Vintage computing, old video games

I’ve done some work to create a Winamp plugin that broadcasts what song you’re playing as a Discord Rich Presence.

An uncommon scenario? Sure, although I’m not too worried about that. This idea of functionality came from the integration Spotify has with Discord right now, plus there are a lot of other interesting ways in which app developers are implementing Rich Presence.

The main challenges for this project were understanding not one flow of communication, but two; the Discord RPC API and Winamp plugin architecture. You figure out how to do one, then how to do the other, and then merge the result together. One thing I am grateful for is the fact that Winamp is debugger-friendly and can also be launched by a debugger without issue. There wasn’t anything too gnarly that happened for this project but it helped to be able to step through some things- for example, the plugin configuration menu code– to debug. There was one problem where DialogBox was being called with NULL instead of the proper module handle, and it would indeed create a dialog box but of an unexpected type. It helped to be able to step through and debug this.

What it looks like, in action:

The source + binary distributed through GitHub repository here: https://github.com/clandrew/wdrp

Problem solved!

January 20th, 2019 at 4:54 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Final Fantasy Legend (GB)

This is a spin-off to the Final Fantasy series and related to the Sa-Ga series made by Square Enix.

The whole thing with Legend is it’s “a lot more epic than it seems like it should be”. See the games I remember Game Boy original were fairly light in subject matter, emotional power and how the story is delivered. But, this game:
• Levels with a scary unkillable monster
• Real actual character death
• An ending sequence where you fight the creator of the universe
Confirmed the creator of the universe is wearing a top hat
It turns out the composer for this game is also Nobuo Uematsu the same as mainline Final Fantasy series except for XIII. If you listen carefully you can hear similarities to the rest of the series’ music.

For the gameplay, you have the flexibility of choosing all characters in your party and their type (Human, Mutant, Monster). The game suffers from some balancing issues which make certain bossfights far, far disproportionally harder than others.

There is apparently an homage to Legend in Final Fantasy XIII where (spoiler) Orphan can be killed instantly by Vanille’s Death spell. It is not 100% guarantee but there is a chance particularly if staggered. In the Final Fantasy XIII Scenario Ultimania book it says outright this was an intentional reference to Legend.

November 22nd, 2018 at 9:24 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Uncommon real-life problems are solved by Tintin++ scripts

October 16th, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Art project: Advertisement

To attract possibly some new players to Deathwish, a text RPG I play sometimes, and to increase visibility I thought to purchase an ad. The MUD community has two big portals for indexing MUDs: MUD Connector, and TopMudSites. TopMudSites already advertises 4-5 MUDs on rotation in the form of 728×90 banner ads which are not too intrusive. We could put an ad for DW into that set.

I wanted the ad to be pixel art since that’s the only thing I know how to do, and look a bit like DW’s home page- skulls and fire! And be animated.

After drafting up most of it I went through iterations with the MUD administrator until getting the final version which was sent to TMS.

I was worried it would not be accepted, if they thought the skull was too much or having a mild curse be in the hostname would be an issue

But, I’m happy to say they accepted the ad and it’s up there now! The site administrators were kind enough in letting me sign up for extra time so it will be up for a while- about 2 years.

Final result:

As of right now you can see the ad at TopMudSites, if you just refresh the page a few times and ensure your ad blocker isn’t running.

October 13th, 2018 at 12:18 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Whenever there are no mirrors around, I’m a pair of disembodied hands, to save on rendering costs. Everyone is always very polite in not pointing it out.

October 1st, 2018 at 9:17 am | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Gundam Wing: Endless Duel (SNES)
Story Mode with Vayeate

This is a Gundam-inspired fighting game released in Japan only. You can play as several of the Gundams from the show. Gosh this game has so much graphical polish and the soundtrack is A++++. For this I played through the story mode and recorded it on my capture card.

Deathscythe and Epyon if unlocked are very over-powered in this game. In general the mechs are not very balanced. Still, my regular tends to be Vayeate because it is my favorite from the show. Life would be boring if everyone playing Street Fighter was Zangief, right?? Vayeate has a couple good features- this huge space rifle-like thing that can be used as a bludgeoning weapon, plus a few attacks that go diagonally.

I got this replica cart to play it

From playthrough (recorded with capture card)–

August 12th, 2018 at 12:40 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

“Ghost characters” introduced in JIS encoding can be found in Unicode today


July 29th, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Animal Crossing (for Gamecube) contains a functional, hidden Famicom emulator

July 12th, 2018 at 7:58 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

The game, particularly the English voice acting, is… not good…

I fear Sun Ce’s voice actor has either phoned it in or is a result of a sophisticated machine-learning algorithm


Dong Bai’s officer offers reassurance in the English dub


Li Jue helps determine a strategy


Sun Ce comes through with an observation


Side thing: What a nice vantage point!
Maple didn’t think so


Normal, natural conversation

July 9th, 2018 at 11:08 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink

Finished Birds of Steel (PS3)

Genre: WWII Pacific Aerial combat simulator.

I picked up this game after watching Dunkirk looking to get more immersion in that same context with the historical planes, and sense of action and urgency. Although I hate flying in real life I love flight simulators. This game feels a lot more realistic in its controlling of the planes than the other ones I’ve played. It turns out, the dogfighting strategies which work in Star Fox are not realistic.

Having positive memories of the predecessor of this game, IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, I picked this one up and it holds up pretty well despite being last-gen. The graphics for the water and details on the planes themselves are good.

Each part in the campaign has an explanation of the context of the battle, narrated by Stephen Fry. Good for them, they got someone high-profile to narrate. Unfortunately, the scene descriptions are written horribly. Everything is so tedious and roundabout. Who writes a paragraph and starts 2 or 3 sentences in a row with “However”?

And there is one really persistent visual gripe I have with this and at least 1 other modern flight sim (Eagle’s Flight). The dark edges. A vignette filter. You see it, right? This is as cheap a trick as jacking up the contrast. Why would anyone invest in a large TV, when the outer edges of it are useless?

I had positive impressions of how many planes were included, different types of environments, and sound. They capture sound clips of both Allied and Japanese pilots. For voice, I was suspecting they would get non-Japanese actors to impersonate Japanese people for the voice-over. But, nope. Japanese voice actors play Japanese pilots.

It’s surprisingly hard to find good flight simulators for console. Most high-budget, non-indie flight simulators made now are not marketed in the mainstream, but to a very specific audience- a very hardcore audience who typically have a pilot’s license IRL and some extremely fancy actual cockpit-like setup. Microsoft Flight Simulator still has a lot of loyal fans in this category.

Controls were a good compromise between video game-y and airplane-y. Knowing their target demographic, Birds of Steel has a control mode for simulator fans. I am glad it also has an arcade-style control mode. I am a video game player without a pilot’s license. The arcade style mode still felt airplane-y because you can’t just move the analog stick in the direction you want to go. You adjust the roll and rudder separately. It was fun and easy enough to get the hang of.

Since the game came out 6 years ago the online scene is no longer a thing but it was worthwhile going through the campaign of it. The main highlights were Pearl Harbor and Guadalcanal.

June 27th, 2018 at 11:25 pm | Comments & Trackbacks (0) | Permalink