What a difference 30 years makes

My BASIC is at the stage where I’m writing lots of little (and not so little!) demos for it, and I’m having a lot of fun re-writing some of the old games and demos I wrote and used all that time back, and noticing something else… Computers now are much faster and more capable than they were 30 years ago, so why not take advantage of it…

One of the things I wrote back then was a turtle graphics interpreter for the Apple II. I wrote it in Apples Applesoft BASIC, so it was slow, even then. BASIC interpreting a simple turtle graphics language I’d developed so I could draw pretty pictures. Some would take up to 5 minutes to draw!

Now, build turtle graphics into RTB and write some programs to explot it… And I find that the pictures are not only fast, but fast enough to animate! So you draw a nice spiral, but if you draw it in a loop, changing the start angle every iteration, it spins – something that took over a minute 30 years ago can now be done 30 times a second.

So this opeens up a whole new world of possibilities – animated turtle graphics! That in itself is quite exciting, but what else can we do?

Watch this space as they say…


What a difference 30 years makes — 6 Comments

  1. Hi,

    great and inspiring website. I’ll be coming for more updates.

    I just recently ordered a Raspberry Pi and although I have no idea what I am going to do with it I can’t wait for it to arrive.

    One suggestion for your site: screenshots! I would live to see some photos/screenshots of what you are building.

    • You are absolutely right – I’m going to work on some simple projects starting with a single LED and take screenshots!



  2. Very interested in your Basic. I am retired and have been writing programs on PC using Liberty Basic, which is based on Qbasic but with graphics extentions for windows. It uses Turtle graphics and is compiled at run time so runs quite fast.

    I have ordered a Raspberry Pi and am looking for a version of Basic to run on it. I would like to transfer my programs to run on the Pi. Will your Basic be available for the Pi?

    • Hi,

      Yes, RTB (Return to BASIC) will be avalable for the Pi – I just need a day or 2 to tidy up a few minor little bugs then I’ll release it as both source and a Debian package.

  3. Hello!
    I read many blogs of people who have Raspberry Pi and
    gleefully noted that many, “You are going back to your youth.” applying all your knowledge previously acquired on computers of other times …
    I am glad to think that even the “grandfathers” computer engineers have much to say to the next generation of engineers .. 🙂