Action 53 volume 3
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Author:  tepples [ Wed Feb 22, 2017 5:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Action 53 volume 3

I haven't had time to work on this compo's cartridge release because of other obligations, such as something that will see limited release at an upcoming convention, as well as translated version of a previously released game. Heck, I didn't even judge this time.

So anyway, up to 480 KiB of entries will fit on a 4 Mbit cartridge. But we appear to have more than that, and infiniteneslives explained that with a 3 volt memory, we can go up to 32 Mbit.

Author:  mikejmoffitt [ Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

I'd like to push a very picky recommendation that the anti-aliased text from the Vol. 1 title screen be nixed. Compared to all the sharp, designed-for-crisp-pixels text elsewhere, it ends up looking fuzzy and hasty, even if it represents a technologically more modern way of rendering text.

How long do we have to tidy up our games for the cartridge release?

Author:  na_th_an [ Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Do we have a deadline? I mean, to improve the games before release.

Also, I think it would be a good idea to set up a thread where people can submit the updated versions.

Author:  tepples [ Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Category 1 alone is 17 games and 1 toy, totaling 1*16+2*24+8*40+1*48+6*64 = 816 KiB. That's not even counting what gets submitted to category 2 while I make sure the builder can handle all of them.
$ find "Category 1" -name "*.nes" -exec wc -c {} ";" | sort
16400 Category 1/Wrecking Balls/Wrecking Balls (WIP).nes
24592 Category 1/Jupiter Scope 2/Jupiter Scope 2.nes
24592 Category 1/Super Tilt Bro/Super_Tilt_Bro_(E).nes
40976 Category 1/Flappy Jack/flappy14.nes
40976 Category 1/Karate Kick/kkick.nes
40976 Category 1/Mini Brix Battle/Mini Brix Battle.nes
40976 Category 1/Nebs 'n Debs/nebs-n-debs.nes
40976 Category 1/Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Sbock/Rock3.nes
40976 Category 1/Spacey McRacey/spaceyMcRacey.nes
40976 Category 1/The Paths of Bridewell/ThePathsofBridewell(Compo3).nes
40976 Category 1/Wo xiang niao niao/mojon-twins--wo-xiang-niao-niao.nes
49168 Category 1/Sinking Feeling/SinkingFeeling.nes
65552 Category 1/240P Test Suite/240pee.nes
65552 Category 1/Cheril the Goddess/mojon-twins--cheril-the-goddess.nes
65552 Category 1/Filthy Kitchen/filthy-kitchen.nes
65552 Category 1/LaLa the Magical/mojon-twins--lala-the-magical--unrom.nes
65552 Category 1/Twin Dragons/Twin-Dragons-20170131-0.074.nes
65552 Category 1/Waddles the Duck/waddles.nes

In a later post, I plan to break them down by PRG+CHR size, as I can split CHR ROM out into a separate file, compress it, and insert it into unused parts of PRG ROM. But a 4 Mbit release ain't gonna happen.

Author:  tepples [ Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Yeah, I know SHA-1 was recently SHAttered, but the important part is that my tools spit out one line per 8192-byte CHR ROM bank:

$ find "Category 1" -name "*.nes" -exec ./ -l {} ";" 2>/dev/null | sort -k 2
6362128719d12beb2bb43101570bd47522c2d0da *Category 1/Flappy Jack/flappy14.nes-00
0d2259aba984ec0b78600c82ee47f701e06f3262 *Category 1/Jupiter Scope 2/Jupiter Scope 2.nes-00
34759261e1162bb7821193330bad28b6fa28d4a9 *Category 1/Karate Kick/kkick.nes-00
60ab48ad16a6ff61a6b7f8f382ab23e30359eff3 *Category 1/Mini Brix Battle/Mini Brix Battle.nes-00
ee907b8842e4001d94e1da84cb7ac5242c035a4b *Category 1/Nebs 'n Debs/nebs-n-debs.nes-00
1083451199fd64a5221f6a690b4df8dbe985778b *Category 1/Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Sbock/Rock3.nes-00
1fe05cb6c7caed990e4f50993a0015dcd4e7f248 *Category 1/Sinking Feeling/SinkingFeeling.nes-00
d8503e71e9280a39f8912a3ab42750c599787f49 *Category 1/Sinking Feeling/SinkingFeeling.nes-01
3fe852f35898119374bb495bf05a4244c221ac92 *Category 1/Spacey McRacey/spaceyMcRacey.nes-00
abb13291591a4d3a752fab6260602b2465523b40 *Category 1/Super Tilt Bro/Super_Tilt_Bro_(E).nes-00
e85244b32c1ddbcd0afe0c4be8bc9c844976e7dc *Category 1/The Paths of Bridewell/ThePathsofBridewell(Compo3).nes-00
5aa42a7be9ec18cebd0d24514ec8c35063035eb5 *Category 1/Wo xiang niao niao/mojon-twins--wo-xiang-niao-niao.nes-00

So PRG ROM covers 8 * 12 = 96 KiB. Though the mapper supports CNROM, the current menu software does not, and I imagine that NES emulators with mapper 28 but not NES 2.0 do not either. This is part of why Solar Wars in volume 2 was hacked to UNROM. Sinking Feeling is CNROM, but it could be hacked to NROM.

Author:  Rahsennor [ Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Wrecking Balls only uses 8230 bytes, the first 4672 of which are raw tile data. Even with sound it should be well under 16K. Maybe even 8K if I can compress/optimize it enough.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but how long do we have to polish the entries up for the multicart? I won't even be able to start on mine for at least another week.

Author:  tepples [ Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

You have at least another few weeks. I have two unrelated projects going on.

Author:  tepples [ Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Here's a first crack at a multicart of the majority of category 1 entries, packaged as one 8 Mbit ROM to test in emulators and two 4 Mbit ROMs to test on a PowerPak.

Remaining from others:

  • Descriptions (16 lines, up to 28 characters each)
  • Screenshots, 64x56 pixels, using black and three other NES colors
  • Improved ROMs over the next few weeks

Remaining from me:
  • Alignment directives for ROMs larger than 32K
  • True CNROM support

a53vol3wip.7z [264.18 KiB]
Downloaded 601 times

Author:  dougeff [ Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

I see the Rock, Paper, etc title doesn't fit. How about "Rock Paper Scissors" or "Rock Paper Scissors +" or "Rock Paper Scissors..."

And, Sinking Feeling is missing.

Author:  tepples [ Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

dougeff wrote:
And, Sinking Feeling is missing.

Known issue. I'll have to get in touch with INL to see if the board supports the two traces (CHR A13 and A14) needed to enable CNROM support.

Author:  infiniteneslives [ Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Yes, the mapper will have control of chr ram A13-14 reguardless of which of my designs we utilize.

Author:  dustmop [ Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Lol the tabs' text

Author:  RogerBidon [ Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:34 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

For SuperTiltBro., the "2 players ONLY" can be fixed by using the version with AI posted in the progress thread.

Author:  tepples [ Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

I'm making a bunch of behind-the-scenes progress in the builder. I haven't got around to proper CNROM support yet, but one big round of refactoring that I did today lets me mix games of different PRG ROM sizes more freely.

After using submultis to combine two pairs of NROM-128 games, I'm getting PRG banks arranged as follows:

Bank 0: 240p Test Suite
Bank 2: Filthy Kitchen
Bank 4: Cheril the Goddess
Bank 6: LaLa the Magical
Bank 8: Twin Dragons
Bank 10: Waddles the Duck
Bank 12: Flappy Jack
Bank 13: Karate Kick
Bank 14: Wo xiang niao niao
Bank 15: Nebs 'n Debs
Bank 16: Brick Breaker + Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Sbock
Bank 17: Jupiter Scope 2 + Super Tilt Bro.nes
Bank 18: Spacey McRacey
Bank 19: The Paths of Bridewell
Bank 20-30: Unused
Bank 31: Menu

Sinking Feeling, Wrecking Balls, and jroatch's toys are currently not included but expected to occupy banks 20-21. I don't see any way to get it under 512 KiB (15 game banks and one menu bank) other than by voting entries off the proverbial island, but at least this shows how much space remains for late (category 2) submissions.

These remain for me:

  • Move the title screen out of a fixed place in the menu
  • CNROM support
  • Ask JRoatch about integrating his toys

Tentatively I want to set the deadline in late March, but that depends on when INL is ready to produce cartridges.

Author:  infiniteneslives [ Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Action 53 volume 3

Thanks for the analysis and effort Tepples!

I don't see any good reason to restrict ourselves to 4mbit. We surpassed that threshold with the submitted entries, and all submissions are more than worthy of inclusion on the cartridge. It does cost us a few more dollars in hardware and fine pitched assembly, but it's still well within the budget.

I had the same late March deadline in mind for submissions to have any last min changes and polishing. In reality there probably will be a bit more time for changes bug/fixes before cartridge assembly starts. But March 31st is a good date we can plan to stick with annually so we can always tell devs how much time they have remaining. Anything past that date can't be promised, and it's probably time to start working on next year's compo entry anyway! :)

How we decide to address printed materials will have a bigger bearing on when cartridges will be able to start production. Specifically if we choose traditional cardboard boxes again which I'm unable to print myself in house. It'll easily take 1-2months to get traditional boxes printed off and in my hands once artwork is finalized. And we effectively need the cartridge rom in release candidate status with final title lineup before artwork can be finalized. For this reason March 31st deadline for rom submissions also makes sense. The alternative to large initial investment and long lead time of traditional boxes is to utilize bitboxes from stoneage gamer that I'm able to print the inserts for in house. Looking back on last volume, it's hard to say the traditional boxes were financially worthwhile. We've only consumed a small portion of the large volume that was printed 2 years ago. But people appreciate them, so perhaps that's good enough, we can just plan to not print as many this time. If we run out of traditional boxes we can always shift over to bitboxes and consider the traditional box limited print.

I plan on printing the cartridge labels in house. And if the manuals are relatively simple I would print them in house as well. If the manual is has more than a couple pages I'd prefer to send them to a print shop with the traditional boxes.

I expect May, and possibly part of June to be consumed by printed material production. Cartridges can be produced in that same time frame. Which means we could expect release in July perhaps. Opting for bitboxes and printing everything in house could pull that date in quite a bit if we preferred. Either way works well with my current schedule.

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