Back in March 2017, Javi Agenjo (tamat) created a SID visualizer that could show a lot of the inner workings of the SID chip while playing a tune. I had thought about making something similar, but after a chat in Javi’s blog post the source code was made public and I decided to improve upon this instead.
This was a third person puzzle game with inspiration from games such as Portal and Fez. At times it also felt like a distant sibling to Tron 2.0. I controlled a robot finding my way through chambers of blocks. A hub area filled with blocks led to secluded chambers where I had to puzzle my way to an exit door.
There were three major areas in the game, each concentrated around a hub. The first was dominantly blue with square or rectangular blocks. The second was more cyan with pentagon blocks. And finally the third was blood red, surrounding a big structure with ability-draining fields that had to be turned off.
The robot could shoot orange or blue energy from each hand (mouse buttons) and jump on the blocks. Red jump pads boosted me away or blue gravity wells sucked me in, and their type could be switched with a shot. Later, blocks and platforms also floated on beams. Platforms of this kind had a certain pattern they went through, while the blocks could be started and stopped with a shot. Smoldering platforms were also used although thankfully sparingly, as they disappeared in seconds and always made me frantic.
I have created a large HTML table that compares a lot of music editors on the Commodore 64.
You can use it for a ton of things. How much CPU time does a player from that editor use? How many SID chips does it support? Does it have multispeed? How many instruments can it have? Does it have this or that feature in a table? Almost anything you can imagine, this table aims to deliver.
And if it doesn’t – or you have an update – just throw me a comment in this blog post.
March 8, 2018: Double-checked and updated player sizes and rasterline numbers.
March 4, 2018: Added DefleMask 0.12.0.
March 2, 2018: Added capability rows for arpeggio and vibrato in the Player section.
March 1-2, 2018: Added capability rows for pulsating and filtering in the Player section.
February 28, 2018: Used SIDDump to measure and update some of the rasterline numbers.
February 27, 2018: An Unsticky Table button can now be used if the table won’t display properly.
February 26, 2018: Added SidTracker 64 1.0.3.
February 25, 2018: Added DMC 5.0.
February 24, 2018: First version with 10 editors.
Here’s my first GoatTracker SID tune in standard PAL speed. It was made for the 8580 SID chip.
The bass drum instrument is not quite as sharp in the packed tune as it was in GoatTracker. Perhaps it was the packer that messed with this – I’ve had similar difficulties with my own packer back in the day. Does anyone know how to match that in the packed tune?
Here’s the SID tune: One_Knight_Stand.sid
Spoiler warning! I will pretend that you have already played the game.
This game was so permeated in atmosphere it was almost dripping from it, but it also helped that it was the very first game I played on my new 32″ Acer Predator XB321HK monitor, and in 4K of course.
It was very similar to Limbo, the previous game by the same developer. So much so that it almost felt like Limbo II. Again it was a platform puzzle game mostly scrolling to the left, and again I sometimes had to run for my life from evil men in a story without a beginning. It even started in exactly the same way – here’s the kid; now go. No backstory or tutorial for you.
Where Limbo was almost all black and white, Inside had a very faint use of color. The kid in my control was wonderfully animated, especially considering that he didn’t have a face. Music was rare. Most of the time it was a humming ambient sound to complete the feeling of an amazing atmosphere. And the controls were incredibly sparse. Move, jump and interact. Sometimes interacting in a direction.
It didn’t take another 6 years to play the next World of Warcraft expansion like it did last time, more like 6 months or so. It helped that the theme was more interesting, the garrisons were enticing, and again it was another free expansion because of Legion being the one the masses focused on at the moment.
And most importantly, how did Draenor compare to Outland?
To get one thing right off the bat, I liked Warlords of Draenor more than Mists of Pandaria. There really is something to be said for how the darker story lines and enemies befit the game. I thought Pandaria was an interesting departure, but at the end of the day I feel more at home fighting orcs and demons in sinister landscapes. And Draenor had some amazing looking zones too.
Those tragus things we have just above our ear channels that aids in collecting sounds from behind, why didn’t mother nature give them muscles so we can shut our ears without having to use our fingers?
Such a wasted evolutionary opportunity.
— Jens-Christian Huus (@jchuus) January 6, 2018
I was a coder and musician myself on the C64 and often paying attention to other composers, both to the technical side of things as well as the music itself. It was important to keep track of the competition to see if there were new tricks, styles, sounds or techniques to pick up on.
At the end of the day we all needed inspiration.
So, what did I think of the other top dog C64 musicians back in the 80’s and 90’s?
I just started watching the fifth season of Elementary on Netflix that was made available yesterday. It’s a crime procedural series I’ve been watching faithfully since I first joined Netflix a while back. Jonny Lee Miller plays a modern day Sherlock Holmes, and Lucy Liu a female Watson. It works surprisingly well. In fact, I like the series better than the other modern day version with Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.
Is it me or are there considerably less crime procedural series nowadays? A few years back we were swimming in them. CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds, and all their spin-off series. It was too much and we got tired of it in the end, craving new ideas.
Today, I actually miss them back again.
All these adventure series are fine and all, but sometimes I just want to sit back and relax with a crime procedural series where each episode is more or less self-contained. Elementary fits this bill quite nicely.
However, after watching the first three episodes of the fifth season, I’ve noticed a few interesting things about the series.
First, a bit of a rant. What the hell is up with Lucy Liu wearing TIES!? Cut that out! Ties, like suspenders, never look good on a woman. No, really! Let the men wear these things in peace. It’s not like you girls don’t have a ton of other options.
It’s hard not to notice how often Lucy Liu changes her wardrobe. Typically 4-5-6 times an episode. I’ve seen a lot of other series where the protagonists wear their suit the entire episode. I have a feeling it’s quite deliberate; they are turning Lucy Liu into some kind of a fashion show.
It has a silver lining in that it gets rid of that awful tie.
Sometimes it feels like the writers of the show relies a little bit too much on their style. For example, try to pay attention to whenever Sherlock Holmes starts accusing a person of a crime. The person typically denies everything to begin with, but at some point later during the conversation, he or she might throw the “say you’re right” card to follow a hypothetical line in the hope of undermining Sherlock’s arguments.
This dialog trick pops up alarmingly often.
But I must say I really love this show. All of the characters are quite likable and I also like how Holmes and Watson often get into discussions at home that has nothing to do with the case they’re working on.