Topic: 1-bit on the Vtech Laser210/310 and VZ200/VZ300 Z80 computers.
I'm a bit of a 36 year fan of the VZ200/VZ300 computers, also known as the Vtech Laser210 and Laser 310 and a few other names around the world. When I was younger I always wanted to know if it were possible and would love to see the day that this little computer could sing anything like the ZX , or heck, anything like the C64 sid chip. For years I always wondered.
Along came Z88dk, and the closest thing was the bit_synth() and bit_fx() that the fella's created. Then in Z88dk v1.9a they released Tri-tone for the ZX in this release, but for the life of me I couldn't work out how to create a VZ library to integrate with it. However, looking at Tri-tone within Z88dk source started my search for its origin as well as other 1 bit players...
Then one day a few years ago I was doing a google, and found Utz's "how to create a 1 bit player" thread on this forum. I spent the next few weeks at work trying and trying to get either or both methods to assemble correctly and to , simply play something. And I just couldn't do it. Couldn't get anything to work. I simply then gave up.
Only about six weeks or two months ago now something twigged inside me, and I got re-motivated again. I grabbed all of Utz and Shiru's source code for umpteen players that I could find. For both the ZX and the Ti Calculators, grabbed Beepola and 1-tracker - and quickly saw that they wrote the asm source code to each players engine along with the tune data. Wowsers, thats pretty awesome stuff right there. And then I started dabbling. First with Huby, then Poww, ZX10, Ntropic etc. Changing all of the ports OUT($FE),A to AND 33/LD ($6800),A , a few small mods for the VZ (a lot of this trial and error), and then assembing with TASM. And bugger me if I wasn't blown away when I finally got Huby to play coming out of the speakers. I was jumping for joy. I was making history --- The first time ever , as far as I am aware of, that a 1-bit tune was playing on a VZ "something" - in this case , the "something" was a ~98% accurate emulator (VZEM) by an Aussie bloke Guy Thomason. I then quickly shoved it on to my real VZ300. And I was *gobsmacked*. Never before such an awesome tune came out of this little device. The original manufactures in downtome Hong Kong in 1983 would not have ever known what their little Z80 @3.5Mhz could achieve something so masterful , so pure and so mesmerising to the ear.
That was perhaps a month ago now, I've since tinkered a lot more and now have 29 songs within 4 Huby "music box" programs, POWW, Ntropic, Earthshaker, LS Engine, ZX10, and the original Octode player all working - at least in the Emulator. A few timing / interrupt issues are stopping all of these engines working on real hardware, and am working on resolving these. Huby, ZX10, Octode, POWW, Ntropic and Earthshaker now all work on real hardware. Octode with its 8 channels is glorious, whilst Earthshaker sounds the most crisp and cleanest on the VZ's little piezo internal speaker.
What I am after now is a source (website or ftp) for asm sources for more songs written by proper 1-bit music artists. I am certainly not a composer, and couldn't compose a song if I had to. Does anyone know of a website where a composer has numerous songs in some of these formats?
I've had a go at searching for .bbsongs for beepola and .1tm's for 1-tracker, but there really isn't all that much floating around. I have already gone through all of ~50(?) Beepola's examples and have extracted those that sounded ok in Huby.
I guess I really need to attempt to get some of these other engines working - (....though my Z80 asm is somewhat limited when it comes to trying to read & decypher others uncommented highly-optimised listings.)
Anyway, just wanted to sing a huge shoutout to Utz and Shiru and all others that have provided these asm listings. It has given me a great new perspective on these little computers - and has given me a lot of joy in getting these players up and running over the past month. Currently trying to get Pytha and Anteater up and running....
These youtubes were my first early attempts after I had just gotten then running on real hardware.
I should re-do them, and I now have cleaned these all up and are much better in appearance at least.
I also have a hacked piezo speaker output into my od monitor, hence why the sound is so much louder.
POWW & Ntropic