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Blog Entries posted by Gemintronic

  1. Gemintronic
    I'm having a bit of coders block on my current project. I have to make a "victim" appear and avoid the player. It also needs to traverse the multi-screen game map. I've coded myself into a corner and can't kludge my way out.
    I've had a decent supper of yak meat and pizza rolls. Currently suckling on a caraffe of diet coke. My intention for the rest of this hour is to backtrack a few versions of my game and completely re-write my victim AI. Wish me luck!
  2. Gemintronic
    Had a nap. Had a full meal. Getting stoked on Mt. Dew. Have http://coffitivity.com/ playing in the background. Time to code for extended and unreasonable durations!
    10:00pm 'till now:
    Getting bogged down trying to figure out the smartest way to block the player from leaving the 5x5 screen overworld. Hopefully by the end of the next hour I can solve that. Must turn on more lights so my brain doesn't start thinking of nap time..
  3. Gemintronic
    I just had a dream about a game.
    See, in order to impress a love interest our hero has to guide a stray cat to a food bowl. The hero must traverse an obstacle and puzzle filled isometric level. The cat must be allowed to follow the player. If the player steps on a pressure plate the kitties AI knows enough to move to the appropriate panel or activate a lever. The player must at times lure the cat away from dangers including rolling boulders. Graphics were failrly high res X68000-like.
    Does anyone else dream new game designs? I hear some people rarely have dreams where they are not themselves or doing much more than daily life events.
  4. Gemintronic
    Haven't been focused all weekend. Couldn't get into the coding groove. I'm hoping blogging my decent into maddness will get me in the mood.
    Working on the rewrite of MMSBC II http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/207626-mmsbc-2-wip/
    Plan is an update every hour until I can't take it anymore. I'm truly scrizooed if it isn't nearly finished by the end of the night. Wish me luck!
  5. Gemintronic
    Let's see how far I get. I'm working on MMSBC 2 on a hard deadline of Mid February. I'd hoped to have this in the bag before the end of January but obviously that didn't happen.
    I'll try to post once every hour until I either give up or it's time for work.
    I've got my instant coffee at supersaturation levels in a re-used 42oz soda cup. Fed on a two day old cheese sub. batariBasic is loaded! Let's go!!
    As a side I'm sitting in a very cheap, uncomfortable chair. I'm hoping that to be an advantage tonight!
  6. Gemintronic
    I decided to separate out coding of the single screen over-world engine like I did for debugging purposes awhile ago. Which, er, means that the over-world map will not scroll to be more authentic to Gnuberubs Sojourns spiritual source. The shooter sections will still scroll vertically.
    One thought was to make a mini project out of the shooter engine portion. Thus a quick arcade style game could be made to satisfy those who want homebrew now. All the code could be re-integrated back into Gnuberubs Sojourn for the shooter sections.
    Converting music to the format I need continues to frustrate me. I'd love to go MIDI -> MOD -> Genesis music engine format but it's not working. OpenMPT will convert MIDI to IT (Impulse Tracker) but practically corrupts the music when then converting to MOD. MOD files are the only format my music engine can import.
    Increasingly I'm thinking about why I make games and the difference between "developers" and "game makers". There is a big difference, I think. It's something I must sort out.
  7. Gemintronic
    Hooked up my JVC X'Eye for the first time today. Had a minor scare when it refused to power up. Turns out it doesn't like my "smart" surge protector.
    I ran Gnuberubs Soujorn on the EverDrive (cart) and from a burned CD. THANKFULLY the cart version worked flawlessly! Both FM and z80 sound was correct. On the CD side the FM played and the z80.. well, sorta played. This is a big surprise since I thought the z80 was inaccessible while in SegaCD mode. I'm asking people who actually know what they're doing why it even played in the first place. Interesting.
  8. Gemintronic
    Turns out the REORGVARs mystery was related to a sound library I do not use. So, I don't THINK I need to worry about it anymore. back to having plenty of memory free!
    My work today mainly consisted of playing with sound. In my previous posts I realised I can only play one digital sound at a time. I attempted to fix this by duplicating the sound effect routine and hoping it would magically allow simultaneous sounds. No go. So, I'm left with two options:
    A. Come up with a complicated sound effect queue so each sound gets it's turn in line or
    B. Add the other sound effects run time to the delay. So, the next sound effect will always start playing after the current one.
    Plan B looks good but it ALWAYS cuts off the other sound effect initially. After the first interruption it always plays nice with the other repeating sound.
    I also started to successfully import .MOD music files into my current music engine. This is a huge step as previously the MOD file would import but the instruments wouldn't play. And, yes, previously I did attempt to manually assign instruments with no good result.
    So, stuff to think about includes sound queues and how to implement objects. You know: stuff that consists of sprites and x/y positions and collisions. I really need to put out another demo. I did not accomplish this weekend. Need to see if I can manage things better.
    Until next time!
  9. Gemintronic
    Okay, finally getting down to drawing the font. Got preliminaries for the numbers and letters. Seems to be a bold font. I seem to be trying to make the letter and numbers more symmetric in case I need to use them for graphics. Haven't fully thought out what symbols to gut in the ASCII table. The addition of Googly eyes are a must!
  10. Gemintronic
    I'm using a Game Maker 5 project as a kind of "portfolio" for the Augscii font. Basically, storing the font as a sprite with multiple (256) images. I also attached other famous bitmap fonts for reference including the Aquarius MZ-700 and C64. Put in a sample of my "Perfect Palette" too.
    The perfect palette was my attempt to make the ideal 15 color + transparency palette for Sega Genesis work. Yes, I know I've got up to four palettes to work with. I'd rather default to one standard palette and use the rest as needed for backgrounds or palette changing effects.
    Awhile back I merged many, many different default palettes for different systems. Heck, I even compared crayon colors. Then, I manually chose a few "needed" colors on my own. I came up with this color palette:
    1. White
    2. Red
    3. Orange
    4. Yellow
    5. Blue
    6. Magenta
    7. Purple
    8. Brown
    9. Green
    10. Lime Green
    11. Sky Blue
    12. Light Pink
    13. Light Grey
    14. Dark Grey
    15. Black
    16. Transparent
    I guess I overlooked the fact that one of the colors is "transparent" when thinking about 4 sets of 256 chars using 4 different palettes. Doesn't that mean that one of those set/palette combinations will be "transparent"? Hmmmn..
  11. Gemintronic
    Monday June 18
    Found my eSnips (file host) was broke. They switched over to a adware toolbar download system similar to what CNET or Download.com is doing. But, instead of fooling people into submission by doing it to some downloads eSnips requires ALL downloads to be through there adware downloader. Plus, I cannot delete my account, my folders or files due to bad coding on their end. Oh, and they lost an important backup of a document I was working on. Uncool in the extreme. I need a new file host. Rapidshare turns out to be pretty poor. if your file is low traffic it gets a pretty small bandwidth cap. So, if your download spikes (maybe because of a game development contest) you're SOL. Found that out the hard way during Ludum Dare 15.
    I managed to download my files off of eSnips through an alternative method. I just have to find my posts accross multiple forums that reference them and change the links.. ugh.
    Had reason to check out my photobucket and got a boost of development urge. I really wanna port this PC game I made onto a real console. it's a Super Pitfall retro remake:




  12. Gemintronic
    The problem with hobbyest coding is not coding - one can do that for many hours without noticing. The problem is motivation - especially if the support and compiler is lacking. I decided on a project that entails %90 of what I know I can accomplish in my compiler/language. Keeping up the momentum by having tangible results is CRITICAL. I'll post more in the coming days.
    I'd especially like to thank GroovyBee for his advice during my programming slump.
  13. Gemintronic
    Right now I've got a collect-the-carts maze game project and a Knightmare clone in the works. One one is a casual promise and the other has deadline. I don't like juggling priorities but I DO like creating and COMPLETING projects. Such is life.
    Hung out with a co-worker today and, although mostly enjoyable, the parting was hard to read. We got into work related subjects and I tend to rant when given half a chance. Might have over-did it. Hard to read tired or tired of ME sometimes. Best to double check next time we meet. I value quality of friendship over quantity of friends.
    The question of business realities vs. open sharing is something swirling in my mind recently. I told a new acquaintance today that I've been lucky so far sharing source and executables for my games openly and freely. Reaching people across the globe with my "art" and sharing what little my source has to offer is a real high. However, as my experience with Candybar highlights, having a physical game in the hands of an appreciative audience is a kick too. One that comes with frightening concepts like trademarks and copyrights and (potentially) closed source secrecy.
    I'm sure everything will sort itself out. I have enough projects and ideas that I can swing either way. The point is to continue to grow, create and accomplish. Oh, yeah, and share the love of Atari. You all are reminding me of that fine point
    Carry on my wayward son!
  14. Gemintronic
    Had to fight with a weird compiler error. Hopefully the last time I'll see "error: Value in 'cmp #256' must be <$100." Also discovered rand didn't change room types often enough. Seems to work better if I swap bits around in the result. Here's an example of what I'm talkin' about:

    changeworldx if worldx = 0 then worldx = 255 rand = worldx mytemp = rand room_type{0} = mytemp{4} room_type{1} = mytemp{1} room_type{2} = mytemp{3} room_type{3} = mytemp{5} room_type{4} = mytemp{7} room_type{5} = mytemp{6} room_type{6} = mytemp{2} room_type{7} = mytemp{0} gosub changeroom bank2 return
  15. Gemintronic
    Got a good deal from a local video game shop. 4 boxes full of common to rare 2600 carts. 2 more boxes of duplicate commons. I NEVER WANT TO SEE ANOTHER COMBAT CARTRIDGE AGAIN! Sorting out the duplicates was a messy, time consuming, er, mess.
    Plan on shipping the dupes to AtariAge but the store is closed and my wallet is empty. Shipping is gonna be killer.
    My programming for the day consisted of digesting Batari's answer to my multi-bank function question and experimenting with rand.
    I've tried to make levels using pseudo random numbers on the PC and failed. In Batari BASIC it's actually working. So far I've got a vertical dungeon that is 256 screen big. I figure I can alter the results of the pseudo random number generator to effectively have a 256 x 256 screen dungeon with zero storage footprint.
    It's 2am and I STILL have carts to clear off my bed.. not thinking so good.. hopefully will experiment more this weekend. Night everyone!
  16. Gemintronic
    One of my possible game ideas for the next project is a RPG. Apparently this is a herculean task as other have failed. Some have failed hard enough to leave a bad taste in peoples collective mouths. So far I've broached the subject without injury. Just good folks with good advice so far.
    Here's what I've learned so far from community members:
    * Don't announce. Especially in a genre that's had disappointment and failure.
    * Design and do just for you! Popular style != Incentive to complete game.
    * Controlled randomness is key. 2600 forces less full motion video and more gameplay.
    Made a mock-up Treasure of Tarmin style which got some positive response. I've never programmed a 3D perspective engine so the prospect of coding further is scarry. I think a basic tile engine is in order. Whatever style I go for it seems to be needed.
    If I can sneak some more coding time in that's what I'll be doing.. let's see how good I am at sneaking such time in
  17. Gemintronic
    Ahem.. just got my finished carts from AtariAge. Last steps are shrink wrap and price sticker. Box, insert, cart and manual all are in place.
    It's official: I made a real game. Even if the Hamburgler steals it or ET grabs it and throws it in his landfill it happened. I can thank my family and AtariAge for support since the gameplay ain't proper compensation
    Rock on Atari! Rock on Chicago!
  18. Gemintronic
    Got some good vibes from Albert about future homebrew. Fellow AtariAge members gave me the straight scoop on Hozers. accousticguitar really convinced me to steer away.
    My carts for CandyBar did get made under the wire before the store close. Albert personally tested each cart. Soon I will have proof that I made a game: a physical box, manual and cart. Somehow making a digital download only PC game doesn't garner the same satisfaction.
    TIGSource had a small issue with my entry for their AGBIC Compo. Thankfully I received Moderator and community help and the issue was fixed.
    The hunt for a local source of cartridge boxes began! May break down and buy cases online. Only found cheap card carriers and flash card boxes so far.
    Hope this non-progress day is a fluke. Wednesday seems more open for programming time.
  19. Gemintronic
    I recently got into an Early Adopter program for an MMO creation and management company. Basically, they give you most of the tools and the server AND the credit card transaction processing for a big chunk of your revenue. Fair enough.
    Trouble is, the only way to import assets is through extremely expensive 3d software that one must be specifically trained on. Know Blender but not 3DS max? Too bad.
    It would be easier to bite the bullet if they came out and said no Blender support ever - but they didn't. They just dropped hints that it was on their list of things to do and never did. Thus I waited.
    When they transitioned from beta to subscription they simply cut off my access without notification. The download for the server connection client literally became a single message box stating that my services have been moved to a different server and to contact support. Again, they actively killed my account and left a client installer that just posts a misleading message box!
    When I did contact support I got an email that stated my services were killed because:
    A. Too long of inactive use (I've had this happen before, and last time THEY DID send an email before deleting content)
    B. Too little changes made to my assets ( which I couldn't import any due to no Blender support)
    C. The Early Adopter program had ended (without notification to me)
    Didn't even bother to point out which reason it was. Then he tried to push their paid services on me.
    I wrote back my concerns over their communication (or lack thereof) and my main reason for not being able to fully evaluate their product. This is what you call free feedback from your customers. How did they use this?
    Customer support wrote back a regurgitation of their terms of service and noted assets could be imported into the expensive supported 3d software and then imported into their product. Which doesn't help because YOU STILL NEED the expensive software in the first place!
    This is horrible customer service. You don't rebuke feedback. Especially if given without malice. Especially when the customer is not trying to make a claim.
    This company has licensed its services to big ticket games such as Star Wars: The Old Republic. You'd think that in trying to reach smaller developers with Early Adopter programs they'd give everyone a fair shot. Not so. Give feedback - get rebuked.
    Needless to say I'm disappointed by this experience. The technology and business model is sound - just not the human side of the equation.
  20. Gemintronic
    So, my morning efforts to queue up sound effects failed. I was afraid that I'd practically have to write a mini database system just for the sound queue. I tried just that and only sorta got things working. I decided to skip all that noise and do it my way.
    Basically, each sound gets its own request flag. If it wasn't the last request it gets to request attention. A delay timer awakens the sound engine after just about the time it takes to play back an effect. The sound effect engine goes down the list of sound effects to see if any have active requests and deals with them. I "waste" a variable and a constant for each sound effect (sound_request_foo and #snd_foo). For the sound effect engine itself two variables are used: sound_delay and sound_request_last. This means the sound effects are hard coded but this is a game all in ROM. Not going to be mixing anything except a drink.
    Using a keyboard sucks for testing, by the way. Usually you cannot have simultaneous keys being pressed. I had to turn off sticky keys in Windows and map the SHIFT and CTRL keys to buttons. Those two keys can be read at the same time so I could test simultaneous sound effect requests.
  21. Gemintronic
    Didn't get much done on Saturday. At least it feels like it.
    Found a nice utility called SOX to convert sound effects into 8-bit 16000 mono wave files. I'm starting to realise I don't know if I can play more than one digital sound at a time. Need to play around with that a bit more.
    In talks with Adam Sporka to create the soundtrack for Gnuberubs Sojourn. I previously secured the OK from another artist but those were pre-made tracks that might not have suited the game. I've always been a lone gunman when it comes to video game projects so this should be interesting. I think the key is being very, very flexible. Also, be very, very clear on communication where needed.
    It turns out the REORGVARS line that botched my first build may not be related to SegaCD. It may be related to leaving room for the z80 sound driver. I guess I'll have to test on real hardware to see what's what. For now I'll assume it's needed. This sucks because I no longer have room for a 64x64 collision map array. I may have to just rely on soft collisions.
    So, build number 2 has the disclaimer screen and background music. When you press start a single digital laser firing sound is spit out.
    Doesn't feel like much got done in over 6 hours. Then again, maybe it IS solid progress. let's see if more gets done on Sunday.
  22. Gemintronic
    Up late figuring out where the bug was that caused stuff not to display.
    Turns out it was a compiler option to move where the variable memory starts. Apparently the option was used to play nice with the SegaCD. I don't even know why it was there, frankly. With that option in place I didn't have enough memory for a 64x64 collision map. Now I do, but things may not work on a SegaCD. Will have to test more.
    I also played around with trying to change the font my code editor uses - the HARD way. See, it doesn't let you change the font. I tried forcing a change by writing my own program to alter the font used by the editor control but failed.
  23. Gemintronic
    Decided to post the minutiae of development for Gnuberubs Sojourn here. Not everyone enjoys or understands the development process. May as well keep the gritty details separate from the main topic.
    Went from midnight to close to 5am coding last night. Felt good to lay down the first real build. Unfortunately, somewhere in the process the screen stopped displaying sprites or tiles. I promised myself I'd at least have a working disclaimer screen before bed so I started clean and slowly added back bits of code. Was still in the process of doing so when I got far enough to produce a disclaimer screen. Will have to continue the process of debugging until a real build 0001 of my code is realised.
    Features implemented:
    * Augscii font (incomplete but enough for A-Z, a-z and numbers/symbols)
    * Crayon palette (My special 15 color mix incorporating basic rainbow colors, pink, sky blue, magenta and 2 shades of grey)
  24. Gemintronic
    Seems to be some demand for new Genesis homebrew. Currently I've got on small shooter and a bigger project on my plate in that area.
    I'm thinking it's time to bring back Character based graphics like the MZ-700 and Aquarius. The IntellivisionLives people haven't responded to emails since 2011 about using the Aquarius character set. In lieu I must make my own. My project for this week is to create a 256 character max set. This includes letter, numbers, symbols and character graphics. You know, shapes, lines, googly eyes.
    In order to fake 16 color character graphics on the Sega Genesis I need the font to stay below 256 characters. See, the video memory can hold up to 1344 tiles. There are four different palettes tiles can use. With four copies of the character set I can assign the foreground color four times so:
    0-255 Foreground color 1
    256-512 Foreground color 2
    513-768 Foreground color 3
    767-1024 Foreground color 4
    Each of these can use one of four palettes so 4 character sets x 4 Palettes = 16 possible foreground colors per character.
    Let's see if I can meet my goal!
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