Workprint – July 2016

Wow, I somehow seem to have missed the workprint post for a couple of months without either realising or knowing how it even happened! Since I’m currently blaming everything on the result of the EU referendum, so that can be the scapegoat for this situation as well even if it’s demonstrably not the case. In truth, free time has been more scarce than usual so releasing a demo at Sundown has, along with plans to actually show up in Budleigh Salterton for once, sadly fallen by the wayside. It might still be possible to get a monthly demo release together to contribute, although the ideas pile is a little sparse and I doubt a multi-platform audience would “get” what .

So instead I’ll be focusing on a Plus/4 part to contribute for the Cracker’s Demo 5 deadline; it’ll be started from scratch – I can’t test the code being written previously – and my current mantra of “if in doubt, DYCP” is almost certain to apply, that’s doable. I mean, it’s not as though I have problems with meeting deadlines is it… oh.

Here’s some news that isn’t mine though, Sokurah has just released his ZX Spectrum conversion of my C64 game Vallation! It can be downloaded from the relevant page of his website and features some lovely graphics from Craig Stevenson as well.

Won’t let the sun go down

Sundown 2014 took place this weekend and I sent along three bits of code to be released under the newly-resurrected Slipstream banner. One was just a pretty music player for a tune by Bex on the Atari 8-bit…

…which ended up in the demo competition, whilst the other was How Does This Work Again?, a small single-part Spectrum demo again with music from Bex. It’s incredibly simple stuff and the most complicated bit was getting the Arkos Tracker music playing (I’d never worked with it before and tunes have to be assembled with the driver rather than just compiled from the program) but it was only my second or third attempt at Z80 code, so go easy on me okay?

Who knows, at some point I might feel brave enough to try writing a Spectrum, MSX or Amstrad CPC game!

A day off… with VGA

Today I’m having a “day off” so, because this is what I assume everybody does when they have a little free time, it was spent fixing my Amiga 600HD after an “incident” where it’s previous CF card reader was damaged (a long story involving a CD32, an SX-1 and a dodgy HDD cable), failing to breathe some life back into a Cumana external Amiga floppy drive and playing with a few bits purchased for my Raspberry Pi. The result of the latter is this…

…which is Chameleon Pi running off my old 256Mb model B Pi, a Playstation 2 DualShock pad connected through a USB converter and VGA out. Although I wasn’t entirely happy with the Atari 8-bit or C64 emulation, the Apple 2 seems reasonable and the plan was, amongst other things, to have something compact and friendly to use at events for games on hardware I don’t own. It also has a new case which cost about six quid, but no audio at the moment but that’s being worked on.

And for an encore, half an hour was then used to persuade the GBS-8220 VGA upscaler I purchased a few months ago that working with the Spectrum +2 would be a fun thing to do; this process mostly revolved around poking wires from the upscaler into the Spectrum’s video port.

At some point I’ll get around to actually soldering a plug onto those wires, although considering my lack of ability with a soldering iron that might take a bit of practise and building up to. The actual video output from the GBS-8220 is pretty decent, I noticed that there’s some smearing but it doesn’t look to be any more pronounced than what was coming out of the SCART cable and television used previously.