Archive for September, 2009

JSSpeccy v20090929 (Don’t-Mess-With-Geeks Edition)

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I wasn’t really planning on developing JSSpeccy further, because I didn’t consider it a serious project with a future. However, it turns out that someone else did. Enough to rip it off wholesale and pass it off as their own work on the iPhone app store for £1.29 a pop, no less. Yes, thanks to the detective work of Phil Kendall we now know that ZXGamer, the much heralded Spectrum emulator for the iPhone, was nothing more than JSSpeccy with a fancy title screen tacked on. (Which of course is a blatant violation of the GPL, and being pure Javascript, would explain why it ran at less than the speed of a real Spectrum on a 600 MHz device, and why it was overwhelmingly rated at one out of five stars. Epic fail.) It’s been pulled from the app store now – so while ZXGamer is gradually disappearing from the internet, it’s time to redress the balance a bit.

A new version of JSSpeccy is out. It doesn’t run at full speed on an iPhone either (although it positively speeds along on recent versions of Safari on real computers), but it does boast the following changes:

  • GPL v3 licenced, with prominent notices to make it clear that playing silly buggers like the above will not be tolerated (even if they do include source…)
  • A bit of speed optimisation (about 15% faster maybe)
  • A pimped-up user interface with shiny icons
  • And most relevantly, entirely controllable via iPhone / iPod Touch touchscreen. In principle. (If you’re expecting an immersive gaming experience, you’ll be disappointed.)

So there you go – probably the best Spectrum emulator for the iPhone ever. And it’s free.

Spectrumori-on

Monday, September 14th, 2009

This 1K intro for the Spectrum (which received 3rd place in the oldskool demo competition at Sundown 2009) was inspired by Bill Bailey. No, really. His current live show features a spot on the Yamaha Tenori-on, which through the medium of “getting someone in the audience to splurge their hand on it”, he demonstrates that it can’t fail to play something nice.

This makes it a good excuse for some experimentation with generative music. The secret is in the scale – it’s equivalent to playing only the black notes on a piano, and presumably has roots in oriental music (I previously rediscovered it while working on Haiku). To make it into something like a proper demo, rather than just a throwaway routine, I added a bit of subtle progression Cyberpunks Unity style, so it drifts in and out of randomness as the graphical effects change. It even has a proper ending…

In recent months Yerzmyey has been pushing for the revival of the 16K Speccy as a platform, so I’m pleased to announce that this demo is – so we believe – the third ever demo to run on it.