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Geeky things I'm up to

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Hunt and chase returns

Hopefully this will be the last update to the enemy AI routines. I would appreciate if the various level creators can update their levels to the latest code (using the Leprechaun Level Editor, v20061101) and see how well things work. For the attached WIP the leprechauns eventually find the player at the starting position, something I was having great difficulty accomplishing with drop off detection.   The Leprechaun (and player) color indicates the direction their joystick is pointing: g

EricBall

EricBall

mischief managed

Last entry I complained that I'd run out of space. Well, I've now managed to free up a whack-o-space, which has (at least for the moment) cured my space issues. I'm now trying to work out what the heck my enemy AI code is doing (along with some code tweaking). I'm hoping I can get a new release out in the next couple of days.   For those curious, I found the space in my kernal (of all places). Since I knew I needed a goodly amount of space (i.e. not just a few bytes), I first looked at the

EricBall

EricBall

who let the bytes out?

"Origin Reverse Indexed", i.e. I've run out of space somewhere in the code. My latest AI changes filled bank 1, grump. I managed to squeeze out the few bytes, but I wanted to add some debugging code to help me figure out how well the AI meets my expectations. There's also a couple of TODOs left in the code. I guess I'm going to have to start looking for places to optimize. Un-fun.

EricBall

EricBall

and you thought a PS3 was expensive

"The Death of PC Gaming"   Attention all PC gamers, start saving your pennies now.   Based on the above article, it sounds like Microsoft might manage to kill PC gaming. In brief:   1. DX10 will require a DX10 capable graphics card and Vista 2. Indications are DX10 graphics cards will have substantial power & cooling requirements, potentially requiring a bigger power supply 3. Vista will definitely require more RAM than XP, and will probably require more CPU 4. Indications also are

EricBall

EricBall

Leprechaun AI grumbling

I've attached my current WIP, but no updates to the LLE since this version has obvious issues even with my built-in level.   I've added in the "walking on heads" feature. (It actually wasn't as hard as I thought it might have been as it required changes to only one bit of code.) When I first added it the leprechauns had an amusing habit of walking across the screen on top of one another. The look-ahead code took care of that but causes other quirkyness & problems. Hmm... just realized

EricBall

EricBall

Leprechaun - more AI updates

I'll also update the Leprechaun Level Editor in a minute.   Updates: 1. enemies on ropes will fall if you pass under them 2. enemies get off ladders before they get to the top 3. simple enemy-enemy collision detection to keep them from getting stuck together (sometimes they pass through each other, sometimes they bounce, but they shouldn't stay in lockstep) 4. code tweaks and a fix so the player doesn't always face left when stopped   I haven't put in the drop-off detection yet. From a

EricBall

EricBall

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

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