Coding on the PCW for use on the Spectrum ZX FDD Model??

Started by dreamscape, 12:45, 26 May 14

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Hi all

Is it possible to code games or apps for the ZX Spectrum on the PCW?

I see the ZX Spectrum 128k FDD model use's the same discs as the PCW as Amstrad took over Sinclair in the 80's.

I'd love to be able to code games on the PCW and then copy or compile the data onto FDD for use on the Speccy. Yeah i know it would be easier to use emulation/SD card addons for the Speecy or various other things but i want to use proper old hardware to achieve my goals. Theres just something about using the proper kit from back in the day to make this happen.

Is this possible? Would i need to install a secondary FDD onto my PCW? Would I code in BASIC? What software would i need?



Yes the Spectrum+3 can read PCW discs but it doesn't mean it can run the software.

On the PCW you will be using programs running under CPM. Spectrum+3 has CPM and can run quite a lot of CPM software.

You could potentially code in Mallard BASIC on the PCW and use it on the Spectrum+3. Both basics probably run under cpm. I haven't tested it so I don't know how different or not they are. You'll be restricted to +3 however.

If you want to write programs that run on all Spectrums then you need to find a way for the program to output the appropiate heades required by the spectrrum and not rely on cpm functions.

There is a version of C (such as Hisoft-C) under CP/M on the PCW to write programs, which you could then compile into binary and potentially use on all spectrums.

The PCW, CPC and +3 can use CPM, so if you write for CPM and don't access the hardware directly, then you can write programs that run on all.

Finally there is a native assembler and linker that runs under CPM, but I think it uses 8080 syntax and probably outputs COM/CPM files. You probably want to use a different one.

My games. My Games
My website with coding examples: Unofficial Amstrad WWW Resource


if you can find a CP/M version that can run on speccy, then you may have those CP/M programs running on both ?

Still PCW is a better CP/M machine  than speccy I guess.
concerning assembly programs, of course it wouldn't be compatible at all as those machines are quite different... despite having Z80 both.

Is there even a good assembler on PCW ?

There are quite some issue if you want programs to run on both system...
What are you looking for ?
games ? Graphically intense games ? text based games ? accounting managemets application ?

Spectrum is limited in 256x192 resolution while PCW has some sort of antique HD resolution...
Also the RAM mapping may be different on both machines, obviously.
Even the beeper may be managed differently.

So you would have to "port" the game so it would have some parts recoded for the specificity of each machines, but as both share the Z80 there would be large parts of the programm that would stay the same.

We had a huge share of speccy ports on CPC.
Game like Head over heels is clearly the same game ported on those 3 systems, the CPC version being the best due to colours of course... :D

Spanish devs did quite a lot of nice games ported on CPC from speccy/CPC.
the G.U.A is a spanish association of amstrad users (groupo usarios Amstrad... grouped users of Amstrads somewhat)
and they are well into PCW.

sadly they don't all speak english that well..

Concerning coding for speccy using the PCW... I guess the PCW can be used as simple text processor, then you assemble on the speccy.
to have CP/M compatibility and the same Disk format, and awesome PCW display... may help.

But then you may just use a modern PC for that too.

full playlist of spanish games :
Gonzzalezz (Amstrad PCW) - CP/M Box 1.4 - YouTube


Sounds like a lot of vwork then haha. Basically I'm new to programming I love  BASIC games and 8 bit I just thought it would be fun to code it all on the pcw. Not so much compile it there but write it out in malard BASIC which inhavevon disk here save to a disk of some sort preferably original disks then compile it for specc y or the pcw.

I may be getting confused though I don't fully understand how coding with this sort of stuff works yet.

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