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Author search: James Smith

Flight Simulator 2008
AuthorJames Smith
FilenameFlightSim2008.zip
Year2008
Position116
FormatZX Spectrum 48K
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DescriptionWith a frame rate higher than Microsoft's Flight Simulator X, real map data of northern Scotland and a full set of documentation, this is for all practical purposes a retail product, and well done for shoehorning it all into 48K. I'm surprised the author didn't also supply me with a scan of the cassette inlay with ?14.99 WHSMITH stuck on it! However, James really does assure us in the documentation that the game is in fact crap. Do you believe him? To me it brings back vague memories of TLL, but with none of that urban jungle nonsense getting in the way of the beautiful Scottish countryside! Full asm source code is also provided. By the way, James asks Perhaps somebody can show me how to remove the flicker?. Can you help on the CSSCGC 2008 forum?
CommentsWhy the low crapness score? Look, this game is just too darn good, and the crapness rating is therefore very low! I actually enjoy playing it, and it's written in professional assembly language. Add in the documentation and real maps, and you have something that could've been ordered back in the day from James Smith Games plc. PO. Box 27. Inverness. Price ?14.99, please allow 28 days for?delivery.?I'm sorry but submitting good games like this ain't gonna win the compo. Congrats on the game though it really is great to see a geographically accurate Scotland scroll past on our beloved speccy.

Improved Advanced 16K Spectrum Emulator
AuthorAndrew Owen, Dr BEEP & James Smith
FilenameImpAdv16KSpecEm.zip
Year2008
Position25
FormatZX Spectrum 48K
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Description*Updated 20/09/08* - James Smith and Dr BEEP have further improved Andrew's program, leading to this version finally posted by Dr BEEP. It assembles to a mere 12 bytes - that's an average of 4 bytes each for Andrew, DR BEEP and James Smith.

Following on from the above entry, we now have the Power Users version of 16K Spectrum Emulator written in 100% pure assembly language. It's probably about a million times faster than the previous version, so that's a nice speed improvement. You can either download this entry as usual or copy'n'paste from here:-

; Advanced 16K Spectrum Emulator
; Copyright 2008 Andrew Owen, Dr BEEP & James Smith

org $nnFD
dump $nnFD

start equ loop+2

loop jp p,$11cb
defb 0,0 ; Initially LD DE,0 then just 2x NOP
di
ld a,c
ld (de),a
dec de
and d
jr loop

At 21 12 bytes when assembled, you may be interested to know that this is so far the shortest entry submitted to CSSCGC 2008.

CommentsThis little known deep underground coding triumvirate (a.ka. Tres Hombres) have done it again, sneaking this 12-byter out onto an unsuspecting compo spectatorship. In fact, if you can excuse the difficulty I was faced with on writing an entire paragraph on a twelve byte piece of code, I don't really have anything additional to say about this one apart from it does exactly what the BASIC version does, is about a million times faster at filling high-memory and has been expertly byte crunched by our optimising friends. The machine code trick used is one for the books though - use the source, Luke. It is a little known fact, but the ultimate 2008 crap game experience can be had by using this program to step through all of the 16K games in the compo and find out which ones work under it yet had missing UDGs in 48K mode (not that I ever did this).

UK101 emulator & MTV - 70's style
AuthorJames Smith (includes MTV by Gavin Callard)
FilenameUK101-More.zip
Year2008
Position55
FormatTimex TC2048, ZX Spectrum 128K, ZX Spectrum 48K
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DescriptionAgain, the CGC is blessed with another true emulator from James Smith, aka Jimmy. This one emulates the Compukit UK101, a 6502 based kit computer dating from 1979. Gavin Callard has kindly provided yet another port of his previously entered More Tea Vicar game, specifically for this platform. The zipfile contains the emulator in tape format (which includes a game called "hectic") and also in snapshot format (which includes the "More Tea Vicar" game).

It is strongly recommended that you read the file "instructions.txt" also included in the zipfile, which contains interesting info about this system and crucial instructions on running the emulator.

You can run this on a standard 48K or 128K spectrum. It takes advantage of the extra RAM on a 128K system. However, to display all of the UK101's text columns, you should ideally run it on a Timex TC2048 e.g. in the EightyOne emulator.

You can play this entry online via the "Golden Goose Arcade" section. The version with the game "MTV" just works automatically.

To play the version with the "hectic" game, load "UK 101 emulator (with hectic game)" in the ZZ Spectrum Java emulator. When loaded, press 'C' for a (C)old start. For "MEMORY SIZE?" and "TERMINAL WIDTH?" you can just press ENTER for the defaults. At the OK prompt, slowly type LOAD <ENTER>. At the next OK prompt, press symshift-SPACE. (CTRL-SPACE on most PC keyboards). In the machine hypervisor, press 'P' to 'P'lay the tape. Allow the game to slowly load, and eventually it will autorun, and you will get an "INSTRUCTIONS?" prompt. Have fun playing 'hectic'!

CommentsThis is the great thing about the CGC, two people collaborate to bring this quite unique entry to our attention. In fact I'll be judging this one purely as James' entry but credit must be given to Gavin Callard for taking on the challenge of porting his game to this obscure emulated platform! To clarify - Jimmy solely wrote the emulator, Gavin Callard solely wrote the MTV game that runs on top of it.
As for the emulator itself, again it's a real genuine emulator and another technically impressive feat from Jimmy who has now built himself a reputation of entering titles that are far too good for the the CGC. Of course we really enjoy playing them anyway. I never even knew what a "UK101" was until this one was submitted!
Best played on a Timex to view all of the text columns of the emulated machine. Verdict: Good stuff, but please something crap as well for the next CGC just so we know you can make something crap!

Twenty Commodes
AuthorJames Smith
Filenamevic20-177.zip
Year2008
Position43
FormatZX Spectrum 128K/48K
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DescriptionHot on the heels of the 6502 based UK101 emulator, Jimmy has now thrown down the gauntlet and taken emulation of 6502 systems to the next logical level on the Speccy. Now I announce his "Twenty Commodes" real VIC-20 emulator.

Again it's crucial to download and read the accompanying "instructions.txt" file if you want to learn how to do further useful things with this emulator, like downloading and playing games on it for example. Also a "Spectrum --> Commodore" specific key reference is included in the comprehensive documentation.

Run it on a 128K system if you want sound. The emulator also works on 48K systems but will be silent.

Be amazed at this impressive technical feat! I'm sure this software would have caused a few ripples in the teacup if it was released back in 1983.

*Updated 18/07/08* - Jimmy has released a newer version of the emulator, now available for download (and in the arcade). This one fixes a paging table bug and adds a minor speedup. Source code has also been updated for clarity. Jimmy has also provided a snapshot of the VIC-20 game "Blitzkrieg" running under the emulator.

*Updated 18/07/08* - A bug was quickly noticed by Jimmy in the above version and so he has now sent me a newer fixed version of the emulator (v1.68). This is now available for download, along with another VIC-20 game, "GridRunner".

*Updated 23/07/08* - Version 1.73 of the emulator now available. (around 4% speed up)

*Updated 12/08/08* - Version 1.76 now available. (further 1% speed up)

*Updated 04/09/08* - Version 1.77 released. Speed optimisation applied to keyboard cheking routine making the emulator generally run faster. Benchmark program has been reduced from 192 to 167 seconds.

*Updated 11/01/09* - In preperation for submission of all CSSCGC 2008 games into the WoS archive, the zipfile for this game has been reduced to just version 1.77 of the "Twenty Commodes" emulator and instructions. In other words, the game snapshot demos have been removed. Thanks to Jimmy for reminding me to do this. For a demo of VIC-20 software running under Twenty Commodes, please instead download Crapendium from the WoS archive which contains three VIC-20 games.

CommentsWith this one, Jimmy managed to exceed even his own usual standards, by breaking new ground with this VIC-20 emulator for the speccy. I have to confess to being addicted to using this one as it re-awakened nostalgia of messing around on my VIC-20 as a young child. So much so I ended up even developing a couple of simple BASIC games within the emulated system, not that I should admit this publicly. Again, it has to be said this program cannot win the competition as it is by far too good an entry! I gave it a controversial high score though as I have to respect the achievement even if it was entered into the "wrong" compo. Can't be helped though, since there is no compo called "8-bit emulators" as far as I know. Just a reminder:- this entry is a real emulator, not a joke one! Verdict: One for the WoS archive.

Virtual ZX Spectrum
AuthorJames Smith
Filenamevirtual2.tap
Year2008
Position6
FormatZX Spectrum 48K
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DescriptionTo quote some fragments of James' Email to me:-

It emulates a Z80 CPU and traps hardware/memory access to create a virtual 16K Spectrum. By trapping the ROM LOAD and BEEP calls it can be made usable so you can load programs into the virtual machine and hear it play tunes. It is self contained and even if you do "RANDOMIZE USR 0" it still won't reset the host. The only way to reset the host is to press the reset button, generate a NMI or use an emulator's debugger to change PC.

The .TAP file I've enclosed does contain MTV at the end of it, but any 16K program can be used.

There are still one or two bugs in the Z80 core as I know the Psion Planetoids ROM cartridge doesn't work (Space Raiders & Hungry Horace do though). It is also around 1/10th the speed of a real Spectrum.

DP:- The screenshot I grabbed is from a one-liner program I co-wrote last year "1 Line Space Trader", running inside the 16K virtual machine provided by James' software.

The downloadable tapfile and the one in the "Crap Game Arcade" both include Gavin Callard's ZX Spectrum version of "More Tea Vicar", which demonstrates the virtual host in action. Just load it up as usual with LOAD"" from within the virtual machine.

*Updated 29/03/08* - James has released version 2.03 of this software, now downloadable via the download link. This version features some important bug fixes and improvements.

CommentsAn exquisite idea, and it actually really works! Certainly, this program has pushed out the limits of the crap game compo yet again and you can now run crap games within a crap environment, making them even more crap. I have to ask what level of motivation does someone have, going to such lengths to code something so brilliantly crap?
But then again the CGC relies on such hardcore dedication. This will be one to remember and we even had a stream of bugfixes and updates for it from the author who always provides an excellent level of support.


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