24th October '14 - Computer Software Quality.

I was watching a series of vids on Youtube recently at fairly modern software being converted to early computers simply for the sake of seeing if it's possible. I lived through the era of 1980s computers, in the days when most computers had less than 64K of memory, and very limited capabilities. Obviously at the time we didn't think of them as limited and thought they were state of the art. The good thing about those early computers is being able to imagine the entire structure of computer memory within your mind and pretty much learn everything there was to know about the way the computer worked. PCs on the other hand complicated matters due to the operating system having so much control. It's hard to be expert at a PC when a new version of Windows changes how it works.

There was someone who had a Sinclair Spectrum playing a DVD albeit in monochrome with blocky graphics. The only reason he attempted to do such a thing was to see if it was possible. Another person had photo editing software running on a Commodore 64 with its very limited range of colours. There was also someone who had converted the PC game Doom to work on the Sinclair Spectrum. I wasn't sure if it was the full game or not but it was clearly playable.

I've been tempted in the past to recreate the first level of Tomb Raider onto the Sinclair Spectrum just for the fun of it, but I felt it would be a waste of time. After seeing those vids however I'm tempted to do it.

My point is, I wonder what would happen if programmers spent the same amount of time learning everything there is to know about a modern PC and spending the same amount of quality time programming them as people did in the early era of computing. Not using languages like Flash or C++ but actual Assembly Language, programming each individual processing step one instruction at a time. Games would take multiple years to make but be awesome in quality.


The Sinclair ZX Spectrum.

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