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23 April 2023

Collaborating to Create a MEGA65 Primer

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.

Several months ago, Gürçe Işıkyıldız and a MEGA65 developers reached out to me on Discord to ask if I had an interest in creating a rapid-fire MEGA65 primer. He had an outline in his head but hadn’t yet collected those thoughts into a single document. His goal, create a video that allows those new to the MEGA65, using hardware or emulation, to experience BASIC 65 on the MEGA65. He suggested we cram as much in as possible in 10 minutes. His audience was co-workers and family, but I knew it would appeal to a much larger group.

I had upcoming travel and other video projects on the bench and told Gürçe it might take time before I could get to it. In the meantime, and not in a hurry, Gürçe created a shared Google Slides document to capture his ideas. The content was fabulous with basics all the way to the creation of a simple game, and I immediately understood his intent. When I had time, I added imaging and style to the slides. We decided the Google Slides would not only guide the video content, but become a resource for the viewer. We imagined viewers watching the video on one-screen and viewing the slides on another. Check out our slides below:

Google Slides, we decided, would allow us to share, make changes, and document video errata. As a huge Google Slides user myself (for my thumbnails and video images), I was happy we chose this tool. After a couple of months of collaboration, recording, and DaVinci Resolve editing, we released the video on 2023-04-23.

While Gürçe is the mastermind behind the content, he asked that I be the face of the video; however, I wanted him to appear. I came up with what I hope was a fun solution, but won’t spoil the surprise other than to say; I needed Gürçe to create a MEGA65 sound program that announced his appearance. Here’s that code in immediate mode if you want to experiment with it:


Finally, I knew he must appear on the video thumbnail. I sent him a Discord message and asked for a couple of images. His wife was kind enough to line him up on a wall, take pics, and Gürçe sent them to me to remove the background. I lined up against a wall and did the same. It almost looks like we were in the same room!

I am hopeful we can collaborate on more video. I appreciated Gürçe’s expertise programming in BASIC 65 on the MEGA65 and he’s always been kind when I had questions or needed help. I’m not sure what our follow-up video will be (I have ideas), but we would love to hear your feedback. Drop them in the comments below or in the comments for the video (while there, hit that thumbs up!). And now, let’s check out the video and the links from the video below.

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The Final YouTube Video

Title: Unleash Your Inner Coder: Beginner’s Guide to BASIC65 on the MEGA65

Video Description: The MEGA65 includes an updated version of Commodore BASIC called BASIC 65. If this is your first Commodore computer, you never gave BASIC a chance back in the 1980s, or you’ve just forgotten all you knew, @IshiTheLastYihi and I designed this rapid-fire primer to get you up to speed quickly. You’ll learn the basics of, well, BASIC, and a couple of tips and tricks along the way. If you code along using our Google Slides (https://tinyurl.com/mega65-quick-start) and pause, FFW, and RWD the video, by the end you will have created your first game! All this in 14 mins! Buckle up, break out that MEGA65 or XEMU (https://github.lgb.hu/xemu/) emulator, and get to coding.

Video Errata

All corrections are found in the Google Slides deck on slide #2.

  1. Companion Google Slides - https://tinyurl.com/mega65-quick-start
  2. XEMU Emulator - https://github.lgb.hu/xemu/
  3. XEMU Install Instructions - https://mega65.org/try
  4. MEGA65 and BASIC 65 documentation - https://mega65.org/docs
  5. @MrZaadii “Programming the MEGA65” YouTube playlist - https://tinyurl.com/mrzaadii-playlist
  6. MEGA65 Discord - https://mega65.org/chat
  7. retroCombs MEGA65 Resource Page - https://retrocombs.com/mega65
  8. Program the MEGA65 with CBM prg Studio - https://youtu.be/I22gTQSYxeY
  9. Preorder your MEGA65 - https://mega65.org
  10. MEGA65 FileHost - https://files.mega65.org

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