One of my favorite movies as a kid was Tron, the early 1980’s film about a computer programmer who gets “digitized” and sucked into a computer world inhabited by personified computer programs. In the film, the protagonist joins a group of resistant programs in an effort to take down the oppressive Master Control Program (MCP), a rogue piece of software which had evolved, acquired a thirst for power, and was attempting to take over the Pentagon’s computer systems.
In one of the most exciting scenes in the film, the hero programs race in light cycles, which were two-wheeled motorcycle-like vehicles that left walls in their wake. One of the protagonists forced an enemy cycle to crash into the arena’s wall, leaving a gaping hole. The heroes dispatched their opponents and escaped through the hole to freedom – the first step on their way to take down the MCP.
When I watched that movie, I had no idea that I would unwittingly recreate the Tron world years later, rogue programs and all, with an Apple IIgs computer.
Here’s how it happened: When I first learned to program, I decided to create a version of the Tron light cycles game. My friend Marco Busse and I programmed it on an Apple IIgs using ORCA/Pascal and 65816 assembly language. During play, the screen background was solid black with a white border, with one color line representing each player. We displayed the game score in a horizontal strip at the bottom of the screen. It wasn’t the most graphically advanced program, but it was simple and fun.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.
Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!
Maker Business — Pololu’s account of the chip shortage
Wearables — Getting overly ambitious with EL wire
Electronics — Invisible Bugs
Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: MicroPython SAMD Support, ESP32-S3 Feather and much more! #Python #Adafruit #CircuitPython @micropython @ThePSF
Adafruit IoT Monthly — Energy Harvesting Sensor Nodes, Tracking a Turtle, , and more!
Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!
EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey
New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — New Prods 11/17/21 feat. Adafruit KB2040 – RP2040 Kee Boar Driver!
No comments yet.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.