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Messages - lance.ewing

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The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: What are we working on?
« on: November 05, 2018, 01:51:17 PM »
Given all of the security issues with Java, do they even allow it to run on Droid or iOS these days?

As far as I know, Java has never run on iOS. Steve Jobs was against it from the start. I think he described it as a big heavyweight ball and chain. To be fair though, he was probably thinking of J2ME at that time, which is what all the phones had prior to that. J2ME has definitely faded away, as have Java applets. I think its still possible to run applets in a browser if you jump through a few hoops, but it is pretty much crippled due to the security lock down on applets. So no one builds applets anymore.

Desktop Java and Android are a different thing though (as is server side Java). Desktop Java is being updated all the time and is regularly getting the latest security patches as far as I know. You just have to keep it up to date.

For Android, most apps are built using Java. Most Android developers would be coding in Java. For the emulators I'm writing, the coding is done in Java using a library called libgdx. It targets several platforms, including desktop, Android, iOS, and HTML5. To code in such a way that it would work when converted to JavaScript and HTML5 is a bit restrictive, so I'm deliberately avoiding the HTML5 support at the moment. Maybe one day I'll take another look at that. I'm also avoiding iOS because there are a few extra things that you have to set up to get that working. Rather than running Java on iOS though, what it does is compile the Java to something that can run on iOS. So its no longer Java anymore. A similar thing with the HTML5 support in libgdx. It compiles the Java to JavaScript. For the desktop and Android versions though, it is Java that you end up with on the other side of the compilation.

AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: November 04, 2018, 11:42:01 AM »
I haven't worked on it since May 2017, but I really must get back to it. I had just finished the save game feature at that point, so should be able to try playing through a few games now.

I've reinstalled Visual Studio, checked out the source code again, and started trying to work out where I got to. It looks like I was starting to work on decoding the sound resources. The AGI Library didn't support that, so I was starting to add that in. I lost my old local checkout of the code when my Windows VM died at some point mid last year. A good thing I was regularly pushing the code to bitbucket.

I think I still had to return to the rendering at some point. It was mostly in line with the original AGI interpreter, but there were a few areas where it wasn't quite right. To be honest though, it would only have been in quite obscure scenarios and probably difficult to notice.

The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: What are we working on?
« on: November 04, 2018, 11:31:05 AM »
Projects unrelated to AGI or SCI:

  • A VIC 20 emulator written in Java to run on desktop and Android. This currently doesn't have sound but the rest works quite well. I sometimes play old VIC 20 games on my phone using this.
  • Building a VIC chip (MOS 6561) test board on a large breadboard. This is to experiment with some of the lower level behaviour of the video chip used in the VIC 20. I've got five of these video chips. Had an idea about mixing the video output of three of these together to see what would happen.
  • Reversing the schematic of the VIC 20's video chip from photos of the silicon.
  • Building a 4-bit home brew computer. I have all the components; just haven't put it all together yet.
  • Participating in the annual Javascript 13K game contest (js13kames). I've entered it twice. This year I'm thinking about submitting a graphic adventure game. Will be a challenge.

I thought I'd give an update on what I've been working on over the past 18 months. It has been a bit of the above. I spent quite a bit of time mid last year, through to the end of August, working on those 6561 VIC chip experiments, then I think I switched to the 2017 js13kgames contest like I've been doing most years in August/September over the past five (actually, last year it was a small graphic adventure game that I submitted, but unfortunately it was very small because I ran out of time, as I normally do with the competition. What I might do is build on the small Javascript engine I built for the 2017 competition and enter another graphic adventure in next year's js13kgames. I spent most of the time writing the engine and not enough time for the game).

Then after September 2017, I think I was working on item three in the list above, i.e. reverse engineering the logic of the 6561 video chip using the die shot photos. That must have kept be busy until about March this year. It's one of the projects that I've probably spent the most time on over the past 3 years. Then I got distracted by the Oric Atmos home computer, which I'd never really looked at before. I'd always been interested in it, but for some reason I started taking a closer look in March and started working on an emulator, which I'd mostly finished a couple of months after that. I was then busy for a while on a crusade to get die shot photos taken of the custom chip used in the Oric Atmos. I bought a few and sent them to a lab. The photos came back and that caused a bit of a stir in the Oric community. After that I learnt of the existence of a rare home computer called the Polycorp Poly 1, which had been built in New Zealand during the early 1980s. This caught my eye because I grew up in New Zealand but had never heard of this, even though it was supposedly used in schools. I spent quite some time studying the schematic and decided I was going to build an emulator for that computer as well. This effort began with emulating the M6809 CPU, which I've pretty much finished now. This is what I've been most recently working on. Along the way I also discovered that the Vectrex home computer runs on a 6809 cpu, which is now another machine on my list to emulate.

Incidentally, the TRS 80 CoCo 3 runs on a 6809 CPU and has a few AGI games available for it.

A couple of months ago I entered the js13kgames contest again. I was reasonably pleased with my effort. It had a few bugs in it, but I thought it wasn't too bad if you avoided those. Not sure if anyone else thought it was good. I think the kamikaze method of destroying the enemies might have put a few people off, or perhaps it was confusing to know what to do. The idea is to find a few miner machines to bring online then use those machines as a buffer/lifeline so that you can kamikaze a miner into the enemies. I managed to finish playing the game through to its end in just over an hour.

Now I'm thinking about taking another look at the C# AGI Interpreter, but it will probably be in parallel with the emulators I'm working on.

AGI Development Tools / Re: C# AGI Interpreter
« on: November 03, 2018, 08:38:56 AM »
I haven't worked on it since May 2017, but I really must get back to it. I had just finished the save game feature at that point, so should be able to try playing through a few games now.

Everything-Else / Re: Telltale Games are shutting down
« on: November 02, 2018, 07:13:33 PM »
Not SCI related, but Carl Muckenhoupt ended up with Telltale in case you missed it. His SCI Decoder was so very influential back in 1999 when I got started on SCI. And now they're closing.


Carl Muckenhoupt was a big name for me as well. He created one of the first tools and in doing so attracted a lot of people with a similar interest in those early days of the Internet. We all ended up emailing him, people like Peter Kelly, Joakim Moller, and me, and a few others, and then he put us all in touch with each other.

It might be easier if you ask a specific question about where you are stuck, maybe attach a screen shot of the rooms where you are stuck, and then we could check the game scripts for you.

AGI Development Tools / Re: PICEDIT 1.3 Milestone 6 released
« on: December 11, 2017, 02:19:12 PM »
Hi thank you for your hard work- could you possibly provide a fresh link? The Google link hosting the program doesn't seem to work anymore. Thanks mate!
You can get it from here:

AGI Development Tools / Re: Looking for specific versions of AGI files
« on: October 10, 2017, 02:21:41 AM »
There are some V1 games stored here in the Internet Archive:

Those V2 versions all ring a bell but I'd have to spend some time checking what I have.

Over summer is usually a busy time for me each year. This year I was travelling with my parents to various places, and then almost immediately was involved in the js13kgames contest, which is something that I like doing each year.

Over the past few weeks I've been repairing a Commodore VIC 20. All working now.

He's been mentioned several times earlier in this thread.

Edit: I realised after posting the above that you've probably chosen to forget him. I've been doing the same over the past year after learning from Laine where he was and why. Part of the reason I didn't mention it here.

The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: Void Quest
« on: May 21, 2017, 06:32:55 PM »
There's definitely something weird going on with the points. My points were up to about 85-87, or something around there, but when I put the completed form in the mailbox, it dropped down to 77.

The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: Void Quest
« on: May 21, 2017, 06:29:48 PM »
I just found the money and I'm fairly sure my points didn't go up as a result. I also noticed something earlier where my points didn't go up for something I would have expected it to increase for, I think when getting the webcam.

Is it part of the game that the picture frame gets a corrupt image on it? i.e. a distorted picture with an error message over it? My first thought was that it was part of the game, and actually that's still what I'm assuming. But I have noticed that the frame doesn't let you navigate after getting the corrupt image and if you escape and then look at it again, the frame is still non-responsive. I had to go in to a new room to be able to view the earlier five images again.

The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: Void Quest
« on: May 21, 2017, 06:08:07 PM »
I think I'll need to repeat what I did and see if it really was a proper ending. It may have been a death scene...

Edit: No, doesn't seem to be an obvious death scene. The last thing it says is that he's lowering himself in to the hole and then it comes up with a black screen and a message box saying "Thank you for playing...". It does seem a bit sudden to be honest. I assumed it was because it was a piece of a larger story but perhaps this is a bug.

The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: Void Quest
« on: May 21, 2017, 05:56:02 PM »
Nice, finished it.  Difficulty wasn't too hard, puzzles were reasonable.  I did run into times where I knew what to do, just not how to orchestrate it - but that's to be expected.

How many points did you have at the end gumby?

I think I finished it once at about 67 points, but that was so far short of the max points that I figured there was quite a lot I hadn't done. So I'm playing it again and finding other things I didn't see the first time around.

The Games and other Sierra Adventure stuff / Re: Void Quest
« on: May 21, 2017, 01:06:04 PM »
Really cool, and very addictive. I'm up to about 28 points at the moment. Temporarily stuck but will hopefully work it out later on.

AGI Development Tools / Re: WinAGI 1.1 BETA available for download
« on: May 21, 2017, 12:25:42 PM »
Great! Will definitely give this a go as I get time.

The first thing to report is with regards to installation. I assumed I should probably uninstall the earlier version, so I did that. I'm on Windows 8.1. After uninstalling the old version and then executing the installer for the new version, I got two different error messages during installation but neither appears to have stopped the tool from working.

The error messages I saw are shown in the attachment below. The user I installed with is an Administrator.

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