A game development diary (and other stuff too)
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April-June 2006 (oldest-to-newest)
I finally passed one of the two songs blocking me in
Guitar Hero. I still need to
beat "Crossroads" to unlock the final five songs in
Expert mode. The problem is that the solo near the end
is so long that even having full Star Power isn't enough
to survive it.
I also finished reading the latest Harry Potter book,
which was great as usual. Can't wait for the last
I spent some time with BreakDown this past weekend. I
still can't find the source of some graphical glitches,
but I'm prepared to let them go for now in the interests
of getting the game out to you sooner. I can always
revisit the game later.
I'm playing through BreakDown
looking for blatant bugs. One thing I tried was setting
the starting level a bit higher so I could try out the
bosses. Holy crap they're hard! Of course just skipping
to the levels didn't give me the powerups I'd likely have
by getting there normally. Still, I definitely need more
practice at this game.
Release isn't far off me thinks. Less than a month for
We keep the closed captioning on our TV in hopes that
it will help our son read. Anyway, the latest episode
of Lost had a funny interpretation. Ana Lucia was
telling Locke that "I pushed your button". I don't
know if Locke was trying to get fresh or what. I
certainly heard "It's not my button". The closed
captioners obviously heard different.
I tracked down the last bug of which I'm aware. It
wasn't a major one. It just caused the demo mode to
sometimes not quit properly when the computer player
finishes a level. Pressing a button kicked you back to
the menu easy enough. It's nice to have it fixed
I'll play with the game for a bit to make sure I
didn't miss anything. I also need to create the game's
boot loader images. The game's button mapping might
need some tweaking too. The original used the four
PSX buttons for four different weapons. Currently the
X button is mapped to the NUON's A button. It might
make more sense to move the four up to the NUON's C
buttons since they're laid out more like the PSX
I'm trying to hook up Arethius with a working Yaroze
Classics for the Atari Connexion show this weekend.
He's had problems getting the disc to work, but I always
attributed it to burning issues since it works fine on
my N501. However I just tried it on my N504 and it
doesn't work! Sheesh, I'm going to have to test
releases on both from now on.
I also tried BreakDown standalone (not in the boot
loader) and it doesn't work either. So clearly
something is amiss on the Aries3-based players. I'll
try repro'ing it on my Aries3 dev system. Otherwise
it'll be a burn-and-try cycle to figure out what's
The Aries3 dev system works fine. Must be something to
do with the N504. Nnnnnnggg.
I found the problem was that I was calling a bios
function from within an interrupt handler. That's a
no-no according to the docs. Why it works on NTSC
machines, but not on PAL I have no idea. I'm just
happy to have that fixed.
Lots of little things to clean up before the release.
It should happen next week. I sent Arethius a version
for the Atari Connexion this weekend. That'll be the
first place you can see/play BreakDown (assuming it
works for him).
The artwork changes/additions are done. I just have two
more small things to clean up before release. Look for
it in a day or two.
huh? Ooookay. The urine jokes just start pouring out
of the mind like a fountain.
I'm getting some odd corruption in the images within
the boot loader (screenshots, icons, etc). I haven't
reproduced the problem on the dev system so I can't say
exactly what the problem is. I suspect that I just have
too many images and am running out of memory (although
it shouldn't fail in that way). If I can't track down
the bug soon I'll pare down the screenshots to just a
few per game and hopefully that will fix it.
This release of the Yaroze Classics
adds a third game, Chris Wallace's
Hit the link on the left navigation bar to get the
latest version. You can also submit your scores
at the BreakDown link above - you will be given a code
after every game.
The game is played with the NUON controller's analog
stick and C
buttons. C-down is your main gun that never runs out.
The other three are your power up weapons that you
collect along the way. There are other power-ups too
like invincibility and armor. Visit the
page for more info.
Unique to this version of BreakDown is a two-player
co-op mode. The original had a dual-turret mode where
one player controlled both using the dual shock
controller. Since the NUON controller only has one
analog stick I figure it'd be better to split the
controls between the two. In this mode the A button
fires and the B button cycles through the weapons for
each player. You can unlock this mode by holding down
B and C-down on the title screen.
Unfortunately there are some known issues with this
- The "Loading..." screen in the boot loader flickers
for a short time.
- There are graphical glitches on the BreakDown title
- There are a couple references to the PSX buttons
still in the game. You should be able to figure it out
- If you don't have a second controller plugged in
the second turret will fire non-stop.
Enjoy and let me know if you have any problems.
I just received my magnetic Katamari hand knitted by
Amy Shimel. See her store
it appears she no longer offers the item.
Each nub has a magnet, which makes a unique office
item holder. Put some rare earth magnets in there and
you might have a real Katamari (assuming it doesn't
EDIT: Actually it looks like she still does offer
the item. I must have missed it when I looked. Direct
link is here.
EDIT #2: I found the original link from which I
bought my Katamari. It is
So you're probably wondering what I'll be doing
Back when I released the first Yaroze Classics I
submitted the news item to Brandon at
He came back with the suggestion that I should port
You know that I ended up going with
BreakDown due to Chris'
enthusiasm to port his game. Of course
Robot Ron remained in my mind.
So after I finished BreakDown
I went to contact Matt. Turns out he saw Brandon's
latest Yaroze Classics
first and contacted me about the port. He's up
for it. I'm up for it. As soon as he sends the source
I'll get started on porting Robot Ron.
VM Labs the company is finally dead. Richard sent out
a mail stating that the remaining funds from the company
are gone (all thirty-two cents). To celebrate this he
reserved a room at a local restaurant for a company
Talk about a blast from the past. Names and faces come
rushing back (names not as much). It was short notice so
not everyone was there, but it was still more than I
thought would attend.
The highlight was the smashing of the VM Labs seal.
Here's a couple pics. More info later.
I mentioned the breaking of the VM Labs seal last
time. Here's a movie of that event for all to see.
Both Richard and Nick take a whack at it.
the seal (Quicktime MOV - 37 MB)
The amusing part is that right before this, while
carrying the seal over, part of it fell out. It broke
on its own.
It's a large file so I'll be monitoring the bandwidth
usage. I'll yank the movie if it gets to be too much.
If anyone wants to host it permantently please do.
I received the source from Matt and have gotten
Robot Ron to compile for NUON. I haven't tried running
it yet, though.
We're moving next week so things have been very crazy.
We closed on the new place yesterday and are now
scrambling to get our current one ready to go on the
market. Juggle that with packing for the move next
Friday and taking care of a toddler and baby (who just
started crawling). Whew!
Things should calm down in a few weeks as we unpack
and life returns to normal. So sorry if updates are
The move is done. Now were getting our old place fixed
up to put on the market. The open house is this weekend.
Hopefully it sells quickly so we don't have to deal with
two mortgages for long.
We're still in boxes at the new place. The study in
particular is still a mess so no dev work is getting done
these days. It also doesn't help that we put the baby's
crib in there. Hmm. Maybe I'll move the dev system out
to the living room for the time being.
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