop being the most popular high-school graphical calculator. [smile]

Learn TI-83 Plus Assembly In 28 Days is probably the best guide to starting Z80 assembly on the TI calculators. MaxCoderz is an assembly-centric programming group and you might find you're more likely to get help from the forum there than here.

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I just want to say that I've gotten plenty of help with my z80 projects at unitedti.org, and I find it to be a very nurturing environment if you want to learn more about any kind of programming (but z80 and TI-BASIC in particular.) I hope to see you there sometime!

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The TI-83+ brings back some good memories, even though I'm only 21 :)
Most of the time I had an advantage making exams because I would code small TI-Basic programs that would solve certain general problems (math/physics/chemistry) for me.
I remember all the people who desperately wanted my program and came to me just an hour before an exam. Those were the good times :)

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I remember programming a calculator at school, (it was a Casio and not a Texas one mind) and I've been kind of yearning to have a handheld since that I could play around with and maybe make really beginner games but with the potential to do something more. I'm wondering how far these calculators have advanced or if theres a recommended PDA/Phone to do this stuff on nowadays.(do kids use calculators nowadays to program stuff, or use advanced phones?) Any thoughts?

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Original post by thumbs
I remember programming a calculator at school, (it was a Casio and not a Texas one mind) and I've been kind of yearning to have a handheld since that I could play around with and maybe make really beginner games but with the potential to do something more. I'm wondering how far these calculators have advanced or if theres a recommended PDA/Phone to do this stuff on nowadays.(do kids use calculators nowadays to program stuff, or use advanced phones?) Any thoughts?


I for one am 17 years old, and me and a couple of my pals at school make programs for our TI-84 Plus-es using TI-BASIC. As I mentioned earlier, I now want to learn z80 asm.

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Original post by magicdanw
I just want to say that I've gotten plenty of help with my z80 projects at unitedti.org, and I find it to be a very nurturing environment if you want to learn more about any kind of programming (but z80 and TI-BASIC in particular.) I hope to see you there sometime!


thanks for the tip, magicdanw. I have now joined unitedti.org

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Quote:
Original post by benryves
Quote:
Original post by Daniel Talagrand
To be honest though, z80 based calculators are a dying breed, but there is a such a wealth of information out there it is easy to develop for.
I don't think they'll die out until the TI-83+ and compatible calculators (TI-84+) stop being the most popular high-school graphical calculator. [smile]

Learn TI-83 Plus Assembly In 28 Days is probably the best guide to starting Z80 assembly on the TI calculators. MaxCoderz is an assembly-centric programming group and you might find you're more likely to get help from the forum there than here.


Thanks for the tip, I have finished reading the first "Week" of "Learn TI-83 Plus Assembly In 28 Days". I had some trouble with compiling the sample Z80 program that's included in Day 1, though. I don't understand why. I have joined MaxCoderz, so I think I'll follow your suggestion and hear if anyone of 'em can help me :)

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Escanive, when I was your age, I used to write programs for TI-85, which also has a Z80. ticalc.org used to be a good site back then for info. Also you might be able to get Z80 reference manuals from Zilog for no cost. At least I did. They tell you all you need to know about the Z80 instruction set. Unfortunately that won't teach you to program in assembly, which is tricky even to those who know about higher level programming abstractions and how to implement them in assembly.
Expect a much steeper learning curve than for TI-BASIC. Especially, if you need to hunt for API documentation and run experiments, as I did (TI-85 didn't have any official documentation, everything was reverse engineered and it showed).

BTW, I don't understand why TI is still going with Z80. They could easily slap in a 50 timer more powerful ARM and few MBs of memory; maybe even costing them less than the current solution. If they needed backwards compatibility (which I doubt) they could easily emulate the Z80 (a 66 MHz 486 used to be more than enough to emulate the TI-85). I would really love a graphing calculator that blasted complex graphs on the screen in a fraction of a second, instead of the 10+ seconds it takes my TI-86.

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