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ICE Support Added to SourceCoder 3

Cemetech News - пт, 21/04/2017 - 02:27
We are more than happy to announce that the online TI-BASIC editor and IDE SourceCoder 3 gets an upgrade again. You have now the possibility to compile ICE programs online, rather than doing it on-calc! The syntax is basically the same as TI-BASIC, but you don't need a "Then" for indentation. While the highlighting is exactly the same, except the commands of course, we are still working on a nice styling system for ICE, to make it even easier to write programs! But, you say, why can't we use the TI-BASIC section of SourceCoder 3? That is very simple: ICE has a lot of graphic commands, imported from the C libraries, and replaced them with det(XX..). From now on, you don't need to remember this anymore, you can just directly type "FillScreen(255)" for example!

In the sidebar you can see some groups, which are the same groups as listed in commands file of ICE Compiler, to make it even easier! Also, you can easily add comments as well, in order to explain variables or routines to yourself. You can do this by placing [i] (the imaginary i) in front of the line, the same as in ICE.

As far as we know, there are 2 bugs we need to overcome:
  • There is a graphic command "End", but BASIC itself also has an "End". Therefore, I removed the graphic command "End", so typing in "End", gives you the token End, not det(1).
  • Since the token for comments is the same as the token for the output program, you can't add the output name, because that will be commented as well ;).

Anyway, we hope that this makes development of ICE programs much easier, and we are happy to receive feedback and or questions/comments about this!

Launch Tool:
SourceCoder 3 Online TI-BASIC, ASM, and C Editor and IDE

Many thanks to KermMartian for helping me in this process, correcting me when needed, and moving it to the real website!

New TI Contest: The Search for STEMnauts

Cemetech News - чт, 20/04/2017 - 02:28
Texas Instruments has held plenty of contests in the past, from the #TISelfieContest to Math for the Win. Rarely have they held contests of skill that resemble our occasional programming contests, and never (to my knowledge) have they had a programming-related contest of their own. TI's new The Search for STEMnauts "virtual scavenger hunt" aims to change this. A collaboration between NASA and TI, the scavenger hunt challenges teams of up to 5 students in 6th through 12th grades, overseen by an adult mentor, to solve NASA-related programming and problem-solving puzzles.

Throughout this contest, you need to solve a series of activities to earn points. The topics of the activities range from the International Space Station, Earth, and Mars to deep space, aeronautics, and pure technology. The activities themselves involve running programs on your calculator, deciphering codes, and presumably also writing your own programs. So far, only the International Space Station activities have been released. You can enter any time before the scavenger hunt ends on May 31st, and you get points for the activities you correctly complete. The winning team gets TI-84 Plus CEs, a $500 Amazon gift card, and other prizes, and five other teams will be randomly selected to receive TI-84 Plus CEs as well. If you and your friends are in 6th through 12th grade, and you like programming, STEM, or space, you should give this a try! We ask that you please not post the answers on the Cemetech forum, although we encourage you to try to brainstorm approaches and find team members here.

Interestingly enough, the video announcing more details also mentions a new Galaxy Gray color for the TI-84 Plus CE that we haven't seen before. Hmmm...

More Information
The Search for STEMnauts informational website
The Search for STEMnauts introductory video

Projects of the Month: January 2017

Cemetech News - вс, 02/04/2017 - 22:10
With the Christmas holidays over, many members resumed their projects, causing our list to grow. Let's have a look at how this year began!

  • Aspirin CE: Unicorn continued working on his Aspirin port to the CE calculator. He fixed some bugs, almost finished the mechanics and added a menu. You should visit the thread and see yourself!

  • ASCII and xLib RPGs: Cemetech member Switchblade shared beautiful screenshots of and a download of an ASCII RPG and screenshots of two xLib RPGs he was working on. The graphics are very clean and definitely worth a look, and best of all, those are in TI-Basic!

  • Axe Arcade Game Remakes: In another post, Switchblade showed off some pretty remakes of popular arcade games in Axe, for the monochrome calculators. So go ahead and give him some feedback!

  • Kerbal Space Program CE: TheLastMillennial made lots of progress on his CE port of the popular rocketry sandbox game. He released some code and worked hard on the physics engine.

  • linevolution: _iPhoenix_ created an evolution simulator which evolves lines on the CE. In his own words, the code was written for readability, not speed, but it is easy to edit. You should definitely try it out!

  • Don't touch the white tile: _iPhoenix_ created another program, a "quick and small" arcade game for the color calculators. The code was well optimized by several Cemetechians and is now ready to play!

  • Short Circuit: JWinslow23, as a new member of the programming group Tilda^3, created an electronics puzzle game in pure TI-Basic for the monochrome calculator series! In it, you may place different kinds of wires and logic gates, and must get the current to reach a destination. There are some nice screenshots and a demo which you should see!

  • Spirograph CE: CalcMeister made a Spirograph program for the CE calculator packed with lots of features, and, to my knowledge, he was the first to make one. If you're into graphics or geometry, you should check it out!

  • SuperOP: Cemetechian Battlesquid made lots of progress on a monochrome port of the popular mobile game Clash Royale, and that in TI-Basic! There are some cool screenshots, so visit that thread and have a look!

  • The Oregon Trail: OldNewTimer decided to try and make a TI-84 Plus CE recreation of the video game Oregon Trail. The thread features beautiful screenshots of the backgrounds and menus and the project, while in an early stage, looks very promising.

  • Sorcery of Uvutu: And, to round this list off, 123outerme finally released the long awaited RPG for the TI-84 Plus CE. The thread has tons of screenshots and information, and you don't want to miss the game!

We hope you had a good start into the new year, and can't wait to see all the projects it will bring!

We Hope You Guys Enjoyed April Fools!

Cemetech News - вс, 02/04/2017 - 11:41
April fools has come and gone for 2017. In the myriad of announcements for new products and services, we hope you guys didn't miss ours. If you guys managed to see our prank, let us know what you thought via the poll above as not to spoil it for anyone else. We've rescinded our prank already but we wish to keep it a secret in case we do it again next year, that way it's still a secret! ;D

Meanwhile, what pranks did you enjoy most yesterday? Any that legitimately had you fooled, even for a moment? Share them below!

Cemetech Minecraft Server: One Year In

Cemetech News - пн, 20/03/2017 - 04:17
How time flies. We soft launched the server on March 20th. What does a soft launch mean? When we soft-launched we opened the server to those who contributed in building spawn or they were seen as significant contributors to the previous iteration. The following weekend, on Easter, we opened the server up to everyone who wanted to be a member.

In the first few days of soft launching our members broke just over 100,000 blocks. With stone being the most common block being broken. By the official opening weekend we had almost broke 500,000 blocks with stone continuing it's reign as the most broken block.

So where are we a year on?

You guys have broken just north of 6,500,000 blocks. That's 6.5 MILLION blocks. Stone is still the most broken block at 1,700,000. We've had 317 players log in to the server with a maximum concurrent player count of 16; A number that's been held since The End was opened in July. Those 371 players have 11,462 total logins and have played for a cumulative 1 year and 155 days. Meaning, that the average time someone spends online per login is 1h9m44s, we see an average of 22 logins a day.

Now, 371 tracked players is not indicative of our server population. This number includes anyone who has logged in, even if for a second, then logged out never to return. Now, our top players consist of the following playtimes:
  1. DrDnar with 72 Days
  2. ACagliano with 51 Days
  3. tifreak8x with 50 days
  4. LittleMoonBeam with 48 days
  5. TurquoiseDrag0n with 28 days
  6. Rivereye with 22 days
  7. lennartVH01 with 21 days
  8. KermM with 17 days
  9. ElementalVis with 14 days
  10. pyrot3chnic with 13 days

We've had many events as well! For this iteration of the server we introduced a dedicated mining world, mostly for Abba Matches, but also allowed us to use non-renewable ores as currency and keep the main world somewhat tidy and clean, allowing users to focus more on building in the main world than actually building mines that would eventually be abandoned. It also allowed us to keep the map size smaller. We did expand the map a few times and it is equal in size to the prior iteration but allowing players to mind in a separate world allowed players to feels like there was more distance between them, as mines didn't extend for hundreds of blocks under a base, potentially going into, or under, someones build.

We've had quite a few player events as well, such as races along a Daytona International Speedway replica and PvP events.

I can't wait to see what you guys do in the following months and life of the server. Please be sure to post any suggestions you have for the current server!

T^3 International Conference 2017: Days 0 and 1

Cemetech News - сб, 11/03/2017 - 10:48
Four years ago, I first attended TI's 25th annual Teachers Teaching with Technology (T^3) conference in Philadelphia. Since then, I have attended every T3IC, and this year, I'm proud to say that I'm representing both Cemetech and myself at my fifth T^3 conference. Each year, I have tried to bring someone from the community with me; in the past Cemetech administrators Shaun "Merthsoft" McFall and Thomas "elfprince13" Dickerson have attended, and last year Jon "Jonimus/The Storm" Sturm accidentally found himself at T^3 2016 in Orlando. This year, Jon has once again joined me (Dr. Christopher "Kerm Martian" Mitchell) in Chicago for the 2017 T^3 International Conference.

In past years, we have collected news about new TI efforts and enjoyed excellent sessions taught by teachers from across the country. I have also given a talk each year about TI-BASIC programming and why (and how) to do it with students in the classroom. Last year, we had a Maker Faire-style booth for the first time, where we showed off some of the things that we do here to promote programming and STEM education. This year, we are once again attending many interesting sessions, especially those about programming (now apparently primarily called coding in these circles), electronics, and engineering. I also taught "Teaching Beginner Programming Concepts with the TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator", with a record attendance of 28 teachers looking to learn programming and possibly teach it in their own classrooms. I'll be putting together a video of that full lesson (including the parts I didn't get to actually teach today) in the near future, but in the meantime, you can take a look at my slides, and of course consider "Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus" for learning TI-BASIC. Finally, we have been quite active on social media throughout the conference, including participating in TI's #MathFTWChat on Day 0 of the conference (Thursday night, 3/9), as both @cemetech and @kermmartian.

We visited several particularly interesting sessions today. We went to "The TI-84 Plus CE Graphing Calculator + 10 Minutes of Code + TI-Innovator Hub with TI-Launchpad Board = STEM Career Curiosity", taught by Terrance Mankus and Margo Lynn Mankus. Jon got to explore the TI-Innovator Hub for the first time, and the lessons were grounded in compelling real-world problems. I also learned that TI-OS 5.2.1 contains a new HUB tab in the PRGM menu, saving the otherwise tedious task of manually typing out TI-Innovator Hub command strings (see my recent video with the upcoming Norland robot for the TI-84 Plus CE for my experiences with that). Jon also attended "STEM Investigations with the TI-Innovator Hub with TI-Launchpad Board", taught by Stacy Thibodeaux, in which the attendees created conductance sensors to measure the cleanliness of water using the TI-84 Plus CE and TI-Innovator Hub. We also got to visit TI's STEM room, where they were showing off some of their latest projects with the TI-Innovator, and we attended the always exciting reception, showcasing the best dancing skills among our nation's math teachers.

Take a look at our selected pictures below, and keep your eyes on our Twitter accounts (don't forget to follow them, as well as our Facebook page!) and Cemetech's forum for our latest experiences from T^3 2017. If you're curious about our past T^3 experiences, we have coverage from 2013 with postmortem, 2014 with postmortem, 2015 with postmortem, and 2016 with postmortem.

Hands-On with Norland Research E3 Robot for TI-84 Plus CE

Cemetech News - пт, 10/03/2017 - 06:21
In November, Rick over at Norland Research kindly sent along an early version of his E3 Robot, meant to work with the newest TI-84 Plus family calculator, the TI-84 Plus CE. Unlike all of its TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus predecessors, the TI-84 Plus CE lacks the 2.5mm I/O ("DBUS") port that allowed easy connection to external hardware. The reason for that omission is not clear, but the fact remains that all hardware compatible with the TI-84 Plus CE must use USB for communication. TI has simplified this by providing built-in USB serial support for some platforms, and TI's TI Innovator Hub is a great example of USB-connected hardware for the TI-84 Plus CE. Therefore, Norland needed to update their classic calculator-controlled robot kit that used the 2.5mm DBUS port to use USB instead. The way they have done this is to overhaul the robot to connect to the TI Innovator Hub.

In the video below, I connect my TI Innovator Hub and TI-84 Plus CE to the new robot, and write two simple programs. The first lets the calculator control the robot wheels, independently spinning each one backwards and forwards. The second program is a little more complex, detecting collisions using the front bump sensors and using the motors to back the robot away from obstacles. The robot is easy to use, and if you have TI Innovator Hub(s) and TI-84 Plus calculators in your classroom (or home), you have everything you need to make it work. If you don't already have the TI Innovator Hub, it's an unfortunate (but necessary) result of the TI-84 Plus CE's missing 2.5mm I/O port that you need to buy that as well as the robot itself. It appears that this robot is not yet available from Norland Research's website, but Cemetech will have the news when it is available.

Hands-On with Norland Research E3 Robot for TI-84 Plus CE

Casio Prizm Successor, fx-CG50, Announced

Cemetech News - чт, 09/03/2017 - 11:39

In mid-January, long-time Cemetech member and Casio programmer TeamFX let us know that Casio is releasing a successor to the venerable Casio Prizm (fx-CG10/fx-CG20). To be called the Casio fx-CG50, this new calculator appears to be an incremental improvement on its 6-year-old parent. Since TeamFX first posted that topic, our members have posted a wealth of new information about the calculator, and more recently, Casio published a press release, and community members have gotten hands-on experience with the fx-CG50. Among the most important facts about Casio's new Prizm replacement that have been discovered:
  • 3D Graphing Add-In: This new add-in is one of the headlining features of the new fx-CG50. Cemetech members may be aware of Graph3DP for the Casio fx-CG10/fx-CG20, a community-made add-in by yours truly that added 3D graphing capabilities to the original Casio Prizm. Specifically (from a press release), "the device can display up to three types of 3D graphs overlaid on one screen. Besides, users can visualise the cross section of the sphere." Casio appears to have noted the importance of a 3D graphing add-in, especially with a high-resolution color screen, and created their own. Unfortunately, it does have some limitations; gbl08ma kindly wrote in the attached topic, " Graph3DP with a better UI would still beat their add-in, which doesn't allow arbitrary 3D functions."
  • Faster Processor: Since the Casio fx-CG10/fx-CG20's OS was relatively open to investigation, Cemetech's members succeeded in overclocking and underclocking the Prizm not long after the calculator was released. From its base speed of 58MHz, members were able to bring the calculator as high as a stable 94.3MHz. However, long-time Prizm hacker gbl08ma found that some calculators could only go as high as 87MHz; others could get up to 101.5MHz.
  • New Main Menu Look: As in the screenshot below, Casio has refreshed the look and feel of the main menu, without substantially changing the layout or how it works.
  • More Emphasis on C-Lab: Casio chose to mention connectivity to external sensors as one of three majors points in their press release, implying that it's a keystone feature of the new device. Per their release, "[t]he calculator can simply be connected to the data collection interface C-Lab in order to measure data [from] temperature or distance [or] triaxial acceleration" sensors. As on other popular graphing calculators, the resulting data can be graphed and inspected.
  • Other Hardware Capabilities: As long-time member gbl08ma notes in the attached thread, "[t]he screen resolution, memory size, etc. are all the same as on the fx-CG 20, judging by the DynaTech page." It also still has a 3-pin I/O (serial) port, and is still powered by 4 AAA batteries (rather than a rechargeable battery, like TI's modern calculators).

As an extra bonus, TeamFx has discovered (from French community website TI-Planet) that Casio is also updated the controversial color touchscreen Classpad calculator with a new model, the fx-CG500. Have you gotten a Casio fx-CG50 yet? Do you plan to do so? Will it also be called the Prizm? Weigh in with new news, opinions, and thoughts in the attached topic (or the original discussion topic)!

JamesV Ports SQRXZ to TI-84 Plus CE

Cemetech News - ср, 08/03/2017 - 05:41
First of all, really sorry for being a month too late, but better late than never!

A month ago, JamesV released SQRXZ for the TI-84 Plus CE, as a clone of the TI-86 version by Jimmy Mardell, itself based on an Amiga game of the same name. The goal is to control an ugly bug (a Sqrxz) through a dangerous world filled with traps and enemies such as Blobs, Hedgehogs, Bats and more. Besides nice sprites, animations and collecting items, this game runs at approximately 60 FPS, which is surely good enough for nice smooth gameplay. James included 16 levels, but since the structure of the levels is the same between platforms, you can play any level that has been created for the TI-83, TI-83+ or the TI-86. If that is not enough, he has also created a world editor, to provide more fun if you are done with the current levels!

SQRXZ World Editor

Cemetech Contest #19: Pathfinding from Hell

Cemetech News - сб, 04/03/2017 - 01:26

Because jonbush organized the last 4 contests (Crypto Golfing, Chatty Cyborgs, On Rails and Winter Wonderland), some members decided it would be fun to organize a contest themselves, including PT_, Pieman7373 and mr womp womp. After some brainstorming sessions, we are more than happy to announce the theme for Cemetech Contest #19: Pathfinding from Hell

In Pathfinding from Hell, you are challenged to create a pathfinding algorithm in pure TI-BASIC, but with some restrictions. This algorithm should find it's way through a matrix with walls, and a starting/ending point. To win this contest, your algorithm must be the fastest and smallest, and follow the rules. The final submission date is March 24th, which means you have exactly 3 weeks to complete it.

However, it would not be a fun contest, if there are no restrictions, because just creating a pathfinding algorithm can be pretty easy. That's why we decided to exclude some TI-BASIC tokens, including these:

*finance vars*

Indeed, D-θ, the finance vars and the recursive n are not allowed, which means you can only use 3 numeric variables. The input is a 10x10 matrix, provided in [A], which consists of 0's and 1's. A "1" means there is a wall, and thus you can't pass it. A "0" is nothing. The start- and endpoint are at (2,1) and (9,1) respectively. Output should be written to [A] as well, and the path should be filled with 2's. You may assume there is a way from the startpoint to the endpoint. This is an example input:

In this case, various outputs are possible, this is one possibility:

The path should be singular, which means you are not allowed to simply change the 0's to 2's, that is not a pathfinding algorithm.

The first and second place winners will receive $30 and $15 respectively in the form of Steam gift cards.

  • The contest will run until 3/24/2017, at 23:59:59pm Eastern Time. No late entries will be accepted.
  • Submit entries by emailing them, in a zip file, to contest at this domain. Please put your Cemetech username in the email topic or body. If you multiple entries are recieved, only the last one will be judged.
  • If you want to participate, please post it in this thread, such that we know it.
  • Entries including one of the above stated TI-BASIC tokens will be disqualified.
  • Judging will be done by the aforementioned Cemetech members: PT_, Pieman7373 and mr womp womp. You can find the scoring details below. All judges are disqualified from participating. Results will be posted no later than 10 days after the end of the contest.
  • Contestants may not release binaries until the end of the contest; posting small code snippets to ask for help is allowed.
  • Fine print rules can be found here.

#1: 45/(number_of_participants-1)*(number_of_participants-1)
#2: 45/(number_of_participants-1)*(number_of_participants-2)
#3: 45/(number_of_participants-1)*(number_of_participants-3)
#1: 45/(number_of_participants-1)*(number_of_participants-1)
#2: 45/(number_of_participants-1)*(number_of_participants-2)
#3: 45/(number_of_participants-1)*(number_of_participants-3)
Max 10 points
See this link for a VBS script how we will calculate the score.