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Author Topic: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer) (Read 104739 times)

Offline dangerman

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #330 on: 2019.March.29. 19:52:34 »
Not yet, they are a mess of files from various programs all mixed together, so not really usable currently. A long-term project for Zozo...

I see... I'm happy to help sort through stuff if Zozo wants any help.

Offline Tuby128

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #331 on: 2020.January.05. 22:22:30 »
What does it mean, that the user manual of the Enterprise is BBC inspired? Martin Galway  wrote this on his facebook site.

Offline elmer

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #332 on: 2020.February.10. 10:34:07 »
After IS went bankrupt in 1985, Robert Madge went to Japan to try and sell EXDOS as MSX-DOS 2, as it was compatible with MSX-DOS 1 but with sub-directories. He failed, as we now know, but a year or two later MSX-DOS 2 was released...and it had the string "VOL_ID" and a random number in the boot sector, just not quite at the same address! So Microsoft copied the EXDOS idea :evil: :lol: :mrgreen:

This is new piece of the story :-)
There is reletad IS WordStar document file, dated 1985.08.21:

I was lucky enough to get a summer-job at IS in 1985 ... it was a lot of fun.

I didn't get to work on anything releated to the Enterprise during the summer, but I did get a contract afterwards from EnterSoft to port a game over to the Enterprise 128.

Anyway ... while that doesn't relate to MSX-DOS 2, the letter that I got from Robert Madge in 1986 does.

I had completed my project for EnterSoft (which had gone bankrupt by that time, and never paid for it, or released it), and I was looking around for a job as I prepared to leave University.

From what Rodert Madge wrote, he actually did get the contract for MSX-DOS 2 ... so perhaps it wasn't a case of Microsoft copying from EXDOS, but rather Robert Madge's IS Systems Ltd actually writing MSX-DOS 2, but with a non-disclosure agreement so that the information didn't become public (not that anyone in the UK would have cared, since the MSX computers completely died in the UK market).

Or perhaps he was just being overly optimistic in June 1986 ... has there been any evidence posted that he didn't get the contract after all?

Letter 1985-10-11
Letter 1986-06-06

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #333 on: 2020.February.10. 11:31:56 »
Hello elmer! Wellcome here!

contract afterwards from EnterSoft to port a game over to the Enterprise 128.

I had completed my project for EnterSoft (which had gone bankrupt by that time, and never paid for it, or released it)
can you remember which game is that? Do you have it? Or something about it?

Quote
Or perhaps he was just being overly optimistic in June 1986 ... has there been any evidence posted that he didn't get the contract after all?
I think he just a optimistic... but will we be interesting see a disassembled MSX 2 DOS code, and compare with IS codes!

Currently we only one thing have about the new IS Systems company: this company finished the softwares to the Videoton TVC computer. The VT-DOS system are very similar to the Enterprise EXDOS + IS-DOS. (Because the EXDOS technical documentations are missing, we used VT-DOS documentations for low level programing DOS on Enterprise!).

Quote
Letter 1985-10-11
Letter 1986-06-06
Your letters also interesting because first time see official IS logos!

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #334 on: 2020.February.10. 11:56:46 »
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for posting those! It is a *long* time since I have seen those company letterheads, and they still seem strangely familiar - even the telephone numbers.

Or perhaps he was just being overly optimistic in June 1986 ... has there been any evidence posted that he didn't get the contract after all?
I don't think there was ever an actual signed contract, but if there was, it all fell through before any work was done!

IS Systems was only Robert Madge and 4 ex-IS engineers (one of them me!) While I finished off Z80 work from IS, the others looked into networking while Robert Madge went around trying to find us work, one possibility for that being MSX-DOS 2. Not being able to get any development contracts, we started making our own token ring networking cards and we became Madge Networks, and I did not write any more z80 code for nearly 30 years!

This was IS Systems (Robert Madge is the one in front of the tree):


Offline elmer

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #335 on: 2020.February.11. 00:41:26 »
Can you remember which game is that? Do you have it? Or something about it?

A quick look at the downloads here shows that a version of the game did somehow get released, even though they never paid for my work on it.

That was a bit naughty of someone! :lol:

The game was an Enterprise port of Palace Software's "Cauldron".

I was given the source code and data from Palace Software's other versions, and it ended up as a bit of a mix of the Amstrad and C64 versions, with reasonably-decent sprite masking and not the horrible xor drawing that was in Palace Software's Amstrad version.

Anyway ... it was built on an Enterprise 128 with dual floppies, using IS-DOS and Microsoft's M80 and L80 assember and linker.

Here are the development disk images that you can still build with ep128emu.

Note that there appears to be something going wrong in ep128emu 2.0.11.2, and the batch files that do the build do not complete properly ... the game is built OK, but the files never get copied from the /rel/ directory to the /cauldron/ directory.

* EP128-CAULDRON-SOURCE.ZIP (380.23 kB - downloaded 132 times.)

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #336 on: 2020.February.11. 07:29:29 »
A quick look at the downloads here shows that a version of the game did somehow get released, even though they never paid for my work on it.

That was a bit naughty of someone! :lol:

The game was an Enterprise port of Palace Software's "Cauldron".
Wow! It is one of the most liked Enterprise games!

I see coming soon advertistment of it in some UK magazine, but never released it. Probably because the crash of companies...

In Hungary where the remaining stocks solds (started at 1987 May), after some time the Hungarian distributar started new marketing action for sold more of remaining unsold tapes: copied another program to the Side B! These tapes marked with a GRATIS SOFT label. See example here.
Cauldron released in this bonus program series. This card also puted to casette case. Other side with a Hungarian poem about the game :-) The last sentence say: remember it is a gratis game!
Label attached to tape side B. It is say the copyright: Enterprise Computers GmbH. It is the German EP company, which is get the UK stocks from the liquidator of UK companies.
I think just found the game on a floppy disk, and think this is great Enterprise game, to good for forget it. But don't want make a commercial profit from it because dubious legal situation about game rights. Then released as free software behind an iron curtain.


Quote
I was given the source code and data from Palace Software's other versions, and it ended up as a bit of a mix of the Amstrad and C64 versions, with reasonably-decent sprite masking and not the horrible xor drawing that was in Palace Software's Amstrad version.
You make a very good work! :smt038
The "no ugly xor" already noted by forum member, many years ago :ds_icon_cheesygrin:

Quote
Anyway ... it was built on an Enterprise 128 with dual floppies, using IS-DOS and Microsoft's M80 and L80 assember and linker.
Wow, amazing! You got the machine? Or just used it at Entersoft office?

Quote
Here are the development disk images that you can still build with ep128emu.
Thank you very much!!! Very amazing see inside our favorite game!

Offline geco

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #337 on: 2020.February.11. 08:21:39 »
Cool, thank you very much :)

Offline elmer

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #338 on: 2020.February.11. 22:44:25 »
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for posting those! It is a *long* time since I have seen those company letterheads, and they still seem strangely familiar - even the telephone numbers.

Nice to meet you ... errr, again, since we may well have bumped into each other when I was doing my summer in the IS basement.

Here's another old letterhead to add to the memories ...

Letter 1986-sometime


This was IS Systems (Robert Madge is the one in front of the tree):
(Attachment Link)

Yep, I recognize Robert, now that you've pointer him out.

Gawd, we were all so young back then! ;-)


IS Systems was only Robert Madge and 4 ex-IS engineers (one of them me!)
...
Not being able to get any development contracts, we started making our own token ring networking cards and we became Madge Networks, and I did not write any more z80 code for nearly 30 years!

It's great to know what happened, and that you all found a good home after IS. I remember liking Robert Madge (although I really had very little contact with him).

For myself, I never did get back in touch with IS Systems, and ended up working for a videogame company instead.

My port of Cauldron was enough to get me the job, and I ended up writing Z80 for the next couple of years before moving onto the 68000.

Since I didn't like the company's in-house Tatung Einstein based development system, I actually kept on using the Enterprise 128 and M80/L80 to develop my first two games for the company (until they switched to a fast Atari ST based development system).

Offline Zozosoft

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #339 on: 2020.February.11. 22:57:35 »
I actually kept on using the Enterprise 128 and M80/L80 to develop my first two games for the company
I think you know what is the next questions :ds_icon_cheesygrin:
What is these two games, and which machine where these written?
These are also run on Enterprise? During the testing... or just on the target system?
Do you also have a sources of them? :ds_icon_cheesygrin:

Offline BruceTanner

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #340 on: 2020.February.12. 00:12:30 »
Nice to meet you ... errr, again, since we may well have bumped into each other when I was doing my summer in the IS basement.
Yes we must have bumped into each other! I spent most of my time upstairs though, in the front room. But came downstairs very frequently because that is where the coffee machine was.

Gawd, we were all so young back then! ;-)
Yes, and so old now :lol:

I used M80/L80 today (new version of EXDOS coming...) :lol: Instead of a 4MHz processor with 64Kb RAM, these days it is from a Linux terminal via a z80 emulator on a 7-core processor running at  2GHz with 16Gb RAM.  One of the files prints out "* warning: this takes 20 minute to assemble *" when you assemble it, but now it takes about 1/2 second :ds_icon_cheesygrin: :lol: There goes my excuse to visit the coffee machine!

Yet sitting at the Linux terminal is not that different from sitting at IS-DOS. If I ran Windows instead, most of the commands would even be the same :mrgreen:

Offline lgb

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #341 on: 2020.February.12. 08:21:57 »
Yet sitting at the Linux terminal is not that different from sitting at IS-DOS. If I ran Windows instead, most of the commands would even be the same :mrgreen:

So true :) Also even that checking out the first UNIX'es from 1969 or so (in form of emulators) and you find out that after some minutes you feel kinda familiar with just minor adjustments of thinking if you have experience in any UNIX-like modern OS, let it be Linux, FreeBSD or even MacOS (the command line in that case ...) :-) Sure, it's the opposite direction of the story, more :)

Offline elmer

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Re: Q&A with Bruce Tanner (IS-BASIC writer)
« Reply #342 on: 2020.February.13. 23:30:42 »
I think just found the game on a floppy disk, and think this is great Enterprise game, to good for forget it. But don't want make a commercial profit from it because dubious legal situation about game rights. Then released as free software behind an iron curtain.

Well, somone at EnterSoft, or in Germany, certainly made some changes to my final version of the game that I sent to EnterSoft.

They changed the copyright message (which I left in my name in the hopes that they would pay up on the contract), they moved the location of some of the keys, and for some reason, it seems to run slower than my version (perhaps to make it easier?).


What is these two games, and which machine where these written?
These are also run on Enterprise? During the testing... or just on the target system?
Do you also have a sources of them? :ds_icon_cheesygrin:

Here's the first (that showed that I was a terrible game designer) ...

Short Circuit

And here's the second (much better, but then arcade ports were more fun to work on!) ...

Renegade

Nope, they don't run on the Enterprise, just the Amstrad.

IIRC I had an Amstrad floppy drive attached to the Enterprise, as well as the 3.5" floppies, so that I would assemble on the Enterprise, and then put the disk into the Amstrad to run it.

I had a small machine-language monitor built into the game for debugging.


Yes, I still have the source, but just the source, not the complete build environment with the graphics.


Yes we must have bumped into each other! I spent most of my time upstairs though, in the front room.
But came downstairs very frequently because that is where the coffee machine was.

Hahaha ... us programmers and our coffee. :lol:

IIRC (and I could be misremembering), I was somewhere close to the coffee machine, working on a machine-langage monitor for some 68000 development board.

I have no idea if the work was ever used/useful ... or if it was just a complete mess.