C64 development with Kick Assembler and Notepad++ (Windows)

Here is a little guide for setting up a simple and free development environment for c64 coding on Windows using Notepad++ text editor, Kick Assembler compiler and Vice C64 emultor. As a bonus it also includes a short guide for using Turbo Assembler complier instead of Kick Assembler.

Download and install

  1. Ensure Java Runtime Environment is installed on your system, if not, download it from here
  2. Ensure the path to java binaries folder (something like %programfiles(x86)%\Java\jre7\bin\) exist in the PATH environment variable
  3. Download Kick Assembler, extract and copy into folder c:\C64\Tools\KickAssembler\ (*)
  4. Download Vice c64 emulator, extract and copy folder to some good location on your computer
  5. Add the path to the Vice folder containing x64.exe (see step 4) to the PATH environment variable
  6. Download Notepad++ (version 6.4.5 or later is recommended) and install
  7. Download NppKickAssemblerFilePack.zip, extract and run the file InstallNppSupportFiles.bat

* If you did not use the recommended path for Kick Assembler in step 3, edit file %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++\plugins\config\npes_saved.txt with the correct path to KickAss.jar

Configure Notepad++

  1. Start Notepad++
  2. If you cannot find NppExec in the Plugins menu, you can download it in Plugin Manger, also found in the in the Plugins menu, or you can download it manually from here here
  3. In menu Plugins, click NppExec, check option Follow $(CURRENT_DIRECTORY). You will probably also want to check option Save all files on execute

Develop, build and run

  1. Open a Kick Assembler code file in Notepad++. Example code file here.
  2. Ensure KickAss is selected in the Language menu to get syntax coloring
  3. Hit the F6 key to start NppExec and select KickAss & Run
  4. Hopefully watch your lovely code execute!

In step 3 above you can select other run options, see below for details:

KickAss

Compiles the current file.

KickAss & run

Compiles the current file and runs it using the Vice emulator.

KickAss & run with breakpoints

Compiles the current file and runs it using the Vice emulator. This option allows the creation of a file containing breakpoints, which is sent to the Vice emulator for debugging.

KickAss Leftmost

Compiles the leftmost open file. Handy if you have several code files included in a main runnable file.

KickAss & Run leftmost

Compiles the leftmost open file and runs it using the Vice emulator. Handy if you have several code files included in a main runnable file.

KickAss & Run leftmost with breakpints

Compiles and runs the leftmost open file and runs it using the Vice emulator. Handy if you have several code files included in a main runnable file. This option allows the creation of a file containing breakpoints, which is sent to the Vice emulator for debugging.

KickAss, Pucrunch & run

Option for using Pucrunch to compress the compiled file before running. Requies Pucrunch, which can be downloaded here (under Executables near the bottom of the page). Ensure the folder containing pucrunch.exe exists in the PATH environment variable on your computer.

KickAss, Exomize & run

Option for using Exmoizer to compress the compiled file before running. Requies Exomizer, which can be downloaded here. Ensure the folder containing exomizer.exe exists in the PATH environment variable on your computer.

Options for compiling with Turbo Assmebler

The NppExec dialog also contains the following options:

  • Tasm,
  • Tasm & run,
  • Tasm, Pucrunch and run
  • Tasm, Exomize & run.

These otions uses the Turbo assembler (Tasm) compiler instead of Kick Assembler. You can download Tasm from here. This can be good for building source files from the c64 version of Turbo Assembler. Ensure the folder containing C64tass.exe exists in the PATH environment variable on your computer.

To get correct color syntax for Turbo Assembler files, ensure TASM is selected in the Language menu.

Notes and such

The syntax coloring and folding configuration (file %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Notepad++\userDefineLang.xml) for Notepad++ can certainly improve, maybe i will update and post here some day. For more information on debugging and breakpoints, see documentation for Kick Assembler.

Personally i have switched to using the Sublime text editor when doing C64 coding, more info in this post.

Posted on September 11, 2013, in c64 coding, Kick Assembler. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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