The Miscellaneous Page

This page will showcase various cool things; that's all I'm going to say for now.

My NES Theremin!
Today, I was bored, so I made a simple program for the Nintendo Entertainment System which acts like a "Theremin". Basically, it produces a sound tone and its pitch changes if you wave your hand closer or farther away from the NES. It's almost like magic! (he says like Doug Henning...)
Click Here to download an audio sample from my NES program, and to read more about it.

Hidden pictures in videogames??
Most of us have found hidden things in our videogames, like menu screens, secret messages, and pictures. But some of them remain undiscovered and forgotten. For example, I found these two pictures surreptitiously stowed away in the data track of the game Gradius II for the PC-Engine CD-ROM. Interesting choice of subject matter, but why? And, is there a way to get to them from within the game? Somebody, please tell me.

NSF To MIDI Conversion Program
Although the concept of converting NES music to General-MIDI isn't new (just look at the earliest Pasofami, or Marat's old SND2MID programs) I recently downloaded an English translation of a Japanese program which plays NSF songs through the MIDI device, and lets you alter the MIDI parameters and change the instrument mappings. With just a little bit of tweaking, you can make some very interesting-sounding MIDI files. CHECK OUT what I managed to make with a little bit of experimentation!

I had always pictured in my mind the music to Code Name Viper being played by a Jazz band, or the ending to Strider done in a Japanese style, or the music to Kirby's Adventure and Wrecking Crew with a Calypso flavour. So, it's pretty neat to be able to do that now, and so easily too!

Click Here to find NSF2MIDI.

NES Game Music Poll Results
On February 4th, I asked NES gamers to vote on their favourite NES or Famicom game music. After compiling and ordering the results, I've made two lists of musical favourites: Best overall game music, and Best single song in any game. There were some interesting and reassuring results!
Click Here to see the results of the NES Music poll.

NES Music on the Commodore-64???
Commodore-64 Music on the NES???
Yep, it sounds like some Frankenstein experiment gone wrong, and it just might be. I have robbed the graves of music chippage and assembled two man-beasts that are perfect for each other... the monster and his bride. Behold! If you dare.....

Well, anyway. Enough of the dramatics. What I've done is make some programs that play music on systems different from what they were intended. I am a real huge fan of videogame music, and I thought it would be cool to listen to NES music on the C-64, and vice-versa. So, the first program that I made, NESSIDPlay, plays music from Nintendo games on the Commie. It really works, albeit in a really hacked way. Some songs sound a little burbly, but others, like the Super Mario Bros. theme song sounds pretty good.
I also experimented with playing C-64 music on the NES. So, I made a simple program that plays SID register dumps on the NES. I haven't developed this as much as NESSIDPlay, because the NES is much more limited memory-wise and DOS-wise. So, I've left C64Play for now. To check out both music players, check out the links below.

Click Here to learn all about NESSIDPlay.
Download C-64Play for the NES.

A 3-D Tank Game for the NES!!
And you thought that the NES could only do 2-D stuff! Well, talented coder Ian Bell has a long history of doing the impossible. He, together with David Braben, programmed the Elite series of games for the Commodore-64, the Amiga, RISC Acorn, Game Boy, and even the NES and others! Elite is a space trading game with three-dimensional polygon graphics. It runs smoothly on all systems, thanks to Bell's and Braben's coding skills.

Ian continued programming on his own after Elite. He worked on a 3-D Battlezone-type game for the NES, but he couldn't find any interested publishers for it. So, he released it in ROM format to the public. Because of the programming tricks that Bell used, and because the game requires extremely accurate timing, no NES emulator currently is able to run the game. Emulating this game should be the ultimate goal for any aspiring emu-coder; if you can do this, then you can pretty much do any other game accurately.

Here are some images of the tank game. Click on the image to see a full-screen version.

How was I able to get screenshots of it, then, you might ask. Well, I used my NES devkit equipped with CHR-RAM to play the game on my NES. Sorry for the poor quality of the images; I was using an old and cheap video digitizer on my Amiga. It's all I have!

All right, I'll drop this. It's not really a game, since you can't shoot anything. But, you can move your tank all around the game map, and the terrain (specks on ground, trees, etc.) rotate, scale, and move past you. There is a moving object in the shape of a flying saucer that rotates around the game map as well. In the most developed version of the game, the player can press the "B" button to change the moving object into other things, such as another tank, a space ship, a missile, a fence, and even a house! In this same version, two players can each control a tank in their own separate views of the scene, with the split going down the middle of the screen.
In summary, this is a neat piece of code that shows what the NES can really do! It's by no means as sophisticated as modern 3-D games, but considering the hardware it's running on, it's impressive. The game always runs smoothly enough to get a good sense of motion, even in the two-player mode. I urge NES emulator coders to check this game out, and endeavour to make your emu accurate enough to run this. Good luck!

Download the game HERE

A JPEG Viewer for the Commodore-64!
(Hmmm.. this page is beginning to take on a tabloid format. Well, I guess this page is for showing off weird things that you might have thought were impossible.) Anyway, a bunch of really talented guys over in the C-64 world worked on a program that displays a 320x200 image from a JPEG file. There are several versions of the program, which display images in either greyscale or colour, and which work on the stock C-64, or the C-64 with SuperCPU. Below are some (mock-up) images that I made that would simulate the program's display. I couldn't just do a screengrab from a C-64 because the image is interlaced. Anyway, the real image looks very close to this, and it looks fantastic with a real C-64 through a video monitor!

Why did they do this? I don't know; I guess for the same reason any of us attempt things that are assumed to be impossible. It's remarkable, when you think about it. Just think about it....
Three cheers for them! The only downside is that the program takes over three minutes to display a JPEG in colour. :-)
Click HERE to download the JPEG programs for your C-64.