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More emulators for the Nspire CX
Posted by Xavier on 23 November 2017, 17:54 GMT

Over the past few years, gameblabla has proved to be another productive programmer, focusing on native code programs for the Nspire. All of his 16 programs currently available from our archives are in the Nspire assembly games section. About half of them are emulators for other platforms, which significantly widened the set of games readily available for the Nspire (mainly color) series. Some of them perform best when overclocking the calculator, which can be done through software means.

Let's review his favorite programs, which have not necessarily been the most popular ones so far:

  • Temper emulates a late 1980s 8-bit PC engine games console from NEC, with support for the improved (but unpopular) SuperGrafx variant. CD games work as long as the CD audio (CDDA) tracks are manually removed. The emulation of the multi-chip video processors, as well as other hardware aspects, is taxing the Nspire CPU's resources: the program is therefore not blazingly fast, but still usually usable nevertheless.
  • PocketSNES emulates the slightly newer, highly popular 16-bit Super NES console from the early 1990s, and thereby gives access to many hit games from the 1990s on the Nspire CX platform. At some point, gameblabla asserted that a fast SNES emulator would not be possible on that platform, but he later proceeded to prove himself wrong with this PocketSNES port: at least one of the emulation cores can achieve good performance, at the expense of compatibility in more or less corner cases. For instance, Super OiramMario World, one of the most popular SNES games, has been shown to run at full speed on highly overclocked Nspire CX (CAS) calculators.
  • SMS Plus emulates one of the competitors of the NES, namely the older 8-bit Short Message Service Sega Master System, which was first released in the 1980s but remained popular well into the 2000s in some countries, and a derivative of the Master System, the Game Gear handheld (a rival of the original Game Boy, but with a backlit color screen). They use a Z80 processor, like some of our beloved TI calculators. With SMS Plus, you can play one of the original implementations of Sonic, a port of Street Fighter II, or a number of other titles from a sizable collection, at good speed. While it's not as good as that of older TI calculator models, the Nspire's battery life is normally higher than that of the Game Gear, and it uses a rechargeable battery :)

If you enjoy emulators, you can check out the other ones in gameblabla's collection.

  Discuss (3 comments)  

Yet a few more Axe games for the monochrome 83+/84+
Posted by Xavier on 19 November 2017, 18:08 GMT

We already featured some calculator clones of popular desktop / smartphone games in the past, e.g. Flappy Birds. Let's highlight several more clones of small games, all of them for the monochrome 83+/84+ family, written in Axe, and displaying grayscale graphics, by Josiah "JWinslow23" Winslow and Deep Thought.
  • TI-2048 is among the more advanced versions of the game where you need to shuffle (and hopefully stack) tiles whose values are powers of two, to generate tiles of the next power of two, until the 2048 tile appears. This is much easier said than done, as the tile map is only 4x4, and a tile of low value appears randomly upon every single move. Even if you manage to get a 1024 tile, you're still a long ways off producing a 2048 tile; as such, the game can be quite addictive (or frustrating). In this version of 2048, all of highscores, animations, custom font and saving/restoring the game are implemented.
  • In Shutdown Deluxe, a Lights Out clone, you need to turn off the lights in a 6x6 grid, either fully lit or partially lit at random. Obviously, you're not turning them off the easy way (what did you expect, exactly? ;-) ): changing the state of any of the lights affects its neighbours' state, too. The game can always be won, FWIW.
  • PapiJump is a simplistic platformer whose goal is jumping as high as possible, without falling off below the bottom of the screen outside a platform. In the beginning, it's easy, but as platforms become scarcer, the number of possible paths decreases to 1... then eventually 0. Sorry, unlike the two other games, this one can't be won. The parallax scrolling over the background gives a nicer touch, graphics would be blander without it.

  Discuss (5 comments)  

A small sample of a large Nspire Lua program collection
Posted by Xavier on 17 November 2017, 22:57 GMT

Here's something we haven't done in a while: a feature that's not entirely about games! In case you didn't know, your beloved (hopefully) ticalc.org does indeed host math and science programs as well :) But hey, let's not go "full serious", we'll also have some games in this article...
Several authors are quite productive in a specific category of programs; Rolf Pütter is one of them. Currently, out of his 86 uploaded files, 77 are for the TI-Nspire series, and 72 of those are programmed in Nspire-Lua ("only" a third are games). It was hard to choose what to showcase here, as the quality of many programs is impressive, but when asked, he wrote us about his favorites, so let's review them here:

  • Network Flow: a nice utility program about graph theory that college students may find very useful: you enter a directed weighted graph, with a source and a sink (you'll get a flow network, also known as a "transportation network"); the program will then compute a maximal flow and a minimal cut, by the method of Ford-Fulkerson. Everything is done graphically for an optimal UX, but be sure to read the included text file to know more about what it's capable of handling and the various key bindings to navigate and enter data.
  • Game of Hex... is the game invented by Piet Hein and John Nash back in the 1940s. Here's a quick overview: playing on a 9x9 rhomboidal board with... hexagonal cells (surprise!), two players, red and blue, take turns picking an empty cell to capture it with their color. Each player's goal is to reach the other side (upper/lower for red, left/right for blue) with an unbroken link. The game comes with an AI to play against, which can take either role. Funnily enough, it's been proven that the game cannot result in a tie, and you'll very probably never run out of combinations, so have fun!
  • Dots and Boxes Two players, once again red and blue, take turns connecting grid points... This time creating horizontal or vertical line segments. The player drawing a 1x1 box by closing its fourth edge now owns that box, which gets marked with their initials. The player can then move again. The game finishes when no more lines can be drawn, and the winner is whoever has the most boxes. Easy, right? Well... why don't you try playing and judging yourself... :) Let's note that you can choose from a 2x2 board up to a 6x6 one.

Enjoy, and don't forget to take a look all Rolf's other programs, he's created some very cool math ones!

  Discuss  

"Five Nights at Freddy's": an Axe game for your 83+SE/84+(SE)
Posted by Xavier on 14 November 2017, 21:20 GMT

Five Nights at Freddy's

Haobo's best program in our archives is probably Five Nights at Freddy's, a great rendition for the monochrome 83+/84+ family of the popular horror game originally developed by Scott Cawthon for computers and smartphones, considering the technical limitations of the target platform.
The character is a security guard trying to detect, and defend against, animated characters in a randomly homicidal mood who are - inevitably - on the lookout for him/her. No advanced systems to be more easily notified of an impending onslaught of the animated characters, no bodily armor to protect yourself, no way to harm the characters or blow them up to smithereens like you wish you could (because they need to be kept intact for their daytime usage, where they're perfectly nice!)... In order to detect attacks, you'll have to resort to subtle clues on your video monitors or direct visual contact. You can't permanently keep both of the monitoring room's doors shut to protect yourself: your power supplies are, needless to say, insufficient for that.
Are you up to the challenge of surviving for five nights (of only six hours, but still) under such conditions... which deteriorate as the characters' activity raises? ;-)

The game can be saved and restored later. The graphics take a fair amount of space and power (a 83+SE or 84+/84+SE is recommended), but they're pretty good. Maybe the fact that they're monochrome adds to the creepy aspect of the game's atmosphere?

The README, the tutorial displayed at the first launch and if you press MODE from the main menu, as well as the text which displays progressively at the beginning of every night, will give you some useful clues: be sure to read them!

  Discuss  

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New files for Thursday, 23 November 2017
Time Action File Location
TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus
15:46Added EasyPaintTI-83/84 Plus Assembly Graphics Programs (Doors CS)
15:44Added Quest for Glory - DragonslayerTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Games (Role-playing/Text Adventure)
15:44Added Spirolateral GeneratorTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Math Programs (Graphing)
15:42Updated DescentTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Games (Puzzle/Sliding)
15:42Updated Allmath v7.12TI-83/84 Plus BASIC Math Programs (Suites)
TI-84 Plus CSE/CE BASIC
15:47Added Taxfind 2017 CETI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Math Programs
15:47Added Asteroids 3 CE v.1.7TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Games
15:42Added Allmath v7.12TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition/CE BASIC Math Programs
TI-89
15:43Added Pyramid Solitaire 89TI-89 Assembly Games (Board)

New files for Saturday, 18 November 2017
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TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus
17:39Added Arbitrary Precision Square Root CalculatorTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Math Programs (Arithmetic)
17:22Added MemoryTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Games (Board/Cards)
17:22Added Super Geometry Tools v1.2TI-83/84 Plus BASIC Math Programs (Geometry)
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17:26Added Jumpman 92+TI-92 Plus Assembly Games
17:23Added Ultima V 92+TI-92 Plus Assembly Games

New files for Thursday, 16 November 2017
Time Action File Location
TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus
01:44Updated Doug's TrinomTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Math Programs (Quadratic Solvers)
01:42Added Garbage ManTI-83/84 Plus BASIC Games (Role-playing/Text Adventure)
01:41Updated FACTOR8TI-83/84 Plus BASIC Math Programs (Algebra)
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