How I Optimized F-1 Spirit for Mobile Processors

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A while ago I had found that the old MSX (and Gameboy) racing game F-1 Spirit had been recreated in open source (since 2004) for modern systems, using OpenGL. I thought I would try to do a port. It was easy. At least it was what I thought in the first place. After some quick conversion of GL calls to GLES (since the Open Pandora’s PowerVR chip only supports OpenGLES), it was up and running a couple of hours after I started. I was ready to test it. The intro screen went fine, and I was jumping in the game… Everything seemed to be for the best, except for a minor issue. It was way too slow in-game to even play it. I could only get a couple of frames per second, which is hardly ideal when you play a racing game. That’s when I decided to look at the code and see where it could be optimized.

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A Recent Presentation about the DragonBox Pyra

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Michael Mrozek, also known as Evil Dragon (ED on the board) is the CEO of DragonBox and the current project leader for the upcoming DragonBox Pyra, a new device expected to replace the Open Pandora. He was at the recent RMLL in Montpellier (5-11 July 2014), France and gave a talk about the Pandora and the Pyra. Since it covers many of the latest aspects of the design, it’s a recommended watch if you have not had the chance to follow up on all developments recently.

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Team-Building with Slack on Pandora

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Slack is yet another tool to make it easier for people to collaborate remotely, without using Email. Hey, there are literally tons of startups out there that aim at replacing Email, and Slack is the latest one I have tried. The good thing about Slack is that it runs on all devices, with an app (for example for your smartphones) or in your browser. On top of that, it’s designed to be used even in a small window, making it a joy to use it on Pandora as well.

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Weekly Software News June 30th to July 6th 2014

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We had a typhoon in Japan as we write these lines, and it was quite funny how media were overreacting (as usual), making it sound like it’s going kill people in the thousands and cause mass chaos. Actually, you know what? We just got a bit of rain, an no wind at all. Yawn. Anyway, I can’t say there was a storm of new releases in the past week, I guess a lot of people are wasting time watching millionaires running after a ball these days. It’s a good thing it does not last too long.

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I Like it in Aluminium, Baby

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In a surprising turn of events, it turns out that while the Pandora is reaching the end of its life (as the number of units to be produced is running out), there are still interesting hardware/design related projects out there. Following the recent release of source files for the case design, someone has shown interest in developing an aluminium case for the Pandora. Excellent!

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So I Finally Took Time to Make a Game

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I had many “reasons” to make this game. First and foremost, since I’m a gamer (since years ago), I have always wanted to make my own game. I have always wanted to feel what it takes to make all these masters pieces I love to toy with. I would bet most of us here feel the same. Besides, porting is nice and all, but I somehow reached a limit at what I was able to port. By the end of 2012, I scored way more failed ported projects than successful ones (my GL knowledge was clearly too limited). Then I had a tough year (moving is a pain; and still having rough times…) so no time to hack. By the end of 2013, I started having some free time back. Looked like a perfect timing to start my own game.

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