Patheon: Still Fallen, No Rise

Sunday, October 29, 2023

This is not my normal type of post. But I guess I do like to post about my MMORPG hobby at times. And specifically to this game... I did post about it almost 10 years ago!

So... How have things gone with this game in the past 10 years? Is it the game I wished for?

Well... I honestly can't say. Despite the typical and expected MMORPG development time before it goes to Release being 5 years, and the fact that I specifically pledged for Alpha access in order to be a part of the development process at the most key stage where everything is being thought of, added and tweaked, thus I should have been able to play the game after 3-4 years... I have not touched a single piece of the game. It's been perpetually in a fabricated phase called "Pre-Alpha". If you have been to my website before... you know that I know about development. CaVE, Unity projects, and all the way back to my start with mIRC scripts. And in all that 25 ish years... I have NEVER heard use of the phase name of "Pre-Alpha" outside of Pantheon. At best, maybe using the term to casually refer to development phases before Alpha as a whole. The only legit common development phases before Alpha are Prototyping, and Proof of Concept.

I Guess I Make Mods Now...

Sunday, September 10, 2023

After diving into the WidescreenEx mod like I did, and liking the result, I found I learned quite a bit. I decided to keep going. The plan was to make some "Fit to Screen" mods for the other system apps. But I quickly got side tracked with something else.

Years ago now, I made some other mods that I never released. Because I never finished them to my satisfaction, and to do so was too involved. That being a mod to allow custom chosen backgrounds to be displayed. This idea was borrowed from the SNES Classic. I even used the background/borders from that device for my work, and it was nice seeing NSO SNES game output perfectly fitting in those borders! But... diving too much into mods always seemed daunting, and improper. That's in large part because, mods were a clunky side thing. Not managed officially. But... of course, that has changed now as with CaVE v1.5, that's a major feature!

The N64 Widescreen mod...

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Recently I learned just how bad the N64 Widescreen mod was. This is not a mod I developed. It is simply one I felt forced to maintain and update regularly, in order for there to be less issues and bug reports with CaVE stemming from users using out of date mods.

I heard or issues with it cropping out part of the screen, but the context always sounded like the people were talking about 4x3 games with the mod active. That was an unfortunate side-effect of the hack, it causing 4x3 games to not look right. It was a all or nothing hack. You commit to all your games being 16x9, or not. But low and behold... THIS is what 16x9 games looked like.

 

 

What I have been up to lately

Tuesday, August 01, 2023

I got kind of sick of WoW not long after my last post. The token price just started inflating more and more, and while I could probably earn it each month... it just seemed less and less fun. Dragonflight itself kind of very abruptly lost its fun.

After I stopped playing, I ended up getting back to my coding hobby more. Namely, working on CaVE. I have been keeping it up to date with each NSO update, but that's it. After my last post on the topic... well... you see that part at the end? About encouraging people to not just give me silence in return? That... did not happen. Silence is exactly what I got. I really felt  that SEGA Saturn support was going to be well received, breath some new life into CaVE, and make it a more broadly valuable tool.

My Journey With World of Warcraft

Sunday, February 26, 2023

I've been thinking about this off and on for a long time. Posting about my thoughts on WoW, about my characters, etc. But largely have fallen into the mindset of "Why would anyone care?". Lately I have been thinking that doesn't matter. Like or not, this site/blog isn't about the readers. It's about me and my hobbies. I don't post stuff here to appeal to people, I post stuff simply because I enjoy talking about things (and if people enjoy it too, great!). So why not WoW?

I have played WoW off and on since vanilla. At first, just because it's where everybody else was in the MMO space, and because EQ jumped the shark for me with it's then recent expansions. I never really enjoyed WoW itself for many years. I just enjoyed doing stuff with friends. Because of that, my experience was always one of catching up to everyone else, and only then getting to have fun. In vanilla I first leveled a Ally Rogue to 42 on a server where I had family. I stopped... well, I forget why. I think it was probably because I was still adjusting to the game, or because I was too on my own then (my family in the game... sucked. This will come into play again later...). After a break, a IRL friend got me to play again and I started leveling up a character on his server to join his guild. Again, a Rogue but this time Horde. I got to 53 and... suddenly he server transferred... Before I ever got to do anything with him in the game. So I ended up switching back to my first character, as at least that was on a server where I knew people. At this point TBC was out, and I was able to get to level 70. I even joined my families guild and enjoyed raiding Karazhan. That... ended abruptly with a falling out with that family, so I completely quit the game.

Release: CaVE Database Manager v1.4.1

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

I guess I kind of missed a few versions. It's been a while since my last update here too. So this feels like a good time for one.

This is a big update! Ever since I created Slip, discontinued it, and merged it into CaVE... the direction of CaVE has shifted. And that does lead into this update.

I put a lot of effort into refining a template for the Wizard setups used in Sloop/Hiyoko NSP creation. And I'm happy to now announce that the effort has paid off with... Hovercraft and ZebraEngine support!

Release: CaVE Database Manager v1.3.7

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

I just released CaVE v1.3.7, to coincide with the NSO GEN/MD v2.0 app.

Nothing about this NSO app warranted a CaVE update instead of just a database update, but I had a few fixes and additions coded and... it didn't look good for anyone wanting to lift a finger and test it as a Discord only release. Thumbs up emotes are the extent of anything anyone there wants to do now.

Changes:

Fixed an issue with the "Add Stock Games" list.
Added a new Update Database option.
  This option simply updates the strings.lng of the current database to the selected version.
Added a .srm 2 cartridge.sram option to the Tools menu for N64.
  This converts a Retroarch .srm that contains save data (not save STATE data) to a save file that NSO can use. It tries to automatically detect what type of save data the game uses, and output that as cartridge.sram.
Added a Help option to the Help menu that displays a setup guide and FAQ.

Release: CaVE Database Manager v1.3.6

Thursday, February 10, 2022

I don't normally do release posts for these minor version, but since its been a little while since I have posted...

v1.3.6 brings an update for officially released Earthbound games, but also a minor fix to handle SP games being addable from the Add Stock Games menu since a SP for Super Metroid and something else on the Famicom were added.

Besides the new Full Unlocks, as usual for SNES/SFC, that's it!

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I may as well bring up other news through. Let's see...

The community preset database project is a complete flop. Few seemed to care about the SNES database I worked hard on, and no one cared to contribute to try and fill out the others. So... That sucks. Since I realized it flopped, there one who has been trying is all. But I suspect that I'm going to have to do these myself. IDK. I may wait for CaVE 2.0 for that, since the preset database feature was originally intended for that. I could try going about it another way maybe.

The Usual Christmas Update

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merry Christmas!

As I often like to post... something on Christmas, as a sort of present... This year is no exception! Now that CaVE is back, and updated well enough with new features and support, there wouldn't be much to add to it. Nor SFROM Tool. Least not to be worth considering a present. But I have been working on a side project that is now ready...

Back in October, while waiting on the N64/Genesis NSO apps to be released, I killed time with this side project. As some may know, SNES is my favorite console... ever! So it tends to be my focus. There wasn't a lot left to do with it and NSO, but I found something. We all know how to use CaVE at this point, but there is an obvious feature that might be strait up expected by some, but isn't included. It's a feature that takes a lot of work! That feature is what I call a "Preset Database". What that means in this context is, when you add a game in CaVE, there are a ton of values you need to set. Typically images and descriptions. CaVE does what it can to add in placeholder values, but... if you are like me, you would want all the values to look as close to how they would if Nintendo released support for that game themselves. A "Preset Database" in relation to this would automatically set those values with more proper ones. Add say Chrono Trigger? In the split second after adding it CaVE would automatically select the box and title screen art, fill out the meta description, publisher, copyright, etc. Such a feature is convenient, but takes a lot of work to implement.

Release: CaVE Database Manager v1.3.3

Saturday, November 27, 2021

This is a small release, but worth mentioning.

The major part of this update is the meta/config/lua editor. This isnt a huge thing for the average user, but it is for the active community that's trying to increase the roster of compatible games as it makes things so much easier and quicker. But... its not completely useless for average users, as it allows the average user to try settings themselves, and allows others to give them advice on settings to try to help a game work better.

Beyond that, exporting your database is more efficient, SPT support for N64 is fully working (with a couple examples available on the compatibility list, there's some crude support for Super Mario 3D Allstars (for advanced users, and mostly just for testing atm), a couple QoL updates and some fixes.

Of note. Its now been over 1 month since N64 NSO came out and... we now have 125/299 USA games booting, and many of them playing just fine. Its come a long way in a short time, and... while the emu has its issues... its fairing better than people would think. It seems to be struggling with the same games other emus struggle with. In some cases it emulators games better, and in some cases maybe worse.

While most of the games are marked as having minor issues atm, thats just a default I'm using as we give them time to truly be tested. Soon enough the focus will shift to switching those from yellow to green, whether by setting its configuration right, or otherwise.

ChangeLog v1.3.3.0:

Fixed some database issues with N64.
Improved the CPIO code used with dtz's.
Added a new Settings window for N64 .meta/.cfg./.lua editing.
Added a log for changes to your database, for use with the Export feature, enabling it to ONLY export the files it has found to be changed since the last time you exported.
The Machine Country option should now be automatically set for Genesis/Mega Drive.
Added "Disable Handcursor" and "KeyAssign Type" options to N64.
The tools menu is now completely hidden when a N64 database is not loaded.
Changing the code value will now prompt you to change other values that the Code is typically used in.
Added an option to allow you to change the selected ROM for an already imported game.
A few misc bug fixes to SPT support with N64.
Primitive support for working with Super Mario 3D Allstars, available only as an advanced option. "sm3das_enabled": true