So, I was working on my HalfByte Arduino Tiny Basic and ran into a problem. As it turns out, it wasn’t really a problem, I only thought so. To aid in my debugging of the non-existent problem, I modified the character out routine to echo to both the television and the serial port so I could see on the computer if anything were happening. Well, after investigating a bit more, I realized that my change to one of the functions (DREAD and AREAD) were actually working, I just misunderstood the digital read function in the Arduino.
Well, forgetting that I had the echo to the serial left in, I began playing around with some example code for Tiny Basic. At some point, I reopened the serial monitor in the Arduino IDE. Lo and behold, text was outputting to the monitor as well. I decided to leave it in. It will give the user another display option. Of course, none of the graphics and cursor positioning work this way, but that’s OK, for textual output of more than 20 or characters, the serial monitor will work fine.
Thinking about other uses for this, I hit upon the idea of using another graphic screen. A simple Arduino or another HalfByte console and a special sketch will allow the second device act as a dumb terminal. Modification of said sketch will allow for simple cursor positioning and, possibly, graphics. Since the second device is only serving video and, perhaps, the keyboard,
So, what will this do for us? Well, considering the host device will still have just shy of 1k bytes, not much in the way of sophisticated games, BUT…a two player Star Trek, Tic-Tac-Toe or other simple game is not out of the question. To accommodate output ONLY to the second screen, I added SPRINT to Tiny Basic. This also means a switch to PRINT that will turn off the echo feature. Not sure how I want to implement that.
Other possible single player uses are the said Star trek game with a ‘tactical display’ on one screen and most of the game play on the other. Non-game uses might include graphing on the primary display with numerical table like data on the second. Connect a temperature sensor and real time clock to show the differences in temp throughout the day. One screen has the numerical data, the other is graphical. Tiny Basic can handle it. Everything is there (hmm…may add support for the popular temp sensors…) and only your imagination is the limit.