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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 8:31 pm 
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tepples wrote:
The exit patching would interfere with the "Reset to reprobe" functionality. Pressing a button to reprobe is not reliable if there's no button to press other than the button to start the test for that controller, such as the Zapper and Arkanoid Controller that have only one button. But yes, I agree that it'd be good to include, provided that we can notify the user that Reset acts differently in this program from the rest of the collection.

If I made the menu restore RAM from the fourth gfx bank for certain titles, and maybe auto boot into that title when a magic string is present, would that help?

tepples wrote:
It's OK if I pull changes from your fork, correct?

Always.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 5:14 am 
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It's not a question of support in the ROM builder, as the ROM builder already has a command to disable exit patching for a particular ROM, which Waddles uses. The question is whether by pressing Reset, the user meant reprobe or exit.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 6:56 am 
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Oops Right, that was the exact point I brought up when we were discussing about disabling exit patching for Waddles.
All options I can think of to resolve that overloaded button conflict are all suboptimal
  • Disable exit patching, but at the risk of being stuck in allpads until a (longish?) power cycle.
  • Reseting at the first probe screen exits to action53, but that makes low level results unavailable.
  • Reseting at low level results exits to action53, but that would practically require pressing reset 3 times to exit. Might as well power cycle at this point.
  • Resetting at any time exits to action53, and (as you say) disables all attempts at retrying and getting to low level results.

I like the second option the best, but I would still like to try saving the low level results function. Mabye I could have another menu entry that boots into low level results.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2018 8:05 am 
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The other reason to reset in allpads, other than to get to the low-level screen, is to provide for hot-swapping controllers, even if the menu doesn't allow selecting an activity using a particular set of controllers. It currently supports only an NES or Super NES controller or Super NES Mouse in port 1 or a Zapper in port 2. Hot-swapping controllers isn't that reliable on the NES, often causing the CPU to stop, and pressing the Reset button breaks it out of stop and begins probing the newly connected controllers.

The other option is to include a subset of the functionality of allpads and Holy Mapperel in the menu itself, as I sketched in another POST. A flow that's a bit less James Brown and a bit more Mega Man X might help in other ways, as a way of distancing ourselves from the quite Bogas way the soundtrack of Action 52 was put together.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:35 am 
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tepples wrote:
Hot-swapping controllers isn't that reliable on the NES, often causing the CPU to stop ...

Now that you mention it, I remember you telling and showing me this at NovaCon 2018. Which was odd to me as my whole previous experience with hot-swapping controllers have only been that games enter their paused state like the Start button was pressed as the controller port is halfway in. which when I finally tested that my waterfall plot I saw that all buttons were registering as pressed.[/quote]

When I return from my vacation I see if I can try some more tests to maybe see what may be happening.

tepples wrote:
as a way of distancing ourselves from the quite Bogas way the soundtrack of Action 52 was put together.

Why distance ourselves? I thought references was the whole point.

Forgive me for being blunt here, but if it has something to do with unprovoked copyright compliance, then as what point have we complied enough? I know I said "keep it legal" but in my mind fully following the thought of not doing anything that might be infringing will cause me tear down everything and do nothing thereafter. For the simple facts are; all creative work is derivative, and nothing is new under the sun.


Nevertheless I'll read through the allpads code to see if such a waiting intro will be necessary, from what I understand now, it very well might.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:45 am 
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What happened since the first volume of Action 53 was the "Blurred Lines" case (Gaye v. Thicke), which lowers the bar for stylistic similarity. I imagine that the entire collection is going to be promoted to a much larger audience than the individual volumes were, and some of them are likely to have friends that work in the music industry. How much would it cost to hire a lawyer to review the final version so that INL, the publisher, doesn't get bankrupted by statutory damages, attorney's fees, and court costs?


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:31 pm 
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Ok, I'll try to mix up the composition of the intro screen music tonight/tomorrow someday. I hope it'll be a refreshing take of the idea, and that it would ease up your concerns a little bit.

As for the risk of liabilities, Maybe it's a bit unfair to always reflect these hypotheticals onto INL. Perhaps I should just form a LLC so that I can say in these situations "I understand the risk, and I will deal with it when the threat comes". (I might soon form a LLC for other reasons in my life, but we'll see)
Right now the strategy will be to comply with directed action like polite requests and not so polite C&D letters, and to avoid obvious common pitfalls of copyright infringement like ripping sprites/sfx in Nintendo licensed games. For the not so obvious stuff like this case of a NES imitation of a 2 second sampleed loop of a sample of a recording of music, I guess we'll just add one more layer of artistic deriving. Maybe after enough attempts it could pass as original.

Quote:
How much would it cost to hire a lawyer...

"If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it."

The non joke answer is I don't know, and I don't know if that will help or not. Maybe I should phone EFF or someone like them to know for sure.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 4:31 pm 
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For my own convenience, and for the possibility for comments, I'm posting my TODO list as it is today in this post.
Code:
# TODO

## Compilation, technical ROM fitting, and arrangement
(x) Take Screenshots of all previous things for thumbnails.
(x) Import previous game descriptions.
(x) First pass of game selection.
(x) Order the list of buttons in descriptions consistently from
    leftmost button first to rightmost button last (for reasons)
( ) The 5th section will be tools, which will be about the NES hardware.
( ) Reach Blargg about including "full palette"?
( ) Consider and ask about the possibility of including the old mini-games
    collection featured on the front-page of nesdev.com.
( ) Confirm copyright permissions.
( ) Order the games based on the overall experience of what a youtube review
    might be. Like, putting 'flip the sky' later in the list because it's
    frustrating and has caused early termination of the review.
( ) On promotional material like box art and web pages, list the company names
    and logos of all the contributors.
( ) Include as a selling point "No loot boxes".
( ) publish on itch.io (at jroatch or with someone else?)

## Menu UI technical
(x) Menu overlap each-other to allow 5 tabs. (by DY)
( ) Finish "new a53 trampoline" with it's memory clear loop.
( ) Make tool for automatic generation of color thumbnails.
( ) Darken tabs.
( ) Replace pb53 with Donut.
( ) Award icons. It's fine if each page of the list is 14 items tall.
( ) Consider redoing the main configuration so that ROM arrangement and
    title description are in separate configuration sections. So that
    arrangements like "auto submulti" and overlaid submultis would be handled
    by the builder.
( ) Make menu jump straight to coredump if it's menu entry is selected.
( ) horizontal rule (of spaces) in game list.
( ) Save RAM into the last CHR RAM bank for certain titles (waddles the duck, etc).
( ) Figure out how much RAM can be restored and how that might interfere with ram clearing.
( ) Pass a one byte parameter of potential use with the memory clear loop that'll
    be in zeropage
( ) Determine if it will be worth it to separate Intro/Menu UI from game loader
    into their own banks.

## New content projects
( ) Entirely redo menu into. Include the phrase "lights, camera, action!"
    in the Visuals, and the amen break drum loop in the music.
( ) Finish the rewrite I started of "Russian Roulette".
( ) Modify "NES graphics editor" to work with extra CHR banks
    but without SRAM.
( ) Expand "2048" into "2048 / 15 puzzle".


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:03 pm 
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WRT copyright and it not being fair to ask INL to bear all of it:

Ask submitters to agree to a statement that they own the rights to whatever materials they are submitting, and assume all liability for any consequences of that not being true.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 5:17 pm 
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JRoatch wrote:
For my own convenience, and for the possibility for comments, I'm posting my TODO list as it is today in this post.
Code:
# TODO

( ) Include as a selling point "No loot boxes".


Is this a challenge? :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 21, 2018 6:12 pm 
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I agree with putting masocore stuff like I Wanna Flip the Sky later on the list.

By "horizontal rule of spaces in game list", you mean a blank line that the cursor skips, correct? What would that be used for?

I'll also need to resurrect a53extract.py before the final release in order to maintain the interpretation of ROMs in the collection as an "aggregate" of files in a file system.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:50 am 
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I'm not really seeing the appeal of a Master Version.

It seems to me that if it is a planned thing, it would result in a decrease in demand for earlier versions ("Why should I pick up A53v4 or A53v5 when I can wait until A53mv comes out and get all the good games?")

If it's intended to be something along the lines of a "Greatest Hits" album, waiting until the ratio of included games vs excluded games is a bit more exclusive might be better? Assuming an average of 20 titles per release and five volumes released prior to the Master Version, 53 titles is still over half of the library, not very exclusive.

Although our situation a little unique (an anthology of releases from anthologies?), looking into the criticisms and successes of Greatest Hits albums in the music industry may be beneficial:
  • What's the typical inclusion to exclusion ratio at the time of release of a band or musician's first commercially or critically successful Greatest Hits release?
  • What's the fan response been to the inclusion of exclusive tracks on a GH release?

So, I'm wondering:
  • What motivation would a user have to purchase intermediary or back versions when they know this "master version" is in the near future?
  • What motivation would a user who already has previous versions have to purchase the Master Version? (Will there be exclusives to it? If so, how would inclusion of said exclusives be determined?)
  • What's going to happen with the NESdev competition entries from the current year of Master Version release? Will they be on A53v6 (and not included on the Master Version). Will some of them also be included on the Master Version? Will the Master Version be released in direct competition to that year's competition anthology release?
  • What's the plan for future NesDev competitions after the release of the Master Version? Do future versions of Action 53 continue to be released?

And to respond to the previous question regarding profit. I say it should all go back into the loosely labeled competition fund of "community approved projects". It'd be weird to start having funds generated by A53 sales suddenly be used for other purposes when, for years, all A53 sales have gone toward the same fund.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:05 pm 
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Sorry for the wall of text.

It's fine if this doesn't appeal to you, and It's true that this may impinge a bit on the market share. If I'm in the wrong for improperly using the brand of "action53" please tell me.
I'm doing this because the goal product (the combined volume) was what my motivation on participating from the start, and for various reasons I feel like this is a "now or never" opportunity.

The lack of appeal I heard is the reason why I kind of wanted to distance this a bit from the compo cycle (which is a great thing that's going on), and be neither a strict superset nor fully a subset of the numbered volumes. While I do feel like the current ratio of 1:1 for included games vs excluded games is good mix, I am still trying to pull from other sources. Maybe that'll make this a better exclusive mix? Already in my draft list, many notable things are missing like most of the compo winners from volume 3. Additionally most of volume 1 is included, which would be good for those who haven't been able to get their hands on that yet.

M_Tee wrote:
What motivation would a user have to purchase intermediary or back versions when they know this "master version" is in the near future?
With the exception of volume 1, which is out of print, all the back versions combined have at least twice as many titles, and all the cool box art and posters that come with those releases.
M_Tee wrote:
What motivation would a user who already has previous versions have to purchase the Master Version? (Will there be exclusives to it? If so, how would inclusion of said exclusives be determined?)
What I've thought of So far; Getting most of volume 1, Having a set of tools that deal with the NES hardware all on a single cart, and getting a few games that didn't make it due to lack of effort or being outside the compo cycle.
At the risk of sounding selfish, I'll be in charge of curtailing this collection. I'll consider any and all suggestions, and adjust my judgments when right to do so.
M_Tee wrote:
What's going to happen with the NESdev competition entries from the current year of Master Version release? Will they be on A53v6 (and not included on the Master Version). Will some of them also be included on the Master Version? Will the Master Version be released in direct competition to that year's competition anthology release?
My goal will be to I'll get everything prepared around January 2020 so that physical copies can actually be ordered at November 22. So it's likely that all titles from that 2019 compo would be completely absent from this.
M_Tee wrote:
What's the plan for future NesDev competitions after the release of the Master Version? Do future versions of Action 53 continue to be released?
Yes of course, I imagine the competitions will continue as they are now. Please don't stop because of me. I also imagine Action 53 will continue to be the brand for those cartridges.

tepples wrote:
By "horizontal rule of spaces in game list", you mean a blank line that the cursor skips, correct? What would that be used for?
Correct. for aesthetics like to separate the single about entry from the end of the games list. Low priority.


Suggestions for gathering copyright statements, and implementing technical mechanisms for unpacking compilation are noted.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 5:46 pm 
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JRoatch wrote:
If I'm in the wrong for improperly using the brand of "action53" please tell me.

I've been spelling it "Action 53" outside the logo typography.

JRoatch wrote:
I'm doing this because the goal product (the combined volume) was what my motivation on participating from the start

Same here. It's why I made a multicart engine in the first place.

JRoatch wrote:
I also imagine Action 53 will continue to be the brand for those cartridges.

I'm not so sure we'll keep that name. Much depends on what reviewers think of it, particularly those who have already reviewed Action 52. It also depends on what we want to call the second master version if we're still going at it in 2023.

Updating the list of things that look applicable and interesting to me:

  1. Document byte format of key block at $FF00 and all other data structures written by the builder (Done)
  2. Remake a53extract.py based on this documentation, and test it by extracting all A53vol3
  3. Figure out what I was trying to do with "new A53 trampoline"
  4. Integrate autosubmulti.py
  5. A remix compo entry collecting all my own entries


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