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Two augmented TI-Basic games for the 84+CSE
Posted by Xavier on 20 November 2018, 22:01 GMT

Let's highlight a couple augmented TI-Basic programs for the 84+CSE made by Daniel "zeldaking" Thacker, under the Linksoft Productions group name, which are another nice showcase of xLIBC's abilities.

In 4 KB of code + an appvar twice as large (in addition to DoorsCSE 8's well-justified weight, that is), CSE Blackjack packs a good implementation of the Blackjack card game (what else did you expect?), with a few tweaks to the rules, described in the README. It has the ability to save and restore games, an AI, and the graphics are nothing to laugh at. The bets in this kind of virtual games carry less risk than real money. There's a form of "teacher keys", but needless to say, you'd better play the game outside of your classes ;)

In a different, but equally addictive style, Minesweeper CSE is a solid implementation of the popular game ported to many platforms over decades. The graphics style, board size and number of mines can be customized; the expected happy / unhappy smiley face, flag counter and timer are also available. It won't take more than 14 KB of your precious memory, which is pretty reasonable. There are no save games here, but the original game doesn't have them either :)

To date, in order to go beyond what pure TI-Basic has to offer without diving all the way to C and eZ80 ASM, the TI-eZ80 series has, for instance, the powerful ICE framework, which was previously featured here. However, as far as the writers of this article know, for reasons unknown to them, the TI-eZ80 series still doesn't have a publicly available port of xLIBC ("xLIBCE"), based on the shared community library framework, which is a shame. The screenshots in the usual half-resolution mode, as well as the backwards compatibility, looked great.

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Two more useful utility libraries for TI-Basic on the TI-Z80
Posted by Xavier on 17 November 2018, 10:38 GMT

As a follow up from a previous article, let's finish features for two other powerful utilities for TI-Z80 Basic by the talented Zeda "Xeda / Thunderbolt" Thomas:

BatLib was quite popular for a while, despite not being featured in an article here before.
Simply put, BatLib is a huge suite of tools for BASIC programmers. It has 127 functions including a bunch of graphics tools, file and data manipulation, and even sound routines. All this while fitting in a 16KB app!
Let's note the very cool builtin feature named "GroupHook" allowing to have Celtic 3, Grammer, Omnicalc, and BatLib working at the same time!

FloatLib is a collection of single-precision floating point routines for the Z80, as well as a few extra helper routines. It is packaged in the form of an app, but all of the source is included. Furthermore, the app includes documentation for each of the included routines, as well as info for people who program in assembly directly on their calculator using e.g. Benjamin Moody's Mimas.
It covers the basics (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) but also square roots, the trig and hyperbolic functions, and logarithmic and exponential functions, along with a handful of other functions.

As Zeda wrote, "I am proud to have made them. They took a lot of work and have been needed for the Z80. Don't hesitate to look at the docs/readme/source provided, and once again, happy programming! :)

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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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