Sunday, July 25, 2004

Disassembly

Originally I had the idea of writing a PC version of Dark Empire completely off the top of my head. One of the most impressive aspects of the game is the terraforming code which generates a new atlas for each game. Rather than reinvent the wheel I have decided how the original game tackles this.

This is not as easy as it sounds. The Spectrum has a Z80 processor, and the majority of games were written in assembly language. These are commands which are almost atomic (they can be converted directly into a number which is represented in electrical signals - telling the processor which task to perform). Subsequently, these games are several thousand lines long.

In the good old days, to disassemble these games, you would have needed a disassembler for the spectrum and I could imagine a lot of messing about with tapes!

Theoretically speaking, since games for the spectrum emulators are represented in single windows files (normally with the extension SNA), I should be able to disassemble the code from the SNA file, rather than through the emulator running a disassembler.

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