Saturday, 21 December 2013

My new office

One of the causes of delay in writing my game is due to moving offices. I used to spend my lunch breaks working on the code but the last few weeks have been spend packing the company into boxes. But that is now over and I’m working in a nice new office overlooking Stansted Airport. Great if you want to watch aircraft land and take off all day but crap if you want to go for a walk and not breath in kerosene. Here are a couple of pictures of where I work and the view from the window.
The airport
My desk


Update on my new Spectrum game

Development of my new Spectrum game is going well. I am developing the code in small manageable sections and so far I’ve not had any problems. The next thing to do is work on the collision detection followed by some code to reposition dropped shapes. I am nearly in a position where I will need to create an editor to design around 100 screens. I had hoped to get the game out for Christmas but various things have got in the way so it should be ready in the first quarter of 2014. For now, here is a screen shot of the game. Can you tell what type of game it’ll be? The area to the left and bottom of the screen will contain the score and other in-game info. I’m looking for some help in this area. If you are interested in designing some Spectrum graphics then let me know.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Work started on my next Spectrum game

After a brief blood test followed by the unbelievable pain of removing the associated plaster, it’s time to enjoy my day off. What better way to while away the hours than listening to Absolute 80s on DAB whilst programming my next ZX Spectrum game. For this task I’m using the TommyGun IDE, Pasmo assembler and SpecEmu emulator. It’s almost like I had turned the clock back 30 years apart from the lack of blood, greying hair, bills, mortgage….. Oh bugger…..

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Pascal version of Cavern Fighter on the Raspberry PI

After several hours making changes to my original Delphi code, I have now recompiled my Cavern Fighter PC game to run on the Raspberry PI. Using Free Pascal and the Lazarus IDE I finally got it running. At the moment the frame rate is a little slow and it has no sound. I’ll either get the Linux files for Bass or look to use the SDL library to play the background tunes and spot effects. For those who don’t know, I wrote this game back in 2004 for a Retro Game competition. It is based on a ZX Spectrum game of the same name.

Here is a picture of it running in the debugger via a VNC link.

Here is a picture of the original Spectrum version.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

LED Counter in Python on the Pi

Just a quick post to show a video clip of my Raspberry Pi controlling a seven segment LED via the Pi's GPIO port. I plan to extract the code into a reusable library. One possible use will be to display status / error codes whilst controlling other devices. Must stop playing with hardware and get back to the software.

DevWeek 2013

Well it’s that time of year again, they seem to fly by these days. I’ll be off to DevWeek again soon. I’m booked in for the three day’s so looking forward to some interesting sessions. I get to travel into London by train so that’ll give me forty minutes of thinking time for new programming projects. I can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel with all the work I’m doing at home at the moment. In about a month’s time I should be able to concentrate on some game programming. I need to get started with some proof of concept ideas I have for my new Spectrum game. I’ll release more details once I’ve got enough code to produce a video or demo. If anyone reading this is going to DevWeek and wants to talk Z80 then let me know.

Monday, 4 February 2013

From one LED to seven

Another weekend and another hour spent with my Raspberry Pi. After a rummage about in my junk box I located a seven segment LED. Annoyingly the device was too small to span the gap on my breadboard. About ten minutes later I had fabricated a suitable socket. Once the Pi was fired up I wrote a quick bit of Python to check that I could control all the segments. As you can see from the photograph, this was a success. Next Sunday’s coding session will be to allow me to pass in a number via the command line and have the device display the correct number.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Controlling an LED from a Raspberry Pi

Whilst fleshing out ideas for my new ZX Spectrum game, I’ve also found some time to work with my Raspberry Pi. A while ago I bought a breakout board kit for the Pi. This was easily constructed so I needed to then test it. The board connects via the i2c bus and exposes several ports that can be used as inputs or outputs. The controller chip only costs about a £1 so if things went wrong it is a lot cheaper to buy a new chip than it is a new Pi. By default the Pi has the i2c support turned off. This can be enabled by commenting out the i2c line in the blacklist file. A few supporting files need to be download and then it’s ready to work. I adapted some Python code and wired up a LED and resistor to my breadboard. I could then switch the LED on and off from the command line. This isn’t exactly rocket science but it proves that everything is installed correctly and I that can still solder properly. The next step is to look at controlling my amateur radio kit remotely. Here are some pictures of the board and a screen shot of the Python program. I am still using VNC to connect to the Pi so I can program from the comfort of my lounge.