A Tribute to the Dick Smith System 80
(aka Video Genie and PMC-80/81)

Other EACA Computers - The Colour Genie - New ROM Features

Sometime in 1984, Trommeschlager Computer GmbH (TCS) of Germany wrote a new ROM for the Colour Genie. In the English-speaking world these seem to have been distributed by Lowe Electronics, UK. This upgrade improved speed in some areas and added new functionality. The downside is that (despite the assurances below) the new offering wasn't entirely compatible with the older ROMS. This meant a few programs written for the older ROMS wouldn't work, and those programs written for the newer ROMS were not always compatible with older machines.

The improvements to functionality appear below. This text is taken from an Auckland District Colour Genie Group Newssheet (issue 6) but the information itself is directly quoted from a Lowe Electronics bulletin..

The new ROMS add an extra line to the text display making it 40 x 25, and 8 lines to the Hi Res now 160 x 120. New commands have been added and a lot of the original ones speeded up i.e. the PLOT command etc. works a lot faster , the PAINT command will now paint intricate shapes.

One of the commands added is SWAP which allows variables, especially string variables, to be swapped without using temporary strings and without causing string hang-ups.

Apart from adding commands and speeding certain operations up they will also allow you to use the ROM based disk operating system which is shortly to be released.

All the enhancements are upwardly compatible with the existing ROMS. (this proved to be not entirely correct - ed.)

The following features have either been added or improved:
  1. The text screen is now 40 characters by 25
  2. The graphics screen is now 160 x 102 to keep compatible with the text screen
  3. SHIFT-F2 now equals SYSTEM
  4. SHIFT-F4 now equals CSAVE "
  5. The PAINT command have been vastly improved to cope with difficult shapes. There is also now 3 modes of operation as follows:

    PAINT X, Y, C
    PAINT X, Y, C, B
    PAINT X, Y, C, B, B

    Where X and Y = the start co-ordinates
    C = colour to print to
    B = the boundary colour
  6. The PLAY command can now be used with expressions/commands within it, i.e. PLAY (1, KEYPAD1, KEYPAD2, (JOYIX-1) and 15). The be able to take advantage of the various envelope shapes, you can now use the PLAY command with the volume equal to 16 which will allow whatever envelope shape has been set up to be used. e.g. SOUND 13,8 : set envelope to 8: PLAY (1,5,8,16). Further, by adding 16 to the old note number a better C-Major scale can be produced.
  7. The PLOT command has been speeded up
  8. The VERIFY command can now be used with a program name, i.e. VERIFY "N"
  9. The &H and &O now allows spaces to follow the number within statements. Also, it is now valid to use any HEX and OCTAL number without leading zeros, i.e. &HF
  10. The FILL command is now replaced with FCLS n. n=1 to 4.
  11. The SOUND command can now be used to read back the contents of the PSG chip, i.e. PRINT SOUND (n) where n = 0-15.
  12. The KEYPAD command can now be used with a variable, i.e. A=1: PRINT KEYPAD (A).
  13. Scale now reads the scale factor in use i.e. PRINT SCALE

    All the following are new commands added to the Colour Genie. The latter three are involved with Bit manipulation.
  14. SWAP var, var : allows you to swap variables, which is especially useful for strings for use in sorts. etc. and doesn't cause any string "hang ups" usually known as the "Garbage Collection Cycle".
  15. SET (b, addr) sets bit b in address addr.
  16. RESET (b, addr) resets bit b in address addr.
  17. CHECK (b,addr) checks if bit b is set in address addr and returns -1 if true or set and 0 if false or reset.

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