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Three more greyscale games for the TI-68k series
Posted by Xavier on 11 November 2018, 19:56 GMT

Today's featured author is Andrew Vauter. It's not the first time we highlight his creations, nearly exclusively games for the TI-68k series, usually using grayscale graphics.

First of all: Avalanche 2.0 Marshmallow's Revenge is an interesting reimplementation of a game from the "Addicting Games" website. An older version only made it possible to jump around, and jump again, to aim for higher scores; this second iteration adds an "adventure mode", where upgrades which can be bought from the shop greatly increase the game's life (and addictiveness).

Bloxorz is another reimplementation of a computer game by Damien Clark. In a fixed 3D perspective, the player needs to move a block of squares on a grid of tiles (floor, holes, switches, etc.) until the end point is reached. The block motion is animated. A level editor is provided for expanding the game beyond the set of 33 levels from the original game.

If you're more into card games, Andrew also made a great rendition of the fun Uno game. The gameplay can be heavily customized through the game's menus, e.g. if you don't like the default rules or want to try something new. Up to 8 human and AI players (on a single calculator) are supported, but all Uno fans know that playing solo against a calculator is less fun than playing among humans (you know that the calculator won't maniacally curse, boo at, or laugh at you, right?). Andrew took the feedback of a ticalc.org review into account to make the game even better :)

Andrew provides the source code for his games.

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Two 2017 games for the TI-eZ80 series
Posted by Xavier on 8 July 2018, 18:12 GMT

Don't touch the colorSnowball Struggle

After featuring a number of programs targeting monochrome calculators, it's time to get back to newer models whose fancy color screens make them feel less like retro technology.

Don't touch the color by Unicorn is a variant of the "Don't touch the spikes" game which you might already have played - and even enjoyed - on your phone. The game's basic principle of avoiding something has been ported to your CE calculator - only you need to avoid different colors, rather than spikes. As time passes by, the pace increases and the colored blocks shrink, so you'll eventually lose the game anyway. Highscores are of course supported. The README contains a bit of information.

Snowball Struggle by Peter "PT_" Tillema, written in his own high-level ICE programming language for the CE models (previously featured here). Shooting the bouncing snowballs before they flatten you poor little fragile snowman is easy at first, but it progressively becomes harder through the 17 built-in levels. 4 different bonus are intentionally not described by the README, so that you have the pleasure to find out by yourself what they do ;-)

Both games are open-source, and as usual, require the standard set of community libraries for C/ASM programs. You could even add your own levels for Snowball Struggle, to increase the game's life.

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Two small, powerful utilities for TI-Z80 Basic programs
Posted by Xavier on 28 June 2018, 09:03 GMT

Despite being one of the most productive authors in our archives, with an eclectic output (games, utilities, math, and even programming languages) near-exclusively targeting the monochrome TI-Z80 series, Zeda "Xeda / Thunderbolt" Thomas received very few features... so far. Let's fix that a bit, shall we ? First of all, with a couple utilities.
Note that we requested - and received - help triaging her program from Zeda herself.

CopyProg 2: an expanded version of CopyProg. CopyProg makes it possible to copy the contents of a variable, whether located in RAM or in archive, into another variable, without hassle. This can copy Pic variables into Appvars, archived programs into temp programs, strings into appvars, and a variety of other combinations. Copying from Flash to RAM can help save your Flash memory chip, and slightly speed up reads, while reducing the dreaded Garbage Collection.
CopyProg is a tiny 143-byte single-purpose utility, and CopyProg 2 greatly extends the abilities of CopyProg: you can also get the names and sizes of existing variables, read lines from programs (or any other variable type), delete lines, and archive/unarchive variables. On its own, CopyProg 2 can be used to make a BASIC shell. It remains lightweight, being smaller than a monochrome TI-Z80 picture variable: 753 bytes.

LblRW makes it easier to store game info internally, inside TI-Basic programs (!), by allowing a program to modify its own code, in reference to a label. For example, you can read the contents of the second line after 'Lbl MD' or overwrite its contents. It helps reduce the number of variable and the RAM consumption; therefore, it's great for large programs like RPGs, for instance.
LblRW was only recently uploaded to ticalc.org, and saw limited use elsewhere earlier - but it's a shame, as it's a nice solution for storing game / user data.

Happy programming! :)

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Chrono Fantasy RPG beta - the TI-68k binaries are finally available - TI-68k
Posted by Xavier on 3 May 2018, 21:05 GMT

Several months ago, Patrick "PpHd" PĂ©lissier uploaded binaries for the Chrono Fantasy RPG for the TI-68k series, made in the early 2000s by the TimeToTeam family (TI-89/89T version, 92+/V200 version).

"CF", as it is sometimes referred to, is written in 68000 assembly, and features advanced grayscale graphics. It's one of the most complex RPGs ever written for the TI-68k series, mixing elements from several games made for other platforms. The footprint (both RAM and Flash) is significant, so you'd better archive most data - which is a good idea anyway - but the features have got to come from somewhere, right?

Sadly, the program could never be developed to the full potential intended by the team of authors, as the source code was lost many years ago when the hosting provider closed shop without a warning, taking the data away and crashing the project... Nevertheless, the (patched) binaries in this beta demo version are in good shape overall, and better than the binaries corresponding to the latest, yet older, source code available from the archives (TI-89 version, 92+ version).

Like Fer3C and SMA, featured in late 2017, Chrono Fantasy requires a so-called kernel, preferably PreOS by the same author. Hardcore fans of CF who don't need function graphing or a subset of the usual math abilities of their TI-68k calculator could even run it on PedroM instead of AMS: providing more free RAM than AMS so that CF can run more easily was rumored to be one of the background design goals for PedroM.

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