If your Atari doesn't understand you, maybe it's because you don't speak its language. Together, we're going to break that language barrier. This book will teach you how to write programs in assembly language -- the fastest running, most memory efficient of all programming languages. This book will also give you a good working knowledge of machine language, your computer's native tongue. It will enable you to create programs that would be impossible to write in BASIC or other less advanced languages. And it will prove to you that programming in assembly language is not nearly as difficult as you may have though it would be.
What's in Store
If you know BASIC -- even a little BASIC -- you can learn to program in assembly language; and once you know assembly language, you'll be able to do many other things, such as:
- Write programs that will run 10 to 1000 times faster than programs written in BASIC.
- Use up to 128 colors on your video screen simultaneously.
- Custom design your own screen displays, mixing text and graphics in any way you like.
You'll also be able to:
- Create your own customized character sets.
- Design animated screen displays using both player-missile graphics and character animation techniques.
- Use both fine and coarse horizontal and vertical scrolling in your programs.
And you'll even discover how to:
- Create sound effects that are too complex to be programmed in BASIC.
- Use graphics modes that BASIC does not support.
- Write programs that will boot from a disk and run automatically when you turn your computer on.
In other words, once you learn how to program in assembly language, you'll be able to start writing programs using the same kinds of techniques that professional Atari programmers use. Many of those techniques are downright impossible without a knowledge of assembly language. Finally, and even more important, as you learn assembly language, you'll also be learning what makes computers tick. And that will make you a better programmer in any language.
Assembly Language Demystified
This book has been carefully tailored to take the drudgery out of learning assembly language. It's packed with sample programs and routines. It even contains a selection of interactive tutorial programs, written in Atari BASIC, that are especially designed to help you learn assembly language.
Chapter 1 will introduce you to assembly language and explain the differences between assembly language and other programming languages.
In Chapter 2 you'll start learning about bits, bytes and binary numbers; the building blocks that program designers use to create assembly language programs. You'll even find some easy to use BASIC programs that will automatically perform hexadecimal and binary conversions, and will help take the mystery out of hex and binary numbers.
In Chapter 3 we'll start probing the mysteries of the 6502 microprocessor chip, the heart (or, perhaps more accurately, the brain) of your Atari computer.
In Chapter 4 you'll start writing assembly language programs. And by the time you finish this book, you'll be well on your way to becoming an accomplished assembly language programmer.
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