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Vision BASIC Cheat Sheet by

A cheat sheet for the Commodore 64 compiled programming language

Editing Keywords

Switches into assembler mode.
BANK [bank[ - bank][, on/off]]
Display the current bank number, or change to the bank specified. If on/off specified will enable or disable the banks.
Switches out of assembler mode.
COMP ["fi­len­ame­"[, devnum]]
Will compile the program in memory and optionally save it to a file. filename must be 12 characters or less if specified.
DELETE [start - end]
Will delete a range of lines from start to end from your program. With no parame­ters, acts like NEW.
DESC line#, label
Create a subroutine label and start the code at line#.
Will display the errors.
EXEC (>) command block
Will run a single line in immediate mode. Shorthand >
Enables speed up of some commands
FIND text
Searches the program in the current bank for lines containing text. Do not use quotes if searching for keywords. If searching for assembly, put a left bracket in front of the instru­ction.
LIST [line#[ - line#]]
Will display the program in memory. Can optionally only display lines between the given parame­ters.
LISTER [line#]
A scrollable LIST. If line# specified, will start at that line.
LITE [0/1]
With no parameter or a 1, will enable LITE mode. 0 will disable.
LLIST [line#[ - line#[, printe­r?]]]
Displays extended details about the program in memory. if the value of printer? is 1, the output will be sent to a printer.
NEW [bank[ - bank]]
Clears the current program bank, or banks specified.
OLD [bank[ - bank]]
Attempts to restore the program in the current bank, or banks specified.
PLIST [line#[ - line#]]
Sends the program LIST to a printer.
Quit Vision BASIC.
RENUM start - end, new[, step]
Will renumber the lines from start to end to new, using a step of 10 if not specified.
RUN [line#]
Runs the compiled, in memory program. If the program is not compiled or has been altered, will compile first. If line# specified, will start at that line number, otherwise will start from the first line of the program.
Run at normal C64 speeds.
VLIST [num]
Will display all of the variables from the program in memory. If num specified, will send the output to a printer.
Keywords related to writing, editing, modifying and displaying programs

Disk and File Commands

DEVICE devnum
Sets the device number for the default device.
DIR [num]
Lists the current device's directory. If num is supplied, will be sent to a printer
DISK ["co­mma­nd"[, devnum]]
Equivalent to OPEN 15,dev­num­,15­,"co­mma­nd":­CLOSE 15. Uses default device if not specified. Initia­lizes the device if command not specified.
LOAD "­fil­ena­me"[, devnum]
Load a file from the default device. If filename not specified, will use last specified filename.
SAVE "­fil­ena­me"[, devnum]
Save a file to the default device. Filename must be 12 characters or less. If filename not specified, will use last specified filename.
VERIFY "­fil­ena­me"[, devnum]
Verify the program in memory against a file on the default device. If filename not specified, will use last specified filename.
Commands related to using disk drives


At the end of a variable name, a $ specifies that the variable is a STRING.
Clears the memory used by all variables.
DECIMAL variable[, variable[, variable[, ...]]]
Creates new decimal variables.
DIM [DECIMAL] variab­le(­value)
Create array variable of value size.
Restores the global variable scope
Assigns a simple value to a simple variable. Useful for speed.
Starts a local scope for variables.
TAG tag = value
Creates a TAG named tag with the value value. Like a label in assembler.
VARIABLES [address]
Moves the program variable table to address or 32768 if not specified.
Variables must start with a letter, and can be up to 8 characters long.

Numbers and the symbols !, @, #, %, & and ? are allowed in variable names.

Anything past 8 characters is silently ignored.

Variable names can contain keywords, but cannot start with keywords.

Strings must be terminated with a dollar ($) sign.

All variables are assumed to be integer variables by default.

Tags cannot be to the left of an equals sign in a math expres­sion.


vov AND vov
Performs a logical (bitwise) AND.
vov OR vov
Performs a logical (bitwise) OR.
vov EOR vov
Performs a logical (bitwise) Exclusive OR.
Returns the absolute value of vov.
Returns the integer value of vov, rounded down.
Returns the sign of vov.
Returns the integer value of vov without rounding.
Returns the fractional value of vov, stripped of the sign.
Returns the absolute value of vov.
Initia­lizes the random number table
Generate a random number
The value of PI in decimal.
Parent­heses are not allowed in mathem­atical expres­sions.
e.g. A=4*(3+4) is not allowed and would need to be expressed as A=3+4:­A=A*4

Order of operations is not followed. All expres­sions are strictly evaluated from left to right.
e.g. 4+3*5-2*6 would be evaluated as 4 + 3 = 7, 7 * 5 = 35, 35 - 2 = 33, 33 * 6 = 198.

The functions USR, FRE, POS, SQR, LOG, EXP, COS, SIN, TAN and ATN are not available.

Speedy Math

ADD vop = vov + vov
COMPARE vov, vov
Both parameters must be 2 byte ints.
DEC vop
Decrements vop by 1.
Multiplies vop by 2.
HALF vop
Divides vop by 2.
INC vop
Increments vop by 1.
SUBTRACT vop = vov - vov
These commands only with with non-ar­rayed integer variables, tags and pointers, except INC, DEC, HALF and DOUBLE which also work on non-ar­rayed decimal variables.

Bitmap Commands

BITMAP [bmp, multic­olor, map, drawto, screen, color1, color2, color3, clearcol, clear map]
Turns modes bmp and multicolor on (1) or off (0).
BMPCLR [clear­map[, clearcol]]
Clears the currently visible bitmap screen if clearmap is 1, and color screen if clearcol is set to 1. If neither argument is specified, will clear both.
BMPCOL screen, color1, color2, color3, clearcol[, clearmap]
Sets the bitmap colors that will be used, and defines which screen to use. If clearmap is added and set to 1, will clear the bitmap.
BMPLOC map, drawto
map sets with bitmap screen will be visible (0-7). drawto sets with screen will be drawn to with the drawing commands.
HLINE x, y, len, color
Draws a straight, horizontal line starting at (x, y) and continuing to the right for len pixels with color color
LIMITS width, height, x-pos, y-pos, colorplot
Limits the area on the bitmap that drawing commands will affect.
LINE x1, y1[, x2, y2[, color]]
Draws a line on the bitmap from (x1, y1) to (x2, y2), in color color if specified. If x2 and y2 are not specified, will draw a line from (x1, y1) to the current coordi­nate.
PLOT x, y, color
Draws a pixel on the bitmap at coordi­nates (x, y) in color color.
VLINE x, y, len, color
Draws a straight, vertical line starting at (x, y) and going down for len pixels with color color
All parameters can be either values or variables. If a parameter is left off, a default or previous value will be used.

Sprite Commands

CODE values....
Any code following this command will be stored in memory at the location indicated by the "­cod­e" pointer.
COLLISION selection
Copies the collision registers and zeros the copied register. If selection is 0, copies the sprite­-to­-sprite register, if 1 copies the sprite­-to­-fo­reg­round register.
DETECT mob#[, mob#[, mob#[, ...]]]
Used after the COLLISION command. Checks is the specified sprites were involved in a collision.
MOB number, on, multic­olor, priority, x, y, x-add, y-add
Chooses which sprite to make current. Initia­lizes the sprite. number chooses which sprite (0-7). on turns it on or off, multicolor enables or disables multicolor mode, priority enables or disables background priority, x, y choose the initial coordi­nates, x-add and y-add set the offsets.
Clears all of the sprite registers. Recomm­ended to use at the beginning of your program if you're using sprites, and also when you want to clear the screen of sprites.
MOBCOL color, shared1, shared2
Sets the sprite colors. color sets the color of the current sprite, shared1 sets the first color shared by all multicolor sprites, shared2 sets the second.
MOBEXP x-expan, y-expan
Enables and disables the x-expansion and the y-expansion of the current sprite.
MOBPAT shape#, bank
Moves the CODE pointer to point at the specified sprite she's data. shape# specifies the shape to point at, bank specifies the bank where the coded data will be sent.
MOBSET shape#, number, number, number, ...
Initialize a sprite from The Spreditor.
MOBXY x, y, x-add, y-add
Moves the current sprite to the coordi­nates (x, y). x-add and y-add set the offsets.
SHAPE byte[, byte[, byte[, ...]]]
Changes the current sprite's shape. IF more than 1 shape specified, will set the shape for the following sprites.
Commands begin with MOB as a carryover from Simon's BASIC.

Interrupt Commands

Stops the interrupt totally, returning interrupts to normal.
Should be the last statement in your interrupt routine. If flag is 0, JMP to BASIC's hardware timer routine, 1 will RTI.
INTERRUPT raster, line#
Create a new raster interrupt at line raster (50-249) which calls the code at line#.
RASTER raster
Selects the next raster line to interrupt.
Should be the first command in your interrupt routine.
Lets you program raster interr­upts.

It is critical to halt your interrupts before exiting your program.

Using Machine Language

Branching and Jumping
Simply put the line number after the branch or jump command, e.g.
Tags and variables
Can be used in place of values and addresses
ML-safe commands
START address
Specifies the starting location for an ML program. Must be placed at the vey beginning on your ML program, and only used once.
Mnemonics must be enclosed in [] brackets, e.g.

A semicolon (;) starts a comment in ML mode.

BASIC Keywords

Returns the ASCII value of string
BUTTON joynum
Returns 1 if the joystick button is pressed, 0 if not.
BYTES count[, byte[, tag[, alignm­ent]]]
When compiling, will insert count bytes of value byte (default 0), with a (string) label of tag, aligned to alignment.
CHR$(vov[, count])
Appends ASCII character vov to a string, 1 or count times.
CLOCK [jiffies]
Sets the CLOCK to jiffies if specified, or 0 if not.
CLOSE file#, file#, ...
Close 1 or more files.
CLS [pokec­ode[, color]]
Clears the current text screen. Uses space if pokecode not specified. Colors will not be changed unless color is specified.
CMD file#[, string]
Redirects all I/O to file file#. Optionally sends string to the file.
COPY start, end, new
Copies the memory from addresses start - end to address new
DATA val, val, ...
Hold data to be READ later.
DEBUG 0 | 1
Enable (1) or disable (0) DEBUG mode, which reduces the number of passes for compil­ation. Will result in slower and larger programs.
Returns how much extended memory of type is attached to the system.
DO line#, times
Run line line# times times.
DUP$(string, count)
Duplicates string string count times.
ELSE statement
If the prior IF expression evaluated to FALSE, statement will be executed.
End the execution of the program and returns screen to normal.
FETCH count, destin­ation, reu[, bank]
Copies count bytes from an attached REU at address reu and bank bank to C64 address destin­ation
FILL start, end[, byte[, step]]
Fills the memory from address start to address end with value byte (default 0) increm­enting the address by step (default 1)
FOR var=start TO end [STEP val]
Defines a FOR loop that iterates variable var from the value start to the value end, defaulting to increm­enting by 1 if STEP is not defined, or by val if it is defined.
GET variable
Read a character and put in it variable
GET# file#, variable
Read a character from file# and put in it variable
GOSUB line#[, line#[, ...]]
Runs a subroutine at line#. If more than 1 line# is specified, will run each one in the order they are specified.
GOTO tag | line_n­umber
Jumps to the line_n­umber or tag in the program
Will stop compil­ation at this point. All previous code will be compiled.
IF expression [AND | OR | EOR expression]
Evaluates the expression and sets a flag that will be acted upon when the program reaches a THEN statement.
INPUT var, var, ...
Read lines and put the values in var.
INPUT# file#, var[, var[, ...]]
Read lines from file file# and store them in var
JOIN vop = low, high
The opposite of SPLIT
Returns the value of the joystick port joynum. joynum is typically 1 or 2.
KEYPRESS [vov[, vov]]
If vov not specified, will wait for any keypress, otherwise will wait for vov to be pressed. If a second vov is specified will act like an IF block and will be FALSE for first char or TRUE for second char.
LEFT$(string, count)
Returns count characters from the left of string
Returns the length of string.
LOC(x, y)
Moves the cursor to location x, y on the current text screen.
Will return a single value from address on a SuperCPU.
LONGPOKE address, val, val, val, ...
Will poke into the extended memory of a SuperCPU.
MID$(string, position, count)
Returns count charac­ters, starting at index position from string.
MODULE filename[, devnum[, address]]*
When compiling, write this section to separate module file filename for reusab­ility. The default device will be used if not specified. Address 49152 will be used for loading if not specified.
The end of the module to be written
NEXT var[, var[, ...]]
The end of the FOR loop. var must match the FOR loop you are contin­uing.
ON var GOSUB | GOTO line#, line#, ...
Will jump to line# that matches the value of var.
OPEN file#, dev#, secondary, string
Open a connection to device dev# assigning it to file file# with a secondary parameter of secondary and send string through the open file.
PADBUT joynum
Returns 1 if the paddle button is pressed, 0 if not.
PADDLE joynum
Returns the value of the paddle, 0-255. Paddles 1-2 are in joynum 1, 3-4 are in 2.
PAUSE seconds[, jiffies]
Will pause execution for seconds seconds. If an optional jiffies is specified, will pause for an additional (jiffies/60)s.
PEEK(vov[, index])
Will return the memory at address vov, optionally offset by index.
POKE address, vov, vov, vov, ...
Will put values vov in consec­utive memory starting at address. Can also be used with strings.
PRINT expression
Prints expression to the current text screen
PRINT# file#, expression
Print expresion to file file#
READ vop, vop, ...
Read values from a DATA statement
Turns the rest of the line into a comment.
RESTORE [line#]
Resets the pointer to the start of all DATA statem­ents, or to the DATA statement on line line#
Will resume compil­ation after a HALT. Must be at the beginning of a line, or it will be ignored.
Ends a subroutine and sends program flow back to the GOSUB statement.
REUPEEK(address, bank)
Will return the value from an attached REU at address in bank bank
REUPOKE address, bank, val, val, val, ...
Will write the values to an attached REU starting at address in bank bank
RIGHT$(string, count)
Returns count characters from the right of string
Prints vov spaces
SPLIT low, high[, high2] = vov
Splits a variable into low and high bytes.
STASH count, address, reu[, bank]
Copies count C64 memory bytes at address address to the attached REU address reu in bank bank
Reads and clears the STatus
Stops the program execution but does not reset the screen.
Converts number vov into a string.
STRINGS [size]
With no parameter, stretches the string field to 53247, otherwise to size.
SWAP count, c64, reu[, bank]
Swaps the main memory at address c64 with the memory on the attached REU at address reu in bank bank
SWITCH start, end, start2
Swaps the memory at addresses start - end with the memory starting at address start2
SYS address[, A, X, Y, ST]
Starts execution of ML code at address. If the A, X, Y and ST values are specified, they will be loaded into the registers before starting.
Moves the cursor to vov on the current line.
THEN statement
If the prior IF expression evaluated to TRUE, statement will be executed.
TRAP line#[, vop]
Sends control of your program to line# on error. vop if specified must be a non-ar­rayed int which will have the address of the error stored in it.
Returns the mathem­atical value of string.
VERSION number
Specifies which version of Vision BASIC needed to compile the block of code.
WAIT address, and, eor
Will wait for a non-0 result from PEEKing address and filtering with AND and and EOR eor
FOR-TO­-ST­EP-NEXT loops and DO loops will only work on integer variables.

Functions and subrou­tines

POINT vop = line#
Sets vop to the address of the compiled code for line line#.
POINT TAG tag = line#
Creates a tag and points it to the address of the compiled code for line line#.
PROC tag[. vop[, vop[, ...]]]
Defines the start of a subroutine named tag with parameters vop.
PASS vop[, vop[, vop[, ...]]]
Defines paramaters vop for a subrou­tine. Must be the first command after PROC if you're passing parame­ters.
End the subroutine and send execution back to the calling line.
SEND vov
Will make the subroutine return the value vov. This must be the final command before RETURN if used.
TAG tag[ = vov]
Creates a TAG named tag. If vov is not specified, tag will get the current address in the program. Used like a LABEL in assembler.
Call a subroutine like

Strings and string variables cannot be returned from subrou­tines.

Sound Commands

ADSR attack, decay, sustain, release
Specifies the attack, decay, sustain and release parameters for the current voice.
Sets the cutoff frequency to freq for the SID filtering system.
FILTER voice1, voice2, voice3, ext, resonance
Enables or disables the filters of voice1, voice2, voice3, the output of the external input and the resonance value.
FREQ freq
Specifies that the current voice will play frequency freq.
PULSE width
Specifies the pulse waveform width for the current voice.
Clears the sound registers
Chooses which voice will be used (1-3)
VOL volume, low, band, high, disconnect
Controls the main volume and filter selection. Can enable or disable the low, band and high pass filters. If disconnect is enables, discon­nects the output of voice 3.
WAVE gate, wave, ring, sync test
Enables or disables the gate. wave is 1 (trian­gle), 2 (sawto­oth), 4 (pulse) or 8 (noise). ring chooses ring modulate oscill­ators. sync chooses sync modulate oscill­ators. test enables or disables the voice oscill­ator.
All parameters can be values or variables. If a parameter is left off, a previously used value will be used, or a 0 if no value has been specified before.

The commands FREQ, PULSE, ADSR, and WAVE require you to set a current VOICE before calling them.

0 disables, 1 enables

Text Video Commands

BANK bank
Selects the active 16K memory bank for video. This is not for setting REU banks. You will probably not need to ever use this command.
BLANK blank[, off]
Blanks or restores the screen. off turns the video chip off comple­tely.
CHARPAT character, charset
Moves the "­cod­e" pointer to point at a specific character image. character is the character that you want to point at, charset is the character set that the character is in.
CHARSET charset
Selects the desired character set.
COLORS text, border, screen, color1, color2, color3
Sets the color registers.
COPYSET charset[, case]
Copies the C64 character set to location charset. If case is 0, copy uppercase, if 1 copy lowercase.
EXTENDED on[, color1, color2, color3]
Turns on or off extended color mode. If colors are supplied, will set the 3 background colors.
LOWERCASE [disable]
Changes the character set to lowercase. If disable is 1, disables keyboard toggling between upper and lower case.
MULTI on[, color1, color2]
Turns on or off multicolor mode. If colors are specified, will set the background colors.
Resets the screen to normal text mode.
UPPERCASE [disable]
Changes the character set to uppercase. If disable is 1, disables keyboard toggling between upper and lower case.
PANX panvalue, columns
Pans the screen horizo­ntally. panvalue can be 0-7 (0=none), if columns is 0, sets 38 column screen, 1 sets 40 column screen.
PANY panvalue, rows
Pans the screen vertic­ally. panvalue can be 0-7 (3=none). If rows is 0, 24 row screen, if 1, 25 row screen.
VIDLOC screen, printto, charset
Moves the text screen to and of the 64 1K screens available. screen chooses which 1K to use, printto chooses which screen to print to (you will probably want this to be equal to screen), charset selects to location of the character set.


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