Come play my game I'll test ya! Well, I finished my VB project called K-Test today, and I have uploaded it to this site. Go to the Downloads Page to get it. Or, just click on one of the links below.
K-Test was done as a project for NIIT. This is a testing program written in Visual Basic that allows you to take a timed test, with 15 random questions taken from a database, to be answered in 10 minutes. There are a number of other options in the program too, and some easter eggs! And there's a cheat code...
Download ktest10.zip (1.14 MB) and the source if you want (1.67 MB). Requires Visual Basic 6.0 to compile, of course, and I think you will need the VB Runtimes if you want to use the executable.
Been working a lot with Visual Basic, as you'll see in my regular presentation of the latest news!
- Fri, 23 Nov - Watched Police Story 3: Super Cop on STAR Movies. Great movie. I was mistaken last time, the American version is only 5 minutes or so shorter, not 20. But, the American version of Operation Condor IS 20 minutes shorter! Anyway, Police Story 3 has Jackie Chan as a Hong Kong Supercop who goes undercover along with Chinese officer (this is pre-1997) Michelle Yeoh to bust a drug ring headed by Shaibat (Ken Tsang). Awesome action in this movie from director Stanley Tong. I also did some work on my Visual Basic project for NIIT.
- Sat, 24 Nov - On Saturday, more updates to my VB project. My parents, Rajeev, Pavan and me attended a seminar about MBA and the CAT exam at a place called PRIME. At night, I was all ready to watch Dragonball Z on Cartoon Network... unfortunately it was the Hindi dubbed version! Great episodes, but the re-dubbing spoiled it. Anyway, the Saiyans arrived on Earth, and the battle's going to start! Master Oshi and the others wish back Goku with the Dragonballs. Goku's trying to make it back to Earth in time through Snake Way (it took him a year to get there, remember? But he's super fast now), meanwhile, Piccolo, Gohan and the special forces must face six small green creatures that were literally "grown" by the Saiyan warriors. Next week - the battle! And I got an email from my old school friend D. S. Karthik - who also signed my guestbook. Thanks, DS. It was really nice to hear from him after a long time. Since Fight Club is premiering on STAR Movies this Friday, I did some browsing through The Internet Movie Database about that movie and Total Recall, saw some very interesting technical terms explained in their glossary. I also found out about anamorphic DVDs and about Widescreen processes.
- Sun, 25 Nov - Only one WAD in /newstuff this time, and it's a horrible Doom II map called supar1337 with missing textures, messed up sectors, three cyberdemons, about three hundred Wolfenstein soldiers, and an awful appearance. If this was a joke then I'm not laughing. Anyway, there was also this 5-page article about the history of Doom on dcvision.com. The first two pages of this article had a complete list of the level designers for all of the Doom and Doom II levels. Thanks Opulent for sending me a FAQ on this. Most of the day I spent in doing my VB project, which went up to version 0.98! Varun helped and gave me a lot of questions to add to it (it's a testing program). And finally, Vivian's Savage Garden Land hit 2000 visitors, and I captured the screenshot. I'm lucky at these things, somehow.
- Mon, 26 Nov - My VB project - K-Test - was completed! See the other post on this page for more information on that, and download links. Downloaded a nice set of levels for Doom II called Equinox. And Fehler 404 was updated by Tobias. There's a pretty amusing picture there. I've added that site to my Links Page. I also added a link to my friend Sunil's personal page.
Good news - Doom Center's hosted sites are going to come back online soon, after a long period of server problems. So the Phobos Wad Lab and Doom Inferno will be back by tomorrow! And Tobias, I look forward to playing your Duke Nukem 3D episode, I know it will be fun and well designed, so send it soon!
Yesterday I was busy studying for my IMP (Interfacing with Microprocessors) Practical Exam. This morning, I was hoping I'd get an easy experiment to do. What I had to do was to Display the characters CSE1 on the LEDs of a Seven Segment Display. The assembly program was an easy one and I completed it soon (within 15 minutes!). I then ran it through debug.exe and got all the machine codes. I fed those into the Microprocessor Kit, hoping to see CSE1 on the display, but unfortunately, it didn't work! I tried a lot of variations in the program, removing loops, changing instructions, etc. but NOTHING worked.
Instead of CSE1, I was getting something that looked like alien numbers on the display (remember the last scene in Predator, when the alien activates the self destruct device? The numbers ticking down on the alien's bomb? Well, the symbols I got looked somewhat like that!). I spent time trying to figure out what was wrong, and so did the lab assistants, but to no avail. Finally, they told me not to worry about it and stop trying to fix it - because this was no fault of mine, the program I'd written was right. This was disappointing... since I'd studied well and I knew how to do that program, and I'd written it correctly!
So what went wrong? Well, later on, I was looking at the machine codes for the same program I'd done before (earlier, they had given us the program with the microprocessor codes already generated). One statement had a different op code! The code which debug.exe gave was different, because of which the program refused to work! Now what am I supposed to do if the debugger itself interprets the same instruction mov si, string in a different way, and gives a 4-byte code (8b, 36, 00, 30) instead of the 3-byte one (be, 00, 30)? If I were to generate the bytes myself, I'd also have to recalculate all the jumps and things like that, which would make the whole program a big mess of hexadecimal numbers.
Anyway, I was happy when it all got over, and after coming home, in the evening I was so tired I slept for two hours. Later in the night I downloaded a few Blood levels (grosse.map, stop666.map, and outlet.map). These levels suffered from the same texture problems that the earlier Duke Nukem 3D maps I'd downloaded had, and I didn't like their design either. Since not many people build levels for these games (especially, Blood maps are very rare) unlike for Doom, I guess that's expected. I should probably ask Tobias or Pablo to send me some of their levels for these games, since I know they'll be good.
I forgot to mention this in the earlier update. STAR Movies is showing Police Story 3: Super Cop on Friday, 23 November, 7:30 PM. Starring Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, directed by Stanley Tong. A great movie, this... and the nice thing is that they're showing the original English dubbed version, not the U.S. re-released version (called Supercop) which I believe is a good 20 minutes shorter. Fight Club premieres on 30th. As I said before it's a movie I've been waiting to watch for a LONG time.
One more thing - Toby and Pablo have set up a site at http://fehler404.tripod.com - which will have jokes and serious stuff too, or so Toby tells me. I'm looking forward to content on that site! I'll add it to the links page next time, feeling tired right now, it's almost 2 AM.
This Saturday's back-to-back episodes of Dragonball Z were terrific. Piccolo continues his training of Gohan, and Goku requests King Kai to train him in the martial arts that will help him save the world from the two Saiyan Warriors who will be arriving in about 3 months time. Kai's first test for Goku - catch Bubbles, his monkey! The catch? King Kai's planet has very high gravity! Second, Goku must bonk King Kai's talking grasshopper on the head with a heavy hammer. After passing these tests, King Kai trains Goku to fight. And back on Earth, Krillin and the rest of the Special Forces have also completed their training. With everyone ready to fight the Saiyan Warriors, there's only one day left before the planet destroyers arrive on the Earth! Next Week's episode: The Saiyans arrive, and the Eternal Dragon is summoned... awesome stuff!
White Fury (1990, A.I.P.) was a very low budget movie that reused footage from the beginning again in the end! Anyway, it's about a group of people who want to spend some time in a mountain cabin, unfortunately they must contend with two nasty bank robbers. Starring Deke Anderson, Sean Holton, Directed by David A. Prior.
30 November, STAR Movies: I absolutely do not want to miss Fight Club, which premieres at 10 PM. I've been waiting to see this for a very long time.
Here's all the news from 14th November till this update. I'm quicker this time, it's not a week yet!
- Wed/Thu, 14/15 Nov - Downloaded MP3 of Nelly Furtado's Turn off the Light in the evening. Got the lyrics too. I was listening to it after reading my TC notebook. I also played through the entire Doom E2M2 - 103 monsters, 12 secrets. Lots of fun. And I was listening to Nelly's song over and over again on the next day. That is one great song. Also, I must make a special mention. Pablo Dictter sent a Diwali Greeting, which was very thoughtful of him. Thanks, Pablo!
- Fri/Sat/Sun, 16/17/18 Nov - "Unfortunately, no one can be told what The Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. On HBO, 9:30 PM". And I did too. Lots of fun, that movie. I completed both my practical record books for submission at college the next day. So I didn't do much of studying for the System Programming Test the next day. Actually, nothing at all on Friday, I read everything on the bus, on Saturday morning. But I did very well in the 4th Internal Test, not so well in the 5th. Kalpana's World was updated. Dragonball Z episodes were awesome. 3D Action Planet launched their Doom news site called The Phobos Lab. I also downloaded an MP3 of Big Gun by AC/DC, an awesome song. But I think 1 MB was missing. Anyway, that song inspired the E2M1 music in Doom. On Sunday, I updated Karthik's Doom Pages with news all the way from October 21. Also, I downloaded this WAD called nuts.wad, which had 10,617 monsters in it.
- Mon, 19 Nov - Holiday for preparing for Practical Exam. Karthik's Doom Pages crossed 5000 hits! Thanks to Nick Byrd, the 5000th visitor, for sending in a screenshot. I thought I'd missed it because when I looked at the counter in the morning, it showed 5011. Also, thanks to William Mull, NewDoom's webmaster, for sending me a shot of the 5002nd hit. Watched Adam Hegyi's and Opulent's demos of nuts.wad. Studied the rest of the day. Peter Abel's book is great. At night, at 10 PM - midnight on AXN, they were showing When the Bough Breaks - a movie I remember seeing during my Class IX final exams (which I suppose would have been 1995/6?). I'd have recorded it if I'd known about it, watched the last half hour. Starring Ally Walker, Ron Perlman and Martin Sheen, this is a great low-budget thriller, written and directed by Michael Cohn. At about the same time, There's Something About Mary, was starting on STAR Movies. Another nice movie.
- Tue, 20 Nov - Nelly Furtado's song is terrific, listened to it so many times by now. My practical exams went very well. Downloaded two 3D Action games, Operation Body Count and Quarantine, which I didn't like. Thanks, Bloodshedder, for posting news on Doom Center about my recent update. Watched a movie on STAR Movies in the evening, White Fury, very low-budget action, directed by David A. Prior (1990, A.I.P. Inc.). Also watched Albert Valls' demo of Tobias' Square, and Metabolist's demo of my Out of Phase map.
Final Exams for this semester started today... first we have the practicals, then the theory exams starting on November 30. Today was the System Programming Exam.
Yesterday and the day before, Varun and my parents were surprised to see me actually reading a textbook before an exam... in this case, the book in question is Peter Abel's IBM PC Assembly Language and Programming, and surprisingly, I read almost 70-80% of this 500-odd page book in a day and a half! In fact, this is one of the rare textbooks that I actually felt like reading, because firstly, I like the subject, and secondly, I liked the author's writing. There's a companion website for the book, which is http://www.prenhall.com/abel - you should see it, atleast to have a look at that snazzy cover for the 5th edition :)
Anyway, though I had studied well, I was still nervous today because, well, it's considerably harder to debug assembly programs than those written in higher level languages (when something goes wrong, that is). Also, what would I do if I got a question like "Generate a menu", "Simulate the DIR command", "Find whether a given string is a substring of another"? Given enough time, these are possible for me to do, but NOT in an exam!
The program I had to do went like this. Write a program to copy one file into the other. Accept filenames from the user, display appropriate messages. At first I thought this was a tough one, but as I started typing, things became clear, everything came together nicely, and when I assembled it, there was just one small bug with a jump that was a few bytes out of range. Within some seconds I fixed that and the program worked on the first shot! Great! Finished the whole thing by 11:20 AM. I hope all my other exams will go well too, especially the IMP practical exam on 22nd.
Two movie reviews, two TV reviews and a game review this time -
- No Tomorrow (1999, PM Entertainment) - Starring Gary Daniels, Gary Busey, Jodi Bianca Wise, Master P. Written by Terry Cunningham and directed by Master P. When I saw the opening credits for this movie - I guessed that the director, Master P, was a rapper and also that the guy with the rocket launcher in the first scene was the Master himself. Right on both counts :). Anyway, this mostly average movie was about Jason (Daniels) who works at a shipping company... he is convinced by his friend Davis (Jeff Fahey) to join him in a dirty little business of helping out an arms dealer. For once, the honest Jason actually agrees to join in! But later we find that Jason is actually an undercover FBI agent, trying to take down the entire weapons dealing gang of Noah (Busey). Not bad, with some twists thrown in too, with some nice action scenes. It is worth watching for those, but not otherwise.
- Dragon Lord (1983, Paragon Pictures) - Directed by and Starring Jackie Chan. This movie in many ways bears resemblance to Chan's 1980 film The Young Master, which is one of my all-time favourites... but I didn't think it was as good as that movie. Jackie Chan's character is the usual young man who lives with his strict father in a village. Dragon and his friend (Mars) must stop some bad guys who are planning to sell off some priceless Chinese relics. Much of the movie however deals with other plot threads, like Jackie and his friends trying to impress a young girl, a "shuttlecock" match, a football match (in the beginning), etc. Nice martial arts sequences and funny comedy, but I found the dubbing irritating to listen to. A good movie but there are plenty of Chan's movies that are better than this.
- Dragonball Z - Saturday's two episodes were terrific. The summary of both of them goes like this. Krillin and the other fighters start their training in a special room where the past, present and future converge. Their spirits travel back in time where they must fight with two back-from-the-dead Saiyan Warriors! Awesome fights. The fighters fight bravely but the Saiyans prove to be more than a match for them. And the Saiyans headed for Earth are supposed to be twice as powerful! But the courageous fighters vow to train and defeat their enemy! Gohan again metamorphoses into a gigantic ape, because his tail's grown back, and due to a projection of the moon from a Saiyan spaceship (same one Goku came to Earth in). But after some tense moments Piccolo gets things under control. And finally, Goku reaches the end of Snake Way and finds a very tiny planet - with a very bad case of gravity! He finally meets the legendary King Kai, who will train him to save the world from the two Saiyan Planet Destroyers who will arrive at Earth in a period of two months. Exciting stuff.
- Ssshhh... Koi Hai - "Jalwa" - Friday's episode of this horror show on STAR Plus was enjoyable for me because the entire thing was lifted from Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez's film From Dusk Till Dawn (fantastic movie!). Anyway, here we find two crooks fighting for their lives in a shady bar with vampires! Well done, except for the cheap, fake looking fangs, some overacting, and the plot holes.
- Abuse - I don't think I've done a game review on this site before. Anyway this game was created by a company called Crack Dot Com in 1996. This was their first commercial release, but it didn't do very well, and the company soon closed down. That however doesn't mean it's not a good game - it has got a small fan following on the internet too. If you ask me, this is a very good game that deserves more attention than it got. You play the character of Nick Vrenna, falsely incarcerated in a prison where illegal genetic experiments are taking place - you escape and must deal with the critters that have resulted because of the "Abuse" genetic strain. An action packed, atmospheric game with very nice graphics, smooth controls and fantastic music. It's a sidescrolling game where you move with the arrow keys and aim with the mouse (have you played Genocide?). Start at Abuse2.com or this fan site, play the demo and enjoy. The retail version of the game comes with an inbuilt level editor too! And you can also modify the LISP game files like I did (giving myself infinite ammo, and stuff like that), but make sure you have a copy.
As usual, here are the updates for the past week...
- Thu/Fri/Sat, 8/9/10 Nov - Was a holiday from college, and at night I watched No Tomorrow, directed by Master P. On Friday night I recorded Dragon Lord, starring Jackie Chan. I watched that the next day. Short reviews of both movies are in another update on this page itself. On Saturday, it was a full day at college, and there were two tests in IMP. I did well in the first one, but not that well in the second. In the evening I didn't go to NIIT, rather, I worked on my VB project at home. I don't think I wrote about that before - it is an application that will allow you to take an online test - where a random set of questions have to be drawn from a database and shown to the guy taking the test. I've done the interface part, but haven't integrated it with a database yet (since I don't have a database at home!). I added an in-built web browser to the application, so you can actually click on links in the windows and the browser opens with my page in it! Dragonball Z was great too, review is along with the others. Friday's episode of Ssshhh... Koi Hai... on STAR Plus was a rip-off of From Dusk Till Dawn, that's reviewed too.
- Sun, 11 Nov - In the morning, I whipped up a small Internet Browser in VB in five minutes - like what I did the previous day. It's a very small thing and uses Internet Explorer components - and is nice to use. I might put that on this site or on Karthik's Doom Pages. Damian also sent his E4M4 for The 9th Gate. It isn't completed yet, but the version he sent us was nice looking, with some good architecture. This is one large map! I also played a little bit of Abuse that morning - I got a LISP interpreter, and a Win32 EXE for the game from Abuse2.com and other sites. Again, a review of that is there on this page.
- Mon/Tue, 12/13 Nov - Two tests of Operations Research - and again, I did well in one of them, but not so well in the other. Pavan also sent me some MIDIs extracted from arcade games. Tuesday was fun although I didn't do well in BOTH the tests in Data Communications. But in the System Programming Lab at college, it was really fun experimenting with Memory Resident Programs in Assembly. I must have crashed the computer there about 15-20 times (which is why I dare not try this kind of stuff at home)! But I got the program to work at last - this is a "Kaps" Lock program which works like this - once you run the .COM file, the code stays in memory and gets activated EVERY TIME you press a key on the keyboard. If your Caps Lock is on, after every keypress, you'll see the letter K! Only works in DOS. The executable file size was about 70 bytes or so! Sudarshan's Personal Web was updated, and Harry updated his Lennistrikes Page after a period of two months. He's written about the problem he had with his modem ("A neat little dialog box with a dirty little message...") and a fix for it. I also completed my collection of Commander Keen MIDIs, thanks to the music available at Cerebral Cortex 314. And I downloaded At Doom's Gate LIVE - from Bobby Prince's MP3.com Page. The MIDI version of that is here.
Happy Diwali to everyone! And thanks for all the wishes sent by email and Yahoo! Messenger. Today in the afternoon I was playing Doom E2M2: Containment Area - it's been some time since I played this nice large map - and I liked it a lot.
Final exams start on November 30th and go on till December 15th. Right now I have my 4th AND 5th Internal Tests going on, which will get over on 17th. After that there are practical exams. And I also have my VB project to complete. So I won't find a lot of time to update this site... but I will find time to watch Fight Club on STAR Movies which is premiering either this Friday or the next.
Our college is holding a Technical Paper Presentation Contest (organised by our IEEE Students Chapter) on December 21 and 22, 2001. The posters for this have already been sent to various colleges all over India.
I have put up a page on this site that basically contains the same thing the poster does, but I've added some information and have emphasised some parts of it. Here it is.
The past few days at college have been very hectic. So much is being done at such a fast pace that it's hard to keep up! Tomorrow, I have one test, and from Saturday onwards we are going to have TWO tests everyday, with classes being conducted also - until 17th. After that, we'll have our practical exams, and then on 26th, our Final Exams start. Not much of time to do anything else.
This is why I like STAR Movies so much. They show good movies (that is, movies that I like to see). And I got to see two good movies recently.
- Pitch Black - Saw this on Tuesday. I read the screenplay on 2 April - and if you see the news page for that day there's a summary of the plot. Written and Directed by David Twohy. A spaceship crashes on a planet that is almost perpetually in daylight because it has three suns. The people who land there discover a colony of some sort on the planet - which was completely wiped out 22 years ago. Unfortunately for them, it's time now for an eclipse - which will cast the entire planet into total darkness - and allow the swift, bird-like nocturnal predators that inhabit the planet to come out and hunt! Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time! Entertaining movie. Starring Vin Diesel, Radha Mitchell.
- Pi - Ever since I saw the trailer for this movie (from the official website) in August 2000, I've wanted to watch this movie. I thought I would never be able to. After all, where would I get to see a low-budget, independent film about mathematics, a dark thriller, filmed in black and white? I got to see it last Saturday on STAR Movies. This movie is written and directed by Darren Aronofsky, and stars Sean Gullette as Max Cohen, a mathematics genius who's searching for a pattern in the stock markets with his supercomputer Euclid. One day, his machine crashes - but not before spitting out a 216-digit number - a number which his mentor Sol Robeson ran into during his research on Pi. This number has special significance to some groups of people who will do anything to get it from Max, who himself is close to insanity! This is a movie that should be watched twice to be understood properly, and since I only saw it once, I'll write a better review once I watch it again. But if you get a chance to see it, you definitely should - it's very well filmed and has awesome music by Clint Mansell, not to mention one of the best opening credits sequences I've ever seen.
From 31 Oct. till 7 Nov., here is the news...
- Thu/Fri, 1/2 Nov - 4000 HITS!! - On Thursday, I caught the 1600th hit at Vivian's Savage Garden Land - and sent him a screenshot of it. My own site's counter was somewhere at 3980 or something. The next day, I looked at my own counter and was surprised to see it at 4006! I thought I'd missed my 4000th hit, but when I checked my mailbox later, guess what? In return for the shot I'd sent, I found a shot of my 4000th hit, thanks to Vivian Jason. Next stop, 5000 hits. Well, thanks everyone for visiting the site in it's past one year and five months.
- Sat, 3 Nov - Extra Classes in Operations Research. I thought four hours of continuous OR classes would be a bit too much to handle, but it was actually fun. After coming home, I downloaded a 6 MB video clip from Activision, showing off the new Doom GBA. Looks great, I want one of those! This time's Dragonball Z was pretty good - I missed the first episode but watched the second (they show two episodes back-to-back here). Ganeshan told me what happened in the first one. Goku fights to get back on Snake Way. And Gohan runs into a group of orphans, later finds his way home. But since he's supposed to save the Earth he leaves with Piccolo. At midnight, STAR Movies, I saw Pi, which was a great movie. I've written more about that in another update on this page. Pablo sent this link (which Tobias sent him), which features a terrific Flash animation.
- Sun, 4 Nov - Got an interesting mail - from a teacher who wanted to know how to deactivate the cheat codes in Doom and Doom II. Well, you can do that, all you have to do is to hack the EXE files with DeHackEd. But that only works with the original EXEs. In the afternoon I recorded a demo of Inferno's WAD Waste Management. UV Max - 1:35 was my time. Later in the evening, Vivek came home and we spent 4 hours on VB stuff. I also found out about a WebBrowser control. Saw the new Compet-N site design - it looks terrific! Downloaded and played Opulent's hl_op.wad.
- Mon/Tue/Wed, 5/6/7 Nov - Dictter's back! After temporarily leaving the 9th Gate Project (because he'd completed his maps) Pablo Dictter rejoined the team. I'm glad he's back. On Tuesday I watched Xit Vono's Tyson demo of Ultimate Doom E4M1 - a 50:56 long demo! At night I watched Pitch Black on STAR Movies at 11:30 PM - more about that in another update on this page. Wednesday - yesterday was a hectic sort of day at college. There's more about the recent happenings at college in another update on this page.