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Member of the Month ~ July 2018 ~ its Katrina Time
Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Member of the Month ~ July 2018 ~ its Katrina Time
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theres a lot here

idol: It's Interview Time. Today, completely on time, we have Katrina, known for Daiyousei, Big Levels, and most recently winning CLDC with none-other than me. How are things going? How is life treating You
Katrina: That's a way more open-ended question than I expected.
Recently I've been mostly fine theoretically but extremely underproductive, as I'm sure some of the people following the stuff I work on may have noticed. A couple of months ago I could just get in front of my computer and I'd find motivation, and it's not like that anymore. I'm really trying to get my business back together but it's hard for me to do because I don't actually know what my problem is.(edited)
Katrina: I do have a couple things that I'm occasionally getting done for Daiyousei, but they're big things that I can't really split into parts very well, so there's no fun things I can post as like progress updates like I can do with my other stuff.
idol: So about Daiyousei - what do you see for it? The sprite tool situation on SMW Central has been pretty ,,,,, bizarre lately, where do you idealize Daiyousei fitting in? What do you see it doing that a tool like Giepy won't, and do you feel it will catch on?
Katrina: Basically, the main reason I wrote Daiyousei in the first place was that I had to rewrite a lot of sprite stuff anyway for the big level thing (which I'm calling exlev for now, but it will probably change names in the future). And it's still the only one that works with that, so that will keep being a big reason for me to keep up with it. Now that Giepy is here to sort of take over for the regular stuff I am thinking I will start putting more experimental things in Daiyousei - not breaking its ancient vow of overall spritetool compatibility, but adding things that I think might break when used with particular custom sprites or that maybe only really hardcore ASM people will be able to make good use of. The current project on that front is drop routines, which people who aren't programmers probably will never care about, but which programmers will recognize as being basically destructors from languages like C++, which I am hoping to use for dynamically allocating stuff. It's the kind of thing that I don't expect to ever be a huge hit on SMWC, but hopefully we will be able to make something cool out of it, and parts of that cool thing might make it into Giepy or whatever if people decide it's worth learning from.
idol: So where did the concept of exlev come from, and what made you decide to begin working on it? How long have you worked on it, and what is next on your plate for it?
Katrina: When I first started working on a hack for real, I decided to make one that would have big exploration-centered levels. So I was making levels in Lunar Magic, but they didn't really have enough room for a lot of the structures I wanted to make, so I was making all these complicated set-ups with levels that were above and below each other - with teleport blocks linking different sections and stuff. When Romi made that Yoshi's Island level editor (Golden Egg? I forgot if that or Eggvine is the old bad one), I realized that there was kind of already a game on the same system doing most of the stuff I wanted to do, so it wasn't impossible. I have a super ancient version of a lot of this from like 2014, where you would edit the level in Lunar Magic and then run a few scripts on it to make weird patches that would re-organize all the screens. But the current version is mostly from the few months before I released lvlbuild at that one C3, and then I replaced with exlev.exe between then and CLDC because I had gotten things past the "python prototype" stage. I haven't actually properly released exlev anywhere yet b/c it's still not much better than was, and I kind of want it to not suck before I go and have people actually using it.
Katrina: The next things I'm working on are a way to deal with VRAM and ExGraphics, where I'm trying to come up with something more flexible than LM is but not so complicated only a programmer could use, and just plain old custom blocks. The code for custom blocks turned out to be in part of SMW's code that's just way worse than I expected it to be, so I've procrastinated on implementing them in favor of basically using sprites all the time, but I know I gotta do it eventually.
idol: Working with this tool for CLDC, I didn't find many problems at all building levels also I learned how to do stuff, but it was also in the context of you handling anything that went wrong, and also dealing with all the graphics. Currently its run through Tiled, and I wanna say the way you did Map16 was just doing it in Lunar Magic then exporting the Map16 and having it load into your system, right? How do you envision the most ideal form of this process being for when people want to change their own Map16 in the future
Katrina: I'm currently handling Map16 in Lunar Magic, yes. I don't even have a proper .map16 importer, the format is simple enough that I was actually just taking out parts of the file with a hex editor. Unfortunately, stuff like Map16 really runs into a wall with Tiled, because there's two sizes of "thing" you wanna work with (the 8x8 and the 16x16 tiles), but Tiled only supports one size of tile per tilemap. There's similar problems for screen exits (which are kind of on a 256x256 grid if you wanna think of it that way), and the overworld. So I can't really envision a solution other than straight up writing a new GUI for these things. And since I don't have any experience writing GUIs, it's going to be a good while before I can really get anything moving for stuff like Map16.
Katrina: Graphics are a bit simpler, and I think I can deal with them even in Tiled; it's just that I want to keep things open for doing things like mode 0 levels, and for some more modest trade-offs that Lunar Magic doesn't give you, like shrinking the layer 3 tilemap to get extra graphics files or whatever.
idol: What are some of the current limitations exlev has? I recall us almost running out of space more than once with our CLDC entry, and are these hard limits, or limits you seek to exceed in the future?
Katrina: We almost run out of space two times, and they were for different reasons. One was that the level was just too big to fit in a bank, and that was just because the compressor I have right now is super lazy and bad. That kind of thing hopefully won't remain a problem. The other time was when you hit the 128 unique screen limit, which is more fundamental; that one comes because you can only fit 128 screens in 64KiB of RAM. Our level is kind of weird though, because it had 4 layers, so one "screen's-worth" of gameplay might take 4 screens. You'll probably get the best perspective on this particular limitation from Yoshi's Island hackers, since there's a sort of similar thing but with 64 screens.(edited)
Katrina: Probably the biggest limitation going forward will just be making it work with patches, since it reorganizes so much stuff. You can get a lot of sprites to work by making them use shared subroutines and updating the subroutines, and I only foresee minor hitches with custom blocks. But a lot of patches will break just because I'm moving so much RAM around, even before we get to the problems of all the invariants I might have taken away from them.
idol: Do you seek a solution to this, or will it just be a "sucks to suck" kind of situation regarding patches?
Katrina: I think if exlev starts to see serious use, some of the more popular patches (like VWF message boxes) could be updated. Some of them will happen to work fine, but I don't know how many, and the ones that break will be harder to fix than the ones that break with the SA-1 patch or what have you, so I think there will definitely be an appreciable number that just don't make it.
idol: Speaking of, will this ever be SA-1 compatible?
Katrina: I don't think there's any technological reason it couldn't be. I haven't made it SA-1 compatible yet because I'd need to go check where the SA-1 patch puts everything in RAM, and make sure that I'm not ruining anything by replacing a whole bank with a 64KiB blob of level - I think the SA-1 patch itself would need an update, but that update would pretty much just be a file full of defines. It's not hard, but there's so many other things I want to get working first that it hasn't been a high priority in comparison.
Katrina: I do see why somebody would see it and want to SA-1 it, though. It sort of makes sense that you'd go from having more level to wanting more sprites. And there's stuff like our CLDC level, which ran into some slowdown problems. I haven't profiled it, but I'm pretty sure it's mainly because doing the scroll updates for 4 layers is a lot. So stuff like that would just plain work better with the SA-1 patch.
idol: So, speaking of, how do you feel about our CLDC level now, having been around 3 and a half months since it was completed? Is there anything you would've wanted to change? Do differently? And, of course, how does it feel to have won~?
Katrina: The main thing I would've liked to change is the music situation, since the MSU-1 is kind of hard to deal with in terms of just getting it set up to play and all. If it were a whole hack it would be bearable, but its kind of weird to be the only entrant in a contest that needs all that special care. And it turned out that I did manage to goof it on the SD2SNES because of some things bsnes/higan don't emulate, and I didn't have a real SD2SNES to test with. but of course there were just no good 8-bit ports for this kind of level on SMWC! I know you music people have 8-bit ports, why are you hiding them!
Katrina: as for how it feels to have won,
Katrina: it rules
idol: It feels good to be royalty.
idol: C3 is in a few days, do you have anything special planned to release? Anything you're interested in checking out? Anything you're hoping for?
Katrina: Unfortunately I don't have much that's in a release state right now, unless people want me to release some teasing gifs of works in progress. I also have basically no idea what other people are working on since I'm not in the SMWC discord, so I'll just be hoping for a cool surprise!
idol: Is there anything else of yours you wanna plug / let folks know about before we move into the ~random~ questions?
Katrina: I think more people should use the graphics I put out last C3, but I understand that I should probably submit them to the graphics section if I want that to happen.
idol: Yeah, I think you definitely should submit them, they're really nice graphics. They got used a lot in Mice if that's any consolation!!
Katrina: its actually really weird bc i think of them as mice graphics now even though i drew them
idol: It's too bad there won't be another Mice this C3. What a bummer.
idol: Anyways random questions, I have nothing planned so you just gotta ride this with me.
idol: First thing's first: Can you do a front flip
idol: If not, why not?
Katrina: i cant because im afraid
Katrina: ive also fallen behind on my exercise schedule in the past several months. i went to the treadmill like 2 days ago, so im slowly getting back on the road to self-improvement but its Hard
idol: What's was your exercise schedule like before? Do you tend to listen to music when exercising, treadmill for an hour and a half, do intense curl ups until you get stomach ulcers, or what?
Katrina: last semester i was getting to hit up the treadmill for like 40 minutes to an hour a day. not a lot, but something. i have this embarrassing low-intensity android game that i play on the treadmill since it's got that sort of RPG thing going where i can press a button once a minute or whatever(edited)
Katrina: there was one time i tried crunches and squats for about a month, which wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it to be really, but when I went back to college for the next semester I dropped it
Katrina: i got all informal bc this is the fun part of the interview but ive realized i probably shouldnt swear huh
idol: you can say the most heinous things imaginable
Katrina: i was gonna like bust out a moderately rude emote as a response to this but they really go from 0 to 100
Katrina: heres a compromise emote
idol: Thank You
idol: What do you take in college?
Katrina: I'm majoring in computer science, but lately I've just been catching up with generals that I put off. Next semester's big class is Calculus II, i haven't put much thought into anything else I'm taking
idol: Nice, sounds raw.
idol: What's the most messed up thing you've ever seen irl
Katrina: do you want a real answer or a joke answer
idol: as real as real gets
Katrina: like a year after my parents got divorced my dad violated his restraining order by coming to our house and one of my mom's friends almost shot him. it was a bad time
idol: Speaking of that, what's your favorite season?
Katrina: probably winter because even though its got all the snow and nonsense, the heat is cheaper than AC and its got all the holidays that are worth paying attention to
idol: What's the longest you've ever walked?
Katrina: one time i got lost in the woods with a kid i barely knew and we wandered around for like 6 hours bc we werent old enough to know what to do if you get lost in the woods
Katrina: we found a weird wall made of rocks, long abandoned and with no obvious purpose. i only managed to find that spot again like once after that
idol: Who's the oldest person you have in your life that you communicate with and why
Katrina: i dont actually know how old my grandma is but she asks me to fix her computer sometimes
idol: One last question: Who would win in a fight:, Garfield or Marmaduke? And why?
Katrina: marmaduke is huge, a dog, and im pretty sure he like comes around with skulls in one of the comics? so im thinking marmaduke but this is a poorly-researched opinion
idol: Nice, that's about all then! Any last words?
Katrina: special thanks to hanayo
idol: I don't know who that is
User: Hinalyte / ID: 1553 ~ loading kotori.css
Congrats! 👀
fun user to talk to

Originally posted by Katrina
special thanks to hanayo

k #thp{;)} a #thp{;)} t #thp{;)} a #thp{;)} r #thp{;)} i #thp{;)} n #thp{;)} a #thp{;)}
Congrats #smrpg{y}
I'll read the entire interview soon but I remember reading about Daiyousei somewhere~
No front flips no service

Your layout has been removed.
That was a great read. Congrats!

shoutouts to those (edited) idol didn't remove
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Forum Index - Sunken Ghost Ship - Display Case - Interview Archive - Member of the Month ~ July 2018 ~ its Katrina Time

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