Quote of the Day

One of the sites I visit frequently recently posted an article where the director of Logan (James Mangold) warns that fandom backlash will push talent out of genre films.

I really liked lightninglouie’s comment to that post:

To be fair, it seems to be mainly Star Wars. There have been at least a half-dozen or more disappointing Star Trek movies (conservative estimate), several less-than-great X-Men movies, and a shitload of terrible Bond movies, but I don’t remember any death threats in the aftermath of those films. Almost all of the Alien and Indiana Jones sequels have been mediocre to terrible. The DC movies have also been pretty shitty (pre- and post-DCEU), but I don’t remember anyone suggesting that Bryan Singer should have been murdered for Superman Returns. The Marvel movies go off in all sorts of weird and unorthodox directions and the fans are pretty much on board with that.

Nah, it’s mostly Star Wars. And I’d suggest there’s a good reason for that. For 22 years, there were only three Star Wars movies (no, let’s not count the Holiday Special or the Ewok things), and so the hardcore fans had to make do with their own ideas about what the universe was like. (Sure, there were comics and novels in the ‘90s, but nobody was under any illusions that they were 100% canonical.) And so any official attempts to expand that universe are going to run up against those assumptions, whether it was Lucas’s or Disney’s versions of the saga. Most franchises are immunized against that sort of thing because they’re either constantly undergoing soft or hard reboots (like Star Trek and Batman) or have multiple characters and storylines going on simultaneously, like the MCU. That’s where Mangold was dead-on. Star Wars is basically a religion in a way that other franchises aren’t. And when you add newer testaments to the canon, the true believers are gonna get testy.

From JCH’s Special Collection

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I had my entire collection of 2500+ C64 floppy disks converted to D64 files a few years back, but I also had a few special boxes that wasn’t in on that deal. It was mostly my own work disks plus a few unique ones I had set aside for later studying. Back in April, a friend converted all these to D64 files as well.

Lately, I’ve been snooping around in these 670+ D64 files, and oh yes – there were gems to be found.

I’m going to present my findings in this blog post. Some have been uploaded to CDSb already, some are entirely new. Of course it’s mostly SID tunes, but there are a few PRG files to run as well.

DeepSID

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I have made my own online SID player.

This was actually something I had originally discarded since I wasn’t satisfied with the state of the JavaScript SID emulators I had found online. The one for the SID Visualizer (which uses jsSID by jhohertz) couldn’t play digi tunes and neither could the one by Hermit. Playing digi tunes was a requirement for me.

But then I checked out Jürgen Wothke’s WebSID and it was at a level I found satisfying. It can play all sorts of tunes with weird timings, including digi tunes. Only BASIC tunes are not supported (sod those) as well as 2SID/3SID tunes (a shame but I can live with that for now).

Later, I also added Hermit’s jsSID emulator, and it can play those 2SID/3SID tunes. And again later, I added support for Stone Oakvalley’s Authentic SID Collection with real C64 recordings.

Another reason I wanted to make my own SID player was that I didn’t really like most of the existing ones, offline and online. Many are small and doesn’t offer a lot of info, or it’s hidden away in windows and tabs. I wanted to create a player that was KISS while also offering all the useful info at a glance.

CLICK HERE TO FIND YOURSELF IN DEEPSID

Consortium

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This was an FPS+ on a big plane promising to be somewhat akin to Deus Ex, with multiple paths and dialog choices. I pledged $20 for its failed Kickstarter back when it was announced in 2014.

It turned out to be sort of a virtual reality game where I inhabited the body of a soldier on a hi-tech plane in the future, already flying high above the ground. Everything took place on this plane and it took me just over 4 hours to play through it, making it feel like a DLC for another game. In truth, the game is to be construed as an intro for a trilogy of games – the next one taking place around a big tower.

Screenshot

But truth be told, I’m pretty sure I’ll stop after this introduction as there were quite a number of things I didn’t like about it. The ironic thing is, bugs are actually not on that list. Playing this game so many years later means patches must have ironed out most of them.

Anomaly 1729

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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.

Screenshot

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.

Comparison of C64 Music Editors

I have created a large HTML table that compares a lot of music editors on the Commodore 64.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE TABLE

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.

Discussion threads: Facebook, CSDb, Lemon 64, Reddit, ChipMusic.org

Updates

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.

One Knight Stand

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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

Inside

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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.

Screenshot

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.