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Minesweeping on the TI-84 Plus CE
Posted by Xavier on 15 May 2016, 23:17 GMT

Minesweeper CEToday's feature is about Minesweeper CE by Shaun "Merth" McFall, a game for the TI-84 Plus CE and TI-83 Premium CE. Like a number of games for those platforms, it is written in C and leverages the common community libraries.

In this quite accurate adaptation of the famous computer puzzle older than a number of us, you may choose between 3 difficulty levels:

  • beginner : grid of 8x8=64 tiles with 10 mines (15.6%)
  • intermediate : grid of 11x11=121 tiles with 20 mines (16.5%)
  • expert : grid of 16x11=176 tiles with 36 mines (20.5%)

Fortunately, the alpha key will let you flag tiles that you think contain a mine, thus preventing you from activating them by mistake. Of course, should you activate an actual mine, you'll lose the game - but it's not always avoidable :P
Note that there's no time limit or highscore system yet.

Minesweeper CE is open-source, so feel free to check it out and learn from it on Bitbucket.

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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!

  Discuss (1 comment)  

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.

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