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Posts posted by AndyMt

  1. On 10/23/2022 at 1:56 AM, neutrino said:

    Btw, are those solar panels secured in case of windy conditions?

    Yes - they are held in place with 3mm thick steel wires attached to the sockets of the hand rail.

    On 10/23/2022 at 1:56 AM, neutrino said:

    Better to see it as an insurance policy

    Indeed, that's how I see it, too. For heating, I'm not too worried as the apartment was built to passive house standards. I just need to make sure the ventilation can run for an hour, to exchange the air. Even with no clear sky and sunshine these houses heat up by themselves because they are so well insulated. And we get well below freezing temperatures here in Switzerland during Winter.

    • Like 1
  2. I've now improved my setup further, because I've found a solution for solar for our condo apartment:

    6x200w solar panels on the terrace:

    image.thumb.png.9a6e64e22895a81a25c81fe78fce865b.png image.thumb.png.de671872676d2db6484cb5c9491217d0.png


    These are feeding into an Ecoflow Delta Max with 2kWh of battery capacity.

    My office is connected to the EcoFlow and running entirely off that (including a 3d printer). In case of emergency I can switch over so I can power the entire apartment with up to 2.4kW of load. If it's getting really desparate then I can connect a 2nd inverter to my electric car, which will provide 60-70 kWh of capacity (I keep it above 80% charged all the time). As described above this would be enough to run the apartment for at least a week if we reduce our consumption. And if the sun is shining just 4 hours a day, the Ecoflow is fully charged again. Charging the car is technically possible, but would take weeks and means to restrict power use in the apartment down to almost 0.

    Is this setup cheap? No!

    Does it pay off anytime soon? No! (maybe after 20 years)

    But it is a lot of fun to see how we produce our own energy now. We've run the apartment with this setup on sun and battery for 3 days in a row. Of course that required to not use the dish washer, dryer or washing machine. The stove we've used briefly of course, also the coffee machine, but not the oven. But in a longer emergency situation, we can wash dishes by hand, clothes should be in stock for a week or two.

    Using the Ecoflow gives me all the control and data stats via WLAN I need. You can get the same for half the price if you build everything yourself, but I just wanted to have it working right away. And for the first time in 20 years, last week we did have an un-anounced power outage. This demonstrated that the setup works very well. But it also showed that indeed as expected there is no internet when there is no power. Mobile networks were fine though.

  3. I've updated Invaderz, so it runs on actual hardware (thanks @Wavicle) and the latest emulator 🙂.

    The ZIP file contains 2 PRG files:

    INVADERZ.PRG: works on real hardware and the latest emulator
    INVADERZR38.PRG: works on older emulator and with the "Try it now" button in the download section

    It was fascinating to see that in the end the game worked on actual hardware. That's a testimony to the emulator which seems to be very close to hardware. There are timing differences regarding the YM2151, but once you know that after setting the register there is some wait required before writing data, then it's fine.

    • Like 2
  4. On 10/13/2022 at 3:15 PM, Guybrush said:

    Would you rather have a 256 bytes taken from each and every high RAM page?

    Not necessarily - IO could also be located directly above the zero page, so more at the beginning of the memory map at $100. Or at the top of the upper ROM area.

    But I'm sure there were good reasons to have it where it is. And it won't be changed now, that's for sure. But me, too, would be interested why it is as it is...

    Technically it's still possible to get code up there and execute it. It's just the question what happens when the Kernal swaps that for it's own data page in between...

  5. On 10/12/2022 at 12:56 PM, t_r said:

    In a weird way this X16 reminds me of TurboGrafx-16

    Yes, that's what I think, too. The CPU in the TG-16 was 6502 derived and the GPU was 16 bit with similar properties than VERA, although with just half the VRAM and only a 512 color palette if I'm not mistaken.

  6. The easiest way is to use the "Try Now" button in the web emulator.

    Otherwise if that's too slow or you really want to use the emulator separately do the following to keep it simple:

    • install the emulator on your desktop machine
    • copy the game files into the same directory
    • start emulator


    • LOAD"game.prg",8,1
    • RUN

    game.prg needs to be whatever prg file you copied.

  7. I think another reason is also that it's hard to take advantage of more colors, especially in bitmap modes. There's just not enough VRAM. Even for 256 colors that's not enough in full resolution. And - 4096 is pretty much the maximum I personally would call "era appropriate" - that's Amiga territory.

    I also see it as a challenge to produce good looking graphics, despite the limitations. And I must say - the sense of achievement I had when I finished the background graphics for "Invaderz" was pretty nice.

  8. On 10/5/2022 at 6:58 AM, SlithyMatt said:

    Sprite asset addresses must be aligned to 32-byte blocks, but you can use some of this margin area to have overlapping sprites.

    Excellent point, I haven't thought of that! This means we have a virtual 64x48 dimension so for 8bpp it's 3072 bytes instead of 2304. So 768 bytes would be "wasted" compared to a 48x48 dimension. I think that's a good compromise.

  9. On 10/3/2022 at 4:41 PM, svenvandevelde said:

    I suggest to model it that the high resolution 640 width supports 16, 32, 48, 64 resolutions.

    And the lower resolution 320 supporting 8, 16, 32, 48?

    Makes a lot of sense!

  10. On 10/3/2022 at 2:29 PM, svenvandevelde said:

    32 +16 = 48

    Yes sure, but it's still an additional operation. Don't know how many resources on the FPGA are left - if there are any. But if it's possible to do, I'm all in for it 🙂!

  11. On 10/3/2022 at 11:00 AM, Yazwho said:

    The sizes are so vera can pull data quickly, as it can mask or shift the address to look up the sprite data.

    That's true. With 48 pixels you cannot use simple bit operations (or the hardware equivalent) to get to the next line of data. This could reduce the number of available sprites per scan line.

    Also any logic switching between different sizes based on an additional bit in some register would have the same effect.

  12. I can see where you are coming from, however:

    On 10/3/2022 at 8:30 AM, svenvandevelde said:

    and discard the 8 pixel width and height setting.

    I use that size and it solved a VRAM shortage in Invaderz. I could squeeze just about everything in by using 8x8 for the phasers etc. Having to use 16x16 instead would be too much... Ok, maybe I could make it by analysing carefully again, but 8x8 has it's advantages. Especially if using 320x240 resolution. You would never use 64x64 there I think...

    I would argue to drop 64x64 in favor of 48x48... but then maybe someone else already has a reasonable use case for that? Or drop 8x8 if in 640x400 resolution? Or use one of the unused bits in byte 1 to switch to a different size scheme?

    • Like 1
  13. I would assume there were style guides all developers had to adhere to. Otherwise they didn't get official approval. And then I'm not sure who actually produced the cartridges? Only Nintendo? Or if others, then they only got a license if the software on them complied with the style guides etc. Nintendo wanted to ensure a certain level of quality.

    But that's guesswork from my side - does anybody here know?

    • Like 1
  14. On 9/14/2022 at 2:28 AM, svenvandevelde said:

    The effort these crackers put in making intros or demos should be better spent on making good games. 

    I'm fine with demos, sometimes they evolve into games etc. But I fully agree on cracktros... I hated them.

    As for standardised title screens: Not sure about that. I think I'd prefer to keep my individual and artistic freedoms to do whatever I think is suitable for each game or software. Maybe I would settle to a certain standard of my own over time.

    For Bixx for example the title screen and options/instructions are one screen. For Invaderz I opted for a separate title screen and another screen for instructions/options because there wasn't enough space for both on one - and I wanted to show off the graphics I created (and what the X16 can do).

    • Like 2
  15. I've now updated Brixx for R41 😀. The zip still contains a PRG vor R38 (BRIXXR38.PRG), so the "Try Now" button in the download section still works. If you use it with the current emulator - or real hardware - use BRIXX.PRG.

    Also loads properly from SD-Card now, including progress bars during loading all the graphics and music assets (as those now take time...)

    Further some improvements on the YM2151 implementation: it now plays properly on real hardware - thanks @Wavicle for testing and pointing me to the right direction what to fix...

  16. On 6/3/2022 at 6:21 PM, TomXP411 said:

    While I think you might be optimistic about your run time, especially with inverter losses

    Maybe. We use approx. 6kWh during a day right now. That's excluding the car, but including the washing machine, dishwasher, home cinema, cooking, baking, home office everything else etc. I estimate that when we don't use dishwasher, washing machine, dryer etc. that we come down to half of that. We are only a 2 person household, the apartment is 100 m2, our fridge only has 60l capacity (basically everything is smaller than in the US 😉).

    On 6/3/2022 at 6:21 PM, TomXP411 said:

    I am a little curious about the "additional breaker to disconnect from the grid"... how do you have this set up? Here that would mean yet an additional sub-panel with a transfer switch in it, along with permits and potentially a permit from the power company to operate.

    We have a panel in each apartment and there is reserve space to add such things. Regulations requires that, so that you don't run out of space immediately. 

    I'm not a certified electrician, but my father is... so he took care of the power company and the permits, I helped with the installation. So basically I have an additional 3-phase breaker (actually it's a switch, you are right) in the panel now (everything is 3 phase in Switzerland). This means I can only power one phase from the car, but that's totally fine for an emergency situation (kitchen and living room are on the one I chose).

    The connection is done via a so-called "blue plug" (usually used for RVs and boats) in the garage. The power company doesn't care that much where the power comes from, it could be a gas-generator or in my case an inverter/powerstation.

    I've tried it once, to see if everything works and it's fine. It's not an automatic setup, far from that. I have to dismount the back bench of the car, to get to the DC/DC converter connectors and hook up the power station. The station then is recharged by the car, while the stations inverter provides power. I've tested connecting an inverter directly, which worked, too. But I'm worried about drawing such a high load over the DC/DC converter directly. So the power station acts as a safety buffer. Of course losses will add up, so you are right, probably it's more like 14 days, considering that. But I think that's quite cool.

    If I just had some PV to recharge...

  17. Mine is basically my electric car with a external 1kWh power station which I connect to the DC/DC converter which charges the internal 12V battery. I can connect this up to one circuit in our apartment (additional breaker to disconnect from the grid). That's the one where the fridge is connected, plus some other sockets. Of course we would have to re-connect stuff to those other sockets. Then we also have a one-plate electrical stove for cooking, which only draws 1kW max - the power station allows up to 1.2kW. Then we have a small 500W room heater, just in case.

    The car is usually charged to 60kWh which should last at least for 20 days for the fridge, lights, basic appliances and some cooking. If we have to heat a room, then it might be 5 days.

    I'd like to put up solar, but because of regulations (condo building) that's not going to happen.

    In Switzerland it's been well over 20 years in our region since we had a unplanned power-outage. And even the planned ones... (construction work etc) I think that's been 10 years. So I basically prepared for the unthinkable, but because of the war in Ukraine, now you never know...

  18. On 5/16/2022 at 6:41 PM, desertfish said:

    Square fonts just doesn't read nearly as well as tall fonts....

    Yes - on the Atari ST I used a 8x12 front in certain software where this was possible (in monochrome 640x400). That gave me 33 lines of text which was much easier to read while still offering more content on screen.

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