>> Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Months go by without any news and now I don't know how often to publish the new status of Frog Feast on CD-i. Currently it's a hot topic and Charles just posted a new demo version, which you can test on your CD-i player! Download the new CD-i demo right here and let Charles know your experiences. We will post our test results as soon as possible. Charles: "The first working demo of the new Frog Feast is up. There is no user input. But, it does display the credit screens seen in other versions, and the title screen with sprites and text. I haven't implemented input in this version. That is next on the agenda. This has more functionality than the first CD-I demo. Once I add in user input, the game should start playing. Probably with issues, but it should show signs of the game. This is written using direct calls into the OS, based on the Green Book standard. Which is about as low level as you can go on a CD-I player, and still remain in compliance with the Green Book standard. Keep looking back for the latest info as this post is constantly updated!
"I've added the new routines. This brings the new version to the same level of functionality as the last demo. The two splash screens are displayed on double buffered Plane A, and the Title Screen is displayed, without the text layer. While the two splash screens are being shown, the remaining graphics and palette are loaded into memory, and the background screens are transferred into Plane B. The splash screens conceal the loading into Plane B. Plane A is cleared to reveal the Title screen. The application should spend less than a second (Assuming a 140kb/s loading from the CD) running before it shows it's first image. Tonight, I should progress to a new level of functionality, and possibly have the first interactive CD-I Frog Feast. I have to implement the Text Layer, Sprite, and Input routines. The next major issue could be the speed of the game; it could play slowly due to the sprite clearing/drawing routines. Sound and music will probably take some time to get working.
I got the text layer and sprites working on the CD-I. I still need to test it out to ensure it does correctly erase the sprites and text. This will require user input, which is next on the agenda. I may still need to optimize the routines, but I'm going to wait until the game is running before I make a determination on that. The updated version is on the CD-I page. The demo zip contains the current version. In the next day or two, I should have user input working, and the game screen showing."
And now the best news from Oldergames: "I wanted everyone to know that we may be seeing this game released in the next month or so."
Update July 12th: "This is an in game screen shot of the CD-I version of Frog Feast. There are some graphics issues, and Plane A isn't properly cleared. Speed may not be as big of an issue as I thought it was going to be. The game seems to run smoothly. Now, it's just a matter of debugging the code, and redoing the input routines. The input routines are based on the ones I had in the initial version of Frog Feast; they wre only used to read the button state. Seeing it almost work is definitely motivating me to fix the issues and get this running.
The CD-I Frog Feast is coming along nicely. The game is fully playable, except it plays in slow motion. I've obviously got some optimization work ahead of me. I had to do the same thing for the FM Towns version. It could be a bug in a routine. I like optimizing code in asm, especially in 68000 asm, so this should be a fun challenge! The CD-I page contains the new version. This should be the last preview before the final release. I may do one more to test out the joystick input."
July 13th: "The biggest part of my slowdown was the C code. I had to do the same thing for the SNES version, since the compiler didn't do any optimizations. In addition, I've optimized the blitting and erasing code a lot. I don't think I can get too much more speed at the assembly level. This brings to mind Michael Abrash (he wrote an old Dr. Dobbs Journal column on graphics programming) columns on programming and optimzation. He basically said that optimization to a routine are really only limited by the perceived limitations of the problem. Another big problem was the sequence of waiting for the vertical blank, changing Plane start address, and starting the update. I got this working correctly and the flicker appears to be gone. The next challenge is rewriting the input code, which should speed up the code a little bit more."
July 14th: "Frog Feast plays at near full speed. I further optimized a lot of the lower level assembly language drawing code; in addition the C code was also optimized in critical places. The results should run well on any CD-I player. I also cleaned up a lot of the little bugs remaining. I still have a few remaining bug; and I need to get a second controller working and get music and sound working. I would like to have this ready for OlderGames by the end of next week. A new demo is on the CD-I plage. Although two player mode can be selected, only one joystick is currently read. Also, this version has the flies disabled, so you cannot get any points. In one player mode the second frog will jump around. In an e-mail exchange with CD-i Fan, it sounds like there will be some CD-i systems that won't support a second joystick using a splitter."
July 15th: The source code for CD-I Frog Feast will be released. You will still need to buy the game for the data files. It may not be too useful. It includes a lot of asm code, which is optimized for the game specifically. Someone will have to have a good knowledge of 68000 asn to create a different game with it. The CD-I is like the X68000, in that it has an underpowered processor driving a bitmapped display. The 4 bit mode might be better for games.
Check out our last demo test right here. More info about the game progressing and a video of Frog Feast you can find here. Many thanks to Charles, the creator of Frog Feast.