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Offline Aleomark

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NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« on: September 10, 2011, 08:44:10 AM »
Quote
Hi folks, I'm presenting my reviews in 2 formats: the first one in a forum style (nothing extraordinary) and in a second way that is a retro magazine style in a pdf. It even has old console and some retro movies commercials xD. I hope you like it because I put a lot of time and work in that! And the forum version is just a formality, well I guess I didn't see any rules about the reviews again, see you later!

Download reviews in magazine style .pdf: Here
Mirrors

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REVIEWS BY ALEOMARK
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This is the review for every application and new game launched on the NEO COMPO 2011 contest (except for toy wars, I wasn't able to boot that game), all the system analized with neutrality and objetivity IN A FORUM STYLE.

*****************************APPS*****************************

#1 [PSP] AnyLanguageStudy v2.0

     This app will let you learning new words of different languages, it even is kind of funny for a while, but more important is that it’s an useful app. But the graphics are too simple and doesn’t have sound at all.

Qualification:


#2 [PSP] PSP Music Center

     Wow I liked this app, it’s very useful in order to make your psp a nice audio player! But wait a minute, why I’ll need an app if the PSP can do that normally? Cause sometimes you don’t want to waste time converting files into another format, a music player isn’t a very original concept but it’s useful, is the kind of app that you’ll use it a lot, but not all is good, it can’t display cover files yet, I guess that will be add in future versions. Another thing bad is that it has bugs.

Qualification:


#3 [PSP] Pspythagoras

     Pspythagoras is a really simple; believe it, simple app, that is able to calculate Pythagorean Theorem, NO WAY! xD. It looks really simple, and I can’t find it useful unless you’re in high school and  don’t own a calculator  but do have a PSP.

Qualification:


#4 [N64] Myth64 Video Player

     First at all, sorry for the bad quality picture but the creator didn’t upload one and I take that directly from my TV screen. These app would let you to play videos in low resolution and in a custom format in your N64 using the neo myth cart.
   The video quality is poor, sound is ok, doesn’t have pause buttons -UPDATE: sorry my mistake, it does have a pause button (holding A)- neither fast forward or slow motion, or something else, it just plays videos and that’s it. One inconvenient is that you have to change the format of your videos, before play them, and after losing time doing that you’ll only be able to play them in low res. So isn’t a good video player but is the only one available for the N64 and we’ll have to give extra credit cause it’s been years since some new homebrew app were developed for this system. Let’s hope in next versions it can have more options and resolution.

Qualification:


#5 [NDS] Wildlife Greenhouse

     Quiz time, do you like herbs? I mean not smoke them, just know about them this app is about to know what herb is this one.

Qualification:


#6 [NDS] TuneItDS

     Ok , probably it is an app about how to play a guitar, but there is no description inside the app, it's cool just need an inside tutorial and I could say tuneltds is a great app. A really usefull one.

Qualification:


#7 [NDS] WhatTheHex

     Ok, what color is this #d24921?
     Well if u don't know, you should not play this game, because they show you 4 squares 1 color each 1 , and you have to guess what color is it ( btw, it was red )if you like this game, probably you should learn how to speak in binary lol

Qualification:


#8 [NDS]U.S.A Naturalization Test

     If you like tests you probably should play this app, if you don’t like normal people, skip it. It’s an app about US story, in order to get you ready for apply for a green card.

Qualification:


*****************************GAMES*****************************

#9 [NDS] MIND MAZE

      Wow, I played this game several times; I finished every mini game that it contains, why? Because it’s great! I have a lot fun especially with the first mini game.
      Let me tell you that Mind Maze is a compilation of 4 mini puzzle games, one is a slide puzzle, like the ones I used to play when I was a kid, you got  a picture divide into 11 frames a one free slot, you have to slide the frame trying to make everything in order to complete the picture.  The second mini game is about make couples with cards, just a memory game, kind of funny but not too much. The third one is about move a ball through a labyrinth, these one is really fun and you need to have good reflex cause in order to do it in less time you need to don’t touch the walls, and the last mini game you’ve to build any of the 4 images available, turning the cubes, it’s really difficult. It has minor bugs in game selection screen.

Qualification:


#10 [NDS] Super Smash Bros Crash! DS (Demo10) 

     Last year I said: “This is a recreation of bigger Smash bros for others consoles, with some new characters from anime series, If you like Smash you’ll need this title in your collection”. And still it’s with some improvements respect version #7, but still the game is unfinished, The graphics character are great, but can’t say the same about the scenario, still fun to play.

Qualification:


#11 [NDS] Flying

     In flying you’re a fly (NO WAY DUDE! Said Tommy Chong xD), trying to reach a green balloon in order to access the next level, but you can’t touch anything else or you’ll start again that level, I didn’t enjoy it too much and even get me frustrated, the graphics are normal, just too dark. But control that fly is really difficult, I mean really, maybe it could be funnier if flying were more confortable.

Qualification:


#12 [NDS] DScraft

     Dscraft is a big effort to export the popular game minecraft to the NDS, even when I’m not a lover of the original game or concept, is great to see how good is these clone, really close to the look and feel of the original game. The graphics look so nice, and the world is so big, and you can make almost any construction you can imagine if you are patient enough. It doesn’t have great sounds, the controls are fantastic, and fun factor is really high if you like these kind of games, but if you don’t you’ll only play 5 minutes and turn the console off.

Qualification:


#13 [NDS] Arsenal

     It's the old school games, you control an spaceship and just shoot like there is no tomorrow, it is a bit messy because the enemy fire around all the screen, and sometimes you just can't avoid bullets (in memory of Timoty). Sound is ok, controls are fantastic!

Qualification:


#14 [NDS] Everyman

     There is no nice graphics in this game, a 10 year old kid can draw graphics like that and the environment is confused.

Qualification:


#15 [PSP] Company v1.0 – Story Edition

     This is a game card, really different, were you have to deal with having a company and tried to make it big in order to make more money, using all kind of tactical for steal other’s company’s money, and saving you money in the bank etc. The truth I didn’t have a good time playing it, everything happen fast and you can understand very good your opponents moves. Graphics are really simple, and music is repetitive.  It’s a really original idea but, I don’t see myself playing it again, maybe if you love table games you can find this game funnier.

Qualification:


#16 [PSP] Spacial Wars

     In this game you have to shoot a lot against spaces ships, sound familiar? Yes because it’s a very old concept, but now you’ve to do it in 3 dimensions, using up or down you change how deep you’re and what ships you can shoot, but the biggest surprise is that    it doesn’t have sound! ¬ ¬.
   And after 5 minutes it gets really repetitive, the truth is that you’ll not play a lot this game, maybe a couple of times.

Qualification:


#17 [PSP] REminiscencePSP v0.2.1

     Wow is this game really homebrew? Yes sir it’s, but it looks as a retail game, and like the author says in description it’s similar to games like PoP, but I thinks is more closer to feel like Another World or Heart Of The Alien.
   It has great graphics, sound, recorder voices and even FMV! : ). That’s great but –always has to be a but- isn’t an original enter, this game won in 2009 second place for PSP Game Area. If weren’t by that detail I’ll give it perfect score, but isn’t the case. About the game itself if I have to say something against it is that is difficult, and if you don’t have patient you’re not going to enjoy in all its magnitude.

Qualification:


#18 [PSP] Hamtaro Holidays  v2

     This a tamagotchi clone game for the PSP. Instead of using a “monster of pocket” the protagonist is Hamtaro, is really a simple game, repetitive, and kind of fun if you like this kind of concept, but if you don’t you’ll get bored soon, the music is ok, graphics are simple, control is fine, what’s more important about these game is that it really is an original idea to export tamagotchi concept to PSP.

Qualification:


#19 [SNES] MegaFamilyBros

     It’s a shame that these game on real hardware has troubles, and this a neoflash contest at least we would like it works fine with their flashcarts. I played it in real hadware but some graphic glitches make it difficult to do it (some enemies were invisible, and some holes looked as continue floor). Using snes9x I could played it without graphic issues but them the music sound bad, that’s when I remembered the comments in the topic of the forum. Sound isn’t original, same as several enemies, the controller feels fine, and is fun to play these game.

Qualification:


#20 [WII & GC] Toy wars

     UNABLE TO TEST


Quote
Ranking----# in order from review----system----Name of game/app

---------------------------------------------------------APPS--------------------------------------------------------------
   

1     #6. [NDS APP] TuneItDS
2     #4. [N64 APP]Myth64 Video Player
3     #1. [PSP APP] AnyLanguageStudy v2.0
4     #2. [PSP APP] PSP Music Center
5     #8. [NDS APP] U.S.A. Naturalization Civics Test
6     #5. [NDS APP] Wildlife Greenhouse
7     #7. [NDS APP] WhatTheHex
8     #3. [PSP APP] pspythagoras

---------------------------------------------------------GAMES-------------------------------------------------------------
   

1       #12. [NDS GAME] DScraft
2       #13. [NDS GAME] Arsenal
3       #09. [NDS GAME] Mind Maze
4       #17. [PSP GAME] REminiscencePSP v0.2.1
5       #19. [SNES] MegaFamilyBros V1.0
6       #10. [NDS GAME] Super Smash Bros Crash! DS
7       #14. [NDS GAME] Everyman
8       #15. [PSP GAME] Company v1.0 - Story Edition
9       #11. [NDS GAME] Flyin'
10     #16. [PSP] Spacial Wars!
11     #18. [PSP]Hamtaro Holidays v2
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 10:05:49 PM by Aleomark »

Offline 10$man

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 09:59:33 AM »
Wow... Really great reviews...
I am starting to regret not leaving music in my game....
Anyways thanks for the review!

Offline Conle

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2011, 01:45:34 PM »
Thanks for the review aswell.Just one thing :
Quote
doesn’t have pause buttons

You didn't read the readme i guess.
Hold a to pause/unpause(in sync)
Hold b to return to the browser.
You have to hold the buttons since im doing periodical PI dma operations(Since the interface is slow , the code had to be as optimized as possible and split the work to both cpus ::sm-09.gif:: )

Quote
neither fast forward or slow motion
I have compiled the Filesystem to read only mode to allow me to do some extra optimizations to the reading code and for some odd(well not so odd.Its obvious where it fails) reasons
seeking is broken when there's fragmented sectors on the SDC.That was the reason that i split the streams  since the other option would be to have 2filesystems(one for reading and another one for writing)
:(

Like i said the player is only limited by the interface.Hopefully the core engineers will improve it sometime.
Anyway,again good job with the reviews , and good luck in the top reviewer finals  :D
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 01:57:18 PM by Conle »

Offline nakano

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2011, 02:09:22 PM »
Thank you Aleomark for the reviews! I have waited to get some feedback.

Actually AnyLanguageStudy does support sounds. It's just that I am programmer, not a word list maker. It would be impossible to add sounds (voiced words/sentences) for every list. See hiragana word list, it uses sounds a lot in example words (there are also some voiced example sentences somewhere in other list). I agree that the graphics are simple. It is meant to be this way so those do not distract the user. However, next release will have a support for custom styles if anyone likes to create them.

I am also aware of that everyone does not enjoy card games. Company is targeted for a "specific" group of people like indie games. At least, I think it's easy to learn and cards can easily be recognized (I have tested the game with real players with self produced cards and they gave that feedback). It would certainly have been nice that a very skillful graphics maker would have joined our team. I cannot create Magic quality cards without copying other people's work. Hmm... Did you play the story mode through with all multiple endings? If so, I would like to have feedback from that too even if you didn't like the story / challenges.

Offline Aleomark

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2011, 10:03:27 PM »
I didn't wrote before but in the final qualifications every game/app that has the "original" seal I gave 5 extra points in order to make the final ranking, so whatever number gives you the final score if it has the original seal you've to add 5 points more, and from that way I make the final ranking.

mm so video player does have a pause button holding A, thats nice! I hope you can later optimize that app cause is nice to see new homebrew for the N64, I was waiting these year to see Chili Willy's SMP improvements and that didn't happen but to see your app was a nice surprise and is a great advance for the N64 homebrew, I wish too see more new apps for N64.

I played history mode in company but not finish all multiple endings, and I tried to advance all I can but I'm not a skillful player in these kind of games, I'll dedicated a couple of more tries in next days.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2011, 10:08:54 PM by Aleomark »

Offline nakano

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2011, 10:24:15 PM »
I played history mode in company but not finish all multiple endings, and I tried to advance all I can but I'm not a skillful player in these kind of games, I'll dedicated a couple of more tries in next days.
If you have difficulty to beat the players, I have included a cheat mode among other hidden and unlockable stuff. Even though, I personally don't like cheating in games (and have finished the game without any cheats), I added the support for testing purpose and other people to find out. You can get to the "cheat menu" by pressing triangle (now you see the big image of card) and then pressing start (now you can see all the keys).  After this apply a cheat:

 * Get a lot of money and draw the deck completely: Hold R+L and press up.
 * Player 2 gets a lot of money and draws the deck completely: Hold R+L and press down.
 * See every players cards: Hold R+L and press right.

Offline leviadragon

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2011, 12:42:43 AM »
Good review but.....

I do not understand why Hamtaro Holidays had revieved for 2.5 star and it is after any 2 star games like Special Wars or Company (in generically means) in the final ranking.

This is confusing .Please Reply.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 12:47:10 AM by leviadragon »

Offline nakano

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2011, 12:57:49 AM »
^Leviadragon, I think it's due to the original entry points. They're considered in the ranking only after the stars are given.

Just a note about REminiscencePSP. It's an engine. It's emulating a game so I think the focus of review is a little strange.

Offline Conle

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2011, 01:27:31 AM »
mm so video player does have a pause button holding A, thats nice! I hope you can later optimize that app cause is nice to see new homebrew for the N64, I was waiting these year to see Chili Willy's SMP improvements and that didn't happen but to see your app was a nice surprise and is a great advance for the N64 homebrew, I wish too see more new apps for N64.

The player already uses all sorts of optimizations
(Might be useful to mention them for those who plan to develop homebrew for the current HW rev of N64 Myth Flashcart):
-Rendering is done by RDP using a statically compiled rdp instruction block(you can think of it as a small driver)built once(right before the playback starts)
(Both display modes use rdp , there is also a software renderer + resampler done in mips asm but i've disabled it from the encoder's side)
Tiling code also uses the less amount of scaling factor possible by "connecting" gaps caused by rounding in pixel units(again this is part of the rdp block so its done once).
-Audio uses AI dma operations directly on the uncached audio ring buffer (no local buffers)
-Cached addressing mode is not used (if we had to invalidate the cache then the video would play in slow-motion)
-SD multiple sector reading is done in asm (The PI registers are adjusted to speed this up to a 2x ratio (approx))
-Timing is hard coded since there is no time to quee up frames/audio samples and interpolate them
-Periodical PI dma operations during playback

So with all this we can play 25fps encoded video(* [1] *) with 22050hz audio at full speed (and without using the official SDK).

*[1]* : Resampling scales for 256x240x2 mode are :
Resolution 128x128 :
Ratio : 1.0 2.0 1.0 (per tile)
Round : 0.035 (per tile)
Tiling gap TH : 0,0 (per tile)

Resolution 160x112 :
Ratio : 1.25 1.75 1.0 (per tile)
Round : 0.018 (per tile)
Tiling gap TH : 0,4 (per tile)

Total RDP instructions in static chunk/driver(both modes): 51 (204bytes)

Now what needs optimization :
-The actual fpga core!

There is absolutely no support from the hardware when accessing the SDC.

Actual issues :
-You can only read a nybble at a time
-There are large timeouts before each sector read (You have to wait until the hardware is ready for the next read)
-If you "hit" a large timeout that exceeds the thresold the block read will have to be repeated (happens most of the time)
(i have adjusted the code to mark the last successful sector read but still it ends up with an extra start/stop sequence and a delay for the response data)

Now if we didn't have those issues , we could implement some fast compression algorithm and allow much better frame quality which would then allow
better resampling at higher ratios.

And regarding CW's audio player , well yes , it would be nice to see an update but first let him port Wolf3D with SD content support.  ~sm-79.gif~.gif

Offline Sektor

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2011, 02:55:16 AM »
I think MegaFamilyBros deserves a higher ranking than Reminiscence. The author put much more work into it, it's a SNES game and it is fun (level 2 and 3 are really hard, that will take me a while to finish) ::sm-23.gif::

Of course you are free to use your own rules of judging.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 03:03:35 AM by Sektor »

Offline RNB_PSP

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2011, 04:25:20 AM »
Thanks. Nice review.  I have already commited a revision to svn where album art is displayed, though there is a 512*512 limit, and only jpg images will display for now. BTW, I forgot to mention in the release that it can also play music from the UMD(any type, game, music , video), though the version I have submitted for this compo always displays the umd as empty(already fixed and commited to svn).

Offline Aleomark

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2011, 07:42:22 AM »
Good review but.....

I do not understand why Hamtaro Holidays had revieved for 2.5 star and it is after any 2 star games like Special Wars or Company (in generically means) in the final ranking.

This is confusing .Please Reply.

I didn't wrote before but in the final qualifications every game/app that has the "original" seal I gave 5 extra points in order to make the final ranking, so whatever number gives you the final score if it has the original seal you've to add 5 points more, and from that way I make the final ranking.

BTW the original seal is inside the review of every game/app in pdf version, and too the qualifications for each part (sound, fun/usefull, duration, control, graphics)

I think MegaFamilyBros deserves a higher ranking than Reminiscence. The author put much more work into it, it's a SNES game and it is fun (level 2 and 3 are really hard, that will take me a while to finish) ::sm-23.gif::

Of course you are free to use your own rules of judging.

The final results only reflects my opinion, you're free to share your's as you have done now, my opinions doesn't reflect neoflash's judges opinions and doesn't decide the winners.

Thanks. Nice review.  I have already commited a revision to svn where album art is displayed, though there is a 512*512 limit, and only jpg images will display for now. BTW, I forgot to mention in the release that it can also play music from the UMD(any type, game, music , video), though the version I have submitted for this compo always displays the umd as empty(already fixed and commited to svn).

you're welcome
« Last Edit: September 11, 2011, 07:45:04 AM by Aleomark »

Offline davidgf

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 05:55:06 AM »
Hey!
Why didn't Toy Wars work? It's a problem with the game or it's just you?? Did you tested it with Wii or GC?
If you ask me I might be able to help you.

Offline Aleomark

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2011, 08:11:08 AM »
I did it, check your topic and see the date of my question. I tried both specially GC version using all kind of configures using swiss and sd boot 0.4, it showed me a blackscreen with white letters an error message. With wii version I got a black screen without messages , picture or sound.

Offline dieudunet

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Re: NEO COMPO 2011 Reviews By Aleomark: forum and magazine style!
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2011, 04:00:37 AM »
I have just understand why you say MegaFamilyBros isn't working well on real hardware :D

I have a Pal Snes running a 50 Hz and the game run perfectly on it.

And I have just switch it to 60 Hz and discover that the Interrupt VBlank is coming to quicly in 60 hz and so, lot of bug appears on the screen.

What a shame, for the next compo I won't do the same mistake.

:D


C is for N00b
ASM rules