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View topic - Coding competition 2006

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Post Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:56 am
The only thing I would have wanted in pong would have a CPU controlled oponent but it would be cool to play it on-line with Maxim and others
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:02 am
This may have been discussed befor but i was wondering, what would be the cost involved to put some of thease games into a real cartridge to sell on this site, with its own box and cover (maybe you can use old ninja, transbot and world soccer carts and boxes donated by members and jus replace the cart insides, sticker and cover). You might be able to tell i have no idea about how to do things like this or if its possible, sorry if im wasting your time with this post. I think it would be cool anyway.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:27 am
I agree, it is a nice idea if it can be done and if there's enough interest and such in it of course.
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:27 pm
Thanks all for your comments regarding KunKun & KokoKun. Some answers:

- Close to the deadline I asked for music to Hally (from vorc.org) who actually could do something quick at the last minute. Unfortunately I had problem to get the tune looping with Mod2Psg2 replayer, it would play garbage after the loop. It was March 28th already so I kept nothing out of it.
In the source code you can uncomment the three calls to Mod2Psg2 replayer functions (PSG*) to have the music running with the game. This was really rushed out.

- I wanted to do more levels, but BMP2TILE exporter can't export more than the equivalent of 5 fullscreen tilemaps at once. I manually exported tilesets and tilemaps from a same bitmap, so as is it was not possible to add more levels, or I had to draw their tilemap manually. Which is certainly possible, since I draw the collision/logic map manually along with the graphics tilemap. Eventually I'd like BMP2TILE modified to be able to export tilemaps based on a given fixed tileset. So in essence you first do a bitmap to tileset conversion, then you use bitmap+tileset to get tilemap.

- With some basic work it should be faisable to create heaps of new levels, and indeed that would be nice. I'll see what I can do. The game can also be improved here and here and maybe some new features added.

- Heliophobe: I worked hard on the player state machine and animations. In the end it's not very complicated, but I made sure to maniacally tweak many things. For exemple when you jump from ground to ground you get a different animation than when you jump from ground to an upper slope. I'm not sure I properly positionned everything, though.
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My comments
Post Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 9:33 pm
Well, i've just tried all games in the competition, and I would like to congratulate ALL contestants on providing applications in this tough deadline and therefore enriching the event. Bock, a neat t-shirt for every contestant would be something cool huh !

About the entries:

[Digger Chan] I liked the splash screen. The game is cool, although I played it only through level 3.

[Draw Poker] I play this game everytime we go to beach (me and my brothers), just missed the score and CPU AI.

[KunKun & KokoKun] Totally impressive. It's definitely a final product, with addictiveness, end sequence and easter eggs included (speaking of them Bock, I thought it was a >>nightmare<< level LOL, was surprised by it)

[Nine Pixels] Heliphobe, what can I say... The music is AWESOME, if it was in the music competition I sure would have rated it high. One thing though, the intro speech doesn't play nice in latest MEKA, only garbage...
Beautiful visual effects =)

[Paws] Considering you age man, we can expect many things from you and crew in the future, nice demo.

[Pong] Nice to see a fellow brazilian in the scene !

And may the best win (-:
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Post Posted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 10:29 pm
Yeah, I probably should have taken the speech out. Originally I had the "Sega" voice from the Sonic games, which I was going to use in a different part of the demo, but the sample I switched to near the end didn't play back so well, for reasons Maxim sited. I'm not sure about the latest Meka, it's hard to decipher but "acceptable" on the one I tried. It does play on a real SMS (contrary to what I said earlier) but there's a tone channel playing over it which makes it hard to hear. There will be a final version out which fixes it soon - yeah I know it's bad form to 'fix' demos entered into competitions but we've got a small scene and I can get away with it.


In all fairness, as mentioned in the scroller, the music is not my own creation. I adapted it from an old chiptune mod called "Rainy Summerdays" by a fellow called Radix. The tune was included in a game called Seiklus (awesome free exploration game that everyone should check out, by the way), which is where I became aware of it. The original is definately better, I had to sacrifice the bass and sort of half-assed the drum track which didn't convert well from the original mod. It did convert better than most of the chiptunes I tried which tended to rely on pitch bends, which psg2mod2 doesn't automatically convert. I would say I put another four hours into making it sound good on the PSG.



(original mod attached)
rainysum.zip (5.19 KB)
Rainy Summerdays original mod file

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Post Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:08 am
Bock: That sort of nitpicking attention to detail really did set KunKun apart from other homebrew games, and is appreciated. Interesting approach converting all the levels as a single bitmap and keeping the logic map seperate. In the long run, while Maxim's utility is really the swiss army knife of SMS graphics and I would look forawrd to further developments, having a dedicated map editor for the SMS/GG would be ideal. The catch is, of course, that creativing one that is generalized to be useful for a number of possible projects could prove difficult.
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Post Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 1:12 pm
Heliophobe wrote
having a dedicated map editor for the SMS/GG would be ideal.


I'm actually working on one of those right now.

The Digger Chan levels are very tedious to edit/build by hand, so I really needed a large-tilemap editor. I had no time to create one before the competition closed, so I set about creating one late last week. It's about 50% done - should be complete by the weekend, hopefully.

It's not going to be an "advanced" editor, or anything - but good enough to do the job. Plus, it can always be updated with advanced features later, if that is required. :)
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contest
Post Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 7:37 pm
Hi, guys.

I've tested all of entries and liked everyone.. I really liked 9' song ;)

I've played soh much with digger.. I don't know how to play poker but liked the way card were drawn.. If there was source code I could try to develop some cards games I like ;)

Paws is very interesting... I want to study its source code.

Kunkun is so cool :P I don't know why I remembered of Lemmings, I think it because of kunkun walk up in the wall ;)

I would like to congratulate haroldo(because he is a brazilian like me)... his pong is amazing ;) the physics is very strange, but I couldnt do better, althoug I missed a 1p mode, I play by myself almost every time...

I didn't vote yet, cause I dind't play the entries a lot, and I'm a bit confused, dunno which entry to vote... I think I will just enjoy all of them :)
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Re: contest
Post Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:14 pm
probert wrote

I didn't vote yet, cause I dind't play the entries a lot, and I'm a bit confused, dunno which entry to vote... I think I will just enjoy all of them :)


It's very easy, if the title of an entry contains a number, vote it that number. If the title does not contain a number, vote 1. So, for instance, for Nine Pixels, you would give it a '9' vote.
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Fuxored votes
Post Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:41 pm
Sorry, I messed up with PHP, so voting data for PongMaster were lost. I sent an e-mails to all voters to request a new vote for this entry. Coding competition voting results will thus be delayed by a bit.
Meanwhile, people who have no voted yet may has well vote now.
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Re: contest
Post Posted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 10:47 pm
Heliophobe wrote
probert wrote

I didn't vote yet, cause I dind't play the entries a lot, and I'm a bit confused, dunno which entry to vote... I think I will just enjoy all of them :)


It's very easy, if the title of an entry contains a number, vote it that number. If the title does not contain a number, vote 1. So, for instance, for Nine Pixels, you would give it a '9' vote.


I complicated things a bit. I meant I didn't choose yet which entry I want to vote. I never ever load the php-vote-form. :)

EDIT: I got courage and voted ;-)
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Post Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:38 pm
Sorry for those who got disappointed by the "secret area".
I had room for 5 tilemaps so I had to make the urgent choice between a nightmare level or an ending sequence, and I thought the ending sequence would make the game more polished (alright, the ending is short). I really wanted to do a nightmare level, thought. I'll do one someday. :)
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 2:00 am
Mm, excuse me while I enjoy my brownie.

Here's my thoughts on the entries:

Paws: Nice classic style demo with a cool effect, but because of the demo's name I kept expecting that an animal paw would reach out from off screen and get all ground up and bloodied by that rotating meat grinder thing. Don't play with my expectations like that in your next demo.

Digger Chan: A great game. It's actually fun to play which is always a great thing for a homebrew. I think the reward/sacrifice system could be tweeked to make it more addictive. Making the blocks fall like in Mr. Driller would be one way, but I think there could be other mechanics that would work, too.

Draw Poker: While single player poker is not my favorite game, I can still appreciate your game and from what little I understand of how you wrote it, I guess I'm pretty impressed. It's solid and effective which is what counts in homebrew games especially on systems with no dev kit.

KunKun & KokoKun: Well, what can I say. I like games like this whether they're homebrew or not and this one is so polished and playable, that I just love it. The left and right jumping mechanics is a great idea, the control is nice and fluid (though the timing for running jumps took me a while toget used to) and even the level design is great. Character design is nice, too. I sure hope we see a lot more of this game, possibly including a publically released level editor.

9 Pixels: And here I thought the lack of punctuation was to make it more edgy, I deducted a point from your rating because you revealed that. The effects, though, are all really stunning. I love this kind of demo. The only recommendation I wold have is that you lengthen the time each effect is applied to the "9" so that you don't have to cycle through the whole group over and over while the text is scrolling. Or better yet, alter the effects in some small way such as color or shape so that they're slightly different each time.

Pong Master: Pong is always great (am I the only one here who owns--and plays!--an original Pong console from the '70s?) and this one is clean and nice. Yes, AI could have been nice or at least a practice mode with a wall, but controlling both paddles is also part of the Pong experience so no points lost for that. I really like the idea of adding English to the ball and hey I even like the random remnants of that idea in the released binary. And written in C? That's great! I'll have to look into this.

Congratulations to all the coders that got something finished for the deadline and thanks so much for giving us lowly homebrew consumers a little joy. It's really great to see homebrew developing on the Master System, I hope the scene and the tools continue to grow.


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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 3:31 pm
Just out of curiosity, I tested the demos on my Genesis + SMD using Charles MacDonald's transfer util, and the ones that worked were Paws and Pongmaster (9 Pixels started up, but once the "stretch" effect hits the fake AmigaDOS screen, the demo eats it). I voted, however, based on my experiences running the demos in Kega Fusion, where all the ROMs worked.
 
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 4:06 pm
Last edited by Bock on Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
LocalH wrote
Just out of curiosity, I tested the demos on my Genesis + SMD using Charles MacDonald's transfer util, and the ones that worked were Paws and Pongmaster (9 Pixels started up, but once the "stretch" effect hits the fake AmigaDOS screen, the demo eats it). I voted, however, based on my experiences running the demos in Kega Fusion, where all the ROMs worked.

Did you test the games too?
I've tested KunKun & KokoKun on a Japanese SMS and it worked.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:03 pm
Yes, I tested all the ROMs. However, I didn't expect all of them to work, as the SMD's behavior is slightly different from that of a true SMS (specifically in the area of banking):

When in not in the BIOS mode, the memory map is different:

 $0000-7FFF : ROM (fixed)
 $8000-BFFF : ROM bank #3
 $C000-DFFF : RAM
 $E000-FFFF : RAM (mirror)

 Writing to any address between $E000-FFFF will select the DRAM bank
 mapped to ROM bank #3, only the lower six bits ($00-3F) are used.
 This means the largest program loaded must be 1 megabyte or less.

 The banking scheme is not fully compatible with the type of memory mapping
 used in some SMS and GG games in the following ways:

 - ROM bank #1 is not present
 - ROM bank #2 is not present
 - Battery backed RAM pages cannot be mapped into ROM bank #3.
 - ROM bank #3 will be set incorrectly if any address within $E000-FFFF
   is written to.
 
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 5:36 pm
Nine Pixels runs on a real NTSC SMS1, although it wigs out a bit in the transition between the outline and filled in nine. There is something funny going in the transition between the SegaDOS screen and the drawing routine, though, as it crashes Dega (don't ask why I tested it in Dega) at the same spot.

I did notice some strange crashing bugs in earlier builds of Nine Pixels when I transitioned from a section with hblank interrupts to one with out. The crashes didn't occur on any emulators (emukon and meka being my primary test emulators) but did occur on real hardware. It seemed that line interrupts might still be triggered even after the line interrupts are disabled in the VDP, but it was hard to tell and I was in a hurry so I put a lot of 'belt and suspender' type code around the crashes (disabling interrupts, turning off line interrupts, putting a dummy hblank handler in my hblank pointer, waiting for multiple frames before proceeding, etc. I should probably try to diagnose exactly what was happening, and maybe I will if I have the time.





Sweater Fish: I had planned to have about 10 or 15 effects, with some being a little different than the scrolling alpha channel type effects that comprised that whole section, but that was, aside from the scroll text contents, the very last thing I did, and I barely got it working in time. I do regret some of my palette choices, particularly in the diamond-and-red-ball section, which was supposed to look completely different. That was one of those last minute details I didn't get to because I didn't have as many last minutes as I thought.

My original plan was to go straight from the SegaDOS intro to the Nine effects, and after the scrolltext ended, then do the stretchy effect and spend some time on the zooming engine, maybe zooming around the map of Radaxion from Alex Kidd in Miracle World, etc, and then go to a few more sections that I never broke ground on. I thought the demo should be at least as long as the song (which I sped up anyway) but alas, it was not meant to be.

Still, it's the coolest demo on the SMS right now.

So, (OT time) where you at these days?
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Results
Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 8:20 pm
I've posted the results now:
http://www.smspower.org/dev/competition/

Note: Pong Masters got about 35% less vote than other entries due to a problem on my side and not everyone has resubmitted a vote for it. But seeing how votes average quickly to a value, it should not affect its ranking.

Everyone won a t-shirt!

Quick vote analysis: it was tight between Nine Pixels and KunKun & KokoKun. They mostly got good votes in the 7-9 range. Nine Pixels however got a few "bad" votes and it affected its average enough to get under.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 9:33 pm
It's tough to rate demos against games, but I'm pleased with how it turned out. I would have liked to have taken the top spot, but I think I knew all along that KunKun & KokoKun was the better production.

I suppose some people don't "get" demos, or were put off by the shortness or handful of bugs. I do wonder, though, if any of the low voters were playing in an emulator where the demo crashes after the fake workbench, like Dega. I remember looking at the NES entry that took second place in the Y2Kode contest and wondering how the hell it beat mine, not realizing that due to a bug in the ancient version of Nesticle I was using, I wasn't seeing anything but the intro screen.

I'm looking forward to next year's competition. I've already got some ideas....
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 11:05 pm
Woo! Looks like I got my votes in just in time. Glad I got around to it when I did. Though my votes were pretty similar to the final results anyway, so I don't know if I made a difference anyway. Sigh, democracy....

Heliophobe wrote
It's tough to rate demos against games, but I'm pleased with how it turned out.

I was worried about that, too, which is why I was happy to see the way Bock handled the voting. Having to straight rank your choices would have been hard, but just rating each entry on its own merits worked well.

Quote
I'm looking forward to next year's competition. I've already got some ideas....

If this C environment pans out maybe even I'll enter. I've been looking for somewhere to develop my coding skills since I don't feel like continuing on the Neo Geo Pocket now that I no longer have a flash linker for playing my games on the real hardware. And while I'd love to jump onto the Dreamcast, I don't think I'm really good enough for that yet. Master System would be great, but I gots to have C. I dare not venture into ASM.

I'm living in Ukiah these days. Ukiah spelled backwards is Haiku, by the way. You still in Pacific Grove? Some friends of mine went to GDC this year and I was reminded of our mini-SMS Power Party there in 2002 or 2003 or whenever that was.


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Re: Results
Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 11:36 pm
Bock wrote
Everyone won a t-shirt!


Err, wasn't there some thing like over $300 USD of contributed prize money for the coding and music competition, or was that for something else? Surely more than just t-shirts could be given to the top three winners?

Quote
Quick vote analysis: it was tight between Nine Pixels and KunKun & KokoKun. They mostly got good votes in the 7-9 range. Nine Pixels however got a few "bad" votes and it affected its average enough to get under.


Maybe next time we can ask for and display (anonymously) the comments for each vote. I wonder what the reasoning behind the few bad votes Nine Pixels got could have possibly been.
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Post Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 11:48 pm
Charles MacDonald wrote
Bock wrote
Everyone won a t-shirt!


Err, wasn't there some thing like over $300 USD of contributed prize money for the coding and music competition, or was that for something else? Surely more than just t-shirts could be given to the top three winners?


Quality custom printed t-shirts for 13 people (including global shipping) should just about cover the fund. I'm sure Bock felt weird about buying a prize for himself, and I liked the idea of the t-shirts. I guess if any of the top winners object we could reconsider the prize structure.

Next year we'll probably have a lot more entries, at least in the code division, with the advent of a C devkit and some of the momentum of this year's contest carrying forward. If we can get organized about it, we should probably start collecting the fund earlier, decided on prizes based on what comes in, and then announce the contest. Some more detailed judging criteria might be nice to have, too.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 9:35 am
In light of the fact that only 6 entries were received due to the time constraint (to coincide with the 9th birthday of SMSPower), Might I make a suggestion...

IF there is to be a coding comp for 2007 (10th birthday!!!), could we organise it NOW. That gives us 12 months to find the time to code something worthy of the 10th birthday. It would also give a good chance to raise funds for prizes.

My suggestion would be for only 1 entry per person per category. My suggestion for coding categries would be...
* 32K demo
* 32K+ demo
* 32K game
* 32K+ game

...and all entries must mention the competition.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 10:30 am
I think that's a great idea and it gives a long opputine time for others to jump on and have a go.

I can understand some may get discouraged with such a long time frame to do it in, but you can easily soem what pick it up again at a later date and keep pushing it.

Maybe a whole year is a little too long? but otherwise I love the idea.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:15 pm
I think it's a great idea to talk about it now, and maybe decide that there will be a competition next year as well.
I will code something for next year, I promise =)
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 5:20 pm
I still don't think there will be enough submissions to warrant four categories. If we do divide them we should probably either do it above or below a certain size, or split games and demos. I'm not sure if enough people are interested in coding demos (me I looove demos) so maybe the size categories are ideal.

A year's sort of a long time, but there's nothing stopping anyone from getting started early. I'd say start collecting a prize fund at least by fall and formally announce (with prizes and rules already determined) at New Years. Maybe earlier.

Sweater Fish: Yes, I'm still in Pacific Grove. I remember the mini SMS Party fondly, although I've learned my lesson about cheap hotel TV's. Always bring an R/F modulator. I actually went to the GDC just for fun this year (expo only), though I think I had the most fun ditching it in the second day and playing drummania at Golfland for three hours. But boy did I get a lot of free tshirts.
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Post Posted: Thu Apr 06, 2006 7:48 pm
Sorry for not posting much here, I've been occupied finishing my demo (on Bock's advice ;) ).
I added the party name and demo to pouet.net if you want to do so with yours...
Here is mine, final version: http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=24418

Ready for a new compo! :)
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 12:31 am
Great! And nice spoof on 9 pixels ;-)
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:41 am
Funny that you decided to do an '8', considering how Nine Pixels started out about 12 months ago....
sms8.sms.0.png (1.34 KB)
sms8.sms.0.png

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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 10:51 am
Funny yeah :) In fact, why -nine- pixels?
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:42 am
SMS Power's ninth anniversary might have had something to do with it...
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 11:43 am
Maxim wrote
SMS Power's ninth anniversary might have had something to do with it...

To be honnest, I found myself wondering "why a nine?" for a bit.

Good job on the final version, furrtek!
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 5:42 pm
Quote
SMS Power's ninth anniversary might have had something to do with it...


Erm... *hides himself*

Thanks Bock, to bad I didn't finished it before the deadline, I had the time...
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:31 pm
Nice job on the finished version, by the way. Now it feels like a demo.


I haven't tried it on a real SMS yet but it has some trouble with Emukon that makes me think it might have some glitches, as some of the bugs remind me of trouble I had with mine when I ran it on the real thing. Emukon seems to be less permissive than Meka about allowing rapid writes to vram during the display area, and fixing my code to work with Emukon has also helped me fix my code to work with the real thing. I'd recommend testing your code in Emukon from time to time ... and ordering an SMSPro from Tototek.

furrtek wrote
Funny yeah :) In fact, why -nine- pixels?


As Maxim guessed, it's because it was for the 9th Anniversary competition, though I don't think I mentioned that in the scroller, which was written in an extreme hurry as you well know. I was originally going to release an 8th anniversary intro, as I had done for the 7th, but I couldn't get it presentable in a reasonable amount of time and by the time a week had passed I decided that I might as well retire it and use the code again elsewhere. So I picked it up this year and figured I'd replace the 8 with a 9. Then I just took that theme and ran with it. I didn't put a lot of thought into the name, I think I was thinking of, of course, the prominently featured #9, and the fat pixels I used for the scaling effects. That and there's a famous Amiga demo called "Nine Fingers", although my demo doesn't resemble it at all.

Maybe I should have called it "Nine Inch Pixels". Shit, that would have been much better. Damn. Crap.
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 6:41 pm
I always ran the demo in the last Emukon, but it doesn't seems that there are any glitches...

Now I have to decompile yours to try to understand how the zoom was concretly done :p
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Post Posted: Fri Apr 07, 2006 7:18 pm
furrtek wrote
I always ran the demo in the last Emukon, but it doesn't seems that there are any glitches...


Are you using Emukon 1.05? I'm seeing some glitches in your tile maps. Mostly it's black blocks, such as on the top lines of text or in pictures, and the tiles for the 8 aren't where they should be. Your actual tiles seem fine, according to the tile viewer.

EDIT: I just switched to PAL timing and now it seems fine, that explains it.
EDIT AGAIN: No, still some corruption, but less of it.

Quote
Now I have to decompile yours to try to understand how the zoom was concretly done :p


I'll post the source someday, I swear. Actually, the basic scaling algorithm is pretty simple, the only complicated parts are the things I did to speed it up to get to 30fps.
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 1:53 pm
Here's 9 Pixels running on my SMS2...
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Post Posted: Sat Apr 08, 2006 6:52 pm
That's depressing. Looks like somehow there's an extra byte being written to VRAM each row in the stretch effect. No clue why the nine drawing completely fails, that's rock solid on the SMS1 even though it has a hblank on every line that writes to VRAM.

Edit: I will do a hardware fixed version but I believe I'd better get cracking at the 1k minigame contest entry now if I hope to finish it in time so this will have to wait for a month or so. Same goes for the source cleanup and release.
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Nine Pixels
Post Posted: Mon Dec 25, 2006 11:22 pm
Heliophobe wrote
Sources will be released, once the bugs are squashed and it's been cleaned up a bit. Please bug me about it in the future if I don't post them within a reasonable amount of time. I think some parts would be useful in other productions.


*cough* :)
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Re: Nine Pixels
Post Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:48 am
Bock wrote
Heliophobe wrote
Sources will be released, once the bugs are squashed and it's been cleaned up a bit. Please bug me about it in the future if I don't post them within a reasonable amount of time. I think some parts would be useful in other productions.


*cough* :)


*cough* :)

that 'll be confusing, so where are they Heliophobe??
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Post Posted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 8:47 am
You guys might want to take some vitamin C and stock up on cough syrup, I hear there's a nasty cold going around.
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