Welcome to the personal blog of RattletraPM

  • RattletraPM

    A long overdue post about my homebrew projects

    Heyo. I wanted to make this post a long, long time ago but it got delayed a bunch and, well... better late than never, right?

    I know I'm not a pivotal member in any hacking scene and I don't even consider myself a proper dev (in fact, I mostly call myself a "sunday coder") but there's been a bit of radio silence on my part and at least a couple of people already asked myself the status of something I had in the works, plus I also posted something about another project a while back while not giving any further updates on it, so that's why I'm making this post here. Hopefully it'll explain a bit what's going on and what to expect!

    I'm going to start with Snickerstream because it's by far my most popular project I've ever done. Truth be told... I kinda wanted to get a long break, work on something else and then come back to it. I know it may be a bit disappointing if you were expecting an update but if that's so then let me ask you to step into my shoes for a bit here: while it's true I usually take a break between updates and all, I've been maintaining Snickerstream for more than year now – even longer if you consider its PoC days (Jan 2017!) - and at some point maintaining it became more of a chore rather than something fun to do in my free time. Not just that, but honestly its NTR back end is feature complete now (except for a few old pieces of code that make me shudder when I look back at them but they don't really impact performance) and the HzMod one does have a few quirks but it's usually fine for general usage (for example it has no TARGA support, but while you could say "some FPS is better than no FPS", games requiring it won't go over 5-8 FPS even on a n3DS anyways, so not only it's a bit of a pain to get it working fine but it probably won't be used for any serious streaming unless it's your only choice). So I really wanted to do something else for a change then eventually come back to it later on.

    ...Aaand that something I ended up doing is the LovePotion Mode 7-like renderer I had briefly shown some months ago in a short YouTube video (link here if you haven't seen it). I hoped to use it for a game I had in mind for the Homebrew Bounty, an F-Zero clone of some sort, but the truth is a lot has happened in the past few months for me, both IRL and not. Most of it has been positive, mind you, for example I'm a Contributor here now and I'm trying to do my best to write homebrew news for the 'temp which is nothing short of awesome, but in a nutshell I don't have as much free time as before. There's simply no way I'll be able to complete the game in time for the bounty. I really liked the idea behind it tho and I still want to at least try making it but progress has been really, really slow... and that's why I haven't posted anything about it since.

    Anyways, considering the renderer is in a near-usable stage but I won't be able to enter the competition, I thought it'd be a shame to keep it to myself when somebody else could make something good out of it, so I want to try and release it together with a small demo showcasing its capabilities soon™. Some parts of it may not be too polished due to the time constraints I've explained above but I've done the best I could to make it run at 60 FPS with full RAM access on a Switch – which is easier said than done considering it had to be done "the hard way" (no shaders, no 3D effects, a few workarounds for some partially broken functions) due to LovePotion's interpreter limitations. Still, I hope someone will find it cool, or even better, use it for his own project and make something great!

    And that's about it for now. TL;DR – It's due to time constraints as well was me wanting to focus on something different than Snickerstream. Anyways, yeah, I hope you understand and I haven't bored you enough with the wall of text! ^^"
    CORE, VinsCool and H1B1Esquire like this.
  • RattletraPM

    Yet another Windows 10 rant

    Well, you've probably read complaints and rants about Windows 10 just about everywhere on the net. I know I did, and if you have as well yet you've decided to click on this blog post to read it then I admire your patience. I don't write posts like this often and truth be told I didn't have too many problems with it in the past (just your usual privacy concerns and nags). However I started to get a bit concerned when Microsoft decided to put literal ads in the OS and with what happened to me yesterday I think I've reached a breaking point.

    So, my copy finally decided to update itself to the latest version: that is, it went from build 1607 to 1803. The timing wasn't the best as it is for all Windows updates, I have no idea if Microsoft made an algorithm to specifically choose the worst possible time available - in that case, it's working really well - but hey, that's besides the point. The thing is, after updating I've noticed that several stuff broke or got changed. And a lot of it really shouldn't have, not because I'm a pretentious nerd but because I've specifically told the os to not touch that stuff.

    First off, let's start with something I was expecting. After updating I wasn't able to log in, the OS would display a black screen and then boot me back immediately. That was due to a custom visual style I installed and truth be told, I don't blame the OS too much for that one. Afterall, I knew things were going to break after an update if I messed with system files. On the other hand, however, I also cannot be the only one thinking that Windows 10's customization options are bare and lackluster even for MS' standards. In previous Windows versions you had the choice between using whatever theme came with the OS (Luna, Aero, etc.), the classic Windows UI (which was very customizable, and I really mean it) and sometimes you could also sometimes install MS signed themes (Zune, Royale Blue/Noir, Embedded). With 10 you can change the Windows' color and that's it. There's not even the classic UI option anymore. Got bored of Modern UI? Boo hoo. Anyways, the fix was simple and straightforward: I just had to boot into safe mode and disable the theming service, then reboot again and disable the custom theme as well as re-enabling the service. Too bad about that visual style but I can live without it.

    However, it doesn't end there. For some reason I was prompted to choose the privacy and telemetry options again at boot which doesn't make much sense because I've already done that when I first installed the OS. At this point I was already getting a bit irritated because I had already used some tools to block most if not all telemetry, so who knows if something clicked and got activated again. I guess Microsoft really wants that data.

    But then I got really infuriated when I've seen that Windows overwrote a custom driver I had installed for my BT adapter. It might not sound that bad at first but the point is that I already had disabled automatic driver updates beforehand and completely uninstalled the old driver. There was no reason for Windows to just turn that back on and install a new driver. The fix wasn't hard as I just had to roll it back, but how can I trust an OS that simply turns dials on and off as it sees fit, especially when I already set it to not do so? And hey, the BT adapter I'm using is just for my DualShock 3 so it isn't anything critical but I've seen that sometimes Windows pushes wrong or incompatible drivers for a few devices, especially Wi-Fi network cards (it happened with my old PCI TP-Link card, for example - googling quickly showed I wasn't the only one with this problem), so what if it was something a little bit more serious? And don't tell me it's for compatibility purposes, it's always been a standard that if a driver (or anything else for that matter) breaks after an update the OS should let the user know first and act accordingly later, not the other way around.

    And of course it didn't stop there. My mic also didn't work after the update which gave me a headache when someone voicecalled me on Discord. The fix was to enable microphone access to all apps (because of course you can only choose individual UWP apps in the privacy settings, god forbid you want to use actual native executables) but that's strange as those settings have been there for a while now. Maybe something changed under the hood? Maybe Windows updated my sound drivers as well without my consent? I have no idea but I know that I didn't have to do that before to make it work, but now I have to.

    Oh and of course some UWP apps decided to show up again after the update. Because you know, I've chosen to uninstall them before but Microsoft wants to shove them down your throat everytime it can. Microsoft also decided to leave a little Edge link on my desktop too. That's a nice gift from them.

    So, to recap, I was fine with Windows 10 up until recently, a bit less with telemetry and nags, not that much with ads, but when an OS starts to override your own settings, replace device drivers that you specifically told him to leave alone and install unwanted apps that you've already deleted beforehand then I think it's safe to say there's a problem. I already wanted to migrate to a Linux distro down the line but hey, after all of this I'm just going to do that sooner rather than later.
    Sono likes this.
  • RattletraPM

    What I think are Sonic Forces' biggest disappointments

    I'm seeing some people talking about Sonic Forces here so I decided I might share some of my own here too. I might get flamed for this, but hey, I really don't care.

    Basically, what I'm doing here is I'm playing Sonic Forces with a friend of mine: he doesn't have a powerful enough PC or any consoles to play it on so he's playing it on mine while I get the game for free (as well as a couple more) thanks to Family Sharing. I'm staying away from Metacritic reviews and the like to be as fair as possible while judging it and so far I have to say, it's VERY far from being the best Sonic game ever, but at least isn't Sonic Boom level. That doesn't mean it has its fair share of flaws tho: "automated" gameplay, short stages, janky 3D controls... and Infinite. I think I've hardly ever a bad guy as generic as him. But at least it's fun to see him get his edgy ass kicked ingame. Howerer, I really think those AREN'T the biggest disappointments of this game. What I really thought was pretty pathetic were the introduction of Classic Sonic and Episode Shadow.

    I hate Classic Sonic being in the game for a multitude of different reasons: it was really uncalled for, it's useless to the plot (I haven't completed the game yet but so far the game could easily still exist without him, and it looks like this isn't going to change anytime soon), the explaination for his introduction is so generic they had to resort to the multiverse theory to explain why he's there (it's basically the equivalent "a wizard did it" for storywriting) and worst of all -spoiler alert- they had to ruin a perfectly good game to explain it too. Considering that the Phantom Ruby's power is to create illusions in the mind of other beings, it means that a great chunk of Sonic Mania's stages were just illusions created by it - which sadly makes sense, considering that every old stage was introduced by the Ruby's power. So, it's basically the same as watching a movie just do discover that the main plot was all a dream, and what for, exactly? That's right, because Sega wanted to promote Sonic Forces via Mania by forcing the introduction of a completely useless character than no one asked for instead of making two separate games. Just fantastic.

    Then there's Episode Shadow. I think all of us were thinking it was going to be short, but it's literally only three stages that lasts 2-3 minutes each. And just to add salt to the injury, two of them are taken directly from the main game and the third one is the same but with small modifications. You didn't read that wrong - it's a total of 9 minutes of gameplay, and only 3 if you discard all the completely recycled content. Now you may be asking why am I complaining about a free DLC and the answer is simple: you cannot share DLC via family sharing so I can't get it on my account, so I thought I could buy the game if it was worth it to get everything it has to offer. But after seeing that, why the hell would I spend 40 euros on a game that I can already play as-is just to get a couple of (shitty) in-game costumes that I couldn't give a damn less about and a pack of two and a half recycled stages? Hell, why did they make the DLC in the first place?! It really makes no sense, no matter how you look at it.

    And there it is, those are in my opinion the two worst disappointments of the game. If you want to discuss in the comments, no worries: I'm no fanboy so even if you say that you think the game is complete trash I'm not going to get mad, so no worries about that. Let's please keep it friendly down there tho.
  • RattletraPM

    An explanation about Snickerstream

    (First blog post, woo! :grog:)

    Welp, I feel like I should've made this post a long time ago but hey, better late then never, right? I'm writing this to explain why there haven't been any updates to Snickerstream in a long time and I'm very sorry to everyone that were expecting them (I made a comment on /r/3dshacks explaining some stuff but I feel that very few people read it anyways). Snickerstream's development has been very unlucky after its PoC release: initially I was working on an update almost right away, but not too long after that I decided to take a break to focus more with school and to take a breather, which isn't anything too special really. When I started coding again, howerer, things initially didn't look pretty bad, but after a while I started to have issues with my ISP. I'm not going to explain everything here or else this would simply become a big rant but, long story short, my connection would be very unstable, my router was total crap (and I couldn't replace it because my phone needed to be hooked up to it, and not only that, but it also had built in transparent DNS filtering that most of the time disconnected my 3DS, and SPECIFICALLY just that for some reason, at random intervals - believe me, I tried everything from simple software solutions to bridged routers and nothing could fix it) and I also couldn't switch ISP due to legal issues, which means that I was pretty much deadlocked. This put Snickerstream's development almost at a full stop, but after a month or so, aka around the first week of June, I was finally able to give the middle finger to my old provider and switch to a better one, so it all looked good...

    ...until my computer broke. My PSU died, but that's what I get for pairing a cheap one to an FX-9590 I guess. Still, my rig was way overdue for a general upgrade, so I decided to order some new parts and be done with it. Quite a long time passed until everything arrived to my doorstep - we're talking about 2 to 3 weeks - and when my PC was up and running again I'm not going to lie, I kinda lost interest in Snickerstream. Hell, at that point I didn't even know if anyone else cared about it anyways. I had so many projects in mind back then - and right now aswell - but not much free time, so I really didn't know what to do.

    Still, just recently I decided to pick up development where I left it and release an update when I can. I want to move on to other projects, sure, but I've already got an update halfway done so it would be a waste to not complete it.

    So, yeah. TL;DR - Snickerstream is getting a proper update soon™.