Developing for VZ200 – Part 3
I discovered the Multi-Platform Arcade Game Designer by Jon Cauldwell and asked if it could be ported to support VZ200 and VZ300 computers. He said it’d work fine. They already had support for Dragon 32 and Acorn Atom – both which have the same Graphics chip as the VZ200 (Motorola 6847) although the VZ200 and VZ300 only have one hires graphics mode out of all the available modes the 6847 has.
I was soon talking to Kees Von Oss who has ported MPAGD (or WinAGD) to other platforms, including the Acorn. Together we ported support for the VZ200 and I tested the code on my real VZ300.
It worked wonderfully! It even has support for sprites moving 1 pixel at a time — a feat not seen before on the VZ200 as it’s easier to just move 4 pixels at a time on the X axis due to the 4-pixels-to-1-byte mode of the 6847.
I had soon programmed a few games using MPAGD. I wrote Pipes for a coding challenge and later created a version of Ghosts N Goblins — a favourite C=64 and Arcade game of mine.
Making VZ200 games with MPAGD
Programming is rather easy since it uses a very basic language and converts that to pure Assembly. There’s sprite collisions and some sound. For my games I used my own calls to Assembly to control the sound effects better.
It’s very easy to use. There’s a few starter tutorials on Jon’s page linked above. Download MPAGD, extract it and start WinAGD. Select the VZ200 computer, design some blocks, design some sprites, then write a bit of code to tie it all together.
WinAGD creates a .vz file which can be easily loaded into an emulator or onto a real VZ200 with an SDCard reader or similar. Some people have converted .vz files to .wav to load into their VZ200 using a tape recorder.
WinAGD comes with the Windows VZ Emulator for testing.