Wednesday, October 18, 2006

XeO3: Front End..

So after a couple of days squeezing the front end down as much as I can, I've now spent today putting much of it back in - bugger. I got a logo from Luca to try and tart the front end up a bit, and it means I have to start double buffering the front end a bit. Since the logo itself takes up almost 1K, it also means I'll have to try and free up even more space. Its worth it though as it does help make the front end a bit nicer. I hope to finish this up tomorrow, and then I can take stock of the damage its done to the memory. At least if we do need to trim it, theres at the very worst we could just reduce its size.... It also means my nice and simple 3 layer starfield isn't nice and simple anymore. I now need to double buffer that as well so I dont need to redraw the logo all the time! Its never easy.....

I've had to redo my C64 parallel cable as I got the pins backwards! Doh. Idiot. All the diagrams I found to tell me the pins never actually got around to telling me that it was describing the back of the computer, and not the cable itself. I had assumed that it was descibing the cable, since thats what everyone wants to know! But no... wrong again. Anyway, I've built my own cable rather than the PC64 one, and once I manage to get the PA2 line working, I'll be able to download a whole byte at a time, rather than a nibble which all the other cables seem to do. Not sure why... it might be to do with old parallel ports not being bi-directional or something, but I don't really know. If I can't get the PA2 line working, then I'll have to drop down to a nibble and use some of the datalines as handshaking - which I'd rather not do; although if Im desprate, I could do 7 bit.... but thats horrible!

Edit: Oh! And after finding the old instructions to my SID card, I've discovered it has an adjustable volume! FAB!! I can now balance out the TED and SID music without having to turn TED music down to virtually nothing! Hurrah!!


luca said...

Doh... Didn't understand what with TED/SID balancing.
You can detect/choose TED or SID at the very beginning, as always, and the game will react consequently, that's clear for all.
In the SIDmusic/TEDfx case, adjust SID volume by the screw on the card is not fair, it's a poor trick to boostup both SID and its pretty nice ground noise.

Chicken said...

Well, I disagree... adjusting the SIDcard's volume is just a part of proper equioment setup. I adjust my monitor as well :)

I'm sure Mike is referring to the low SIDcard volume compared to the high volume of the TED. This caused some "problems" with the ADSR envelopes he uses for the TED sfx. He was in fact only using volumes of 0-3 in order to keep TED and SID balanced. This is a shame because the envelopes suffer a bit and using the full scale of 0-8 is much better. This is possible if the SIDcard sound is equally loud.

You can still adjust the TED volume by software but that decreases the resolution of the ADSR envelopes.

luca said...

... adjusting the SIDcard's volume is just a part of proper equioment setup. I adjust my monitor as well...

Unfortunately, you can raise up your monitor's value and face distortion+ground noise when your TED is really s-c-r-e-a-m-i-n-g. Juggling on the SIDcard's volume screw produces distortion+ground noise at relatively lower volume levels.
That's because volume tuning in these two cases has no real comparision: SIDcard users, as suggested by Solder himself, should find a good volume/noise balance between monitor and SIDcard, and try to keep it set.

Mike said...

Actually, you should adjust the SID when you recieve it - I didn't. My SID volume was so low I had to turn the TV volume almost all the way up, which in itself introduces artifacts. But now that they are about the same, my TV/Monitor volume is around the middle of its settings. Much better.

I'm not going to remove the in-game volume settings (which I might save with the HISCORE btw), because sometimes I WANT to have louder music or effects.

luca said...

F1: toggle music SID/TED/off
F2: toggle fx on/off
in the game, F1/F2 adjust TEDsound (both if music or fx), F3/HELP adjust SIDsound
Still, SID detection (or selection) before frontend.

Would be very kewl :D

Chicken said...

Hey Luca,
by "adjusting the monitor" I actually meant colors, contrast, etc. And yes, once correctly adjusted, I usually stick to the settings. I didn't mean that you should adjust the SIDcards volume everytime you load a game.
When Mike mentioned that TED volume 2-3 is as loud as the SIDcard, I wondered about that but I thought if he raises the SIDcards volume it introduces too much noise.

yes, there's no reason to remove the in game volume control. I hope you didn't get the impression that I suggested that. It's a neat feature and I haven't seen that in any plus/4 game, yet. (Though, LAZA! changes the ADSR envelope for the in game sound.)
But it's good to know that you can now use higher volumes on TED (ie better ADSR envelopes) and still be able to hear the SID music.

Is there really a need to toggle music/fx on/off? It's a bit redundant (though faster, I admit) if volume 0 is "off", too. I know, you are already squeezing stuff but some kind of scale (horizontal bars) representing the volume would be nice. And then handling in the front end and in the game would be the same. Usability, baby! ;)

Chicken said...

Something else I thought about last night...

Please make optional use of the SIDcard's joyport. Yes, it will steal a few bytes but that would be very nice for all those out of joyport adapters.

And while we are at it, autodetecting which joyport is used would be cool, too. Many TEDs died because of unplugging/plugging joysticks with the machine on.

luca said...

Is there really a need to toggle music/fx on/off? It's a bit redundant (though faster, I admit) if volume 0 is "off", too.

If you wanna have the audio shutoff as a feature, you can't set to 0 your volume in the game (do you remember? that option is present when the game starts ;) ).
It should be logic to choose it in the frontend.
If not, well... :)

Chicken said...

I suggested the above because then handling will be the same in the front end and in the game.

You should have some kind of scale in the front end where you can set volume for the music (F1 to increase/F2 to decrease) and another one for the FX (F3/F4).

Kinda like simple VU-meters...


Then, if you choose not to have e.g. FX just set the volume to 0 in the frontend. Yes, if the default is full volume, it takes a bit of hitting the keyboard if you chose not to have FX. But nothing unbearable I think :)

Ok, you lose the "feature" of toggling the fx/music on/off with a single key but I still think the above makes sense :)

Mike said...

I dont think a volume control on the front end is practicle. You dont know what volume you want until you play the game.

Music+sound on/off. its not vital, but its handy. It also saves a LOT of in game CPU time if its switched off. So if the game does slow down for any reason, this would speed it up again.... if it slows down.

The front end is now burning memory again, so I'll wait and see how much we need to cut. It may not stay in... but it might.

Chicken said...

Dunno about that... I rather set volume before I start the game than losing control and probably crash my ship because I've been fiddling with the volumes.

But I guess that means there's no music in the front end? :(

Also, every time you change the FX volume you could play an FX so one get's to hear what it's like at that volume.

If volume 0 is chosen you can still skip the sound routine completely.
And use F4 (Shift+F1) to toggle music in the game. Or use F1/F4 to increase/decrease and F2 to toggle on/off and so on.

Well, it's your game and this is just my opinion. I only comment because I don't wanna hear any "You should have said so earlier" ;)