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BASIC 8 is a language extension for BASIC version 7.0 on the Commodore 128.  It makes most of the typical BASIC bitmap-type commands (from a Plus/4 or the 40-column mode of the C128) work on the 80-column VDC... and it adds many new possibilities too!  It is the only 80-column bitmap programming language that I know from back in the day.  It was written by LR Wallace and DP Darus and released by WalruSoft in 1986 (or 1987?)

Some of the best features of BASIC 8 are:
  • 3-D coordinates
  • Multiple video modes
  • Virtual screen (an image in RAM larger than than physical display... smoothly scroll on a real monitor!)
  • "copy and paste" to/from a disk file
  • Supports REU (CBM "RAM Expansion Unit")
  • Supports many printers

Below is a nice example (borrowed from Mircosoft):
Dithered color image (psudo-3D) rendered by BASIC 8

However it has some serious issues too:
  • Syntax is 100% incompatible with earlier BASIC (like v3.5 or v7.0)
  • Requires 64K V-RAM
  • Dramatically alters the memory map (important for those who combine BASIC with ML)
  • Coordinates must be 3-D, and translation from "classic" 2-D to 3-D is not as simple as it could be...
  • It will crash if you attempt to use most (any?) 40-column bitmap command!

BASIC 8 has, over the years, got a lot of publicity and mostly positive reviews because (like I said) it was unique back in 1980s (and 1990s).  An alternative, recently written by me, is called BASIC 7.80... it doesn't have any of the cool 3-D stuff of BASIC 8, but it is 100% compatible with the syntax of BASIC v3.5/v7.0, does not move the "start-of-BASIC" (easy to work with ML), works with either 16K or 64K V-RAM, and works fine with both 40 and 80 column screens (great for dual-monitor applications).


For historical / educational purposes, I give two links below that should help if you want to experiment with this powerful language.  (If you are the copyright holder and wish this material removed, please Contact Me.)
  • BASIC 8 ZIP file (contains two D64 disk images and a TXT file)
  • BASIC 8 documentation (simple TXT file)
If you love hacking these old 8-bit machines, and would like to compare WalruSoft's BASIC 8 with my BASIC 7.80, then please Contact Me or post your thoughts on the (new) C128 Forums.

Find out more about BASIC 8 on Wikipedia!

Web page © H2Obsession, 2015
BASIC 8 © WalruSoft, 1986
BASIC 8 image © Mircosoft, 2014(?)