back to article Putting the 'Port' in Portal: Old-school fan brings game to Apple II

What do you get when you cross a 10-year-old game with a 40-year-old computer? The weekend at El Reg. Vince Weaver, an assistant professor of computer engineering at the University of Maine, used his winter holiday to write a port of the beloved puzzle-driven snarkfest Portal for the Apple II. "My wife got me the original …

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6502 assembler code

I used to write that stuff for a living, back in the mid-late 80's. Ahhhh, life was oh so simple then.

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Thumb Up

Re: 6502 assembler code

I also remember 6502 assembly with some fondness. I wrote an entire text adventure on the BBC B using the BASIC in-line assembler {sigh}

P.S. Dropped back into BASIC for disk game saving/loading.

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Zot

Re: 6502 assembler code

Level 9 adventures?

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Re: 6502 assembler code

Ironically, 6502 assembler was one of the very first things I learned - in 1998.

Was in the Royal Signals at the time, which caused the need.

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Re: 6502 assembler code

Not just simple...enjoyable.

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This is a triumph...

...I'm making a note here, huge success.

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Happy

Re: This is a triumph...

Yup, it's hard to overstate my satisfaction...

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MrT

Re: This is a triumph...

Yeah, very well done!

The article says you've a "souped-up" ][e - is it just a stock late-model? I read the FAQ on the linked site but couldn't see if you've added any further upgrades.

I used to write for the Sinclair QL - roughly similar in basic spec (MC68008 CPU though). I often found that it wasn't so much the BASIC code (even when compiled to machine code or Q-code) but the data arrays when running that forced at least a small RAM upgrade above the standard 128kB - most users went with 256, 512 or 768kB expansion cards with varying additional features any way, so it wasn't too limiting to expect extra RAM to be available.

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Time to dig out my old Apple II?

I still have one in the attic. It worked when I put it up there ... 20 odd years ago.

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Re: Time to dig out my old Apple II?

That sounds almost like the setup for a horror film.

You'll turn it on, and the BASIC prompt will say "you left me up there for twenty years - I'm not going to be ignored, Len".

At which point all the lights will go off.

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Unhappy

Re: Time to dig out my old Apple II?

Hopefully it hasn't suffered from Bit Rot. I have an Atari 5200 that has succumb to the that.

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Re: Time to dig out my old Apple II?

More likely to be capacitor rot. That'll claim most old electronics.

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Re: Time to dig out my old Apple II?

Capacitor rot can be fixed with a few cheap capacitors and a soldering iron. The real problem is junction depletion in the chips. If the junction between layers of silicon becomes degraded due to lack of electron flow, you can't do anything but try to find replacement chips, and even a lot of new-old-stock chips will have the same problem.

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Coat

Assume the party escort submission position

And prepare to be baked.

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Re: Assume the party escort submission position

Ok

http://imgur.com/a/OJ1lm

(The cake is NOT a lie)

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Visual 6502

Try out the "Viual 6502" to see the individual transistors turn on and off. http://visual6502.org/JSSim/index.html

It is done in Java Script and runs code.

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Devil

On a watch, next

To assembly, and then onto a watch! I used to write 6502 from memory. Yes, those were the days. Now, of course, a watch is far more powerful than my VIC-20 or C-128, and it would be so fun to port something that takes hours to play in such a small package.

And then so many fanbois would be killed while playing the game...

I'm not evil. Really, I'm not. I'm just accelerating Darwinian evolution. It's for the future of the human race. Really...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: On a watch, next

BRAIN MILLER NOT HIS REAL NAME we have you under observation.

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Paris Hilton

Re: On a watch, next

Caroline: A potato-powered watch, I hope!

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Dig

Not exactly modern but

Came across this port of dragon's lair to a zx81

https://youtu.be/V6-_48Aqso0

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Strangely enough...

...I just saw the latest episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and they used a group of Apple ][e as there emergency backup computer systems when the android shut down the modern system, complete with booting from 5.25" floppies. There's a geek on the production staff somewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh Jebediah's Gone! (Kerbal Space Program)

I'm not recommending Elon Musk be so crass to use this phrase on the first manned SpaceX incident, but it would be a matter of fact reference back to the Kerbal Space Program, which in a way would be quite endearing.

I did laugh at that point in the video, given the tone and manner it was said.

I think it was understated "Jeb looks at bit grumpy about this." , beforehand. Thanks.

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Secret Applesoft BASIC speed tricks

Mark variables as integers using '%' symbol. Make sure none of these variables ever convert back into floats. It runs 10x faster.

For more boost, learn about the secret '&' command. It jumps to an external handler at $3F5. From there you can pull in arguments from the interpreter, do stuff, then return to the interpreter. I had an entire library of graphics, sound effect, and disk I/O utilities built on that command. It's probably on one of the floppy disks in the garage that I can't read.

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Coat

Re: Secret Applesoft BASIC speed tricks

"It's probably on one of the floppy disks in the garage that I can't read."

You're supposed to put it in the disk drive. I thought everyone knew humans can't read disks, floppy or otherwise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Secret Applesoft BASIC speed tricks

" I thought everyone knew humans can't read disks, floppy or otherwise."

In the late 1950s - for mainframe magnetic tapes there was a little 3M gadget to allow you to read the tape visually. It consisted of a thin layer of ferrite particles like fine sand or a colloid - trapped between two layers of glass. You put it on a section of the tape surface and tapped it gently until the particles aligned themselves to show the magnetised bits across the 7/8 track tape.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: and tapped it gently until the particles aligned

I am very pleased to hear that such a thing existed.

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Re: and tapped it gently until the particles aligned

Magnetic Field Viewer

http://www.gyroscope.com/d.asp?product=MAGNETICVIEWLARGE

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Anonymous Coward

How did Pascal compare with BASIC for speed?

Used 6502 assembler and Pascal for applications to make an Apple][ emulate a synchronous comms video terminal cluster. The other end of the link was a real NPS or 7905/6 comms front end processor - with another Apple][ emulating its controlling ICL 2960 mainframe.

Used for debugging the comms front end software and testing patches without needing a mainframe.

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Gimp

UCSD or Borland?

Apple's own UCSD Pascal (which you needed the 16KB extension card for) was a bit of a dog, but then along came Borland Turbo Pascal and it was brilliant. Made some of my first money with it back then, writing some for small businesses in the early 80s.

All that money then flowed back into getting the A][ tricked out... CP/M Z80 card, 80char card, second disk controller... I think I had every singe slot full.

One of the biggest regrets was selling it all in '86 when I needed the money. :(

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Re: UCSD or Borland?

I seem to remember an awful lot of disk swapping just to get a list of Fibonacci numbers....

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ldm

How about Portal on a SNES?

This is just crazy impressive, TASbot from AGDQ 2017.

Legend of Zelda ... at least to start with. But then Mario 64 makes an appearance. And then suddenly we're running Portal on a SNES! They explain how they accomplished this madness and it's just ... wow.

If you want to watch these you need to do it soon cause those VODs won't be around forever!

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Busy with the port of two Sinclair BASIC programs to Pascal... and it's quite interesting.

First one is The Valley.

Second one is Eye of the Star Warrior.

It's slow going as I need to check what each GOSUB or GOTO is for... but it's quite interesting.

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Something tells me that Valve would love it - he should just write to them and get permission.

It's unlikely it would impact their bottom line anyway.

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I won't be impressed...

Until the whole thing can be powered by a potato

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Are they gaslighting me?

" "A lot of people would like it if I improved things to be a fast and fully playable hours-long game," he said. "I am not sure how faithful I could be to the original before Valve's lawyers become involved." "

If you want it to be faithful to the original, stop having things going in a blue portal and out an orange one -- portals all come in pairs of the same colour... don't they?

Why do people referencing Portal always do this? I'm convinced they're gaslighting me -- making me doubt my own memories of Portal.

I can't even check, because even though it's a Source game, Valve never recompiled it to Linux, and I don't currently have a Windows box....

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Re: Are they gaslighting me?

Any OS and a quick search will give you the answer- no need to load up the game. Portal gun fires one blue and one orange (more pairings ins Portal 2 multiplayer) portal. Which one you choose to enter though is up to you.

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Re: Are they gaslighting me?

Loaded it up on Linux (Steam) to take a look -- definitely an orange and a blue portal. I realise it's annoying for those who've bought things like this already but, being another who obtains games years after release, I am glad Valve saw fit to compile both Portal and Portal 2 to Linux.

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Decides to spend week porting Portal?

He was staying with the in-laws, wasn't he?

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Has anybody got the time and inclination to port this for the C64?

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Time to Reignite the Processor Wars...

Amateurs! Back in 1980 I wrote what was probably the only multiplayer racing game for the Research Machines 380Z in Zilog Z80 assembler code.

Of course, by multiplayer, I mean two players using different sides of the same keyboard, which was a bit of an issue when my friends discovered the computer only buffered two keystrokes at a time, meaning all you had to do was hold down two keys at the right time and your opponent couldn't steer their blob - er. car - round the next corner. Still, it was quite a hit and provoked a lot of hilarity.

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