A couple of weeks ago, Notaz released a surprise update for the Pandora firmware. After all, the 1.73 one was supposed to be the very final firmware update for the Pandora, yet Notaz is a perfectionist and does not easily leave things unfinished. This new firmware comes with a number of changes worth mentioning in a whole post.
We seem to be back to a more normal month now, with a few dozen updates and less than 10 new releases. But there’s a lot of gems there: the new Kodi Media Center, version 16.0, updated versions of Xash3D, Daikatana and RCTW which should all be a little faster. Among the new releases, Call to Power 2 stands out as an excellent Civilization game that can run on the Pandora. Definitely better than, let’s say, FreeCiv.
The bluetooth function of the Pandora must have been one of the most underused ones since its launch. There’s only one time that I think I was able to use it: for connecting it to a bluetooth GPS. And… that’s it. BT Audio never worked for me (even in Slackware) despite the Pandora managing to connect and pair with other devices. With the new firmware 1.74, we finally get working bluetooth for audio streaming. YES!!!
It’s been a while since we did not talk about PPSSPP, the open source PSP emulator available across most platforms, including the Pandora. Last time I mentioned it, it was for the 0.9.6 version, and since then there’s a lot to say about it. Obviously the Pandora is nowhere near powerful enough to run most games made for the PSP (especially the 3D intensive ones), but there’s now a good collection of games that run pretty well.
It took a long time to get to this point, but ED and his team has finally achieved it! A fully working Pyra prototype! Looks like you won’t have to wait too long now to get your hands on something tangible (hopefully within 2016) to replace your existing Pandora, or to jump on the ship if you did not have any Pyra-like handheld until now.
After last month’s crazy run of updates and releases, this past month looked quiet instead! But do not kid yourself there was still a lot to talk about, such as the release of OpenFodder, a remake of the engine behind Canon Fodder on the Amiga back in the days! Oh and by the way, It’s been 3 years that Pandoralive.info launched !
So, what, maybe you are thinking “are you kidding me, there were already fun racing games on the Pandora so far!“. Sure. Like one of my all-time favorites, Super Cars III (actually a remake of Super Cars I and II) as pointed out in my earlier article. And there’s the excellent F-1 Spirit Remake, very challenging but very fun as well once you get the hang of it (and it’s also a very nice example of how PtitSeb optimizes his ports for the Pandora). But these two games, as excellent as they are, are 2D racers, and while we have a good collection of 3D racers (TORCS, Ultimate Stunts, Super Tux Cart, Skunks, and more…), even the FOSS-loving person in me faces the harsh reality that we all know too well: it’s not because it’s Free Software that it’s great.
With the recent recompilation of DosBox 0.74, bundled with the DBGL GUI interface, PtitSeb has provided better support than ever for DOS games on the Pandora. There’s a bunch of stuff that simply was not running too well before to be playable, that it’s really worth coming back again on what this new release can do and what this changes for the Pandora.
What a month! Maybe it was because of Christmas, or the New Year. But look at the quantity of the Releases and Updates. Awesome. Brand new port of Div studio games, older games only available on the old repo now uploaded and so accessible via PNDManager. More than 100 news & updated packages. And many quality ones. Don’t miss the updated LibreOffice, The Tube, Xash3D or Giana’s Return at least. And on the new releases side, take a look at Bart the Barbarian, DBGL, Flying Saucer Attack, Witchblast or one of the Ginge packages.
I hope that line is not trademarked by LEGO… anyway, the point is that Slackware 14.1 on the Pandora is a great distro. I had tested it in the past but I had not given it enough of my attention then, and I now realize my mistake. Don’t get me wrong: Super Zaxxon is great and all, but if you want to enhance the utility factor of your Pandora, Slackware is one of the best ways to do it, without losing much of SZ either.