Could PS2 Classic be Possible?

You might remember the release of PlayStation Classic. It might have been a disappointment. At least that was what everyone thought like about it a year after its release. I am pointing to a fact that its price dropped from the original 120 euros to as low as 20 euros. That was the lowest price I ever saw it sold for. I bought it for 40 euros. There might be a debate about do you have the right to hack the device.

PlayStation Classic had 20 games with it. Those games were not the best ones and there’s not even a debate. These games could have been better. There could have been more games included. There could have been better game pads included. But even with its flaws the system ended up in my living room after all. It definitely was worth of its low price at least for me.

But would it be possible that there would be some day a gaming console called PS2 Classic? We can start to think about how many good games would there exist on the system. Or we can talk about the system requirements of this device. If one PS2 game takes about 4,7 GB of space, and if there were 20 games released with it, they would require a space of 94 GB. Maybe there should be at least about 120 GB of space on the hard drive.

We can also think about how powerful the system should be considering about processor and graphics processing. There is already an emulator that you can run on your PC called PCSX2. It doesn’t require so much from GPU and CPU of your PC. You can run it on a even an older computer today. A while ago this wasn’t possible. We should thank the progression of computer related technology for that.

If these technical issues were finally solved and there would be a system released we can come back to the first issue I mentioned. There would be a maximum number of games. What would the games be and would every game be available for it? This could be a limitation. There were many good games that were released for PS2. Would there be only like 10 games on the system? Would it be possible to hack the system? Would you have to do it to make it reasonable to even buy the thing? And finally – how much would the thing cost and would it be different than just running (illegally) your favorite PS2 emulator on your home PC? After all since the games are in DVD format you can play them, or rip them, directly simply putting the disc in the tray of your PC after getting your hands on the BIOS some way.

I have to mention that this text has barely scratched the surface of this matter. After all it’s not so much about what the fans or tech hobbyists think about. It is about if it’s reasonable to release a system like this. Is it profitable? And is it worth the effort? If you have some deeper hardware knowledge or experience in circuit design or electronics you might understand something more deeper in this matter. I am not a specialist and these are only some of my thoughts about this matter.

Biggest advancements in technology of personal computers

There have been some significant steps in the technology of personal computers. As we look to the past we can figure that first computers that were called as personal computers came to markets in late 70s or beginning of 80s. This was surely the first big step. Computers were finally affordable for home users. They were small enough to fit in an office. It was this time that Apple brought it’s products to the market also.

First computers didn’t have a mouse. This was also a big step forward. First mouses were clumsy. They had two buttons. I don’t remember or know exactly how an early 80s mouse worked but I can guarantee that they were nothing like the ones we use today. My first experiences with a computer’s mouse were with one that was connected with PS/2 and it had a ball inside it. Mouses have later progressed. They are today connected with USB and use infrared to make sense of where the cursor is moving on the screen.

When PC’s first came to be there were screens but they had poor graphics or only text. This matter developed a lot and has been developing for a long time. We went from displaying only text to our present Full HD or even 4K or even better than those screen resolutions. 3D animations also brought many big improvements to gamers and also to designers. Gamers can today also enjoy many different USB controllers like game pads or driving wheels or even something else.

The biggest changes that I have had an opportunity to witness took place in the 90s and 2000s. I am talking about the advancements in the speed of internet connections, the expansion of  hard drives space and the impact of CD-R drives. I am actually currently reading a book about Spotify. It describes how this change in technology impacted on many things like the music industry and how things changed and developed. There were more space to store your mp3 files. There were lots of piracy.

Today we are in a situation that movies, games and music are sold through internet more and more instead of people buying physical products like CDs or DVDs. This has been possible because we currently have fast internet connections almost worldwide. Things have progressed fast. I have also seen times when we used to watch VHS tapes.

The fast development of technology has made it a bit hard to keep up with the latest advancements. It is also a bit pricey. There is and always will be those people that are in the front when it comes to buying newest technology. There will also always exist people that want to also remember the past. So these people are going to keep those retro devices working so they can enjoy things as they once used to be.

Learning Some Java

Learning to program takes lots of time. When I first got interested in it I started with basics. I started making small websites with HTML. Then I learned more about CSS and got myself into some basic image manipulation that I had to do to make my websites look nice. Back then I got curious about actual programming. I tried my hand at JavaScript and PHP. As I was trying to learn by myself and not in any school or even in a single course I didn’t get far.

I really got into some, so to say, “real” programming when I started studying in a local school of applied sciences. I completed a course that was named something like “Basics of Programming in Java”. I learned many new and interesting subjects. First thing you have to do when you are just starting is to learn how to set up the environment for the actual programming. You might be using Linux or maybe Windows as your PCs operating system. You might want to install an IDE which stands for Integrated Development Environment. You also have to install, if you are going with Java, Java. I recommend using NetBeans as your IDE. It enables you to do so many other things also.

Learning to make games is based on learning how to program. You have to master the basics first. Then you can slowly progress to some advanced matters. While studying programming you also get to see a lot about how the computer that runs all these games is actually working. This is one of the most interesting thing for me and it also motivates me. I have alwaýs been a bit of a holic learner. That means that I want to analyze what I am learning deeply and know the subject and figure out how it actually works. The opposite of this learning attitude is atomistic attitude. It means that the learner is learning some plain facts that are true about the subject being learned and trying to memorize these.

The picture related to this blog post represents the first Java book that I bought as I started my studies. It got me really far. It took me years to learn almost everything in this book. I haven’t fully stomached all of the contents. It has been about ten years since I bought this book. So that tells you a bit about the quality of the text. This book is now already a bit old. I think today Python has become more popular than Java for the first programming language.

Where you usually start in programming is that you learn what are variables, how you construct the code with control structures,  like if-else-statements, how to use the most common functions that the language provides, how to read in text from user and how to print it and also how basic arrays are used. This small list doesn’t include everything. How I started was that I basically started a short course. Then I started a bit more advanced course. And then another course about object oriented programming. Since we are talking about Java OOP is important. I think with Python this subject isn’t as important.

Programming is only one part of what a graduated software developer has to know to be able to work professionally. While studying I learned a lot about databases, user centered development, testing, communications, foreign languages, physics, electronics, mathematics and so on. I took a course about processors also. I deepened my knowledge in software development as I had to choose my main subject from telecommunications, embedded systems and software. This choice was made after one and a half years of studying.

One thing I would like point out about studying. When it is summer the school is closed. You have to figure how are you going to spend the time. You might be working. You might want to take some remote courses like I did. Just don’t be too lazy andjust  try make use of this time somehow. Otherwise it might be hard to start working on your studies again when the summer is over. So keep that in mind. Resting is required but a pause too long can be harmful.

A huge part of getting employed is how well you understand what it takes to be a professional. You have to find the best frameworks and the most useful programming languages. Teachers know a lot but always someone knows a lot about one thing and someone else knows a lot about other thing. Keep your eye on the companies that are doing the things that you would be interested doing. Make some hobby projects to display your skills. It might be a good idea to share your projects in for example GitHub. And remember to build your resume. You can even add some supplement pages that give the employer an idea about your skills.

If you are going to study programming keep in mind that it takes time. Keep your focus. It’s a long road. Go for it if you really are interested in it.

Studying Physics in Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0

Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0 is a very interesting game in many ways. I wrote recently about different strategies you can have in this game. Now I would like to return to the physics and how this part of the game is handled. I think this game was the first rally game and also among some first racing games that I really liked (Gran Turismo was also great) and got into. It was released for PC and PS1. I played both of them.

There is no doubt that the way CMR 2.0 handles the part of physical modeling was in its time revolutionary. I know lots about games but I also have studied a bit of physics. I have learned physics mainly through school and by studying it in a school of applied sciences. However I am not a physicist. I am more of a software designer. So I know about some coding stuff also. This might open this fact a bit of how I find thinking about these subjects extremely interesting.

I haven’t seen any source code from this game. This is a commercial game and its code isn’t open source. I think for many of the fans of this game this doesn’t come as a surprise. The game was hugely popular. Releasing it as a freeware would be, well, stupid, you might say. However there are some very interesting details that open up for me as I play this rally game.

Let’s think about friction. It deals with surfaces. In a car you can have different tires that behave differently on different surfaces of road. So this is one thing. While driving on icy or snowy road you might want to use chains with tires. While driving on tarmac you want to use soft tires. And on wet surface you use special tires that perform nice on for example wet tarmac. Same goes for muddy surfaces or roads that are of gravel. You have to have a good grip on the road you are driving and friction can give you this.

There is a force that is effective on any road that you can drive on the whole planet Earth. It is called gravity. You have to have good and sufficient suspension in your car. On roads that are bumpy you have to have more suspension for overcoming the differences of altitude. Too much suspension is not good either if you drive on flat road.

You can also break and accelerate. You turn the wheel in right direction at a right time. The key is to try to steer correctly or at least keep the car moving as fast as possible. If you don’t break at a correct time you get to grass or some other surface that slows you down. Crashing also slows you down. This has everything to do with a thing called momentum. If an object doesn’t receive any push to any direction it keeps moving with the speed it has to the direction it is moving. At different time there is different amount of push to the vehicle. If nothing gets pushed the car keeps moving. Bigger objects take more power to get moving and are slower to stop moving. So the more mass you have the slower you are.

I think this is enough physics. I repeat what I said earlier. This is not so precise of a study. I haven’t seen any source code and I didn’t describe my theory so thoroughly. I hope this motivates you to learn more about physics. You can find more information using your favorite search engine. I definitely feel that you will get more excited about this particular rally game.

Some Thoughts About Writing This Blog

May it be a blog post or some other form of text it is clear that I enjoy writing. This is not the first blog that I have set up but this is definitely to this day the most popular. I first came up with the idea of this blog when I read very interesting book about blogging. The book was “The Million Dollar Blog” that is written by Natasha Courtenay-Smith.

My goal at first wasn’t to get money or anything like that. The first priority was to write about something that interests me very much. I am from Finland. I had to make a decision about in what language I would write to the blog. I finally decided to write in English. I thought it would make my blog international and I thought I would get more visits. I also figured out that I could practice writing in English this way.

Writing a blog is a nice hobby. I don’t have any big plans. I just want to write an interesting blog post at least once a week. Sometimes I write more and some times a bit less. I think this is a topic that I have knowledge about. If you have read my blog you can find out about my personal history. We got a computer to our house as I was only about four years old. I have been a player of video and computer games since that moment.

At first it was very easy for me to come up with ideas for blog posts. Now I have dealt with lots of subjects and it’s a bit harder to come up with a good idea weekly. If you have ideas or would be interested in some topic you can always contact me through comments or even sending me e-mail to the address that you can find from this websites Contact part.

I have had a huge inspiration which has grown even more as I have progressed with this blog. I hope you are all fine and keep reading this stuff. I just wanted to let my blogs readers know some thoughts about my motivation and in what direction is this blog going. I always keep gaming and I like to write about games and everything that is around me. There are some limitations however because I have other things in my life also that I have to keep also doing. At the moment I am not, at least yet, ready to be a professional blog writer.

I am considering about publishing commercials in this blog but this decision is still open for me to decide. This post was 77th post in this blog. I am glad that I have already written so much about my dear hobby of gaming.

Pushing Hardware to its Limits (Commodore 64)

I decided to try playing Commodore 64. I somehow started to admire this product of computer industry. It started as I tried to figure out something new, again, something new that I yet haven’t discovered as a gamer or player. I was born in the 80s. But you would have to be a teenager back then if you picked a Commodore 64 up and really started fiddling with it.

There were just so many possibilities for a person. You could just play or you could learn BASIC and ultimately if you were good at it and had some sort of flow and interest in this technology you could go real far. You could actually learn how the thing works and program it to do whatever you wished to. This can be accomplished with Assembler programming.

My minor experiments are nothing compared to what some witty persons have accomplished. With this in mind I am going to begin. First I watched a video on YouTube that introduced me some games. It had 30 games on it. I picked the ones I found most interesting. Then I did a Google search and found this site . Just to give you a clear picture of what Commodore 64 is capable of doing I am giving you some names of some of the best games that I tested. The games are Amalyte, Bubble Bobble, Commando Arcade, International Karate, Katakis, Lode Runner, Prince of Persia, R-Type and Wasteland.

I have stumbled to Prince of Persia and Bubble Bobble way back when I was using our family’s PC so I already had a picture of what these games are like. They definitely didn’t look visually bad at all. You have to consider what kind of a device was in use. What were it’s capabilities of running games. I could just state here its specifications like processors speed and memory, ROM and RAM, that it had but that isn’t going to tell you much.

Commodore 64 was not so powerful. It is mind blowing how engineers and designers used everything they had to deliver games to consumers. There were many limitations to be taken in consideration. This made it a tough job for graphics designers, programmers and even hardware electronics professionals. They had to split the work depending on their own field of expertise. This is important also today when someone is trying to bring a product to the markets and available.

How did I feel after I tried to play some 1980s games? The limitations are there. As I was playing Commando Arcade I figured out some basic tactics and I find it to be real close to some modern shooting games. The action was fast. I had a modern game pad so it helped a bit. Bubble Bobble was nice. It is almost too familiar to me. And then there was R-Type which is a very nice space shooter. You can forgive the poor graphics because the playability is very good…and also fast.

If you are interested to find out more I suggest you use first your favorite search engine and find an emulator. I really didn’t have any hardware to test these games with. I am not sure if these games are available anymore and I think it’s okay to try them out. Later you can get familiar with hardware and you can actually also build your own C-64 if you have time and knowledge or maybe even both. I find even a small possibility of developing some or any software to Commodore 64 very interesting.

Breaking Down Mortal Kombat II

I’d like to spend a moment describing my experiences about the second Mortal Kombat game that was released for Sega Mega Drive in 1993. The game has some technical limitations as Mega Drive isn’t, and wasn’t even back in the days, the most powerful platform to release a game like this. Arcade version of this game might have been smoother but we aren’t going to go there today since it’s been too long time for me to talk about that here.

As a software developer graduate I can see some things while playing that I don’t know if they are so clear for people that don’t know computers, technology and programming so well. This small blog post is here for you to dive a bit deeper on how the game is played. I also understand that some people are way better at playing this kinds of games. I have only spent some tens of hours playing Mortal Kombat. Also I like to note that I am concentrating on Mortal Kombat II here instead of all two dimensional fighting games. Yes, there are many of them and I have to mention Street Fighter series here.

This stuff is very interesting for me. I can see how the game kind of “reads” your moves. The opponent, it is this time a computer, reacts to your moves. It can make a move that is most suitable for a certain situation. So the key to winning your opponent is to react with a move that is the best move in your situation. You have to time this move correctly. You have to be in a right position. And this isn’t all there is to it. You can make moves freely. You have to define when and at which position to make the move that is correct move for you to make the opponents health bar decrease.

Fighting games have come a long way since the days of 1993. It is very different to play against the computer than it would be to play against a player. I know that games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are very popular as genres of electronic sports. So you can have a competition against human players. This is how the game was designed. It sometimes feels like the computer is cheating but what else would it do than read your input and position and react as fast and powerfully as possible.

But to talk more about the game. It’s a great game. I find it very fascinating. The graphics are better than the first Mortal Kombats were. It seems like the development team have done a great work. The game has twelve different characters that have their own strengths and weaknesses. This makes the game even more interesting. To beat the game you have to know how to play with not only one character but many different characters that have their unique special moves and so on. You could actually compare and describe which characters are best against a specific opponent.

I am not sure what the basic attributes of all the characters are. I haven’t touched or even seen the source code. I am not aware if this code is available or is it “open source” or closed code. I know that Mega Drive didn’t have so much memory to use. Graphics and movement took a lot of processing from this gaming console also. When considering that this game was released in 1993 it is a game of very good quality. There is also a port for PC. If you are a big fan I can recommend to getting your hands on Mortal Kombat X. And to be honest I have to say that I just some days ago ordered Mortal Kombat 11 for PS4. I had to do it because the price was, I think, this time good. I hope this short blog post can give you inspiration wherever you are and in what situation with work or studying you might be.

First games I remember playing

I remember how I got started with gaming. It was 1980s. Playing video games was already popular. There had already been some consoles like Atari 2600 and Commodore 64. PC was also popular. First gaming system that I got to play must have been PC. And it was somebody elses. Our family got our first computer and I think it was 1987 if I remember correctly. So I was three or four years old and I had already begun drawing with pencils. I could recognise some letters but I was too young to start writing or reading. I got to learn those skills later in school.

Games that we had on this PC were interesting to me. We had some Sierras classics like Police Quest, Space Quest, Leisure Suit Larry and Kings Quest. I was fiddling around with some QBasic games. I even wrote a small game with QBasic later as I was a bit older. I didn’t clearly understand the full potential this machine had. So I didn’t get into coding so much. I was also drawing something with early Paint this PC had.

I learned to write my first words playing Larry. I didn’t understand this games sexism. My parents allowed me to play it. Sexy parts of the game weren’t so clear and we understood them later when we grew more. It is a soft game on this matter. At least I think so. I once asked my father what was a “prophylactic” and he answered to me “Gee. I really don’t know. Can you figure it out from the picture? It looks like a gem or something.” So I was allowed to play this Larry and it was only seventh game in this series that got my parents a little bit worried because I was young. I played seventh Larry maybe in 1996 or something like that.

There were so many interesting games. Some of them were Sopwith, Space Commanders (Space Invanders Clone), Bubble Bobble, Test Drive and so on. Too many to list here. I don’t remember so much of the techical side of our computer. Our dad upgraded its processor to 286 so before that the processor was much slower than that. One day we tried to play Wolfenstein 3D on the computer but we failed to run the game. We also installed newer diskette drive. So it had drives for 8-inch and 3½-inch diskettes. It’s funny to think how bad the first mouse was so we got a new mouse also. The standars then was the classic mouse with a ball in it. Monitor of this device was heavy and our computer was able to run EGA graphics. There weren’t any VGA or Super VGA available.

I would have liked to add a picture about this machine but I could only find this picture of floppy disk and its disk drive. I took this picture some years ago as my parents were getting this old computers all parts to recycling center. I’m not so into retro computers. This old computer we had was replaced by Mega Drive and later by PlayStation as number one gaming console. This PC was not functioning so nicely. It used to get stuck and I would have to press “reset”. Back then all computers had this function. The personal comnputer we had served properly and because of that I can still remembert it and it really launched my gaming activitites and layed the foundation for it.

How Doom changed gaming?

Back in 1993 I was a young kid and I heard some of my class mates talk about this new game that was said to be totally awesome. They kept talking about it. Our crappy PC that our family had wasn’t able to run it. So I played it with my friends computer. And it definitely was something we players hadn’t seen before.

Creators of this game, mainly John Romero and John Carmack, brought to us a game that had never-before-seen graphics and which was also very violent. I remember a long conversation that I had as a kid about does Doom have some kind of a plot in it. You basically walk around and shoot monsters. But there is some kind of a story included though. You are a soldier that is ordered to go to work at Phobos, a moon of Mars, but someone has accidentally opened a teleport to hell. Everyone else is dead. You are figthing monsters from hell all by yourself.

Back in the day graphics were blurry. Just compare the original game to newer Doom released in 2016 and you clearly see the difference. Violence does exist but now graphics tell you more accurately what happens if you for example cut a zombies head off with a chain saw. Some people claimed already in 1993 that games were too violent. This kind of discussion is of course necessary but I think you can not blame solely games for real life violence. My opinion in this issue is that a healthy person can draw a line to what happens in game and how you act in real life. Of course everyone has an opinion but lets not, again, go there.

So how exactly Doom impacted gaming? Well, it certainly brought a 3D experience to larger audience. Makers of Doom had already released Wolfenstein 3D some years earlier. There was this new genre starting to rise its head. It was the birth of a genre called First Person Shooters. And I think Doom is the father of all FPS games that came later. If Doom wouldn’t have been released there wouldn’t be games like Quake, Half-Life, Unreal, Soldier Of Fortune and so on. Doom started it all. This might also be the reason why gaming industry started to grow towards games that included textures and 3D models. Doom was definitely a real pioneer in this formation of gaming that was yet to come even more popular.

Doom started its journey to minds of gamers as a PC game. There was one particularly smart way to release a game that was used by Romero and Carmack. It was called shareware. It worked like this – You could copy the first episode free and if you, or when you, liked the first part, you could purchase the whole game. This was first time that this kind of releasing of a game was used. And it was genious. Doom was also ported to many gaming consoles including Sony PlayStation and Super Nintendo. One of the best versions of Doom could be the one released on Nintendo 64.

Doom made a comeback in 2016 as the game was released to modern gaming systems. There have been numerous Doom games and listing them all would be pointless. You must not forget Doom Eternal that was released just weeks ago. It’s the latest Doom game right now. I think nobody seriously has doubts about how great game this really is. If you still think this game didn’t have impact on the whole gaming industry I will answer that it sure did shape me and some people I know as players of computer and video games.

My history in gaming – How it all started

My father ifluenced me as his profession was engineer. I somehow remember as he brought an old personal computer to our home. My mom was a bit concerned but finally agreed that it would be good for me to learn some skills with this piece of technology. So I started with PC.

First games I remember playing were Bubble Bobble, Sierras adventure games and Prince of Persia. When I first started at school being seven years old NES wasn’t the most powerful gaming console anymore. So everybody had Segas Mega Drive and I wanted one also. I think it was 1993 when I finally had saved money to buy this thing. I played Mega Drive for several years. My favourite games were Sonic, Streets Of Rage and NHL 94. It was 1997 when I got myself Sony’s PlayStation.

During PlayStations era gaming was becoming more popular and young adults were getting in to gaming more than ever. Before this gaming was thought to be a bit childish and stereotype of a player was a young child. This changed and when PS2 came out gaming started to be a very common hobby for consumers at every age.

At about 2000 I played Diablo 2 with PC. I enjoyed 3D gaming. I was studying in high school then and a profession inside gaming became a dream job for me. After high school I was living with almost no touch to gaming for some reason or another. 2006 I got original Xbox as a gift from my mom. I started playing it. My girl friend, who is now my wife, also had PS3 back then so I got back to gaming. I missed PS2 and I’m little bit sad that it went like this with my dear hobby.

I played many years with PS3. I then got PS4 maybe in 2014. I bought many classic retro consoles and took my Mega Drive back from my parents house and after moving to another appartment in 2018 I got myself television lever from IKEA and placed 7 differnet consoles to our living room. That was awesome. This is the tip of my gaming hobby. I also worked for half a year in store that was dedicated to gaming.

I have understood that there are lots of games around there. It’s important that you experiment and find the ones you like because there isn’t enough time, in humans living span, to play all of them thoroughly. I find best games to be sometimes retro and sometimes newest ones. But now all games don’t get me excited anymore. I have bought games from game stores and from flee market. I have also a friend who sells used stuff like games so I sometimes buy them from him. I have a nice collection. Some PC games as Big Box. I currently have these consoles, I play all of them, PlayStation Classic, PS3, Super Retro Trio+ HD, PSOne, PS4 and Xbox 360 and of course my PC.

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