Comment problems

I just noticed I had a lot of comments in queue, dating back to April. For some reason Thunderbird had decided not to show any messages about comments needing moderation. Or, there was a hiccup with the emails getting sent.

Just in case you were wondering why your comment wasn’t showing up. :) Sorry about that.

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NES Image Converter 2

I decided to completely rewrite NES Image Converter over the previous weekend. It now has a proper GUI and a much less buggy conversion algorithm. Hopefully the results are a little bit better as well. Here’s a screenshot:

NES Image Converter 2 v01

From README:

NES Image Converter 2 is a complete rewrite of my old NES Image Converter. It allows you to convert a 256×240, 256×480 or 512×240 images to a working NES ROM file. When the latter two image sizes are used, the resulting ROM will flicker between two images that contain the even and odd scanlines/columns from the source image.

Download

Download nes-image-converter-2-v01.zip (12.64 MB)

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NintendulatorDX v34

I’ve released NintendulatorDX v34, the biggest new feature is support for Lua scripting. Get it from the usual place.

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STREEMERZ unleashed

My NES port of STREEMERZ was released couple of days ago, get the ROM from here or read the development blog here.

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MUSE v03

MUSE v03 has been released, get it from the usual place. Changes are:

Envelope and arpeggio updates are skipped when NTSC_MODE is enabled. Changed all references from Pornotracker to Musetracker. Added separate SPEED_COMPENSATION and NOTE_FREQ_COMPENSATION flags. Added PAL_MODE and DENDY_MODE flags.

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Pornotracker is now Musetracker

I decided to rename Pornotracker to Musetracker (despite formerly claiming not to do so). Not because some religious folk were offended by the name, but because I may want to include it in my resume some day, and I don’t think the former name would leave a good impression. :-) I also changed the version numbering scheme from the usual “dotted” form (v1.2.3) to a simple counter (v123), since my use of the dotted form has been very inconsistent.

You can download Musetracker v15 from here, but there have not been any changes besides the name change and a new background image.

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NES platformer engine work

I’ve resumed working on my NES game engine after a long while. I don’t presume a lot of people will be reading this, but it’s a nice way of keeping track of how things progress.

Couple of days ago I decided to start working on a NES map editor, seeing that there very few NES specific map editors available, none of which fulfilled my requirements. Fortunately, after some research I found Tiled, which is a very nice, generic map editor with a good user interface (a rarity). It is simple, but very flexible. The map and tileset data can be exported as XML, so it’s easy to convert to NES specific formats. I already wrote a Python tool to convert *.tsx files (and the images referenced within) to metatile and CHR data and another tool for converting the *.tmx files, which contain the actual map data. I tested the tools by taking a picture of a map from Batman (from here), converted it using tools provided with Tiled (with slight modifications) to a TMX map. All worked well.

The only real issue I have with Tiled is that adding properties to a lot of tiles is not very easy. Each tile needs to be individually right-clicked, a new dialog opened and the property name and value manually typed in. Manually editing the XML files solves this problem to some extent.

After finding a reasonable solution for editing maps, I started looking for a good pixel graphic and animation tool. Unfortunately, I haven’t found the perfect candidate yet. GraphicsGale is the best so far. It has almost everything I want, except features for editing hotspot and collision points. In fact, I couldn’t find any editor which would allow that and exporting said data. I may settle with placing the collision points on a different layer, then exporting that layer separately from others. Or maybe I’ll write code to parse the *.gal file directly if I can find the file format specification somewhere. Anyway, this is not a huge problem.

Finally, I researched and implemented a better camera system for the engine. I posted about it here. It still needs some work, but it’s already a lot better than the old system which simply followed the player rigorously.

Today I decided to start looking for some good placeholder sprites for the player itself and settled on a sprite from Shatterhand. I found a sprite sheet here. Cutting the frames out of the image to form an animation is kind of a pain, because the sprite sheet doesn’t contain any information about the hotspots of the frames. I simply aligned the frames so that his head stays still, although I’m still not sure if that’s correct. Result can be seen on the right.

After converting the sprite and putting it in the engine, the next task I’m planning to do is to get object data exporting working from Tiled, design a simple enemy and finish the level object spawning code. After all of this is done (shouldn’t take more than a week if I can stay motivated) the engine would be in a pretty good shape.

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Save State Mappers v1.5

Save State Mappers v1.5 released. Changes are detailed in the previous post.

Download from here.

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New version of Save State Mappers coming soon

There will not be any new releases in the near future, unless some critical bug surfaces.

Yeah, right. There will be a new version of the Save State Mappers soonish.

Changes/fixes are:

  • Minor sound register initialization issue fixed (affected Megaman 1 and 2).
  • Added SUROM support to MMC1 (fixes Dragon Warrior 3 and 4).
  • Changed soft reset behavior (Start+A+B) so that if the buttons are held down for less than a couple of seconds, it resets the game (i.e. goes to the Save State Mappers menu) instead of going to the PowerPak menu. Screen turns red to indicate when the buttons have been held down long enough.
  • Fixed the DPCM controller corruption problem which affected the NTSC NES (and Famicom), so turbo can be used in games that use DPCM samples, such as Contra, Batman, etc.
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Save State Mappers v1.4.2

v1.4.2 released. There will not be any new releases in the near future, unless some critical bug surfaces.

Download: http://kkfos.aspekt.fi/downloads/save-state-mappers-1.4.2.zip

Changes:

  • MMC3 IRQ fixed (hopefully once and for all).
  • Fixed saving in games with 16K PRG (Excitebike, etc).
  • A lot of bugs fixed from saving/loading in general.
  • Added an option to skip the menu by holding down A before it is shown.

Special thanks to Travis Miniard for extensive beta testing and bug reports!

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