Archive for the ‘Technology and Gadgets’ Category

Romhack #2: Super Lesbian

June 11, 2008

I promised you lesbians (see here) and lesbians you will get. Well, sort of. In fact, I rather doubt the lesbians here are lesbians at all. You’ll see what I mean.

This particular ROM hack is a very poor attempt at making the game Super Arabian (Japanese Famicom conversion of the similarly named arcade classic) more… lesbian-y. I will leave the success of this attempt up to the reader, after viewing all of the available evidence. So, without further ado, the first screenshot of the review. Woohoo.

The title screen. Now, this is better than most romhacks, which don’t bother with altering the title. However, the author has not gone far enough to make a good edit of the title. Over the letters “BIA” appears to be the word “KAMI”. Presumably this is the author’s username. Quite why one would want to take credit for this monstrosity is beyond my comprehension, but there it is. The 1-player/2-player selector has been tastefully replaced with a penis. Why male genitalia appear so frequently in a game about lesbians is once again difficult for me to grasp. I suspect that ROM hackers live in some alternate universe in which the normal rules of logic do not apply. Let’s move on to the gameplay.

In the bottom of the ship is my character. She is clearly a lesbian because she is naked. She also has a turban (like the guy in Super Arabian does) and her breasts have transparent outlines, making it appear as though someboy has cut U-shaped holes in her ample chest. Nonetheless, she’s here and she’s queer, so we may as well use her to our advantage (collecting pots, you dirty dirty person).

Well, before we can get to the exciting lesbian lettered-pot-collecting (I think I saw a movie about that once) we have to get through these pink blobs and raven-like things who are determined to stop the lesbian from getting the pots. Clearly this indicates terrible prejudice against pot-retrieving lesbians, and the foul creatures must be stopped lest their misogynist, anti-lesbian ways prevent the collection of said alphabetical houseware. Thankfully, our lesbian is provided with the one weapon she needs to defeat the scoundrels:

Yes, I’m not sure what it is either. In the original, I think it was his leg with a pointy shoe on the end, just like a real Arabian. Here I’m not so sure. I suppose it could still be a leg, but now that she’s naked the point on the end is unaccounted for. I immediately thought “it’s a giant penis” which either says something about me or the ROM hacker’s idea of lesbians. I would much prefer the latter. I have no idea what my character is now, but I’m fairly certain she’s not a lesbian. I’m not even sure that she’s a she, but floppy Arabian man-breasts are something I’d rather not consider. Moving swiftly on, let’s see what happens if the leg-penis attack fails to deter the hate-crimes of the beasts and they kill our ‘lesbian’ friend.

She falls over and lo! another penis. Or at least, it’s shaped like one. Not sure what the white bits at the base are. At any rate, this casts our protagonist’s lesbianism into further doubt. I don’t think she’d be less lesbian unless she actually had sex with men (don’t get excited, she doesn’t, I imagine that would be far too much work.)

Once you collect all these marvellous pots (the letters spell ANIMAL, you know) our lesbian does a little victory leap.

Up close you can even see the poorly rendered nipples! (If you can’t see them, look harder. You know you want to.) Ms. Lesbian has turned into some kind of freakish naked transparent-eyed starfish, and what’s that levitating above her hand? In the original it was some kind of sword, but it seems once again (and I’m only guessing by the colours, for all I know it could be a box of chocolates. I hear lesbians like chocolates) Kami has replaced an element of the game with a penis.

Well, that’s all that’s been altered from Super Arabian. There’s no point looking at the remaining levels because they’re all the same as in the original. Clearly a case of typical romhacker laziness here, and coupled with the constant penis sprite replacement and naked protagonist this makes Super Lesbian a very typical romhack. I really have nothing else to say on this, so here is a picture of something I childishly found amusing whilst playing Super Lesbian:

Goodnight!

Romhack #1: Dismembered Mario

May 29, 2008

Looking through a certain ROM site (I do not condone any illegal activities besides my own) I noticed something. I’d been looking for the original version of a game by the original publisher, as I always had. I’d never thought to look otherwise. I’d always seen the ROMs with [hack] after them. I’d avoided them like what was contained between those square brackets was the mark of the plague. But then I took a good look at myself; I said “Nick, why are you avoiding these games? Sure, they aren’t from big software houses but they’re still created with love and care – and better, they’re built on top of already great titles. They must be fantastic.”

Sadly, I was largely incorrect, but it gives me something to write about.

Thus I came to write this short post on what could be the most inspired game concept ever. The game is essentially Mario, with one crucial difference. The novice player may not notice the subtle change which has been made to this game that makes it so brilliant. Before I reveal it, see if you can guess from this screenshot:

Hmm...

Can you see what it is yet? I’ll give you a clue. Look at Mario. Notice anything different? That’s right! He has no head. Or rather, his head has been replaced by two red dots because apparently the designer of this fine game (whose name I do not know because it wasn’t signed – and I wonder why) wasn’t thorough enough to erase Mario’s entire head from the sprite. Which is a shame; if the game had just that level of attention to detail it could be elevated from ‘fine’ to ‘great’.

Aside from the clearly hasty erasure of Mario’s head, I have only one other scruple with what is otherwise a pillar of excellence for other romhackers, and indeed developers in general, to aspire to, which is that Mario’s decapitation broke some code somewhere which meant that I only got to see World 0-1, a decidedly rubbish underwater level which was only intended for developers. After completing the level, a disembodied voice (presumably that’s cheaper than Toad) gives you the obligatory “Thank you Mario” speech, then the game goes back to the title screen. For this reason I was unable to find out what other enthralling and captivating things this elite romhacker had placed in this game. Infuriating, to say the least.

World 0-1, bad as it was, was not without stunning graphical enhancements (although none on so grand a scale as ridding Mario of his cranial burden). True, there was only one, but this single sprite defies all competition. Here, ladies and gentlemen, is the work of a genius:

Do you not see the genius?

I am not certain as to what “Club Sin” refers to, but the mystery is enough to keep one enthralled for at least a second, perhaps more. The grey thing – for that is all it can be called – poking out of the pipe adds to this enigma. What is it? What is its purpose? Do I die when I touch it? Yes.

It is these subtle yet bold and significant alterations which truly make this magnificent. If the gameplay were extended, I imagine it would be almost bearable. Dismembered Mario is a name I am certain you will see in lights soon.

UPDATE: Through the magic of GameGenie, I have brought you the future. It is bleak. And by future, I mean the rest of the game. The artistic styling, which is actually not too bad for a romhack, continues blearily into the realms of black and orange. Goombas are no longer, for they have been replaced with some kind of orange-eyed monkey creature striking a pose.

The question mark boxes bear some resemblance to the thing that now comes out of Club Sin (I’ve decided that Club Sin is a world beyond the pipe, where everybody has a good time except Mario who’s barred due to his lack of skull) and the clouds have turned evil. The game is generally very black. Koopas are now giant slime creatures:

And I am no longer certain whether I want to eat what the fire flower has become:

Yeowch. Looks like a cross between a candle and a porcupine. I suppose it doesn’t matter anyway; I don’t have the requisite equipment to consume anything. Oh, and if I do eat it – presumably by shoving it down my gaping throat – I become suddenly able to fire axes. From where I don’t know. Maybe I swapped my head for magical axe-generating powers.

Moving on the world 2-2 (the only other world I played, for my world-jumping was quite erratic and I’ve already played Super Mario Bros so I don’t want to do the whole thing again) the colour scheme begins to slowly kill me. The water is black, the coins are now bright pointy arrow things, the fish are stylised glowing neon blobs. Not only that, but I discover that the main attraction of the game, Mario’s headlessness, disappears at the crucial moment of death. Yes, in some kind of bizarre reversal, death actually causes Mario to regain his head. What madness is this?

Playing more of Dismembered Mario has made me change my opinion of it. I once thought it an innovative, inspired work, breaking the commonly accepted barriers of normal human anatomy. However, it’s come to light now that it’s simply a poorly-altered biology-defying nightmare. From the foul colour scheme to the inconsistency of the existential condition of Mario’s cephalic region, this game is just about bad enough to be no fun, but not quite bad enough to be hilarious.

Next time: A game with some lesbians in it, supposedly.

Better Picture

December 24, 2006

A better picture of my monitors and that. Apologies for the nasty flash, but I was in a hurry, and there’s no room for a tripod anyway (I had to stand on a few things to take this).

Two monitors

December 23, 2006

I now have one 1280×1024 and one 1024×768 monitor. After tweaking X and swapping round cables, I now have both of them connected via DVI to my PC, giving an effective screen resolution of 2048×1024. Not bad, eh?

New PC

November 19, 2006

So, I have a brand new PC, rather than this horrible laptop I used to have. I can actually play games on this thing, and am rather enjoying Nexuiz. Also using Beryl. It’s all very good – everything loads snappily, and I don’t find myself waiting for stuff any more (hell, it boots in 30 seconds!), something I don’t miss. I do, however, owe my dad £500 plus the money I borrowed to buy iPods to repair (about £130, whoops). And I need to replace this here heatsink-fan, because running Nexuiz for a while makes the processor hit 52C. Ouch.

I haven’t forgotten about KK2X (now SSX) – far from it. I’m working… relatively hard to get this released.

That’s pretty much it for now, but it would be worth your time to watch this amazing piece of filmery.

Skype Voicemail Script

July 23, 2006

I’ve written a script that will allow you to use voicemail on Skype 1.3 (using ALSA on Linux) for free. It checks whether or not you’re in a call, and, if you are, it’ll try to divert your speakers/headphones to your microphone. It will then play a voicemail message of your choice (use a sound recorder or speech synthesiser or something) named vmail.wav. Then the person at the other end will be able to make a 20-second voicemail message, which will be saved as msg<ISO 8601 date and time>.wav. Copy it to a text file, save it and set it as executable.

#!/bin/sh

while [ 1 ]
do
while [ “$incall” = “” ]
do
incall=`lsof | grep ‘skype.*pcm’`
sleep 3

done
time=`date -Iminutes`
amixer -c 0 cset numid=20 5
aplay vmail.wav
arecord -d 20 -f cd msg$time.wav
amixer -c 0 cset numid=20 0
incall=`lsof | grep ‘skype.*pcm’`
while [ “$incall” != “” ]
do
incall=`lsof | grep ‘skype.*pcm’`
done
done

In order for this to work for you, you may need to set the two amixer lines. Here’s how. Firstly, type

amixer contents

Look for a line that looks something like:

numid=20,iface=MIXER,name=’Capture Source’

The numid may not be 20. Note down the numid. Also, note down the options below this line, which look something like this:

; Item #0 ‘Mic’
; Item #1 ‘CD’
; Item #2 ‘Video’
; Item #3 ‘Aux’
; Item #4 ‘Line’
; Item #5 ‘Mix’
; Item #6 ‘Mix Mono’
; Item #7 ‘Phone’

This option is normally set to Mic. You want to set it to Mix. If there isn’t a Mix, then there may be a Mix Mono. If there isn’t either, paste the output of your ‘amixer contents’ into a comment and I’ll try to help. Note down the item number of Mix and Mic.

Your first amixer command will be changed to:

amixer -c 0 cset numid=<your ‘Capture Source’ numid> <the ID of ‘Mix’>

The second will be:

amixer -c 0 cset numid=<your ‘Capture Source’ numid> <the ID of ‘Mic’>

The script should then work; if it doesn’t, feel free to ask for help.

Many moons have passed since I last posted here

July 22, 2006

But I’m not dead, you might be happy to know.

School’s over for another year, so I have 6 weeks of doing bugger all ahead of me. Just the way I like it.

KuruKuru2X isn’t dead either, my map guy has gone on holiday, that’s all. I’ve done a highscore table, and am in the process of doing credits. Stay tuned.

I’m going on holiday too on the 29th, so he’d better be back by then.

I feel Linuxy

June 16, 2006

I really do. In fact, I'm so Linuxy I could explode.

Yes, I know me no post long time, but meh. Nobody reads this anyway.

Actually, that's untrue, I've had a grand total of 501 hits. Not bad.

I digress. What I wanted to talk about was my abandonage of Windoze. I'm now a full-time-Linux guy. A couple of hiccups in the beginning, i.e. no internet access, but I soon fixed that with a new wireless card, and something I still need to fix, printing. This will be difficult.

Anyway, the beta release of KK2X went OK, I just have to fix a bug or two and it'll be OK. I hope to get some new level packs soon.

Compiling ooPo's toolchain now, I should be up-and-running for GP2X dev by tomorrow.

I also need to buy some more RAM.

Tiscali: Killing the internet, one subscriber at a time

May 25, 2006

Tiscali? Why on earth did I choose Tiscali?

Well, I suppose, at that point, it was the cheapest. £18.99/month for 512kbps broadband. Very nice, by the standards at the time. Now it should be at 2Mbps. Which it fairly obviously isn't. Broadband tests have shown me that my '2Mbps' download speed is actually in the range of 512kbps. That's awful.

I also had a problem with my connection at one point. It was largely my fault, I do admit, but the fact that it took me a week to get through to Tiscali tech support then be told that I had accidentally changed the password by some patronising idiot who had to contact his supervisor three times because he'd forgotten how to access the database.

So I'll probably transfer to NewNet. 8Mbps maximum download speed, which will be about 6.5Mbps on this line, 3 times faster than what I should have (but don't) now, or 16 times faster than what I actually have. They also give you a static IP and some webspace to boot, and I've heard nothing but good things about them.

So if anybody from the UK is reading and wants an ISP, please, for the internet's sake, don't choose Tiscali.

E3

May 12, 2006

Well I’ll be. E3 was well… kinda disappointing. It could and should have been a lot bigger and better. Some exciting announcements were made – Ninty showing off a lot of Wii stuff including a sports game, Zelda, Mario, Metroid; as well as some DS stuff. Also really interesting was the Virtual Console feature and the new controller you’ll use to play it, as well as Connect24 (when are we going to get a webserver on that thing?). Sony showed off their new PS3 stuffs – some really nice (and confusing, by tradition) clips of the new MGS (which isn’t card based, thankfully) as well as their new “we’re not copying Nintendo, we thought of it first so ner” controller, which has no rumble but instead a wireless motion sensor thingy like the Wiimote and looks like a fancied-up PS2 controller. Basically, more sequels, more stealing, more FPS and violence because that’s what your people want. Microsoft with well… Halo 3. I generally dislike FPSes, but the trailer was quite nice. Still, more sequels, more FPS. Go originality.

So, it becomes obvious that I’m a strong supporter of the Wii, which I reckon will deliver fun games in an innovative way. The other consoles, despite their sheer power and lovely graphics, really won’t deliver the same experience. So yeah, Viva la Wii. I might buy a PS3, then sell it on eBay for three times buying price. Then buy a Wii. Wii yeah.

I plan on buying the Zelda game (swordy goodness, woo), the Sonic game, the Mario game and a driving game. And also a Star Wars game, should it come out. It’s every geek’s dream to wield a lightsaber. Wii yeah.

I also need to stop with the Wii jokes. Wii yeah.