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Semi-recent uploads for the 83+ monochrome family
Posted by Xavier on 5 May 2019, 21:53 GMT

We'll get back to color models soon, but in the meantime, here are a couple mildly recent programs created using Axe Parser for the 83+ family, both provided with source code - development for these platforms isn't dead ;)

A while ago, Ibid 11962 tipped us about the Set (card game) he had recently uploaded to our archives. He had performed most of the foundational work in 2012, but eventually came back to finish and release the game after overhauling the code, upgrading the grayscale routines (GreyLib), and polishing the UI: menus, end game, etc. The game's binaries require a shell.

You may already have played this game over time. It uses a board containing 12 cards showing 1, 2 or 3 colored and shaded shapes; it consists in eliminating three cards which form a "set", defined by the fact that they share, or do not share, a common property on the shapes they bear: their number, their shape, their color or their shading. The game ends when the 12 cards do not contain a set anymore, and the deck of cards automatically given by the dealer is exhausted, and the winner is whoever picked up the highest number of sets. Of course, there are penalties for playing too slowly (the interval is configurable), or mis-selecting three cards which do not actually form a set, unless you make the game slightly easier by disabling that. All in all, it's a fun way to spend a bit of time on a game, honing your vision and perception skills.

In a different style, Josiah Winslow's Puzzler's Sudoku is a good TI-Z80 implementation of the classic game of Sudoku, whose 9x9 puzzles contain a single number from 1 to 9 in every row, column and 3x3 block. The 100 included puzzles already give the game a good playing life, but it also has both a random puzzle mode and an external puzzle editor for creating packs of custom puzzles. Unlike some implementations, this one provides "pencil marks", a way to leave clues about the possible numbers in a grid's location. I use them every time I'm playing a Sudoku game, be it on paper or on a computer, and I avoid computerized implementations which don't have that possibility. Implementation-wise, the grayscale is performed without using GreyLib, and the game doesn't use MemKit for file handling either, because it was written without access to a computer which could run computer <-> calculator transfer applications.

Don't be shy tipping us about your more or less recent creations, even if the fact that we're trying to feature both old and new programs, across all platforms, will usually delay the feature somewhat :)

  Discuss (2 comments)  

Grammer 2 for the TI-83+ family
Posted by Xavier on 7 February 2019, 00:28 GMT

We still haven't performed enough exploration of Zeda "Xeda / Thunderbolt" Thomas's huge production of high-quality programs, so let's do some more :)

Today, we're profiling Zeda's powerful and fast Grammer 2, a language interpreter for the monochrome TI-Z80 series. It is designed for making games, and provides 16-bit integer, and now floating-point, arithmetic. Unsurprisingly, "Grammer 2" is an improved version of Grammer 1, which was featured here years ago, and it even keeps backwards compatibility; It is packaged as an app, which brings interesting features.

A little bit of history first: for the most part, Zeda worked on Grammer 2 in 2011-2013, then the project went dormant for years, after months of improvements and bugfixes on the source code were lost. In 2016, someone else rebuilt source code from slightly newer binaries, and performed extra changes. Finally, in the few months before this news item, more changes were performed: cleanups, optimizations, the addition of a menu and an extension system. Zeda recently updated the archive multiple times, and now keeps working on expanding the functionality further, e.g. this week with nothing less than floating-point math!

As mentioned above, Grammer 2 is an interpreted language, which means that it doesn't need a compilation step, it can more easily show errors in the source code (easier debugging), and the interpreter's checks make it harder to shoot yourself in the foot and crash the calculator. As such, it's probably easier to learn than other languages - Axe, for instance, is a very famous alternative language, and a compiled one, with much less in the way of seat belts. Interpreted languages are typically slower than languages compiled to native code... but as you can see for yourselves in the screenshots, Grammer 2 is plenty fast for quite a number of purposes! Of course, it's much faster than TI-Basic, and provides immensely better access to graphics, like most alternative languages done by third parties on our beloved little calculators anyway.

The Grammer language has a dedicated section in our archives, you can find several dozen entries there... among which is an inevitable numeric quadratic solver showing off the brand-new floats ;)

  Discuss (6 comments)  

Two TI-Basic CE programs to start off the year
Posted by Xavier on 28 January 2019, 20:15 GMT

After the POTY votes and results, and the usual season's greetings, let's start off this year of hopefully exciting news items with a couple TI-Basic programs for the TI-eZ80 series :)

A year ago, Josiah Winslow, whose work already appeared here in the past few years and shall appear again, made a small text adventure game, named 8K Adventure (originally "9K Adventure"). This game genre is fairly infrequent nowadays, but it requires low resources, and of course, it can still be pretty fun. As you can see in the screenshot here, the game displays blurbs of text and takes short, English, text input, usually containing a verb, for specifying actions such as moving around, or taking objects, in order to advance the quest. In this game, the quest consists in recovering a magical namely orb belonging to Gawyn, the lord of all realms. The game is a re-creation of an old DOS game named "4K Adventure" by John Metcalf.

In a different style, TIbelius Sheet Music and MIDI Sequence Editor by Ben "calclover2514" Pryor is, you guessed it, a music editor. What sets it apart from a number of similar projects is that it's written in pure TI-Basic! It can create, edit, save and reload files... and last but not least, "compile" them for more correct playing speed, and perform playback using the TI-Innovator Hub (or compatible). The program weighs ~10 KB, plus three ~22 KB images.

In both cases, you'll want to take advantage of the README's contents, to make faster progress in the former game, and e.g. find how to change the tempo of saved files (through a trip in the calculator's OS's list editor) of the latter program. Happy gaming and composing!

  Discuss (3 comments)  

2018 POTY results
Posted by Travis on 15 January 2019, 22:13 GMT

The 2018 Program of the Year contest results are up! Congratulations to the authors of this year's featured programs, and thanks to everyone who voted. Special thanks to Xavier and the behind-the-scenes work of his colleagues for creating and posting enough write-ups to ensure that every featured category this year had at least two entries in the running to vote for.

  Discuss (4 comments)  

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