Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Hunting for work and free time

Looking for a job has been time consuming. Each potential job interview requires a considerable amount of time to prepare for the specific requirements. As an example, I recently spent a full day reading through documentation about device drivers so that I could converse with a potential employer. It seems to me that this is fairly typical example of how current job seekers have to change gears on frequent basis for each potential interview. I find that a number of employers have numerous requirements on what a potential candidate needs to be proficient in before they will go past a technical screen interview. Sigh! Hopefully something pans out soon as I getting tired of eating beans and rice.

As for game development, I had a little weekend time to work on the Game Boy Advance (GBA) code a bit by starting on a clone of Satan's Hollow. The image on the left is a screen shot of the sample program running on an emulator. I managed to display a background and a sprite on the emulator I'm using. Unfortunately, the sprite doesn't show up when I run the sample program on the GBA hardware. Most likely it's an unitialized field that is set to some default value on the emulator but has a garbage value on the actual hardware. It'll take some poking to figure this one out as I don't have any means to do debugging on the hardware. If I had a multiboot cable I might be able to send data up using serial communications but finding a cable seems extremely difficult if not impossible at this point. I'll have to use the old noggin to sift through the code and see what the culprit is. Most likely something in the OAM or OBJ entries if I were to hazard a guess.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Solving the segmentation fault

There has been some progress on the ability to compile Dreamcast code. I was trying to use the Visual Studio project template yesterday but was not having any success. The make step was producing a segmentation fault. Looking into the output html file Visual Studio produced indicated that it was during the genromfs step. I searched the DCEmu programming forum and found a post from someone else who had what appeared to be the exact same problem. Sadly there was no response to the poster about how to resolve the issue. I ended up finding the solution while running make from the Cygwin bash prompt. I could build the example hello sample but when I created a dummy app with no functionality it took the exact same segmentation fault. So I did the obvious and compared the directories. The hello sample directory contained an empty directory called Romdisk. When I copied this over to my dummy program directory, make succeeded. I then copied the Romdisk directory to the Visual Studio project directory and tried again. This time it compiled fine. This would have been simple problem to resolve if I had understood the various *nix utilities. But since I'm a Windows dev, I'm like a fish out of water and takes time to plow through everything new to find the source of the problem.

This is my new blog URL

I'm using a new URL for the blog. I switched from the bitblot url to the alien-shadows URL to prevent any potential confusion with existing indie developer. I decided to do this after stumbling across an indie developer using the name BitBlot while Googling for information. I have a SourceForge project with the name Alien Shadows, so I decided to use it to identify my blog with.