Merry Christmas/New Year 2020!

Merry Christmas/New Year 2020!


   Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas for 2019 and good New Year 2020! At the end of the year, a new decade begins.

The Year in Review
      Although I did not get as much done as I wanted with EagleSoft Ltd this year (underemployed most of the year while finding another gamedev gig), I did manage to begin and finish a few new projects this year, and blog about a few misc. things.

Gamedev/mods:
  • Released Hover Pack late 2018 as a Mario Kart Wii custom battle course pack
  • Updated Thwimp to v1.1
    • Thwimp is a Mario Kart Wii modding utility, for creating custom Nintendo THP videos for menus and such 
  • Finally finished Future Zone and Time Castle Zone for Socket the Hedgeduck Sonic 1 game mod
  • Restarted work on my own Unity3D/C# commercial Indie video game, StarEagle: Defenders of the Galaxy
  • *Began work on a Knuckles' Chaotix game mod called Knuckles Clackers for the almighty Sega 32x
    • Began updating my ancient KC SonED2 ObjDef files from wayback
    • Created the first set of original music for the SMPS32x sound driver (4-channel software PWM support)!
    • Added additional features for KC ROMulan support
      • Sound Driver extraction/injection
      • AAZ Lit palettes
      • Sound Test/Level Select string editing
Misc:
  • Hacked my own Netgear WNR2000v4 router
  • Picked up a rare Sega Model 1 Virtua Fighter Arcade board
    • Began blogging about my attempts of repairs and assembling of a complete machine from scratch
    • Multi-part blog mini-series
  • *Picked up a rare 68030 NeXTCube Computer
    • With monochrome MegaPixel display
    • With restorations coming up in another multi-part blog mini-series
  • Updated my DreamPi NOOBS Compatible image to v1.7 DLE
  • Created a DIY Industrial Strength LVI for DreamPi
More Misc:
  • Basically stuff that was posted on EagleSoft Ltd Facebook Group, due to it not being big enough to warrant their own blog posts
  • Began early work on another custom Mario Kart Wii racetrack
    • Port of Lego Island Speedway, from Lego Island)
  • Dabbled with modding Star Wars Battlefront 2
    • The glorious OG 2005 Pandemic game, not the SW Sequel trilogy EA/Disney garbage
    • An import test of Hover Maze 1
 *=Blog post drafts I'm working on and hope to squeeze into 2019 before New Years Day.



What's next (year)?

Overall, for next year, I'm hoping to continue to do the following

Game Dev:
  • Continue work and research into Knuckles Chaotix for Knuckles Clackers game mod
  • Continue work on StarEagle: Defenders of the Galaxy (Unity3D/C# Indie game)
  • Polish up and finish Socket the Hedgeduck Sonic 1 game mod?
  • Work on new Mario Kart Wii tracks (such as finish up Lego Island 1 Speedway)
  • Star Wars Battlefront 2 modding?
Misc:
  • Loose weight, get healthier and active!
  • Finish up assembling/repairs of my Sega Model 1 Virtua Fighter arcade machine
  • Finish up restoring the NeXTCube computer
  • Electronics kits
    • Finish up my Sony Super Multi (X) kits!
      • Remember that old project from almost 2 summers ago?
      • Well, have been holding off on that until I get a stable job back in gamedev, for steady income, in case I need to spin a few iterative protoypes
      • Just need to fix the layout footprints for components
        • Original footprints for both models were wrong size for components ordered
        • Probably will just assemble a dummy PCB
          • With different footprints online for each component
          • So I can see which footprints are correct for some of the parts from the BOM without wasting too much money
            • Respinning the board
            • Guessing-and-checking until valid footprints are found
        • Then update the boards with the valid footprints
          • Test and verify PCBs work
      • Respin board layout for X model with new Bus Switcher ICs
        • Previous Bus Switcher IC became obsolete
          • Replaced with same chip
          • But has more bus I/O channels
        • Fully test the design
      • Sell them online at my own webstore (as bare or pre-assembled kits)!
    • Sega JST I/O Interface Box (S-JIF)
      • 2P+ I/O Interface Box for Sega Model 1 or similar arcade machines (IDC26 ports)
      • Prototype design on breadboard, test it
      • Fabricate current Eagle layout/board, test it

      • Sell them also online

    • Monochrome NeXT MegaPixel Display Soundbox VGA adapter
      • Create Eagle board/layout for NeXTCube Monochrome VGA adapter
      • Test it
      • Sell them also online?
 With what is planned next year, 2020 is going to be busier and more productive!



"Santa's" Christmas visit

   To finish off this end-of-year post ("end-of-year" excluding a blog post reveal on Knuckles Clackers game mod, and the first post of NeXTCube restorations in that mini blog series to come before the year ends), "Santa Claus Claws" came flew to the house bird nest last night at the EagleSoft Laboratories, and brought some techie presents ๐Ÿ˜ฒ!





Santa Claws flying to each
house, delivering presents on Christmas Eve
(Wait, is that how the Christmas story goes at the North Pole ๐Ÿ˜?)

      Santa Claws I gifted myself a few items this year from eBay, in order to nearly finish up some projects (mostly assembly of the Sega Model 1 Virtua Fighter arcade machine for bootup), and a few necessities to replace some old laptop parts for my Elitebook 8570w (as well as gave a few presents to friends/family). (Almost 5 years later, my HP Elitebook 8570w is still in service and still being quite powerful for CAD graphics work, video gaming graphics, and gamedev I do regularly. It ain't ever giving up Windows 7 Pro for evil Windows 8 or 10 and their buggy, unstable garbage of OSes ๐Ÿšฎ!)

So close at having the minimum parts
necessary to wire up the
Sega Model 1 Virtua Fighter
arcade machine for bootup!

  • Necessity laptop replacement parts
    • Replacement VH08XL battery
      • Old one was beginning to no longer hold a charge well
    • Replacement 150W AC power brick
      • Old one was beginning to acquire a short on the output end.
      • I usually take care of equipment, but a short appeared on that end, due to not folding up the cables well into my laptop bag
      • Unfortunately, this new power brick seems just as bad as the old one with a worse short on the output end.
      • Just going to use the older one, which is in better condition ๐Ÿคท.
      • (Wiggling the old power brick lightly on the Z-Up axis usually gets the output end back into proper alignment for charging )
    •  Replacement internal HDD caddy
      • Lost some incredibly tiny screws on the old one, so the caddy was hanging by a thread with approximate screws
      • I usually take care of equipment, but stupidity on my end this time
      • Laptop was throwing some false-positive HDD corruption error mesages earlier this year, and it was due to the HDD caddy coming loose during travel and the HDD Sata port becoming partially unconnected ๐Ÿ˜ฑ.
      • New caddy holds down the fort well

  • Sega Model 1 Virtua Fighter parts
    • Stuff acquired in the past few months
      • Gateway FPD1530 VGA Monitor (15" 1024x768)
        • To use as possible dedicated monitor for the machine
        • Cranberry Goodwill find (~$12)
      • 10 Pack of microswitches
        • Acquired from a vendor at ReplayFX 2019
        • Will be used for arcade controls
        • Will be 3D printing out button/arcade stick housing for the switches
          • To cut down on costs
          • For customized setup and look
          • Budgeted arcade machine assembly
      • CPU Connector
        •  

      • I/O Board (with IDC breakout boards and some cables)


      • ATX Stuff
        • Retronik ATX Breakout board
        • ATX Power supply tester
        • Better ATX Power supply
          • The one acquired in the 1st VF blog post at the magical Red White & Blue Thrift Store near the Fort Pitt tunnel was a dud ๐Ÿ˜‘
            • Was a Bestec Worstec ATX power supply model
            • Notoriously known for faulty, bad capacitors
            • Known to fry the motherboards of computers using them after the power rails go out of spec ๐Ÿ˜ฑ
            • PSU determined to not even power up or output any power with the ATX Power supply tester
          • New power supply actually powers on, and outputs the appropiate voltages on its power rails according to the power supply tester

      • Sega Model 1 Filter Board 
        • Used for organized wiring to various board components, especially for 
          • Power input
          • 22KHz Medium-Rez RGBHV video signals
        • Board ordered was damaged
          • Dusty
          • Had various JST NH Female pins bent
        •  Repaired by
          • Removing dust with SMT ESD Brushes
          • Gently bending pins back into alignment with a pliers
        • Original pics (the damages)

          • Front
          • Back 

        • Repair pics
          • Beautifully repaired!
    • Stuff acquired for Christmas
      • Arrived at house bird nest in time for holidays
        • Gonbes GBS-8200 CGA/EGA/YUV to VGA converter
          • Used for converting VF1's medium-resolution (24 KHz) graphics to high-resolution, modern day VGA (31 KHz)
          • Am currently powering on the device via
            • The small 2-pin JST connector connected onto a breadboard
            • Makeshift USB breakout module using Dupont cables to the breadboard
              • USB module scavenged from a broken HP Photosmart printer
            • Power applied via
              • Male-to-male USB cable
              • Heavy-duty 5V 2A USB wall wart.
              • Wall wart usually powers up my Raspberry Pi too, which needs the high current.
          •  
          •  
        • IDC adapters
          • IDC50 low-density SCSI Breakout board
            • Used for wiring stuff into the I/O Board's IDC50 port
            • Have a dual-port IDC50 low-density SCSI cable that fits both boards (thanks, Goodwill!)
          • IDC26 Parallel port breakout board
            • Used for wiring in the arcade controls into the I/O Board's IDC26 port
          •  Pics

    •  Stuff arriving sometime after Christmas
      • Another 10 pack of microswitches

        • Needed to complete a full set of 16-20 microswitches needed to implement all VF1 arcade controls
      • IDC26 cable
        • Used as an interconnect between the I/O Board's IDC26 port and the IDC26 breakout board (to wire in arcade microswitch controls)
      • Various quantities and pin-counts of JST NH Female connectors from magical Jammastar.com 's eBay store.
        • Original ones are kinda rare, and new ones can only be acquired direct-from-manufacturer
          •  In bulk, due to direct-to-order state like Digikey, without jacking up costs for only a few parts
        • These are just the female connectors
          • Need to order 200 pins from Jammastar to put into each connector for crimping
        • To be used for creating my own wiring harness from scratch
          • After talking with arcade forum members online
          • Verifying the wiring from the manual's poorly written schematics
        •  
  • Misc stuff 
    • Stuff acquired in the past few months
      •  6 pack of 170 point mini-breadboards
        • Used as dedicated project breadboards
          • Instead of various circuits hogging different sections of my primary Radio Shack breadboard
          • RIP Brick and Mortar store Radio Shack stores ๐Ÿ˜ญ
    •  Stuff arriving sometime after Christmas
      •  5 pack of SN74LS641-1N through-hole chips
        • Chips to be used for a RaSCSI adapter board for my Raspberry Pi
        • Adapter to be used as a temporary virtual SCSI HDD to boot up my NeXTCube ๐Ÿ˜€
        •  
   The nice thing is that I will be 90% completed with getting the minimum amount of materials required to at least boot up the Sega Model 1 Virtua Fighter Arcade Machine when everything arrives ๐Ÿ˜€! All that is left to order at a later date to begin assembly for bootup:

  • 200 JST NH Female terminal pins (for the wiring harness)
  • 3D Print some arcade buttons and joysticks for the microswitches
    • Ask one of my professors at the university
  • A boxed set of various solid-core, 22 AWG spools of colored wire
    • To be used for assorted lengths of wire in the actual wire harness
    • Color-coded similarly as specified as in the manual's poor schematics
    •  
  • Order a 2 pack of ST Micro M27C160 (2MB 42-pin) chips
    • To replace the one I fried during dumping (chip mpr-16102.32)
  • Assemble the wiring harness, wire everything up!

Overall, this year was somewhat busy, next year will have a lot of game development, repairs, and electronics engineering happening, and Christmas went fine this year.

Catch you on the flip side in the year 2020!
-Tamkis



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