Anamanaguchi – Pop It

HAPPY BLUE SKIES

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I made a game (with no zombies in it)

SnapShot_140619_145437It’s not a very good game. In fact, the only “game” element is trying to collect all the items more quickly than before. It’s also a mutation of the example Phaser HTML5 game, although much is rewritten or modified.

It’s also not very good. I think I said that.

But! It shows how easy it is to make a HTML5 game with Phaser. Making a good game though? Bit trickier, and not really something Phaser can help with.

Anyway, you can play it here. The controls are the arrow keys, OR! If you have a Wii U, you can play it on the web browser there using the dpad! Amazing (but not very good).

I’m especially proud of the wrong way I’ve done a timer, which means that depending on your computer or browser, it runs at a different speed, making comparing times with others completely impossible. Just as well, since there’s no leaderboard either.

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Shenmue at the Apple Store

Lorcan is the best name, incidentally.

shenmueapple

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Questioning my gaming credentials

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Switching audio output between jack and HDMI on RetroPie

RetroPie is a great multi-emulator project for the Raspberry Pi, but I noticed that its auto-detect for which audio device to use seems a bit erratic. I’ve speakers plugged into the 3.5mm jack, as the HDMI cable runs to a speaker-less monitor, and usually (but not always) RetroPie defaulted to squirting sound out the HDMI port.

There’s two ways of fixing this. Firstly, you can change the audio output for the current session (i.e. until you reboot it) by issuing this command to force the output to the 3.5mm jack:

amixer cset numid=3 1

or this command to force it down the HDMI cable:

amixer cset numid=3 2

To run this command, either switch to another terminal session (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-F2), and log in as user pi, password raspberry (defaults, unless you’ve changed them), then Ctrl-Alt-F1 to switch back to the GUI.

Alternatively, from another machine, you can SSH into your Pi and run the command in the shell there.

To make this a permanent change, you need to run RetroPie-Setup. Get into a terminal using either of the above two methods (Ctrl-Alt-F2 or SSH) and enter:

cd RetroPie-Setup
sudo ./retropie_setup.sh

This will bring up the config screen. Choose option 8, “Configure audio settings”.

retropiesetup1

Then choose either Headphones (for the 3.5mm jack) or HDMI as necessary.

retropiesetup2

Choose OK, then reboot!

 

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Finally! The version of RSG you’ve been waiting for!

Many, many, many years ago, I wrote a terrible text based roleplaying game called RSG. I initially made a version for the Sinclair Spectrum, but lost the code soon afterwards. Then I wrote a version for the Acorn A4000 in BBC Basic instead of doing my A level computing project. Then a version for the Casio programmable calculator when I’d finished a physics exam. At some point I also made a version in AMOS on the Amiga, and eventually rewrote it for the Spectrum for the 1999 comp.sys.sinclair Crap Games Competition.

Since then, I’ve made a version (that didn’t work) in Flash, a version in Perl, and I even got part way through a port on the original Game Boy, until I ditched it and wrote Advanced Lawnmower Simulator for that instead.

But now! With the soon to be released Gamebuino, I’ve been learning Processing (again, I sort of learnt it a few years ago, but forgot it all again). And here is the fruit – a Processing written RSG. In a tiny, tiny little box. Why a tiny box? That’s the resolution of the Gamebuino!

Yes. Yes, that is it in that little box there. Click on it and begin the greatest of all diminutive adventures!

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Fixing “Not enough free space” error when deploying Windows image

After creating a new install of Windows 7, with all the software on I wanted, I then tried to use our Windows Deployment Services Server to capture the image. However, it failed using both methods we’d used previously.

When booting to Windows PE over the network, choosing all our usual capture options, and then triggering the capture, an error message came up – “not enough free space”. This seemed odd, as there was a good 60GB free on the local machine, and over 1TB free on the server I was going to save the captured image on.

I tried the other capture method, which is booting the machine into Windows then triggering the capture from there. Files were copied to the local machine, and it then rebooted into WinPE and started capturing. Unfortunately, this failed too with numerous errors, the main one being 80004004, but also 80070070 and 80004005.

SnapShot_140228_170604

Here’s what was happening:

When WinPE starts a capture, it copies some files to the local machine’s main system partition (usually drive C:). However, it couldn’t do this as it said the drive was full. C: wasn’t full, though.

The fault is actually that WinPE tries to copy to the first active partition on the drive, which logic suggests would be C:. But Windows 7 creates a 100MB, usually hidden, “System Reserved” partition. 100MB isn’t enough for WinPE to do its thing, so you get the error message.

Similarly, Windows 8 and 8.1 have a (larger, but still too small) System Reserved partition, and some preinstalled Windows PCs may have other backup, boot, recovery or system partitions too. WinPE can’t cope with these if they’re marked as active.

The solution then, is to mark C: as active. You can do this by booting the install of Windows, going into Disk Management, and right-clicking C:, then choosing Mark as Active.

SnapShot_140228_165407

There’s an alternative fix which may also work. It’s listed here, but as a fix for Windows 8 when using MDT 2012. We’re using Windows 7 on an older MDT, but it still applies.

This fix involves creating a Boot folder on C:, so that the capture script uses that rather than try to create a new one on the wrong partition.

What you need to do is find the LTIApply.wsf file in the Scripts folder on your deployment server’s deployment share. About a fifth of the way down there’s this section:

' Copy bootmgr
If not oFSO.FileExists(oEnvironment.Item("DestinationLogicalDrive") & "\Bootmgr") then
oLogging.CreateEntry "Copying " & oEnvironment.Item("DeployRoot") & "\Boot\" & sArchitecture & "\bootmgr to " & oEnvironment.Item("DestinationLogicalDrive") & "\bootmgr", LogTypeInfo
oFSO.CopyFile oEnvironment.Item("DeployRoot") & "\Boot\" & sArchitecture & "\bootmgr", oEnvironment.Item("DestinationLogicalDrive") & "\", true
End if

Immediately after this, but before the “Copy the PE boot image” line, enter this code:

If not oFSO.FolderExists(sBootDrive & "\Boot") then
oFSO.CreateFolder(sBootDrive & "\Boot")
End if

Everything now works for us, so one, or both, of these fixes should be applied in the same situation.

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Next gen gaming is nearly here!

Well, it’s the next console I’ll be buying, anyway. I’ve literally zero interest in the PS4 and Xbox One. I’m slightly surprised at myself actually, as I secretly thought I might be by now.

Anyway, the Retron 5 is coming Real Soon Now, with the current release date set as April. Sadly, there have already been a few delays (it was originally supposed to be last October), but lets hope it meets this one, yes?

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The 2013 Gaming Expenditure Horror

It’s that time again, where I perform an autopsy on my games spending over the last 12 months. Some real changes this year as well. Let’s have a look at how the total compares:

2010 – £590.32
2011 – £888.22
2012 – £834.48
2013 – £342.82

So, a massive 58.9% decrease in spending. That’s a lot. However, there’s a reason for much, but not all, of that – in 2011 I bought a 3DS (and a PS3), and in 2012 I bought a Wii U. In 2013, I bought no hardware at all. None. See:

bytype2013

 

What about spending by platform?

byplatform2013

 

Firstly, you’ll notice something. No, not that the Wii U accounts for more than 70% of all my spending, and no, not that between my Nintendo consoles, more than 97% of the total expense is accounted for. No – the thing is that the 360 has gone. So has the Wii, the DS and iOS. Even PC/Mac, which was tiny anyway, has almost vanished. Have these platforms become dead to me? And somehow the PS3 hasn’t?

Not exactly. It just shows up a problem with this analysis I’d not noticed before. If games are free, they don’t show up. Indeed, I’ve had some 360 (and one DS, and a handful of iOS) games this year, but they’ve all been free. Either free as in no cost, or free as in gifts. In fact, some of the 360 games I’ve bought this year (Retro City Mayhem, Bastion, Brothers) have been as a result of free Microsoft Points. Some from the XBL Rewards program (RIP that), some from a NowTV trial, and some more from a trial for some other on demand video thing but I forget what. In fact, a fair number of 3DS and Wii U games have been free for various reasons too.

The final shock was in the Spending by Medium analysis:

bymedium2013

 

According to this, the Digital Download Future trend of previous years has been bucked. 2010 it was 25%, 2011 was 34.9 and 2012 was 42.5. This has dropped back to 39.3% this year, even though I’m sure I’ve downloaded a lot more. Haven’t I?

Sort of, yes. Again, it’s the free things skewing the results. All them free Xbox Live Arcade games. I managed to make use of the Nintendo So Many Games promotion more than once, combining it with the Monster Hunter promo, to get three downloaded titles for free. I’ve had £25 cashback on the Wii U Premium Account thing which I then spent in the eShop – more free games. Even those games I’ve paid for as downloads have been in sales or, in the case of PC and Mac titles, have been stupidly cheap (almost free, in fact) from Humble Bundle.

In terms of the number of downloaded games vs physical media games, it’s 72.4% download, 27.6% physical – a real shift to the disc/cartless game format.

In 2013 I bought 87 games. That’s a few more than 2012′s 80, but as you can see – I’ve spent a lot less. I also completed 39 games – the same as last year. Spooky. I should add, however, that in 2012 I did also spend over 300 hours playing Animal Crossing New Leaf, and 70+ hours playing Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate – neither of which I’ve completed.

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Thursday – Brought to you by Radio PARALAX

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