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Topics - simplethinker

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Miscellaneous / I'm not dead!
« on: May 17, 2010, 11:26:26 am »
Hey everyone!

Some of you might have noticed that I dropped off the face of the map a while ago*.  My school schedule got a bit crazy but it finally finished a couple weeks ago.  I was hoping to work on some calc-related stuff so I had something to show, but unfortunately I kept getting side-tracked so all of my projects are exactly as they were all those months ago :(

How has everyone here been?  Any new cool projects?  (You guys have been busy.  I have a feeling it'll take me weeks to get caught up with all the topics/posts :o)

*If anyone wants some nasty specifics about where I was, here are some excerpts from my new book "Semester from hell: what NOT to cram into four months" (available June 3 for $6.66 in a bookstore near you):
- One credit-hour classes:  they're more like 20 hours but they only charge you for one.  I took two. *simplethinker slams his head against a concrete wall*
- Paid research projects:  they take a whole lot of work.  I did two. *simplethinker slams his head against a concrete wall even harder*
- If ever both the regular and backup professors are on sabbatical, don't take the class.  My Quantum mechanics teacher didn't know most of the material and had to bring in a graduate student for some things.  *simplethinker doesn't slam his head into anything; this one wasn't my fault :P*

TI Z80 / Sprite/tileset Editor- need input
« on: October 22, 2009, 04:09:27 pm »
As proof that I haven't accomplished nothing in the long time since my last public update to Chip's Challenge, I decided to finally release the sprite and tileset editor (for computer; written in Python) that has distracted me every time I get the motivation to work on CC.

The big features are:
- Ability to save and edit tiles
- Give names and numbers to tiles (to ease integration into the Tilemap editor I'm also working on)
- See what the tile looks like and how it compares to the old one (if editing)
- Output/export the tiles in various formats (this is the thing I need input on; see below)
- All the above but with entire tilesets
- Looks cool :)
- User-friendly (which, if you know me, you realize is pretty darn amazing :o)
- Probably more things that I've just forgotten about.

Because of my short attention span and new ideas that required complete re-writes (or at least sloppily patching things together), this has remained in limbo for months with really only the final touches left to do.  One of the biggest road blocks to finishing things up has been what to do with the tiles once they've been made.  Here are the ideas I've come up with (when I say "export" I mean either writing to a text file or printing to the screen):
1) Do nothing.  I'm not dismissing this since the editor was initially created to streamline the process of making sprites, not to help with actual coding or format conversions.
2) Export as binary or hex strings (e.g. '10010110' or '95', etc...).  The hex string could be used for Celtic3's det(17 command; not sure about uses of binary
3) Export in Asm format (using the .db's and stuff).
4) Create an actual .8xs (string) with the hexadecimal format so it could be used by C3's identity(5.  I don't think this would be too useful, but I'm just throwing it out there.
5) Create a .8xi picture variable.  This could be most useful for tilesets, since you could create the tiles and then have the picture conversion automated.
6) <insert other ideas here>

I'd love everyone's opinions on this.  I could do one of those, all of those, or anything in between.  I'm also open to any other ideas.

Also, as I stated above, I'm not sure if I should write things to a file or just print them to the screen (or a mix), so input on that would be good too.

News / TiLP- it's alive!
« on: October 21, 2009, 12:43:33 pm »
TiLP, the linking software that we all (or at least most) thought dead, is being worked on again, by Lionel Debroux and Benjamin Moody.  The new information can be found in a thread on UTI starting here.  There's also a page on SourceForge for TiLP.

The first bug they've addressed is the problem with TI-Connect and TiLP groups for z80 calculators.  The maintainers believe their fix has solved the problem, but neither own an actual z80 model, meaning they need help testing the fix(es) (and will likely need the help for other fixes as well).  If you can test the fixes and report your findings, you'd not only be getting access to a working version of TiLP earlier than everyone else ;), but you'd also be greatly helping the community as a whole :).

Currently, the (proposed) fixes require you to modify the source file yourself and recompile.  The source is obtained via SVN, which works best under a *nix system (directions are in the first link I posted).  The plan is that once the fixes are confirmed, there will be an official release with the updated source and a compiled binary/dll.

*If someone wants to try and figure out how to do it in Windows, post the directions here and we could get more people that can easily test the changes.
-Instructions for building on Windows can be found here.

News / Contest Winners
« on: September 26, 2009, 03:36:19 pm »
The results are finally in!  Final scoring was determined with 50% due to judge scores and 50% from the public polls.

Congratulations to Builderboy for winning the ASM/Hybrid category with his port of Shift, and to drummist for taking the BASIC category with CaveDweller83 ;D

The prize is a 16GB SanDisk Cruzer Micro USB flash drive.  I will be sending the Hybrid/ASM prize, which should (hopefully) arrive in 1-2 weeks.  Noah will be shipping the Pure BASIC prize, which should arrive within 2-3 weeks (since it might be another week until he can check the forums).


ASM/Hybrid Category:

Shift by Builderboy
-Creativity:  26/30
-Speed:  28/30
-Size:  29/30
-Graphics:  24/30
-Game play:  26/30
-Replay:  25/30
--Total judge score:  158/180 = 87.8%

-Public Poll:  6/8 = 75%
--Grand Total: 81.4%

The Blue Platform Demo by Eeems
-Creativity:  28/30
-Speed:  3/30
-Size:  28/30
-Graphics:  23/30
-Game play:  15/30
-Replay:  16/30
--Total judge score:  113/180 = 62.8%

-Public Poll:  2/8 = 25%
--Grand Total: 43.9%

Pure BASIC Category:

CaveDweller83 by drummist:
-Creativity:  29/30
-Speed:  21/30
-Size:  29/30
-Graphics:  21/30
-Game play:  23/30
-Replay:  23/30
--Total judge score:  146/180 = 81.1%

-Public Poll:  8/8 = 100%
--Grand Total: 90.6%

Stupid by Deep Thought

-Creativity:  21/30
-Speed:  23/30
-Size:  18/30
-Graphics:  25/30
-Game play:  5/30
-Replay:  18/30
--Total judge score:  110/180 = 61.1%

-Public Poll:  0/8 = 0%
--Grand Total: 30.6%

Congrats again ;D

Note to contest entrants:  You can submit your entries to or any other site now if you haven't already done so.

TI Z80 / Chip's Challenge- Asm (!)
« on: July 19, 2009, 09:19:29 pm »
I believe my asm knowledge is decent enough to write a game with it.  Thus, as you can guess from the title, I'm going to try and make an assembly version of Chip's Challenge!

Due to the fact it will be written in assembly, this will enable me to add in a few features beyond what the Basic version is/will be capable of (there are more but I forgot everything I was going to say):
- A timer for all calc models
- Enemies
- Better speed
- (possibly/probably) grayscale

So far, over the last couple days I've written a tilemapper, converted a few levels to an asm format (no more damn matrices or strings!), and implemented a basic movement engine (including some tile effects).  I'm really motivated to work on this now, so I should progress fairly quickly (at least initially).

And before anyone asks, I'm not sure if this will be an app or a program.  In the plans I have for the movement engine, I've already put in some SMC, but I'm not sure if that will stay there.

Other Calculators / PicPacker (previously called Hacked Pic Helper)
« on: April 26, 2009, 11:12:24 pm »
(I'll take any ideas for a better name) :)

I finally got around to finishing that ASM program to help transferring the hacked pics to/from a computer.  You run TPIC (234 bytes) to store the data for the pics in an appVar.  You send the appVar and EPIC (200 bytes) to the destination and run EPIC.

What do you guys think?  (Or any suggestions or problems)

This has happened to any programmer at least once:  You're working on a project when, suddenly and without cause, something happens;  your batteries die, the calc crashes, a friend presses one too many buttons- fate has conspired against you :o.  Everything you had, gone :'(

We may never know how many projects have been lost.  But here, in this thread, some record of them will remain.  If this has ever happened to you and a large part of your life was lost, post what it was, how it was destroyed, and any lessons you've learned or wisdom to share.

A compilation of ways to ensure you never have to post an obituary in this thread:
- Backup often
- ...that means on a computer as well
- Use groups
- Backup multiple ways (USB, email, etc...)
- Don't rely heavily on commands such as Omnicalc's restoreMem(
- Test ASM programs on an emulator
- If someone clears your memory once, don't give them a chance to do it again.

Total casualties so far [as of 14 June 2009]: 24 confirmed

TI Z80 / Chips challenge Tile names
« on: April 05, 2009, 09:26:06 pm »
For those of you who have played the demo or read the readme, you've probably noticed that some of the tile names are either a color or just really strange.  Since I still can't think of better names, I'm in need of some help.

Here's a list of the tiles I need help on (but if you can think of better names for the other tiles don't hesitate to add them!):
1) Movable blocks
2) Green switches (they toggle the green walls on/off)
3) Green blocks (either on/off depending on state of green switch)
4) Blue blocks.  They will turn into walls or floor when you walk on them (I called them 'maybe' blocks)
5) The guy (He takes your boots when you walk on him)
6) The squares that will turn into a wall after you walk on it (you only have one chance to walk over, I called them 'big blob' since that's what it looks like before you walk on it)
7) Thin-walled tiles.  They have thin walls on one or two sides that prevent you from walking on/off in that direction (e.g. if there's a wall on the bottom, you can walk on/off from left/right, walk off from the top but not enter while moving up).
8) The hint blocks.  I can't choose between 'hint', '?', 'help', or 'tip'.

(If only calcs had color...)

TI Z80 / Demos
« on: March 25, 2009, 11:36:07 pm »
It's finally demo time!  This version brings you levels 1-4 and 6-7 ported (mostly) from the original game.  Instructions for installation and game-play have been included in the readme.  For those of you who use WabbitEmu, I also added folders with the individual files instead of groups.

This game is designed primarily for the 83+SE or any 84-series.  It is playable on the 83+ but the speed is somewhat crappy.

Please post any comments and bug reports in this thread.  Suggestions and other questions should go here

Enjoy ;D

[edit] Unfortunately, I've discovered a small bug.  The game quits after level 6 (the 5th level you play) and not level 7. This can be fixed by going to prgmZEND and changing the line "If L>.5length(Str9" to "If L>1+.5length(Str9".

[another edit] Problem fixed. in v1.00b

[another another edit] Now I begin experimenting and (possibly) starting the conversion to the string tilemapper and thus this will be the last update for a while (i.e. savor the experience :P)

Other Calculators / How you started programming
« on: March 22, 2009, 08:22:38 pm »
How did everyone get started with programming for calculators?

For me, someone who sat near me in my geometry class was working on a tictacto game.  That's when I figured out that they could be programmed.  I proceeded to read the manual, figured out I could improve his game, then went from there.

Humour and Jokes / How to keep New Year's resolutions
« on: December 26, 2008, 07:52:17 pm »
How to Keep Your Resolutions

2005: I will read at least 20 books this year.
2006: I will finish "The Pelican Brief".
2007: I will read at least one newspaper article.
2008: I will try to finish the comic section this year.

2005: I will get my weight down below 200.
2006: I will diet faithfully until I get below 240.
2007: I will work out 5 days a week.
2008: I will drive past a gym at least once a week.

2005: I will pay off my bank loans promptly.
2006: I will be totally out of debt by 2007.
2007: I will try to pay off the debt interest by 2008.
2008: I will try to be out of the country by 2009.

2005: I will try to be a better husband to Marge.
2006: I will not leave Marge.
2007: I will try for a reconciliation with Marge.
2008: I will try to be a better husband to Wanda.

2005: I will not let my boss push me around.
2006: I will not let my boss drive me to the point of suicide.
2007: I will stick up for my rights when my boss bullies me.
2008: I will tell Dr. Hodges and my group about my boss.

2005: I will not get upset when Charlie makes jokes about my baldness.
2006: I will not get annoyed when Charlie kids me about my toupee.
2007: I will not get angry when Charlie tells the guys I wear a girdle.
2008: I will not speak to Charlie.

2005: I will go to church every Sunday.
2006: I will go to church as often as possible.
2007: I will set aside time each day for prayer and meditation.
2008: I will try to catch the late night sermonette on TV.

2005: I will see my dentist this year.
2006: I will have my cavities filled this year.
2007: I will have my root canal work done this year.
2008: I will get rid of my denture breath this year.

2005: I will not take a drink before 5:00 p.m.
2006: I will not touch the bottle before noon.
2007: I will not become a "problem drinker."
2008: I will not miss any AA meetings.

TI Z80 / Chip's Challenge screenies
« on: December 09, 2008, 10:18:22 pm »
After having to look back through the other topic to find my previous screenies I figured that sticking them in one place might make things easier.

     Level 1                        Level 3                  Level 87 (part)

And now for the new ones.  I got rid of that annoying grid pattern:

     Level 1                        Level 3                  Level 87 (part)

I'm still working on sprites for the fire, flippers, suction boots and fire boots so that's what the "fo", "Fi", "fi", "w" are in level 3.

[edit]I just realized that the un-made sprites are "Fi fi fo" (like fee-fi-fo-fum).
[another edit]And here's how this nice little game started:

And I forgot to add the bar separating the HUD and map again.  If it's missing in the next screenies I give can someone hit me over the head with a stick or something?

Dec 13, 2008:  Discussion/comments start here

    Level 3                        Level 6                      Level 7

Feb 23, 2009:  Discussion/comments start here

May 2, 2009:  Discussion/comments start here

            Level 1                                           Level 2                                           Level 2

TI Z80 / Chip's Challenge
« on: November 20, 2008, 10:50:08 pm »
Since I've never actually released a program despite being active in the calculator community for almost 4 years :-\ I've decided that I should probably do something.  Chip's Challenge is an old tile-mapped puzzle game which follows Chip's quest to get out of some crazy lady's labyrinth.

It'll be a port for the 83+ series in grayscale using xLIB.  The project is in its very early stages but I've already run into a slight problem  :o, so I might as well announce the project anyways.  I don't have much experience with xLIB so please bear with me.

I'm having trouble getting the main sprite to resemble anything when the background tile isn't blank.  I've looked through some tutorials and the closest thing I've found directly addressing this problem is (amazingly) here.
This is a screenshot.  Notice what happens when he enters the water and ice.

(The sprites I'm using right now aren't in grayscale and are just temporary so I can work on to other things.)
How would I mask the sprite so it looks decent when he's in water/on ice?

Right now I'm focusing on modifying the scrolling engine from my map editor to work with xLIB tile-maps and I'll post anything once I make some real progress on this. ;D

Introduce Yourself! / Hey
« on: November 08, 2008, 08:11:05 pm »
It's good to see Omnimaga's back up ;D.  The new skin looks great too :)

ps: Are the peanuts back?  I got jipped last time I joined :( ...

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