Welcome to ClrHome
Contra and Simul progress Nov 24
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
I've always loved making platformers. I find it really fun to calculate all the weird, convoluted formulas involved in the different parts of a platform game (and no, I'm not even being sarcastic). And so since Axe is so well-built for making games, I decided to tackle a more complicated game than I ever would have tried in TI-BASIC: Contra, the classic NES platform game. This port will be as close to the original game as possible, at least in the classic, horizontal-scrolling levels. I actually haven't finished much yet, but here's what I have so far.

As you can see, I got some sprites and some movement coding done (except that the bullets still wrap around). The sprites on the right half of the screenshot seem to lose their grays occasionally, but that's only because I suck at setting emulator options (so it works perfectly fine on a real calculator). I might have to take that grayscale out, though, since it's slowing the game down already. Plus, it doesn't look bad at all without it.

And something you can't tell from the screenshot is that I've already taken scrolling into account in everything I've done so far. All I have to do now is (get the motivation to) add the actual scrolling.

Also, I was too lazy to redo code for Simul, but luckily I found a version of it without the bug I mentioned in the other post. The fixed version has been submitted to ticalc.org, so it should be up in a few days. Enjoy!
First feature, finally Nov 7
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
Simul just got featured on ticalc.org. I would have been really happy to get my first feature, but it came just after several horrible realizations in a row:

  • It has bugs. And they're pretty obvious bugs as well. If you look at the screenshot in the news article, you'll notice that the entire top-left quarter of the screen is blank. Apparently, I kept a buggy version instead of a fixed version yet again. I really have to get better at keeping track of my projects.
  • The screenshots look really bad. I was probably asking for this when I set the number of screen grays to 3 on the emulator I was using, but I was too lazy to make a better version.
  • I compiled the program in the wrong way. I'd compiled it to be run from the homescreen without any shell (with the Asm( command). Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but the program's located in the Ion and MirageOS directories of ticalc, so that's something else I'll have to fix.

Thankfully, these should be pretty easy fixes, so I'll try to update it soon. It's always nice to know that it's featured, though.
Bomberman back on track! Oct 29
by yunhua98 ClrHome Staff
...and then slowed. I have solved a bug tht kept me from coding the game, and now I'm ready to add more! Thanks to Aichi for finding it in this thread. Also, because I'm in a Team Battle, and working on a TI-Battlefront Game, all of my other projects are either halted or slowed, but after the Team Battle, I will resume work on them.
Simul finally released! Oct 25
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
I finally managed to fix the bug a few days ago after transferring the program back and forth from a friend's calculator, so it's finally on ticalc.org. Unfortunately, the screenshots are horrible. First of all, I could only make them on an emulator, which I'd forgot to set to display the number of grays needed. Then I failed over and over, mostly because Simul, which requires the player to play multiple games simultaneously (hence the name), is extremely hard to play on an emulator (even harder than it is on a real calculator). And finally, Paint messed up the still screenshots by converting them to web-safe colors when I tried to save them as GIF images.

And so I'm looking for someone who would be willing to make some screenshots for me. If you want to try, just download the program, download an emulator, get the ROM from your calculator, and play the game.

Also, when I named my readme file READMEORYOUWILLFAILEPICALLY.txt, I wasn't kidding.
Full-color TI-Ncourage released Oct 22
by yunhua98 ClrHome Staff
Some very promising news regarding TI showed up on Slashdot today:

Only two weeks after Casio's unveiling of its Casio Prizm color graphing calculator scheduled for release in 2011, TI has revealed that it will also release a competing color calculator, the TI-Ncourage. Designed to have even better development prospects, TI is finally (and once again) encouraging hobbyists in calculator development. Key features of this newest line include:

  • a 200 MHz Pentium processor;
  • a 1024x768 resolution, 32-bit color depth display;
  • a multi-touch touchscreen that can be disabled for testing purposes;
  • an optional QWERTY keypad, which is removable for acceptance on national tests;
  • full assembly support as well as an on-calculator C++ compiler;
  • a free SDK equipped with a fully-featured IDE, emulator, and debugger;
  • USB 2.0/3.0 support, which could possibly lead to Internet connectivity;
  • a choice of either a lithium ion battery pack or a rechargeable battery complete with charger; and
  • a fully-featured app store that could "compare to Apple's famed App Store," as reported by a company spokesperson for TI.

In addition, the TI App Store will feature integration with the major calculator program portal ticalc.org, which means that the Wacky Fun Random Numbar Generator has finally been officially endorsed by TI.

The TI-Ncourage has already been accepted by the College Board for use on the PSAT, SAT, and math-related AP tests. No word has been received from the ACT, however.

Read more: http://developers.slashdot.org/submission/142857/TI-reveals-color-TI-Ncourage

Unfortunately, ClrHome Productions isn't celebrating this piece of good news as you might think, thanks to a recent email we received from Texas Instruments itself. It was a DMCA takedown notice concerning the name of this site. According to TI, "ClrHome" is a registered trademark of Texas Instruments and should not be used without a license. We are currently in the process of contacting the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) to help argue our case, but we may still need to change our name to "Homescreen-Clearing Programming Group" or something similar.
yunhua98 is here! Oct 20
by yunhua98 ClrHome Staff
Deep Thought accepted me when I applied, so I might as well make a news post. I am a member of Omnimaga and have been programming TI calculators for about 2 years, though I have been programming computer languages a while before that. I currently have a big project going that was supposed to be my Axe Parser contest Entry: Bomberman. And I have several side projects I work on when I want a break from Bomberman. I'm working on a Avoider game in Axe and a Double Pong type game. I also have several other projects that are only ideas/psuedo code, but I'll post when I get signifigant progress! They're all in the Projects section.
Insanity done right Oct 11
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
I'm picking up Absolute Insanity (again). I'd given it up months ago, releasing it as done, but seeing as it's just about my only BASIC game worth playing, I thought I'd make it better. Things I'm hoping to do are making it respond better to keypresses (instead of moving a full half-second after the user presses a key), optimize it a bit (since 12.5 KB is pretty big, even for BASIC), and make a separate version for Silver Edition calculators.

And maybe I'll actually start working on an AbsIns II. Who knows.
The XDE Oct 9
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
Another third-party on-calc editor! Just what we need, right?

Probably not. I personally never use editors, even when they do add some nifty features that could speed up TI-BASIC programming by a lot. For some reason, they just seem a bit alien, unlike the good ol' (lame) TI-OS editor. It might be the fact that most TI-BASIC programmers who are experienced enough to want to try a new IDE are too accustomed to the shortcuts and menus that take us to our beloved commands.

On the other hand, Axe is a relatively new (not to mention brilliant) language. Especially since the addition of Axe Tokens, which replace some TI-BASIC tokens with ones more suited to the new language, coders haven't been given the time needed to get used to the placement of common commands around the keypad. So here's an alternative: XDE, the Axe Development environment, featuring code highlighting, variable-width 8-line editing, copy/pasting, built-in sprite editing, and all the goodies and easter eggs you'd expect from a fully-featured IDE. And instead of memorizing the new menus to take to get to those commands, coders can just type them in directly, and XDE will take care of the tokenizing and all that extra crap. In short, it's going to be epic.

But yes, unfortunately, CyanIDE is a dead project (for now).
Simul (almost) released Oct 9
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
The great thing about programming contests, especially those with limited time given to the actual coding, is that people expect the contestants to screw up. People expect the coders to accidentally leave in a bug or two in their rush to get the entry done. Calculator enthusiasts who find bugs in an entry, even bugs that cause their precious gaming device to seriously glitch and crash, generally only add a post notifying the programmer of their mistake. If the same program had been released, it would have quickly unleashed a barrage of panicky hate emails.

Fortunately, Simul only has a very, very minor bug, one that almost everyone should overlook. There aren't any crashes so far, thankfully. It's in the contest now, so I'm technically free to release it anywhere I want, but I want to make sure I get the bug fixed before I do that. Unfortunately, my link cable went missing a few days ago, so the bugfixing is going to take a while.
TI-Phone released Aug 30
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
Following the lead of such technology giants as Microsoft, Apple, and Google, Texas Instruments is also claiming a piece of the portable phone industry with the release of the TI-Phone last Thursday.

"We're really excited," said a company spokesperson on Friday. "The phone industry offers enormous potential, and we're glad to have a foothold."

Already, thousands have ordered the surprise product, hoping to find a relatively cheap yet functional phone. However, many were turned down by the TI-Phone's lack of features, especially its inability to communicate with other phones without the use of a cable. "This is outrageous," remarked a consumer. "It totally defeats the point. I mean, why would I call someone if we needed a cable to link our phones?" In response to the protest, TI pointed out that "really, it's not that hard. All you have to do is plug your end of the cable into the little hole in the bottom. Eventually, we're hoping to set up a nation-wide network of compatible cables to deliver service to 90% of TI-Phone users."

The company also released a statement warning customers that the TI-Phone is still "in development," and "features found on other cellular telephones may not be implemented until the release of later OS versions." Indeed, the current OS (which at the time of printing was version 1.01) has very few useful features when compared to other companies' models. For example, the screen is only 96×64 and monochrome, making the TI-Phone comparable to phones of a decade earlier. Also outdated is the phone's use of non-rechargeable AAA batteries, which can drain quickly during intensive use. Very few applications are included with the OS, and though TI claims the phone can send and receive third-party software, this software can come as either a program or an application, causing confusion for many purchasers. However, the phone does come with extensive financial software, which, according to Texas Instruments, is an "integral part of the TI-Phone OS, just as IE is to Microsoft Windows."

Read more:
Our homepage needs help Aug 30
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
The home page for ClrHome Productions has now been moved to clrhome.webs.com. I need to find people to join, though, before I can set up that Projects section. In other words, we need to find some BASIC, Axe, and ASM programmers to join.
And we're baaack! Aug 27
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
Actually, I've been back from the place for nearly a month now, but I've finally found the time to bother posting here again. This means that I'm back to my calculator (finally) and back to programming. First priority, of course, is that thing I was working on (now called Simul) for the contest. Unfortunately for some reason, I no longer have as much of that primal urge I've always had when it's come to calculators, and progress has been slowing down a lot.

The better side of this is that in the free time I've found by not obsessing with my calculator every open minute of my life, I've rediscovered computers, this time with Java. More specifically, bot-making now seems just as addicting as my precious Graphite.

Another way to use up the extra free time is to rearrange and remake all my major computer-based projects, which means that this blog is going to be having a total purging of impure substances. The downside of reposting all my posts, though, is that all comments and votes are being reset, so if you've noticed that your comment's gone, please don't take offense. And enjoy the new site at ClrHome Productions Home!
Low activity ahead Jul 2
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
A few days ago, I finally found some free time to add a post or two to my blog, which you are apparently reading. Unfortunately, I found that the government of the country in which I will be living for a month and a half (including all of July) blocks all Blogger blogs. [Insert hysterical anti-Communist rant here.] This is just one more dreadful inconvenience caused by my visit to an otherwise acceptable nation, (definitely) not the least of which is the fact that I will be without my calculator for [sniff] 42 days (oh, the irony—that's the very number I took 7½ million years to find.

This will likely be the last post until the beginning of August (which means that I will have to cancel or at least postpone the "news" item planned for July). So as an update, here's what was in development before I stopped programming:

  • Anyform: Done, would have released a beta if I had had time before being whisked off to this place.
  • Nspire Anyform: Done, will release as soon as I get my hands on the Nspire that has the program.
  • Calcalca: Yes, it all works! Now to figure out how to make it several times faster.
  • Secret project: I haven't come up with a name yet, but I'm planning one. Even if now is definitely the worst time to start working on any project of the sort (that's the only hint you'll get until the alpha release (and yes, this is the first time I'm actually going to release alphas and betas for a project)).
  • Axe Parser contest entry: I have decided to try entering into a contest again, and I'm actually proud of what will become my first Axe project. The individual sections that will eventually make up the game have already been made, and for the past week or so I've been working on tying them all together. It didn't work; I found out later (after being separated from my calculator by cruel fate) that I forgot about Axe's strangely linear form of OOP (order of operations). Hopefully, this is the only error the program has, or else I'm going to have a ton of debugging work to do. Ugh. (By the way, I'm (possibly temporarily) calling the project Fourplay. And in case you're wondering, this is completely safe for work/children.)
Calcalca rises again Jun 23
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
On an otherwise insignificant day last year, I was searching through the Google help files (for no particular reason) when I came upon the documentation for Google Calculator. What it showed me was that the Google search bar, which I, and most other Internet users around the globe, have used countless times, actually supported a built-in calculator function. In other words, if you type "50 slugs*mi^2/hr^3/(A*ohm) in milliamps," it actually shows you the answer as 40.5071535 milliamperes.

Amazed, I decided that someone had to make something like that for the calculator. If the calculator couldn't support Internet searches, at least I could code an automatic unit converter in TI-BASIC. Thus, I went on a coding rage, and managed in a month to make a 5 KB program that could take input such as "3 N*M INTO FT*LB" and display the answer as 3.68781075. Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to integrate division, parentheses, or other operations no matter how hard I tried, so I put it in "indefinite hold" mode, as I have done to so many other projects. And just like those other projects, I ended up deleting the whole thing to make room for something more practical.

For no apparent reason, I decided to bring it up again, first by posting on a couple of calculator-related forums. I was originally asking for help, since with all the other programs in development (which was why I decided to hold CyanIDE), I didn't have much more time to devote to another major project, which I would have to start from scratch again. After realizing that this would probably be one of my more successful projects, I decided to go full-speed on the development of this program, now called Calcalca (because I was too lazy to come up with a more creative name).

The results amazed me. In one hour I had coded all that I worked on for a month last year, and two days later, all the functions that had stumped me a year ago were integrated. It's still a bit slow (taking 5 seconds for an average expression and ten for something a bit more complex), but overall, I'm satisfied with it.
It happens again... May 26
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
My worst fears came true: I am pausing development of CyanIDE indefinitely, which means that's one more failure at perseverance. Already, I've given up on Calcalca (Google Calculator for the TI-83 Plus), Sirtet (reverse Tetris), and many other programs, many of which were very close to being done (or in the case of Sirtet, already done). At least this time, I'm pulling out early—by the best estimates, CyanIDE was 0.1% completed.

The reason I'm giving up on this is not because I don't have the skills necessary to make an IDE (I'm sure I'd figure it out in a few more months), or because I'm too lazy. I've simply decided I'm taking on too many programs at once—Crates, Millionaire, Anyform, Classic and Drunken Snake, Insanity II, and the dozen or so programs in the proposed All About series. Add to that the fact that I'm somewhat behind on things I actually should be doing, and there's a sufficient number of reasons why quit the programming early.

Who knows—I might start it up someday in the future, or ask someone on some random forum to help me.
Cheater v3.0 a success May 8
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
This may sound pointless to a casual observer, but it makes me very proud to be a TI-BASIC developer. One of my programs, Cheater v3.0, has been online on ticalc.org for a whole month now, and it is still ranked #9 in the top downloads list for the past seven days. This has never before happened to any of my programs, not even Cheater v2.0, though that was relatively successful as well. Apparently, all the world loves to cheat.

Although each succeeding program that I've released in the Cheater series has been more popular than all previous programs, I have decided that I will not be working on a Cheater v4.0. There is a sufficient number of functions included in the three programs I have made thus far, and future helpful programs will be released separately.

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