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My recent 8-bit projects: #FujiNet ISS Tracker & APOD Viewer, and cc65 ports of Gem Drop & Invenies Verba

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Hi all!  I'm new to the Atari.io forums, and figured I should finally sign up and take part.  I'm active on the AtariAge Forums now and then, and was on comp.sys.atari.8bit on Usenet back in the 1990s (but I was a teenager / early 20s kid, so it was embarrassing).  I've released a few games & other silly things over the years as "New Breed Software"; mostly things in Atari BASIC & TurboBASIC XL, and a few in Action!  I also ran an annual "Atari Party" event in northern California for the better part of a decade, up until a few years back when I moved up to Washington state.  And I co-hosted the XEGS Cart by Cart podcast with Michael G. and David Vucetic for a while there, too!

In case anyone here hadn't seen them yet, I wanted to share some of my more recent Atari 8-bit projects.  The first two are for the most excellent #FujiNet networking device, and are both written in C and cross-compiled with cc65:

Astronomy Photo Of the Day (APOD) Viewer

This program uses the FujiNet, together with a relatively simple "web app" I wrote in PHP (with some shell script helpers), to fetch and display APOD photos in a variety of graphics modes, including high-res mono (320x192x2), medium-res color (160x192x4), medium-res 4-color per scanline(-ish), medium-res "true-color" (160x192x64 "ColorView"), low-res greyscale (80x192x16), low-res "true-color" (80x192x4096 "ColorView"), and low-res 256-color (80x192x256 "APAC").


Thanks to Jeff Potter for the inspiration (APAC and ColorView), and big thanks to "APC" for rewriting a couple of my DLIs to get them to work properly.

You can learn more, and download an XEX file here (I run it off my Ultimate SD Cart, for instant boot-up): http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/fujinet-apod/

International Space Station (ISS) Tracker

This program also uses FujiNet, together with a couple of pre-existing web APIs, to track the current location of the space station, it's future positions, and to show who's in space right now (and where; e.g. ISS vs Tiangong). It's also written in C.


This one is also available as an XEX (and I also boot it off of an SD cart), from here: http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/fujinet-iss-tracker/


Next up are some rewrites -- again in C -- of some older games of mine:

Gem Drop Deluxe

Way back in 1997, I created "Gem Drop", a puzzle game for the Atari, in the Action! program language.  In 1998, I ported it to C and Xlib to run on under X-Window on the Solaris (Unix) box at college, and soon after ported it to Simple DirectMedia Layer (libSDL), which allowed it to run on on even more platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Amiga, etc.).  A few years back, when I started toying with cc65, I started trying to port it to C for the Atari, as well.  Things got in the way, but I picked it up recently, and have a pretty reasonable version going now.


Gem Drop Deluxe is available as both an ATR disk image and a stand-alone disk-friendly XEX, which will save a high score & highest-level back to disk.  There's also an XEX that doesn't try to do any disk access (so sorry!, no high score saving!), which you can use on something like an Ultimate SD Cart.  As noted above, it's also written in C. http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/gemdrop_deluxe/

Invenies Verba 2.0

Created in 2014, and inspired by "Lex", a mobile game from a company that a friend of mine worked at, this is a fast-action word puzzle game played with the keyboard. I wrote it in TubroBASIC XL, which I "cross-built" from my Linux laptop. It also utilizes a PHP(!) script to build compressed dictionary files that the game uses, based on word list files (e.g., "/usr/dict/words"). The final playable version is actually compiled TubroBASIC XL, since speed is important for the dictionary look-ups it does, when confirming whether a word you entered was valid.

This year, I took the BASIC code and, line-by-line, ported it to -- you guessed it! -- C, cross-compiled with cc65.  I added some bells and whistles, making it a much slicker game than the original.  It comes with 7 dictionaries: American English, British English, German, Polish, Spanish, Italian, and French.


I need to make a proper separate page for this version of the game, but you can learn more about it, and download both the old and new versions, from here: http://www.newbreedsoftware.com/iverba/



Finally, the code for all of these are on GitHub (my games are under my own account, and the FujiNet stuff -- including the APOD server side of things -- are in the official FujiNet repos.  (I also did a lot of the initial work on the "Quickstart guide" found over on the FujiNet wiki.)

Let me know what you think, feel free to play around with it and peek in the code, and enjoy!


Edited by billkendrick
Mentioning "Atari Party" and "XEGS Cart by Cart" podcast, and adding some links.
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There are a bunch of videos about Gem Drop Deluxe over on YouTube!

My brief demo (no sound) via Atari800 emulator: 



Willie! / Arcade USA's from earlier this year:




Atari 8bits Forever:





And Retro Games:


Note: This game uses my so-called "Super IRG" graphics mode, which is simply 40x24 5-color text mode, flickering between two different character sets, to give an effect of more colors. Some videos don't show this very well.

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Welcome Bill! 

The Atari 8-bit computers are my most favorite retro systems.  I'm so glad you are here.  I haven't yet taken the plunge on a FujiNet...I've been quite happy with the Uno Cart on my 800XL.  But you've given me some insight on what FujiNet offers.  I'll have to check that out.  Where is the best place to go and get one?



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The FujiNet website itself lists the 1.4 model for sale, though it's out of stock: https://fujinet.online/shop/

Vintage Computer Center here in the US build & sell them, and list the 1.5, but are also currently out of stock: https://www.vintagecomputercenter.com/fujinet

And The Brewing Academy, also here in the US, built & sell them, and currently lists the 1.3* model (no case), but Marlin's on vacation until September 😄 : https://thebrewingacademy.com/collections/atari-800-xl-xe-xel-xld/products/fujinet-version-1-3

It's an open source project, so anyone can build one, of course!  

These things are selling like hotcakes, I tell ya!


* As noted on TBA's website, "The original release of v1.3 had an error that could cause a failure to flash the esp32 from some computers while working fine from others."  The wiki also lists lots of revision info: https://github.com/FujiNetWIFI/fujinet-platformio/wiki/Official-Hardware-Versions & https://github.com/FujiNetWIFI/fujinet-platformio/wiki/Prototype-Board-Revisions

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GemDrop uses a method known as "SuperIRG" that alternates between two character sets at the start of the V-Blank. Gives the illusion of more colors. Get the best effects with "Checkerboard" alternating where every other vertical and horizontal pixel alternate each frame. I played around with the technique. Works great on steady screens. Had not tries anything with scrolling screens.

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12 hours ago, peteym5 said:

GemDrop uses a method known as "SuperIRG" that alternates between two character sets at the start of the V-Blank. Gives the illusion of more colors. Get the best effects with "Checkerboard" alternating where every other vertical and horizontal pixel alternate each frame. I played around with the technique. Works great on steady screens. Had not tries anything with scrolling screens.

Hmm...not sure how that would look through my Extron/OSSC combo setup. Most interlaced stuff ends up looking combined through the extron as part of how it handles image processing and conversion of the video to 640x480 output that I have it set to (lowest resolution output it will allow).


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