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Squirrel on your Nspire calculator
Posted by Xavier on 23 April 2016, 20:30 GMT

nSquirrel

This time, let's talk about the TI-Nspire platform. Past notable third-party ports of standard languages to the Nspire are Micro Python and Duktape (JavaScript); we're now pleased to see another one being available, "Squirrel". Additional programming and scripting languages on calculators are usually exciting :)
Although less popular than Lua / Python / JS, Squirrel is also high-level, imperative, object-oriented, and has dynamic typing, exception handling, etc. - while maintaining a small footprint.

The TI-Nspire port by Eiyeron is called "nSquirrel", and features bindings to the n2DLib library for graphics operations. The performance isn't bad at all, as you can see from the animated screenshot.
For programmers and users, good documentation and examples are available.

In addition to handling ".nut" files for direct opening from the file explorer, you can also launch the interpreter itself to get an interactive session / REPL :)

As usual with such ports of standard languages, and more generally most programs nowadays, everything is open-source and available on GitHub, where you can submit bug reports, feature requests, etc. Have fun with nSquirrel!

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Complete The Only Level on your 83+/84+
Posted by Xavier on 12 April 2016, 21:17 GMT

Game of Life

Yesterday's feature is about the This is the Only Level platformer game for the monochrome 84+ by Josiah "JWinslow23" Winslow. Like several of his other programs, it's written in Axe, and features grayscale graphics.

This game, available under multiple formats (FlashApp, assembly programs for multiple shells - kudos for trying quite hard to cater to a wide range of user habits!), is a reimplementation of one of Armor Games' many Flash games. Players, should they take on the challenge, will need to find their way through all of the stages of the single level, which requires doing whatever it takes to deal with the respective set of special features / behaviours shown by every stage. No spoiler about these peculiarities here, it wouldn't be cool and wouldn't do justice to the author's hard work!

If you still have one of the older calculator designs with a monochrome screen and ASM program / FlashApp support, you can have some time exercising your brain (if you want to succeed, you can't be as forgetful as the poor elephant who forgot the other levels! And remember: the occasionally taunting messages may, or may not, help) and fingers with this fun little program. And so can your [class]mates (assuming calculator nerds have any?), relatives, or whoever.

  Discuss (4 comments)  

Turn your Nspire CX into a Genesis / Mega Drive console
Posted by Xavier on 4 April 2016, 20:57 GMT

Today, let's feature PicoDrive, a Sega gaming console emulator, now ported to the TI-Nspire CX by Gameblabla. Unlike what its name says, the targeted console is not the Sega Pico, but the Sega Genesis, a formerly highly successful 16-bit home video game console released in 1988, also known in regions outside North America as the Sega MegaDrive. It contains a main 68000 processor, clocked at a lower rate than in the TI-68k series from 1995+, and a Z80 auxiliary processor mainly used for controlling the sound chips.

You can now enjoy Sega's emblem Sonic the Hedgehog, Aladdin, Street Fighter and hundred of other action / sport / arcade games, on your higher-end handheld calculator. Most of these games will usually run at full speed, on non-overclocked calculators, with frameskip of 2. The highest resolution produced by the Genesis/MegaDrive is 320x240, so no need for costly software scaling. Only the 3 buttons provided by the older controllers are emulated, but games leveraging newer controllers' 6 buttons are a minority.

"Genesis does what Nintendon't", they say... And so does your TI-Nspire CX now :P.

  Discuss  

Game of Life for the 84 Plus CE
Posted by Xavier on 27 March 2016, 21:00 GMT

Game of Life

Today's feature is about a recent addition to the TI-84 Plus CE / TI-83 Premium CE program roster: Shaun "Merth" McFall's implementation of Conway's famous Game of Life cellular automaton, written in C, taking advantage of the TI-eZ80 series' color screen, and open source on BitBucket.

Besides the relatively usual features one would expect from most Game of Life implementations on our beloved calculators (e.g. François "FL" Leiber's TI-68k/AMS implementation) and elsewhere, such as interactive edition, step by step mode, customizable grid size, or multiple rules, a welcome capability of Merth's version is the set of topologies, suggested and at least partially implemented by Thomas elfprince13 Dickerson. That is, when cells are reaching the edges of the grid, for the next generation, they can be remapped to another edge and take into account what occurs there. The topologies are derived from standard shapes such as torus and sphere; some topologies are better suited to the default 23/3 rule, while other topologies shine with other rules.

What are you waiting for ? Load that on your 84+CE/83PCE and start playing ;-)

  Discuss (2 comments)  

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