ROM Computer Magazine Archive ROM MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 — OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 1983 / PAGE 22

Books on the Shelf
by Peter Ellison

    This is a new column in the magazine that will be devoted entirely to reviewing books made to enhance the Atari. Each issue I will review two or more books that are new to the market. Sometimes old books will be reviewed for those unfamiliar wtih them. In this very first article, three books from Elcomp will be reviewed . Remember if your company has any new Atari books on the market don't be afraid to send them in.

Games For The Atari
    The cover of this book is very deceiving because it reads "Games for the Atari". A person who doesn't look inside might think its just a bunch of games, but if you turn to the front page of this book it then reads "or How to program your own games" which makes more sense. That is what this book is all about, "How to make games on the Atari."
    Although it doesn't teach any machine language, it does have a. machine language program in which you can type in. There are seven teaching sections which include "Player missile movement in machine language" and "Programming the Joystick". There are ten games that can be typed in and then played. These basic games vary from "Backgammon", which I liked the most, to "Gunfight", which must be type in with a machine language monitor.
    Then at the back of the book is an Appendix that gives all the memory locations needed to use player missile graphics in basic. There is also a section called "Antic" which gives a little insight to how this microprocessor works. Character graphics are also discussed in a short section and so are display lists. This book contains everything heeded to become an excellent game programmer in basic.
    The documentation of the programs is good helping a new programmer understand why and how the program works. In my opinion $7.95 is a very low price for this very valuable book. This book is a must for anyone who has just bought an Atari computer.

How To Program Your Atari in 6502 Machinelanguage
    This book is another fine book from Elcomp. This book helps to ease a basic programmer into the world of machine language. The author does this by first showing what the program would look like in basic and then gives the listing for it in machine language. For this book it is very important that you have either the Assembler Editor Cartridge from Atari or the ATAS-1 or ATMAS-1 from Elcomp. The book shows the differences of the three assemblers.
    The book includes many useful machine language utilities such as a "Random Number Generator" required for many games like dice-games, mazesgames, etc. In the second chapter a programming model of 6502 CPU is given to help a Basic programmer begin to understand machine language. Another useful program is one that enables you to access the character set. The author takes for granted what you already know in basic and trys to use this to help you understand machine language.
    This book isn't over the head of most people as many books on machine language are. This is why many people give up trying to learn how to program in machine language, but this book with some practice should help more people understand what goes on inside the Atari.

Books on the Shelf

Forth on th ATARI
Learning by using

    For the growing number of avid Atari owners buying Forth compilers, books like this one are a god-send The cover is a little misleading as it shows a half-naked lady standing beside a man holding a rock with "Forth" carved on it. The art work is well done but may offend some people.
    Enough about the cover. It isn't the cover most people buy books for. Inside the front cover is the table of contents ranging from chapter one(What is Forth?) to chapter nine(Appendix). The book starts out as if you have never used Forth before and gives a very thorough explanation of it. The book includes photographs and pictures to help enhance the reader's understanding of the material. The writing is also very clear as the author makes the topic easy to understand.
    The thing about this book that makes it better then most Forth books is that it is directed specifically to the Atari and all of its special features. Chapter five is called "Sample Programs" where it gives several programs and definitions of words that are available in Forth. With this book being devoted to the Atari it gives very helpful programs such as using a graphic mode or programming a joystick routine. The programs are very helpful because no other Forth book would give them. If your reference manual that was received with your Forth didn't give them then you were out of luck.
    This booklet besides being an excellent teacher of Forth gives a mailing list program, written in Forth, that can be used right after typing it in. The only thing wrong with this program is the printer has to be accessed through the third joystick port by making up a little aparatus. I know this could be a bother for some.
    I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Forth and would like to get a head start on it. Elcomp has a free catalog that they will send out to anyone interested in their books or products. The address is given below:

Elcomp Publishing, Inc.
53 Redrock Lane
Pomona, CA 91766