Aug 15

Friday Post: Kickstarter shipments

Hey All,

As I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve been spending most of my time working on the PiPlay Kickstarter.  This has involved ordering samples, getting materials, designing hardware, and all sorts of fun things that goes along with PiPlay the application.

I’m really thankful to all the backers (and other supporters) who were able to make this a reality.

0cfaeeacd077645e6addbb6d231575f8_large 036b4257a8b09d0660981b47eef8806c_large350 SD Cards have been made with the PiPlay software, and above that is my living room filled with boxes of joysticks.

I’m going to have fun this weekend sending out shipments.

Now it’s time to work on the next release.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

 

Aug 08

Friday Post: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 5

Hey All,

Happy Friday.  One more week of break before the Fall semester starts up.  It’s going to be a busy month!

I’m happy to announce that PiPlay 0.8 Beta 5 is being released.  It should be available on SourceForge in a few hours.

Fixes / Improvements:

  • Smoother animations and framerate
  • More optimizations
  • Memory leak fix
  • Control Pad setup is now under the popup menu (press tab or the second button on your joystick)
  • This is the master image for the PiPLAY Kickstarter

Work is already being done on the next release, which will include 2 player controller setup support, thanks to Mark.

Have a good weekend everyone!

-Shea

Aug 01

Friday Post: Book Review

Hey All,

So, this week K and I went on a last minute cruise to relax and get energized for the upcoming school year.  It was a much needed vacation.

During the cruise I ended up reading (and eating) a lot.  Here are some of the things I read which I thought were great:

Seconds

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley, who is probably best known for the Scott Pilgrim series, is a standalone graphic novel about a girl, her restaurant, and how life happens.  Don’t go into it thinking it’s going to be another Scott Pilgrim with video game and pop references.  It’s about life, and dealing with all the things that come with it, and how we all sometimes wish for a second chance at events.  I read the entire thing in one sitting.  I could not put it down.  I highly recommend it.

Mega Man Gigamix

I bought this on a whim when I was going to a conference and ended up not having time to read it.  I finally opened it up and even though it says Vol. 1, it’s actually a sequel to Mega Man Megamix.  With that being said, Gigamix works on it’s own, and has two fun stories.

Wizzywig

Wizzywig is the story of Kevin “Boingthump” Phenicle Jr. as he grows up during the early days of the computer revolution, where his curiosity runs faster than the law can keep up.  The story is a very loose adaptation of what happened to Kevin Mitnick.  At times it can be a little pushy on it’s message of corruption and redemption, and the art style can be a bit too over the top sometimes, but all in all, it works.

Super Scratch Programming Adventure

I reviewed this last year, but I decided to reread it as I have been wanting to work more with Scratch.  It’s a graphic novel that teaches you how to program by following the adventures of Scratchy the cat and his friends.  It’s a little hokey, but it does its job well, and by the end, you will have learned how to make a bunch of different types of games.  The version I have is for 1.4, but they have recently updated it to cover version 2.0.  There are also a bunch of demos available at http://scratch.mit.edu

Like I said, it has been a relaxing week, and I’m ready to get back to my projects!

Have a great weekend everyone!

-Shea

Jul 25

Friday Post: Small and Large Updates

Hey All,

A few good updates this week :)

The PiPlay 0.8 Beta4 got a very small update (0.8b4.1)  You can get it by selecting the update option.

It fixes a few small config items, like the finalburn alpha emulator not looking for the proper config file, and Dgen missing the proper binary files.

A bigger update is coming later this week with 0.8 beta 5.  Mark figured out how to speed up the menu by at least 50%.  A lot of optimizations were made, and it will be incorporated into the code ASAP.

Have a great weekend all!

-Shea

Jul 18

Friday Post: Space Madness!

Hey All,

For the first time in a long time I feel rested.  I did a sleep study to find out why I was so fatigued all the time even though I was getting around 8 hours of sleep. ( I’m not counting that my other waking hours have been spent on the Kickstarter, PiPlay, and Work with no breaks ;) )

The study people hooked me up to a machine that essentially blows air at you, and holy crap, it helped me sleep through the night like a log.  I was up at 5am, didn’t need any caffeinated drinks in the morning (but force of habit…) and I’ve been going strong all day.  If I feel this good and energized after one night,  I’m excited to see what will happen after a few weeks!

PiPlay

PiPlay 0.8 Beta 4 has so far been really good.  Only a few relatively minor bugs to fix.  I am going to push the update this weekend and a new image as well.  Be on the lookout for that.

Raspberry Pi Model B+

Last Monday the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the latest Pi board, the Model B+.  While the core hardware stays the same, the board includes 4 USB Ports, more GPIO pins, improved board layout, and a switch from SD Cards to Micro SD cards.  My board came in today, so I took some pictures of it.

IMG_4088 IMG_4089 IMG_4090 IMG_4091 IMG_4092

 

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Jul 12

Friday Post: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 4 Released!

Hello Everyone!!!!

The latest version of PiPlay is available to download!

Download - The image requires an 8GB SD Card

This release has been a huge amount of work, from multiple people whom I consider friends.  Artists, Testers, Family, Programmers, Designers.  I appreciate all the help that went into this.

From the Github stats: Excluding merges, 4 authors have pushed 46 commits to master and 47 commits to all branches. On master, there have been 221,966 additions and 54,318 deletions to the code.

New artwork was created just for this release.  The web frontend was overhauled. So much has been put into this.

Now the fun part.

Testing.  I’ve spent a lot of time testing this release, on as many joysticks, tvs, monitors, and devices I have available to me.  It looks good to me, but I expect there to be bugs.  I would appreciate any and all feedback about this release.  If you have any issues, comments, or suggestions, please tell me.

Updates:

  • Theme Support
  • DISPMANX
  • Cave Story reimplemented
  • Joystick Support
  • Latest version of Raspbian with Xin-Mo support
  • ZX Spectrum, Sega Master System, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Turbo Grafx 16, and Game Gear emulation have been added.
  • Tips & Tricks
    • MAME is not installed by default.  There is a tool in the menu to install MAME.
    • Press the K + S button on your keyboard at the same time for a listing of all backers.
    • To setup your controllers, keyboards, and joysticks, use the Controller Setup app.
    • Press tab (or the 2nd button on your joystick) to bring up the settings popup menu.
    • There are multiple themes available from the settings popup menu.
    • If you access the IP address of your Raspberry Pi from another computer, you will have see the Web Frontend which allows you to upload games files and manage your Pi.
  • Known Issues
    • Menu Speed – i know it can sometimes feel slow or sluggish.  We are working hard to optimize it.
    • Dual Shock Support – Limited dual shock support.  I had numerous issues with finicky controllers.  I am hoping to put official dual shock support in the next release.

Tips & Tricks

  • MAME is not installed by default.  There is a tool in the menu to install MAME.
  • Press the K + S button on your keyboard at the same time for a listing of all backers.
  • To setup your controllers, keyboards, and joysticks, use the Controller Setup app.
  • Press tab (or the 2nd button on your joystick) to bring up the settings popup menu.
  • There are multiple themes available from the settings popup menu.
  • If you access the IP address of your Raspberry Pi from another computer, you will have see the Web Frontend which allows you to upload games files and manage your Pi.

Known Issues

  • Menu Speed – i know it can sometimes feel slow or sluggish.  We are working hard to optimize it.
  • Dual Shock Support – Limited dual shock support.  I had numerous issues with finicky controllers.  I am hoping to put official dual shock support in the next release.

I am looking forward to all your feedback!

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

Jul 04

Friday Post: 4th Of July

Hey All,

To my fellow Americans, Happy Independence Day.  To everyone else, Happy 4th of July, because Friday’s are awesome!

PiPlay 0.8 Beta 4 is 99.9% done.  I am doing some final testing, and it will be uploaded this weekend!!  I’m excited and can’t wait for everyone to try it out.

Laser cutters are cool!

2014-07-02 2014-07-03 (1) 2014-07-03These are photos of the aftermath of creating 15 PiPlay cases.  I love laser cutters!

Raspiado

A fellow redditor has started a kickstarter for a USB hub that attaches directly to the Pi.

It looks neat, and I’m going to back this.

Adafruit 3D Printed Raspberry Pi Gameboy

Adafruit is awesome, and this is even awesomer.

Have a great weekend everyone!  I’ll update / make a new post when the new PiPlay image is uploaded.

-Shea

Jun 27

Friday Post: PiPlay Video

Hey All,

Thought you would like to see this:

The next release of PiPlay is so close I can taste it.

A few notes:

  • the final menu will load faster as I still have un-optimized images and debug code added.
  • the controller config does more than the just the SNES, I just kept it at that for demo purposes.
  • More emulators have been included, just weren’t added to the config.yaml in the menu yet.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Jun 20

Friday Post: Snow In June?!?

Hey All,

For those who don’t know, my day job involves creating tools and apps that help students and faculty at my university have a greater learning experience online.

This week I was in Utah for an educational conference where I got to present on those tools. It was a very rewarding experience.

It also snowed!

 

Work on PiPlay has been going REALLY well.  We are close to finishing, and it feels like right now we are just putting on the polish.  You can see all the updates at https://github.com/ssilverm

A very good friend of mine Charlie (http://charliesamways.carbonmade.com/)  designed the new graphics for the controller setup program.  If you need any awesome work done, I highly recommend him.

 

 Have a great weekend!

Jun 08

Very Late Friday-ish Post: Compiling

Hey All,

Sorry for the very late post, I’ve had some family visiting from out of town and spent the weekend catching up.

For PiPlay, I’ve been spending some time getting into the nitty gritty of some of the emulators.  PiFBA happens to have a config file hardcoded in it’s source code.  Because I use PiFBA for a few different systems, I needed to have individual configs.

My patched version of PiFBA is available here as source code: https://github.com/ssilverm/pifba-config-patch

Looking back, it wasn’t that difficult to patch, but my C++ is rusty, and I needed some friends help to get it running.

I’ve also been playing with SDL and DISPMANX.  One of my favorite emulators is Mednafen, but it has a problem running on the console.  If you use DISPMANX and try to run Mednafen, you get an SDL error (due to not needing SDL_GetVideoInfo()).  I’m recompiling Mednafen right now which replaces the SDL_GetVideoInfo() call with generic video heights.  DISPMANX should scale correctly anyway, so I will see how it looks.

On that note,  I also had to deal with my favorite compiling issue on the Raspberry Pi: hq4x and running out of memory.

This is why I love the Raspberry Pi (and Linux).  I learn something new everyday.  To add or subtract swap space, type:

sudo /etc/dphys-swapfile
Change 100 to the desired amount of swap.  I used 300 for hq4x
/etc/init.d/dphys-swapfile stop
/etc/init.d/dphys-swapfile start

The swap space will be created, and you can now compile without crashing (usually).

Have a good week everyone!

-Shea