General update – March 2021

Belated Happy New Year. I hope that you, your family and friends are well and keeping safe during these difficult times.

It’s been a long time since I posted even though I have been up to various retro computing activities on and off since I last posted in November 2020. It’s almost 12 months that I’ve been working remotely now which brings with it challenges around space and separating home and personal life but I count myself as very lucky in that I am able to work remotely and still do my job. I know others have not been so lucky.

Since I last posted I began re-working my old Alternate Reality X (ARX) code on the Pi 400. I started to restructure the code to try and make it much tidier especially around the display routines and game loops. So instead of having lots of different display and game loops for different things I was moving code into a single over-arching loop with a number of different states depending on whether you were exploring, in an encounter or at the main menu. I made quite a bit of progress with this but it was hard going moving some very old code around which often broke many other parts of the game. I also added an option to scale the window size with a key press; X1, X2 and so on based on your preference.

I’m not really sure I had a clear endgame with this re-working of ARX such as a public release or whether I would use the reworked framework as the basis for an Alternate Reality inspired game. Part of this was me just wanting to make ARX a lot better organised from a coding perspective – more for personal satisfaction that anything else. I haven’t done any further work on this since the end of 2020 but I’d like to get back into some coding on this soon and try to bring this project to some sort of logical conclusion.

Alternate Realith: The City box art

I’ve done some retro gaming and emulation on the Raspberry Pi 400 and also tried out various alternative operating systems on the Pi 400 such as Twister OS – One problem I have with the Pi is keeping track of what is on each of my MicroSD cards – bring back 3.5” floppy disks! At least you could put a label on them.

As many long time readers may know I’m a Commodore Amiga fan and after my Amiga emulation above I went ahead and bought an Amiga 600 from eBay which I’ve been spending some time working on and trying to get to the point where I can maximise my enjoyment on it gaming and possibly some light development. Not my favourite Amiga model by a long stretch but it does have the smallest physical footprint (important for me just now) and does have some features that make it very useable in 2021. Maybe I should have gone for an Amiga 1200 but they cost a lot more. I’ll post about this separately.

My “new” Amiga 600 running Workbench 2.1
Ultima VI – The False Prophet running on the Amiga 600

I plan to post more frequently in the coming weeks and months but feel free to drop me a note if there are any interesting retro gaming / computing things you’ve been up to or think I might be interested in. Take care.

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