Graphics cards of the IBM era

Not all computers were created equal. Some were born to educate, others for playing and in the case of the IBM PC it was for business. This has been already discussed in my famous article about golden age of sound cards (in Spanish, not yet translated to English). This time we will focus in the graphical aspect of the ancient and ubiquitous computer of the Big Blue. CGA, EGA, VGA… does it ring a bell to you?

Unlike contemporary home computers, PC architecture didn’t use an integrated graphics chipset, it would use expansion cards to undertake graphical tasks. This –along with its philosophy of a more-or-less open architecture– would result in many solutions coming into existence along its lifetime. I’ve devoured quite a lot of old computer magazine pages and thus my impressions.

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Sound chips that shaped video games

Sound is present since videogames are such. From little beeps to the complex, positional digital audio system nowadays. Sound effects and music in the digital entertainment have come a long way, and so the necessary hardware has.

Among the electronic circuits that have made possible the sound aspect of the digital world there are really notable ones. Because the melodies they have been written for, the impact in the gaming (or general) culture, its capacities or simply because the leap they meant. As the dumb lists enthusiast I am, here is a list of some which, in my judgement, are the most interesting and deserve to be remembered.

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Taking Sim City 2000 into pieces

SimCity 2000 (Maxis, 1993) is one of my superfavourite games, ever. I’ve been playing it for 20 years and it’s partially responsible of my terrible grades at high school. I have always liked modifying games, but so far I haven’t been serious about decoding the data files of this city simulator. And I have found some quite interesting things!

There were ports in a great number of platforms, from the Macintosh (the original) to GameBoy Advance, but my favourite is MS-DOS, and it’s what this article is about. There are two interesting files: the executable (SC2000.EXE) and the data file (SC2000.DAT). Unfortunately, Windows version didn’t came out in Spanish (my mother language), and Network Edition version works awfully bad (and it is available only in English). Continue reading “Taking Sim City 2000 into pieces”

JSF converter for SelectOneMenu

The main JSF feature (or, at least, the one I like the most) is the ease to link controller bean attributes to xhtml view. However there’s an inherent important limitation: in the HTTP standard keys and values always will be strings, because they are sent that way. Of course you could serialize an object to base64, but a barbaric thing like that should be avoided in almost any circumstance.

Then how can we link a HTTP control to an object? For that, JSF provides converters. Well, it will allow you to program them, of course. Neither PrimeFaces, my library of choice, includes these converters. Thus, I’ve programmed a simple one for SelectOneMenu, the dropdown menus in the like of a combobox. I’ll leave it here for my own reference, and for anyone that could use it.

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State of the Art: mémoires

At this stage is needless to say that Amiga is one of the most loved architectures by its fans, or that its multimedia capabilities made its demoscene one of the most important. One of the most long-remembered productions is, of course, State of the Art, by the group Spaceballs, from 1992.

Technology behind this demo is not groundbreaking. It is true that the use of rotoscope made it very interesting, but for the rest it could go unnoticed. It was however very bold regarding one thing: it was one of the first demos that used mainstream techno themes. For first time you could show it to a person not from demoscene circles (those nerds with their computers!) and exclaim: “That’s dope, dude!”

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