Random Terrain Try batari Basic

 

Visual batari Basic Guide

Index

Table of Contents

Learn to Love Project Folders

The Project Explorer is Your Friend

VbB Isn't Just for Programmers

Working with Sprites and Playfields

Settings

Emulator

bB Compiler

Commands

Dictionary

Add bB Environment Variable

Add bB Compiler to System Path

Save Open File Before Compiling

Clean Up Post Compilation Files

Enable Syntax Checking

Load Start Web Page on Open

Enable Autosave

Backup projects on Open

Enable Color Coding

Code Editor Font

Start Page

Recent Projects Launch Pad

Getting Started Launch Pad

Project Explorer

Various Right Click Options

Generate Items From Code

Exclude from Project

Edit in Notepad

Delete

Commands Tab

Information Pane

Main Menu

File

New Project

Launch Project Wizard

Run Configuration Wizard

Open Project

Open File

Add

New Item

Existing Item

Close

Close Project

Save

Save As

Save All

Page Setup

Print

Recent Projects

Exit

Edit

Undo

Redo

Cut

Copy

Paste

Delete

Select All

Find

Replace

View

Show/Hide Project Explorer

Show/Hide Project Properties

Show/Hide Information Pane

TIA Pallette

Sprite Animator

Graphics Converter

Sound Generator (Tone Toy 2008)

Music and Sound Editor

Score Editor

Build

Compile

Run

Help

bB Language Guide

VbB Online Guide

How Do I

About Visual batari Basic

TIA Color Chart

Sprite Animator

Graphics Converter

Music and Sound Editor

Score Editor

Code Editor

Right Click Menu

Cut

Copy

Paste

Paste Unformatted

Comment

Uncomment

Flip Text

Set Font Color

Highlight/Unhighlight

Refresh

Close

Close and Save

Close All But This

Close All

Save

Save As

Sprite Editor

How the Sprite Editor Works

Creating Animations

How to Cut, Copy, and Paste

Choose a Label-like File Name

Drag and Drop Simplicity

Right Click Menu

Grab Sprite

All

Colors

Pixels

Cut

Copy

Paste

Clear All

Sprite Actions (Sprite Toolbox)

Flip Vertical

Flip Horizontal

Invert

Rotate

Shrink

Grow

Resize

Set Color (Type in Row Color)

Choose Color (Select from TIA Chart)

Set Player Color (Foreground Color)

Set Background Color

Preview in Emulator

Close

Close and Save

Close All But This

Close All

Save

Save As

Playfield Editor

How the Playfield Editor Works

How to Cut, Copy, and Paste

Drag and Drop Simplicity

The Playfield Check Boxes

Right Click Menu

Grab Playfield

All

Colors

Pixels

Heights

Cut

Copy

Paste

Clear All

Resize

Set Color (Type in Row Color)

Choose Color (Select from TIA Chart)

Set Playfield Color (Foreground Color)

Set Background Color

Preview in Emulator

Standard Kernel

Standard Kernel: no_blank_lines

Multisprite Kernel

Close

Close and Save

Close All But This

Close All

Save

Save As

 

Last Update: 2010y_02m_14d_0308t

 

This Visual batari Basic Guide contains text from Jeff Wierer, the creator of Visual batari Basic, mixed with text from Duane Alan Hahn, the maintainer of this guide. Some text is also from the batari Basic Commands page.

 

To help you instantly know what type of link you're looking at, links that jump to other places on this page are blue, while links that lead to other pages and web sites are red.

 

 

 

Learn to Love Project Folders

To save yourself some time and trouble, every new game you make should be in a separate folder. Having a separate folder for each project will keep your files organized. Any sprites and playfields you save will be for that specific project and you won't have a ton of unrelated files to deal with. You do not want to have a folder full of unrelated sprites when you go to use the Sprite Animator since you'd have to browse through a huge list looking for the sprites you need.

 

 

 

The Project Explorer is Your Friend

You'll be opening your project folders in the Project Explorer, so learn to love it because you'll be using it a lot. Double click on a file in the Project Explorer and it will open in the appropriate editor. And when you have a program open in the Code Editor, you can drag sprite or playfield files from the Project Explorer and drop them right into your program. Double clicking and dragging and dropping; it can't get much easier than that.

 

 

 

VbB Isn't Just for Programmers

Your artist friends can use the VbB Sprite Editor to make some cool multicolored sprites. They can then save the sprites and send them to you and all you'll have to do is drag and drop them into your game. No more spending hours trying to recreate sprites by looking at GIFs. The same can be done with playfields using the VbB Playfield Editor. Once programmers and artists start using VbB together, a lot of time and energy will be saved.

 

 

 

Working with Sprites and Playfields

    Sprites

    You can add a blank sprite file to a project from the File menu or by right clicking in the Project Explorer and selecting Add > New Item.

     

    So one way to create a sprite file is to click on File from the main menu, go down to Add, then select New Item. Just select the type of file (Sprite in this case), give it a name, and left click the Add button. Now you'll have a blank sprite file to work with that will be sitting in a fake sprite folder in the Project Explorer.

     

    To open your new sprite file, left click on the little plus sign next to the Sprites folder, then double click on the sprite file and it will open in the Sprite Editor.

     

    Once you have a sprite open in the Sprite Editor, you can use Save As to make copies of the sprite. I hardly ever create a blank sprite once I have at least one sprite file in my project folder. Instead, I use Save As frequently (maybe even excessively) to create new sprite files. Save As is especially useful when working on animations.

     

    If you want to insert a sprite into a program, just have a program open in the Code Editor, then drag a sprite file over from the Project Explorer and drop it where you want it to go in your program.

     

     

    Playfields

    You can add a blank playfield file to a project from the File menu or by right clicking in the Project Explorer and selecting Add > New Item.

     

    So one way to create a playfield file is to click on File from the main menu, go down to Add, then select New Item. Just select the type of file (Playfield in this case), give it a name, and left click the Add button. Now you'll have a blank playfield file to work with that will be sitting in a fake playfield folder in the Project Explorer.

     

    To open your new playfield file, left click on the little plus sign next to the Playfields folder, then double click on the playfield file and it will open in the playfield Editor.

     

    Once you have a playfield open in the playfield Editor, you can use Save As to make copies of the playfield. I hardly ever create a blank playfield once I have at least one playfield file in my project folder. Instead, I use Save As frequently (maybe even excessively) to create new playfield files.

     

    If you want to insert a playfield into a program, just have a program open in the Code Editor, then drag a playfield file over from the Project Explorer and drop it where you want it to go in your program.

How To Make Atari Games

Below is an introductory tutorial by Daniel Davis. He said that he made several mistakes, so be aware of that when you watch it. He also created an installer, but you don't have to use it if you don't want to. His installer will probably become outdated since you never know when bB or VbB will be updated.

 

 

 

 

Settings

Allows you to quickly customize VbB to your liking, so you can start having fun. The items on the settings page now have a brief description that pops up if you hover your mouse pointer over them, and if that isn't enough, there is a new Configuration Wizard, so make sure you have downloaded the latest version of Visual batari Basic.

 

VbB Settings

 

     

    Emulator

    This setting should point to the location of the executable (.exe) of the emulator you would like to run.

     

    Example:

     

      C:\Program Files\Stella\stella.exe

     

    This is required if you want to be able to test your binary after compiling. This will also be used if you are previewing sprites or playfields in those editors. Multiple emulators can be added in case you want to test binaries in different emulators.

     

     

    bB Compiler

    Enter the location of 2600basic.exe.

     

    Example:

     

      C:\Atari2600\bB\2600basic.exe

     

     

    Commands

    Commands are useful if you want to extend the list of commands which you can access from the Command tab in the Project Explorer pane on the right side. Those commands can literally be anything such as snippets of code that you reuse. You can right click from the commands pane to generate the basic commands.xml file. From there all changes will be saved to that file and reapplied every time you load Visual bB. If you create a custom commands.xml file, it will overwrite any loaded by VbB.

     

    You can leave this blank and use the default command list. It's only necessary if you want to make modifications.

     

     

    Dictionary

    The Dictionary is for custom terms you want to show up with color codes in the Code Editor. Click the dictionary button to see the current list of terms, edit as you choose and then save. It will create an XML file with your settings.

     

    You can leave this blank and use the default dictionary. It's only necessary if you want to make modifications.

     

     

    Add bB Environment Variable

    If you've been using bB for a while, you've probably already figured out how to set this. If you're a novice user, checking this box sets the environment variable for you so you never have to worry about doing it yourself. Keeping this checked doesn't hurt anything, it just makes sure it's set every time.

     

     

    Add bB Compiler to System Path

    If you've been using bB for a while, you've probably already figured out how to set this. If you're a novice user, checking this box sets the system path for you so you never have to worry about doing it yourself. Keeping this checked doesn't hurt anything, it just makes sure it's set every time.

     

     

    Save Open File Before Compiling

    When checked, this will make sure you're using the latest copy of the source, even if it's currently being edited. If you introduce a bug while editing, you can always use the undo feature in the Code Editor and save again.

     

     

    Clean Up Post Compilation Files

    When you compile, you actually create a set of assembly files that are then assembled and linked into the Atari binary. Most folks aren't going to go back and look at the ASM files, so check the box to have them cleaned up for you. If left unchecked, nothing is removed so you can go back and look at the assembly files.

     

     

    Enable Syntax Checking

    This *optional* setting will check for proper syntax while you are typing in the editor. Syntax Checking does the following:

     

    1. Replaces AND, OR, and NOT with &&, ||, and ! respectively.
    2. Places a space before and after the equal sign (=) so keywords are recognized and color coded.
    3. Makes sure each line is properly indented.
    4. Makes sure each end is not indented.

     

    Load Start Web Page on Open

    If checked, the AtariAge batari Basic forum will be displayed on the Start Page when VbB is loaded.

     

     

    Enable Autosave

    If you're the type of person who doesn't save often enough, you'll probably want to turn this on and choose how often it saves. If you can remember to save frequently, you might want to try using Save As every time you're about to significantly change your code. You could use the name of the program, year, month, day, and military time (the clock on the PC taskbar can be changed to military time for this purpose). Here's an example:

     

    magical_bouncing_doorknob_jelly_2008y_10m_06d_1545t

     

    Then you'll always have a record of how the program evolved and can go back to a specific time before you deleted something or completely mangled the code because you were sleepy.

     

     

    Backup projects on Open

    This will create a backup folder (_BACKUP) where visualbB.exe is located. Any project that is set as the default project will be copied to this folder upon loading so that if something happens during the course of editing, or if you want to revert back to the project source before you started editing it, you'll have a copy. It literally just copies all the project folders.

     

     

    Enable Color Coding

    Color codes your program in the Code Editor so your code is easier to read. If you don't like the default colors, you can change them. Just left click the little button next to Keywords, Compiler Directives, Registers, Comments, or Graphics and select any color you want.

     

     

    Code Editor Font

    If you'd like to change the font used in the Code Editor, just left click the Select Font button and you can select the font, style, and size.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Start Page

The main area of the Start Page is the browser where help files and web pages are displayed. There is also a Recent Projects Launch Pad and a Getting Started Launch Pad to the left of the browser.

    Recent Projects Launch Pad

    On the left side of the Start Page browser is the Recent Projects Launch Pad. Once you have created or opened at least one project in the past, you'll be able to left click on a project listed under Recent Projects and it will open in the Project Explorer. There are two buttons near the bottom of the Recent Projects Launch Pad, one to create a project and the other to open a project.

      Right Click Menu

        Open

        Opens your project in the Project Explorer.

         

        Remove

        Removes the listing for the highlighted project from the Recent Projects Launch Pad. Don't worry, this does not delete your project.

         

        Explore

        Opens your project folder in Windows Explorer.

         

         

    Getting Started Launch Pad

    The Getting Started Launch Pad is below the Recent Projects Launch Pad and contains a list of useful links. Left click on a link to open it in the Start Page browser. Right click on a link and you can select Open from the right click menu which opens the link in the Start Page browser. Select Open in Web Browser to open the link in your default Web browser.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Project Explorer

The Project Explorer is the pane on the right side of VbB that lists your open project folders. For your convenience, it also displays two fake folders within each project folder that contain any sprite or playfield files you may have.

 

Double click on a file in the Project Explorer and it will open in the appropriate editor. When you have a program open in the Code Editor, you can drag sprite or playfield files from the Project Explorer and drop them right into your program. It can't get much easier than that.

 

Right clicking on various types of files or folders brings up different options. Most of the options don't really need an explanation, but there are a few you might want to know a little more about and they are listed below:

      Generate Items From Code

      This will extract plain and multicolored sprites and playfields from the highlighted batari Basic program in the Project Explorer. Extract items from any older games you might have or from .bas files posted online so you can study their sprites and playfields.

       

      Exclude from Project

      This does not delete a file, it just makes it disappear from the Project Explorer. You can get back any excluded file by right clicking on the project folder it belongs to and selecting Refresh Project. Anything you excluded from that project will be visible again.

       

      Edit in Notepad

      If you ever have the need to look at one of your files in Notepad, no problem. Just right click on the file and select Edit in Notepad.

       

      Delete

      There are no worries when deleting files from the Project Explorer. Deleted files will be sent to the Recycle Bin, so if you make a mistake or change your mind, you can open the Recycle Bin folder and restore any files you deleted and they'll pop right back up in the Project Explorer.

       

       

    Commands Tab

    Commands are useful if you want to extend the list of commands. Those commands can literally be anything such as snippets of code that you reuse. You can right click from the commands pane to generate the basic commands.xml file. From there all changes will be saved to that file and reapplied every time you load Visual bB. If you create a custom commands.xml file, it will overwrite any loaded by VbB.

     

    You can easily add, edit, or remove commands and code snippets by right clicking and selecting options from the right-click menu. Change the whole thing to your liking, add every possible bB command that you could ever want to use, or add frequently used code snippets for quick and easy access.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Information Pane

When not hidden, the Information Pane provides useful behind the scenes data. The Information Pane has two tabs:

      Messages

      Tells you what is happening behind the scenes: compiling, deleting, error messages, bytes of ROM space left in a program and so on.

       

      Errors

      If there is a compilation code error, VbB will attempt to find where the code defect is and report what line has the problem.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Main Menu

 

    File

      New Project

      Opens a dialog box where you can select a name and a path for your project folder. There are also check boxes for creating default code, sample sprite, and sample playfield.

       

      Launch Project Wizard

      The Visual batari Basic Code Wizard leads you through a series of steps that should help make it easier to create an initial project. Depending on the options you choose, your program should be ready to compile and run at the end of the wizard.

       

      Run Configuration Wizard

      This wizard will walk you through each setting and help you successfully get started. Once complete, you will be sent to the Settings tab where you can further customize your Visual batari Basic experience. You can choose to cancel the wizard at any time and manually configure VbB settings.

       

      Open Project

      Places a project folder into the Project Explorer.

       

      Open File

      Allows you to open any .bas file if at least one project is open in the Project Explorer .

       

      Add

      You must have at least one project open in the Project Explorer before you can add a new or existing item.

       

        New Item

        Adds a new .bas file, sprite file, or playfield file to the currently open project in the Project Explorer. Just select the type of file, give it a name, and left click the Add button.

         

        Existing Item

        Allows you to import a .bas file into the currently open project in the Project Explorer.

         

      Close

      Closes the currently selected open tab.

       

      Close Project

      Closes the current project.

       

      Save

      Saves the program, sprite, or playfield that is displayed in the currently open tab.

       

      Save As

      Brings up the save dialog box so you can either save or the program, sprite, or playfield that is displayed in the currently open tab or save it with a new name to make a copy that you can edit without affecting the original.

       

      Save All

      This will save all of the files that you have open, so be careful with this. If you have been playing around with some files, but weren't planning to save what you have done, you could end up losing your original content if you click on Save All by mistake. I use Save As often to avoid losing my work because of a stupid mistake.

       

      Page Setup

      Sets up how the active tab will print.

       

      Print

      Prints the contents of the active tab. Click on the tab you want, whether it's a Code Editor, Sprite Editor, or Playfield Editor and select print. You'll get a nice color printout (depending on your printer).

       

      If you want to print out a program and you normally use a fairly large font, you can avoid wasting a lot of paper by going to the Settings tab and decreasing the font size. If you don't want to waste color ink, remember to disable color coding. After that, you can go back to your program, right click and select Refresh from the right click menu. Then you'll be ready to print.

       

      Recent Projects

      Shows a list of your recently opened projects. This is the same list you see in the Recent Projects Launch Pad.

       

      Exit

      Closes VbB.

       

       

    Edit

      Undo

      Allows you to go back a step in the Code Editor, Sprite Editor, or Playfield Editor. When you open a sprite or playfield an "undo/redo queue" is created. The queue is like a LIFO (Last in First Out) stack that will hold the last 50 actions performed. The Code Editor is different and uses the built in redo/undo capabilities of the standard windows rich text editing control. Each tab has its own separate undo/redo, so you don't have to worry about switching between tabs and working on different things at the same time.

       

      Redo

      Allows you to go forward a step in the Code Editor, Sprite Editor, or Playfield Editor after you have gone back one or more steps.

       

      Cut

      Highlight something in the Code Editor, Sprite Editor, or Playfield Editor and this will copy what you highlighted and delete it from view. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + x.

       

      Copy

      Highlight something in the Code Editor, Sprite Editor, or Playfield Editor and this will copy it. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + c.

       

      Paste

      Plops down at the position of the cursor whatever you have cut or copied. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + v.

       

      Delete

      Highlight something in the Code Editor, Sprite Editor, or Playfield Editor and this will make it disappear. Same as the delete key on your keyboard.

       

      Select All

      Highlights everything in the Code Editor, Sprite Editor, or Playfield Editor.

       

      Find

      Opens the Find and Replace dialog box. You can search the active Code Editor or search all open documents. If you search all open documents, you should start with the leftmost Code Editor tab and when VbB is done searching the contents of that tab, the next tab to the right will be activated and searched and that will continue until you quit searching or the end of the contents of the rightmost tab is reached. It will also match case and match whole word if you want.

       

      Replace

      Opens the Find and Replace dialog box. It has the same features as Find, with the addition of a 'replace with' text box, a Replace button and a Replace All button.

       

       

    View

      Show/Hide Project Explorer

      Displays the Project Explorer pane on the right side of the VbB window or hides it if it's already there.

       

      Show/Hide Project Properties

      Shows or hides the Project Properties pane that displays info for the currently highlighted file in the Project Explorer pane.

       

      Show/Hide Information Pane

      Shows or hides the Information pane that displays error messages and how much space is left in your games.

       

      TIA Pallette

      Opens the TIA Color Chart where you can find color values for your games.

       

      Sprite Animator

      Opens the Sprite Animator where you can make an animated sprite and even save it as an animated GIF if you want.

       

      Graphics Converter

      Opens the Image to Code Converter. Create playfields and sprites from animated GIFs.

       

      Sound Generator

      Opens Tone Toy 2008 by Duane Alan Hahn in the default emulator.

       

      Music and Sound Editor

      Opens the Music and Sound Editor. Allows you to create music and complicated sound effects for your games.

       

      Score Editor

      Opens the Score Editor where you can change the score graphics.

       

       

    Build

      Compile

      This gets your bB program ready to run in an emulator or on a real Atari 2600.

       

      Run

      Runs your bB program in the emulator of your choosing. If your program hasn't been compiled or has been changed since the last time it was compiled, a dialog box will pop up asking if you'd like to recompile the latest version of your program. Left click the Yes button and your program will compile and run in the emulator you have previously chosen.

       

       

    Help

      bB Language Guide

      Displays the batari Basic manual on the Start Page. Remember to download the latest version of the manual once in a while. Little improvements are added to it and any errors that bB users find are fixed, so you'll probably want to download it about once a month if you can remember.

       

      VbB Online Guide

      Displays the Visual batari Basic Online Guide on the Start Page.

       

      How Do I

      Displays the help page.

       

      About Visual batari Basic

      Displays version number and copyright info.

Back to Top

 

 

 

TIA Color Chart

This is a very quick and easy way to look up color values and track down the perfect colors for your games.

 

VbB TIA Color Chart

 

There are a few different ways that you can use the TIA Color Chart. You can hover your mouse pointer over a color and the hex and decimal values will pop up near your mouse pointer. You can left click on a color and the hex and decimal values will be displayed near the top of the chart. You can also move the little blue cursor around with the arrow keys on your keyboard and the hex and decimal values of the color the cursor is sitting on will be displayed near the top of the chart.

 

The TIA Color Chart also has a drop-down menu where you can switch between NTSC and PAL.

 

Note: The Sprite Editor and Playfield Editor use a special version of the TIA Color Chart. When the chart is opened, left clicking on a color selects the color and closes the TIA Color Chart.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Sprite Animator

The Sprite Animator grabs all of the sprites from the currently loaded projects in the Project Explorer and allows you to select and order the frames that you would like to see animated. The sprite animator will use the first emulator configured in the settings tab.

 

VbB Sprite Animator

 

If you'd like to move a sprite up or down in the list, just left click on the file name, then left click on the Up or Down buttons as many times as it takes to get the sprite into position. Once you have your sprites in the correct order, check the box next to each sprite that you want to include in your animation. Left click the Animate button to see a preview of the animation right there in the Sprite Animator. Left click the Stop button when you're done.

 

Left click on the Create .bas button to save your animation. Once saved, the file will automatically open in the Code Editor and run in your default emulator.

 

If you want to show your animated sprite to others, you can left click on the Save GIF button to save your animation as a GIF file. A GIF Settings box will pop up where you can select the speed of the animation (frame time) and make sure the box next to Loop is checked if you want the animation to loop forever. You can then upload it to a forum or put it on your own web site. If you have a GIF editing program such as Microsoft GIF Animator or Easy GIF Animator, you might want to play around with the animation speed or crop it if necessary.

 

In case you don't know, once you left click on a file name, you can browse through the sprites by using the up/down arrow keys on your keyboard.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Graphics Converter

Info coming soon.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Music and Sound Editor

The VbB Music and Sound Editor is based on the bB Music and Sound Data Creation Toy, but it has more features and it's faster, easier, and more fun to use.

  • Create music or complicated sound effects.
  • Test your music and sound data as many times as you want using your favorite emulator.
  • Save, load, or merge music data.
  • Built-in fade effect.
  • Editor sounds are from a real Atari 2600.
Music and Sound Editor

 

The VbB Music and Sound Editor has seven tabs: six keyboard tabs and one expert mode tab. The keyboards limit you to acceptable notes so you can make new tunes without worrying about being too far off-key. The Expert Mode tab displays a grid of all Atari 2600 sounds.

 

Music and Sound Editor

 

    Data Work Box

    Data format and explanation:

     

    V,C,F  (Channel 0)

    V,C,F  (Channel 1)

    D

     

     

    V - Volume (0 to 15)

    C - Control [a.k.a. tone, voice, and distortion] (0 to 15)

    F - Frequency (0 to 31)

    D - Duration

     

    Feel free to edit your data in the Data Work Box by hand and test it as much as you want. Just be careful if you are new to editing data. If you mess up the format, your music or sound effect will not play correctly.

     

      Data Work Box Right Click Menu

        Undo

        Redo

        Cut

        Copy

        Paste

        Delete

        Select All

        Clear All

        Test in Emulator

     

     

    Sound Preview with Right Click

    Move your mouse pointer over the numbered keys on the keyboard images or the numbered boxes under Expert Mode and right click to hear a sound preview. This allows you to hunt for sounds without adding anything to the Data Work Box.

     

     

    Add Data with Left Click

    Move your mouse pointer over the numbered keys on the keyboard images or the numbered boxes under Expert Mode and left click to add the data for that note or sound to the Data Work Box. The duration data will match how long you hold down the left mouse button. If you find that the duration isn't quite long enough or short enough for a certain note or sound, edit the duration in the Data Work Box and test it until it sounds right.

     

     

    Action Buttons

      Test in Emulator

      Plays the music or sound effect data in the Data Work Box using your favorite emulator.

       

      Create .bas

      Saves a working bB program that will play your music or sound effect and opens it in the Code Editor.

       

      Save

      This saves your music or sound effect data as a .dat file that you can load back into the Music and Sound Editor at a later time.

       

      Open

      Allows you to load a .dat file that you have saved or that someone else has created.

       

      Add End Data

      This is for people who just want to copy the data in the Data Work Box and paste it into a program. Clicking on the Add End Data button adds the ending data that tells a program the music or sound effect is finished.

       

      Merge Voices (Merge Channels)

      Merges two single channel .dat files. For example, if you have been working on some single channel music or sound effects and saved them, you can click on this button and it will ask you to select the first .dat file, then the second .dat file and they will be merged in the Data Work Box.

     

     

    Settings

      Enable Fade Effect

      This setting is enabled by default. Atari 2600 notes usually sound kind of plain and dry, but the fade effect can help fix that.

       

      Instead of this:

         8,4,15
         0,0,0
         32
      

       

      You'd get this:

         8,4,15
         0,0,0
         32
         2,4,15
         0,0,0
         8
      

       

      As you can see, the Fade Effect doubles the amount of data, so keep that in mind.

       

      Single V,C,F

      If you know what you are doing, you can enable this setting when you want to add a single line of V,C,F data. Instead of adding two lines of channel data and the duration when you left click on a note or sound, only a single line of V,C,F data is placed in the Data Work Box.

       

      Dual Voice Mode (Dual Channel Mode)

      Enable this if you want to work on two channels at the same time. Left click on a note or sound for channel 0 and left click a second time on a note or sound for channel 1, then the data will be added to the Data Work Box.

       

      Mute

      Mutes the sound in the editor.

       

      Open Code on Test

      If you enable this, the next time you test your data, the code will open in the Code Editor and your favorite emulator will play your music or sound effect.

       

      Set Duration

      If you need a constant duration instead of the variable left click duration, enable this and choose the duration you'd like the editor to use.

       

      Volume

      Select the default volume you'd like the editor to use.

     

     

    Shift Channel Up or Down

    Channel Buttons

    You'll probably only use this if you merge files. If one channel seems to be misaligned and the whole thing needs to be shifted up or down so it will match up with the other channel, just left click on the appropriate button, test in emulator, and repeat until the data is lined up properly.

 

Back to Top

 

 

 

Score Editor

This is a simple GUI for editing the score_graphics.asm file. The Score Editor allows you to create custom fonts for the score across the bottom of your game. You can do more than just make your own numbers. If your game doesn't use a score, you can use the score to display a life bar, items for an adventure game, or anything you can imagine.

 

VbB Score Editor

 

Back to Top

 

 

 

Code Editor

The Code Editor is where you'll work on your games. This is one of the best programming editors you'll ever use. Beside being very customizable and having cool tools such as Comment/Uncomment and Flip Text, you can drag and drop commands, code snippets, sprites, and playfields into your programs.

 

If you want to insert a sprite or playfield into your program, just drag a sprite or playfield file over from the Project Explorer and drop it where you want it to go in your program.

 

    Right Click Menu

      Cut

      Highlight something in the Code Editor and this will copy what you highlighted and delete it from view. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + x.

       

      Copy

      Highlight something in the Code Editor and this will copy it. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + c.

       

      Paste

      Plops down at the position of the cursor whatever you have cut or copied. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + v.

       

      Paste Unformatted

      All special formatting such as font, bold, italics, colors, and so on are dropped when you use this. If you are copying code from a different editor, you might be using a different font and it would look odd in the Code Editor.

       

      Comment

      Highlight one or more lines of code, select Comment and a rem statement will be placed at the beginning of each line. A great way to quickly deactivate some code.

       

      Uncomment

      Highlight one or more lines that start with rem, select Uncomment and rem will be removed from the beginning of each line. A great way to quickly reactivate some code that you previously deactivated.

       

      Flip Text

      Highlight some lines of code, select Flip Text and the order of the lines will be reversed. One use for this would be to temporarily flip sprite data so it's no longer upside down so you can do some quick editing right there in the Code Editor. When you're finished, you can highlight the sprite data again, select Flip Text and the sprite data will be upside down again.

       

      Set Font Color

      Highlight some text and use this to change the font color.

       

      Highlight/Unhighlight

      Highlight some text and use this to put a yellow background behind the text

       

      Refresh

      Sometimes the color coding can start to look incomplete if you don't hit the Enter key at the end of a line of code. You can use Refresh once in a while to force recoloring of the code to make it easier to read.

       

      Close

      Closes the active Code Editor tab.

       

      Close and Save

      Closes the active Code Editor tab and saves your program.

       

      Close All But This

      Leaves the active tab alone and closes all other tabs except the Start Page and Settings tabs.

       

      Close All

      Closes all tabs except the Start Page and Settings tabs.

       

      Save

      Saves whatever program you have open in the active tab.

       

      Save As

      Allows you to make a copy of the program you have open in the active tab.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Sprite Editor

The Sprite Editor is where you can have fun creating sprites for your games. Although you can preview your sprite in an emulator at any time, there is also a little instant preview to the right of the Sprite Editor.

 

VbB Sprite Editor

 

Select the type of sprite you want to work on (lives, player0, player1, player2, player3, player4, player5). Check the box next to Use Player Colors if you want to design a multicolored sprite where each row can be a different color.

 

How the Sprite Editor Works

The sprite editor now works more like other graphics programs you may have used before.

 

Toggle:

Just hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer to toggle sprite pixels on or off. It's a quick way to draw or erase.

 

Erase:

If you want to erase without toggling, hold down the Ctrl key, then hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer.

 

Draw:

If you want to draw without toggling, hold down the Alt key, then hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer.

 

Select:

To select one or more sprite pixels, hold down the Shift key, then hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer until the desired number of pixels are selected. Once the pixels are selected, you can release the Shift key and the left mouse button. Remember, you can highlight one sprite pixel, a vertical or horizontal line of sprite pixels, or a chunk of sprite pixels of any number and either:

  • hit the space bar to toggle them on/off
  • hit the delete key to delete them
  • cut or copy the sprite pixels and paste them to another spot within the Sprite Editor you're currently working on or paste them inside of another sprite editor or even a playfield editor that you have open.

 

Creating Animations

If you want to work on an animation and you've never done it before, here's one way to do it. Create a sprite in the Sprite Editor and save it. Then use Save As to save a copy of it. Open that copy and as you work on that 'frame' of your animation, you can click on the tab for it to make sure it's active and 'flip' between the two sprite editors by using the left/right arrow keys on your keyboard. You can flip back and forth, work on the image some more, flip back and forth and so on until you get it looking perfect. Make sure you save the sprite, then use Save As to save a copy of that sprite. Open that copy and work on it, click on a tab and flip between all three using the left/right cursor keys to see how your animation is progressing. You can keep on with this process until you have perfected your animation. Just remember to save the latest version of all of your 'frames' and you'll be ready to use the Sprite Animator.

 

How to Cut, Copy, and Paste with Keyboard Shortcuts

VbB allows you to cut, copy, and paste using the usual keyboard shortcuts. To copy and paste in the sprite editor, just highlight the part you want to copy, hit Ctrl + c to copy (pay attention to where the top left highlighted pixel is), then left click at the spot in the current editor or another editor where you want to paste (the spot you select will be where the top left corner of what you copied will start) and hit Ctrl + v. You can also cut by hitting Ctrl + x.

 

Choose a Label-like File Name

When you save a sprite, choose a file name that would make a good label if you want to save time, since VbB will use that filename as the label for it. Although you can always change the label in your program, it's just faster to pick a useful file name from the start that can be used as a label. Another reason to have a file name that would make a good label is that you cannot preview the sprite in an emulator unless it has a label-like file name. See Preview in Emulator for more information about labels.

 

Drag and Drop Simplicity

If you want to insert a sprite into a program, just have a program open in the Code Editor, then drag a sprite file over from the Project Explorer and drop it where you want it to go in your program.

 

    Right Click Menu

      Grab Sprite

        All

        Copies the Player Color data and the sprite data.

         

        Colors

        Copies only the Player Color data.

         

        Pixels

        Copies only the sprite data.

         

      Cut

      Highlight some pixels in the Sprite Editor and this will copy what you highlighted and delete it from view. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + x.

       

      If you use the right click menu to cut, remember to right click outside of the drawing area. Right clicking inside of the drawing area allows you to instantly see the hex color of the row you clicked on and also lets you change the row color without needing to left click on the row first.

       

      Copy

      Highlight some pixels in the Sprite Editor and this will copy it. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + c.

       

      If you use the right click menu to copy, remember to right click outside of the drawing area. Right clicking inside of the drawing area allows you to instantly see the hex color of the row you clicked on and also lets you change the row color without needing to left click on the row first.

       

      Paste

      Plops down at the position of the cursor whatever you have cut or copied. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + v.

       

      Clear All

      Deletes everything in the Sprite Editor.

       

      Sprite Actions (Sprite Toolbox)

        Flip Vertical  

        Flips a sprite in the up/down direction.

         

        Flip Horizontal  

        Flips the sprite in the left/right direction.

         

        Invert

        Pixels that were on will be switched off and pixels that were off will be switched on.

         

        Rotate

        Spins the sprite clockwise by 90 degrees.

         

        Shrink

        Decreases the size of a sprite by one pixel horizontally and vertically. Simple objects retain more of their original shape. Remember to resize the editor back to a width of 8 pixels so the sprite will work properly in your program.

         

        Grow

        Increases the size of a sprite by one pixel horizontally and vertically. Simple objects retain more of their original shape. Remember to resize the editor back to a width of 8 pixels so the sprite will work properly in your program.

         

      Resize

      Change the width or height of the Sprite Editor.

       

      Set Color (Type in Row Color)

      Right click on the row you want to change, select Set Color, type in a hex number in the box that appears on the right side of the row and hit the enter key when you're done.

       

      The number next to Set Color in the right click menu shows the hex value of the current default pixel color or row color at the location of the cursor.

       

      Choose Color (Select Row Color from TIA Chart)

      Right click on the row you want to change and select Choose Color. The TIA chart will open and the TIA Chart cursor will jump to the current color of the row so you don't end up selecting the same color by mistake. Select a color from the TIA chart by left clicking on the color you'd like to use.

       

      Set Player Color (Foreground Color)

      Uses the TIA Color Chart to set the default color of the pixels in the Sprite Editor. It does nothing to the sprite file you're working on. (The foreground color of the Sprite Editor can be different than the foreground color of the Playfield Editor.)

       

      Set Background Color (Shared Background Color)

      Uses the TIA Color Chart to set the default background color of the Sprite Editor and Playfield Editor. It does nothing to the sprite file you're working on. Remember that the background color cannot be the same as the foreground color of the Sprite Editor or the Playfield Editor.

       

      Preview in Emulator

      Before you can preview, you must make sure that the file name of the sprite would make a proper label. A label can have any combination of letters, numbers, or underscores, even as the first character. A label must not match or begin with a known keyword or any labels internal to bB (like end, kernel, and so on). For example, you cannot name a label next or pfpixel and although you could not use 'scorechange' you could use 'changescore'. If the file name would not make a good label, instead of opening in an emulator, the preview code will open in a Code Editor tab.

       

      Once you are sure the file name would make a good label, select Preview in Emulator and your sprite will open in the default emulator. The background color used will be whatever you have selected using Set Background Color. If you're not using Player Colors to get a multicolored sprite, the color of the sprite will be whatever you have selected using Set Player Color. You can move the sprite around the screen using the joystick controls you have set up in your default emulator.

       

      Close

      Closes the active Sprite Editor tab.

       

      Close and Save

      Closes the active Sprite Editor tab and saves your sprite.

       

      Close All But This

      Leaves the active tab alone and closes all other tabs except the Start Page and Settings tabs.

       

      Close All

      Closes all tabs except the Start Page and Settings tabs.

       

      Save

      Saves whatever sprite you have open in the active tab.

       

      Save As

      Allows you to make a copy of the sprite you have open in the active tab.

Back to Top

 

 

 

Playfield Editor

The Playfield Editor is where you can design your playfields and title screens. Although you can preview your playfield in an emulator at any time, there is also a little instant preview to the right of the Playfield Editor.

 

VbB Playfield Editor

 

How the Playfield Editor Works

The playfield editor now works more like other graphics programs you may have used before.

 

Toggle:

Just hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer to toggle playfield pixels on or off. It's a quick way to draw or erase.

 

Erase:

If you want to erase without toggling, hold down the Ctrl key, then hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer.

 

Draw:

If you want to draw without toggling, hold down the Alt key, then hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer.

 

Select:

To select one or more playfield pixels, hold down the Shift key, then hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse pointer until the desired number of pixels are selected. Once the pixels are selected, you can release the Shift key and the left mouse button. Remember, you can highlight one playfield pixel, a vertical or horizontal line of playfield pixels, or a chunk of playfield pixels of any number and either:

  • hit the space bar to toggle them on/off
  • hit the delete key to delete them
  • cut or copy the playfield pixels and paste them to another spot within the Playfield Editor you're currently working on or paste them inside of another playfield editor or even a sprite editor that you have open.

 

How to Cut, Copy, and Paste with Keyboard Shortcuts

VbB allows you to cut, copy, and paste using the usual keyboard shortcuts. To copy and paste in the playfield editor, just highlight the part you want to copy, hit Ctrl + c to copy (pay attention to where the top left highlighted pixel is), then left click at the spot in the current editor or another editor where you want to paste (the spot you select will be where the top left corner of what you copied will start) and hit Ctrl + v. You can also cut by hitting Ctrl + x.

 

Drag and Drop Simplicity

If you want to insert a playfield into a program, just have a program open in the Code Editor, then drag a playfield file over from the Project Explorer and drop it where you want it to go in your program.

 

    The Playfield Check Boxes

    Check the box next to Use Playfield Colors if you want to design a multicolored playfield where each row can be a different color. See Set Color and Choose Color for more information.

     

    Check the box next to Mirrored Playfield if you want to create a playfield that will work with the multisprite kernel. Draw something on either side of the playfield and see the same thing appear on the opposite side.

     

    Check the box next to Playfield Heights if you'd like to change any row heights. There are two ways that you can change the height of a row. The first way is to double click on a numbered box on the left side of the playfield. A box will appear above the numbered boxes in the top left corner of the playfield editor and you can either type in the number or left click on the up/down buttons to increase or decrease the number. The second way you can change the row heights is to hover your mouse pointer over any line that separates the numbered boxes on the left side of the playfield and when the mouse pointer changes from a hand to an up/down arrow, you can left click and drag the line up or down to shrink or stretch the row height.

 

 

 

    Right Click Menu

      Grab Playfield

        All

        Copies the pfcolors data, playfield pixel data and the pfheights data.

         

        Colors

        Copies only the pfcolors data.

         

        Pixels

        Copies only the playfield pixel data.

         

        Heights

        Copies only the pfheights data.

         

      Cut

      Highlight some pixels in the Playfield Editor and this will copy what you highlighted and delete it from view. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + x.

       

      If you use the right click menu to cut, remember to right click outside of the drawing area. Right clicking inside of the drawing area allows you to instantly see the hex color of the row you clicked on and also lets you change the row color without needing to left click on the row first.

       

      Copy

      Highlight some pixels in the Playfield Editor and this will copy it. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + c.

       

      If you use the right click menu to copy, remember to right click outside of the drawing area. Right clicking inside of the drawing area allows you to instantly see the hex color of the row you clicked on and also lets you change the row color without needing to left click on the row first.

       

      Paste

      Plops down at the position of the cursor whatever you have cut or copied. Same as the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + v.

       

      Clear All

      Deletes everything in the Playfield Editor.

       

      Resize

      Change the width or height of the Playfield Editor.

       

      Set Color (Type in Row Color)

      Right click on the row you want to change, select Set Color, type in a hex number in the box that appears on the right side of the row and hit the enter key when you're done.

       

      The number next to Set Color in the right click menu shows the hex value of the current default pixel color or row color at the location of the cursor.

       

      Choose Color (Select Row Color from TIA Chart)

      Right click on the row you want to change and select Choose Color. The TIA chart will open and the TIA Chart cursor will jump to the current color of the row so you don't end up selecting the same color by mistake. Select a color from the TIA chart by left clicking on the color you'd like to use.

       

      Set Playfield Color (Foreground Color)

      Uses the TIA Color Chart to set the default color of the pixels in the Playfield Editor. It does nothing to the playfield file you're working on. (The foreground color of the Playfield Editor can be different than the foreground color of the Sprite Editor.)

       

      Set Background Color (Shared Background Color)

      Uses the TIA Color Chart to set the default background color of the Playfield Editor and Sprite Editor. It does nothing to the playfield file you're working on. Remember that the background color cannot be the same as the foreground color of the Playfield Editor or the Sprite Editor.

       

      Preview in Emulator

        Standard Kernel

        Displays your playfield in the default emulator.

         

        Standard Kernel: no_blank_lines

        Displays your playfield in the default emulator without lines separating the rows.

         

        Multisprite Kernel

        Displays your mirrored playfield in the default emulator. If you try to display a normal playfield using this, you'll probably get a mangled mess.

         

      Close

      Closes the active Playfield Editor tab.

       

      Close and Save

      Closes the active Playfield Editor tab and saves your Playfield.

       

      Close All But This

      Leaves the active tab alone and closes all other tabs except the Start Page and Settings tabs.

       

      Close All

      Closes all tabs except the Start Page and Settings tabs.

       

      Save

      Saves whatever Playfield you have open in the active tab.

       

      Save As

      Allows you to make a copy of the Playfield you have open in the active tab.

Back to Top

 

Main Navigation

Background Color Changer

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Home

Futuristic Inventions

Favorite Quotes

Game Design Depository

 

Atari 2600 Memories

Personal Pages

About This Site

Site Map

 

Contact

Donate

Privacy Policy