Action 53 multicart engine
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Author:  tepples [ Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 multicart engine

This release adds polish. (Not to be confused with adding a translation to język polski.)

Executive summary:

  • The menu with no games added is less astonishing, using POLAK (Principle Of Least Astonishment Key) principles.
  • make dist builds both the .zip of the menu and the .7z of volume 3, both full and PowerPak subsets

Detailed changes:

  • Menu: Don't include iNES header in menu-only binary to discourage accidental execution (requested by rainwarrior and dustmop)
  • Menu: Display error if key block is missing a screenshot (requested by dustmop)
  • autosubmulti: Map from mirroring to map mode bit 0 was backward (reported by RogerBidon)
  • a53build: Prints exception message for each ROM that failed to load (requested by JRoatch)
  • a53build: Paths are explicitly relative to config file's directory (requested by JRoatch)
  • a53build: Config file can change path of menu binary
  • a53build: Screenshot converter shares NES palette with savtool
  • a53build: Filename of config file no longer hardcoded
  • makefile: make dist builds and packages both the menu source and one or more collections
  • Workaround for Info-ZIP Zip's nonzero exit status when no changes are needed (per Stack Overflow)
  • Docs: Mention new features related to Action 53 mapper

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Author:  tepples [ Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 multicart engine

In this post, tokumaru wrote:
It would maybe help if the game pictures themselves weren't under such severe color restrictions in favor of the surrounding interface, which isn't even that good looking TBH.

This refers to the 64x56 pixel thumbnails that represent each game in the menu.

In a reply, tepples wrote:
Improving the appearance of the menu is something I'm willing to discuss for volume 4.

Now that volume 3 is final, that time is now.

The first improvement I can think of is expanding each screenshot to ten colors: gray ramp as background plus a sprite overlay to provide non-gray colors. Each 8x8 pixel area of the screenshot would use one of two 7-color palettes:

  1. Black, dark gray, light gray, white, A, B, C
  2. Black, dark gray, light gray, white, D, E, F

With this change, I expect screenshot sizes before compression to increase from 64*56*2/8+3 = 899 bytes to 64*56*3/8+8*7/8+6=1357 bytes. Compressed sizes may vary with the planned switch from PB53 to Bagel.

Author:  mikejmoffitt [ Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 multicart engine

Sorry if I missed it earlier, but why can't the screenshots be allowed to pick any of the four sprite palettes per 8x8 region, in addition to the greyscale ramp behind the sprites? Other than the arrow, what are the other sprites up to?

Author:  tepples [ Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:47 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 multicart engine

I had planned on limiting sprite palettes per screenshot to two in order to leave room for future expansion should I revamp the menu to add sprites in other places.

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