Atari Computer Development System (ACDS)

As I am developing Atari software now, I have been on the look out for the best tools to help me. So far, the best I have found is Eclipse with the WUDSN plug-in. This makes coding assembly for either the MADS or ATASM assemblers a dream. For user-defined graphics, I have been using EnvisionPC (which I recompiled for Mac), which has also saved me a lot of time.
However, looking for decent tools, I came across something for Spectrum developers that would be ideal for Atari developers. There is an integrated system for the Spectrum called Tommy Gun. This incorporates graphics tools, code editor, assembler and screen editor all in one. Such a thing would be a dream for any developer, regardless of the system being developed for.
So (you guessed it), I am looking at creating something similar for Atari development. As far as I can tell, it would have to have the following:
  • Code editor - This would definitely have to be for assembly (allowing for MASDS, ATASM, CA65 and XASM syntax’s), but possibly also C and maybe Effectus and Atalan. For those last two, I would need to either research the syntax thoroughly, or contact the authors directly.
  • Font/UDG editor - This is a must in my opinion. Most games use some form of custom graphics or text, so the ability to design them within the development environment would be fantastic. The resultant fonts would also have to be exportable into a number of formats, including (but not limited to), various assemblers, C, Effectus, Action!, Atalan, Quick, Forth, TurboBasic and good old Atari BASIC. Also, an option to save the fonts directly as binary would be marvellous.
  • Sprite editor - The Atari is well known for its sprites, or Player/Missile Graphics (PMGs), and again, these are used in most games that are compiled into machine code. Even some BASIC games use PMGs with machine language routines. Again, these would need to be exported in the formats listed above, as well as binary.
  • Screen designer - Nothing as advanced as Graph2Font, but it would be useful to have a screen designer that allowed the creation of screen images in ALL of the Ataris ANTIC modes, maybe even combined ANTIC modes. These could then be used for loading screens or possible game screens for faster transitions. Right now, I am not too sure about graphics formats on the Atari, so I figure the best way would be to save these as binary and if required, a linked custom display list.
  • Sound/Music editor - T this would have to be the last stage of the project. As I have no idea about accepted formats of sound or music with the Atari 8-bits yet, I will need to research these. I may leave these out altogether, depending on what I find.
So, anyway, that is my plans for I am currently calling the Atari Computer Development System, but I’m sure I can come up with a better name before the project is finished.