NoshBar's Dumping Ground


There’s a board outside a church on the way to work that receives new (or recycled) inspirational message weekly.

Some are printed out neatly by a dot matrix that hasn’t been able to kill itself yet, others are seemingly written in the scabby leftovers of crayons that have had all their sharp bits shaved off.

The one that pisses me off the most is the following incredibly witty saying:
“Have you read my best seller? – God”

I have several unfair problems with this:

  • The book itself claims that God is omnipotent, so surely he’d know if I’ve read it? Or is he just being a chick and asking something he knows the answer to already, but just wants to beat me with my answer?
  • God claiming he wrote the book is like Katie Price claiming she wrote hers…
  • …then again, at least Katie Price goes to bookstores and makes an appearance to meet her followers (All hail The Jordan!).
  • Instead of asking me silly questions, why not hang out with me and tell me stuff? All my other imaginary friends do…

(I sit on the bus with my camera primed, eagerly awaiting the return of the one that says: “All welcum”)

Patenting the rectangle

Where I grew up, certain products were kept out of our country because we were racist bastards who treated people like slaves (when we weren’t too busy killing them).
Seemingly, now all it takes is for one product to look slightly like another one. Yay for progress!

I am so educated

Overheard guy1 telling guy2 that Hugo Weaving was in Glasgow filming Cloud Atlas… guy2 had no idea who that was.
“The actor from The Matrix, and from Captain America
I’m so manly, that the first thing I thought of was “He’s the guy from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.

I blame YOU lesbian ex-girlfriend and co.

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So, I had a showstopper bug whereby the notes would sometimes appear all of a sudden halfway down the "lane" of Drumpster.
The problem is that I was only ever intending on loading MIDI files, so was lazy optimised the note adding function to always add notes in the order they came from the file.
GuitarPro files store things a little differently though, and I would sometimes add notes with an earlier time to the current end of the list.
So that's now fixed, yay!

Sadly, trying Drumpster on Linux again, the custom meshes are being displayed 90 degrees to the left on their Y axis.
It's OpenGL, it shouldn't make a difference what OS I'm on... so gee, I guess I just suck at this.
But that's something I can fix later, seeing as the OBJ loader right now is the result of a really quick prototype session anyway.

I guess this means that my next post will be a release of some sorts... unless of course, my outstanding coding skills let me down yet again and another bug from the hellmouth is uncaged.

A side note: I started thinking about how TISFAT would work on something like the iPhone or iPad... and what the interface would look like... so much so, that I think I might have to do some sort of prototype of it...
But then again, TISFAT is basically just that in the first place... so... tisfatTOO, coming to an iOS device near you?

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It's been a while since I touched Delphi, but I've always loved it for rapid prototype development... hell, I made TISFAT in it without even knowing how to code (and boy does it show!).

Since I recently decided to make a Drumpster configuration file editor, I thought I'd dust off my old Delphi installation, but sadly, I couldn't find my dear old Delphi6Personal.exe download anymore (and Em..Embar... THEM aren't being nice anymore).
Seeing as this also had to be pretty OS portable, I thought this was a perfect time to look at FreePascal and Lazarus again.

The last time I looked, FreePascal was awesome and were talking about exciting ARM versions (iPhone/GameBoy coding for morons, woohoo!).
Lazarus however... well... the last time I used it, it was not a very pleasant experience at all.
The debugger was never really sure that the app had started, or if it had finished, or paused, or if it could even feel its legs.
The IDE itself would panic all the time, proudly telling me to save stuff before it went completely tits up.

But now?
Oh wow.

Lazarus has come a long way, but the past few years have seen it rapidly become something incredibly useful and handy.
Sure, it still generates executables that consume the sun with their size (helloooo strip.exe!), but it's delightful to code in now.
The intellisense is great, the debugger now talks to the IDE, I can right-click-and-go-to-definition, I can minimize the main window and it will take its children to the flaming pits of hell with it...

It's slick, smooth and sexy.

And portable, huzzah!

Good job guys.

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After a week of some really good coding, I had GP3/GP4 loading completed PERFECTLY, so it was time for a release!
Except I hadn't. Lying in bed, I rose from my position as if possessed by a Bloodhound... buggery, I had forgotten to implement the "repeat" flag.

So, when next I get time, it's fixing that, and then writing documentation on how to use Drumpster.
Not that it's difficult (it can be as simple as putting a folder called "songs" in the executable folder), it's just... very configurable... via INI files, which I want to document.
I am considering making an INI generator, using Delphi or something similar, so I can do it quickly, it won't look too much like ass, and it will run under WINE perfectly (but Linux users will welcome hand crafting INI files, right?).

As it stands, I'm quite proud of what I have achieved. Using KKrunchy (an executable compressor), I got the executable down to 96Kb, that's with the built in meshes!
Anyway, it's a single executable, reads MIDI and (some) Guitar Pro files, and shows them like a Rock Band clone would.
Input will come later, for now it's a perfectly barely usable little learning utility.

How Drumpster looks right now (the game screen can be themed on a song-by-song basis):

Playing vanilla MIDI/GP3/GP4 files with built in meshes and textures. Isn't it just preciously ghastly?
It does show that open and closed hi-hat states are supported though.

This shows that every song can have a custom background and set of meshes for the notes.

This, well, I just wanted to put a Pantera song up really. And it shows you can change the neck texture, and colour meshes individually.

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I thought that supporting MIDI in Drumpster was the way to go, "it's the most popular format in the world!", and it would bring support for FoFiX and friends.
Sadly, "most popular in the world" also means "incredibly difficult to find", especially free, non-lame, ringtone-only abominations.

Then I thought about the Guitar Pro format... how hard could it be, right?
I've reverse engineered the binary DirectX mesh format before, so why not try this for fun?

Unfortunately, people have already trod this path before, and there is documentation for this all: ... 1#p3378011

So now all that remains is for me to read this, somehow lure my brain into interpreting it, and then coercing my hands into coding it...
If the MIDI format description has taught me anything, it's that I'm a moron who doesn't understand la-dee-da speak.

Once done, I have a library of a squabillion songs I could play... almost guaranteed to have a semi-decent drum truck, huzzah!

Trying to add some sort of custom theme support at the moment... it's going the opposite of well, but -hey-.
Baby steps.

Once the Guitar Pro format is implemented, and I have finalised the configuration options, I will release the first public version.
You know, to all the people not reading this.

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