Atari 7800 Basic Lesson 1.5: The Three C’s

Note: This tutorial series is designed as video series. The text below is provided as a way to make it easier to follow, but I recommend you watch the video and use the text as supplemental.

In the last lesson I may have failed to make a few things abundantly clear.  These are rules to live by when programming games in Atari 7800 Basic.

I call them the “Three C’s”  


Well okay, I just made that up on the spot, but you’ll see what I mean


Remember that tabs matter in Atari 7800 Basic.

All regular code MUST be tabbed-in at least 1 space, or it will cause errors.

All _labels for gotos and gosubs must be in the first first column.

There are few exceptions, but we will talk about those if we bet to them.


Case matters.

If the code example says “32k” and the “k” is lower-case, and you use an upper-case “K”, the compiler will throw an error.  Just this one concept can save you a lot of headaches.


VS Code needs to be configured to compile your code using the Atari 7800 compiler that came with Atari Dev Studio.  This usually occurs automatically if you have you saved  source files with the .78b extension.   However, if that does not occur, you need to configure VS Code to compile as a 7800 binary.

Check the lower right of VS Code. If it says “7800 Basic” (white text on blue), you are good to go.  If not, click on the text in that location (it might say something like “bAtari Basic” and select Atari 7800 Basic on the selection screen.

By remembering the “Three C’s” (Code, Case, Configuration) you should avoid a lot of headaches when compiling.

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