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Can I buy books about C64 programming to learn about X16?


sundown
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Hi everyone,

I think there are already some really good infos to start to learn about programming the x16, also if you´re not familiar with C or Assembly before, like in the community wiki. However I would like to go "old skool" and read a book that maybe goes a little deeper and maybe is also written in a fun way, not just like a book that you would buy as a, lets say, computer science student.

Now I guess there are no books on the X16 itself (or are they?), so my idea is to buy a book about the C64, that teaches a bit assembly and a bit Basic. My question is now: Is it fine to read about C64 to learn about the X16? From what I understand is they are pretty similar to program? Would you say its a good idea this way, or do you even have some books you can recommend? I want to buy a book that is, like the parts of the X16, still available anywhere (not a book from the 80s from ebay) and not too expensive.

Like this for example, anyone saw this before? What do you think of it?

https://www.retrogamedev.com/c64edition

Any help or ideas much appreciated,

Dan

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The original C64 programmer's guide will go a long way to help you understand how the Kernal works, and there are copies in many languages across the web, like here: http://www.classiccmp.org/cini/pdf/Commodore/C64 Programmer's Reference Guide.pdf

The X16 programmer's guide on GitHub is pretty good at explaining what has been cut out from there and what has been added: https://github.com/commanderx16/x16-docs/blob/master/Commander X16 Programmer's Reference Guide.md

There will be a complete user and programmer's guide that ships with the X16, but between these two docs and support from this forum, you should be all set.

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Hi Dan,

I think you might be able to find free PDFs on the interwebs that talk about programming on the C64; that might be enough to get you started.  I certainly know that the Commodore 64 User's Guide and Programmer's Reference Guide are out there free, and will teach you Commodore BASIC just fine. And yes, I think that would get you well on your way to understanding Commodore BASIC. 

For assembly language, there are also online fan pages devoted to 6502 assembly, Commodore and other flavors.  That might also do the trick.

Ah, I see Matt beat me to the answer.  Still, I agree with him.

Regards,

Rob

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I've heard very good things about the Vic20 manual as a starter.

As regards things like Assembly, there are countless books out there, many of which will be free to download, and quite a few online courses as well. People still like to program the C64. Whilst much is different, it is at a detail level, conceptually it is very similar and learning a C64 or similar will get you a long way down the road.

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5 minutes ago, sundown said:

Sorry I didnt answer in a while. So no physical books you could recommend? But the tips are very helpful, super excited to read the C64 manual.

There are very old books out there on 6502 programming. I picked up this one for free:

PXL_20201204_194845910.thumb.jpg.5f82ac618dbe810b88bf383b633145d8.jpg

It wasn't terribly useful compared to online resources, especially with its extremely small and messy printing on cheap pulp paper.

I don't know if there are any modern trade-paperback books out there, unless it was something somebody self-published.

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A few of the better Old School books were published by Compute magazine back in the 80s.

If want paper and don't mind eBay, there are always a number of them up for sale.  Some titles like "Mapping the Commodore 64" fetch way too much money but there is a bundle of Machine Language books for the C64 published by Compute (I own two of those) with just one bid @ $25 with a few days left.  Just search eBay for "computer Commodore 64".

I learned Machine Language after buying the brown cover Compute ML book in the 80's.  Inspired by the introduction, I was hooked.  A really good academic / reference book on 6502 is the "6502 Assembly Language Programming" by Lance A. Leventhal and if you can find it, later, "Inside the Commodore 64" by Milton Bathurst which has the entire comment ROMs within.  (it's very rare)

Also, look for Compute magazines or Compute's Gazette.  You can get a 'lot' of every mag between '83 and '90 for $125 right now, or alternatively, get a pile of mags on CD ROM for about $15.  Transactor magazine (Canada) is also online (free) in scanned form.

Basically (see what I did there?) read every article and type in every basic program you can get your hands on into VICE if you don't have hardware.  There is so much content available.

 

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On 12/4/2020 at 8:41 PM, sundown said:

Sorry I didnt answer in a while. So no physical books you could recommend? But the tips are very helpful, super excited to read the C64 manual.

When I was a teenager, this book was hard to get. Still, I could buy it. It was amazing how much technology you learned with the C64 in one single condensed manual. It has set the path to my later career in IT.

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I might be a little late to the party here, but try the following links

Tons of magazines you can browse for free, lots of them have projects / type-in's as well as tips and tricks.

https://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A"Commodore+Magazine"

https://archive.org/details/computermagazines

 

And here is a bunch of books, so great, some not so great

https://archive.org/details/commodore_c64_books

 

 

 

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