@Retrochallenge – World’s Latest Homework | Retrocosm’s Vintage Computing, Tech & Scale RC Blog

@Retrochallenge – World’s Latest Homework | Retrocosm’s Vintage Computing, Tech & Scale RC Blog

Picture the scene, it’s a hot summer’s day in 1985, Frankie by Sister Sledge tops the singles chart, Filofaxes are the new big thing, and I’m at school sat in front of a BBC Model B trying in vain to finish my Computer Studies project before the term ends, a computer version of the dice game Yahtzee.  To my right David is putting the finishing touches to his military magazine database, on my left Simon is entertaining most of the class with his Hungry Horace goes Skiing clone.

How It Used To Look

Behind me, dreamy Donna and her friend Jackie are arguing over which band is best, Duran Duran or Wham and across the class Nick is throwing Jeff’s school bag out of the second floor window while Mark (Urbancamo) distracts the teacher Mr Rigby.  Only a few days until the end of term and the summer holidays.

Faced by the choice of finishing my code or intervening in the Duran Duran/Wham debate, I choose the later, if only to spend more time with Donna.  So I type SAVE”YAHTZEE” for the last time, remove the disk from the drive and throw it into my Adidas school bag.

28 years later at the beginning of January this year I found the aforementioned disk whilst digging around in the loft and miraculously managed to recover the contents.  My Retrochallenge was therefore decided, to try to finish Yahtzee.

Roll & Hold Toggle

Since the last update I’ve managed to eliminate the need to jump out of Mode 7 to display the dice by building the graphical representation of each die using Sixels.

Although I’ve lost the roundness of the dots and the squareness of the dice and I still prefer the end result plus it gives a more consistent feel to the overall aesthetic of the program.

Using this mode has also allowed me to improve the layout by placing the dice horizontally, label them more clearly and fit in more text where necessary.  Here’s a list of improvements made since my last entry:-

Everything seems to be working correctly and although I might be tempted to tinker a little more I think Yahtzee is finally at a stage where I could submit it as finished coursework and hope to improve upon the ‘C’ I was originally graded.

Given that I started this code 28 years ago I confess it is a tad late.  If Mr Rigby, our put upon Computer Studies teacher is indeed still alive (his nickname was Rigamortis) then I hope he won’t give me a detention for what is presumably the world’s latest homework.  I’ve included the finished code and a short video of it in action below.

MMC Solid State Drive

I’ve also received the MMC solid state disk drive that I ordered.  This great little device hooks up to the BBC’s user port and makes the transfer of files back and forth between the PC and BBC via SD cards relatively simple.

Currently the unit is dangling around on the end of its ribbon cable but it does come supplied with the parts needed to fit it inside the BBC’s case.  I have to make a decision however on whether I want to attempt to cut a whole in the case to allow card changes to be made without the need to open the old girl up.

Here is the final Yahtzee code, if you’re still out there Mr Rigby, let me know what you think and I’m sorry it’s late:-

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