NextBASIC commands

NextBASIC additional changes (Updated 30 Nov 2017)


This document describes planned new commands and features for NextBASIC. Many of these are largely complete already, but some are still to be implemented; the features as described will be available for the official January launch (as NextOS v2.00). It is in addition to the previous document which mostly concerned  partition and file commands.
Credits/Authors: Garry Lancaster and Phoebus Dokos.


Updates: 30 Nov 2017

The BANK command can now use banks 5,2,0 (the standard 48K memory) without restriction.


Added new BANK…LAYER command.


Noted that transparent pixels are not drawn by the TILE command.


Updates: 23 Nov 2017

Updated the notes on INPUT # which can now be used with other channels (file, memory, variable) as well as windows and the standard “K” channel.


The REMOUNT command should be entered when the user wishes to change the SD card. When the prompt “Remove/insert SD and press Y” is shown the SD card may be changed, and then the Y key should be pressed.


Updates: 14 Nov 2017

The auto-pause window control code (26,n) is changed: “n” is the number of character lines to be scrolled between pauses, not pixel lines. Also the bottom right-hand character square is now flashed rather than inverted to indicate when the window is paused and waiting for SPACE to be pressed.


By default, scrolling auto-pause is turned on for the layer 1/2 mode full-screen windows, so after a screen full of text has been printed the user must press SPACE to continue. This behaviour can be disabled using control code 26, as with other windows.


Updates: 6 Nov 2017

Removed “bright magenta” from description of the transparency colour (227) since the default value for ULA’s bright magenta has been changed to 231 and so it no longer acts as a transparency.


Note that the same clip window (as specified by the LAYER DIM command) is shared between layer 0 and all layer 1 modes. Layer 2 has its own clip window (as do the sprites, this being specified by the SPRITE DIM command).


Added new command REMOUNT (token code $99, with tokens << and >> now moved to $97 and $98 respectively). The REMOUNT command (no parameters) re-initialises the filesystem following an SD card change.


The following new command (not in the main text) will be added:


Reserves the next available free bank number and assigns it to the numeric variable var, ready for use in other BANK commands. This command is useful for allocating banks for use in BASIC, allowing for cases where a resident machine code program has previously allocated banks for its own use. (It is not essential to use this command, as commands such as BANK..LOAD will automatically allocate the specified bank for use by BASIC, but only if the specified bank is not already in use by a resident machine code program.)


Behaviour of NEW in relation to banks has now changed: a NEW now does not mark banks reserved by BASIC as free again; this only happens at a reset.


Updates: 21 Oct 2017

STRIP1/STRIP2 removed from system variables and replaced with TMPVARS.

INKHR system variable replaced with ATTRHR.


Clarified that the extended ULANext colour ranges are only allowed to be specified with INK/PAPER in layer 1 modes (mode 1 – standard, or mode 3 – Timex hi-colour). In layer 0 only the standard colour ranges 0..7 can be specified for INK/PAPER (although any desired ULANext colour scheme can be selected for use in layer 0 by POKEing the calculated attribute value into the system variable ATTR_P).


Clarified that hi-res colour schemes can be chosen using either INK or PAPER.


Clarified that FLASH, BRIGHT and ATTR commands and window control codes are ignored unless used in standard or Timex hi-colour modes (with FLASH and BRIGHT always ignored if ULANext colours are enabled).


Updates: 10 Oct 2017

There will no longer be a restriction on the address for user-defined character sets.


Clarified that changing character set size also causes the window print position to be moved to the start of the next line.


Clarified that window save/load is costly in terms of memory.


Clarified that all commands using the standard “s” channel (not just PRINT) will  operate in the currently-selected layer/mode.


Window control code 26 is now “auto-pause” instead of “fill with byte”.


Added new integer expressions section.


Added new token codes for >> and <<.


The following new command (not in the main text) will be added:



Marks bank n as free for use by other parts of the system (eg dot commands). Banks are marked as used by BASIC by commands that modify them (eg BANK..POKE/COPY/ERASE/USR and LOAD..BANK). Marked banks remain reserved after a NEW command, and are only released at a reset (or with this command).


Updates: 5 Oct 2017

Updated text to clarify some details of how different attributes are handled in different modes.


The following new commands (not in the main text) will be added:


LAYER DIM x1,y1,x2,y2

Sets the clip window for the current layer from (x1,y1) to (x2,y2). Areas of the layer outside this window are not visible.


SPRITE DIM x1,y1,x2,y2

Sets the clip window for sprites from (x1,y1) to (x2,y2). Any part of a sprite outside this window is not visible.


POINT x,y,var

Checks the pixel on the current layer at (x,y) and stores the value in variable var.

The value will be 0 or 1 for standard Spectrum modes and Timex hi-res and hi-colour modes (pixel off or on). The value will be 0-255 for lo-res and layer 2 (actual pixel colour).


Initial version as at 3 Oct 2017


Deprecated commands

As well as those previously noted, the following command is no longer available:


This is no longer necessary, since it is now possible to load headerless files as CODE files.


New keyword tokens

The following keyword tokens are defined in addition to SPECTRUM, PLAY and all the 48K BASIC tokens:

<< $97

>> $98


BANK $9a

TILE $9b


PALETTE     $9d


PWD $9f

CD $a0


RMDIR      $a2


New errors

Invalid mode

Direct command only


New commands (PALETTE, BANK, SPRITE, LAYER, TILE) issue the following errors:

4 Out of memory

5 Out of screen

A Invalid argument

B Integer out of range

K Invalid colour

M RAMTOP no good

Invalid mode

Direct command only


Extended commands

The standard LOAD, SAVE and VERIFY commands (which work with tape as well as SD/RAMdisk files) now also have the following new variants (all with LOAD, SAVE or VERIFY; only LOAD shown):


load/save/verify 16K of data in memory bank n

LOAD f$ BANK n,offset,len

load/save/verify len bytes of data starting at offset offset in bank n


load/save/verify screen for the active layer (like SCREEN$ but may use 6.75K, 12K or 48K of data depending upon active layer)


Memory bank access

The Next comes with between 1MB and 2MB of RAM, divided into 16K banks. These are numbered as follows under NextOS:


0..7 Same as the standard RAM banks on all 128K Spectrums.

8..47 Additional RAM banks available on 1MB Nexts.

48..111 Further additional RAM banks available on 2MB Nexts.


(the remaining 256K is used for ROMs and the DivMMC interface, and is unavailable to users).


Under NextOS the memory capacity is shown in the on-screen menus. It can also be  queried programmatically by examining the new system variable, MAXBNK, which contains the number of the highest usable bank in the system (normally 47 or 111).


NextOS uses the first 9 RAM banks as follows:

0 Standard 48K Spectrum memory (at 49152-65535)

1 RAMdisk

2 Standard 48K Spectrum memory (at 32768-49151)

3 RAMdisk

4 RAMdisk

5 Standard 48K Spectrum memory (at 16384-32767)

6 RAMdisk

7 Used for workspace and data structures by NextOS

8 Used for additional screen data (in lo-res, Timex hi-res and Timex

hi-colour modes) and other data by NextOS


Banks 9+ are always available to the programmer, and can be accessed using the new BANK command (and extended LOAD/SAVE/VERIFY..BANK.. commands seen previously).


Banks 5,2,0 (the standard 48K Spectrum memory) may also be used without restriction in the BANK command, but it should be noted that it is generally only safe to use the screen area (0-6911 in bank 5) plus any memory located above RAMTOP – the rest of the memory is managed by NextBASIC and should not be modified.


Banks 1,3,4,6 can be used if the BANK 1346 USR command has been executed.


Banks 7 and 8 are for system use only, and can never be used in a BANK command.


The following new commands are available to manipulate banks:


BANK n POKE offset,value

POKE a byte value at offset offset (0-16383) in bank n


BANK n PEEK offset,var

PEEK a byte at offset offset (0-16383) in bank n, and store the value in numeric variable var



Copy all 16K from bank n to bank n2


BANK n COPY offset,len TO n2,offset2

Copy len bytes starting at offset offset in bank n to offset offset2 in bank n2



BANK n ERASE value

Fill all 16K of bank n with value (zero is used if value not specified)


BANK n ERASE offset,len

BANK n ERASE offset,len,value

Fill len bytes at offset offset in bank n with value (zero is used if value not specified)



Allow banks 1,3,4,6 to be used in the BANK command. This will delete all files on the RAMdisk and unmap it from any drive it is currently mapped to (usually M:).



Release banks 1,3,4,6 for use by the RAMdisk again. (The RAMdisk will need to be mapped back to a drive using the MOVE..IN command).


BANK n LAYER x,y,w,h TO [rop] offset

Copies data from the screen (in the current mode) to offset in bank n.

BANK n LAYER offset TO [rop] x,y,w,h

Copies data to the screen (in the current mode) from offset in bank n.


[rop] is an optional symbol modifier which affects how the data is copied:

 TO (no symbol) straightforward copy

 TO & AND the copied data into the destination

 TO | OR the copied data into the destination

 TO ^ XOR the copied data into the destination

 TO ~ copy data into the destination unless it is equal to the

global transparency colour (default 227); in this case,

leave the destination unchanged


The area of screen copied by BANK…LAYER is defined by the top left character position x,y and width w characters, height h characters. (As with windows, character positions range from x=0..31 and y=0..23 for all modes except lo-res, where they range from x=0..15 and y=0..11).


Data copied from the screen is laid out as follows, depending upon currently selected layer/mode:


Standard resolution (layer 0 or layer 1,1)

The attribute data comes first, stored as h consecutive rows of attributes, w bytes wide.

Following this is the screen data, stored as h*8 consecutive rows of pixel data, w bytes wide.

The total memory used is therefore w*h*9 bytes.


Timex hi-res (layer 1,2)

In this mode, each “character” position is 16 pixels wide, comprising a “left” and “right” half.

The screen data is stored as h*8 consecutive pixel rows of data.

For each row, the first w bytes comprise the left halves of all characters.

The next w bytes in the row comprise the right halves of all the characters.

The total memory used is therefore w*h*16 bytes.


Timex hi-colour (layer 1,3)

The screen data is stored as h*8 consecutive pixel rows of data.

For each row, the first w bytes comprise the pixel data.

The next w bytes in the row comprise the attribute data.

The total memory used is therefore w*h*16 bytes.


Lo-res (layer 1,0) and layer 2

The data is stored as h*8 consecutive pixel rows of data.

For each row, there are w*8 bytes, with each byte representing a single pixel.

The total memory used is therefore w*h*64 bytes.


Palette manipulation

The Next provides 6 palettes: 2 palettes each (numbered 0 and 1) for sprites, ULA modes, and layer2. All can be manipulated in BASIC. Note that the Editor will use ULA palette 1 so it is safe to muck around with palette 0 without risk of being unable to see what’s going on (the current palette will be restored by the Editor when BASIC is running).


The following new palette manipulation commands are available:



Palettes being specified in the LAYER PALETTE BANK and SPRITE PALETTE BANK commands use n bits per colour (n=8 or 9), ie 256 bytes or 512 bytes (default value is n=9).



Enable the ULANext extended palette with n INKs (1,3,7,15,31,63,127 or 255)

When the ULANext extended palette is enabled, BRIGHT and FLASH are not allowed (in standard and Timex hi-colour modes), and INK and PAPER accept the appropriate new range of values (layer 1 modes only – see later notes).

If n=0, disables the ULANext extended palette and uses standard attributes with 8 inks, 8 papers, bright and flash.



Sets the global transparency colour to n (default value is 227)



Resets all palettes and related settings to defaults. This is also done by NEW.



The Next provides 64 sprites (size 16×16 pixels). These can be manipulated with the following new commands:



Defines all 64 sprite patterns using the 16K of data (256 bytes per sprite) in bank b.


SPRITE BANK b,offset,p,n

Defines n sprite patterns starting with pattern p. Pattern data begins at offset offset in bank b.



Switch to using sprite palette n (0 or 1)



Set sprite palette n from bank b, at offset offset. Either 256 bytes or 512 bytes of data is used, depending upon the PALETTE DIM setting.



Set sprite palette n, index i to value v

NOTE: v is always specified as a 9-bit value RRRGGGBBB (0-511) regardless of the PALETTE DIM setting, and can be conveniently specified using the standard Spectrum BIN function.



Enable (n=1) or disable (n=0) sprites



Enable (n=1) or disable (n=0) sprites over the border


SPRITE s,x,y,i,f

Set sprite s to image i, position (x,y) with flags f, which is a bitmask:

bit 0=visible flag

bit 1=rotate flag

bit 2=Y-mirror flag

bit 3=X-mirror flag

bits 4..7=palette offset (or zero)

Again the BIN function can be used to specify this more conveniently.



Resets the sprite attributes and global settings to defaults. This is also done by NEW.


Layers and modes

The Next provides various new graphics modes, to which NextBASIC gives access using the LAYER command.


There are conceptually 3 layers of graphics which can be seen on the screen at the same time (the 3 layers can be placed in any front-to-back order). The top layer is usually the sprites, which are manipulated with the SPRITE command. The other 2 layers are manipulated by the LAYER command. The “bottom” of these two layers can only be seen where the “top” layer has the transparency colour (227).


Layer 1 is the ULA screen, and by default is the bottom layer.

This can be in any of 4 different modes:

  • mode 0: lo-res mode (128×96 pixels, each can be any of 256 colours)
  • mode 1: standard Spectrum screen mode (256×192 pixels, with 32×24 attributes)
  • mode 2: Timex hi-res mode (512×192 pixels, monochrome but with 8 different selectable global ink/paper combinations)
  • mode 3: Timex hi-colour mode (256×192 pixels, with 32×192 attributes)


Layer 2 is 256×192 pixels, each can be any of 256 colours. By default it is the top layer but disabled, so does not usually obscure the layer 1 screen.


The LAYER command allows either layer to be selected (and for layer 1, any of the 4 available modes to be selected). After the LAYER command takes effect, all of the following standard Spectrum commands take place on the selected layer/mode (until another LAYER command is issued):


  • CLS
  • PRINT, LIST, CAT etc (through the standard “s” channel, usually on stream 2)



NOTE: The ATTR, POINT and SCREEN$ functions do not take account of the layer/mode settings, and only refer to the standard Spectrum screen.


BRIGHT and FLASH are only effective in standard and hi-colour modes (and only when the ULANext extended palette is not enabled).

INK and PAPER values can range from 0..255 in lo-res and layer 2.

In hi-res mode, either INK or PAPER can be used to select the appropriate colour scheme (see list later).


The LAYER command also allows you to select layer 0. This is the default layer/mode when NextOS starts and is identical to the standard Spectrum screen mode used on 48K/128K Spectrums. This is the mode you should select in order to load and run standard Spectrum software.


You can switch back and forth between layer 1 and layer 2 without affecting what is on the screen (as long as you always select the same layer 1 mode each time). This allows BASIC programs to enable and manipulate both layer 1 and layer 2 screens, and use transparent areas so that both can be seen together.


The following LAYER commands are available:



Select layer 0, standard Spectrum mode



Select lo-res mode



Select standard resolution mode



Select Timex hi-res mode



Select Timex hi-colour mode



Select layer2



Select layer2, and disable displaying it



Select layer2, and enable displaying it



Switch to using palette n (0 or 1) for the current layer



Set palette n for the current layer from bank b, at offset offset. Either 256 bytes or 512 bytes of data is used, depending upon the PALETTE DIM setting.



Set palette n for the current layer, index i to value v

NOTE: v is always specified as a 9-bit value RRRGGGBBB (0-511) regardless of the PALETTE DIM setting, and can be conveniently specified using the standard Spectrum BIN function.



(Layer 2 or lo-res only).

Set the display offset for the top-left of the screen for the current layer to x,y. This is used for scrolling effects.



Set sprite/layer SLU ordering:

n=BIN 000 sprites over layer2 over ULA (layer1) – the default

n=BIN 001 layer2 over sprites over ULA (layer1)

n=BIN 010 sprites over ULA (layer1) over layer2

n=BIN 011 layer2 over ULA (layer1) over sprites

n=BIN 100 ULA (layer1) over sprites over layer2

n=BIN 101 ULA (layer1) over layer2 over sprites



(Layer 2 only). Set current banks n..n+2 as frontbuffer (to be displayed) and banks m..m+2 as backbuffer (for rendering). These values can be the same and both default to 9.



LAYER ERASE x,y,w,h,f

(Layer 2 or lo-res only).

Fill region width w pixels, height h pixels, top-left corner x,y with value f. If f is not specifed, the current global transparency value (usually 227) is used.



Reset all layer information to defaults. This is also done by NEW.

Resets banks, mode, layer2 enable, layer offsets, layer ordering.


Differences between layer 0 and layer 1 mode 1.

Layer 0 behaves in exactly the same way as the screen always has on 48K and 128K Spectrums. Layer 1 mode 1 has the same resolution and attributes, but behaves in a slightly different manner under NextBASIC. It shares this same behaviour with all other layer 1 modes (and layer 2).


In layer 0, the standard Spectrum memory map is in force (ROM, RAM 5, RAM 2, RAM 0). However, in all layer 1 modes, the top 8K of RAM 5 is replaced with 8K from the NextOS RAM 8 bank. This is done so that BASIC still has access to the same amount of memory as usual (~41K); without this change, it would lose about 6K to the new screen modes.


The other main differences are:


Layer 0 pixel coordinates (used by PLOT, DRAW, CIRCLE) run from (0,0) at the bottom left on the main screen area to (255,175) at the top right. The bottom two screen lines are not normally accessible to these commands. However, in layer 1 modes, pixel coordinates run from (0,0) at the top left of the screen to (255,191) at the bottom right (511,191 in hi-res mode, 127,95 in lo-res mode).


Layer 0 PRINT coordinates (on channel “s”) are in character squares, defined as (0,0) at the top left and (21,31) at the bottom right (again, the lower screen is not usually accessible).


Layer 0 only accepts standard colour ranges (0..7 for INK/PAPER etc). Colours from the extended ULANext palette with numbers higher than 7 can generally only be specified in layer 1 (mode 1 – standard, or mode 3 – Timex hi-colour). For layer 0 you can, however, POKE the system variable ATTR_P with the calculated attribute value required and the desired ULANext colours will be used.


Layer 1/2 modes all use a full-screen system-defined text window for any PRINTs directed to channel “s”. Therefore they generally use the same control codes as other text windows (except justify and save/load are not available), and AT coordinates are defined using a pixel line number and a character position (the number of positions depending upon the character set size selected).


By default, scrolling auto-pause is turned on for the layer 1/2 mode full-screen windows, so after a screen full of text has been printed the user must press SPACE to continue. This behaviour can be disabled using control code 26, as with other windows.


Layer 1/2 modes do not support “9” to mean contrast (for PAPER/INK) or “8” to mean transparent (for PAPER/INK/BRIGHT/FLASH). These are taken to mean actual colour numbers from the ULANext extended palette.


Timex Hi-Res colour scheme

The colour scheme for hi-res mode is selected using INK or PAPER (either as a direct command or by PRINTing to the hi-res screen or a window). This will immediately change the whole colour scheme. The colour schemes available (can be altered using ULANext palettes) are:


INK 0 (or PAPER 7) black on white

INK 1 (or PAPER 6) blue on yellow

INK 2 (or PAPER 5) red on cyan

INK 3 (or PAPER 4) magenta on green

INK 4 (or PAPER 3) green on magenta

INK 5 (or PAPER 2) cyan on red

INK 6 (or PAPER 1) yellow on blue

INK 7 (or PAPER 0) white on black

Tiling commands

For layer 2 and lo-res modes, there are new commands available to draw complete screens (or sections of a screen) from a set of tiles and a tilemap.


Tiles are either 8×8 pixels in size or 16×16 pixels in size. This allows a 16K bank to hold 256 8×8 tiles or 64 16×16 tiles. Tiles are numbered 0..255. Therefore, a complete set of 8×8 tiles occupies a single 16K bank, and a complete set of 16×16 tiles occupies 4 16K banks. If you use 16×16 tiles, you can restrict the tile numbers used and therefore reduce the memory requirements (eg if you need 64 or fewer different tiles, only 1 16K bank is required).


A tilemap is a linear map of 8-bit tile numbers. The user can specify any width up to 2048 tiles; each row of tiles follows directly after the previous one.

The tilemap must be fully contained in a single 16K bank. This gives a maximum tilemap size of 256×64, 128×128, 2048×8 etc.


Any pixels in a tile which are the same colour as the current global transparency colour (which defaults to 227) will not be written to the screen. If you want to draw pixels containing the global transparency colour you can temporarily change it to another colour (not used in your tiles) using the PALETTE OVER command before using TILE. Alternatively, you can use the LAYER ERASE command to clear regions of the screen to the global transparency colour before drawing tiles on top.


Information on layer 2 and lo-res tilemaps is stored separately, so you can use both. The TILE commands affect the currently selected layer/mode. They are:



Define bank n as containing the tiles (up to 4 banks n..n+3 if 16×16 tiles)


TILE DIM n,offset,w,tilesize

Define bank n as containing the tilemap, starting at offset offset in the bank. The tilemap is width w (1-2048) and uses 8×8 (tilesize=8) or 16×16 (tilesize=16) tiles.




Draw entire screen from tilemap, from tile offset x,y in the tilemap (0,0 if not specified).


TILE w,h

TILE w,h AT x,y

TILE w,h TO x2,y2

TILE w,h AT x,y TO x2,y2

Draw section of screen from tilemap.

Number of tiles to draw is width w, height h.

Draw from tile offset x,y in the tilemap (or 0,0 if not specified).

Draw to tile offset x2,y2 on the screen (or 0,0 if not specified).


Text window changes

There are some changes to the text window channels from those used in the +3e.


As noted earlier, there are 4 system-maintained full-screen windows which are used for all PRINTing through the standard “s” channel when one of the layer 1 modes is selected, and most of the changes were made to accommodate this.


Windows can only be used in the same layer/mode that was active when they were defined. Control codes not listed here behave in exactly the same was as on +3e v1.43.


Control code Differences


0 On user-defined windows, turns justification off (as +3e)

On system windows, increases the current character set width (can range from 3 to 8 pixels), and moves the cursor to the

start of the next line.


1 On user-defined windows, turns justification on (as +3e)

On system windows, decreases the current character set width (can range from 3 to 8 pixels), and moves the cursor to the

start of the next line.


2 On user-defined windows, saves window contents (as +3e)

On system windows, causes the size 8 character set to be

replaced with the character set defined by the CHARS system



3 On user-defined windows, restores window contents (as +3e)

On system windows, causes the size 3..7 character sets to be



15 Wash window. This does nothing on layer 2 or lo-res windows.


18,n FLASH n. Ignored unless in standard or Timex hi-colour modes, and ULANext is not enabled.


19,n BRIGHT n. Ignored unless in standard or Timex hi-colour modes, and ULANext is not enabled.


24,n ATTR n. Ignored in lo-res, layer2 and Timex hi-res modes.


25,n Kern adjust. This moves the position within the window left

by n pixels, and can be used for primitive kerning.


Previously this control code turned on or off extended UDGs

for codes 165-255 instead of keyword tokens. Under NextOS

extended UDGs are always used (LIST will expand keywords so keyword token codes will not normally be seen by windows anyway)


26,n Auto-pause every n character lines.

After each n character lines have been scrolled out of the

window, output will automatically pause until the SPACE key

is pressed (the bottom right character in the window will be flashed to indicate SPACE is being waited for).

After a window has been cleared, the first pause occurs before

any lines have been scrolled out; subsequent pauses wait for n

character lines. Typically you would want to set “n” to the height of the window.

If set to zero (the default), auto-pause is disabled.


30,n On user-defined windows, selects justification mode 0, 1 or 2 (as +3e).

On system windows, changes the current character set width to

n (can be 3,4,5,6,7 or 8 pixels), and moves the cursor to the

start of the next line.


31,n On user-defined windows, selects whether embedded codes are

permitted in justify mode (as +3e).

On system windows, causes the size n character set to be

replaced with the character set defined by the CHARS system



User character sets

If the default character set(s) are replaced using control codes 2, 3 or 31 in a system window, any subsequent text printed in any window (which doesn’t have its own user-defined character set) will use the new character set(s).


The system-defined character sets are partially shared: sizes 3 and 4 use the same set (only the leftmost 3 pixels are used for size 3), and similarly so do sizes 5 and 6. This should be borne in mind when replacing system character sets using control code 31.


Window input

Text windows now support the INPUT command, as in ResiDOS. If you use INPUT #, then a cursor is added to the window at the current position. The user can then input any text desired, using the left and right arrows to move along the text input so far, or the up and down arrows to move to the start or end of the text. The DELETE key deletes the character to the left of the cursor, and the ENTER key completes the input. Up to 191 characters can be accepted into each input variable.


INPUT # may also now be used with other channels such as file, memory and variable channels. In these cases it is advisable to avoid any accidental outputs to the channels, by not using any prompt strings, and by using only the semicolon as a separator. In most cases you will want to input a string using the LINE modifier; without this, the data in the file (or other channel) would need to be surrounded with quotes.


Window definitions

Windows are still defined using character squares as before. In lo-res mode, this means the maximum window size is 16×12 (not 32×24). In hi-res mode, characters are considered to be 16 pixels wide, so the maximum window size is still 32×24 for this mode.


Memory constraints

It should be noted that saving/loading window contents (only available on user-defined windows) is a costly operation. The amount of memory required for each character square is:

  • 9 bytes (standard resolution mode)
  • 16 bytes (Timex hi-res or hi-colour modes)
  • 64 bytes (lo-res or layer2 modes)


For example, a 10×10 window in layer2 would require 6400 bytes of available memory for saving the contents.

BASIC Program Extensions

It is now possible to write BASIC programs larger than the usual ~41K with a little extra effort. Sections of BASIC programs can be copied into any memory bank available to the user (and saved/loaded with the SAVE/LOAD..BANK commands), and the program can then switch between lines in the “main” program area and a bank.


The following new commands are available to manage banked sections of BASIC programs:



Copies lines x to y inclusive from the main program to bank n. The total number of bytes used in the bank will be shown.

Once this has been done it is not possible to change or delete any lines in the banked section (except by completely overwriting the bank’s contents using another BANK…LINE command).




List lines (optionally from l) in bank n



Copy all lines back from bank n into the main program



GOTO line l in bank n. To GOTO the main program from a banked section, use n=-1.



GOSUB line l in bank n. To GOSUB the main program from a banked section, use n=-1.



Set the DATA pointer to line l in bank n



Any GOTO or GOSUB within a banked section will go to a line in the same bank.


Any RETURN will always return to the calling bank.


DEF FN statements must be in the main program; they will not be searched for in banked sections.


Lines in banks can have the same numbers as main program lines.


Renumbers won’t affect or take into account lines in banked sections.


Commands that affect program lines can only be used as direct commands, and not be part of a program. These are:

ERASE first,last

LINE first,last TO start,step




Integer variables and expressions


For additional speed and memory efficiency, NextBASIC provides a new integer expression evaluator. All integer values are treated as unsigned 16-bit values, and all operations are performed modulo 65535, with no checks for overflow/underflow (except division by zero, which results in error 6, Number too big).


A fixed set of integer variables are provided: the user cannot define additional variables. The two main advantages of a fixed set of variables are:

  • speed of access (all integer variables are at a known location)
  • memory usage – the integer variables are stored in some of the RAM 8 bank reserved by NextOS, and hence do not use any space in the normal BASIC/variables area


All integer variables are erased to zero at RUN, CLEAR and NEW. Note, however, that integer variables are not saved/loaded along with BASIC programs, as is the case with normal floating-point and string variables.


There are 26 integer variables provided, named A to Z (can also be referred to in lower-case, a to z). There are also 26 integer variable arrays provided, named A() to Z() (or a() to z()), each containing 64 elements, numbered 0 to 63.


Note that array elements are numbered from 0, not 1 as in normal floating-point/string arrays. Also note that integer array element A(0) is not the same as integer variable A.


The following unary operators may precede any integer value or expression:

+ unary plus

unary minus

! bitwise not


Literal numbers can be specified in decimal (the default), hexadecimal (preceded by the $ symbol) or binary (preceded by the @ symbol), eg:






The following binary operators are available:

+ add


* multiply

/ divide

% modulus (remainder)

<< shift left

>> shift right

& bitwise AND

| bitwise OR

^ bitwise XOR

< less than

> greater than

= equal to

<= less than or equal to

>= greater than or equal to

<> not equal to


The six relational operators always produce a result of $0000 for false and $ffff for true.


Operations are performed in strictly left-to-right order, unless overridden by the use of parentheses.


An integer expression can be used in any BASIC line where a numeric expression is normally expected. To indicate an integer expression instead of a floating point expression, a % symbol must always precede an integer expression (further % symbols within the integer expression are treated as the modulus operator).


Similarly, integer variables can be used in assignments (such as LET) by preceding their name with a %.


It is not possible to access standard numeric variables or functions within an integer expression, or to access integer variables or operations within a standard numeric expression.


It is possible to assign an integer expression to a standard normal numeric variable, or vice-versa, and the value will be converted appropriately. For example, all the following assignments are valid:


LET %A=2*PI*radius

assigns truncated floating point calculation to integer variable A


LET %B=%B+(A(7)<<3)

shifts integer array element A(7) left 3 bits and adds to integer variable B


LET addr=%x(1)<<8+x(0)

calculates standard numeric variable addr from low and high bytes in integer array X elements 0 and 1


Note that DEF FN does not support user-defined integer functions.

System variable changes

The following system variables have been changed (same format as +3 manual):


X1 5B68H (23400) FLAGN Flags for the NextOS system (was XLOC)

1 5B69H (23401) MAXBNK Maximum available RAM bank (was YLOC)

1 5B73H (23411) TILEBNKL Tiles bank for lo-res (was RC LINE)

1 5B74H (23412) TILEML Tilemap bank for lo-res (was RC LINE+1)

1 5B75H (23413) TILEBNK2 Tiles bank for layer2 (was RC START)

1 5B76H (23414) TILEM2 Tilemap bank for layer2 (was RC START+1)

X1 5B77H (23415) NXTBNK Bank containing NXTLIN (was RC STEP)

X1 5B78H (23416) DATABNK Bank containing DATADD (was RC STEP+1)

N1 5B7BH (23419) L2SOFT Softcopy of layer2 port (was DUMPLF)

X1 5C7FH (23679) GMODE Graphical layer/mode flags (was P POSN)


The following system variables have been inserted where STRIP1 and STRIP2 were, within the temporary TSTACK area. This means that there are now only a guaranteed 107 bytes of TSTACK when calling +3DOS:


2 5B7CH (23420) TILEWL Width of lo-res tilemap

2 5B7EH (23422) TILEW2 Width of layer2 tilemap

2 5B80H (23424) TILEOFFL Offset in bank for lo-res tilemap

2 5B82H (23426) TILEOFF2 Offset in bank for layer2 tilemap

2 5B84H (23428) COORDSL x,y coords of last point plotted (lo-res)

2 5B86H (23430) COORDS2 x,y coords of last point plotted (layer 2)

2 5B88H (23432) COORDSULA x,y coords of last point (standard)

2 5B8AH (23434) COORDSHR x,y coords of last point (hi-res)

2 5B8CH (23436) COORDSHC x,y coords of last point (hi-colour)

1 5B8EH (23438) INKL INK colour for lo-res mode

1 5B8FH (23439) INK2 INK colour for layer2 mode

1 5B90H (23440) ATTRULA Attributes for standard mode

1 5B91H (23441) ATTRHR Attributes for hi-res mode (only paper colour in bits 3..5 is used)

1 5B92H (23442) ATTRHC Attributes for hi-colour mode

1 5B93H (23443) INKMASK Softcopy of ULANext inks mask (or 0)

Nx 5B94H (23444) TMPVARS Base of temporary system variables (space

shared with bottom of TSTACK)