Batari has started to release early versions of the bB1.1 compiler that includes support for the new DPC+ kernel. While this is likely to go through a number of language iterations, I started to add initial support for folks that want to start creating new sprites. You can read more about 1.1 from batari's blog.
Here are some of the changes in visualbB:
- The most important change is that player data is stored right-side-up in the DPC+ kernel, so the sprite editor was modified. When you copy the color and sprite data will be right side up (upside down if run in the standard kernel).
- Also the height in the editor will be viewed as half the height of the normal sprites.
- New keywords are available in the intellisense editor.
- Playfields may be defined for up to 256 lines, though only around 180-ish will be displayable. The playfield editor resize maxium was changed to allow 180, but it is admittedly slow. For large playfields I would recommend using a real graphics editor and use the graphics editor.
- Graphics editor has a DPC+ kernel checkbox. Sprites will be right side up when checked.
When vbB launches it will check the version of compiler installed. If it detects 1.1, or later, DPC kernel options will be enabled for the sprite editor and sprite animator and the additional keywords will be loaded into intellisense.
Here are the steps to use this:
- Download and install the beta version of bB version 1.1
- Download and install the beta version of Stella.
- Download this test version of VisualbB Build 557 VisualbB_1.0_Build_557.zip
- Make sure you have the VisualbB Sound library.
- Launch (if already open relaunch) vbB.
Using the Sprite Editor works exactly the same as before, except the sprite heights will be half the height as before and the sprite player can be player0 though player9 (though 6-9 currently don't work in the beta)
- When you right click preview in emulator it will preview in the correct kernel, standard or DPC+, depending on what is selected
The Sprite Animator works similarly. A new DPC+ checkbox was added so you can select to preview using the standard or DPC+ kernel.
Finally, the Image converter was updated. If you want to create a DPC+ compliant sprite, check the DPC+ kernel. This will orientate the pixels right side up.
Some notes about the initial beta.
- For now, you need to set player colors. If you do not set player colors, it reads garbage data for the colors, which is usually zeros but could be anything. This will be fixed.
- The playfield command works as before, but height must be set using DPC+ registers DF0FRACINC-DF3FRACINC. These each define the row height of each 8-pixel column of pixels. How they work is there is an internal 20-bit accumulator for each with lower 8 bits initially set to zero at the start of the frame, and the DFxFRACINC registers contain an add end that is added to the accumulator each scanline. When the lower eight bits of the accumulator exceed 255, the playfield will increment to the next line.
- Playfield colors are handled by the normal method and must be defined, however you may use a single color or any level of striping because DF4FRACINC sets the increment for the color counter. To make the playfield a single color, set DF4FRACINC to zero.
There are some bugs as well that you can read more about in the main forum thread.