Sunday, September 10, 2006

Subversion move and Trac

After spending far too much time messing about with several new website designs, I've decided to stick with what I had. In the end, what counts are the remakes! So no more silly javascript and what not.

Speaking of remakes, I ought to mention what I'm currently doing. Early August I moved all the code from CVS to Subversion. I've also discovered and started using Trac - this means I can keep my to do list up to date and hook it in to commits. Far better than a bugs.txt that I never updated. My next milestone's set for mid October and consists in fixing some bugs in Elite AGB and Doomdark's Revenge as well as finishing off the port of Cyclone to the latest DevkitPro.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Conceptronic C54APRA with Nintendo WFC

I knew it! After splashing out for one of those Nintendo USB gizmos, I've discovered how to get the Nintendo DS to recognise the Conceptronic C54APRA router. In the end it just needed the updated firmware. Sigh. For anyone in a similar situation the firmware you need is this one: V2.00B02T02.GE.20051102 []

Don't forget to make a note of your settings before going ahead, since updating the firmware wipes everything. Once that's done, the DS will pick up the router when you scan for it in the wireless settings. Without the update, it's as if the access point didn't exist.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Skiving + Routers

I've been a very lazy recently. Hectic work, coupled with a nasty bit of conjuctivitis meant that coding has been a low priority for me. Last thing I wanted to do in my spare time was write C...

I've also been playing Animal Crossing WW on the DS. A big time waster. Especially on-line mode. Unfortunately my router, a Conceptronic C54APRA , doesn't seem work with the online stuff. Rumours are that it does with the latest firmware. But I've also read that it doesn't. So who knows. In the end I bought one of those USB dongle rip-offs that Nintendo do. At least I can keep my wireless lan on WPA.

Another factor that has contributed to my recent reduced output is the state of the GBA scene. Most homebrewers have moved on to the PSP or DS, but without really coming up with any good finished games. This is partially due to the difficulty of coding on a more powerful platform - expectations are higher but coding is as time consuming as ever plus better quality art requires much more work - and partly because there are no good emulators available. The GBA has itself become "retro" and I think that there are less and less people interested in good remakes for it. Oh well. Perhaps it's time to move on to the DS?

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Great Freescape

Yay! That went well. I've now got Castle Master (and a crippled Total Eclipse!) up and running with libgba, GBFS and my own libsxmp, which I've modified to also do sound effects... This is a pretty good first step since it makes everything a bit easier to fit together. GBFS in particular should ease me troubles with the GUI files and how to load in each games's data. It makes things impossible to debug with gdb, but then the debugger hooks in VBA no longer seem to work anway so no real loss here.

Doing this also got me back into the swing of things, since I'd forgotten everything about the freescape engine. Like the fact that object 255 in a room isn't a real object but a list of objects in the global room space. Interesting stuff, I'm sure you'll agree. I'm going to experiment with hacking in some classes and whatnot next, see if I can figure out a clever way to crowbar in the differences between games without going mad. It ain't going to happen (the clever way of doing things, I mean. The going mad is very likely to happen) and I can see me resorting to the old #ifdef, but I'll give it a go!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Continuing with Freescape stuff

Curses! I knew trying to recode everything, change to autotools and use libgba all at the same time would prove too much. And it seems I was right. Anyway, know I'm trying do hack in the easier steps first: use libgba, GBFS and autotools. Then if that works I'll recode the worst sections so it's a bit easier to add more Freescape games. Fingers crossed, eh?

Friday, January 27, 2006

Castle Master++?

It's now 2 years since I wrote that Castle Master remake, so I thought it might be time to take another look at the source, see what I can do. My plan is to try and add some more Freescape games without resorting to thousands of "#ifdef CASTLE_MASTER" and friends all over the shop. The easiest fit, trivial even, would be The Crypt. The next easiest, but slightly trickier, is Total Eclipse. Both would be pretty good to do, I think.

I'd already started a PC version that, while unfinished, used a better coding structure than the original GBA C code. By expanding on this and fitting in the missing pieces hopefully I can come up with something that a) won't take me forever to finish, b) is easier to add new FS games to and c) has some kind of structure, rather than the "high-level 8-bit assembler" that the original version seemed to be written in.

It represents a few firsts though: my first GBA C++ project, the first time I'm using libgba and gbfs on something I plan to finish, and the first time I'm using autotools on something GBA-y. So I expect it will all end in tears.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Updated Elite AGB

I've put the updates to Elite AGB on my site now. These additions are some of the changes made by Thomas Metz to TNK plus a couple of extras. In detail then:

Quick saving - so you can save anywhere. This is really handy when you are going for a monster special cargo run and have to hop between several planets sun-scooping fuel. Doesn't solve the problem of being crap and getting killed though, sadly.

Different "star field" effect. I really liked the dust field effect added to TNK, but after making similar changes here, I'm not sure. I might make it optional at some point.

A few more planets on the short range chart - I've not added the big change made to TNK since I think it looks too cluttered with all the stars present. It's fine around Lave, but some of the planet patterns near the top of galaxy 1 are much more packed.

Galactic Chart path finder. This was one thing I fancied doing since I saw this website with Elite Trade Routes a couple of years ago. Now you can press Select to get a line plotting the "best" route to a planet from your current location. Best here means the shortest route with least jumps flying to the safest planets. A bit cheaty perhaps but I feel Elite AGB pilots need all the help they can get!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

New toy - Nintendo DS

In a rash bit of ebay bidding, I've finally bought a Nintendo DS. €160 it cost me with a few games. The bad news is that it has 2 dead pixels on the top screen and Tepples pixel unsticker didn't unstick them. The good news is that it's got the old firmware v1, which means I can use the wi-fi technique to run homebrew code. To know which firmware you've got on a DS follow this forum post:

1. Make sure your DS is not set to auto start
2. Insert a DS game
3. Switch on and select Pictochat, room A
4. Once Picto starts, remove the DS cartridge

At this point, the DS will freeze and the screen may turn a single colour. From the type of freeze, you can determine your firmware type:

- FW1: DS remains frozen
- FW2: Grayish Blue
- FW3: Dark Green
- FW4: Yellow

If the screen turns
Yellow then you need to use the more complex PassMe2 method. Otherwise, you can use PassMe1 or WifiMe.

Not sure when I'll start messing with NDS stuff, because the original GBA probably has more homebrew 'fans' at the moment and DS emulation is still quite buggy. I shall see...

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


I received an email the other day:

I think I found one bug, though. When you pick up an item that you already have in your inventory, the new item replaces the exiting one. EXAMPLE: If you have one item of food in your inventory, and you find two more food items, when you pick those up, your inventory says 2 food items instead of three.

Now I just cannot repeat this. I hacked the source to get it to add loads of food around me, but it always adds the item correctly. If nobody else has seen this bug, then I guess it doesn't exist. Which is good, of course. Anybody seen this problem?

I'm still hitting my head against a wall with the Elite 3D stuff. One hacky fix is to dock sooner - in TNK you dock when your ship is 170 units of distance away from the centre of the station, but in Elite AGB this was set to 128. It explains why the station seems to disappear for longer before you dock.