Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Confussion

Christmas was a confusing day for me. The first problem was knowing where dinner actually was, and the second problem was getting there.

A week before Christmas, my grandmother told me that my Aunt Brenda was going to have Christmas dinner this year. That was my understanding all the way up to Christmas day. I helped my grandmother down the steps, and she got in my mom's truck. Because my mom is a slow driver, I decided I would go in my car. When I got to my destination, I knocked on the door and waited for someone to come open it. After a good 5 minutes, I realized nobody was there. So I got in my car and thought perhaps everyone went to my Aunt Billy's house instead. Her car was there, but nobody was home. I thought to myself "is this a ghost town or something?"

I went home a little annoyed because I felt mislead. I know I shouldn't let little things get to me like that, but it's in my nature as a human being. It was pouring down rain, and I just didn't feel like searching around anymore. I decided it was their fault for not giving me accurate information and if they wanted me to come to dinner, they'd have to call me at home first. I did leave a message on my brother's cell phone to let someone know where I was so they wouldn't get worried.

Eventually the phone rang and it was my brother. They explained to me that they were actually up at my cousin's house. Apparently my aunt was supposed to have dinner, but they changed plans and forgot to tell me about it. I couldn't remember how to even get there. They told me and I was started on my way.

After going 8 miles, I figured I was just about there. I turned where I thought I was supposed to. I went up the hill on the dirt road, but it didn't seem to want to end. It took me all the way to the top of the hill. By that point I had already realized I had made a wrong turn. I saw a house at the top of the hill that appeared to still be under construction. I figured that would be a good place to turn around.

As I pulled my car to the side of the house, I realized I was in mud. It wasn't where I wanted to be because I don't like a muddy car. As I began to back up however, I soon forgot about getting mud on my car because I was stuck. It was like being in snow, only worse. I got out and walked around to try and find something I could tug under my back wheel to get some traction. I found some plyboard and tried that. It helped a little, but eventually I realized that I was just going to have to keep trying to maneuver my car back and forth until I could get out of there. It took me roughly a good 15 minutes, but I eventually got turned around.

When I got there, I was exhausted. I was 2 hours late for dinner, and I had mud everywhere. I walked in and told my story to get a laugh out of people. It was good to finally sit down and have something to eat.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas everyone! I don't care if you celebrate it or not, I'm still going to tell it to you! It's a time for giving and goodwill. Personally I don't care anymore if I get presents or not, because it's more of a family thing for me these days. Sorry if that makes me sound old, but it's the honest truth.

Also I'd like to say I've read a lot of drama going on around the internet lately, and I'm proud to say I haven't had any here. My blog doesn't get thousands of visitors daily and doesn't receive many comments, so that's an important factor. I also feel it's because I've always had a positive attitude here. Rarely have I posted anything that could be taken negatively. If I posted a bunch of negative things I'd surely get more feedback, but people wouldn't like what they read. So lets try to be positive today.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The New ProSonic Sprite Format

I have finished designing and implementing my ProSonic sprite format into the ProSonic engine. The format encodes sprites in 18-bit color and supports up to 65,535 sprites. It also has mirror and flip flags. In addition, animations are also incorporated into the format with up to 255 frames supported for each animation, and 255 different animations. Animation speeds range from 0 to 255 (measuring frames).

To test the format, I updated the old object code for rings. It displays flawlessly. The sprite blitting code I wrote in the engine also supports 64 levels of translucency which works really well, even when dealing with just 64 available colors in a zone (which surprised me).

The rings animate at the same speed as they do in the original Sonic the Hedgehog games. This is consistent with the old ProSonic engine code, but because the new sprite format has animation data integrated into it, this is one less thing to program. I believe game designers will have a little easier time managing animations with this method.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

They Do Their Job, He Wants to Sue

Marion Barry was arrested for driving with a suspended license recently. Now he's threatening to sue and has accused the police of racial profiling. My opinion is anyone who drives knowing their license has been suspended and complains due to arrest afterwards is an idiot. He has a past of legal troubles, so I don't think he has a leg to stand on either. You can read about it here.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Objects Function Again

I'm sorry I couldn't get objects working in the anniversary release of ProSonic. I have them working now though. This is one portion of the engine I decided not to rewrite because I felt it was already written well the way it was.

In the picture, you will notice rings show up. They're black because the sprites are still based on drawing methods of the old ProSonic code. I have a custom sprite format planned out, I just haven't coded anything to use it yet.

Also, you'll notice the level in the picture isn't Chemical Plant. I figured people were probably tired of looking at dozens of pictures of the same level, so I used LIMP (also packaged with the anniversary release) to import Dust Hill Zone from the Sonic 2 Delta II ROM hack. I applied heat filters to make it look like it was hot in the level.

Once the code for the new sprite format is in the engine, the next task will be to put a player in the engine. I am thinking I will write this portion from scratch too since it has proven to be a big challenge taking the old code and moving it over into the new engine code.

Friday, December 15, 2006

ProSonic Anniversary Pack

The ProSonic Anniversary Pack is here! It includes a couple goodies (including the ProSonic engine itself), although none which I will provide any actual support for. I don't consider this an "official" release. I have called this a "camera demo" because there's no player activity yet. I did what I could in the short amount of time I offered myself, so I hope some people are happy.

You can click here to download the anniversary pack. A Pentium II processor is the bare-minimum requirement, but I strongly recommend a Pentium 4 processor as it will do a far better job with performance.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

ProSonic's New Friend -- AngelScript

I am 75% sure ProSonic will use AngelScript. I don't want to write my own scripting language because it's too much of a hassle, and there are other people who can do a far better job than I ever could. So I think this is a smart decision. It is very close to C/C++ code, and I think it will have the flexibility I need.

I know that as soon as some people read that, they're going to feel disappointed. So let me clarify this again -- you won't have to program or know anything about AngelScript. I will be sure to write software that will work like the popular "event editor" used by Click Team.

I have also been rewriting ProSonic from scratch. I took a break for a few weeks because of college work, but now I'm heavily involved in ProSonic again. On December 15th, I will release a couple of downloads to the public. I can't guarentee it'll be exactly what everyone wants, but I'm doing what I can with the short amount of time I have.

Backgrounds in the new ProSonic engine work flawlessly. This wasn't the case in the old engine due to the methods used to draw the screen. The minimum requirement might be bumped up to a Pentium III processor though. I'm hoping that isn't the case, because I would love to see it run smoothly on my old Pentium II - 400MHz computer.

The new PZF format is complete. I have a PZF compiler that works well too. I have a Chemical Plant PZF file I've been using during tests that's 1.13MB in size. With compression, it can be sized down to under 30KB. I'm excited about the PZF format because of the vast amounts of flexibility it allows. I have an entire library written for the format that is being used in the PZF compiler, as well as the new ProSonic engine.

The future looks bright for ProSonic. Check back for updates, because they're coming just around the corner.

Friday, December 01, 2006

A Little Boy Defends His Family

This is one of the greatest things I've ever read. This is incredibly awesome in my opinion. Please read the article and tell me what your take is on it. I imagine the robbers left the way they did because handling 3 children with one of them being brave probably made them feel uncomfortable. That's the best guess I can come up with.