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January-March 2005 (oldest-to-newest)

5 Jan 2005 - The year of Decaying Orbit

I hope everyone had a good holiday week. I haven't had as much time to work on NUON stuff as I would have liked. Still, things are happening behind the scenes for a post-Christmas goodie. Stay tuned to all the normal channels.

I just placed the order for my laptop today and will have it by the end of the month. I also ordered some upgrades in the form of extra RAM, a bigger/faster hard drive, and a slimline DVD writer to replace the stock unit. I'll be taking my time setting up this bad boy and hope to be ready to rock by some time in February. In the meantime I will be using my existing PC for development.

Game-wise I won a trio of Gamecube games recently. Ikaruga is fun, but frustrating in a way that Gradius V isn't. Wario Ware Inc. is fun for a while, but loses its charm as a single-player game. Maybe it's better on GBA, I don't know. Mario Golf Toadstool Tour is pretty sweet. It doesn't simulate golf accurately enough to be played as an alternative to the real thing, but it's fun in its own way. I wish I had those guide lines when putting on a real green.

11 Jan 2005 - Updated survey results

I've received a few more survey submissions since last time. Here's the latest, sans comments. Difference from last results are shown with larger asterisks. Nice to see more N504 owners out there!

Have you played Decaying Orbit either on PSOne or NUON?
Yes, the Yaroze version* (1)
Yes, the full NUON version******* (7)
Yes, one of the NUON demo versions******** (8)
Not yet*************************** (27)
Would you buy an enhanced version?
Yes, definitely**************************** (28)
Yes, likely******* (7)
Not sure**** (4)
No, probably not** (2)
Other** (2)
If yes, what version would you get?
The cheaper one**** (4)
The deluxe model******************************* (31)
Both**** (4)
What model NUON player do you have?
Toshiba SD-2300** (2)
Samsung Extiva N2000** (2)
Samsung N501**************************** (28)
Samsung N504****** (6)
Samsung N505** (2)
Samsung N591(0)
RCA DRC300N(0)
RCA DRC480N(0)
I don't have one yet, but plan to get one*** (3)
I don't have one, nor do I intend get one(0)
12 Jan 2005 - That was close

Wow, it seems HP/Compaq removed the X1000 laptop from their site. Glad I ordered it when I did! And I got the ship notice today. Joy!

However, I'm almost freaking out with worry about dead pixels on the LCD...

22 Jan 2005 - NUON Games & Demos

Kevin and I have been working on a disc containing a ton of NUON homebrew games & apps and a bunch of the SDK demos. Check it out on NUON-Dome.

We're selling these babies at cost to make them as affordable as possible. Head over to the ND CafePress store to grab a copy.

I'm still waiting to receive my copy because UPS wants a signature and refuses to just leave it at the door. I friggin' hate UPS...

30 Jan 2005 - &@#$ laptop

I've been fighting my laptop since I bought it. Everything seemed okay at first. I swapped out the hard drive, DVD drive, and RAM for the upgrades I purchased separately. I created separate partitions for WinXP and Win98 and installed Boot Magic. The I installed RestoreIT. That was a mistake.

RestoreIT tracks changes on your hard drive and lets you revert back to a known good state if you install something bad or get hit by a virus. Unfortunatley it does this by creating a separate hidden partition on your hard drive on which to store the backup. RestoreIT and Boot Magic conflicted and made things rather unpleasant.

So I tried wiping the drive and starting over. Funny thing is I still got a Boot Magic error on boot up. I guess it altered the master boot record and still existed in some form on the disk. I found the fix on the web was to boot from the WinXP CD and run the "fixmbr" command from the repair console.

Ever since then I have not been able to successfully install WinXP. I always get one error or another during the install process. I'm reverting my hardware upgrades back to the stock system to see if that fixes things. I'm hoping it's just a bad RAM or something equally fixable. If it's still flaky then I'll likely return the laptop.


3 Feb 2005 - Ahhhhhhhh

All seems to be well now. I went back to the RAM that came with the laptop and the errors disappeared. I'll be returning the dimm to get my money back. I guess I'll live with 256MB for the moment. It would have been nice to have a full 1GB. I'll try again later.

In the meantime, now that I have the laptop mostly set up I will migrate over my NUON dev tree and get cracking on that fancy shmancy Decaying Orbit thingee. Bah, I've wasted a month out of 2005 already.

9 Feb 2005 - Quietness

In case you couldn't surmise by now, updates will be more infrequent as I work on the updated Decaying Orbit. I will definitely give out info, but want to wait until later before showing too much. In the meantime you'll have to deal with random ramblings.

I'm still playing Mario Golf regularly. I've unlocked a couple extra characters, but there's a few more to go and I'm running out of minigames to complete - I completed all the side games and ring challenges. At the moment I'm trying to finish all the star tournaments. They are extremely difficult in that you must use your power shots quite regularly. If you haven't played the game, you get six power shots at the beginning of a match. However, if you hit a power shot just right the supply won't decrement. So if you're good enough you can use them quite often throughout the entire match.

My main problem with the star tournaments, as opposed to the normal ones you start with, is the putting. The bar for timing your shots is half the size as usual, leading to many missed/botched putts. It's frustrating that the designers chose this method for increasing the difficulty. It feels like a cheat - like the designers couldn't think of a better way to make the game harder.

12 Feb 2005 - Latest Boot Loader

Game Progress With the NUON Games & Demos disc done I figured it's about time I released a new Boot Loader with all the new features.

Hit the links on the left to download. The zip with just the executable and demo bootload.dat has been updated as well as the source. Here's the rundown on major changes:

  • Works with NUON.CD files. This kind of makes my statement about how NUON.CD files may never be supported look silly - especially since it was quoted in the Gaming Hacks book. Ah well, better to have it than not.
  • Allows larger number of app images. You know those little screen shots that appear next to the menu? Earlier versions would crash if you had too many apps in the list and tried to load all their images. Now the Boot Loader dynamically deallocates the unused images as needed.
  • Sections. Since the Games & Demos disc has tons of apps I figured we needed a faster way to navigate the list. You can divide your list into sections and the user can then skip around to the start of the next/previous section.
  • Arrows indicating when more apps are above/below the current view. Just a nice UI improvement to show you when more apps lurk above or below.
  • Custom initialization screen. We had to have something different than the boring blue init screen. It's kind of hard coded for the Games & Demos disc at the moment, but I can walk someone through how to customize it if they like.

As always, check out the README in the zip.

28 Mar 2005 - He's alive

So what the heck is going on? It has been over a month since my last entry and I'm sorry to say I haven't gotten much done on Decaying Orbit. Work has been super busy for the past few months. As you may know I work at NVIDIA. I've been putting in some long days getting our chip ready for launch. I'm working on the nForce 4 Intel Edition, or whatever they end up calling it. We showed it off at IDF and CeBIT this month as kind of a preview thing (which is why I can even mention it here).

Anyway, during the week I end up going to work twice each day. Once in the morning and then again after my son has gone to bed. This isn't very condusive to outside activities.

I don't want to turn this into one of those sites that endlessly appologizes about how busy things are and only update with miniscule content every three to four months. Things are tapering off at work now such that I won't have to do the double shift thing as often. Until the next project of course.

The year is a quarter over already so I'm way behind if I want to get Decaying Orbit done by Christmas. My first focus, and I have started on this a bit, is to allow 24-bit graphics to replace the 4-bit variety that DO uses now. It shouldn't take too long to implement, but it's tough when you can't put a couple consecutive hours together. Darn it, there I go again whining...

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