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Day 12 : Tetris on Game Boy (1989)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

There are so many Tetris clones out there, and yet the one on Game Boy is the one of the very few that get it right. Many poor clones don’t play by the rules and there are several essential things that make a good Tetris :

  • Don’t drop the blocks all the way to the bottom when you press down, instead accelerate gradually.
  • When you stop pressing down, the block must immediately stop to fall fast.
  • When a block touches the ground it must be able to move left and right until another block appears on top of the screen.

That’s quite simple actually but yet, so many clones mess this bad. Let’s take Quadrapassel, the Teris shipped with Ubuntu, it’s horrible! The blocks fall way to fast when you press down, you cannot move them once they touch the ground and the blocks move in a jerky manner. Quadrapassel is a very unpleasant Tetris indeed.

Today’s game also uses Mednafen, just like Super Mario Bros 3. There was very little changes in the source code. I only defined what controls to use for the game boy and that was it.

I know I messed things up, but it gave me the wrong blocks !

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Day 11 : Super Mario Bros 3 on NES (1988)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

It rarely get better than this : Super Mario Bros 3 is one of the very best games ever made. It’s by far the best Mario on the NES at least.

The runner used for the NES is Mednafen, which also runs all GameBoy, Lynx and PC Engine games. Mednafen is also a very complex emulator with tons of options. Sadly, it seems that Mednafen authors hate Europeans and AZERTY keyboard users (They’re not the only ones, many developers are QWERTY-centric).

With Lutris you don’t have to worry about this as your emulator will hopefully be completely configured before the game starts. There is still many options to implement in Lutris in order to appreciate the full potential of Mednafen but for now you can play NES games without any fuss and that’s what matters the most.

Eat a leaf, become a racoon

Oh and by the way, don’t bother telling me about fceu. I don’t see the point in having another emulator for NES which isn’t as good as mednafen. At least Mednafen runs well on the OLPC…

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Day 10 : Bubble Bobble on C64 (1987)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

At last! I think we’re finished with the boring games and we can start playing some awesome stuff !

Today’s game is Bubble Bobble by Taito. It was one of my first games on the Amiga many years ago but here we’re going to play it on the C64. (I’ve never seen a real C64 in my life, that’s a shame.)

The emulator of choice for old Commodore machines is vice, it’s maintained, it’s in the Ubuntu repos, nothing wring there. You can get the roms here, just extract them to ~/.vice , you should have a file named ~/.vice/C64/kernal.  Kernal ?! WTF ! Well, it’s an actual mispelling of Kernel, you can read about it on Wikipedia.

Everything else is pretty straightforward, new runner for vice, with the usual options. Don’t forget to make use of the new resolution option as vice doesn’t deal with resolution switching by himself.

Bubble Bobble

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Day 9 : Alex Kidd in Miracle World on Sega Master System (1986)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

Boy, I hate Alex Kidd ! Was this game considered good in ’86 ? Why has it become such a ‘classic’ ?  And what happened to is hand ? Poor kid …

Nevermind, I promise you’ll see some good games very soon.

For the Sega Master System I chose Osmose which of course isn’t packaged. Need to become MOTU, need to become Debian Maintainer just to be able to play shitty games like Alex Kidd or Cosmic Conflict.

Building Osmose is quite easy if you know how to fix the #includes which are mysteriously missing from some source files (and I’m talking about common includes like string.h and stdlib.h). Weird.  Once this this done, just jam the osmose binary in /usr/local/bin and you’re good to go. (Remember, NEVER put things you compile yourself in /usr/share, this is for Debian packages ONLY).

I may take the screenshots I publish on the blog in windowed mode, I never would play that way. Windowed mode’s for losers. Always play fullscreen or go do something useful like learning C. The problem with osmose and people with a good computer (that means at least 2 screens and a NVidia card) is that the fullscreen mode stretches on both screens. That’s too much full screen for me … Well now Lutris has the ability to change resolution before running the game, and don’t worry, it will put things back in order when the game quits. This is quite useful for games that don’t know how to handle resolution properly like the Steam version of The Dig.

Alex Kidd in Lame World

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Day 8 : Alien 8 on the Amstrad CPC (1985)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

Today, I’m not going to look for a half descent CPC emulator. I’m pretty sure there isn’t one except MESS which will get my attention later. Instead I’ll focus on an Alien 8 remake by Retrospec.

There isn’t a Linux build yet and the sources depend on Allegro and FMod to compile. Remember o2em the Odysey 2 emulator which also required Allegro ? It means that if I get to build the Alien8 remake, at best I’ll get no sound at all.

F-Mod is also painfull to use, I remember failing hard when trying to compile stuff needing this library. I’ll try getting a Linux build of Alien8 but for now, I’ll just run the game with Wine. Alien8 runs perfectly, meaning that there is very little need for a Linux build for the moment.

Getting a Linux build of Alien8 is not something we absolutely *need*, but getting a method for compiling code dependent of F-Mod and Allegro is much more important. Alien8 will be the testing ground for this.

The Alien8 remake

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Day 7 : Pitfall II on Atari 2600 (1984)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

I’m starting to get tired of these shitty old games but we’ve got a few more days to go with them and then we’ll get to the good stuff. Today’s game is Pitfall 2, exactly the kind of game that make me wonder how it could ever become a classic. There’s nothing really great about it and basically it sucks.

At least it wasn’t too much effort to get it running with Lutris. There’s an Atari 2600 emulator in Debian / Ubuntu called Stella which does the job pretty well.

Pitfall ? More like shitfall !

And, yeah before somebody notices it, I know that the years of the games in the last few days are wrong. Blame MobyGames, not me.

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Day 6 : Lode Runner on the Apple II (1983)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

Today’s game was almost a failure. I couldn’t find a descent Apple II emulator out there. As I said earlier, I’m not dealing with sdlmess right now because it deserves much more time. I found and emulator on sourceforge called openapple which seemed to be what I wanted. I updated the Makefile to compile it on  a recent system and I couldn’t find a correct Rom file (even if I had Apple II roms for MESS). It kept asking me for a cxrom.rom which started by 0x0F00 by looking at the source code.  Well… no luck there.

Then I went for kegs which is an Apple IIgs emulator. I got it to compile an run but it wouldn’t load an Apple II Lode Runner floppy …

I will put Apple II support when sdlmess support is implemented, but for now I just want to find a quick way to let people play Lode Runner on Apple II.

So I added browser games support. Really simple, enter an  URL and it opens your game in your favorite browser.

Of course you can use this runner for any game in the browser, QuakeLive … or Farmville.

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Day 5 : Zork on the Z-Machine (1982)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

Zork is one of the first interactive fiction game ever made, it was ported on an old bunch of machines but we’re not going to be dependent of any of them to play this game. The game was written in a language called z-code and we just have to get a z-code interpreter to run it. Now that’s a portable game !

In Lutris I’m going to support the interpreter called Frotz. Nothing special about this new runner except it runs in a terminal, so I have to call it with x-terminal-emulator which will call whatever terminal you have set in your preferences (gnome-terminal, terminator, xterm, etc …)

Eaten by a grue

As usual, get the source code here : https://code.launchpad.net/~strycore/lutris/trunk and have fun !

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Day 4 : Asteroids, the arcade game (1981)

by on Mar.21, 2010, under lutris

Hello everybody, how are you today ? Wait …. what ? It’s been days since the last post!  This Lutris ‘marathon’ was supposed to be 33 days long and now almost a month has gone by without any new content! Well, that what happen in life, sometimes you find a paid job and you don’t have as much time for your unpaid Open Source projects.

Ok, nevermind, let’s go on with today’s game : Asteroids. I’m not sure it’s really from 1981, the game itself says 1979 but I got my game list before playing it on MobyGames and they said ’81. It’s not a big deal anyway…

Asteroid, classic vector graphics shooter, not much to say here. I’ve added a few enhancements in the SDLMame runner and put back the joystick icons in the Status Bar. What’s that ? Well when you plug a joystick on your computer an icon (or several depending on the number of joysticks). In future versions, Lutris will refuse to launch certain games if no joysticks are plugged. This is because once you’ve started the game the joysticks won’t be detected if you plug them afterwards.  For the moment there is no such options so you’ll have to check the status bar to see if your joysticks are correcly plugged in.

Asteroids

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Day 3: Space Invaders on Atari 8 Bit (1980)

by on Feb.26, 2010, under lutris

Today we have a classic ! Well , almost. Like a lot of games, Atari conversions were not as good as their Arcade counterparts and the same goes for Space Invaders on the Atari 8Bit computers.

I want my classic Space Invaders aliens back !

Nevermind, the arcade games already works in Lutris thanks to sdlmame, and today I added support for the Atari800 emulator. For the first time in the Lutris marathon, we actually have and emulator which is correctly supported in Debian and Ubuntu. No weird script to run, nothing to compile, just one click and it’s installed. Another great thing is that the AtariOS and Roms are freely and legally available, you can download them from the emulator’s website. This seems to be an easy day then ? Well, since almost everything just worked out of the box, I added some nifty features to the Atari800 runner.  First thing is the Bios autodetection. All you have to do is give the path to where you store your Atari Bios and OS and Lutris will automatically find out which files are the good ones to put on the command line. This is also going to be useful for other runners…

Another thing I added is resolution autodetection. No more weird list of resolutions with stuff that’s not even supported by your monitor.

There should be some extra options for joypad configuration but that will come another day.

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