The Annoying Quirks of Godot’s Kinematic Bodies

To be clear, I like Godot and am impressed by how far it has come as an open-source game engine. I am quite confident Juan Linietsky is much more brilliant than I. Just because I’m being critical of something, however, this doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I just believe in constructive criticism. Nothing changes if nobody ever talks about it. Also, while I’m focused only on 2D right now, I believe much of this applies to 3D as well. This applies to Godot 3. I haven’t looked at where Godot 4 is headed with all this.

I am currently wrapping up the pain of porting a game to Godot that I first prototyped in Phaser. In brief, Phaser became so annoying to work with that I went looking for another engine that gave me easy access to the browser as a platform (via WebAssembly preferably). I landed on Godot — an engine I’d been poking at for years but hadn’t done much with yet.

Continue reading The Annoying Quirks of Godot’s Kinematic Bodies

Atari VCS is Failing Fast Even Before Official Launch

How to kill a customer base.

Atari is asleep at the wheel again. Yet another junk title was released for the Atari VCS recently, Utopos, and it is pretty much the last straw for me in so many ways:

  • No apparent quality assurance (QA) or curating from Atari for store entry
  • A mini game priced at $10 instead of $1 (dev’s fault… but why?)
  • Apparent favoritism towards those who already have another game in the store
  • No communication from Atari to all signed-up developers
  • No access to the VCS platform as promised
Continue reading Atari VCS is Failing Fast Even Before Official Launch

First Impressions of the Atari VCS Vaults

Atari VCS Vault logo

Why oh why… is the Atari VCS Vault Vol. 2 not DLC (downloadable content)? Why is it a separate install instead of DLC for the Atari VCS Vault (Vol. 1)? Atari could save us an extra gigabyte on the VCS’s tiny internal storage. No, wait, that can’t be correct. The emulators can’t be taking up a gig! So, what is?

Continue reading First Impressions of the Atari VCS Vaults

From GameMaker To Ubuntu 14, 16, 18, and Beyond

Or: How to save GameMaker: Studio 1.4 games from YoYo Games Ltd neglect

I recently published a game built in GameMaker: Studio 1.4 (GM:S1) for Linux (and Windows). It was a process. No, it was 100 times that. Not only that, but I ran into others with similar troubles who were getting a general ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ response. I aim to fix that here.

Hopefully, this may also help to run on more Linux flavors than just Ubuntu.

If you are a gamer hoping to fix a game you found (such as Legend of Xenia, Spelunky SD or Spelunky Classic HD), jump to the “Include all needed libs” section and follow the hint. If you are getting a message regarding missing or errors, you are definitely in the right place.

Continue reading From GameMaker To Ubuntu 14, 16, 18, and Beyond
Atari VCS Classic Joystick

The new Atari what?

The new Atari… wait for it… VCS.  Atari VCS—for some reason of internet-searching confusion with the original Atari VCS product.  Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of Atari.  A big one.  (I still have our original 2600—repaired may times by my brother and I—which even became the center of some controversy over some retro tech.  Perspective enough of my fandom?)  But this new thing’s name… and place in the world… whaaat?  So, let’s dig deeper and see where some honest criticism leads.

Aside from the name—which I don’t really find to be all that terrible—just oddly risky—I’m more concerned about Atari’s apparent business model.

Continue reading The new Atari what?

Quill-shaped cirrus cloud. Photo by W.carter.

Backing up Windows “Users” folders with Syncthing

With CrashPlan getting out of the home backup business, I found myself shopping for a new backup solution.  As replacements, CrashPlan was pushing either Carbonite or their own plan for small businesses… but either of those would have at least doubled the cost of backup.  Thus, I started to look at setting up a remote Raspberry Pi backup server myself.  A friend pointed me to BitTorrent Sync (now called Resilio Sync) which, in turn, led me to their open-source competitor, Syncthing.  Two things ultimately led me to choose Syncthing over Resilio: (1) open-source review of their security, and (2) a post by Jaime Jiménez, Running Syncthing or Resilio on a Raspberry Pi 3.  Also, as just a bonus, Synthing offered a more supported solution to also backup my legacy Windows XP gaming machine (something CrashPlan stopped allowing a couple years ago, and Resilio has outdated support for [but still currently possible]). Continue reading Backing up Windows “Users” folders with Syncthing

The complete guide to transferring Angry Birds high scores on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile (plus, other games)

A complement to this guide:

Usual disclaimer: You follow this guide at your own risk and I accept no responsibility for damage you may do to your phone because it.  That said, the procedure for WP 8.1 requires no permanent change to your phone and should be far less risky than the procedure for Win 10 (which requires what some call jailbreaking the phone).  Thus, if at all possible, you should transfer scores from an 8.1 phone to an 8.1 phone and then upgrade the OS to Win 10.  Even, revert a phone from 10 to 8.1, if possible, before beginning this operation.

I have no procedure for Windows Phone 8.0 and earlier.  Some of the precursor tools to what are used in the Windows 10 Mobile procedure may be of help if you really need to go down that road.

Windows Phone 8.1

(Scroll halfway down this page for Windows 10 Mobile [⚡️] instructions.)

NOTE: You must “developer unlock” your phone to install the tools needed to gain access to the encrypted part of the SD card (D:\WPSystem) where the files of interest are stored.  Developer unlocking is a standard, Microsoft-built procedure.  This is a bit laborious but possibly not as bad as what one must do to an Android 😉.

Continue reading The complete guide to transferring Angry Birds high scores on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 Mobile (plus, other games)

Hitachi LU43V809 mainboard

CONSUMER ALERT: Hitachi doesn’t know how to make a 4K TV lip sync… and doesn’t care

I’ve had several adventures over the years working with manufacturers and their occasional faulty products that end up in my possession.  But this latest adventure with Hitachi is the new leader of the pack in the “You’re kidding me, right?” category.  No, Hitachi is not kidding.  Hitachi knows that at least one (and very likely more) of their 4K UHD TV models can’t lip sync, they don’t know how to fix it, and they couldn’t care less about it.  Hitachi even attempted to get me to sign a confidential agreement on the matter in return for the purchase price of my TV.  I would rather blog about it (apparently) and reserve the right to take other action.

Continue reading CONSUMER ALERT: Hitachi doesn’t know how to make a 4K TV lip sync… and doesn’t care

How To Make a Snap-to Grid In FontForge


The rising popularity of retro, 8-bit graphics seems to also be increasing demand for bitmap-like or pixelated fonts.  Furthermore, the popularity of FontStruct also indicates a demand for the simplicity of designing fonts based on a grid layout.  Thus, given that a vectored grid feature will likely never appear in FontForge (presumably because fancy fonts rely more on custom guidelines than a grid), I will attempt to explain the simplest way(s) to make or fake a snap-to grid in FontForge. Continue reading How To Make a Snap-to Grid In FontForge