ACNews #63
26 декабря 2016

News - I wrote a 3D engine like Total Eclipse, occupied myself with my own compiler of C-like language, still collect information about the history of ZX Spectrum.

                        by Alone Coder

This year I visited DiHalt (where I showed a new game by
Hippiman/Conscience, named NOMAD ) and the autumn NedoPC
conference. Savelij13 showed there his new version of MSXDOS2
with FAT16 support as far as I understood. This time I can't
make releases. I still don't have working place at home, and at
my job there is fulltime writing of science end technical
reports with nice tables and pictures. I sit there without a
vacation, at Saturdays, and I already have 26 compensatory days.
As for Hippiman, he has a second child now :)

Works with Info Guide e-zine are going slow. Hippiman and I are
busy. Shaitan (an old editor) contacted me and displayed certain
interest in e-zine revival. We have materials for a half of
issue, but the main topic (i.e. about 3D engines) is not covered

For this, I wrote a 3D engine like Total Eclipse, and I showed
it at NedoPC conference. Drawing is sometimes buggy but not
critical. There is still no object converter, so object data are
typed in manually. No physical engine, no scripting engine, so
one can't make game of it now. I studied documentation on
various scripting languages in game systems, but none catched my
fancy. I should make my own.

Because of this and not only, I occupied myself with my own
compiler of C-like language (working title NedoLang ) and an
assembler for it (working title NedoAsm ). It is planned to
compile both under this same compiler, so there might be a live
project of high-level developing environment natively at Speccy
(maybe better than C-Warp ). The main idea is to make an
identical developing environment at PC - compile it from the
same sources, not by my compiler, but by gcc. For this, my
language is made C compatible - to compile it with a C compiler,
one must include a few defines. There was another idea - to make
a cross compiler base on Z80 emulation in a web application.
However, I still have no information about possible speed in
PHP, JavaScript, and Java. Anyway, there are means to convert C 
to JavaScript.

My syntax changes week after week. The current syntax is
described in the next article. In three months I made a
refactoring two times. The code is tangled again, so I must make
another refactoring :) The code is 316 KB now (8000 lines).
This is my largest C program. To put it more precisely, I
initially wrote it in Delphi, and when it got worked, I
converted it to C++, then to C.

One can't write software in my language yet, because there is no
includes and linking of binaries (now I have instead a stream of
commands and another file with block sizes). This is because I
haven't established requirements for system environment at
Speccy (operating system in fact). Anyway, OS must provide more
than 2 open files. Base commands already work in my compiler but
I have to test them for a long time.

I still collect information about the history of ZX Spectrum.
Dmitry Devyatkin (whom I gave one of my old Pentagons - that one
ZX-Guide was made with) sent me interesting recollections about 
the radio market here in Ryazan. Slash/AtD also promised to
recall something and record on a dictaphone. In the same time it
appeared that two fitter workers at my plant produced Spectrums
1991 (they bought boards in Moscow). It seems that all sides
knew one old radioamateur and a couple of market sellers, but we
hadn't other contacts between us in the 90's. I also found
Vyacheslav Miheev (an old acquintance of mine from 90's, also a
seller and a coder) in the net, but he isn't interested with
anything any more. There also was Nickolay Medvedev (a hacker
from nearby house), but he forgot everything in 20 years and
remembers only a crazy game "Treasure Island". A user from my
house, Sergey Chemodanov (with whom we tried to make an animated
film), also forgot everything. Even my father forgot everything,
too. So we must record the history until it becomes too late.

For example, how it went with ZX-Net in Saint Petersburg:

#mhm 14 sep 2008

fk0> i have it at my node. however i haven't read netmail for 
almost a year
Alone_Coder> wow! who are the nodes and points? 
fk0> me 500:812/1.507 
fk0> node is Larkov 
fk0> there are another points. Wlodek and Eugene Palenock wrote 
me something a year ago
fk0> so it's not completely dead, it's more like deep coma 
Alone_Coder> when it was founded? 
Alone_Coder> and when it started to use FTN 
Alone_Coder> and who were all the coordinators 
fk0> foundation date was in the first ZX-News, and the story 
fk0> in short 
fk0> in SPb there was Eldorado BBS and something like Montezuma 
fk0> they used Maximus at PC but with Vicomm modems. 
deathsoft> fk0: Montezuma still works 
deathsoft> it's my upnode 
fk0> i forgot the name of a guy who found a way to connect 
Vicomm to PC.
fk0> this was commercial. 
fk0> with crooked iS-DOS software 
fk0> (in 1996) 
Alone_Coder> who invented Vicomm? 
Alone_Coder> is CDOS terminal related to CDOS operating system? 
fk0> Vicomm is almost 80's! 
Alone_Coder> 80's??? where they were?? 
fk0> i don't know. Kondratyev told me that Spectrums with Vicomm 
and iS-DOS software were used at cable TV to send commercials
between studios
fk0> iS-DOS program for this was called 'show'. 
Alone_Coder> what were the terminal programs? [Dickie in iS-DOS] 
fk0> well, in the end of 1996, MAS and somebody else, either 
hired or willingly, wrote the first version of MMD (Macro Modem)
fk0> and they started to call each other with it (it's a 
terminal program for TR-DOS)
fk0> then somehow BBS3.xx was written very fast and everybody 
started BBSes at Spectrums.
fk0> there vere a lot of stations in SPb. everyone opened his 
own BBS and everybody called each other
fk0> then XTR appeared, then Fidonet gate, all in 1997. 
fk0> then everybody were tired of tossing echoconferences by 
hand, so a gate was made into Fidonet (or other FTN) and back.
fk0> there appeared a lot of FTN stations (people acquired PCs). 
in the same time (end of 1997 or even earlier) we obtained an
active connect to Moscow and other cities
fk0> there were a lot of cities. 
fk0> and in 1999-2000-2001 all of it actively collapsed. 
fk0> the nets in other cities and Vicomm stations (BBS) started 
to disappear. only FTN ZXNet remained with few best nodes
Alone_Coder> were there Hayes modems in ZXNet? 
fk0> Hayes modems in Spectrum were used only in FTN ZXNet. 
fk0> i had both Vicomm and Hayes 
fk0> i cracked Melon terminal to make it deliver netmail 
automatically then run MMD after the call
fk0> so i had BBS with MMD4.00 that sometimes delivered mail 
from FTN with Hayes.
fk0> then i bought a PC 
fk0> there is a proprietary terminal program for iS-DOS sold by 
IskraSoft, and there is Xenia written by Mihail Kondratyev.
fk0> the former was for Vicomm, the latter for Hayes. 
fk0> there were also simple things like Kondratyev's simple 
terminal. i wrote such things too, both for Vicomm and Hayes.
Alone_Coder> what encoding was used in Vicomm? Manchester code? 
fk0> Vicomm uses something like frequency modulation with 
variable duration of a bit (exactly one period of signal). with
some tricks like pilot tone etc.
Alone_Coder> BBSes used only BBS3.xx? where to download this 
Alone_Coder> was CDOS used in SPb? 
fk0> we've seen CDOS in SPb (version by E-mage). It couldn't 
acclimatize because we had our own, incompatible, file transfer
protocol in MMD.
fk0> CDOS looks fine, of course. Other popular variants were 
MMD2.20, MMD3.15, MMD4.00.
fk0> the first is just terminal, simple and debugged, with modem 
driver. the last is its descendant with its own program language
(for making your own BBS)
deathsoft> fk0, is Vicomm something self-made? 
deathsoft> like that in ATM Turbo where software modem used 
onboard DAC/ADC 
fk0> BBS 3.15 is a remake of BBS3.08 to work only with XTR modem 
fk0> BBS is just a BBS program for Vicomm 
Alone_Coder> who made BBS3.08? 
fk0> all the MMD and BBS were written by MAS. 
Alone_Coder> he is cool.
fk0> many people cracked it later. mostly Vega (he made BBS3.15, 
then lost the sources,i gave him mine,and he patched it to 3.20)
deathsoft> Alone_Coder, why you forgot about modems in ATM1 and 
Alone_Coder> deathsoft: i've never seen these modems 
Alone_Coder> i don't know them 
fk0> i also cracked BBS3.15 and added a driver to it (i don't 
remember exactly but it must have worked with Vicomm)
fk0> my versions were named BBS3.15<letter>, with letters 
Alone_Coder> all these programs worked with turbo off only? 
fk0> later i made modem drivers for various versions of Vicomm. 
including hacker versions that allowed to crack a BBS and make
something there (with buffer overflow)
deathsoft> Alone_Coder, ATM has DAC and ADC onboard 
deathsoft> and a binding circuit for phone line 
Alone_Coder> DAC and ADC is not a modem 
Alone_Coder> binding circuit is a thing 
deathsoft> look in ATM book 
Alone_Coder> what was the software for ATM modem? 
deathsoft> there were some programs 
fk0> turbo ability depended on driver (except BBS without 
fk0> later drivers used to turn off turbo (at Scorpions), not at 
ATM possibly
fk0> XTR modem didn't depend on turbo,it had its own timer or so 
deathsoft> you can't turn off turbo in ATM by software 
deathsoft> there is a switch 
deathsoft> Scorpion allowed software switching 
deathsoft> reading port 7FFD 
deathsoft> and 1FFD 
Alone_Coder> deathsoft: ATM2 has software switch 
Alone_Coder> except for chatting and downloading, what else a 
terminal could do? 
fk0> Vicomm was initially just a circuit to connect Spectrum 
tape port to phone line!
fk0> then MAS invented an "addon" with relays to detect calls 
and pick up the receiver and dial (via bit 5 of keyboard port)
fk0> i made my first Vicomm from a Chinese phone, i soldered a 
microphone and an earphone to tape-in/tape-out
fk0> and i managed to reach KIR-BBS (Kirill Chubenko's) for the 
first time.
fk0> but they didn't let me in without a password. 
deathsoft> so it's like tape saving with a long cord? 
deathsoft> one side SAVE "ZZZ" 
deathsoft> another side LOAD "" 
deathsoft> is it so? 
fk0> next day i called Timofey Lapo. 
fk0> he explained me things, gave me a point number, and told 
how to hack BBS by writing SAVE "z" CODE 16484, 9999 in Basic
fk0> (Vicomm thought this was a very long block, its buffer 
overflowed, and BBS buzzed)
Alone_Coder> wow, so the modulation is like that in ROM routines
deathsoft> terrible
fk0> later i understood why it buzzed and made a driver to hack 
BBS on the fly. press "crack" button and download anything, any
deathsoft> exploit at ZX Spectrum!!! 
deathsoft> with buffer overflow 
Alone_Coder> where can we find all this software now? 
Alone_Coder> why nobody wrote about this before ) 
Alone_Coder> this is like a detective story ) 
deathsoft> maybe it became out of current importance 
fk0> ALL the software is (was) at Dragon BBS (Igor Gruzdev's). 
fk0> i have most of software, maybe lost something. 
Alone_Coder> put it out please 
deathsoft> i already used PC BBS these times 
fk0> i copied most of my archive to PC when i bought a PC 
fk0> i shared everything: 
deathsoft> i had a modem for PC in '95 
Alone_Coder> i had it in 2001 
deathsoft> in '98 i already had a 56K modem 
fk0> not everything but 99%. 
fk0> well not. a lot is missing. 
deathsoft> by the way, i booted two Spectrums with save/load 
deathsoft> one did SAVE, another did LOAD 
fk0> many ancient software is missing. it seemed out of 
importance when i bought a PC (BBS and its sources still are on
5.25" floppies!)
deathsoft> make a .trd image 
fk0> MMD4.00 is missing too 
fk0> i bought it from MAS for 20000 big roubles 
fk0> and promised not to give it to anybody. 
Alone_Coder> how to download it as a single chunk? 
fk0> rare time i bought software 
Alone_Coder> you also bought Wolf2004 from me 
fk0> yes. i also bought Black Raven and both UFOs from the 
fk0> wget -r -np -k -x ? 
Alone_Coder> accessed file is not public. 
fk0> isdos? this is my iS-DOS HDD containing personal data 
Alone_Coder> texts 
deathsoft> i bought a lot of floppies at flea market 
fk0> there were pirates. 
deathsoft> they was almost at a price of a floppy disk 
deathsoft> yes 
deathsoft> i bought only there 
deathsoft> tapes too 
fk0> oops. i'll change permissions. 
deathsoft> fk0, i see you have a Z80 patch for gcc 
deathsoft> have you tried it? 
deathsoft> i've seen it in the internet but never tried it 
fk0> i didn't. it's for a specific version 
deathsoft> it's in CVS 
deathsoft> there are all the versions 
Alone_Coder> a lot of articles about ZXNet must be written in 
fk0> here is ^^^ a great source of information about Speccy 
Alone_Coder> what is *.zxl? 
fk0> btw Dark Dragon BBS must be still online 
fk0> zxl - text file 
fk0> zxl - list of files at Maximus BBS about ZX Spectrum 
fk0> there are also A LOT of books and OS/2 software 
fk0> at Dark Dragon BBS. 

Louisa has photographed my papers up to year 1990. The earliest
ones mostly contain drawings. Few writing-books remained. I
sorted all the photographed stuff by years and copied it to
interested people at NedoPC conference. It appeared that almost
nobody keeps documents like this. It's a pity.

In the spring and summer John Silver wrote two new half-songs
for AY. He didn't compose for 8 years! In autumn, John broke his
leg when he skyjumped with parachute. Now he sits at home but
can't write music any more. In turn, he's found a lot of
tutorial videos about writing commercial music for ads.

Mr. Event (he lives in Vladimir now) also wanted to resume
composing, but no result yet. Neither Mr. Event nor me could
find Nikphe that was a coder in our association in 1998-2000.

AmoNik (Nickolay Amosov) wrote that he restores data from his

DNA OS site went down, so I uploaded all the data from there to 
my site. The author of DNA OS - ZET-9 (Dmitry Avryata) -
disappeared without trace. This open-sourced OS has chances for
revival and development. I used it at my Pentagon and ATM for a
long time. Hovewer, there appeared serious systems at ATM and
Profi, MSXDOS2, and PQ-DOS correspondingly (see a separate 
article). DNA OS site also contained a Pentagon version of UZIX
system, named "SUZI". However, I'm not sure if one can work
under such a system - we need more than 64 KB for a task. This
also applies to SymbOS which had more interesting structure

Another double of me, AloneCoder, appeared at :)

I'm 35 now, and Dasha is 1 year. I was presented a 2 TB HDD,
pocket chess, and a backpack with sleeping bag. So that's how we
live :)

Другие статьи номера:

Содержание - содержание газеты

Новости - написал 3D-движок типа Total Eclipse, Продолжаю собирать материалы по истории Спектрума, плотно занялся компилятором собственного Си-подобного языка.

News - I wrote a 3D engine like Total Eclipse, occupied myself with my own compiler of C-like language, still collect information about the history of ZX Spectrum.

Описание - Описание языка программирования NedoLang

Review - NedoLang programming language

Описание - Операционная система PQ-DOS

Review - PQ-DOS operating system

Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

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