A small sample of a large Nspire Lua program collection

Here's something we haven't done in a while: a feature that's not entirely about games! In case you didn't know, your beloved (hopefully) ticalc.org does indeed host math and science programs as well :) But hey, let's not go "full serious", we'll also have some games in this article...
Several authors are quite productive in a specific category of programs; Rolf Pütter is one of them. Currently, out of his 86 uploaded files, 77 are for the TI-Nspire series, and 72 of those are programmed in Nspire-Lua ("only" a third are games). It was hard to choose what to showcase here, as the quality of many programs is impressive, but when asked, he wrote us about his favorites, so let's review them here:

  • Network Flow: a nice utility program about graph theory that college students may find very useful: you enter a directed weighted graph, with a source and a sink (you'll get a flow network, also known as a "transportation network"); the program will then compute a maximal flow and a minimal cut, by the method of Ford-Fulkerson. Everything is done graphically for an optimal UX, but be sure to read the included text file to know more about what it's capable of handling and the various key bindings to navigate and enter data.
  • Game of Hex... is the game invented by Piet Hein and John Nash back in the 1940s. Here's a quick overview: playing on a 9x9 rhomboidal board with... hexagonal cells (surprise!), two players, red and blue, take turns picking an empty cell to capture it with their color. Each player's goal is to reach the other side (upper/lower for red, left/right for blue) with an unbroken link. The game comes with an AI to play against, which can take either role. Funnily enough, it's been proven that the game cannot result in a tie, and you'll very probably never run out of combinations, so have fun!
  • Dots and Boxes Two players, once again red and blue, take turns connecting grid points... This time creating horizontal or vertical line segments. The player drawing a 1x1 box by closing its fourth edge now owns that box, which gets marked with their initials. The player can then move again. The game finishes when no more lines can be drawn, and the winner is whoever has the most boxes. Easy, right? Well... why don't you try playing and judging yourself... :) Let's note that you can choose from a 2x2 board up to a 6x6 one.

Enjoy, and don't forget to take a look all Rolf's other programs, he's created some very cool math ones!

"Five Nights at Freddy's": an Axe game for your 83+SE/84+(SE)

Five Nights at Freddy's

Haobo's best program in our archives is probably Five Nights at Freddy's, a great rendition for the monochrome 83+/84+ family of the popular horror game originally developed by Scott Cawthon for computers and smartphones, considering the technical limitations of the target platform.
The character is a security guard trying to detect, and defend against, animated characters in a randomly homicidal mood who are - inevitably - on the lookout for him/her. No advanced systems to be more easily notified of an impending onslaught of the animated characters, no bodily armor to protect yourself, no way to harm the characters or blow them up to smithereens like you wish you could (because they need to be kept intact for their daytime usage, where they're perfectly nice!)... In order to detect attacks, you'll have to resort to subtle clues on your video monitors or direct visual contact. You can't permanently keep both of the monitoring room's doors shut to protect yourself: your power supplies are, needless to say, insufficient for that.
Are you up to the challenge of surviving for five nights (of only six hours, but still) under such conditions... which deteriorate as the characters' activity raises? ;-)

The game can be saved and restored later. The graphics take a fair amount of space and power (a 83+SE or 84+/84+SE is recommended), but they're pretty good. Maybe the fact that they're monochrome adds to the creepy aspect of the game's atmosphere?

The README, the tutorial displayed at the first launch and if you press MODE from the main menu, as well as the text which displays progressively at the beginning of every night, will give you some useful clues: be sure to read them!

Star Trek in Alpha (Finally)

At long last, and I'm sure to the surprise of many, the Star Trek Multiplayer game I've long talked about is out... in pre-alpha. Admittedly, this game still has much to go, but I think that this is newsworthy enough to denote it in ClrHome's news feed.

As of now, the game has a simple UI with healthbars to indicate the health of each system. Basic shields function as intended. Structural integrity is a bit of a weird system. While it remains at above 50%, any damage making it through the shields is dealt to the ship normally (with a fraction of it being dealt to structural integrity as well). However, if hull integrity falls below 50%, 25%, and 10%, the damage is increasingly multiplied by 150%. Thus, a ship with a more damaged hull will incur more internal damage as well.

Enjoy some screenshots of the current progress and stay tuned to this news feed and the official Star Trek MP project page at http://clrhome.org/startrek for more updates.


More programs for your Nspire, round 1

It's been a little while since we featured programs (games, even - what else?) for the TI-Nspire series... so let's fix that :)

A.J. Orians has been around for about two decades, starting with TI-86 programs. In recent times, he produced a string of games for the Nspire calculators, several of which were already highlighted here in the past few years, and even recently a game for the TI-eZ80 (CE) series using the community SDK. Still, only a relatively small subset of his collection received news items here yet...

  • nGravnix is a puzzle game where you can switch the gravity with direction keys. The first few puzzles are easy, but the difficulty and average number of required moves raise over the set of 50 provided levels, partially due to special tiles (tiles which do not match any color, roadblocks, etc.). All puzzles can be accessed independently. A level editor is also provided, to expand the game's life even further.
  • nHearts is a card game where winning requires achieving the lowest total score across a number of draws. An achievements system records the fact of merely playing a game, winning a game, etc.
  • nTornado21 is another card game, a personal favorite of the author. The player needs to stack cards on columns, which are cleared whenever the column reaches a value of 21, or a count of 5. A variety of bonus occur upon special sequences and add to the score.

As a bonus, the speed of animations is configurable, and all three games provide in-game help. Oh, and they're all open-source and use the nSDL port of the SDL libraries.

A couple great old TI-68k platformers

Patrick "PpHd" Pélissier might be best known for his work over the years on so-called "kernels" for the TI-68k series, his PreOS being the newest, most stable and most advanced such piece of software. Some of PreOS's concepts have been recently reproduced on the TI-eZ80 (CE) series.

However, PpHd's multifaceted talent, besides the featured non-toy third-party TI-68k PedroM OS, which provides good compatibility with TI's standard OS, also encompasses complex games which required a huge amount of work. Let's go back in time and highlight a couple fantastic platformers written in assembly in the late 1990s and early 2000s, which require a "kernel" such as PreOS:

  • Fer3C TI-68kFer3c is an original creation, inspired mainly by Sonic and Mario. Of course, the player moves across multiple worlds of large levels containing a wide variety of tiles, moving enemies, coins and bonuses - but there are some interesting tidbits, such as the tile's graphics and behaviour being disjoint, which can create a variety of special effects. Up to 4 cooperating players are supported, both locally and through link.
    The B/W graphics engine is blazingly fast, with adjustable delay. This game will give you many hours of fun (the README states that all levels can be finished, but not necessarily easily :P), and yes, it has save / restore support. In theory, you could make your own level sets on the computer and partially on the calculator... if you manage to run the tools targeted at old platforms on your computer.
     
  • SMA TI-68kSMA is a good 4-grayscale Sonic clone, probably more conventional than Fer3c, but still much fun. The physics and the complex parallax scrolling are remarkably rendered, at good speed - faster than the real calculators' LCD lets one notice, anyway. Like Fer3c's, SMA's levels are large and contain many coins, enemies and pitfalls; of course, loopings and bumpers are there. Some enemies can be hit easily, others should usually be avoided. The contrast can be adjusted while the game is running, like in Fer3c. Oh, also, there's a teacher key, but maybe putting yourself in the conditions to need it might not be a good thing? ;-)


Both games are open-source, though SMA's source code wasn't uploaded here. Also noteworthy is their compatibility with models ranging from the older TI-92 II (and even the original TI-92 for Fer3c), using the Fargo II "kernel", to the 89 Titanium. Few TI-68k ASM games written in the 2000s support the 92(-II), and few programs - especially grayscale ones - predating the 89T support it, but both programs work without changes, partially thanks to the usage of a kernel.

More Axe programs for the monochrome 83+ family, round 1

Advanced Powder ToyAxe 3D Tunnel

Some of Mattias "matref" Refeyton's work pieces, such as IkarugaX and Super Crate Box, have already been featured here. Now's a time as good as any (right?) to highlight some of his simpler, yet pretty slick, creations written in Axe, and one derivative thereof.

Advanced Powder Toy displays a physics engine for particles. You can spray solid, liquid and gaseous particles and walls, lay out a variety of modifiers (grenades, liquifiers, etc.), start and pause the simulation, and repeat. The description says that there's no point other than assaulting pixels, but such a point can be interesting :)

Axe 3D Tunnel is a hidden surface tunnel, with highscores. Well, there's not much to say about a Tunnel-type game, besides the fact that it's fast, like IkarugaX, and that the binary isn't large. But still, the 3D effect is nice!

(Really) Illogic was derived from matref's demo-making work by Zachary "Runer112" Wassall, current maintainer of Axe among other things. The three versions range from pure Axe to Axe interoperating with a highly optimized ASM core, showing off this capability of Axe.

The source code of all programs is provided. While some may argue that Axe isn't always the most readable language, it yields binaries that run plenty fast for many purposes. In any case, Axe is quite popular thanks to on-calc editing especially, and we can easily see it created a flurry of development activity for the monochrome 83+/84+ family :)

Jumpman for the TI-68k series

Jumpman 68k

David "Ranman" Randall, another talented developer already featured multiple times in the past for such great pieces of work as re-creating Ultima V: Warriors of Destiny or International Karate 68k for the TI-68k family, is still active. When he found the source code again, after losing it for three years to a hard drive crash and a lost backup drive, he spent time finishing and releasing Jumpman 68k.

Originally made by Randy Glover in 1983 for the 8-bit Atari family, and ported to other 1980s computers, Jumpman is a platformer. You need to guide the character through 30 levels of increasing difficulty, containing girders (which can disappear in some levels), ladders (some of which can move) and ropes... and of course multiple kinds of bullets and alien enemies which get in the way of you fulfilling your mission: destroying bombs (by touching them) as a way to reach the next level and increase your score. You'll soon find that some orders for destroying bombs are more appropriate than others.
Oh, and on most levels, you have no weapons to get rid of enemies, so the only thing you can do is find a way to avoid them... which is easy at first, but requires a fair bit of thought and experimentation on the most advanced levels ;)

Like a number of recently featured programs, Jumpman 68k is open source.

EDIT 2017/11/12: David has produced both version 1.01, with optimizations and several bugfixes, and a new level set from Jumpman Junior.

Banchor and SQRXZ for the CE

SQRXZ CEBanchor CE

Today, we'd like to feature a couple '2017 releases for the TI-eZ80 series (TI-84 Plus CE and TI-83 Premium CE), both made by James "JamesV" Vernon, who also authored the great Alien Breed series for monochrome and color TI-(e)Z80 calculators, previously featured here.

First of all: SQRXZ CE is a color remake of Jimmy Mårdell's popular SQRXZ platformer, whose versions for the TI-Z80 and TI-68k series have been downloaded 100+K times from ticalc.org. As usual, you need to guide a character through a set of levels, while avoiding enemies. Unlike many platformers, SQRXZ has a set of sprites dedicated to writing text in a fancy font. James even included a WYSIWYG level editor (for Windows), so that you can design your own levels :)

More recently, James also ported his own Banchor: Legend of the Hellspawn RPG from the TI-86 to the TI-eZ80 (CE) series. Unlike SQRXZ CE, he kept the mostly monochrome TI-86 graphics, at least for now. But the game kept and improved the expected items for a Zelda-type game: an evil person holding a princess hostage, a hero to rescue her through a fight-ridden quest. The game isn't overly easy, which makes it a longer-lasting challenge, for your pleasure!

Both programs are open source, the source code is provided alongside the binaries.

Résultats des 7 Days CPC #23

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La revue des projets - 102

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La revue des projets - 99

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Welcome Back

At long last, we've got another news post. This one serves to declare that at this moment, I have three active projects, Star Trek Multiplayer, Slender, and Polynomials AIO. All of these are for the TI-84+ CE. I was forced to discontinue development on my TI-84+ versions of these programs after mine broke.

The program with current priority is Slender. Within the next few days, you will see an updated project page. After that, I hope to release an alpha version with the ability to walk around and see the environment. To that will be added page collection, Slenderman's AI, and more.

The finished product will combine multiple maps from some of the more known PC Slenderman titles, including Slender the Arrival, Slender's Woods, and Slender Mansion into a gaming experience that adds new options alongside some of the known and loved mechanics, including an alternate ending.

Head over to the Slender Project Page to follow progress, post comments, and download new releases.

Workaround

Ever since I installed this website, we’ve got numerous complains the feed list, stored on the drive as an OPML file you can download on the site, would clear itself once in a while, leaving the website empty… “No news, good news”, yeah, more like bad news. I have no idea what causes this, but I’ve made it read-only, so that shouldn’t happen. Of course, it will cause an additional step when I’ll want to add a new feed (unlocking/relocking the OPML file with a chmod 444), but eh, it won’t delete itself now.

Welcome to calc.news!

Well, it’s been a while I wanted to do that, but I never really found the right software to do so… I present to you on this fine day of June a new news aggregator with a quite memorable URL that will put all the news from all your favourite calculator websites together on the same site! We already added the most popular ones, CodeWalrus, Omnimaga, Cemetech, TI-Planet, TICalc.org, and a few of the most popular user blogs such as ClrHome and ndlessly, if you want to add yours (as long you have a working RSS feed), or if you have a suggestion for a feature, feel free to tell us, although we’ll want to KISS (keep it simple, stupid)…

Speaking of the software, it runs on moonmoon, which does that function pretty well. We will keep you updated on this blog as we change some stuff and add features! You guys like this? We run on CodeWalrus’ server, so show them some love if you want to keep calc.news alive :)

Star Trek to CE Project

Yup, another update about Star Trek!

First, some bad news. My old, trusty TI-84+ SE no longer has linking capabilities, rendering me incapable to test CALCnet, which is integral to this game. This means this project will no longer be coming to the TI-83+/84+. But do not fret. I have offered the code to anyone wishing to complete it, or to fork the CE version once it's done. So you old-school calculator users might still get this game eventually.

I have created a repository for the new version of the program, which targets the TI-84+ CE, which is available on request. In addition, I have released the first image related to this game, a screenshot of the new title screen, in all its 8-bit palette goodness.



An Identity Crisis

I am pleased to announce the reboot and near completion of the first installment of an original Slender series for the TI calculator. This game, titled 'Identity', provides a different take on the Slender storyline, while preserving the Slender-man gameplay mechanics.

Rendered in 4-level greyscale, grab your TI-83+/84+ and work your way through a dark forest at night, while being pursued by the seemingly paranormal entity. Just like in the classic PC games, don't sprint for too long or you'll lose speed for a while and won't be able to run away when you need to. Also, look at him for too long and you start seeing static and will eventually die.

Want to be a part of the development team? Comment below! Want to try out the game before the official release? Join the beta team by commenting below!

Project Page: http://clrhome.org/slender

Slend-Trek

As some of you know and many more don't, Slender-TI hasn't been the only project I've been working on of late. I've been actually brainstorming ideas for my own original Slender-TI series, and simultaneously working on Star Trek. This time, I've decided to bring the gCn server online first with basic functionality and then bring the client together, so I can test it as I go. Monkey has kindly offered to set me up with a skeleton and assist conceptually as my learning of socket programming advances. Anyone who wants to help on any part of this project can comment here with a method of contact and I'll be in touch.

The gCn server will be hosted on my own private server (at least for now). At my request, Deep Thought pointed a ClrHome subdomain to it. :p

In addition, I'm creating a control panel (http://sthub.clrhome.org) that will allow you to administrate your user account for the game from the computer as well. When completed, this page will allow you to change your username, password, and email address, as well as view (but not change) the server configuration file. Admins will be able to monitor and alter the users database and the loaded objects database (which is essentially the gamestate) and the server config file. It will also let them pass commands to the game server, Minecraft style, and also let them stop and start the server.

FYI: This project is my first EVER attempt at using MySQL, and so far, it is going very well!!

Slender Project Page: http://clrhome.org/slender
Star Trek Project Page: http://clrhome.org/startrek

Slender beta testers

I am pleased to announce that my long-in-the-works "port" of the hit game Slender: The Eight Pages to the Texas Instruments graphing calculator is almost in beta stages. As such, I am opening the floor to anyone wishing to beta test...please comment below. Please read the Disclaimer below and understand the risks inherent.

I am currently finishing two final routine corrections, while Eiyeron assists in finishing the last few sprites. Additionally, I am holding the game pending an official granting of permission from Blue Isle Studios.

Disclaimer

The term "beta" applies to a full version of a piece of software that may have undiscovered glitches, glitches that may vary in severity. The purpose of beta testing is to remove the glitches, but please be aware that, if you are testing on a live calculator, unstable assembly code can cause data loss (RAM clears), Archive or OS corruption, or even in extreme cases, render your device permanently unusable, an event termed "bricking" by the community. Please use beta software with caution, and if you have reservations about testing, wait for a later beta or a stable release.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who contributed to this project, including Zeda, Sorunome, and Eiyeron in particular, and to the entire Cemetech and Omnimaga community for their support and assistance developing this game, and of my developer career in general!