ATARI BASIC FASTER AND
one of those American books that I have had my eye on for some time
but with many books the advertising blurb turns out to be more interesting
than the book itself, so I held off sending for it. Now that I have
a copy, I wish that I had sent for it earlier. The title really
does say it all.
The Introduction states 'Learning
to program the 800 is like learning to play the piano. It's easy
to play simple tunes from the very first day but you can spend a
lifetime improving your technique and expanding your repertoire.'
That sums up nicely just what this book helps you to do.
The author Carl Evans has collected
together hundreds of hints and tips and small (and not so small)
routines in both BASIC and machine language to enable you to get
the best from your programming efforts. The book started life as
the author's own personal notebook of routines which were meticulously
noted down each time something new was developed. Routines such
as dates, formatting screens, sorts, memory saving techniques, keyboard
handling and many more were saved by him on disk as separate 'LIST
and ENTER' routines so that each time a program was developed he
merely had to ENTER the routines needed. Over 80 of these routines
are presented in this book with explanations to enable you to use
them in your own programs. Uniquely, every routine is numbered in
sequence throughout the book so that you can save them all to disk
and call any routine into your program without fear of contradicting
Aside from the routines, which
alone justify the purchase, both simple and complex programming
techniques are explained and unless you really do know it all you
are sure to learn at least a little and probably a great deal. There
are several appendices including a complete explanation of all the
error codes with explanations and examples of why they occur and
how to put them right. With one or two minor exceptions, such as
the use of 'spare' locations in page zero, the book applies to the
entire range of Atari 8- bit micros and is a worthwhile investment
that will have you producing far superior programs without having
to work out all the details. You will most probably also include
several routines that you might never have otherwise thought of.
The book is not primarily concerned
with games programming so Player Missile Graphics are not covered
but many of the techniques will be useful in introductions, scoring
and general 'non-play' routines. If you want to write serious or
educational or 'non-joystick' programs you will find much helpful
advice packed into 300 pages of this large format book.
ATARI BASIC FASTER AND
priced at £16.95 and should be available from your dealer or from
the importers, Software Express International.