Sunday, November 25, 2007

WIP update - Elite DS

I got side tracked with grit, adding the ability to share a palette between various images. Now that this problem is solved (Cearn sent me an interesting program to merge image palettes after I sent him a patch against grit to do something similar) Elite AGB compiles for the DS. All that's left is to get it working! :-)

At the minute the NDS file just shows 2 white screens; a familiar situation for anyone who has coded anything on the DS. So now to start debugging...

EDIT: heh. here's a screenshot of the first build running in desmume. Yes, it is a straight GBA port.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another reason for GBA -> DS ports

So I've started working on Elite DS. First thing I did was to compile my old GBA code with the latest devkitArm r21. No problems there, fixed a buffer overflow and now it runs fine... on VBA.

My homebrew hardware for the GBA has gone the way of the dodo.

Well, not quite, but my new laptop doesn't seem to have a parallel port! It has a plastic blob in the shape of a parallel port, but there's no way to pry the thing off - luckily they've remembered to etch the universal symbol for "printer" above it, to mock me. This makes the F2A linker thingy rather useless. One more reason to port all my GBA projects over to the DS, eh readers?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Future efforts?

First, a rant.

Even though I understand where he's coming from, I don't agree with a lot of Dragon Minded's comments. His latest about wannabe plugin authors, that "they just wanted to do something easy to get their name on the project" seems a bit off - as far as I can see, DSO goes against the spirit of the GPL and actively discourages contributions. How can you do that on one hand and then expect people to use your plugin framework on the other? Or maybe he should just stop reading certain forums - people out for a free ride, downloading Nintendo games, are not going to make useful contributions to very much at all.

Now the rest of the post.

Bunjalloo has been open from day 1, and what help people have offered me has been gratefully received, so I don't want to abandon it. But the fact is that debugging Bunjalloo is most of the time a thankless task. The web is full of terrible HTML and hacky connection methods - witness the simple google log on process. Web pages are increasingly reliant on Javascript and Flash. Things that we take for granted on a PC browser are a painful nightmare on the DS. It can only get worse as web standards are further extended for more powerful devices and more interactive content. A kick in the nuts is that even mobile phones have better web browsers. This is mostly due to the tiny memory the DS has - but also because writing these things nowadays is more than a one man project. And I'm fed up!

So, with your permission, I think I'll take a break from the web browser for a while. Let's leave the apps to the PC and concentrate on the games. After all it's what the DS was designed for, and I have some outstanding issues to resolve...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

GMail now sort of works

I've now managed to read and send gmails from Bunjalloo :-)

Sadly the log in process to a gmail account is a bit strange. It uses lots of server side 302 redirects, meta content refreshes, cache-control:no-caching and some other voodoo that I haven't yet figured out. It breaks w3m as well, so I'm not alone in my frustration.

Luckily there is a work around - once logged in to the Google collective, you can navigate to and from there to the Mobile GMail portal. That works fine and has a better layout for the DS to boot.

The issue page on googlecode doesn't work yet - so you can't post an issue from within Bunjalloo. That's next, meanwhile I'm going to put out a new release.

Monday, November 05, 2007

HTTPS on the way..

I've made some advances with HTTPS. I only started today and already Bunjalloo can show the GMail log on page! There is an issue that you might like to star to see when HTTPS finally gets added properly. Put the champagne down for the moment, because it seems my naïve approach to cookies doesn't stand up to the Google log in process. Currently I get told that my browser's cookie functionality is switched off :-/

Logging on to read my mail is a #1 priority here. Closely followed by posting issues to the aforementioned issue tracker from Bunjalloo itself. I can already browse the subversion code, but I need to add issue posting to really start eating my own dog food. (Yuck.)

The SSL library I'm using is MatrixSSL. It took me just a few hours to add and get running on the PC, plus a few more to debug for the NDS. I expected it to take days not hours, so I was pleasantly surprised. Now I just have to remove all the damn printfs.