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.