I took a few hours recently to set my Eee PC 701 2G Surf up as a dedicated emulator machine. I picked up a dirt-cheap 16GB Sandisk Cruzer USB stick for $9 and downloaded an ISO of Mandriva Linux 2011.0.
This thing is pretty sweet! It runs SNES, NES, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, Gameboy Advance, DS, Genesis, MAME, and Master System emulators. Pretty much anything 2D it can handle easily.
Even better, I had a bunch of space left over on the USB stick for mp3s and oggs, so I can listen to some decent music while I’m driving in my car thanks to the audio input jack on my car stereo.
Syrup Dispensers From Hell is coming along quite well. I’ve decided to use the Legend of Sadness base for the game, which plays and looks a lot like a Legend of Zelda title. Instead of having our hero travel into a cave, he’ll be travelling into a breakfast restaurant to save us all from horrid syrup dispensers.
This time around I’ve got a lot more experience working with Akihabara so I’ve been able to work harder on gameplay and graphics rather than learning how the game engine works. Designing tilemaps for a game, as a programmer, is tough work. It’s not that I dislike working on art or even that I’m not artistic, but what looks great in The Gimp looks like shit when it’s tiled a hundred times.
Doing graphics for a game is basically incrementalism combined with healthy doses of iteration. You tweak a pixel, test it in-game, hate it, go back, tweak another pixel, hate it, go back, and so on.
A neat feature that I discovered today was Akihabara’s ability to scale the size of the game display by a value that is less than 1, meaning that it does not need to zoom to an integer value. Currently I’ve got the game displaying at 320×240 with a zoom of 2.5, making that actual output 800×600.
There exists an obscure music format that an entire generation of kids grew up with, most without ever realizing the sub-culture and community that had grown up around them. The file format is called Music Modules, or Mods for short. There are many different kinds of Mod formats, each with their own unique set of features, but they all work using the same basic principles: The Mod file contains the “patterns” (digital sheet music) as well as the “samples” (instruments) that play according to the patterns. In this way it is somewhat of a cross between a MIDI and an MP3 file. Because each Mod includes the instruments with the file, each Mod can have a unique sound.
Mods were frequently used in videogames and PC games during the 1990s. If you had a Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, or Atari Jaguar, chances are you have listened to Mod music and never even knew it.
The Mod community has been around for a long time and includes some of the best Demoscene musicians in the world. Making your own mods is free and easy and when you’re finished with your masterpiece you can unleash it on the world for comment and rating via websites like The Mod Archive.
Schism Tracker Screenshot
In order to make music modules you will need a computer with a sound card (if you bought a computer after about 1993 you should be okay :D) and a Tracker. The Tracker I use most frequently to make Mods is Schism Tracker. Schism Tracker is a remake of a classic DOS-based Mod Tracker known as Impulse Tracker. Schism Tracker will run on Windows, Linux, and Mac and is free to download.
If you’re interested in getting started with making music on your computer, check out this tutorial for Impulse / Schism Tracker and have fun!
Microsoft unveiled their new Xbox 360 controller, or, lack-of-controller today at E3. Yes, I’m referring to Project Natal.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, you obviously don’t have a Twitter account. All of the videos I’ve seen thus far are pre-recorded, but if this thing works as good as they make it look, we are all in for a treat. Check it out:
Looks pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.
I have a few questions, which I’m sure you all do as well. Mine are
Will the sensor be a USB device?
If so, has anyone hacked their own drivers yet? :)
How long until someone uses it in a virtual world, like OpenSim?
Combine this with a projection-cube-room like this one, a treadmill floor so you can actually walk, and you’ve got yourself a holodeck, son.
Am I the only late-20-something that’s sorely disappointed that Virtual Reality has basically dropped off the face of the planet?
When I was young, Virtual Reality was supposed to be the “next big thing.” And for a while, it was. I played Dactyl Nightmare with the best of them on a Virtuality machine in a mall in Port Huron and anxiously awaited any tidbit of news to come from Atari about their Jaguar 3D headset.
Then, all of a sudden, VR disappeared.
I think it’s because of the Virtual Boy. I really liked that system, but I guess at the time it made a bunch of people sick and companies got scared to try it again.
Here’s what I want:
A lightweight, high-resolution, full-vision 3D display headset with built-in (at least Stereo) sound. If it needs to take advantage of dual-header DVI graphics cards, so be it.
Two Nintendo PowerGlove-ish devices that let me manipulate objects in 3D.
Can you do it for cheap?
Does anyone know of a high-quality headset like the one described above? Let me know in the comments!
As far as the gloves… I was thinking about getting 10 Nintendo Wii controllers and removing and then mounting the IR units on the tips of my fingers. Take advantage of the many open-source Wii controller drivers around the net to build a PC joystick driver that can work in engines like Torque.
I often fool around with 3D tools like blender and Torque Construction Set. I get frustrated at the interface with my computer. Not only is any size screen too small, a mouse and a flat 2D display just can’t manipulate the objects fast enough. I want to use my hands, damnit!
Just think of how cool it would be to wave your hand and have a forest grow behind it or earth raise into a mountain. The Matrix, here we come!