For one of my projects, I need to emulate the WDC 65C02 processor.
In order to ensure everything was working as expected and perform some debugging, I had to develop a small tool to actively disassemble/decompile and display the result (instructions, registers, memory, …).

What is a WDC 65C02?

The WDC 65C02 was made by Western Design Center in 1978 (!).
It is an enhanced version of the MOS 6502, an 8-bit processor designed by Metal Oxide Semiconductor Technology.

The 6502 is a very well know processor used in multiple devices such as the Apple II, Atari 600/800, Atari 2600, Nintendo NES, etc.

The 65C02, at its turn, was used in the Apple IIc/IIe, NEC TurboGrafx-16/PC Engine, Atari Lynx, etc.

It results in a large amount of literature and million of programs and resources. A great playground!

Why write a new one from scratch?

Mainly because I needed to fire test the code I was developing for the main project. And it provides me with a debugger that uses the exact same code.

The resulting shared code between the project and the debugger can then be compiled (debugger) and cross compiled (project).

And more than everything, it was pretty funny to do so.
I miss low-level development sometimes…

I may write a bigger tool later that encompasses all the debugger developments I did for all the various platforms.
A meta debugger, if you wish ^^

How does the tool look like in the end?


What does it do?

Well, using it you can emulate the 65C02, load a program into its memory, run it step by step, put breakpoints, check the resulting state and registers, parse memory bytes, …

It handles auto completion, commands history, working with files (import/export), etc.

And you can even dump the disassembled result into a file:

  *$FE00  38        SEC
   $FE01  80 0A     BRA $FE0D

   $FE03  90 04     BCC $FE09

   $FE05  8E 8B FD  STX $FD8B
   $FE08  18        CLC
   $FE09  E8        INX
   $FE0A  8E 87 FD  STX $FD87
   $FE0D  A2 02     LDX #$02
   $FE0F  8E 87 FD  STX $FD87
   $FE12  2A        ROL A
   $FE13  9C 8B FD  STZ $FD8B
   $FE16  D0 EB     BNE $FE03

   $FE18  60        RTS

   $FE19  64 01     STZ $01
   $FE1B  A9 00     LDA #$00
   $FE1D  91 00     STA ($00),Y
   $FE1F  C8        INY
   $FE20  D0 FB     BNE $FE1D

   $FE22  E6 01     INC $01
   $FE24  D0 F7     BNE $FE1D

   $FE26  A2 0D     LDX #$0D
   $FE28  BD D8 FF  LDA $FFD8,X
   $FE2E  99 00 FD  STA $FD00,Y
   $FE31  CA        DEX
   $FE32  D0 F4     BNE $FE28

   $FE34  BD C1 FE  LDA $FEC1,X
   $FE37  9D 00 50  STA $5000,X
   $FE3A  E8        INX
   $FE3B  D0 F7     BNE $FE34

   $FE3D  64 05     STZ $05


(and a label enabled version is coming soon…)