Sunday, May 28, 2006

ProSonic Water

I have water working in ProSonic now. Instead of having two seperate palettes like I originally wanted, I went with what I call a "water map" which simply says "replace color A with color B when drawing water". It maps out conversions for all 256 colors.

Also, I should have a picture from the SatAM game fairly soon. It could be as soon as today, or it could be in a few days from now. I'm trying to get out a picture by the end of the month if possible.

Friday, May 26, 2006

ProSonic Poll Results, Updates

Responses here, at SFGHQ, and OCR combined, 21 responses were collected total. OCR tended to be more for 8-bit color, while the rest were mostly 16-bit color. With a 21.8% margin-of-error, Two-thirds (66.7%) said they would prefer more color over better performance. Just one-third (33.3%) said they put performance first. Because this poll was not done scientifically, the confidence rating is not as high as it would be if the poll was done scientifically.

In other news, I have started porting the ProSonic editing utilities to Windows. Only one has been ported so far, and that is the object layout editor. It works exactly like the DOS version. The other utilities should be easy to port. I have thought about possibly releasing these editing tools to the public so levels could be prepared for games when the engine is made public. On the other hand, nobody would be able to test their levels until the engine was released anyhow, so I don't know what benefits would really be served by doing this.

Also, if you have a Sonic the Hedgehog website and would like to link people to my blog for ProSonic updates, you can use one of these images:

I would prefer if you copied the images on your own server rather than using the link sources above. The idea is to spread awareness of the engine. Most people are still uneducated about it and don't understand what benefits it serves over other Sonic engines. I've been posting a lot more on ProSonic lately to try and do something about that problem. I also want to make sure people realize I still have every intention on finishing it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

ProSonic Color Poll

For a long time now, I've been trying to decide between 8-bit and 16-bit color. ProSonic currently uses 8-bit color (that's 256 colors, 4 times that of the Sega Genesis). I've been considering the use of 16-bit color though (that's 32,768 colors, the same amount used by the Sega 32X and Sega Saturn). If I use 16-bit, performance will likely suffer, but the environment would be even more colorful. If I use 8-bit, there won't be as many colors to use in a level, but performance would get a big boost. Right now ProSonic runs at a full 60 frames per/second on a 400MHz Pentium II machine in single player mode. That might not be the case in the future as I add features such as 3D objects.

My question is what would you rather sacrifice? You can answer this poll by submitting a reply to this post (link below).
A - Sacrifice performance for more colors (16-bit color)
B - Sacrifice colors for more performance (8-bit color)

The responses I get won't be the determining factor, but it could influence my decision if people feel strongly one way or the other.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

ProSonic Ported To Windows

I have finally ported the ProSonic engine to Windows! There are still a few technical difficulties to work out, but shown below is the current result. I realize the colors are messed up. That is just one of the technical difficulties involved in this port. It is playable though, and that makes me quite happy.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

ProSonic Screen Shots Are Back

More dead links have been replaced. You can now view all the ProSonic screen shots again, including an extra one I decided to throw in.

Demonstrated here is solidity and sloping. The formulas used in my engine replicate the exact results of the original Sonic the Hedgehog games, pixel by pixel, value by value.

Shown here is Emerald Hill from Sonic 2. Included with the engine are tools to modify levels. One tool will allow you to import levels from other Sonic games. This is one possible result.

The beach ball shown here is an example of the kinds of objects that can be programmed for the engine. ProSonic supports up to 255 object classes with 256 possible members each. Objects function using ProSonic's easy-to-use scripting language.

This a picture I never uploaded before. It's actually from a much earlier version of ProSonic. The level importer didn't exist at the time, so graphics were imported manually. This was a very basic test level.

This tool is called "Block-It" and is used to design level tiles using small 16x16 blocks. Everything the original Sonic games offered in tiles is offered in ProSonic as well.

The collision editor allows you to modify the solidity of the 16x16 blocks. This program is very easy to work with.

EZ-Tile is a tool that will import a 128x128 area of a PCX into a 128x128 tile in ProSonic. It automatically generates the 16x16 blocks and checks for any that can be flipped and/or rotated to save space.

LIMP is the level importer used to take any level from the original Sonic games and import it into a ProSonic-based game. It accurately imports all the block, palette, block-map, tile-map, solidity, and ring layout data. The levels are fully playable too.

This tool allows you to design and re-design the object layout in any ProSonic level. It offers mouse support to make designing easier.

This is an example script file. Future updates of the scripting language will be closer to C than they are in this picture. The scripting language is very flexible and will be editable by hand, or by an event editor-type program to simplify the more complex portions of the language.

Monday, May 22, 2006

ProSonic FAQ Back Up

I have put the ProSonic FAQ back up. The old link has been broken for some time now, so you can now get it here. Hopefully this will hold some people for a while until I can get some of the other ProSonic-related stuff back online. I appologize for the long wait. Someone recently reminded me, so I thought I'd go ahead and get this out of the way.

I will try and get the pictures back up too as soon as I can. Check back to grab those. There were a bunch of them.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Here Comes Dr. Tran!

Pulsarcat from the FUS forums made a post about Dr. Tran. Before I read it, I had no clue who or what Dr. Tran was. After watching the movie, I can safely say it's one of the funniest things I've seen on the internet! If you have never seen it, I strongly recommend checking it out here. It's 7 minutes out of your day that I am certain will be worth it. I should mention if you don't like mild language or slight adult-suggestive themes, you might not like this.

A friend has a Sonic message board, and I'd like to take this time now to promote it. It is new, but there are plenty of forums on it for you to post in. He's a great guy, and I'm sure he'd welcome everyone there. Even if you decide not to join, at least take a peak at it. You can go to it here.

Lately I've been thinking about my two books on mortgages. I'm still only 21 and have no plans to have a house of any kind right now, but my dad has always taught me that there's a lot of money involved there, so I figure it would be an important read. The first book I have is Barron's Mortgage Payments which is an entire pocket-sized guide listing prices with different interest rates under different terms. My dad went over with me how principal payments and such work. The other book is The Pocket Mortgage Guide. It basically has detailed information on how it all works and ties together. Reading about mortgages has been on my mind these past few days, so I think I will try and find some time to read these two books. Problem is I'm a slow reader. Luckily I'm taking a reading improvement class at my college over the summer, so maybe it'll help me some so I can get into this mortgage stuff a little more relaxed and a little faster paced.

I also have a small update on the SatAM game. I got word from my scenery artist that the first scene is coming along fairly well. She has more time to do the work now than she had before. I'm hoping for something I can use pretty soon. I'm going to do my very best to keep my promise to have screen shots available by the end of the month.

ProSonic Port Poll Results

I took feedback from the comments on my blog and results on the Sonic Fan Games HQ forums. In a typical scientific poll, you wouldn't combine the results the way I have, and you would ask people randomly. However because of the small audience my engine faces at the moment, I think it's fair to say it wouldn't skew the poll results too terribly much. At the most, you would likely find the Linux and Mac results to be slightly skewed.

Out of 24 people, just 4% suggested ProSonic be ported to Linux / UNIX platforms, while 8% said they would like to see it ported to Mac. Between the Sega Dreamcast and the Nintendo DS, it was a very close race. 38% of respondants said they would like to see a Dreamcast port, while 42% said they would like to see it on the Nintendo DS. When the option of "Other" was picked, all 8% said they would like to see it on Sony's PSP. Under normal conditions, the margin of error would be about +/-20%, but because this wasn't done scientifically, the margin of error may be wider than that.

I'm considering doing more polls like this one. I was quite satisfied with the number of people who got involved.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

SatAM Game Status Unknown For The Moment

I have no details to bring my readers on the SatAM game being developed at the moment. I am pretty confident that I'll have some more information very soon. I'm not planning to rush the project by any means.

I have also decided not to go along with the comic idea I had. I would love to do it, but the more projects I have on my shoulders, the more I have to tackle at once. So I have decided against the comic. That doesn't mean it won't happen in the future, but right now I think I need to just have the door open to ProSonic and the SatAM game.

I'd also like to take a poll on something. My question is "what platform (besides DOS and Windows) are you most interested in seeing ProSonic ported to?"
A - Linux / UNIX
B - Mac
C - Sega Dreamcast
D - Nintendo DS
E - Other

You can submit your response by writing a comment to this. I will also be posting the poll on forums. I will collect the results and post them on my blog the next time I update.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Windows 93

One thing I've often thought about was Windows 93. I remember, way back before I had a computer and before Windows 95 was even released, my friend had a computer with Windows 93 on it. I remember the splash screen, showing the clouds in the background and saying "Windows 93" on the screen. It looked basically identical to the spash screen used in Windows 95. I'm sure I'm not crazy either because when my dad bought our very first computer it had Windows 95 on it, and my friend was over while he was setting it up. My friend said "oh you have Windows 95, I have Windows 93".

I recently decided to do research and figure out what this Windows 93 was all about. I have searched all over the internet, and the only thing I can figure is that Windows 93 was a very early version of Windows 95. But something doesn't seem to fit that picture. I've seen references to Windows 93 as if it was actually officially released or something. It also strikes me odd that almost nobody has even heard of it.

Another thing I was thinking about today was the shut down. I remember on my first computer (which had Windows 95 as I mentioned before), when I would restart Windows, any windows I had opened previously would still be opened when Windows started up again. I have never seen this on Windows 98 and above. Was this a feature that was taken out, or is there a setting somewhere that I'm unaware of? This is something I have never been able to find any information on. It's driving me nuts, because I am thinking I might like to enable it if it still exists in Windows XP.

On another subject really quick, today is Mother's Day. Me and my mom don't get along all the time. I think she has the impression I don't care. If you truly care about your mom, go and tell her that. Don't let her just assume it, actually prove it to her. Today is her day, so make it special. As for me, I haven't been able to do much that I think is special for her, mainly because I feel weird about it. But I talked to her on the phone today and told her I was glad she liked the gift she got.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Some Of My Favorite Music Videos

I'm always the last person to follow a popular trend. Everyone started getting blogs, and I didn't get one until a couple months ago. Everyone had fast computers, but I only got a new one just recently. Everyone goes to, and I only started paying attention to it recently.

I was really surprised at the content available on YouTube. I thought since I'm a music guy, I would share a couple music videos from some of my favorite bands:

"Jump" - Van Halen
This is the song that got me into Van Halen in the first place. I like some of their harder stuff too, but this is pretty much a well rounded "fun" video. I felt it fit my personality well, and since this is my blog, I am posting it.

"Heart and Soul" - Huey Lewis & The News
I'm an HLN fan, I'll admit. I like lots of songs they do. This song is from their hugely successful "Sports" album. It is sort of a pop-rock song (literally -- it crosses the two). It's actually a cover of a disco song, but it never became popular and well-known until Huey did it. Perhaps the highlight of this video is when Chris Hayes, the lead guitarist, dances with a girl while resting his head on her breasts.

"Who's Your Daddy" - Toby Keith
Toby rocks, plain and simple! This is a great song from him. I used to listen to it over and over. This is one of his best songs in my opinion. The video is kind of funny at the end. It looked like Toby was ready to go after the guy!

I know most people don't listen to some of the music I do, so maybe it'll be something different for people to experience. Have fun!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Project Updates

ProSonic still has not successfully been ported to Windows. I'm still working on this and will present new updates as they happen. A Windows port was a little harder than I anticipated. Once I get it ported, I will work more on fixing some errors in the physics. Although my engine is based on the algorithms used in the original games, there are still a few minor problems. It needs to be perfect so my engine will play levels exactly as they could be played in the original games.

Not much has been done to the SatAM game I'm working on. Again, I am going to hold off on most of the work until I get some art. I have offered an opportunity for people at FUS to submit artwork of arrows. Clicking on arrows will be the way to move around in the game. I did an arrow of my own, but I think other people could do it better than I can.

On top of those two, I have a new project idea. This project would be small so that it doesn't take away the time required to complete the other two. I would like to do a comic strip series. I used to draw comic strips all through middle school and high school. I always made people laugh with them, so I figure it'd be a neat idea to have a series that would be available online. I'd do a new comic every once in a while. Here is my proposed idea. I'd like to know what everyone thinks.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Best Malware Remover Tool

I got some stuff on my computer that was really getting on my nerves. Usually I'm pretty good at being able to hack unwanted programs out of my computer, but this time the challenge was too great. I searched for something to use besides Ad-Aware. I've tried a few others, but I was never happy with them. Today I tried Pervx1, and I have to say this is the best program I've ever had. It's not freeware, but they give you 60 days to try it out. I strongly recommend this program, because it did a much better job than any of the other programs I have tried. It even actively prevented unwanted programs from running. If you have some junk on your computer that other adware/spyware/malware software can't seem to put an end to, try Pervx1. Their website is at

Friday, May 05, 2006

Apple Blossom Is Here

It's that time of year again. I hate Apple Blossom. I know a good majority of my readers have no clue what Apple Blossom is, so I'll tell you what it is. We are the largest apple growers in the area, which some know as "Apple Capital". We're rich in apple orchards for the most part. So for 79 years, we've been celebrating what is called the Shenadoah Apple Blossom festival. People from all over come here to see the parade and such. Even celebrities make their way here each year. Last year, over 300,000 people came to Winchester.

It sounds like something I should be proud of, right? I'm sorry, but there's too many people! I don't care about the pride, just make the people go home! Streets close so they can have their parade, there's a lot of traffic in this small town, and I simply have no interest in it. I've seen it my whole life, it's just the same boring stuff every year. They had the fireman's parade today, and tomorrow is the big one. The only interesting part about it is all the Harley-Davidson bikes leading the parade. There's litterally thousands of motorcycles that start it off. It's really loud and exciting! After that, it's just the usual parade stuff.

Even worse, while most businesses are closed tomorrow, my dad wants to be open. So I have to drive in this crowded town to get to work, likely have few (if any) customers, and then drive through the dense crowd again to go back home. I live in a small town for a reason, and this defeats the reason every year!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

School's Out

I'm finally done with exams! I will have some more free time now, which means I can get more work done on some of my projects.

First thing I started to do was port my ProSonic source code over to a Windows platform. Apparently it's not as easy as I thought it would be. I haven't been successful in doing that yet, but at the very least I can get a window to show up. It crashes on part of my code, and I don't really understand why. This doesn't necessarily mean I'll ignore the DOS platform, but with a new computer that has Windows XP on it, it's hard for me to test it. I don't have enough electrical outlets to hook up my other computer at the same time. If you don't know, DOS emulation isn't the fastest thing in the world. Windows 95/98/ME do a much better job at it than the NT platforms. Because of this, my game engine looks choppy on this computer. A Windows port would fix that. Once I get the Windows port working, I'll release some more screen shots.

Also, I have officially started programming the SatAM RPG I was planning before. In addition, I have a background artist who will be helping me out -- Kaptain H! She has awesome artwork and I thought she'd be the perfect choice for background artist. There will likely be other people on the project too, but right now I am just focusing on a couple things at a time. Those couple things are being taken care of.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Change Haulted

My dad was going to sell his business to this guy named Bill. When he first told me back in December, I was a little shocked. I got used to Bill being in there though. My dad had him in there to get used to things first, and then they would talk about the transition afterwards.

Saturday was Bill's last day. After getting used to it, I was shocked all over again. I didn't know until he already left. Apparently my dad's business wasn't what Bill thought it was going to be like. Bill came from Grove's Winchester Harley-Davidson, and when he decided he wanted to run my dad's business, he figured it'd be pretty similar. He realized after about the first month that the transition wasn't going to work out. My dad knew it too, but my dad doesn't always say what he knows sometimes (he's smart!). So now my dad's plans to retire have changed temporarily. He has to keep working and find someone else who might take the business. It sucks because I wanted to see my dad move on to do what he wanted to do.

On some notes about that SatAM game I mentioned before, I should mention that it doesn't mean ProSonic will be discontinued. ProSonic is still on the agenda, and always will be. Also, the SatAM game will likely be done in C. I thought about doing it in Flash, but I decided I should stick with what I'm good at -- C. The game will likely run in 640x480 in 16-bit color. It will use the unused SatAM music, and it might also include a couple new tunes that I will compose. Sonic will definitely be playable, but I don't know if I'll have some others playable or not. I personally don't want to, but some people have requested it, so I'm putting it into possible consideration.

My new computer doesn't have any of the Visual Studio software installed yet, so I will first need to find my discs. I have DJGPP, but unlike my ProSonic engine, I want to ignore DOS compatibility here. I may very well release the source code to this game when it's finished also, so others will be able to modify the game, or make their own RPG game from it. I'm very excited about the game, and I hope I can find the support for it I'm seeking.