Andreas Ess

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Years Active

1996 to 2003


Icarus Productions

Andreas Ess was an assembly programmer for the TI-85 and TI-86 graphing calculators. He also started the infamous Icarus Productions programming group that was responsible for creating several of the best games and programs that the TI community has ever seen.

Person Significance

Wrote the Usgard shell for the TI-85. The Usgard development team consisted of Andreas Ess and Jimmy Mardell, but other people have been involved in the beginning (Sam Davies, Austin Butler and Mel Tsai). He started Icarus Productions (URL: in 1998 with Jimmy Mardell.

Person Contributions

  • List of their programs and games
  • Include a screenshot for some of their best games/programs

Person Milestones

  • List of their important milestones (date joined TI community, important programs, etc.)

Site URLs

  • http://andi/ used on 05/19/1997

Site Screenshot

(Screenshot of Person homepage circa year)

Person History

(Taken from about page)


I have owned a TI-85 graphing calculator for about 4 years now, I got it when I was 12 years old. It's kinda weird to have such a calc when most of the others have regular TI-30 or 36. But now I'm even so crazy that I do lots of ZShell programming for it. ZShell? What's that? Well, the TI-85 can't handle asm programs when you get it. You have to get a shell from where you can run Z80 programs. That's ZShell. It was made by Dan Eble/Magnus Hagander and Rob Taylor. You can find it at: It's a great page, also in the cool links section. It has a huge file archive for TI graphing calcs, and of course you can also find my programs there. So much for the general stuff.

I first heard of ZShell when I told my father to load down a CALC-TI newsgroup archive. People talked there about this awesome shell. And then I loaded down all this stuff from school and started programming for it. After about 3 weeks, my first game was finished. XC-1701 was(and is) a fast shooting game where you steer your starship against a bunch of enemy starships. It had 10 levels, 4 big bosses and 3 enemy types + it was the first game with 3 grayscale graphics instead of B/W. By now, version 1.3 is the newest with 3 new enemy types and bonuses + 4 grayscales. After this game, I made a one month's break. Then, it was time for Plainjump, programmed in only 4 days!!! It was the first 3D-like game except Labby by Jimmy Mardell(see his page in the link section) And it was quite awesome. At this time, I had no internat access and I only got a few letters(thanks Brian!) People seemed to be too lazy to write… Because of this, I only made a few further programs until I got e-mail. These programs where: GCP.EXE, a util which allowed to compress .PCX files and convert it for ZShell use. Look!, a little graphical demo with 3D-stars and a scrolling text. Tube, a very weak game, and Playwav, which allowed to play a .WAV file over a earphone connected to the linkport of the TI.


THEN, I finally got a modem and INTERNET access, even though the telephon charges here in Austria are very high($5/hour) I took about one month until I released a awesome game. It needed 99% of the TI's memory, was grayscale,… It was the famous M.C.Mik, a Jump n'Run with 12 different enemies, 5 bosses, 5 completely different levels(Isles,Wood,Cave,Jungle,Desert) and top 3 high score table. But to get the full version, or even the other two episodes, you have to send $3 to me. After this success I started with Plainjump ][, much better than it's prequel, which is in it's 0.9b stage(HELP! I've got problems with Link progamming) And - I support Sam Davies with his(now our) project Daedalus, a raycasting engine, currently in version 0.31b - check it out! Now I support Jimmy MÃ¥rdell with Sqrxz, too. Hmm, besides a little snow demo this should be all programs I did. See the Review section.

If you want to learn ZShell programming, either contact me(remember however, I've got much to do) or go to Yarin's homepage and look for the ZShell school. Or, you may download Greg Parkers assembly lessons from TICALC.ORG. You can also buy one of these great books on Z80 programming(programming the Z80, Z80 assembly language subroutines,…) And perhaps you'll find routines you may need in the routines section