Jump to content
  • entries
    306
  • comments
    862
  • views
    244,737

About this blog

Geeky things I'm up to

Entries in this blog

 

Nintendo Wii ? maybe not

I've been reading & listening to Ben Heckendorn's (of VSCp fame) disenting opinions of the Wii, and I think he has some good points on why it may be doomed to failure. It comes down to two major design decisions: #1 no HDTV support & #2 unique controller which lead to three reasons why the Wii is doomed.   Currently I don't have an HDTV, nor any plans on buying one in the near future; and I suspect the same could be said for the majority of people. (Although with prices of HDTVs fall

EricBall

EricBall

 

Leprechaun - AI improvements

I've updated the Leprechaun Level Editor with the attached WIP. Load & save to update any levels you have created.   There have been signficant changes to the enemy AI. It's now based more on the enemy continuing it's previous action & direction than the previous (broken) hunt/chase logic. I won't say this is the final version, the current AI climbs ladders to the top or bottom rather than getting off in the middle to chase the player.   I've also fixed the bug which trashed the s

EricBall

EricBall

 

Leprechaun AI

He's right, I just didn't notice. Well, now I have and I'm going to do something about it. Unfortunately, it's tricker than it sounds.   Fundamentally, the enemies are at a major disadvantage to the player. The player can see the entire level; the enemies are almost blind. Not only is it not feasible to put in some kind of path finding algorithm, but I'd like to avoid doing any level data lookups at all. Fortunately, the enemies have a much simpler purpose - chase down the player and touc

EricBall

EricBall

 

GCN Wario Ware, Inc

Another rental. It will be interesting to see how Wii impacts GCN title availability and pricing.   Anyway, Wario Ware is billed as another party game title (like the Mario Party series). Except it's stuffed full of “micro-games” and the multi-player game has no inter-player interaction.   So what about these microgames? Although I had fun at first, they quickly lost their charm. The problem is each microgame lasts less than in a minute. In that minute you have to figure out the objective

EricBall

EricBall

 

Leprechaun Level Editor

Leprechaun Level Editor, see Topic in Homebrews for more info.   I'm seriously psyched about this. I was having soooo much trouble trying to get the Javascript to initialize (not really knowing anything about JS). In comparison the PHP was simple (although I have a habit of forgetting the semicolons).   Now I just need to get grinding on handling the end of level / end of game & load next level items.

EricBall

EricBall

 

Leprechaun WIP

Reset now works. This now resets the level (except for the level timer) back to the initial state.   TODOs 1. Make level timer difficulty (speed) dependent. i.e. At higher difficulties the timer will count down more slowly. 2. Handle out of time & end of level (all gold picked up) states 3. Start on the end-of-level scoring screen. 4. Start on level loader   I'll update the editor as soon as I get home and find my password.

EricBall

EricBall

 

Are you ready for this? pt 2

Second try at making the VCS play 2 Unlimited's "Get Ready For This" (or at least 30 seconds of it).   Differences: 1. First 10 seconds are skipped, which means it starts with the better sounding chords. 2. Only uses AUDC 4, 6 & 12 (square waves)   Notes: it sounds better on a VCS than an emulator (although the emulator does the score color, while my 7800 doesn't, weird); not compatible with an unmodified SuperCharger.   Method behind the madness: 1. Song ripped from CD to WAV, th

EricBall

EricBall

 

Are you ready for this?

Brute force frame by frame PCM to TIA AUDC/AUDF coding. This version doesn't use the "noisy" AUDC values and the second half (approx 30 run time, looped) sounds almost acceptable.   Comment if you want the (unfinished, but functional) source code.

EricBall

EricBall

 

restoring dusty backups

This past weekend I reinstalled my primary PC from scratch - both to clean up the cruft and dump the Win98 partitition that I never used. Of course one of the first orders of business was to make a complete backup to my external 320GB hard drive. (Highly recommended - big drives are relatively cheap and easy to use in an external USB case. And, if you don't leave it except when you're using it, it should last for years.)   But while I was at it, I decided to chuck some of the old CD & D

EricBall

EricBall

 

Leprechaun Level Editor (alpha)

Announcing the Leprechaun Level Editor!   This will allow you to create your own Leprechaun levels. The SAVE button dynamically creates a SuperCharger binary (based on the current development release) usable by any emulator or SC compatible RAMcart.   I plan on adding a LOAD button as well which will allow a level created with the LLE to be uploaded for editting or refreshed with the current development release.   This is all part of my plan to have people create lots & lots of level

EricBall

EricBall

 

Annoying non-orthoganal SC bankswitching

One of the weird characteristics of the SuperCharger is the bankswitching. On one hand it does have some flexibility in mapping the three 2K RAM banks to either the low ($1000-$17FF) or high ($1800-$1FFF) banks, with or without the ROM BIOS (always $1800-$1FFF). But on the other hand, there are a limitted number of possibilities: D4-D2 bank config 000 3 ROM 001 1 ROM 010 3 1 011 1 3 100 3 ROM 101 2 ROM 110 3 2 111 2 3 The big limitation (IMHO), is there are no options for bank 1 &

EricBall

EricBall

 

AMD to buy ATI

So the rumors were true. Although I'm not convinced this marriage was a good idea for anyone.   According to the press releases, AMD is going to use ATI to improve it's chipsets, especially wrt integrated graphics, with the idea to integrate the graphics core and onto the CPU in the future.   First problem - AMD has significant financial issues. They are deep in debt, their stock ain't doing hot, their current mass-market CPUs aren't doing so well against Intel's, and Intel can price-cut m

EricBall

EricBall

 

GCN Mario Party 4

Mario Party 4 continues the tried-and-true formula from the N64 board game + minigame series. As usual, there are enough changes to make it unique without straying so far that you will need to read the manual.   One significant change is item spaces have been changed to mushroom spaces. You only buy most items from stores. The mushroom squares randomly give either a mega or a mini mushroom (no traditional mushrooms). Mega mushrooms make you big, you roll two dice, squash opponents (for ten co

EricBall

EricBall

 

GCN - Pikmin

Another rental, this one I picked out. I completed a little over a third of the game so far.   Pikmin is best described as a lite RTS (that's Real Time Strategy) game. You need to divide your time between creating Pikmin (by harvesting pills, plants and defeated animal enemies) and gathering your ship parts (by removing objects and enemies from your path). You have 30 game days (each lasting ~15 minutes) to collect the 30 ship parts (although I'm not sure all are necessary). Each day you p

EricBall

EricBall

 

GCN - Mario Golf

My five-year-old son picked this one out from the local video store ($5/7 days each or three for $10), I think mostly based on Mario (and Chomp) being on the cover.   I have mixed feelings about this title. When I first read through the manual, I realized that MG is more of a golf simulation with Nintendo characters than a Mario Cart or Mario Party style golf game. I was really worried that my son (and wife) would have real difficulty playing with the complicated control scheme. Fortunate

EricBall

EricBall

 

GCN - Luigi's Mansion

This was one of the CGN launch titles, and I'm agreeing with some of the comments I recall reading at that time.   My biggest complaint is the linearity of the game. As opposed to SM64 where you had the opportunity to open multiple worlds very quickly, with very few roadblocks other than the Bowser battles, LM plods along - forcing you to visit rooms in a preset order (often requiring you to traverse the same hallways and stairways over and over). An in spite of this, I occasionally found I

EricBall

EricBall

 

GameCube

For my birthday my wife and son gave me a GameCube. It may not be the newest console but that just keeps the cost down.   I bought an N64 when it first came out. Super Mario 64 sold me on the system and, at that time, I had the disposible income which meant I didn't flinch at the price. It's a good system, and my five-year-old son has great time playing Mario Party (1, 2 or 3).   But when the GCN came out I wasn't as ready to spend the hundreds of dollars for the system, controllers, memor

EricBall

EricBall

 

re-learning past mistakes

Experience is what tells us that we've f*cked up ... again!   It was a case of one thing leading to another.... Adding the scoring routine (which still isn't complete) meant I needed to rework the banking and layout to free up some more usable space. Which lead to a minor kernel rewrite, then some tweaks to the movement logic, and a complete rewrite of the movement routine to use fractional positioning with difficulty levels, and a cleanup of the initialization routine.   Too many changes a

EricBall

EricBall

 

preparing to re-install Windows XP

June 1st I'm going to visit my grandmother (5+ hour drive and across the border), coming back June 4th. While I'm there, the plan is to upgrade her from dial-up to the high speed connection offered by her complex. And I'm planning on doing a complete Windows XP re-install as well. (This will also be a dry run for my own reinstall.)   Over lunch I picked up a cheap NAT router/firewall (a must have IMHO), a 320GB drive and an external case for it. The drive is for me, but I'll bring it to ma

EricBall

EricBall

 

7800 sprite to display list idea

One of the frustrating aspects of 7800 coding is constructing the display lists. On paper it sounds like a great plan - a list of pointers to sprites with width and horizontal positioning info. Very powerful and flexible, but damn difficult to use in practice.   My balldemo code has, what I thought, to be as efficient way of doing this as possible. The pseudo code goes something like this: For each sprite determine which display list based on the vertical position. Add sprite pointer etc

EricBall

EricBall

 

PS3, Xbox 360 HD-DVD, Wii

Okay, Sony has announced that the Blu-Ray based PS3 will be available November 11th for US$600 for the full featured model and US$500 for one with a 20GB hard drive (instead of 60GB), no WiFi, and no HDMI outputs. No HDMI means no HDCP, which means downsampled outputs for movies that have that setting enabled. But is this as big a deal as the value Xbox 360 lacking a hard drive? It is if A: you think that Blu-Ray will make HD-DVD a technological footnote and B: you have (or plan to buy) an HD

EricBall

EricBall

 

Skyland - watch it!

I shoulda posted here earlier (since the first episode was shown this past weekend) but it's never too late to get started.   Anyway, if anyone is into anime / cartoons / animation then you really should watch Skyland (Weekends @ 7:30 on Teletoon in Canada, also on one of the Nick stations, and probably also some over in Europe). The quality of the animation (particularly the backgrounds) is equivalent to the big screen anime of Studio Ghibli (Howls Moving Castle; Spirited Away) or Akira. No

EricBall

EricBall

 

iPod Linux lust

Today the iPod I bought off eBay Tuesday night showed up at the door. It's only a 20G photo, but since my target model was a mono 4G model and I was able to get the color practically NIB for minimal additional cost, I'm not complaining. It's main use will be in the car alternating between my wife's playlist and my son's.   Anyway, I've also learned about iPodLinux. Now, normally I wouldn't be interested, but they've ported DOOM! There's also a GameBoy emulator, and some other ports of othe

EricBall

EricBall

 

Fractional movement

My current challenge is rewriting the movement routine to use fractional positioning for both the player and enemies. (Well, the enemies already used fractional positioning, but now I'm giving them two speeds.) There are actually four different speeds: falling speed - 20 pixels per second fast player - 13.3 pixels per second slow player / fast enemy - 10 pixels per second slow enemy - 8 pixels per second   Weird numbers, but those are the integer movements which match up with the round-r

EricBall

EricBall

×
×
  • Create New...