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John Saeger

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About John Saeger

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  1. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    We're on 4.07 now. Tunable palettes! :) We now have wide dynamic range, tunable palettes for NTSC and PAL video. We are now emulating the color tuning controls that are found inside the Atari 2600. So just like owners of real hardware can experiment with different color tunings, users of z26 can also experiment with different color tunings. By default we set the NTSC phase shift to 26.2 degrees and the PAL phase shift to 21.5 degrees which are good matches to the original z26 palettes. Brightness and “warmth” controls. The warmth control allows better matching to vintage CRT TV sets from the 1980s which had a little more red and maybe a little less blue than “modern” CRT TV sets from the 1990s or early 2000s. The original z26 palettes have been retained as custom options, and since our tunable color model was inspired by mame 0.212, we also include the mame palettes as custom options. The palette selection and these new options may be found in the video menu.
  2. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    On 4.06 now. Fixed some bugs including desktop integration if directories are missing. We now do automatic detection of ROMS using signatures. I guess I got tired of renaming sokoban binaries.
  3. Thanks! Boy, those were the days, weren't they? Well, whatever was good about those video modes came from a dude named Trixter aka Jim Leonard. One time in one of my progress reports I was wishing for a linear video mode that ran at 60 Hz. The built in one runs at 70 and Atari games needed 60. So this guy shows up with one and he gave us 4 extra scanlines to boot. The 50 the 100 and the 120 came from that. He was active in the demoscene at the time and has done some things kind of recently. Here are a couple of videos you might enjoy. Cheers!
  4. Actually the test programs I dumped on DeadlyKitten36 were meant for you. I just forgot where I was. But here they are again in case you missed them. They are fairly comprehensive. But now that I've actually taken a look at your emu, I'd say you probably don't need them. As far as TIAs go yours looks pretty fine. All the best! z26-demos.zip
  5. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    OK, I guess I need to see if the directory is there first and create it if necessary. Thanks!
  6. Not a lot of replies to this one! Just curious... Does anybody play 2600 games in MAME? It has an emulator. Does anybody use it?
  7. I like it. It's harder than it looks though. I found this on Wikipedia: Sokoban can be studied using the theory of computational complexity. The problem of solving Sokoban puzzles has been proven to be NP-hard.[6][7] Further work showed that it was significantly more difficult than NP problems; it is PSPACE-complete.[8] This is also interesting for artificial intelligence researchers, because solving Sokoban can be compared to the automated planning that needs to be done by a robot that moves boxes in a warehouse. Sokoban is difficult not only due to its branching factor (which is comparable to chess), but also its enormous search tree depth; some levels can be extended indefinitely, with each iteration requiring an exponentially growing number of moves and pushes.[9] Skilled human players rely mostly on heuristics; they are usually able to quickly discard futile or redundant lines of play, and recognize patterns and subgoals, drastically cutting down on the amount of search. Some Sokoban puzzles can be solved automatically by using a single-agent search algorithm, such as IDA*, enhanced by several techniques which make use of domain-specific knowledge.[10] This is the method used by Rolling Stone,[11] a Sokoban solver developed by the University of Alberta GAMES Group. The more complex Sokoban levels are, however, out of reach even for the best automated solvers.[12]
  8. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    Well, 4.05 is out. It doesn't do much for windows or mac, it's mostly for linux. It has what I guess you'd call "desktop integration." Compile it, run it once and it will show up in the menu with an icon. At least that's the theory. I haven't tested it on every possible distro or desktop but the method for putting something in the system menu seems to be the same for most linux platforms. Just write out an icon and a .desktop file. The .desktop file goes into ~/.local/share/applications and the icon file goes in ~/.local/share/icons. Anyway, once you've got z26 in your menu you can put a launcher on your desktop or in a panel, complete with an icon. Feedback is welcome on systems where it doesn't work or where it works. I've tested on LXDE and XFCE. Thanks!
  9. I have complete sympathy for the point of view that the RF interference and what-not on the TV set when playing a real Atari is annoying. That emulation is somehow "better". There was a time, and it lasted for a long time that I thought emulation was "better" too. That somehow we were finally seeing the original programmer's true intention. For the first time actually. Finally the perfect model of TIA was showing us the perfect rendition of the game. The abstract perfection was somehow more beautiful than the real version because we were seeing what the programmers must have been thinking. All I can say is something changed for me. The perfect pixels stopped being beautiful. They started looking dull and lifeless. There is something about the real machine that's been missed, and it's not just blur or scanlines or some other "effect". Colors don't change smoothly. They change weirdly. You can say what you want about whether it's an accident, on purpose, or accidently on purpose. For me it's become part of the beauty of the machine. The beauty lies in the imperfection. As emulators have become so popular I fear this may be lost. So yeah. Get a 2600. Get a TV set. Save a CRT! That said I've found out something interesting about CRT TV sets. I scored another one just yesterday. Instead of collecting consoles I collect these. Anyway, I was at a thrift store and there was a pile in the parking lot strapped to pallets. Typically, I guess these guys don't even put them out on the floor any more. They can get money for recycling them. I don't know how much but this seems to be why they are so hard to find. They disappear immediately. Anyway I saw something in the pile I wanted and if you ask they'll sell you something for cheap. So one way you can still find these things is to look in the recycle pile.
  10. Plus one on this. Totally. But It's not about *needing* anything. It's about *wanting* something. There's no reason to it -- either way actually. It's just what you want.
  11. It's a long, long way from Canada A long way from snow chains Donkey vendors slicing coconut No parkas to their name Black babies covered in baking flour The cook's got a carnival song We're going to lay down someplace shady With dreamland coming on Dreamland, dreamland Dreamland, dreamland - Joni Mitchell When it comes to "perfect emulation" I think Joni says it best.
  12. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    If you ask me, this is actually a hard question. The problem is there are 3 different platforms and 4 ways of doing things. I used to like using the z26 startup directory because that was the most like the DOS version. Simple and easy to understand. One problem with that is the mac version. A mac "app" is a directory full of stuff and the startup directory is in a fairly inconvenient place. Personally I use linux a lot of the time so the current working directory might be a nice place to start looking for roms on that platform. On linux I like to put the executable somewhere in my current path without having to reconfigure my path variable. Then I can wander around in my command line prompt, run z26 and get a list of the files wherever I am. The other option is specifying a directory path and there's something to be said for that, but it takes more code. It's not super hard or anything, but it's just more code and something else to do before you can run games. Sure I can make it different on every platform. Startup directory on windows, current working directory on linux and home directory on the mac because that's about the only thing that makes sense on the mac for a default place to start looking. Of course now that I can put the executable on the desktop on my current linux system, that's probably where I'll put it and just start it from there. So yeah, the home directory is a compromise. But there's something to be said for having it the same on all platforms, I guess. Me personally, I put a directory called 0-roms in my home directory and that's where I start looking for things on my system. It comes up at the top of the list so it's easy to get going. Not a great solution but that's what I'm doing for now. Thanks again for your suggestion. I'm happy to discuss it and hear anybody's opinion. But it's funny how the simplest thing can be so complicated that I can't really figure out the best thing to do.
  13. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    Thanks for reporting back!
  14. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    Sorry. I should be careful what I assume. You tricked me with the "noobish" part. But thanks for the information! Actually I kind of like this compiler switch. I can put the executable on the desktop and double click it to launch it which is nice. The other nice thing is that the the executable is quite a bit smaller which I like. With that switch the size is more in line with what the windows .exe file is. On the raspberry pi, the switch makes no difference so I guess the raspberry pi is already in no-pie mode, and on the raspberry pi I can already put the executable on the desktop and launch it from there. So yeah, the old-style executable has it's advantages and I'll probably use this compiler switch going forward. Thanks! Personally, I'm afraid to change flavors at the moment. I'm using XFCE and I get some really nice options for refresh rate. I don't know if switching flavors will make these choices go away. I get 60 Hz, 50 Hz, and 59.9 Hz, among others. I really like having 50 Hz for PAL games, and 59.9 Hz is really nice for NTSC games. If the game has 262 lines it's a really close match to what real hardware does. I wonder how common these refresh rate options are?
  15. John Saeger

    z26 4.x

    OK, we're on 4.04 now. Thanks! If you like, let me know how it goes... I'm especially interested to know if MrMaddog has gotten the kidvid games working. Thanks again!
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