2000 News



Programming Contest #4
Posted by Sam on December 31st, 2000
After a minor delay, Programming Contest #4, the first contest of the new year, has begun. May the best programmer win! The object of this contest is to alphabetize a zero-terminated list of word strings. The choice of algorithm is left up to the programmer. Please check out the contest page for all the details.

Entries are due by January 13th. Good luck to all who participate!

Contest #3 Ends
Posted by Kouri on December 20th, 2000
Hey hey. Sorry about being so late with the contest results. I haven't had much time to set up my computer since I've gotten back home for the winter break. But enough about me, you want to know who won, right? Well don't hold your breath, the defending heavyweight champion of the world, Kirk Meyer, his trainer, Jonah Cohen, and their scant, 53 byte entry managed to use the old one-two combination to hold off all challengers. Coming in a close second was Hideaki Omuro at 55 bytes. As usual, you can check out all the contest entries at the final standings page. Really, thanks to all who entered, you guys did a great job! Until next contest...

ION Programs updated
Posted by Sam on December 18th, 2000
These are two very very minor program updates. PlainJump for ION has been modified slightly in order to make it compatible with MirageOS. Ztetris for ION has been modified to remove some of the glaring bugs in the previous release. Both are available for download in our archives:
Ztetris v1.1
PlainJump v1.1

Programming Contest #3
Posted by Kouri on December 4th, 2000
It's been delayed and delayed, but it's finally here. Programming Contest #3 is out, may the best programmer win! The object of this contest is to write the smallest bucketsort routine possible. Bucketsort, for those of you who haven't taken an algorithms class yet, is a nifty little sort routine that only takes O(N) time to run! This means that the amount of time it takes to sort data is linearly dependent on the number of items to sort. Compared to a miserable routine like bubblesort, which takes O(N2) time, bucketsort is mucho fast! Please check out the contest page for all the details. Entries are due by December 18th. Good luck to all who participate!

*Update* The contest page has been updated. Now you may assume that interrupts will be disabled before your routine runs. This means that you can now use the shadow registers and other tricks not normally available. All the other Rules still apply though. Go check them out!
*Update 2* I have updated the contest page yet again to answer the questions I have received in the past few days. They should be pretty obvious, but just in case, you might want to check it out.

Minor Program Updates
Posted by Sam on November 26th, 2000
A month ago, I had speculated that I might be able to finish SubHunt 2 during my 5-day Thanksgiving vacation. Alas, some vacations just are not long enough. My vacation came and went without me ever even opening the SubHunt 2 source code. I spent four days in NYC, had a blast, went to the Preseason NIT (saw Duke twice). It was all very cool, but, still, I apologize for disappointing some anticipating fans out there. SubHunt 2 has about 9 hours of work left to do on it, and I hope to chip away at it over the next several weeks.

On an unrelated note, I'm releasing updates to the ION versions of PlainJump and Orzunoid. A lot of 83+ users were having problems with the external program detection in the programs. Levels were simply not being detected. I've updated the files to use the ION built-in library (which is more stable on the 83+ than the standard 83 method). Both PJ and Orzunoid should now work fine on the 83+ with ION (and possibly with MirageOS, but I can't confirm that). You can find them in our 83+ Ports section in the archives. If anybody still has trouble, please contact Sam.

*Update: The Orzunoid zip has been updated. The title screen was incorrectly displayed in the version I uploaded last night.

Orzunoid v7.1
PlainJump v1.1

Alapanamo Resigns
Posted by Sam on November 21st, 2000
It is very unfortunate that Void Productions long drought of news has to end like this, but much to our disappointment, Alex Canale, aka Alapanamo, has resigned as the chief graphic artist of our team. About 5 months ago, Alex's computer broke for unknown reasons. His contact with the rest of the group became sparatic at best. For the past 4 months or so, Alex has been completely MIA. Just yesterday, he contacted me in a brief email. His ISP provider had dissolved (gone bankrupt). Furthermore, his computer situation still is not resolved. Alex regretfully resigns due to his computer/internet problems are resolved.

This is obviously a major setback to both the Zelda and Punchout! projects, we are currently taken applicants to replace him. If you are interested, please contact Sam. Mike Marantis and "eye" were both very good from the previous tryout. Unfortunately, I lost your email addresses. If you are still interested, please contact Sam.

On an entirely unrelated note, we're going to try to start up our bimonthly programming contest again. Kouri has plans to start a new contest in a few days.

New TI-82 Project Announcement
Posted by Sam on September 25th, 2000
We at Void have been pretty silent lately. The school year has started for most of us, and so our free time is reduced drastically. I thought I would use this slow time as an opportunity to bring you up to date on a new TI-related project that I've been working on lately. Yes, this should probably belong in my .plan file. Yes, I'm still working on Zelda.

During the course of a trip to Washington University in St. Louis, an overnight layover in Chicago O-Hare (thanks United) gave me a little more free time than I anticipated. Because it wasn't anticipated, I didn't have the source code to Zelda with me on my laptop. The only TI-related thing on the computer was an old SubHunt source code. A couple of hours of boredom later, I had the beginnings of a grayscale sequel to SubHunt. The grayscale is being done by a new dynamic engine. So far the speed and quality of the engine have been relatively good (compared to other 82 grayscale libraries/engines) on all TI-82 ROM versions. Grayscale is not the only addition, either. There will be more enemies (9+), more weapons (3-5), more enemy weapons (5+), and a better overall gameplay engine. I do not know exactly when this project will be completed, but stay tuned...

For more information about SubHunt 2 (and a slow, but effective animated screenshot), go to our Projects page.

Battery Tester not released
Posted by Sam on September 8th, 2000
This is a rather minor news announcement, but I released a battery testing utility today for the TI-82. It will tell you the power of the batteries in your calculator in terms of a percentage and is accurate to about a 3% error margin. Many thanks to Wouter Demuynck and Jonah Cohen for their help.

*UPDATE: I had to upload a minor bugfix to the original zip. I didn't take into account the possibility of a negative value for the battery reading (for those people who wear the batteries down until you can literally see nothing). If you downloaded the earlier file, please download the newer one. My apologies.

*UPDATE AGAIN: Removed file for further testing...

TI-82 Beta Testers Wanted
Posted by Sam on September 4, 2000
I'm in need of some beta testers (the more the better) for a small TI-82 project that I've been working on. Please email me if you own a TI-82 and are willing to help me out. I would be especially appreciative if you have a ROM version other than 19.0. Please do not send me an email if you only have a TI-82 ROM and plan to use VTI. This game will only run properly with an actual calculator because it has grayscale graphics. I need to verify the my grayscale engine will work adequately under varying ROM versions and battery levels.

No, I haven't abandoned the Zelda project. For the most recent information about it, please consult my .plan file. This project is just a little something that I started last week while I was in St. Louis (I didn't have my Zelda source handy).

*Update* Some people don't know this already, but to find out your ROM version: Press MODE, then ALPHA, and then LN. DO NOT PRESS ENTER! That will run a self-test and erase your memory. Just press 2nd then MODE to quit.

SubHunt updated
Posted by Sam on August 22nd, 2000
The ION version of SubHunt has been updated to version 1.4. This version fixes problems with text centering, initials entering, and memory corruption (related to the use of TEXT_MEM). Version 1.4 should have no bugs and be the last update to this game. If you have not played SubHunt before, it is a combination strategy/shootem-up arcade game based on a Palm Pilot game of the same name. You control a battleship that drops depth charges onto the enemy submarines below. Download it below or from our archives...

SubHunt v1.4 for TI-83(+) ION

Here are the other versions of SubHunt for your convenience. They have not been updated because they have no bugs as far as I know:
SubHunt v1.3 for TI-82 ASH
SubHunt v1.3 for TI-83 AShell83
SubHunt v1.3 for TI-86

TxtView updated
Posted by Kouri on August 12th, 2000
I made some changes to TxtView that will hopefully make it run better under ION for the TI-83(+). It should also run under the new 83+ shell, MirageOS. It is smaller, and the documentation should be clearer now. Is this not the smallest news item ever posted? ;)

TxtView v1.52 for TI-82 CrASH
TxtView v1.53 for TI-83(+) ION

Programming Contest #2 has ended
Posted by Sam on July 30th, 2000
The Mystery Text Compression Algorithm contest is over. Kirk Meyer submitted the smallest decompression routine at 37 bytes (35 bytes of code, 2 bytes of extra table data). You can see his entry as well as all the others on the Contests page. Also, you may now view all of the entries to the first contest of Pig Latin (my apologies to Scott Dial, Eric Piel, and others).

Jumbled Updates
Posted by Harper on July 24th, 2000
A puzzle game by the name of Jumble 83, an almost extinct project of James Matthews and Harper, was recently found and then fixed (optimized and updated) by Harper. This funky little game is the same puzzle game that is in the comics section of your local newspaper. The game really doesn't have much depth, but it provides a good place to show off the new input routine used in Memory 83 and the Register Your Name function of Punchout. Also, here are a few screenshots of Jumble and Punchout for your enjoyment ;)


Programming Contest #2 has begun
Posted by Sam on July 15th, 2000
This has been a long time in coming as well, but finally the second installment of our programming contest has been made public. This contest is a litter different than the last. A long time ago, Wouter came up with a simple, yet efficient compression algorithm for single-cased text. The contest gives you only the compression tool and some simple guidelines. Your challenge is to figure out the compression algorithm and then write the smallest decompression routine possible in z80 assembly (not as hard as it sounds). This should be a fun contest. More details are availible on the Contest Page

THIS IS IMPORTANT: WHEN YOU USE THE COMPRESSION UTILITY THE LETTERS HAVE TO BE IN UPPERCASE OR IT WON'T WORK! My apologies, but Wouter is on vacation. and he's the one who wrote it. Happy code breaking :)

Ports Section is up!
Posted by Sam on July 14th, 2000
Not many people have noticed, but ever since Void Productions released the new site format, there has been no ports section. I meant to put it up quickly, but it always seemed like a boring and tedious task (which it was). Today, it is finally up. You can now download your favorite Void ports like Ztetris, Galaxian, PlainJump, or Orzunoid from our site's Ports Section. There is also now a Levels section showcasing external levels for Orzunoid and PlainJump. If you would like to see your levelset there, send it to Sam.

TI-83 Experimentation
Posted by Harper on July 10th, 2000
I decided that people would probably like to see what I have been working on for the past few months, so I decided to release these programs for all to see. All of the programs are for SOS 83, and NO I will not port them. I would ask that the demos not be posted to the major sites, because I am going to continually update the source of them here.
These programs include a wonderful sprite converter for dos (converts a variable sized pcx file into usable assembly code), a demo of the role playing game (read my plan for more info), the newest demo of punchout (should include documentation), memory (a game I released to ticalc.org a week ago), a line drawing routine (true line drawing, and 8 bit division routine), and a tilemap routine (12x12 sprites, 8 directional scrolling. Uses a buffer for speed enhancement)
Punchout v.5b - with Mike Tyson
Memory
Line Drawing Routine
TileMap Routine
RPG Demo
SpriteMaker for DOS

We're back (sort of)
Posted by Kouri on July 6th, 2000
Well, you're looking at the last remnants of the Void site (for now). Most, if not all, of the links on this page will not work. The rest of the site will be up tomorrow, as soon as I bring my computer back from my friend's house (we had a LAN party). No, uploading the entire site on my 56k modem will not be fun.
In other news, Zelda, Punchout, and K-Edit are all coming along nicely, the formers more so than the latter. :) We should also have a new contest ready shortly. So all in all, things are looking pretty good. :)

TI-82 Experiments Released
Posted by Sam on June 22th, 2000
A long time ago, I was experimenting with different ASM techniques to utilize in my project, Baseball II. For example, Checkers 8X tested how to use the linkport. Most of the others did not amount to much of anything. These two example programs have been sitting on my harddisk for awhile, but perhaps some other ASM programmer can find use for them (or at least enjoy them).

Gray82 is an 82 port of Ian Graf's 82 Grayscale library. A cool graphical display, but Baseball II's file size is large enough as it is.

Wormy v1.0 is an 82 CrASH port of James Rubingh's port of Mathew Shepcar's Peaworm. I was planning on using similar trigonometric movement for hitting in Baseball II, but it turns out that more variety in the hitting only makes people think more strongly that the game is entirely random.

BlackJack converted to ION
Posted by Sam on June 20th, 2000
As it was requested on our Message Board, Harper's old BlackJack card game has been converted to ION, so that it may be run on a TI-83 under ION or on the TI-83+. Look for more interesting releases in the future from Void Productions, but in the meantime, enjoy this old classic!

Ahmed El-Helw releases Nim 89
Posted by Kouri on June 13th, 2000
After a minor programming hiatus, Ahmed has returned to the TI-scene with the classic strategy game, Nim for the TI-89! For those of you who don't know, in Nim you have three piles of sticks. You may take as many sticks as you want from any one pile during one turn, then the "computer" takes a turn. The object of the game is not to take the very last stick. It can be very challenging, to say the least. Ahmed wrote this program in C using TIGCC, and the source is included for anyone who cares. Download this great game here!

K-Base Released for TI-82
Posted by Kouri on May 29th, 2000
Since I haven't done much Z80 programming for a while, I decided to warm myself up by writing a simple number base converter. You can input the number in decimal, hexadecimal, binary, or octal and it will display the conversions while you type. This might be useful for programmers. You can download this program for CrASH here. A TI-83(+) version is in the works.

*Update* It's been ported to the TI-83(+) as well. You can download the 83 version here and the 83+ version here.

Programming Contest #1 Ends
Posted by Kouri on May 23rd, 2000
Well it was a close race, but Kirk Meyer managed to edge out Hideaki Omuro by two bytes to take first place in The Void Productions first programming contest! Who woulda thought that you could write a routine to convert an English word into Pig Latin in just 48 bytes? For any code junkies out there, the winning entries can be viewed here. Congratulations to all who participated!

Technical Difficulties
Posted by Sam on May 10th, 2000
The server that hosts Dimension-TI (and its hosted sites like Void Productions) had a hard drive crash yesterday. The entire Void site was lost. This is an old backup of the site from four or five weeks ago that I had on my computer, so many things are out-of-date or non-existent. We hope to return to normal service soon. I apologize for the inconvenience, and I hope this never happens again.

*Update* Well we recovered most of the site. I just got the message board and guestbook back up, thanks to Eric Sun and Adam B. Next will be the .plans. Then sleep. :) -Kouri

Programming Contest #1 Begins Today
Posted by Kouri on May 3rd, 2000
Hey everyone, go check out the Void's first Z80 programming contest! The object is to translate an English word into Pig Latin. We hope to get a lot of entries for this fun little challenge, so the deadline for the contest is not until May 23rd. Please read the page for full details on the contest. May the best programmer win! :)

The Void Gets A New Member!
Posted by Kouri on May 2nd, 2000
We here at The Void Productions are proud to announce the newest member of the team, Alex Canale! Alex, also known as Alapanamo, is VP's new lead artist and is currently doing artwork for Zelda and Punchout! He's got great talent, and we are glad to have him. Welcome aboard Alex!

Punchout! Released
Posted by Harper on April 24th, 2000
As some of you may already know, I have been working dilligently on Punchout! lately, and finally have a version that I am satisfied with for public release. This demo should provide most of the features that are going to be included in the final release, but most notably leaving out multiple enemies. Nevertheless, even without the challenge of multiple enemies and weighing in around 12.5k, this game will stay on your calculator. Enjoy!!

*Update* Sam went ahead and ported the game to the 82 for CrASH and to the 83 and 83+ for ION. Yes, you heard right... the 83+ version works. Anyways, thanks for the positive feedback on Punchout, and remember to read the faq to avoid any previously answered questions.

Punchout! v.42b (CrASH 82)
Punchout! v.42b (AShell83)
Punchout! v.42b (ION 83(+))
Punchout! Text File

I'm back!
Posted by Sam on April 11th, 2000
As if you haven't figured it out by now, I, Sam Heald, returned from Spring break last week. Tucson, AZ is a wonderful place if you don't mind the heat. I was actually surprised that it wasn't too unbearable. In fact, the wind was strong enough on most days that I couldn't even feel it. The golf there was fantastic. I actually played the course called Tubac where Tin Cup (the movie starring Kevin Costner) was filmed. I should finish up answering all my email within the next couple of days.

Now that I have returned, I'm afraid my programming time is quite limited at the moment. Between term papers, golf practices, SAT preparation, and normal school, I really have very little free time. In the next few weeks, you'll probably only see some tidbits about Baseball II occasionally and some updates on TxtView. Thanks to Kouri, we should get 85/86 versions out soon. On side notes, I just updated the Contests page. If you do not see your entry, please resend it to me We also could be getting two new members in the near future. Check back soon, and please come again!

TxtView updated for TI-83(+)
Posted by Kouri on April 2nd, 2000
TxtView has now been updated to version 1.52 for the TI-83(+) ION shell. It fixes the problem that caused the calculator to lock up if it turned itself off after idling too long. However, there is another bug which happens if you press [2nd]+[ON] while in TxtView. This may or may not be fixed because I would really rather concentrate my programming efforts on K-Edit right now (there's a new screenshot on the projects page). In the meantime, grab TxtView v1.52 for the 83 (ION) or 83+ (ION). Thanks to Joe Flint for telling me about the bugs.

*Update* TxtView for the 83+ didn't work so I fixed it (hopefully) and the new zip (TxtView v1.53) is on the programs page. Thanks to HawkEye for the heads up.

Sam goes on vacation
March 24th, 2000
Spring break has started, and Sam is leaving today for a one week vacation. He will most likely not have internet or even computer access, so he is not going to bring any programming stuff. Personal emails sent to him will not be answered until he returns as well.

Contests updated, Zelda demo released for ION
March 20th, 2000
As a favor to our loyal TI-83 users, Sam converted the Zelda demo to ION. This version is identical to that one for Ashell 83. According to a reliable source, the ION version will work on the 83+ as well. Because I do not actually own an 83+, I cannot verify this except on an emulator. 83+ users may download the demo at their own risk. The 83+ version is only being included as a favor to several of our artist applicants. Btw, we are still accepting new applicants.
The Legend of Zelda: TOC v0.08 (ION)

Speaking of artists, our contests page has been updated with all of the graphics submissions. Check it out!

Zelda 83 updated
March 18th, 2000
It was brought to our attention that The Legend of Zelda demo does not work on new TI-83's (ROM v1.10 or greater) because the display routine was too fast. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you own a newer 83, please download the updated version.
The Legend of Zelda: TOC v0.08 (AShell83)

Sam has been swamped with submissions for the Zelda and Baseball contests. Those new submissions should be on the contest page tomorrow. Once again, if you are interested in joining Void Productions as an artist, please contact Sam. We will be accepting applicants for another month or so, but the longer you wait, the better the chance is that someone else might take one of the open spots.

Zelda update, Artists update
March 16th, 2000
Because it really only required a recompilation, The Legend of Zelda Demo has been released for Ashell83. The 82 file has been formated for YAS 86, and you can download that file as well. Please do not ask about an 83+ port because the demo will not be ported to that calculator. If you have any comments about the game, please use our Message Board!
The Legend of Zelda: TOC v0.08 (AShell83)
The Legend of Zelda: TOC v0.08 (YAS 86)

We still need talented graphics artists to join our group. We are currently holding an artist "try-out". Any artist who applies will be placed on our artist mailing list. We will then post various graphical tasks on the list for evaluation purposes. The artists will be judged on the quality and puntuality of their work. The try-outs will go on for about a month or so. If you are interested in joining Void Productions as an artist, please contact Sam.

The Legend of Zelda Demo Released!!!
March 15th, 2000
To commemorate the reopening of our site, we have decided to bless our loyal TI-82 following with a new demo of Zelda. This demo is called "The Legend of Zelda: Test of Courage", and it will most likely be the last one before a final release. The demo will not be ported to any other calculators, but the final one will be availible on all z80's. For more information about the demo and the project, please consult the .txt file. Oh, it should work on the 86 with YAS because we haven't used any tricky ROM calls, but I (Sam) can't get the converter to work on my computer, so I can't test it. Enjoy!!!
Zelda Text File
The Legend of Zelda: TOC v0.08 (CrASH)

New Page, New Members, New Server...
March 12th, 2000
During the three or so weeks that the calc.org server was down, Void Productions flourished. Sam Heald was not only hard at work with The Legend of Zelda, but also managed to recruit four new members to join the team, consisting already of himself and Derrick Ward. Ahmed El-Helw, Harper Maddox, Kouri Rosenberg, and Wouter Demuynck are all now part of the team. Each of these individuals brings a variety of talents to the Void, and we welcome their presence.
As you have by now already deduced, we have a brand new website courtesy of Harper Maddox and his friend Trent Roche. Trent came up with a wonderful title image and background image for the frames. Harper came up with the layout. The .plan and the ports sections will be up in the near future. If you have any trouble loading the pages, please contact Harper.
We have new sections as well. Within the INTERACTIVE section, you will not only find our old Message Board and Guestbook, but you will also find a contest page. We are currently holding a graphics-related contest regarding Baseball II, and within a few weeks we will be holding z80 programming competitions. Plan pages and a Programming section will also be up shortly.

Help Wanted
March 12th, 2000
Some of you may be wondering, Now that Void Productions has opened its doors to new members, will they be accepting new applications? The answer is YES. We are currently looking for 2-4 dedicated and talented artists to assist us on our current and future projects. Although we do not feel the need for further programming talent, we will entertain requests from programmers on any TI-ASM platform (82,83,83+,85,86, 89, 92). Programmers without significant experience need not apply. As a member of Void Productions, you will be at the very forefront of revolutionary TI developments. If you are interested, please contact Sam.

A Brief Update on our Projects
March 12th, 2000
New members equals new projects. Harper is currently working on Punchout for the 82/83 as well as The Legend of Zelda with Sam. Kouri is working on an all-purpose text editor, K-Edit, based on his previous work of TxtView. Wouter is going to help out on the existing projects. Ahmedís projects are currently classified.
And now the moment, you have all been waiting for... Zelda news! A new demo featuring an entirely different game engine and graphics will be available on the Project page tomorrow. In the meantime, you may view an animated screen shot of the game in motion. Please visit our PROJECTS page for more information and animated screen shots.