519 posts • joined 17 Jun 2009
My wallet is glad I don't live in a town
With a LEGO brand store in the town centre.
Even so with the Maplin I have a small stash of logic chips and matrix board that will constitute a miracle if they ever get built into what they were meant for - and that's a home-made Kempston joystick interface!
A home port of Planet Harriers would be nice.
About the closest you can get is Sin & Punishment 1 & 2.
'3D World Runner' on the NES. Although it looked similar, it was quite a different game. Very much slower and quite tedious. You ran along the ground and could jump gaps and shoot ground-level enemies. You only got to free-fly in boss fights, which used sprites to render some sub-par titchy versions of the Space Harrier dragons. The 3D was red/cyan rather than the full-colour (but flickery) shutter glasses of the Master System.
Hydraulics my baulics ;-)
These cabinets used electric motor driven screw jacks to move, not hydraulics. Hydraulic fluid is too nasty a thing to leave to amateurs to maintain. Here's a look at the guts of one of these awesome beasties:
And go find the comments on the Reg review of OutRun, as the chequered floor effect is done using the same renderer as the roads in OutRun and HangOn.
P.S. Greatest arcade game ever. Yes, we can look back at the 8-bit conversions and laugh at the compromises each version made (Keith Burkhill is a God!) but it just shows up how mind-blowing it was as an arcade machine compared to home computer technology of the time. Standout conversion for me has to be GBA running on a GameBoy Micro - the ultimate in portable entertainment. Imagine having your mind blown by Space Harrier arcade, then someone showing you it running on something the size of a cheap gamepad!
But yes, 3DS Space Harrier 3D - so long as you've got a DS XL - looks fantastic and plays brilliantly.
P.P.S. - What, no-one went to Mablethorpe?
It's to my eternal dismay
That the 128K Speccy never got a new graphics mode. Two bits per pixel with associated extra colour attributes would have been a real treat, but just pairing a unique byte of colour data with each byte of pixel data (to give 8x1 attributes) as the Timex clone and the MSX did, would have been a huge improvement for the cost of a few extra gates in the ULA (and here I plug my game Buzzsaw+, which achieves this through a software hack. as example of what could be done).
Unfortunately, the 128K design was entirely dictated by Investronica in Spain, who weren't aware of the Timex clones in the US and no-one volunteered any such thing; instead the designers were instructed to provide the bare minimum to meet the requirements, so they could get back to all these other projects, that of course went on to fail.
Re: Sounds like a great conspiracy theory, but...
Yes, along with education wonder-guru Gove attaching himself to the RasPi and grass-roots calls for better IT education coming from the very 'snobs' that Mr Cellan-Jones thinks makes up the coding world based on his broad survey of a handful of fucking YouTube comments. But then that's all computers are, aren't they Rory? Magic tellies that can replay your flapping face over and over again because no-one will let you have a proper programme.
Re: They're both disappointing.
Depends if the Steambox can present anything close to their performance for under a grand, and continue to support it with content that won't immediately make you feel inadequate for not getting the two grand box.
Re: R-Type may be like that... But, it's not.
Yes, I'm afraid it is. Look at the giant worms at the end of Level 2 and throughout Level 5, or how the explosions are clipped around the giant ship of Level 3. It's all done with the same character-blocks of the Speccy version, and there are only 32 of them across the width of the playing area, not 40.
The only addition is the fake 'parallax scrolling' effect achieved by a scattering of extra sprites that move slightly slower than the scenery. In fact, since it's all now done with fat pixels, the scrolling is half as smooth as it was originally.
Re: Never got the argument about being too expensive.
That's because, as you said, you bought a 6128 with a disk drive and wanted a colour monitor to go with it, so you probably got your money's worth. If you go back to the beginning, when the 464 was released (which didn't have CP/M) and you didn't want a monitor (and they didn't exactly promote the fact you didn't have to) then the 464 came across as very expensive. And don't try to tell me that the 464 was aimed at the serious business user.
Found the CPC a bit of a mixed bag
They really did want to sell that monitor, which left me unaware you could get one with a colour TV modulator, and overall it was just too expensive.
Amstrad wanted to get into the home computer business when it was clearly driven by kids playing games, but nothing of the design made any concessions to game development. Sure it had a great colour screen, but at the expense of needing to shift an enormous amount of data to update it. The C64, with its character-based screen, and the Spectrum, with its mono screen and colour overlay, weren't just being efficient with screen RAM - they turned out to be efficient to update at speed.
Back-porting the GX4000 technology, adding colour sprites and limited hardware scrolling, was too little, too late. Someone should have realised that the system could have been better designed for games from the off.
Having said that, I personally think that the best-looking games on the Amstrad are the ones that used the medium-res 4-colour mode with a careful selection of palette.
And you'll never convince me that the 3" drive choice was anything other than protectionism - to keep hold of a chunk of the floppy disc market (though compare and contrast console makers licensing their own cartridges...). That was certainly behind the ludicrously petty way the joystick ports on the Amstrad-designed Spectrums was re-wired.
Although if you look closely at that version of R-Type, you'll see it's still running in a smaller Speccy-sized screen window as it's still running Bob Pape's Speccy code. What they've done is re-write the graphics routines to draw 16-colour lo-res characters directly to the screen, rather than writing to a fake Spectrum screen buffer, then translating that to med-res (which is what slowed it all down originally). And then gone through and redefined all the 8x8 two-colour characters that make up the sprites and scenery into 4x8 16-colour lo-res characters.
If you look very closely you'll see it still has the whole-character-block occlusion when sprites are overlaid, that was used on the Speccy to avoid attribute clash. And sprites get occluded by the scenery in jumping character-sized chunks before they get anywhere near it.
Shoulda taken that left turn
Re: So the user doesn't notice anything happening
But surely being able to execute a string as if it were script is a vulnerability as old as the language? Such a string could be pieced together from any seemingly random source, such as just picking out every tenth character from an obfuscated bit of text. Why is this something new?
Re: A daft question...
Re the 'wet looking sand' - firstly I'm not sure about the particulate size, but I think it's an illusion mainly because it's difficult to grasp the scale of these images. Bear in mind the wheels in that picture are half a metre across. That's why the tracks it leaves have such clear definition - because they're so damn big!
From Wikipedia: "Dimensions:... The rover is 2.9 m (9.5 ft) long by 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide by 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in height //...// Mobility systems: Curiosity is equipped with six 50 cm (20 in) diameter wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension."
I don't think the poor old WoS site is used to having this many 'guests' all visiting at once.
I mean, all the twiglets have gone and we're down to our last bag of funsize Rolos...
Re: Soldering iron
Exactly - who needs a drill when you've got one of these?
Re: Brilliant idea...
Or, you type it into a full-function PC editor ('BASIN'), check it works in the attached emulator, then port it to the real thing via TAP2WAV and an audio lead or a CF card. If you want to try assembly instead, PASMO will build Z80 assembly directly into an emulator-compatible .TAP format.
Compatibility outside of Elite's own apps?
“Optionally, the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum will also be a Bluetooth keyboard for other apps available from the iTunes App Store and subsequently from the Google Play, Amazon App Store and Windows Store and also applications running on PCs and Macs, making it possible to, say, type a letter on a PC using a Spectrum! Both the default and the optional functionality of the Bluetooth ZX Spectrum will be available at the time of the device’s launch. Details of how the optional functionality may be enabled will be revealed at a later date."
Sorry, not good enough. How is it 'available' if details of how to 'enable' it are being withheld? And for how long? Will it work like any other keyboard, or must the application be built to include support?
Re: Promise the world
John Deeb - these guys DID sign new contracts licensing these games for the Elite iOS Spectrum emulator; it's under those contracts that they claim they're not being paid. None of them have issues with free distribution of their old games through the WoS website; it's about someone charging for them through the iOS app Store. I'm now glad they never got back to me over whether their emulator was accurate enough to support my game.
Re: The leaf as currency
No, what it reminds me of is the Easter Islanders who cut down every single tree they had in the process of erecting more and more of those enormous moai totems until they'd completely deforested the entire island and then proceeded to collapse as a civilisation through lack of resources.
Re: Taking the 'O' (one of them anyway) out of No Country For Old Men.
Well, there was certainly none for her old man...
Re: " ... started to have inner course [sic] with the gun ..."
You are Joey Tribiani AICMFP.
What's that in
Re: The first GT (PS1) was on another level. The rest is just garbage cash in.
Have to agree there. The first one took racing to a previously unheard-of level of detail. It wasn't just that you could tweak fins and suspension; it was that it genuinely made a difference you could feel through the subtle analogue control, and gentle rumble in your hands as you started a drift. And that you had to pass tests and earn your racing licenses.
Then there was a second one, that just added stupid amounts of fanboi detail to the cars and didn't improve the gameplay one iota. I see it's still going on.
Re: Hard Drivin'
Mablethorpe? Used to go there every summer, scrounge some pocket money, and hang out in the arcades. Even remember some of the early electro-mechanical racing and shooting games were still around there in the late 70s. First place I played the full-motion Space Harrier and Power Drift. Though you had to go to Skeggy for a full-motion Galaxy Force II.
If you really want to bring a tear to the eye, try the 'Milestones' museum in Basingstoke. Among their mechanical games they've got a restored original animated 'Sooty' puppet band machine - and talking to the restorer, it's genuinely the one from the back of the indoor fairground in Mablethorpe.
The original is still a fun game to play.
Probably the best conversion I've seen went along with Space Harrier and Super Hang On (and a typically unplayable Afterburner) on the Gameboy Advance / Micro.
Though "Outrun 2006: Coast-to-Coast" seems to me the highlight of the series. Those earlier 2D racers never gave you the fun control of drifting like the 3D ones could.
Re: how do you explain the smooth scrolling transition of the road side bands?
P.S. I also suspect it's not strictly copying each row into some larger video RAM - it's storing what is required for each row, then the hardware renders the road layer on-the-fly, translating the palette and applying the row selection and left/right shifting as the screen refreshes. And the sprite layer is populated, scaled, recoloured and merged in on-the-fly too...
Re: how do you explain the smooth scrolling transition of the road side bands?
It's not palette cycling like an ST .NEO picture, where the colour definitions are moved around a small palette. The colour bands aren't on the original image.
The original image is just lines tapering to the horizon. As each row is copied from the stock image to the background layer, it can be rendered in one of two palettes (or four in the case of Hang-On, where the road markings repeat more often than the road bands). It can switch from one colour scheme to the other on any line of the screen.
The ST/Amiga could mimic this by actually redefining parts of its colour palette on different lines of the screen, using raster-based interrupt routines (the conversions of Space Harrier do this). The arcade machine didn't have too - its screen display had a much larger palette than the stock background image, and the graphics were translated from one palette to the other when drawn.
The sprite scaling technology had a similar trick - each sprite had its own smaller palette which would be translated into screen colours when it was drawn, much like early texture mapping on a PC, to keep the bit depth of the textures down. Note in Space Harrier how you get the same mushrooms and robots in different colours. Scrolling beat-em-ups would sometimes use the same trick to vary the bad guys.
Take a look at this:
Which includes the basic road images from the arcade boards.
You do talk some rubbish - tiled and scaled road?
The background was done using a fixed perspective view of a road, wider than the screen and narrowing to the horizon, with solid lines for the road edges. Horizontal lines were copied from it, with some skipped or duplicated to make the road rise and fall, and shifted left or right to make the turns. No scaling, no tiles, and no big secret. And at the same time an alternating colour palette was applied to each line to make bands of colour run towards the player.
The novelty in Out Run was that it could render two roadways side-by-side, splitting them right down the middle should they overlap. That way it could draw a very narrow road, or widen it out into two carriageways or even fork off in two directions. The only time you see the true width of the road from the stock graphic is when you're going down one fork, before the road merges with the other half again.
Space Harrier and Hang-On used the same system (though with just one 'road'). The big difference in Space Harrier was that its starting image was a series of evenly spaced strips running to the horizon instead of just a single road. Then with the palette shifts applied you got the familiar gingham-shaded chequerboard.
Re: Another possibility
Exactly. I'm staggered that this article seems complicit with the assumption that an email goes directly from a user's computer to the bank's. Who's to say that the ISPs are not to blame?
I had a clean email address until I contacted a programmer in Russia. I'm willing to bet a good proportion of the servers that handled that one have been compromised to harvest addresses.
Not that I buy into this US-led paranoia about Huawei kit...
But how the hell did we end up with a crucial bit of our national security investigative infrastructure in the hands of a private company, foreign or not? Particularly one that supplies the very equipment it's supposed to investigate?
Re: covet is the right word
For me it was always a 928 - not a Porsche, a 'Space Cruiser and Moonbase'.
Re: DVLA Site seems fine to me.
re: "There's no need to be abusive".
I quite agree. The abuse was entirely optional.
Re: DVLA Site seems fine to me.
Right, smart-arse, now try changing the address on your driving license.
At the point where you've entered your last three addresses and it still hasn't asked you for the new one, and then tells you you can't renew your driving license because the photo on your passport is too old, let's see if you're still such a fan.
Re: Comp Sci degrees were sold to many kids looking for a well paid job....
"I am seeing a lot of graduates with computing degrees who apply for software developer roles, yet are hopeless at programming"
This is exactly the point being made with schools and GCSEs a few years ago - what the students are being taught is not what industry needs. There may be a need for educating recruiters to better understand how to spot talent rather than advertising for one language skill and nothing else, but for the most part it's to educate the education system. Schools have for years been teaching computing as how to use MS Office, but universities are just as guilty of teaching computing as an offshoot of theoretical mathematics.
Personally I don't see the sense in keeping on churning out 'computer scientists' when what we really need are graduates from BEng and MEng courses in Software Engineering. Taught through engineering principles to solve problems. Not pages and pages of theory. As I've said before here, no-one in industry is going to ask you to prove a language is Turing complete. They're going to ask you to deliver a robust processing system using the tools you're given.
Now try to imagine yourself in the living room. You get your first look at this sixty inch LED as you sit on the sofa. And you keep still because you think that maybe its control sensors are based on movement like X-Box – it'll lose you if you don't move. But no, not Smart TV. You stare at it, and it just stares right back. And that's when the attack comes. Not from the front, but from the side, from the other two Smart TVs you didn't even know were there...
Conflating IP and that definition of 'Public Goods' is misleading though
And it takes an economist to ignore the reality of it.
An equation that Newton comes up with is only public if he publishes it publicly. If he keeps it to himself and hires himself out as a motion-prediction-trouble-shooter then he can make a bit of cash, at least until someone figures out his methods for themselves. And similarly only an economist could calculate the 'loss' to society of something they've never had or known about.
What is going on here is pre-supposing the flip-side of patent law - that the applicant is forced to divulge his methods publicly in order to receive the exclusive protection in law - in a set-up for banging on about the pros and cons of the other half of the system.
Quite - it's only about getting information about an event before the light of it happening arrives., which is no different to viewing a firework exploding before you hear the bang.
The time-travel idea of breaking the speed of light is a misnomer too. Let's go with time slowing down as you approach the speed of light. And let's assume something can exist on the other side of the graph, apparently travelling faster than light. Time for it would be running backwards at an equivalent rate and would similarly approach zero as it decelerates towards the speed of light.
That implies that if you could breach that barrier and go from sub-light to super-light speed, what would happen is that time on your spaceship would now be running in reverse, not that time outside flows backwards. In other words, although in the universe at large you seem to go flying off faster than the speed of light, for you, you appear to be approaching the point at which you broke the light barrier but from the opposite direction.
As you continued on your original trajectory you would get younger, but you wouldn't perceive it that way. You would perceive it as getting older as you head back to the point at which you break/broke the light barrier. So the issue then is to come up with a control system that runs backwards in time (i.e. forwards as far as the universe is concerned) to slow you down when you reach your destination (which as far as you're concerned you just left).
Re: on paper, a 4MHz Z80 looked like it should outperform a 2MHz 6502
Yes, a 4MHz Z80 and a 2MHz 6502 were roughly on an equal footing. But at the time, in the home machines, the 6502 and family were clocking in at less than 1MHz, so they turned out with about half the grunt of the Z80-based machines at 3.5-4MHz.
Although Sinclair blew its advantage by sticking one of the slowest BASIC interpreters ever on its ROMs...
Re: 6502/6809's rool btw...
LDIR? Nah mate, you wanna chuck the stack pointer around and use POP and PUSH to shift 16 bytes at a time. Waaaay faster on a Z80, and leaves a 6502 standing still. Just make sure SP is back where it should be before an interrupt occurs...
Huh? What did I just type? Damn, channelling Joffa again. Lucky I've got that exorcist on speed dial...
Re: Fixing the wrong problem
A bit of both, but yes, when I look back at my education (which included computing opportunities, even though I avoided the courses) business studies shows up as a big gap. The more accademically successful students were largely steered away from considering it as an option.
I notice a recurring issue whenever I sit down to try out a new language, or on occasion set a task for a student placement, is to come up with an idea of what on earth I should try to program as an exercise. Maybe it's better to just tackle something at random, or to take on a personal annoyance and re-write some utility your own way, but if business processes are going to be where the money is then they seem like a good place to start.
Re: 6502/6809's rool btw...
Isn't that the processor where you don't have XORs, you have EeyORes?
I think you meant to post this article to WIRED.
This is The Register? Where we know it's all about the fanboi bullshit and middle-management back-handers?
Given the sort of tipples favoured around these parts
Perhaps you should save the slap on the back until after..?
Re: "It doesn't keep me awake..."
On holiday recently I heard a much louder disturbance at night, though after I discovered the source whilst perambulating home the following evening I found it quite restful and easy to sleep. It's not knowing that is the real driver of stress.
At the far eastern end of Sidari on the north coast of Corfu is a small river, far cleaner than the one that dumps green stuff onto the western beach, with the pleasant Monika Hotel Apartments beside it. In late spring and early summer, after dark, the frogs kick in with a rattling chorus that goes on until dawn. One can drift off with the happily confused image of Rupert stalking Paul McCartney through the rushes with a chainsaw.
Re: But neither story answers the important question
Having suffered this in a top-floor flat overlooking Riverside Park in Southampton, it sounds plausible. The hum can pulse, like several sources a few Hz apart interfering. You also only tend to hear it at certain key resonant areas inside a closed room, suggesting the original source is at a low volume but very steady. Also why it's so hard to trace.
But yes, someone go and stick a microphone in the water. Better yet, a loudspeaker that says "Fuck off fishies!" in low-frequency fish language. As for BBC waterproofing, I'm sure you'll find no shortage of johnnies down on the wharf but you might need to supply your own elastic band.
Stockman's Vulture Markings are a good one.
But where is the 'Ministry of Space' styled effort?
Re: What was wrong with the 380Z?
You can't get the keyboards any more. What do you think they were culling all those badgers with?
Re: Take your point... but its a flawed strategy
You can't swap out the code if they don't tell you which bits of code they claim are infringing.
I too wondered how long it would be before MariaDB implementors start to receive letters that begin "we're not saying that you DO need to pay us for a licence, but..."
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