Atari Dev Studio
Welcome to Atari Dev Studio for designing homebrew games for the Atari 8-bit systems (Atari 2600 and 7800). Atari Dev Studio is a one-stop-shop for any programmer and includes a number of built-in features to allow you to design, develop and test games for your favourite system. Get started with batari Basic (2600) or 7800basic (7800) using easy to learn BASIC-like languages or go hard-core with assembly using dasm. During development test your creation using the Stella (2600) or A7800 (7800) emulators right from within Atari Dev Studio.
Atari Dev Studio is an extension for Microsoft's cross-platform IDE Visual Studio Code and will run on the Windows, Linux and macOS platforms. The latest releases of batari Basic, 7800basic, dasm, Stella and A7800 are included so you can begin coding straight after installing the extension.
Atari Dev Studio includes the following features:
Additional features are planned for the future. At this time the focus is on the core functionality and ensuring full cross-platform support.
Installing Atari Dev Studio
What is Visual Studio Code?
Visual Studio Code (VS Code) is a streamlined code editor with support for development operations like debugging, task running, and version control. It aims to provide just the tools a developer needs for a quick code-build-debug cycle and leaves more complex workflows to fuller featured IDEs, such as Visual Studio.
Which OSs are supported?
VS Code is a cross-platform application which runs on Windows, Linux and macOS. See requirements for the supported versions.
Installing the extension
Once you have installed VS Code (available here), open the VS Code program and complete the following:
Updating the extension
Updates are regularly provided and you will be notified via VS Code when one has been made available. Once an update has been installed you will generally be prompted to restart VS Code.
Using Atari Dev Studio
Compiling your program
To display the available extension features press CTRL+SHIFT+P to display the Command Palette. From the Command Palette prompt type ads to short-list the available options:
When you load a file the initial language will be chosen based on the file extension. For example:
To change a language you can click on the Status Bar Language selector and a list will be shown allowing you to choose another language. Optionally in the Settings you will be able to either let the extension choose based on the active language or set a specific language to always compile against.
Build scripts [preview]
Prefer using scripts to build your dasm games? If you have chosen to override the dasm compiler (select Make via the Settings) , Atari Dev Studio will scan and detect for makefile, batch (makefile.bat) or shell scripts (makefile.sh) files which are located in your root workspace folder to build your game.
Apart from using the Command Palette to select compilation, there are a number of short-cut buttons on the Status Bar allowing you to:
Sprite Editor [preview]
Atari Dev Studio includes a simple and easy to use Sprite Editor allowing you to create sprites, tiles and other objects for use in your projects. It has the following features:
The Sprite Editor is based on Spritemate by Ingo Hinterding (GitHub) and was suggested by RandomTerrain for inclusion in Atari Dev Studio. I have customised the source to provide the required features necessary for editing sprites, tiles and objects for the Atari platforms. This work is currently in preview and will be on-going until all required features have been added.
There are a number of compiler, emulator and editor configuration options available in Atari Dev Studio which can be changed via the Settings (Preferences -> Settings -> Extensions -> Atari Dev Studio).
Debugging the extension
During the development phase of the extension I've added some developer output to assist with any issues that may appear. To view this output, open the VS Code Developer Tools by selecting Help -> Toggle Developer Tools from the menu, and in the debugger window ensure the Console tab is activated. This information may help identify the area where the extension is failing to process as expected.
This extension is only available due to the great people of the AtariAge community who have created these tools to help developers build their vision. Special thanks to the following for either allowing the inclusion of their tools or for their ongoing help and encouragement:
Atari Dev Studio includes the following programming languages:
batari Basic (release 1.5 - 20200307)
batari Basic created by Fred 'batari' Quimby is a BASIC-like language used in the creation of Atari 2600 games. batari Basic is compiled to generate a binary file that can by used on actual Atari 2600 VCS hardware via cartridge (such as a Harmony or UNO cart) or by using an Atari 2600 VCS emulator such as Stella.
7800basic (release 0.18 - 20210314)
7800basic is a BASIC-like language for creating Atari 7800 games. It is a compiled language that runs on a computer, and it creates a binary file that can be run with an Atari 7800 emulator, or the binary file may be used to make a cartridge that will operate on a real Atari 7800. 7800basic is derived from batari basic, a BASIC-like language for creating Atari 2600 games. Special thanks to the bB creator, Fred Quimby, and all of the the bB contributors!
7800basic is included as part of this extension with many thanks to Mike Saarna (RevEng). 7800basic is an external project and can be downloaded separately here. Further information about this release is available here at AtariAge.
dasm (release 184.108.40.206 - 20201109)
dasm is a versatile macro assembler with support for several 8-bit microprocessors including MOS 6502 & 6507, Motorola 6803, 68705 & 68HC11, Hitachi HD6303 (extended Motorola 6801), and Fairchild F8. Matthew Dillon started dasm in 1987-1988. Olaf 'Rhialto' Seibert extended dasm in 1995. dasm has also been maintained by Andrew Davie (2003-2008) and Peter Froehlich (2008-2015). The DASM team has taken over maintaining and updating dasm since 2019.
dasm is an external project and can be downloaded separately here.
Atari Dev Studio includes the following emulators for testing purposes:
Stella (release 6.5.3 - 20210421)
Stella is a multi-platform Atari 2600 VCS emulator released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Stella was originally developed for Linux by Bradford W. Mott, and is currently maintained by Stephen Anthony. Since its original release several people have joined the development team to port Stella to other operating systems such as AcornOS, AmigaOS, DOS, FreeBSD, IRIX, Linux, OS/2, MacOS, Unix, and Windows. The development team is working hard to perfect the emulator and we hope you enjoy our effort.
Stella is included as part of this extension with many thanks to Stephen Anthony. Stella is an external project and can be downloaded separately here. If you enjoy using Stella place consider donating to ensure it's continued development.
A7800 (release 4.0 - 20200610)
A7800 is a fork of the MAME Atari 7800 driver, with several enhancements added:
MAME compatibility and syntax has been maintained, to allow for the reuse of MAME configuration files and front-ends.
A7800 is included as part of this extension with many thanks to Mike Saarna (RevEng). A7800 is an external project and can be downloaded separately here. Further information about this release is available here at AtariAge.