I have recently sold off my last pinball machines. I need to rethink my relationship with pinball, since it has annoyed me to a greater and greater degree over the last couple of years. I think I will either: 1) Get a modern, late 90’s or later machine 2) Go with an old Bally again. They look nice 3) Not get another pinball, stay 100% computer/video game
Well, stuff has been happening this weekend. I forced myself to work on the not-pinball project, even though other things demanded my attention. I worked on the wood-side of the project, which is my least favorite part of making a not-pinball machine (or pinball machine). I try to keep a neat tech-like office, so I like there to be MOSFETs and caps, PCBs, lab power supplies and programming. I do not care for burned wood smell, wood dust etc. No matter, it went fine, and I can now proceed to the next step. I will need to redo the playfield artwork, since I have changed placement of playfield items since the ‘whitewood’.
I have never really found a site layout that I love. But I am trying once again, this time with a more ‘Android-like’ look. This means that the main text and images in posts created earlier might look dodgy.
I expect to have real updates soon, hopefully regarding my not-pinball project. This has been standing still for way too long. However, I have taken small steps to get me to the next point in the development of the game! Below is an earlier image of the playfield. Don’t worry, I have moved beyond that – but not much 🙂
I finally made the plunge and bought GMS2. It has been out for just under a year, so I am not that late to the game – however, I do have other projects going that I have to finish first, before diving heavily into Studio 2. But it is very exiting. No more backgrounds, now you use sprites! Everything has layers now. Rooms can have children. Totally new UI, made from the ground up – this time in C#.
I have been spending some time with Ashes of the Singularity: Escalation during christmas. I am very impressed with the game, and I see it as a return to form for the RTS-genre. In Ashes, there is no micromanagement. Of course, you can still opt to place non-armor units behind their tougher counterparts, but most of the time you will probably end up just having them in a big bunch. Heavier units, like Dreadnoughts, do traverse the map a lot slower than lighter units (which may, or may not, make sense). This means that your units will not arrive at the same time, which can be devastating when assaulting an opponent. But like older RTS games, this is negated by having several meeting points prior to the final goal.
The game map is made of up of several ressource nodes, being power, metal or nuclear stuff. These nodes are connected by lines. If the line is broken, you do not get ressources from beyond that break. This is a great mechanic; do you take the nodes, then move your troops to claim the next, or do you back them up with forces to repel an enemy attempt at taking your node? The tug of war is a great experience and will keep you on the edge of your seat. Many of the maps are very large, meaning that your reinforcement will take some time to arrive – at which point the battle for a node can have shifted several times.
I tend to overthink stuff too much, and I will do that with Ashes of the Singularity as well. First off, science fiction is my favorite genre. However, these modern RTS games always have floating tanks, laser weapons and units tend to look very ‘video game’-like. This goes for Ashes as well. I prefer the C&C (1995) style; modern units with a touch of science fiction. I cannot abstain from thinking about how much energy it would require to hover a tank. This is just personal preference, though, but for me it does retract somewhat from the game.
A bigger problem is bland maps. They are pretty boring, and comes off like big flat symmetrical levels, with the some elevation differences. I really miss the C&C/Red Alert cliffs that blocks ground forces and creates kill zones. When playing Ashes, I never take the environment into account.
The conclusion is that Ashes of the Singularity is an amazing game.
It seems that my project with getting Android to work with Arduino is going to work. In the short video below, I turn on one LED at a time, and that logic level signal can, of course, be used for anything. My current video/pinball-project is pretty far along, using Windows and the U-HID controller. I think I will stay with that setup for my present project – I have everything done here, in regards to inputs and outputs, I designed the pcb and had it produced, soldered it etc. There is no lag, and I can freely choose resolutions, audio and everything….Windows is a great platform for this. I have no huge desire to switch to Android, but being a fan of both operating systems, I would like to give Android a chance to see if it might be more sleek. On the microcontroller side of things, an Arduino is WAY cheaper than an U-HID. An Android unit may not be much cheaper than a Windows unit these days, but I still think Android will contribute to lowering over-all system cost.
I usually do not buy microcontrollers with few inputs/outputs, but I ordered this Arduino Leonardo anyway. It might be usable for less complex mechanical projects or maybe I could use more than one. As an extra plan, I would like to look into using Android with an Arduino instead of Windows, since Android devices usuallyy are cheaper than small Windows all-in-one computers.
Well, just dug these out again. These are boards that I really wanted to love, but they have problems with consistency – not only from board to board, but they also differ a lot depending on what game board you use them with. A general problem is image stability. I have tried older game boards (Frogger) and later games (90’s driving games), and the conclusion is that it’s touch and go. They will accept 15kHz, 24kHz and 31kHz input and output 31kHz on VGA. If you have problems with the image shaking or having jittering, look into the clamp settings. These are crucial. Still, there are no resolutions that can fit any LCD monitor you might want to use. A 5:4 LCD monitor should have a rez of 1280×1024. The GBS has no rez that is a multiple of that…and it should really have that (1280×1024) resolution. Otherwise, you are scaling your game to one new resolution in the GBS, then the monitor scales that again. Both times they will be off-resolutions providing scaling artifacts and add a blurry quality to the image. I hope they make another version that at least have 1280*1024, leaving ‘only’ the problem of off-scaling from the original games resolution to the GBS.
I have retired BaCo, and replaced it with a new and sleeker calculator called GRID. It calculates the bacterial count in a sample from a plated dilution range. A real-time equation is adjusted as you enter the values (plate count, dilutions, volume plated etc.). You also get the count uncertainty presented as both a percentage and as +/- CFU.
Besides my being pretty bored with Stranger Things (1 + 2), I get annoyed when you are that lazy…there are countless DigDug arcades around, with CRTs. LCDs are also seen in other places in the show. If you’re that proud of your 80s style, follow it through.
Well, I finally got around to ordering one of these things. They’re dirt cheap, but their function is still important, otherwise..why use it. This is not a keyboard encoder, it is a joystick encoder which gives it a knock down from the get go. Be advised, there are no outputs at all.