Wiki ideas

Topics on software tools like TileStudio, comments on documentation and tutorials (or the lack of) should go here.
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Jubatian
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Wiki ideas

Post by Jubatian » Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:31 pm

I have some ideas for Wiki content, however I would like to hear some feedback before realizing them.

Video modes: I think it would be useful to isolate experimental and special video modes (things like Mode 7 or Mode 11), so the main Wiki page is not cluttered with modes which aren't likely useful for the most common tasks, or may take someone into a murky area (such as my somewhat abandoned Mode 72). I would move these modes off to a "Special & Experimental modes" page from there.

An User Guide: This feels missing, I mean there are fine guides on how to assemble the Uzebox, but then there is nothing on how it could be used. One striking example is that hardly anyone seemed to be aware of the soft-reset function (SELECT + START + B + Y) before I mentioned it, but things like the bootloader's behavior, SD card types, usage and pitfalls and such also could have explanations. I still remember when I first got the Uzebox, I believed I somehow got permanently stuck into the first game I programmed onto it, not knowing how to return into the bootloader.

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by D3thAdd3r » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:45 pm

It makes sense to separate the video modes like you say for the reasons you mention. The video modes in themselves are interesting parts of history, or places to base a similar video mode on even if not currently used in a game. I recall Janka was doing some crazy stuff and it used to be on the video modes page(causing confusion I am sure, as it was not ready for general use by a long shot), but now that is gone. It could be useful for someone, and definitely I would like to see that documentation archived, even if presented as "for historical interest only".

User guides seem smart to me. It probably wouldn't have to be too much, just to assemble all the "common knowledge" that ultimately is not so common since it is hidden in all different places requiring years to find all of it potentially. Definitely something that would better the project IMO.

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by Jubatian » Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:24 pm

I did some work on it, hope it is OK. I tried to group modes by usefulness for general use, now on the main page there should only be a selection of modes which should be commonly useful. I added Mode 40 there, and left Mode 74, which might be a bit complicated, but Grobian's Stormforce should also be a proof that it is useful.

I believe Janka's mode is Mode 11 which I now placed in the Experimental modes page, that was designed for Würgertime I believe, although even the current WIP of that game uses Mode 3 (not just on the Wiki page, the Makefile itself has it).

What was probably in the master for a while is CunningFellow's Tempest mode (4bpp RAM tiles + 1bpp SD streamed bg, this could also be an useful SPI RAM video mode by the way), maybe as Mode 14.

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by D3thAdd3r » Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:44 pm

M74 for sure is useful and belongs on the general use since even if complex, it is not ultra specific towards any single thing. Importantly, there is a game that uses it which again at least in my opinion, automatically "justifies" a video mode past experimental status(working example of it's usage in a complete product at least). I would think M72 fits into that category whenever you call it done, but you would know best how unwieldy that beast is for someone to just jump into. At least there is a great showcase for it, but perhaps some judgement of "complexity of usage" is a factor if the video modes page is catering to people that are unaware of Uzebox video modes in general(the regulars likely have a lot of knowledge on all this, that could not fit in a single wiki page).

Unfinished proof of concepts come and go pretty fast it seems, and arguably offer little benefit for usability versus starting a mode from scratch. Still they are arguably one of the more interesting parts of Uzebox; wacky obscure video mode ideas. Janka's mode right now with no demonstration and potentially unknown parts that don't work is something like that. Maybe he will come back and finish that some day, but that is experimental at best right now. Actually I am not sure we have the source code at all to even experiment with for that? If not...I wonder what that video mode actually is(historically) besides a few forum posts.

T2K video mode seems hard to classify, since there is a working example of it's usage and the mode itself is amazing. Maybe it is just me, because I would not know where to start to try and use it myself, but it seems very specific to certain things. Usability for those things for which it works, seems very high, so hard to say and I am not a video mode guy anyway. It seems to have traded all things general purpose, for advantages towards specifics, more so than other modes. Other modes of course all make many trade offs geared towards different advantages, so maybe it is more about some "feel" for how many different things/probability of fitting for a wide variety of games...yeah I don't know or have too strong an opinion on it, but I'm glad you organized that out and it is a good improvement I can't see anything wrong with.

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by Jubatian » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:41 pm

I added an User Guide. Hopefully it is useful. Eh, I got a little involved in describing peculiarities of the bootloaders, I just didn't feel like I could avoid it even though I tried to rather just omit subtle new features of the new bootloader (like that it remembers the game programmed, so it's "Menu" mode is a lot more useful and intuitive).
D3thAdd3r wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:44 pm
Janka's mode right now with no demonstration and potentially unknown parts that don't work is something like that. Maybe he will come back and finish that some day, but that is experimental at best right now.
Huh, I just realized poking around that indeed there is no Mode 11 anywhere. Only CunningFellow's Mode 14 appears in some version of the kernel.
D3thAdd3r wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:44 pm
T2K video mode seems hard to classify, since there is a working example of it's usage and the mode itself is amazing. Maybe it is just me, because I would not know where to start to try and use it myself, but it seems very specific to certain things. (...)
It is a good mode, although I don't consider the SD part very useful as I can't even have a card capable to run Chickens in Choppers. So for me it seems a little obscure for this reason: it is difficult to get actual hardware for it (today even getting a proven SDSC card is difficult... I am looking at you, 256Mb Elite Pro SDHC cards of course without even any "HC" label). 2bpp 5 cycles per pixel is nice high-res anyway, I could imagine normal tiled games using it, while the background layer could be served from SPI RAM as well.

Anyway why it isn't in the Wiki is that nobody ever wrote a Wiki article or subsection for it. I certainly never removed any!

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by CunningFellow » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:09 pm

Jubatian wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:41 pm
D3thAdd3r wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 6:44 pm
T2K video mode seems hard to classify, since there is a working example of it's usage and the mode itself is amazing. Maybe it is just me, because I would not know where to start to try and use it myself, but it seems very specific to certain things. (...)
It is a good mode, although I don't consider the SD part very useful as I can't even have a card capable to run Chickens in Choppers. So for me it seems a little obscure for this reason: it is difficult to get actual hardware for it (today even getting a proven SDSC card is difficult... I am looking at you, 256Mb Elite Pro SDHC cards of course without even any "HC" label). 2bpp 5 cycles per pixel is nice high-res anyway, I could imagine normal tiled games using it, while the background layer could be served from SPI RAM as well.

Anyway why it isn't in the Wiki is that nobody ever wrote a Wiki article or subsection for it. I certainly never removed any!
I should be able to make T2K/Chickens work with SDHC cards as long as Jubatians new bootloader with SD card API can help me find the first sector of the movie files.

From the perspective of the video mode the only difference will be NOT multiplying the sector number by 512 before issuing a CMD to read multiple sectors.

All modern large SDHC cards meet the timing requirements of T2K as far as I can tell.

D3thAdd3r, If you have an idea for a game that would work with the 2+1Bpp mode then I can hold your hand through all the scary stuff.

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by D3thAdd3r » Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:39 pm

CunningFellow wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:09 pm
D3thAdd3r, If you have an idea for a game that would work with the 2+1Bpp mode then I can hold your hand through all the scary stuff.
I appreciate the offer, perhaps it would happen I would even need to take you up on that offer some day. As it looks right now, I have managed to bury myself in 10x more games I want to do, then I will ever be able to. And that is just tile and sprites stuff :shock:
CunningFellow wrote:
Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:09 pm
All modern large SDHC cards meet the timing requirements of T2K as far as I can tell.
Interesting, then perhaps the new bootloader can give a great stride towards better SD usage all around for games in general.

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by Jubatian » Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:04 am

In the Documentation I found a broken link: the AVR Bootloader FAQ appears to be no longer existing. Does anyone have it or know what it contained?

I think also it could be nice to split that section as currently it has end-user stuff (playing games), hardware details and programming details intermixed.

Under Games & Demos there is also an Official SD images red link since I don't know how long (I guess it was already there before I even arrived here). Who maintains those? (Or are there any pre-populated card being sold with Uzebox kits? It would be useful for people who want to build their own, although nowadays the Games & Demos list is also rather good with very few broken links or otherwise missing ROMs).

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by Artcfox » Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:01 pm

Adafruit.com sells kits with pre-populated cards. As far as I know, the only database that has been maintained is the online Cuzebox emulator's Git repository, but it doesn't collect all games in a single directory unless you download the repo as a .zip and then extract it ignoring directories. The easiest way might be to have a script that will build a .img file from that repo.

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Re: Wiki ideas

Post by D3thAdd3r » Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:49 pm

I made that link for the official SD image a long time ago, but never created/maintained such a thing. It would be nice to have, since everytime I see a screenshot of someone's bootloader, they barely have a random fraction of all the games on their card it seems (likely individually downloaded each at that).

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