Setting up for C64 Assembly Coding

In this brief tutorial I want to look at how we can setup KickAssembly for the C64 and Visual Code in order to code, compile and run programs on the C64.

Things you will need:

  • 7-Zip
  • Up to date Java installation which can be found at the Java Website
  • A copy of Vice – the C64 Emulator. This can be downloaded at the Vice Website.

Downloading Kick Assembly

Firstly, we need to grab a copy of Kick Assembler. This runs off a .jar file and is the reason we needed an up to date Java installation. You can find the Kick Assembly download at the official website.

The package will download in the form of a zip file. Create a location to unzip the contents and you should have all the files below.

Next we need a code editor – for this I am choosing Visual Studio Code. A lightweight version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio product.

Downloading and Configuring Visual Studio Code

Download Visual Studio code from the official Microsoft Website. Install and Run this in a location of your choice. This is a fairly sophisticated and user friendly code editor and will suit your needs perfectly for C64 Assembly programming.

Adding the C64 KickAssembly Extension

Open your Extensions window by clicking the symbol below in Visual Studio Code

Once this is opened, search in the Marketplace for Kick Assembler (C64) by Thomas Conte. When you locate this extension, click the install button to enable it in Visual Studio Code. You should see the following:

Confiiguring Kick Assembler (C64) Settings

Now we need to configure the settings for this extension. Copy the location of where the Kick Assembler Jar file is located on your machine.

Click the Settings wheel beside the C64 Extension and choose the option Configure Extension Settings. This will open another window. Paste the entire path of the Kick Assembler Jar files location in the section saying Full Path to Jar File.

Configuring Visual Studio Code to Compile and Run programs on Vice Emulator

It’s really handy to be able to build and execute your programs on the C64 emulator to test them properly. In order to do this we need to modify the contents of the KickAss.cfg file.

Open this file in your Visual Studio Code editor and add the following lines:

The odir command will create a directory called c64_files – I use this to store my programs

The execute command should point to the path where you installed the Vice emulator.

This now completes the setup Process for you to be able to code in Assembly for the C64!

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