epic meh

posted on Friday 04th May 2018 12:30:40 PM

Once again you'd be forgiven for thinking that nothing was going on at wubsoft HQ. But how wrong you would only slightly be.

I have now picked myself up from the floor and shaken off the spasms of sheer euphoria that followed seeing my name in print within the Crash 2018 Annual! The pressure is now on to make Dungeon Game really good. I promise it will be at least as clever and imaginative as its title.

I had a lot of fun putting together my previous projects for the Sam Coupe but I'm very determined not to release anything else that is less than spectacular from now on. The Sam community has been kind to me thus far and I promised big things.. delivering on these promises has been a lot more work than I ever imagined! I have, however, managed to keep the enthusiasm going and thought it would be a good idea to explain myself rather than let more time pass without a proper update.

First things first, what's with all the Android stuff, why not just focus on the Sam? Because I'm the only person I know who owns one and I have to start making software that my friends in real life can use. I have suffered a lot of derision for my commitment to the Coupe and anyway, in theory, all the amazing features in a modern device should be fun to play around with. Plus, in the era of the Trinity, creating multiplayer games for Sam and Android would be very, very cool.

After my post some years ago regarding OpenGL engines and Sam/Android games I discovered that Android devices use OpenGL ES and that it was drawing-board time again. I decided to support only ES 1.1 because I have simple requirements and 1.1 is simple and fast. I can't see any reason to go for version 2.0 or above as the extra work would only be spent making something akin to the fixed pipeline anyway. I'm still parsing .obj and .mtl files but I create my own normals now because it turned out, after several months of head scratching, that Blender does not export normals correctly. All the object data has to be reformatted into big arrays anyway so it's easy to calculate the normals during this process.

This is just a random, free object I found online:

dart3.jpg

As I expected the rendering is quick, so movement is very smooth even with big objects with lots of polys. I didn't expect the lighting to look as good as it did though. When the light saturates a surface the effect is very pleasing to the eye. All good then?

Well no. Sometimes if I drew an object that had textures, and then something that didn't, and then something else that did.. voila! no more textures.. I spent a long time trying to work out what I was doing wrong before being advised that OpenGL ES 1.1 is not always correctly implemented and missing textures is a classic symptom. I am currently making a test apk to give to everyone I know with an Android device to see how big of an issue it will be. If it's just a problem with textures then I will proceed with only material colours and avec ma bite et mon couteau! As the French would say.

Although I haven't started testing it properly yet I also have a, seemingly working, example TCP server program from t'internet. I'm hoping that works better than the 3D stuff has..

Back to the Sam, and Dungeon Game.

As with pretty much everything I have done so far with the Sam, I've been really hammered by my decision to have graphic backgrounds that need pixel perfect masking when sprites are drawn. There just isn't enough action going on even though a new bad guy is spawned as soon as one is killed. Unless I can really dig deep here, switching to a plain single colour background is going to have to happen. At least this would allow me to finish the game and get back to working on Conquer and Command which I'm really keen to do. I will be ordering a new disk drive and mouse from Quazar very soon in preparation for this.

In fact while I'm here I will mention my plans for C&C as I never really explained it despite having a pretty good working demo. Someone mentioned a long time ago that it would make a good choice for online gaming as the pace of play is quite slow. If I did this, I realised at the time, I could avoid all the mission data and AI code and just concentrate on making the interface and single player functions, which are pretty much complete. You can already deploy the MCV and build a base, refinery(with harvester), power stations, barracks and can build and send men off to explore the map while the money piles up. There's just no enemy..

I realised then why game companies hate single player, offline, games and love multi-player ones: because they are a piece of piss to program!

And so it shall be. C&C will be for Trinity owners only. But this means all the bits I was going to leave out, different unit types and vehicles etc.. will now come back. And the backgrounds will be plain!

More soon.

update

posted on Friday 12th January 2018 06:29:55 PM

Our market cap is now $20 billion.

Also, Dungeon Game should be ready for a summer release on Sam Coupe and Android.

wubsoft is launching a cryptocurrency

posted on Friday 12th January 2018 06:29:30 PM

wubcoins will be generated from the assembled code of my completed Sam Coupe projects and will be extremely valuable due to their rarity.

summer 2016 update

posted on Sunday 17th July 2016 09:39:46 AM

It's been a while but lots going on..

Last year I created an update for wubtris that will appear on a future Sam Revival coverdisk. The last version was too ambitious and so for the special edition all the 2 player stuff has been removed to create a simple 1 player challenge. I couldn't understand how my horrible, convoluted game logic worked so I left that alone and just updated the drawing code. The result is a lot faster and more playable. I also added some fun palette changes for each level that make it look nice too.

This will be an exclusive game for Sam Revival and won't be released elsewhere!

To follow this, Dungeon Game is nearing completion and will be released for Sam Coupe and Android this year. This is a fast-paced Robotron style shooter that takes place within randomly generated dungeon maps. It's a lot better than my usual efforts so I'm considering releasing it as shareware with a donation request on the loading screen.

Other than all this, I'm still loving the Trinity and slowly filling my SD card with spectrum games. I've discovered a few tricks for the occasional game that fails to work with Emulspec and I'm hatching a plan to make a really cool new emulator that makes good use of the Trinity.

More soon..

Quazar Trinity

posted on Thursday 17th September 2015 02:47:29 PM

Sam with Trinity

My Sam has been given a new lease of life with the Trinity, Trinity Boot ROM and also a new keyboard membrane.

It's unbelievable that a replacement membrane even exists in 2015 but the one produced by RWAP Software is identical to the original and took barely 5 minutes to fit. I bought the membrane from RWAP's ebay shop and would recommend them to any Sam user with keyboard woes.

Equally unbelievable but even more exciting is the Trinity. Having to deal with 3.5 inch floppies is painful and most of my time on the Sam has been wasted through faffing about with unreliable disks. To the rescue comes Quazar with a three in one solution that provides an ethernet port, SD card slot and a programmable EEPROM on one card.

The card is stored in a standard VHS cassette box and comes with a number of manuals and leaflets that contain full instructions and technical details of the package. There's also a couple of disks with the software to install B-DOS onto the EEPROM and some demo programs to test the internet features. The entire package is beautifully produced, the instructions are clear and well written, and I was able to download the test game, XOR, from the internet in no time at all.

While placing the order with Quazar I also bought an upgraded, Trinity aware, ROM chip that allows the Sam to boot directly into B-DOS after it's been installed to the Trinity. This results in a Sam that's ready to load from the SD card a scant few seconds after powering on.

The Trinity can use SD cards up to 64GB in size but I decided 8GB was big enough as this is equivalent to about 9000 floppy disks, or records as they are called by B-DOS. The SD card works like a virtual second disk drive and the RECORD keyword is used to change the virtual disk currently in the drive. I've found it pretty easy to modify programs to access the SD card so far and most stuff seems quite happy to boot from drive 2.

I use the Sam as much for Spectrum emulation as for it's own software and the Trinity really makes that more workable than relying on dozens of disks. I'd recommend the Trinity for this purpose alone as the Sam (hooked up with a scart lead and furnished with an appropriate old-school joystick) is about the nicest way to play Spectrum games on real hardware that exists.

The ethernet port presents some very exciting possibilities for 8-bit gaming and it will be interesting to see what happens with this in the future. For the time being it's the SD storage that makes the Trinity a must have device for Sam owners and on this basis that I'd declare it an essential Sam peripheral.