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Off-topic inspiring technical stuff
Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:26 pm
Things that relate to the kind of stuff we may be doing here.
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8088 Domination Post-Mortem
Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:26 pm
8088 Domination Post-Mortem, Part 1
Playing full-motion video on a 1981 IBM PC
http://trixter.oldskool.org/2014/06/19/8088-domination-post-mortem-part-1/
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Realtime fastloading on C64+1541 drive solved after 30 years
Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:27 pm
GCR decoding on the fly
http://www.linusakesson.net/programming/gcr-decoding/index.php
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learnfun & playfun: A general technique for automating NES games
Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:19 pm
www.cs.cmu.edu/~tom7/mario/

Entertaining YouTube videos too.
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:16 pm
It's a shame that programmers nowadays favour bloated programming languages and don't bother with optimisations at all. Real programmers are becoming rarer and rarer, between a C# and the next useless eye candy. But hey, we have 16-cores, who cares if 15 of them are used for the UI. And hey, we have 64 gigabytes of RAM, who cares if I use a 64-bit variable to store a boolean flag.
</rant>

On topic, I always liked this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUv0jSYRBZo
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Post Posted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:11 pm
Thanks for linking these wonderful posts.
They also reminded me of the feelings I had when I found out how to do a 25%-75% weighted average between two 15bpp RGB pixels with only 7 ARM 1-cycle ASM instructions, and how then I did two of those in 11 cycles using 'SWAR'... ah, the memories...
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Jon's Basketball Game: Creating a sports video game has proven to be rather difficult
Post Posted: Mon Jun 30, 2014 2:26 pm
http://www.sbnation.com/2014/2/28/5453556/jons-basketball-game-garrys-mod

Maybe a tiny bit not serious, but it shows the importance of flexibility to your target platform and perseverance. Also, giving up if it doesn't pan out.
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:57 pm
http://www.sega-16.com/forum/showthread.php?22763-Let-s-consolize-and-old-dirty-...

I want to be this guy. This is inspiring to me. It makes me want to find a trash bag.

He also mentions us!


Also, If you guys have not seen it already, here's a link to a truly impressive consolized Game Gear.
http://www.smspower.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=13381

This guy has insane skills and pushed it to the extreme, I found this very inspiring.
Im definitely NOT going that far though. My goal is to have it work well and be practical.
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Post Posted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:08 am
Apparently, the guys at Sonic Retro are liking this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBHB51TS5a0

It's a port of Wolfenstein for the Mega Drive / Genesis. I have to admit, it looks impressive.
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PuzzleScript
Post Posted: Sun Jul 13, 2014 3:14 pm
The discussion about 8x8 type graphics reminded me of this beautiful little website http://www.puzzlescript.net

It is an integrated web-based environment for creating puzzle games using a custom rule-based language, with graphics & levels described in embedded ASCII. On any game if you click "HACK" you can see how they are done.

Levels can be hand-edited in code. You define the possible items as a list of ASCII characters (the "Legend") and then draw the level as a rectangle using those characters.

I also like what they do with sounds: the software include a simple sound synthesizer with a dozen of hard-coded base settings ("collect item" "explosion") from which you can generate random variation. The output of which is a single 32-bit number which encode the sound type and the random parameters which served to seed that specific sound. So basically you click the "explosion" button until you get an explosion sound you like and then you can use this number in your code.

I liked the Heroes of Sokoban serie, it becomes really interesting from part 2.
http://www.puzzlescript.net/play.html?p=6860122
http://www.puzzlescript.net/play.html?p=6910207
http://www.puzzlescript.net/play.html?p=7072276

Also many of those games would be prime candidate for a nice-looking SMS port.
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Retro City Rampage ported to NES
Post Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:25 pm
10 mins of making of
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hvx4xXhZMrU
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 14, 2014 3:46 pm
Bock wrote
The discussion about 8x8 type graphics reminded me of this beautiful little website http://www.puzzlescript.net

(..)

Also many of those games would be prime candidate for a nice-looking SMS port.


Yes, I once thought about creating a tool to generate SMS ROMs from puzzlescript games; I've taken a look at their source code (https://github.com/increpare/PuzzleScript), inspected the JS object that it generates from the parsed source, but never went much beyond that, choosing to make Twee2SAM, instead. Maybe I'll come back to that someday, but being the procrastinator that I am, I wouldn't count on that. :P
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OpenWorm
Post Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:22 am
Under the amusing title there is research to "emulate" a worm down to its cellular and neuronal system. So essentially an emulator of a real living thing based on copying the neuronal map/weights of the original.

http://www.i-programmer.info/news/136-open-source/7347-openworm-building-life-ce...
http://www.i-programmer.info/news/105-artificial-intelligence/7985-a-worms-mind-...
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25c3: The Ultimate Commodore 64 Talk
Post Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 12:18 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsRRCnque2E

Learn a bit about the other side.
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Post Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:05 pm
I always thought 'the other side' was NES ;)
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Post Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 2:29 pm
It's bigger than that, it's Z80 vs 6502!
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Fixing E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600
Post Posted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:16 pm
Detailed hack
http://www.neocomputer.org/projects/et/
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Post Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:47 am
Bock wrote
Detailed hack
http://www.neocomputer.org/projects/et/

I really like this one.



My motivators/inspirators:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5St9izvlS44&list=PL9406E216DB80C9FB

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkSZvWfqFjc

I really love the design and gameplay.
I even created my own Z80 game engine for a la-mulana like game:
http://youtu.be/1Mo1EVHN0ao?t=4m16s
http://youtu.be/1Mo1EVHN0ao?t=5m36s
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Handmade Hero
Post Posted: Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:36 pm
http://handmadehero.org/
https://www.youtube.com/user/handmadeheroarchive

Casey Muratori on programming a game in C, for PC, from scratch. By "from scratch" it means excluding standard libraries, build systems, not even using OpenGL or DirectX librairies, everything is done at nearly the lowest level it can be done to be able to explain what is going on.

All the programming is recorded along with live commentary. There's lots of interesting topics being discussed, interesting tricks. Casey is a very experimented programmers so he goes in details, implement things that are not often done in your typical C codebase (live code reloading, state reloading/playback) and he like to do things "correctly".

Unfortunately by nature it's really long, 1-2 hours a day and forever ongoing. Bit hard to swallow that much. It is great as a documentation problem and hopefully will be indexed in details someday.
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Post Posted: Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:10 pm
3D Afterburner is out on the 3DS eshop today, and Sega is continuing to translate the series of interviews with M2 about porting these games to the 3DS: http://blogs.sega.com/2015/01/12/sega-3d-classics-3d-afterbunner-ii-%E2%80%93-a-...

Really interesting stuff, they really went all-out on these conversions.
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Internet Archive
Post Posted: Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:16 pm
It has been in the news a few weeks ago, The Internet Archive (archive.org) has been steadily growing into hosting software and more recently emulation with a Javascript port of MESS and DosBox.

https://archive.org/details/software
e.g.
https://archive.org/details/sega_sms_library
https://archive.org/stream/gg_Columns_1991_Sega/Columns_1991_Sega.bin?module=gam...

And this article about the Internet Archive works (and how Google effectively dropped a lot of their archiving work)
https://medium.com/message/never-trust-a-corporation-to-do-a-librarys-job-f58db4...
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Post Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2015 3:28 am
We're going to be able to play Sonic X-treme finally. Even if it is an unfinished mess.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9EUDlC6vsI
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:22 am
Bob Pape, the coder behind the Spectrum version of R-Type (which was quite impressive for the hardware) has written a book about the creation of the port and the state of computer game development at the time it was created. It can be downloaded for free from his website.

http://bizzley.com/

While it only occasionally touches on technical stuff, it's an entertaining read nonetheless. Highly recommended.
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How Sega built the Genesis
Post Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:05 pm
Extract from a recently released book about the Megadrive
http://www.polygon.com/features/2015/2/3/7952705/sega-genesis-masami-ishikawa
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Post Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:38 pm
A great read - thanks!

I wish mr. Ishikawa could be pursuaded to do a similar interview regarding the SMS.

Also - the 8-bit community should also have/make a nice book on the SMS someday :) the raw material is already here on the site.
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Post Posted: Sat Feb 14, 2015 7:05 am
Kagesan wrote
Bob Pape, the coder behind the Spectrum version of R-Type (which was quite impressive for the hardware) has written a book about the creation of the port and the state of computer game development at the time it was created. It can be downloaded for free from his website.

http://bizzley.com/

While it only occasionally touches on technical stuff, it's an entertaining read nonetheless. Highly recommended.

I'm reading it at the moment :) It is indeed a very interesting account of coder life in those days! it seems like it was kind of a digital wild west back then. I like the story of how he converted Rampage from arcade to ZX Spectrum - without having the actual arcade machine available!
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:11 am
Yeah, it's a neat read. It's also neat when he describes how one of his coworkers figured out a way to make a game uncopyable. He never reveals the secret, but he drops some clues.

This is a pretty cool thread. I enjoyed the machine learning based approach to playing video games and the atari2600 reworking of et. Pretty thorough.

Lots of the other articles here are pretty nice as well.
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Castlevania: Spectral Interlude
Post Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:03 pm
A pretty phenomenal Castlevania fan-game for the ZX Spectrum:

http://spectralinterlude.com/
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Post Posted: Sun Feb 15, 2015 7:21 pm
Kroc wrote
A pretty phenomenal Castlevania fan-game for the ZX Spectrum:

http://spectralinterlude.com/

Good lord that's amazing.
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Post Posted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 10:46 pm
This one is simply awesome:

a deep convolutional neural network that's capable of learning how to play Atari 2600 games by itself
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:29 am
I have been enjoying following this.
http://forums.nesdev.com/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=10696

Ni****do coder base working on snes version of Bad Apple. Interesting from a technical and community perspective.

edit: also makes you chuckle at the difficulty of getting it to happen in comparison to the genesis version.
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Post Posted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 10:01 am
We need to get a competitive SMS version of Bad Apple done some day...
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Sonic for the Atari 2600
Post Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 8:19 pm
https://youtube.com/watch?v=5zeV-yi-iY4

I love demakes!
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Post Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2015 8:20 pm
F-Zero clone for the MSX Turbo-R:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLwh76WgaJI
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Super Mario World code injection explained
Post Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:03 pm
You might have seen or been passed some of those videos. Using bugs in Super Mario World people were able to inject custom code by crafting careful object placement. Initially this was used to teleport to the ending but in some video you can see people injecting mini-games and even a port of the original Super Mario Bros within Super Mario World.

This video explains the technicalities and is pretty impressive
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAHXK2wut_I
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:36 pm
Yeah, the "Executes Arbitrary Code" thing is a relatively recent fad on tasvideos, here is a list of games in which something like that was done.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:01 am
Bock wrote
Using bugs in Super Mario World people were able to inject custom code by crafting careful object placement.
Wow - amazing hacking going on! It is really inspiring, and yet somehow it also affirms my concerns about the state of the world, where nukes, money and identities are being controlled by software.
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8088 MPH
Post Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:59 pm
More original IBM PC awesomeness with novel hacky hardware effects (e.g. 1024 colour mode)

http://trixter.oldskool.org/2015/04/07/8088-mph-we-break-all-your-emulators/
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 10, 2015 10:22 pm
Details on the 1024 colors mode on CGA
http://www.reenigne.org/blog/1k-colours-on-cga-how-its-done/
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:14 pm
And the MOD player
http://www.reenigne.org/blog/8088-pc-speaker-mod-player-how-its-done/
This is an easier read than the one above. Basically highly self-modifying routine. Similar technique would work on Z80 to stream data?
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:08 pm
It doesn't work as well on Z80 because the instruction set is more limited. For example, there's no add hl, #imm. My guess is people who make music/sound engines for Mega Drive have figured things out.

Calling it a MOD player can be misleading, because it can't play back arbitrary MOD files, and the code for actual (ProTracker) MODs is in the converter.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 12:54 pm
This is some great demo using the TMS modes present on the SMS VDP.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSS08co8zvA
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:47 pm
@Martin and @Bock

For what it's worth, there are some games for the Mega Drive / Genesis which use existing file formats (such as MOD and MIDI) "as is".

Some follow-up done by myself:
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:02 pm
I'm sure they use the 68K to mix. There are special trackers on Amiga which do 8 channel music, or TFMX based games with 7 channels, but only on title screens/credits scrollers. So the 68K is capable to do mixing in software.

The MSX IO demo confirms my impression that the legacy modes are often better for demo effects ;)
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:13 pm
Bock wrote
Similar technique would work on Z80 to stream data?


The problem I see is that the PSG can't be programmed to generate a 'pulse', which is something like having a variable duty cycle... so PWM should be replaced with PCM.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 13, 2015 6:08 pm
I don't know about the MIDI player, but I can confirm that the MOD player uses the 68K, yes.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:51 pm
64k demo documentary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRkZcTg1JWU
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Streets of Rage 2 development documentation
Post Posted: Wed Apr 22, 2015 6:17 pm
Nice dump of lots of Streets of Rage II (Bare Knuckle II) development docs.
http://ancgames.blog28.fc2.com/blog-entry-55.html

ZIP
http://www.ancient.co.jp/~game/download/bk2_docs.zip
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:57 pm
Just thought I'd share an interesting Z80 technique I came across looking for a fast way to fill memory in Windows (via
http://stackoverflow.com/questions/387654/why-is-there-no-z80-like-ldir-functionality-in-c-c-rtl/388442#388442)

You temporarily set the stack pointer to the area you want to clear and then just push the stack down repeatedly to fill the memory! This is supposedly 4x as fast as a typical write look.

  LD DE, SP       
  LD HL, 0
  LD BC, 0x1800   ; Size of screen
  LD SP, 0x4000   ; Start of screen
LOOP:
  PUSH HL
  DEC BC
  JNZ LOOP
  LD SP, DE
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Post Posted: Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:07 pm
You'd probably unroll the loop a bit for speed. Using ldir for memory blanking is a bit lazy because it involves a read and write for every byte, but it's short and easy to write. Writing zeroes is faster but still slower than the stack abuse method, but I'd be slightly worried about NMIs happening while you do it - which is why I avoid stack changes.
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