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January-March 2006 (oldest-to-newest)
So I've been off the whole week as have my wife and
kids (day care provider takes Christmas week off). I
Shadow of the Colossus and
caught up on TV shows Invasion and Threshold (only to
find out the latter has been cancelled, grrrr).
As for the boot loader, I'm in debug mode now. I added
a lot of knobs to turn and am going through all the
combinations to make sure everything works reasonably
Here's what I added:
- Horizontal menus. Scroll left and right instead of
up and down. Obviously you can't fit as many entries on
the screen as the normal, vertical kind, but it gives a
different look and feel.
- Absolute positioning for screen elements. Everything
on the screen can be positioned exactly rather than
having it automatic as before. It takes more work to get
stuff lined up, but the extra flexibility gives more
power to the disc creator.
- Various menu options. Like centering the menu,
wrapping around from one end to the other, limiting the
number of entries displayed, and turning off the
strobing effect for the selected entry.
That's in addition to the previous updates of custom
fonts and increased number of images.
Coming along nicely. Here's a current, but not
finalized, shot of the disc-in-making. Sorry about the
crap quality. I took the capture from my TV input
since the screenshot routine seems to be busted.
Good progress today making more content (images) for the
Yaroze Classics boot loader disc. I just need to take
some new screenshots to wrap it up.
Philippe sent me the code for the NUON version of
Invs that he made. (And I
just noticed that I spelled his name incorrectly in the
screenshot down below.) I ported all my changes over to
the new files and got it running. Let's just say that I
like it. A lot. I think you will too :)
Despite constantly breaking my own release dates I'll
go out on a limb and say that I expect to release it all
within two weeks.
Updating for yesterday. This week was shifted from my
normal Monday, Wednesday, every-other-Friday routine due
to the holidays - I was off Tuesday and Thursday instead.
I'll be back to normal next week with all three days
I spent some time acquiring new
Invs screenshots for the
boot loader. I'll need to do the same for
Katapila this weekend or
Monday. I'm almost done content-wise with the Yaroze
I'm also playing Invs to
test it. I was a bit disappointed to hit some serious
slowdown a couple times. It doesn't last long - just when
there are lots of bits flying around the screen - but it's
enough to make me want to try optimizing it further.
I also need to tweak the background clear routine.
This is the one that takes the previous frame and fades it
out slightly so that things leave a nice trail. Due to
fixed point precision it doesn't quite get faded to black,
which causes objects to leave permanent streaks on the
background. It's kind of a neat effect, but is not
representative with how the original game looked. I have
some ideas on how ot fix it.
I didn't get much done yesterday due to the baby being
very demanding in the afternoon. I think I have a way
to fix the background fading mentioned last time. I just
need an hour or so to try it out. Maybe tomorrow.
Again, I didn't make much progress yesterday. Partly
due to baby fussiness, partly just too much house work.
Not to worry, I have decided to dedicate most of Friday to
getting this thing polished.
I still haven't confirmed my changes to the background
fader in Invs, but I'm getting
closer. I had introduced a bug during my optimizations
and just recently found it. Now that everything is working
with the old renderer again I can try modifying it. I
think after I'm done that not only will it be 100%
accurate with regards to the original, but it will actually
be faster than the other, estimated method.
Oof, this one's a bit late. I forgot to post on Friday.
I'm back to full time at work for two weeks while my mom
takes over my baby-watching duties. After that I'll do
two more weeks of half time before returning to full time
I finished the background fader for
Invs. It works great and is
accurate to the original.
I'm ready to put together the final disc, but am having
trouble. As sometimes happens the disc works fine on the
dev system, but not on a real player. I didn't change
the file accessing part of the boot loader so it must be
some interaction with other changes I made.
As soon as I can nail this bug I will be able to
release the disc. Heck, maybe I can even get it out
by Wednesday so I don't make myself a
Introducing Yaroze Classics!
Download (2.9 MB)
Kicking off this ongoing games compilation are
Katapila by Ben James
Invs by Philippe-Andre Lorin
These two games were originally created with Sony's Net
Yaroze platform. Using the same library developed for
Decaying Orbit, I'm pleased
to introduce Katapila and
Invs to world of NUON.
To use, download and extract the zip. Burn the two
files to a CD and pop it in your player.
(Having trouble? See these
Along with the Yaroze Classics disc comes a contest!
First, play Invs.
Now, think you can create better sound effects?
Philippe has given the go-ahead to do a total replacement
of the in-game sounds. The winner will receive a signed
Games & Demos disc and have their sounds immortalized
in a future version of the Yaroze Classics collection.
Here's what to do. Download
this zip containing the original sound effects
from the game. Then create your own sounds to replace them.
Here's a list of the sound files and how they are used in-game:
- plshot - Standard player shot
- plshot2 - Player shot when powered up
- plenrgy1 - Collecting shield energy
- plenrgy2 - Collecting shot power energy
- pldead - Player got shot
- peonfull - Peon finished getting energy
- peonshot - Dark Peon shot
- attaatak - Atta leaving formation
- attashot - Atta shot
- gorratak - Gorr leaving formation
- gorrshot - Gorr shot
- kkexpl - KeeKee hitting ground
- swshot - SeeWee releasing triple bomb
- swbeam - SeeWee shooting the player's shot
- protshot - Prot bomb
- protbeam - Prot beam
- expl - Various explosions
- miss - Shots that miss
- explsmal - Smaller explosions (shooting Invs)
- pop - Bubblers' bubbles popping
page for a description of each enemy type.
Here's some rules for the contest:
- Avoid using copyrighted sounds directly (Galaga,
Galaxian, etc). Original works will be scored higher.
However, feel free to use existing sounds as a starting
point as long as you edit them sufficiently to be
- Enter as many times as you like. Make a funny set,
a serious set, a western set for all I care.
- Entries must be less than 1MB for the 20 files zipped.
- File format must be WAV 16-bit mono 22050 Hz.
- Use the same file names as above. It makes my life
easier when dropping them into the game.
- Entries must be submitted by midnight Sunday,
February 19th Pacific Time. Depending on how many
entries there are, the winner will be announced one to
two weeks later.
- Do not send entries by email without contacting me
first! Best for me would be if you use your own web space
from which I can download. Alternately you can upload
entries to my FTP space at ftp.dragonshadow.com in the
"incoming" directory. Send me a mail when you do so I can
grab it (and so I know who sent it). Don't worry, no one
can delete or download files you put there.
- I will be happy to generate a custom build if you want
to test out some sounds before submission. In fact, I
suggest doing this to be sure things sound as you expect.
Drop me a line and we'll work it out.
- Anyone can offer to be a judge, but then you can't
enter the contest. Mail me if you're interested.
Boot Loader 4.0
Up for grabs is the latest boot loader. Get either
executable (3.6 MB) or the
The latter includes the source for the boot loader,
source for the BOOTPACK utility, and all the files used
to create the demo bootload.dat (same as previous
versions). Plus as a bonus I included the files used
to create the recently released
Yaroze Classics disc. This will let you see how that
disc is put together to help you understand some of the
changes I made. There is a NUON.CD in the
YarozeClassics directory - this is a compiled version
of the boot loader that uses the init image for the YC
Please see the accompanying README included in
either zip. It explains the changes and how to use the
Psst. Is anyone
going to enter the contest?
It's been a while since I talked about something
non-game related. So has everyone been watching
Good show. It took me some time to get into it.
At the beginning the characters were very flat and
stereotypical. Oh, the parents are idiots and don't
relate to their kids - that's original. Oh, the brother
and sister hate each other's guts. Oh, the government
is covering up everything, making the early episodes
About half way through it got really interesting.
The Miles/Nimrod thread took an interesting turn when
Miles and Phil were on the run and got arrested. The
Laura/Rich thread really gets going as they dive to the
bottom of the ocean. And the conspiracy behind it all
is revealed. I'm hooked.
Still, there were several points in the show that
bugged the bejeebus out of me. A bunch of them hit
once Laura and Rich resurface from the bottom of the
- How is the submersible staying afloat? Sure it was
tethered to the life raft, but at best that would mean
that the submersible would dangle some feet below the
raft - below the surface of the water.
- Okay, they get out onto the raft and discover a
dime-sized leak. Umm, how about PUTTING YOUR FINGER ON
IT! Jeez louise. The raft is the only thing keeping
you alive and you have nothing but time on your hands.
Take turns holding a finger on the damn hole.
When Rich was locked in the Iderdex room below ground
I don't think he was in any sort of danger from the
Tsunami. Even if the water got down that far it would
have just flowed down the tube to where the monorails
were going. I guess the building might have collapsed
on him due to the weight of the water above. I'll let
this one slide.
Miles jumps off the ferry to save his girlfriend
and everyone - his parents, the girl's dad - just watches
him go. I don't know, as a father I sure as hell would
have jumped in too to help him. "Bye son! Call me if
As I stated in the forums, I'm sticking with the Yaroze
Classics for a while. Chris Wallace offered up his game
BreakDown for porting so
that's what I'm doing now.
It's going amazingly well. I had the thing running
within a few hours of work and have now ironed out a
bunch of the issues. I've even done some optimization
and think it should stay at 50fps throughout. It helps
that the background is static during each level. I'm
pulling the same trick I did for
Decyaing Orbit in that I use
the overlay channel for the dynamic objects and the
main channel for the background. That way I only need
draw the main channel once per level.
I encountered a strange crashing behavior. I think
I fixed it, but need more time to determine if that's
true. I also need to put some serious time into playing
the game to see what pops up. No estimated release
quite yet - I'll have a better idea where things stand
after this week.
The lack of updates can be entirely attributed to two
things: Xbox Media Center and
Guitar Hero. Both are
Seriously, though. Regarding
BreakDown I'm still getting a
crash in some minibios routine. And I have some
graphical oddities that I'm guessing are DMA related, but
I don't really know how to track them down.
I severely overestimated how much time for coding I'd
have after going back to work full time. Two kids is
not quite twice as much work as one, but when you're
already operating at 80% "daddy" with just the first one,
adding another eats up that last 20% and then some.
Of course Guitar Hero is
still taking up fun time, but can you really blame me?
A sequel and genre-specific expansions? Just wow. When
will I find time for breathing.
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