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LOAD "TWO IN ONE REVIEW"

Classification: Utility
Publisher: Loadstar (Softdisk, Inc)
Programmer: Nick Peck
Year: 1987
Disk: 2in1.d64

When you are using your modern PC, along with your favorite Commodore 64 emulator, you have the ability of running several instances of the C64 environment at the same time. This is very convenient and helps address several limitations that come from working with an actual C64.

But, how would you like to run two BASiC programs at the same time on your authentic C64? This is what Two In One allows you to do. It was written by Nick Peck and published in Loadstar issue #42. Technically, it doesn't provide multi-tasking on the C64, it's more like a multi-desktop environment. The program divides the C64's BASIC RAM into two partitions, which allows you to then store two separate programs in and switch between them at will, using the command CTRL + F5.

Load the program by typing LOAD “TWO IN ONE”,8 and then RUN. You are then presented with the configuration screen, where you choose how much RAM space to assign to each partition (a.k.a Section).

Two In One Config Screen

You are then taken to the BASIC editor for section One, which is given a green on black colour scheme, and the READY prompt is replaced with a ONE prompt. To switch to the section Two, press the keys CTRL and F5 together. The second section is identified by the standard light blue on dark blue colour scheme, with the READY prompt replaced by a TWO prompt.

 Partition ONE  Partition TWO

Within each section, BASIC performs just the same as you'd expect it to perform; all of the commands and functions are there. All run-of-the-mill BASIC programs should function without issue. Take note that, although you can work with two programs loaded into memory at the same time, the C64 cannot execute them at the same time. When you run the first program, in section One, and then switch to section Two, the program in section One is suspended, while you work in section Two. When you return to section One, the C64 picks up where it left off, when you switched over. That's why I say it's more like dual desktops than multi-tasking.

Although it's not multi-tasking, this utility can be very useful when it comes to coding and bug squashing your BASIC programs. When I use it, I typically put most of the available RAM in section One, which contains the program I'm working on at the time. I then use section Two to handle any reference work I need to do, like looking at a floppy disk directory, or jotting down notes, references, and variables I need to keep track of while I do my coding.

 List a program List a directory

I've also used section Two to run my Quicknotes program, while I do other work in section One. When you think about it, having that extra BASIC environment can be a real asset when coding on a real C64.

It can have a real advantage for those writing programs on TheC64 and TheC64Mini, as well. Sure, TheC64 allows you to use Save States to switch between programs, but I think that it would be much more convenient to use Two In One. Rather than having to go through the whole save and load process with TheC64 menu, pressing CTRL + F5 to jump between two environments just seems so much easier.

Two In One isn't going to match what you can do on a modern PC running multiple instances of VICE (for example), but it does provide some extra functionality and convenience to programming in BASIC on a real C64 or C64Mini/Maxi, if you're so inclined.

Footnote: In response to a comment about the possibility of copying and pasting code between the two sections, I posted this in my blog...


This review was composed on my C128 with ArcheType.

reviews/2in1.txt · Last modified: 2020/03/16 00:15 by David