Z80 vs 6502 - Stepping Stone?

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Z80 vs 6502 - Stepping Stone?

Post by JohnnyRockets » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:21 am

Hi all,

Super new here! This is my second post. Hope I asked in the right spot!

My ultimate goal is to program for the Commodore PET series of computers and maybe jump to the C64 eventually... but we'll see.

I'm trying to decide if it makes more sense to learn Z80 and then 6502?

Is one processor a "stepping stone" for the other, as in is one processor definitely easier to learn for a relative newbie?

Thanks a lot! :-)


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Re: Z80 vs 6502 - Stepping Stone?

Post by akuyou » Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:09 am

if you're interested in 6502, then I'd go straight for 6502 - the Z80 is quite different, and while some knowledge may be transferable, much will not and you'll just be learning things you don't need now.

For example:
Z80 has lots of registers, relocatable stack.
6502 has lots of addressing modes, Zero page, fixed stack.

If you had never done any programming before, and may struggle with things like variables, arrays, mathematics, I'd maybe suggest you tried Basic, Java or C first... but I see from your other post you've done programming before - so It's not relevant to you.

You mentioned you've done 68000, and maybe you'd like to do it again... in that case, If you were really struggling with starting with 6502, then 68000 is easier, due to the extra registers and functionality - so starting on 68000 and moving to 6502 would make more sense than Z80->6502 for you.

Of course I've got lots of tutorials on 6502 I hope will help you, but it's worth checking out 'Easy6502' as well... it's web based, and may help if you're looking for a way to get started with the language easily as it's web based
Chibi Akuma(s) Comedy-Horror 8-bit Bullet Hell shooter! // 「チビ悪魔」可笑しいゴシックSTG ! // Work in Progress: ChibiAliens

Interested in CPU's :Z80,6502,68000,6809,ARM,8086,RISC-V
Learning: 65816,ARM,8086,6809

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Re: Z80 vs 6502 - Stepping Stone?

Post by JohnnyRockets » Thu Feb 20, 2020 12:16 am

Thank you!

That is a great idea!

I'll stick with 6502 and will look at that website, it sounds very promising!


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Re: Z80 vs 6502 - Stepping Stone?

Post by KnightFire » Fri Jan 01, 2021 7:28 pm

I too am interested in programming for the PET.

There seems to be a bit of a resurgence of interest in the Commodore PET with tynemouth's new PET computer, and The 8-Bit Guy's "Attack of the PETSCII Robots", so I'm hoping to learn 6502 assembly.

Akuyou's Z80 approach to the 6502 does concern me a little though.

The ZX81 had a lot of games for it, porting one to the PET might be worth a try, eh.

The OldSkoolCoder's early 6502 tutorials on YouTube may be of interest to you, even though they're C64 oriented. Sadly his current focus appears to be on Python and PyGame.

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