BeebEm? Lawks, that’s a bit old (2006). All the cool (*cough*) kids are running b-em – https://github.com/stardot/b-em – these days. It’s lovingly maintain by Stardot forum members. It’s a little crashy on some Linux platforms, but seems stable on the Raspberry Pi and Raspbian. You may need to install the liballegro5-dev and zlib1g-dev packages to get it to compile.
If you want a native version of BBC BASIC, Richard Russell’s version is pretty neat: http://www.bbcbasic.co.uk/bbcsdl/ . You’ll most likely need to change line 280 to use some variant of the WAIT command to make it playable.
Another native interpreter is Brandy. There’s an ancient one in the repos, but I’m completely taken with the Matrix Brandy fork: https://github.com/stardot/MatrixBrandy . It may need a few packages installed to get it to build (libsdl1.2-dev might be a good first try), but it’s really fast. For cross-platform happiness, change line 280 to WAIT 10. If you stick to using a FOR loop, you might have to have it as high as 2,000,000 on a fast computer!
It makes extensive use of BBC BASIC’s abbreviations, and the writeup even warns
… Here the programs are extensively abbreviated so that the line will fit into Basic’s keyboard buffer. Because of this, you cannot edit a LISTed version, and so, to allow for errors, it is best to spool out a copy of the text to tape/disc initially. This can be achieved as follows:
type in program
The program unwinds to something much more understandable:
30 MODE 4
40 DRAW 1279,0
50 DRAW 1279,452
60 MOVE 1279,572
70 DRAW 1279,1023
80 DRAW 0,1023
90 FOR I=1 TO L
100 VDU 31,RND(32)+5,RND(31),42,30
120 PRINT (L-3)/3
155 PLOT 69,X,Y
180 UNTIL POINT(X,Y)=1 OR X=1280
190 UNTIL X<1280
200 VDU 7
210 REPEAT UNTIL INKEY(-99)
The instructions are typical of the day:
The first game (called ‘Asterisk Tracker’) is a very simple game in which you have to guide a ‘snake’ across the screen, whilst avoiding the stars. As the game progresses, more and more stars will be displayed, and the ease of the game rapidly disappears. The Return key guides the ‘snake’ upwards, but it moves down if Return is not pressed. Aim your ‘snake’ for the gap in the wall, and don’t touch any objects as this causes instant death from space acid poisoning!
Um, yeah, N. Silver, whatevs …
It’s pretty amazing that three type-ins could fit on a page: especially when you consider that the BEEBUG magazine was A5!
It was a cheesy time, the early 80s, but I’m stuck with it as my youth. Home computers were probably the largest part of my life for rather longer than I should admit.
My brother recommended Micro Men, a BBC 4 (what? they have more than two?) comedy drama about the fight between Acorn and Sinclair for the BBC educational contract. I went to my usual source for quality television, and it was on my computer an hour after hearing about it.
With a mix of vintage film and recreations, it caught the ’78-85 vibe perfectly. Whether all the anecdotes are historically correct, it doesn’t matter – the feeling of the frantic dash to develop new machines in ridiculously short times and then advertise them months before they were ready was there.
There were a bunch of good cameos, too. Nice to see Sophie Wilson (known to me as the author of Acorn’s BBC Basic, known to you as the designer of the ARM processor almost certainly used in your mobile phone) making an appearance.
So, though I was never a BBC B or ZX Spectrum owner, a fun programme, and one you might like.
I came late to the BBC Basic game, but used it on my Z88 to ace an Introduction to Numerical Methods course (yay EVAL!).
Yup, Chernobyl was 20 years ago. Let’s just have a wee pause for a technology that’s still messing us up, yet we’re told it’s the green technology of the future. Yeah, and I bet it’ll be too cheap to meter, too.
There are still farms in Scotland affected by the fallout from Chernobyl. Though, what with all the nuke plants in Scotland, it could be any one of them that’s the real culprit.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a wind farm to survey …
I’ve been working on a couple of medium-sized wind farms in Ontario. For top laughs, I tried overlaying them on Scotland, using streetmap.co.uk for the measurements.
Since I’m a weegie, I started at George Square. One of the farms would stretch all the way west by Wishaw, near Murdostoun Castle (and the comically-named town of Bonkle). The other would run north to somewhere between Fintry and Kippen, in Stirlingshire.
For those of you unlucky enough to be based east of Falkirk, I tried the same starting at Edinburgh Castle. The first wind farm would run west to the hamlet of Gilchriston, which is just north-west of Dun Law Wind Farm, which I worked on in the distant past. (If you run the farm west from Edinburgh, you end up in Bo’ness, which no-one would want to do.) The other design would end up somewhere between Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes, near Thornton — and not that far from Methil, a distance that the RSPB would have us believe is just too far for a wind farm.
So, where’s the news, RSPB? How did your land get somehow more precious than ours?
I’ve just been listening to BBC Radio 4‘s dramatisation of Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son. It’s rather good.
I think I can safely say that this household knows more about Edmund Gosse than any other in Scarborough. Catherine‘s PhD was based on on the Gosse family, and I’ve read the book and proof-read the thesis. I suspect we’re also the only household in Scarborough that relates episodes from the young life of Edmund Gosse as if they were family anecdotes.
I’ve archived an MP3 copy of Arnold Brown’s Radio 4 programme here: Ivor Cutler: Glasgow Dreamer. It’s a good introduction to Ivor Cutler’s work, and it’s a bit more accessible than the RealAudio format I had to convert it from.