|June 6th 1999||We changed the style of our
homepage because Pezac had a problem with it... ;-) |
As for the games there has been very little done this past week due to the exams, but now we have a couple of months to make up for the past year.
|June 2nd 1999||Now there's only one exam left for Hencox to do, and InStream has already done all his, so work on our projects is starting again. InStream is currently working on a Tetris clone, called Natris, and at the same time raytracing the last graphics for Aces High.|
|May 17th 1999||The final exams for this year is coming up in one or two weeks, so the updates of these pages will probably cease for the next couple of weeks. But after that we have the whole summer to do stuff on our games. :-)|
|May 11th 1999||Reeking Rubber: Hencox added a function that saves the options in the menu, so that you don't have to do it all over everytime you run the game.|
|May 7th 1999||Yesterday Hencox tried to fix
some stuff on the network initialization in RR, mainly the "bug" that
forces the Master to start first, otherwise all the Slaves will just
freeze. The attempt was almost successful, it seems like there's a random
possibility that it works if a Slave starts first.|
We also added two screenshots of Aces High. Check out the projects section.
|May 3rd 1999||This weekend Hencox changed
the resolution that Aces High runs in from 410x274 to 384x250 to avoid the
interlace on RGB/TV, because it sucked pretty much. ;-)|
InSTream retraced the background to fit the new resolution and also took a closer look at doing the tunnels in RR. What is left to do on Aces High before a release is just a little bit more on the "special abilities" of the airplanes, bonuses, and of course, the sound fx. For the latter we'll need the FlexTrax replay rout from NewBeat, so we'll just have to wait for it then.
By the way, there is now a very early project-page about Aces High.
|April 30th 1999||Hencox: Did some more on Aces
High, added different firing rates and engine strengths, and fixed some
InSTream: Thinks it's too much work involved in fixing the tunnels in RR. Instead he works on some demo effys, and a viewer for .F16-pictures.
|April 27th 1999||Aces High: Currently most of the special abilities of the planes has been implemented, so now they take different amounts of hits before going down, have different turning-speeds, and the rest of the stuff mentioned on the previous note shouldn't take long to add either.|
|April 23rd 1999||Aces High: Yesterday I
the possibility to have more than two shots per player on screen at once.
I also raised the firing-rate from 35 vbl's per shot to 10 vbl's per shot,
and added an ammunition-limit,
making the game a bit more realistic. Now I need to change the energy of
the planes from three shots to about 20. I've also thought of giving the
four planes different abilities. One could be fast and manouverable but
taking less hits to shoot down, while another could be slow and less
manouverable while taking many hits and so on. Someone also told me to add
bonuses (bonii?), which could be things like more ammo, damage repair,
stronger engine etc. |
Reeking Rubber: InSTream decided to start working a bit on the tunnels again. What is left on them is the inner-wall texturemapping, and smart routines for clipping the tunnel segments so that the game doesn't draw anything unnecessary. Which means only the heavy stuff is left... ;-)
|April 19th 1999||Yep, we've now managed to mix 2 channels, and making that 8 channels shouldn't be any problem. However, Thomas of NewBeat told us that his replayer (FlexTrax), will soon be finished, supporting up to 8 fx channels, so there's actually no need for us doing this. Instead we could start looking for good samples.|
|April 16th 1999||Hmmm, it looks like my
assumptions about the DMA sound were wrong. It doesn't matter how many
tracks the DMA is set to play, neither do I get the possibility to play
more than one sample at the same time without mixing with the DSP, nor
does the DMA take more bytes from the sample at the same time, making DSP
mixing practically impossible without sending all data through the host
interface, and that is what I'm trying to avoid... :-( |
Well, what the heck is the number-of-tracks setting there for then?
I just came to think of that maybe Thomas of NewBeat can help me.
|April 12th 1999||Today school started again,
limiting our speed of development a bit. (as if it wasn't slow enough
before ;-)) |
Currently I (Hencox) am working on the sound system of Aces High, which I showed to some people at EIL. In the game I need eight channels for sound fx, which I couldn't find in any of the replayers I examined. About a year ago I tried to make my own sound fx system, but never succeeded in configuring the sound system correctly. Some days ago all problems were magically solved, and now I'm trying to figur out how to do the rest. As it is now, a sample is played using DMA and TimerA. DMAplay is connected to DSPreceive, the DSP just reads the data and outputs it again through the SSI. DSPtransmit is connected to the DAC. I found it strange that even though the DMA is configured to 8bit mono, the DSP must set the SSI to 16bit stereo, otherwise I got crap sound out from the DAC.
I think that if I want to play 8 samples at once, all I have to do is to set the DMA to 4 tracks stereo (= 8 mono). The DMA then takes eight bytes from the sample each time, and sends it to the DSP. After a given number of bytes have been sent, I use TimerA to switch sample. I hope it'll work anyway...
|April 6th 1999||Six hours ago, we came home
from EIL in Dresden. It was a great party, and very nice to finally meet
all the people that we've only spoken to on irc and via e-mail before.|
Our journey down there was a bit bumpy though. We accidentally went into Berlin instead of going around it, and it took us 2 hours to find our way out again. When we finally got to Dresden, none of us had any description of how to get there, so we drove around in Dresden for 3 hours before we found Sector One, who also couldn't find the party place. But in the end we got there. :-)
We hadn't made any demo or anything to participate with, instead we showed both RR and Aces High to quite a few interested people. We also fixed a couple of bugs in both games, and I added support for using the 32MHz clock on CT2. It is replaced with the 50MHz clock on CT2, instead the 32MHz clock is moved to the EXTernal clock. Both games now detect the CT2 through the "_CT2"-cookie, and then makes the necessary changes to the video registers.
On our way home, we were stopped by the Swedish customs, because they wanted to look for drugs and weapons in our car... Guess who'll get anti-greets in our next release. ;-)
|March 23rd 1999||Well, that thing about the
network mode of RR is still left to implement, but instead I've done some
more on the dogfight-clone I mentioned on December 17th 1998. Actually
bugfixes, but the game is 95% complete, so it looks like an eil-release is
And RR is playable as it is now. It's just that it doesn't want to work on 4MB...
|March 18th 1999||There, now I've taken the last
exam for this period, and can start living again... ;-) |
We have to add some stuff to the network mode of RR. It works as it is now, but some more bells and whistles would be nice. I have to pry InSTream off the ST too, so that he starts coding again... ;-)
|March 16th 1999||Nothing to report actually,
just wanted to update the page. Currently InSTream spends his time playing
Cadaver on the ST, instead of coding the remaining parts of the
tunnel-code. ;-) |
I still have one exam left, Environmental Technics, sounds really interesting, eh? ;-)
It would be really great to finally get RR out of our hair, so that we can start something new. Ideas are pouring through all the time.
|March 8th 1999||InSTream fixed the last stuff of the falling snow this weekend, so now we can use that too. Nothing else besides that, the exams period is next week, so I have to study maths. (won't make it anyway... ;-))|
|March 2nd 1999||Well, nothing new to tell you, really. Just wanted to tell you to bring null modem and MIDI cables if you're going to EIL, so that we can put together a nice network to play RR over.|
|March 1st 1999||Yepp, the multiplay mode works
alright now, although it's not complete yet, but it is now possible to
play up to 8 players at the same time. Well, we've only tested 2 players
yet, but I don't see any reason why it shouldn't work. But the cars
are a bit jerky even with the serial port running at 115200bps (it is
possible to run it at 153600bps, but hasn't tested that yet). I figure
that the parallel-port or an Ethernet card would make it all a bit better.
We have also finally begun using the addx instruction in the inner loop of the texture-mapping, thus reducing it from 5 to 3 instructions, should make a speed-increase of about 30%. EarX of FUN told us to do this some months ago, but we didn't understand how to do it back then... :-P
|February 26th 1999||Well, it seems like we found two of the irritating bugs yesterday. So now we've even managed to run the game in multiplay mode on both computers. It's just that the 'Master' freezes for some reason, while the 'Slave' plays on happily. Hopefully this will also be fixed soon. It would be really cool to play together with other atari-sceners at the Error In Line party! :-)|
|February 24th 1999||In order to have STinG running
properly, our game has to run in user mode as much as possible. Therefore
the game uses supervisor mode only when absolutely needed. This means that
there is a lot of switching between user mode and supervisor mode in the
game. When we added this yesterday, suddenly the game refused to work
again. Actually this is exactly what we did some days ago too, when I
wrote the reports below. |
Well, if this can't be fixed, either no multiplay or no game! :-(
|February 23rd 1999||We found one of the bugs this
weekend. On our new second-hand falcon the joypadA port has a
broken solder or something, because the game keeps pausing on that falcon,
but not on the other one. And when we disabled the checking of the
joypadA pause key, the problem disappeared...|
RR still doesn't exit properly on the 'new' falcon, it works alright on our CT2 for some reason. It can't well be the difference in the amount of RAM, can it? The CT2 has 32MB fast-ram and 4MB st-ram, the other one has 16MB st-ram.
So now we can test the multiplay mode, but couldn't release any new version though. If people want to play multiplay, and can live with that the game crasches when exiting, then tell us and we might release something anyway.
|February 19th 1999||It seems like that bug is very
hard to find. Currently the game runs only on CT2 with RGB and VGA, and on
a normal falcon only on VGA...(?) Also the game crashes when quitting...
What could be causing this is a great mystery, it looks like the game is
mutating on its own... |
It all started when I added the multiplay support in order to do the first test. Though I didn't change anything, just added, the game now behaves like described above, even when assembling it without the multiplay stuff! :-(
There could be some bug in Devpac though, who knows.
|February 16th 1999||We have now implemented the basics of the multiplayer mode in RR. There is one strange bug left though, that prevents the game from working. Sacha at Centek told us some useful info. Hopefully it'll work, it's no fun spending all our time fixing something that just doesn't want to work...|
|February 7th 1999||Yep, the multiplay init is now
ready to be used in RR! All that remains now is to kick InSTream`s butt
until he starts taking serious part of the making of RR again... ;-)|
|February 4th 1999||The network mode init. is very near to becoming bugfree now. Last night our two falcons managed to do an estimated 90% of the necessary "hand-shaking". This afternoon the whole of it will probably work alright.|
|February 1st 1999||Oops... two weeks since last
update of these news... :-)|
During this time I've been working on the initialization of the network mode in RR, and a LAN-modem2 cable that doesn't seem to work as expected... :-(
InSTream is working on a new introeffect.
|January 18th 1999||Work is steadily progressing
on both the multiplayer mode and
the new release. Today school started
again, which takes some of our
precious time, but development is not
halted in any way.|
What needs to be done before the next release is raytracing some more objects and finetuning the snow effect.
|January 16th 1999||We`ve succeeded in setting up
a small STinG network using a
nullmodem cable, which was the
last step to being able to make
the multiplayer mode. Currently I
(Hencox) am working on the
initialization of STinG in RR,
while InSTream is coding the
falling snow effect.|
The multiplayer mode will probably not be ready for the next release, but it will feature the atmosphere and falling snow effects, a restructured menu system, the snow scenario and several bugfixes. Unfortunately there is still something that prevents it from running on 4MB, even though the stuff that the game loads only takes up 3MB, and almost all memory allocations are in one big block to avoid memory fragmentation. :-(
|Jaunary 4th 1999||We now have three computers,
two falcons and one 1040STfm! So
now we can develop the multiplayer
mode in RR!|
And now we don`t have to fight each other to get access to our single falcon... ;-)
|January 1st 1999||First of all: A happy new
On 27th through 29th of December, the whole of Nature (both the Atari and Amiga divisions) went to The Party 1998 in Aars in Denmark. We (the atari div) didn't bring our falcon though, because of lack of space, so no serious work was done there. At the party Amiga, c64, and pc were represented, unfortunately no Atari at all. :-(
90% of the visitors were 'quakers', but there were enough serious people present to produce some pretty nice demos. Nature (amiga div) had prepared a 40k intro, but didn't make it in time, so no releases by us then.
|December 17th 1998||I (Hencox) am working on
another little game, that I
started early in the summer of
1996. Due to problems when trying
to exploit the sound system, I put
the game on ice. |
But today I began looking at it again, and replaced all the BLiTTeR-routines with CPU-routines (around 10-13 total!). Some months ago I also replaced my crappy, non-working sound routines with DSPMOD31, so now it looks like we will finally be able to release it. There are still lots of things to fix though.
Oh, I forgot to tell you what kind of game it is. Well, it's a Dogfight type of game, for 4 players, using Jagpad, joystick, or keyboard. It's played in 410*274*TC*55Hz(?!). The code is by me, and all graphics by InSTream.
I will code on this game, when InSTream thinks he doesn't have the time to code on RR with me (he takes school a bit more seriously than I do ;-))
|December 11th 1998||YES!!!! :-) |
We're back in business again!
We got our falcon back from Centek yesterday. They had not only fixed almost all the problems, but also given us a brand new IDE-cable, fixed the old one, and improved our installation of the CT2 a little. For free.
That's service for you! :-)
|December 10th 1998||We've now been told by Centek
that they sent our falcon back on
November 24th. That's 16 days
ago... :-| |
Hopefully the cause for this delay has been the foul weather, and at the post office they said that such delays could very well arise.
If we get both falcons at the same time, it wouldn't be more than fair for us going from having no falcon at all to having two at the same time... ;-)
|December 8th 1998||After intensive searching it
finally seems as though we're
getting another falcon! :-) Apart
from that we've still not heard a
thing from centek about our first
falcon, but with this new one
(well, second hand actually) we're
back in business. |
It will be a bit hectic to put together that Christmas-release of RR that we had hoped to do, but we'll try anyway.
|November 23rd 1998||It's amazing how creative you
become when there is no way to test
your ideas...(still no falcon) :-| |
Currently we're planning the implementation of snow and rain falling in RR. Hopefully you'll see the results of this around Christmas, but don't count on it.
Of course a Falcon is required in order to do this. ;-)
|November 16th 1998||Hencox mourns the loss of his friend and class mate Jessica Strömberg (1975-05-22 to 1998-11-12), whose life was abruptly ended by a car at the crossing of Herkulesgatan and Lundbyleden, Thursday afternoon 98-11-12, in Gothenburg. :-(|
|November 13th 1998||We falsely stated two days ago
that we had sent our falcon to
Centek. But it's today we will
really do it. The reason for the
delay is that we had to note down
all the problems with our falcon,
so that Centek can check that. |
I hope that today being Friday the 13th, won't have any affect. ;-)
|November 2nd 1998||Although we do get by on our
falcon as it is now, those
problems with the serial port and
the sound system has become quite
Maybe we should send our falcon to Centek after all. It will probably cost a bit to get it fixed, and we won't be able to do anything on RR meanwhile. Unless we get another falcon, which we've thought about for a while now. Since we're two people sharing one falcon, it has always been a question of prioritizing whose work is most important.
And with two falcons we'll be able to test the multiplayer mode properly before releasing another version. That is, after we get our falcon back from centek, which will probably take some weeks. Probably (hopefully) not too many, considering that Centek was very quick with sending the CT2 to us after they had received our cheque.
You can be pretty sure we won't quit Atari or anything because of this. It will just be a question of trying to cope with living without a computer for a while.
|October 30th 1998||We added the menu-part of the multiplayer mode to RR. We still haven't begun doing the actual multiplay mode though.|
|October 26th 1998||Our Falcon is mutating!
Yesterday the sound problems described on October 21st suddenly started to get better. We managed to run PlaySID 2 for several minutes! And the computer didn't crash anymore when trying to read floppy discs. How is this possible?! We hadn't done anything to fix those problems.
There certainly is something special about Atari computers! ;-)
We have also done some of the necessary changes in RR, to be able to add the Multiplayer mode.
|October 23rd 1998||We modified the
memory-allocation of RR.
Previously there has been great
problems running RR (later than
v0.9) on 4MB Falcons. Hopefully
this will fix it.|
We also added the STinG-initialization so that we can begin making the multiplayer mode.
|October 21st 1998||We're having some more
problems with our falcon that has
come after the installation of
CT2. Our Sound-DMA has suddenly
stopped working. Now we can't run
programs, like FlaySID and PlaySID
for example. The sound-testing
program SDMA.PRG that comes with
the CT2 has also stopped working
because of this. Centek claims
that it has something to do with
the SDMA-clock, but they haven't
told us how to fix it. The
SDMA-problem only shows up when
the CT2 is active though, in the
normal mode it works just like
before the installation.|
We also have problems with the serial port. It regularly picks up garbage characters, so doing anything on the internet on our falcon is impossible now. :-(
That problem also stops us from developing and especially testing the multiplayer mode on RR!
|October 13th 1998||It seems that the screen is incorrectly set on TV's, there is no sync! But it works OK on VGA, at least on our SVGA monitor. We'll have to investigate. And it will be alot easier if/when we get the docs from Centek.|
|October 12th 1998||Yes! Finally managed to do the
installation of the CT2
RR now runs at 30fps without Fast-RAM and 47fps(!) with it! And we can finally continue our work on the game!
|October 5th 1998||The installation of the CT2
wasn't successful. :-( |
The installation instructions were very good, but one detail in our falcon made it impossible. There seems to have been some production fault with our falcon, because there's a small but fatal damage on the motherboard near the resistor R216. This damage cuts the track that begins at the back of R216. The installation instructions does not consider this of course, since a normal falcon doesn't have this damage, but that is probably the main reason for our falcon not working now.
Until we get some helping instructions from Centek, our falcon is lying butchered on a table at home, awaiting its resurrection...
|October 2nd 1998||Nature atari division now has a CT2!!! Now we only have to install it...|
|September 28th 1998||Managed to use the CNget_NDB function in STiNG, instead of CNget_block. The difference is that the latter copies the received blocks to a specified buffer, while the earlier don't. What's so good about that, then? Well, actually we don't want to have the incoming data blocks copied to a buffer, but instead read them directly. Copying to a buffer would only be a waste of instruction cycles.|
|September 23rd 1998||Yes! We tried having STiNG online while running RR, and we could still use the connection afterwards. This means that STiNG is fully usable with RR! The multiplayer mode is now possible! :-) We also fixed the so called light source bug mentioned earlier. We think so anyway.|
|September 22nd 1998||Finally managed to use STiNG for transferring data between two IP-addresses! It was done using the loopback IP 127.0.0.1 on our Falcon. It still remains to see wether STiNG works correctly when running RR at the same time or not. If that works, the multiplayer mode is very possible. ;-)|
|September 21st 1998||nature.atari.org now maps to the correct address. Thanks Evil and Requiem!|
|September 19th 1998||Added the right front wall of the tunnels.|
|September 15th 1998||Fixed a bug in the routine that generates the shading table.|
|September 10th 1998||Did some more on the tunnels. As yet there's just the left front wall of a tunnel, but it's now texturemapped. I (Hencox) has also managed to use STiNG a bit. The goal is to do some sort of multiplayer mode in RR, but I have been unable to test anything else than the startup, because we're one falcon short. There's no guarantee that this thing will work. If so, there'll probably only be a two-player mode using null-modem.|
|September 6th 1998||Began working on the tunnel support in RR. As yet very little has been done. We also discovered that there is some bug in the light source code.|
|September 2nd 1998||We fixed the support for light-sources on the road in RR, making the night scenario possible.|
|August 26th 1998||Both of us has begun our studies at Chalmers university of technology in Gothenburg. We have spent the days between this and the last update of our homepage, on moving to this city and have had no phone account until now. For our new email-addresses look at the main page. We have done some small stuff on RR though, perhaps too small to even mention... We have also planned a bit more on the night scenario.|
|August 14th 1998||We have released a new betaversion of RR. Betatesters know where to find it.|
|August 8th 1998||RR now uses atmosphere shading for all parts of the screen update: ground, cars, rescalable objects and prescaled objects. We have also added a hiscore table.|
|August 3rd 1998||We reorganized the drawing loop of road segments, cars and objects, getting rid of the annoying flickering-car bug on RR. More details of the atmosphere shading: it uses a 32 level shading table on falcons able to spare 4MB's(!) of RAM. On lesser falcons it adjusts the size of the table to the amount of free memory, reducing the shading levels(quality) accordingly. The shading table is precalculated before starting a race, which takes about 16 seconds for 32 levels on a standard falcon.|
|August 1st 1998||Atmosphere shading for the ground mapping and some of the objects added to RR, without slowing it down too much.|
|July 30th 1998||Goto download section to get it. New stuff include 256x200 screen mode, 2x1 ground mapping mode and general optmizing, making it run as fast as 17fps on standard falcon VGA.|
|July 27th 1998||The texture mapping has been optimized (again), giving a frame rate of 16-17 fps in 256x200 using 2x1 mapping mode on a standard falcon with VGA. Also, we have come up with a way to create atmosphere shading to give the impression of fog, darkness etc, without slowing down the computer too much.|
|July 23rd 1998||A 2x1 road mapping mode has been added to RR, making it run in 14-16 fps in 256x200 on a standard falcon with VGA. A new official version may soon be released.|
|July 22nd 1998||The hardware problem described on July 8th has finally been fixed, thanks to some hardware hacking!|
|July 15th 1998||A 256x200 mode has been added to Reeking Rubber, making it run in 13fps on standard falcon + VGA. Betatesters will be able to download it on the evening of the 17th.|
|July 14th 1998||We received inqueries from Fredrik Egeberg about giving Reeking Rubber the ability to run in smaller resolutions, making the game faster. We'll investigate.|
|July 8th 1998||We have a serious problem with our falcon, that will have a down-slowing effect on the development of Reeking Rubber. It has something to do with the keyboard or something in that area. It's like this: Just a couple of minutes after the computer is powered on, the mouse-pointer starts to jerk on the screen. It gets more and more serious and finally the pointer stops entirely. Our falcon is in a tower and we have tried two different keyboards and mice, but the problem is still there. If you have an idea of what might be the problem, please contact us.|
|June 30th 1998||We finally succeeded in implementing the idea mentioned on June 26th. Betatesters can now download the betaversion of June 30th 1998.|
|June 26th 1998||We came up with a way to save around 400KB on Reeking Rubber, probably making it runnable on 4MB Falcons. Betatesters will soon be able to download the betaversion.|
|June 23th 1998||InStream added support for long filenames in Tilemaker, under MagiC only.|
|June 16th 1998||InStream began coding on TileMaker, a program to create loopable images for for example homepages. We'll use it for textures for Reeking Rubber.|
|June 15th 1998||Our new home page was (almost) finished.|
|June 8th 1998||Nature/Atari division went to England, and visited among the other tourist stuff System Solutions, and bought a second hand TT keyboard. Back on June 14th.|
|May 25th 1998||We received reports from Grey/Mystic Bytes that Reeking Rubber v0.8 didn't work on 4MB falcon. We celebrated our 20th birthday.|