Welcome to ClrHome
More site stuff Jan 23
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
I finally got a working guestbook up and managed to get the login box for the blog onto the main site as well, both using Google Friend Connect. Lots of new JavaScript, which probably isn't such a good idea. But it works.

The Projects page got completely redone (again), this time to add screenshot tooltips when you mouseover certain projects. We're getting ready to make a separate page for each project, too, so the project links'll actually link somewhere soon.

As for members, more people are going to join the dev team in a few days. And I actually started working on my tutorials! Look for more updates soon!
PapiJump and Ximp Jan 20
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
First of all, I finally got around to making another screenshot of Simul (after I realized how bad the first one was). Unfortunately, the screenshot still seems a bit lacking, especially in showing the fading out in level transitions. Since I'm obviously pretty bad at making screenshots, though, it's good enough.

I also finished up PapiJump by adding the menus (including both the main menu and the scrolling "Game Over" menu which were in the original iPhone game) and making a high score system that writes back the the program. No special modes, unfortunately, but I might do that later.

Finally, there's Ximp (the Ximp Image Manipulation Program). It'll include all the tools like filling and smearing that you'd expect in an image editor, saving to a re-editable format, exporting to Pic variables and to hex for copying in XDE, and either layers or objects (I haven't decided which yet). I haven't finished planning it yet, but when I do, it'll be awesome!
Casio-burning ceremony leaves three dead Jan 17
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
At least three people have died of toxic fume inhalation after what appears to be a calculator-burning ritual Monday morning. Another four are currently in a nearby hospital, where they are in critical condition.

Evidently, this resulted from an organized calculator-burning ceremony in which eight mutual friends took part.

One member of the cult, who miraculously escaped through a nearby window, explained the situation: "You know that Prizm thing? That color graphing calc Casio released a few weeks ago? We wanted to show our loyalty to Texas Instruments by getting together a group of friends and burning a couple of Prizms." Apparently this act of devotion turned deadly when the group forgot to open the windows of the warehouse, essentially trapping themselves in with the toxic smoke produced by burning electronic parts.

This event is painfully reminiscent of the Kindle-burning tragedy that left eight dead last year. That incident also involved a group of eight who together burned a pile of electronics in protest.

Read more:
Another big move Jan 17
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
We updated the site, again.

I finished touching up the CSS so that the two halves of the site would look identical. Then I added an actual sidebar to the main site with links to follow us and our fake news.

Most importantly, I moved the entire thing to a new host and URL. The site's now located at http://clrhome.co.cc/, hosted by 000webhost and www.co.cc. It should be a lot faster now with a lot less advertising, and a lot less prone to random 404 errors. (In other words, Webs sucks.)

That meant I had to go back through every page and every blog post and update every single site link. It took a while, and I probably missed a few, so if you find a broken link here, please add a comment below. Remember that the guestbook is entirely down now that it's not being supplied by Webs. I'll be making a new one soon.

So enjoy the new site, and remember to update your links and bookmarks!
Back to the BASICs Jan 17
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
It's been a really long time since I last touched pure BASIC on my calculator, and even longer since I'd made a game with it. In fact, Absolute Insanity was probably my last full game made in BASIC. Since then I'd been completely possessed by a little language called Axe. It's just so frickin' fast.

Well, now I have to get back to BASIC for the next cage match. I already have an entry thought out, and guess what: it's another platformer. Hopefully it'll turn out better than the ones I've made so far.

Now to get past finals week and all that stuff, and I'll finally be able to start.
High School Musical 5: Held Back Jan 6
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
More fun with the Gimp.

Almost there Dec 26
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
Well, it's been a pretty big year for us. Our only year, anyway, but it's been great. We just passed our 2500 pageviews milestone, with visitors from places around the world as varied as Australia and Latvia. Our site's changed again and again, going from host to host and stylesheet to unnecessarily complicated stylesheet until we got just the layout we wanted. You can see the changes in our navbar and post layout as we finally got the CSS for the blog and main site to match. And I'm happy with how it looks now, finally.

As for our projects, that section's exploded too. I still have to put up some of my earliest projects in the showcase, but it's already a lot better than before. Contra's still going well in dev, with the engine almost done; I've almost finished PapiJump, and apparently now both I and yunhua98 are working on a Doodle Jump clone. Other projects we still have lying around include Bomberman and XDE, so look out for more updates on those in the future.

As always, though, we're still looking for more members to join. "Our team at ClrHome Productions" still refers to a very small group of people (two, to be exact), so if you're a decent TI-BASIC, Axe, or TI-ASM programmer, or if you make computer programs related to calculators, don't be afraid to apply (but don't be discouraged if you're rejected). Even if you aren't, there are other ways to help listed on that page.

And from all (er, both) of us at ClrHome Productions, have a merry Christmas and happy New Year!
Calculators to be banned? Dec 20
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
Just two months after the Department of Education's recommendation that calculator usage be restricted in schools, a recent survey shows that school districts across the country are already taking action to reduce the number of calculators in use in U.S. schools. The survey, conducted by Erron Surveying Services, asked 38 school districts in 22 states for their opinions on electronic calculating devices. Twenty-six of the districts surveyed, representing over a hundred high schools, said they would introduce new rules banning calculators from being used in high school courses. Most planned to put these rules into effect by the next school year, but eight in particular said the would at least "consider" applying these changes by January first of 2011. Another three districts had not officially adopted plans for phasing out calculator usage but were in the process of deciding.

These new rules, created after a Department study discovered that students could play games on many models of graphing calculators, would ban the use of all calculators with graphing capabilities in all high school classrooms. As expected, the news caused outrage from parents and students.

"We need our calculators!" exclaimed a junior we interviewed. "They're really useful! And we don't always use them to play games in class. We need them for math, too."

A math teacher at a Chicago-area high school agreed. "I've known for years that students like to keep games on their calculators, which they sometimes play in class. It becomes a problem when the student ignores me every class, but I don't think we should ban calculators. At least not yet. We're still very used to using graphing calculator technology as a way of quickly investigating and learning about many different subjects in math."

A superintendent at the same school district had a different opinion. "Math classes have existed for hundreds of years before calculators were invented," he pointed out. "Why can't we go back to the old days, when there weren't so many distractions in the classroom?"

A spokesperson for the Department of Education also argued that calculators were "disrupting the learning environment in our education systems." "It was crushing," he said. "We never thought that even calculators could be used for gaming. We even found some students who had completely replaced the operating systems of their calculators, so that they were no longer able to do math at all. We know that students and teachers may argue that the benefits outweigh the costs, especially in advanced-level math classes, but the fact remains: Calculators are a prime cause of the deterioration of American education." Referring to the rules already in effect in school districts nationwide banning the use of iPods and cellular phones in class, he claimed that restrictions on calculators would help schools maintain an "environment suitable to learning."

Read more:
IE not compatible Dec 20
by yunhua98 ClrHome Staff
A message from ClrHome Productions to our readers:

If you use Internet Explorer 7 or below, we (and over 90.00% of webmasters) strongly suggest you get a new browser. You may have noticed by now that the navbar on the pages of our main site get weird when you mouseover the drop-down menus. That's a problem that only earlier versions of Internet Explorer suffer (as faithfully testified by this infographic), and we're not going to fix it. Plus, Internet Explorer renders ClrHome, as well as just about any site you want to visit, a lot slower than any other browser. So face it: IE sucks.

And if that's not enough, we've added some nice background music to our main site pages for the enjoyment of IE7-and-below users. It repeats the line "Get Firefox. Or Chrome. Or Safari. Anything but Internet Effing Explorer." over and over. Forever.

So if you're still using Internet Explorer 7 or below, please upgrade. There's Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera out there. Seriously, anything's better.

And if you're a serious Microsoft lackey and refuse to switch to any other browser, at least upgrade to IE8 or 9. They're reasonably fast and will render most sites (including our own) correctly. And it'll even get rid of that annoying voice for you.
Starting over Dec 15
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
This is pretty much the opposite of an update. I deleted my Contra project group yet again (on purpose). I'm still working on it, of course, but I thought I should start over with a completely different structure to the program. This is the third time I've started Contra from scratch, mostly because I'm constantly learning about and thinking of new Axe tricks to use. (On a related note, I'm on my third incarnation of XDE as well).

Since I did that I've already gotten to where I was before, except that it completely supports sidescrolling now. In other words, you can play a full, 100×7-tile levelmap of Contra (assuming you play with only plain blocks and empty space, which still isn't much of a game). Next up I'll be adding firing back in and sticking enemies in with it, and hopefully I can get a screenshot up in a few days.
Programming with OS 2.53MP Dec 13
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
In the spirit of the Interwebs, I present my parody of http://www.i-marco.nl/weblog/images/breakdown.png. This chart speaks for itself. (Click for a larger version.)

* Deep Thought stabs self Dec 8
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
Great, now that I've used up most of my class time for stuff related to calculators, I've procrastinated a month's worth of homework for two AP classes into exactly one day. And if that zero I just got on a quiz is any sign, I'm probably going to more or less fail the exams we have for those classes (tomorrow and the day after, respectively) unless I start doing something. I can probably pull it off if I actually start now, but what sucks is that it'll mean I'll have to put all my projects on hold for an entire two days, something I still can't bring myself to do.

And so I'm thinking of banning myself from Omnimaga, deleting this stupid blog, and locking down my calculator with a life-or-death version of a certain random numbar game until I finish rehabilitating.

It's pretty tough to realize that after all these years, I still have a life.
Major updates Dec 4
by Deep Thought ClrHome Staff
I finally got bored enough to make all those site updates I'd wanted to do for the past few months. It might not look very different at first glance, but trust me: just look around, and you'll notice a lot of changes.

First of all, the navbar on the main page finally matches the one Blogger gave me for the blog (it took a lot of improvisation and some really, really crappy CSS, so if you ever saw the mess at our style sheet, now you know why). I like it a lot better than the default one Webs gave me, anyway.

We also redid the Projects page entirely (and not just by adding new projects). It's a lot easier to navigate now that each project description has changed to a sort of a sliding hidden bar. And of course there are a lot of new projects on the page as we added our projects in bit by bit. There are still a lot more to add, especially in the Earliest category, but that'll come eventually. Also, I split the Helpful stuff group into Math programs and For coders, since the original group was getting a bit big.

And finally, the "Join the team" page is now an actual page (instead of automatically redirecting to the form). It's also not just for people who want to join: now that I've finally gotten the ClrHome userbar done with some of our more "interesting" news articles (find it on the Join page above).

Comments? Question? Suggestions? Rants? Just post a comment right here.
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.

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Welcome! ClrHome is a site and programming group with a variety of upcoming projects and finished products for the Texas Instruments line of graphing calculators, as well as an extensive collection of popular resources to help you make your own programs.

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