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SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Posted by Nick on 4 March 2000, 19:21 GMT

Nibbles ArcadeSiCoDe Software, the founders of *dun dun dun* Basmic, released an interesting little game yesterday. A download for the 83, Nibbles Arcade has three different ways of playing: one where you have to make it through fifteen levels collecting pieces of food (a'la the original Nibbles), one where you have to collect as many pieces of food as possible on one level, and one where you go head-to-head against AI(!) to collect the food faster than the computer does. These three different modes of playing make Nibbles Arcade a rather interesting game, though it is still incredibly slow. :(
I'd like to see these different modes available in an ASM game soon. It's a very good idea. :)

 


The comments below are written by ticalc.org visitors. Their views are not necessarily those of ticalc.org, and ticalc.org takes no responsibility for their content.


life is beautiful...
KAKE  Account Info
(Web Page)

the ai is very cool idea...and what's so wrong with basic you demand an asm version?

     4 March 2000, 19:37 GMT


Re: life is beautiful...
KAKE  Account Info
(Web Page)

er...besides the sucky speed ;-)

     4 March 2000, 19:43 GMT


Re: Re: life is beautiful...
David Hall
(Web Page)

Heh. Nibbles Arcade is quite playable speedwise, I've been playing it much of this afternoon. The only (minor) point is that the response from the keys isn't great, but you do get used to it. Maybe Brandon'll release an update that addresses this problem but I think we're pretty busy with side-scrollers that run at 4FPS...

     4 March 2000, 20:10 GMT


Re: Re: Re: life is beautiful...
SmartGamer  Account Info
(Web Page)

Maybe the movement algorithm could be optimised... and it would go well on the larger screen of an 86. While the 86 is slower in BASIC excecution, there are more ways to optimise it. See SiCoDe's FourOUT! game and you'll get some examples of smooth animation on an 86.

     5 March 2000, 16:34 GMT

Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Alapanamo  Account Info

Whether you hate or love BASIC, you gotta admit that SiCoDe continues to make the absolute best-quality games possible with the limitations of the language...just take a look at their homepage. Great job, SiCoDe! If only they would program assembly too...

     4 March 2000, 19:39 GMT


Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
James abba shalaka Rubingh  Account Info
(Web Page)

geez, that's the stupidest argument i've ever heard.. they do the most with the limitations of the language? That's like me making a paper airplane that flys really far for a paper airplane, then saying "boeing may have better planes, but mine have limitations to worry about"

I believe it was Alan Cox in kernel 1.1.13 who said "Basic is vastly inferior to assembly on the ti-86".
well .. maybe he didn't say that...

     5 March 2000, 20:56 GMT

Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall  Account Info
(Web Page)

Its not really a paper airplane. More like comparing an airship and concorde. You could fly to an airship to say Egypt, but concorde would get there a lot faster. But some people still prefer flying by airships (OK, not many now I suppose!) and its exactly the same with BASIC and ASM.
If someone announced that they could cut the airship travel time from 18 hours to 10 hours, that would be an achievement. Similarly in BASIC if we release a game like Nibbles that is cool, shouldn't it also be recognised as an achievement? People will still play it even if it isn't the fastest, most graphical Nibbles game - it has other plus points.

     5 March 2000, 21:22 GMT


Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Alapanamo  Account Info

I don't know if this helps, but I meant SiCoDe does what they can with the language considering its limitations...it should be "they do the most withIN the limitations of the language"...and I don't see how that's a stupid argument; it's true, at least graphics-wise.

Also, I never meant to imply that BASIC is superior to ASM...it's not, and I prefer ASM anyways.

After reading your comment and then mine, I realized that neither made much sense. After I post this message I'll go back and read it and realize that it too makes no sense. Oh well, I'm a |= () () |_...

     6 March 2000, 23:33 GMT

Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
ajorians  Account Info

I know this is TOTALLY off topic, but I like it when NICK post News Items. Really. He makes them special, and "Quote" funny.

EXAMPLES:

*dun dun dun* from this News Item

That's a Bad Thing(TM). from the other News Item

Look in the Newsletter.
"Last evening, at approximately 3:51 AM GMT, troops seized control of Nick Disabato's bedroom and placed him under arrest for crimes against ticalc.org. He was promptly executed without trial...."

Sorry, but I find it soooooo funny.
Anybody who responds to this, please e-mail me it also.

     4 March 2000, 21:09 GMT

Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall
(Web Page)

> when NICK post News Items. Really. He makes them special, and "Quote" funny.

I think that's why he works in News :)
No-one likes reading boring news items. He probably keeps TiCalc.org's hits up anyhow...

     4 March 2000, 21:30 GMT


Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Nick Disabato  Account Info
(Web Page)

Bad Thing(TM)/Good Thing(TM) were from Magnus.
*dun dun dun* was from John McCord, from TI-Files.

The third one was mine, though. :)

--BlueCalx

     4 March 2000, 21:51 GMT

Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Brandon Green  Account Info
(Web Page)

SLOW!!!, for a BASIC game I think that this runs incredibly fast. Ok, the AI part is very slow but everything else is fast!! You just have to anticipate your move a little, its a little like playing Jet Force Gemini, you have to try it a while before you get good at the control.
Has anyone un-locked all the cheats yet?
If you can beat the sixth level, you get the code for extra lives.

Brandon Green
SiCoDe Member

     4 March 2000, 21:36 GMT

Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall
(Web Page)

Don't worry about Brandon, Nick. He wrote the game - you would be a bit annoyed too if someone called your program "too slow" (but we know what you mean really) ;)
Besides, it is just key responsiveness Brandon - all you need to do is reduce the GetKey loop and make sure it doesn't analyse keypresses in the loop. I'll look at the code and see if I can do anything to it.

     4 March 2000, 22:09 GMT

Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Nick Disabato  Account Info
(Web Page)

Oh, and you write this AFTER I post that long comment.
Bah :)

--BlueCalx

     4 March 2000, 22:18 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall
(Web Page)

Heh. That's me - speak. initiate brain. wait five minutes for warmup. crash. reinitialise. think. :)

     4 March 2000, 22:36 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
ComputerWiz  Account Info
(Web Page)

Hey David it sounds like your brain is running on windows, switch to linux.

Ken Ritzert
-Sicode Member

     5 March 2000, 00:26 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Ciaran McCreesh  Account Info
(Web Page)

Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

Ciaran

     5 March 2000, 11:34 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall  Account Info
(Web Page)

Ahhh, but Linux won't let me play all my DirectX games.... and can you get GraphLink for Linux????
I would if it were a viable alternative, but at the mo....

     5 March 2000, 15:32 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
ExTmoo  Account Info
(Web Page)

Are we still talking about your brain here?

Or are you seriously considering installing DirectX and plugging a GraphLink into the side of your head? ;)

Too much IRC...

     5 March 2000, 20:04 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall  Account Info
(Web Page)

Not the side of my head, up my left nostril :)
But I kept getting Fatal Exception OE's when I tried to install DirectX, and kept running out of HDD space - also there was a problem with the display driver, everything is being displayed at 320*400 right now (and you don't know how hard that makes typing!).
For those of you thinking about installing and running Windows 98 SE on your brain, I would recommend against it :(

     5 March 2000, 21:18 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Ciaran McCreesh  Account Info
(Web Page)

No no no no no. All the decent games are written in Linux using OpenGL then ported across to Windows. You can get a load of games for Linux (sometimes with source) for free that are costing £30 or more for Windows. Using Quake you get about five times more FPS on the same computer.

Ciaran

     5 March 2000, 22:01 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall  Account Info
(Web Page)

OpenGL requires special GFX card drivers. Some older cards don't support it. DirectX on the other hand runs on just about anything.
Sure, OpenGL is more powerful. But Windoze still has the best support for gamers. And until that changes, I'm not going to switch easily...

     6 March 2000, 19:28 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Ciaran McCreesh  Account Info
(Web Page)

Using Linux you can use software OpenGL so that your card doesn't need to support this.

Off topic, but has anyone noticed how the powerups change colour in Quake III? Anyone tell me why they redraw them instead of changing the pallette (sp)?

Ciaran

     6 March 2000, 19:50 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Aaron Peterson  Account Info
(Web Page)

>changing the pallette (sp)?

for what calculators does a pallet changing routine exist?

     10 March 2000, 03:51 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Macintosh  Account Info
(Web Page)

Better yet, Mac OS

     10 March 2000, 02:29 GMT


Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
SmartGamer  Account Info
(Web Page)

The controls could be made much more respposive if you used a special getky mode:

lbl Florp
Getky\=>\Breefle
If Breefle != 0
goto snake_change_direction_routine
lbl Freepo
....1/2 move snake code....
Getky(clear buffer, here controls won't stick)
....remaining code....
if SSHISS {stands for Snakes Smashed His Head In Something, Splat!} ==0 (he hit nothing)
Goto Florp
<OUCH! LOST A LIFE!>

Note that keypresses are only parsed when something is pressed, and a second Getky clears a buffer if the key is held a little too long- have a light touch on the controls, but you won't turn 180 degrees accidentally.

I'll put this in the staf group too...

Adam Norberg
SiCoDe Member

     5 March 2000, 16:43 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
SmartGamer  Account Info
(Web Page)

Actually, it should probably have this line inserted here:

....
lbl Florp
---> Getky
Getky /=>/ Breefle
.....

line with the arrow is added

This wa, controls pressed in the lst half of the loop sitll won't stick. The controls wil have to be held down.

     5 March 2000, 16:48 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Chris Hamilton  Account Info

I havn't actually played the game but i see you talking about a problem I solved in a game of mine by using a getkey loop that looks like this:

Getkey
If Ans=U:0
While Ans
Getkey
End
Ans->U

This clears the getkey only if the previous press is the same as the current one which is the only case in which you would want to clear the buffer

     5 March 2000, 18:52 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
BrandonAGR  Account Info
(Web Page)

That's basically what I did.(its a little different in 83 BASIC). This is the entire getkey algorithm I used:
:Getkey->K
:If (K>21):Then
:(K=26)-(K=24)->S
:(K=34)-(K=25)->T
:End

Now can that be optimised any more? I don't think so. I already switched around the blocks of code that run the engine to find the fastes and best order to do things in, and I think I have it as good as it can get.

     5 March 2000, 19:42 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Chris Hamilton  Account Info

What I wrote was 83 basic. That is exactly how it is in my Mine Sweeper Game. What you wrote can be optimized some. The Ans variable is somwhat faster for the calculator to acces probably because it is a system variable with a permenant memory location. I found this out by testing these loops
0->A
Lbl 1
A+1->A
A
Goto 1
and:
0->A
Lbl 1
A+1->A
Ans
Goto 1

You will find that the second loop will do more cycles in a given amount of time. Also some of those ()'s can be gotten rid of so your code could look like this.
This doesn't make much of a differance but I thought I'd mention it
:Getkey->K
:If Ans>21:Then
:(Ans=26)-(Ans=24->S
:(K=34)-(K=25->T
:End

     5 March 2000, 20:27 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall  Account Info
(Web Page)

Try putting this

:Lbl 0
:GetKey -> K
:If K = 0: GoTo 0

...then the rest of your code. Make sure the "Up, down, left, right" key detection code is next followed by less necessary code.
This would make a tiny GetKey loop.
But you're right - would it fix the "problem"?

     5 March 2000, 21:13 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
SmartGamer  Account Info
(Web Page)

That's not the problem that needs fixing. 1, the game is real time, so that positions are updated even when no key is pressed. And my method clears the Getky buffer to improve controls.

     5 March 2000, 23:18 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall  Account Info
(Web Page)

Good point. I'll look through my code for Zap! and see what I did... email the group the details.

     6 March 2000, 19:21 GMT


Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Nick Disabato  Account Info
(Web Page)

I hate to be picky here, but here goes.

*takes deep breath*

To me (and most other people), ASM programs have set the standard for what I expect out of a programmer/program. I expect it to be fast; have clean, nice graphics; and a great entertainment factor.
That's right. For a game to be good, it has to be _ENTERTAINING_. What a crazy concept! If you don't make a game that keeps people wanting to play, your program won't be as popular.

I know that seems like an obvious concept, but apparently it's not clear to some people. ASM has done that SO well. In fact, if it weren't for ASM programs being so routinely entertaining and playable, BASIC programs wouldn't get close to gaining the kind of popularity that they have in past months. Games like (to name a few) SMQ, ZTetris, Repton, Insane Game, etc. have gotten me addicted to calc gaming more than once.

Why?

Because these games are interesting, unique, and entertaining. With a few exceptions, many of them are minimalist in their graphical approach. Insane Game is simple shapes; ZTetris is blocks, patterns, text.

AND THEY WORK.

WORST-CASE SCENARIO:
If you have a game with a three second response time between the time you press a button and the game responds to your keypress, maybe there's something wrong. Maybe you should cut that time down so things can go as quickly as possible and people won't lose based not on the skill of the gamer but the lackluster fashion in which the game was coded.

BASIC was not designed to be a gaming platform. The TI was not designed to be a gaming device, and it probably never will be. It's programmers - like SiCoDe - who do the impossible (or at least improbable) on a platform where the medium was never intended that I admire.

I admire SiCoDe's work ethic, their determination, and their ideals; but in order for their views to be held valid, they have to create games that are EQUAL to ASM.
And to me, they haven't done that yet. But they've come damn close.

--BlueCalx

     4 March 2000, 22:16 GMT

Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall
(Web Page)

That was probably the most *diplomatic* (and long!) post I have ever seen on a Ticalc.org message board. I agree with most of it, but the rest I won't comment on as I get angry and irrational (!) when people start flaming me :)
But you have to agree that Nibbles Arcade isn't unplayably slow. It is merely slightly unresponsive... but maybe you have agreed already - thats the problem with these posts - too many long words ;)

     4 March 2000, 22:25 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Nick Disabato  Account Info
(Web Page)

Ehh... Patrick Davidson has posted longer stuff. And I've seen flames that exceeded 100K of garbage that I've had to delete. Oh well.

It's not unplayable, it's just less entertaining than it could be as a result of its unresponsiveness.

--BlueCalx

     4 March 2000, 22:36 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall
(Web Page)

> ... Patrick Davidson has posted longer stuff

Well, OK! I CONFESS! I DON'T ACTUALLY READ ANY TICALC.ORG MESSAGE BOARDS THAT AREN'T ABOUT SiCoDe! :)
I think it's the headsman for me...

> it's just less entertaining than it could be as a result of its unresponsiveness.

OK. We'll revise the code and speed up the response times.

     4 March 2000, 22:44 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Brandon Green  Account Info
(Web Page)

Do you know how many hours I spend optimising this code? More than I can remeber anyway. I would dare to say it can't be made any faster. Ok, it could be made about 5 milliseconds faster if it was all on the homescreen(won't require the costly multiplys), but that would mean there wouldn't be all the other cool stuff in the game.

     4 March 2000, 23:04 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall
(Web Page)

OK! Calm down! I wasn't saying you haven't optimised - its just that Matt has worked out a way of optimising GetKey loops so they respond pretty much instantly (used in Tron, and to some extent Zap! although the code of the latter meant it was a bit slower) that you may not know of, so it may be worth us looking at it :)
No comment on your programming ability. No way.

     4 March 2000, 23:09 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
SmartGamer  Account Info
(Web Page)

Check my note a while up and check out my algorithm to, if not improve speed, improve responsiveness.

     5 March 2000, 16:46 GMT


Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Brandon Green  Account Info
(Web Page)

>AND THEY WORK.
What the heck does that mean? All SiCoDe games /work/. How can you say Nibbles Arcade doesn't work?

>three second response time
Are you crazy? There is not more than ONE second delay, Often there is no delay at all, it just depends on when you push the key!

>lackluster fashion in which the game was coded.
AHH, I spent over 2 months perfecting ths game, it IS one of the best and fastest BASIC games out there.

>but in order for their views to be held valid, they have to create games that are EQUAL to ASM.
In many ways our games out-do ASM games, I think you need to look at more aspects of the games than just the speed and type of graphics.

How would you compare a BASIC game if there was no ASM game ever made like it? That's what SiCoDe is working on now. (Check the site for updates). As far as I know there are no 3D golf games on any calc so far. Looks like your judging of BASIC programs by comparing them to ASM is flawed.

     4 March 2000, 22:55 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
David Hall
(Web Page)

Brandon, Nick was speaking generally.
He wasn't saying Nibbles has a three second response time
He wasn't saying it was programmed in a lacklustre fashion
He didn't mean "work" as in "functions" but "work" as in an exclamative syntax

But now I come to think of it, the "EQUAL to ASM" bit is a bit dodgy, Nick :) All of SiCoDe's games have features that aren't found in an ASM rival. Therefore in some people's viewpoint (especially mine!) they could even be BETTER than ASM :)

Arghhh... Now come the flames....

     4 March 2000, 23:06 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Nick Disabato  Account Info
(Web Page)

1) By them "working," I mean they get their point across to the audience, thus entertaining said audience and causing them to tell friends, who download said game and distro it further.

2) Hence the "WORST CASE SITUATION" above. I've used many games like this. Half a second is just as bad, but it wasn't as dramatic an example.

3) And it's still not as fast as most ASM games, which is how I base my standard. I'm not alone, either; many programmers base their programs off the speed and efficiency of ASM. With graphlinks getting increasingly cheaper (US$17 in Chicago), the demand for BASIC programs will get less and less as more people acquire the capability to send ASM programs to their calculator.
Understand for a moment that, in order to compete with comparable ASM programs, you MUST get over the places where BASIC is lacking. Speed is one of them.
I don't doubt that it's one of the "fastest and best;" I do doubt that it's fast enough. I don't set the standards for how good a game has to be, but I know what those standards are.

4) If a game is entertaining, it MUST be fast. Graphics are secondary. Functionality over content.

5) Would a 3-D golf game be entertaining? Probably, but only when created properly. If it sucks (re: FPS clones for the calc), people STILL WON'T USE IT!

Nibbles does not suck by any means. It's a great game, and it's programmed very well. I hope you understand that. But it still won't be as entertaining as its ASM equivalent because of the lack of speed. ASM programs do not take time to load. ASM programs do not take time to render a title screen. They just render it, and you go on with playing the game.

Keep these things in mind. I understand that programming the killer app in BASIC can be an ambitious task and that you just can't get it better.
Maybe that means that BASIC is not the place for TI games to be programmmed.

--BlueCalx

     4 March 2000, 23:43 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Brandon Green  Account Info
(Web Page)

>4)If a game is entertaining, it MUST be fast.

Uhh,no. Look at tetris, is it blazing fast? Have I made a tetris in basic that runs just as fast? yes. Some of the best games ever are not fast paced action games. Look at tetris for example, or strategy games, or RPG's. I think your being a little close minded by saying a game has to be blazingly fast to be good. The only thing keeping you from seeing that a basic game can be as good as an ASM game is your closemindedness, and thats a fact.

     5 March 2000, 02:05 GMT

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
JaggedFlame

will you calm down??? ;-) noone's making fun of your game... in fact its pretty good.

     5 March 2000, 03:44 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
Jonah Cohen  Account Info
(Web Page)

Ah but nibbles *is* a fast-paced action game.

And as for tetris, if you've ever gotten up to level 17 you'd know it gets INCREDIBLY fast. I'd be amazed if your basic program could zoom blocks across the screen that quickly.

     5 March 2000, 06:46 GMT


Re: Re: Re: Re: SiCoDe Software Releases Nibbles Arcade v1.0
SmartGamer  Account Info
(Web Page)

Umm... Brandon... I don't know how to tell you this, but there is a 3d golf prog out for the TI-92.

But not any other platform.

And not in BASIC.

We can fix that...

     5 March 2000, 16:51 GMT

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