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Well that's kinda cool

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After seeing a commercial for the LeapPad "Leapster" toy, I got to wondering. Maggie's got a "My First LeapPad" that she loves dearly, even though it's a bit mature for her and she just has fun poking it with the pen and listening to what Dora says. After seeing the Leapster's software on TV, I wondered exactly what kind of processor and such it was running and what'd be involved in writing software for it. A tiny bit of searching revealed that the Leapster is actually running a licensed version of Macromedia Flash version 5. Well, I thought that was pretty cool, but it also got me thinking about how much the industry's changed in the past few years. I mean the original Nintento Gameboy didn't even come with a C compiler, as its tiny memory and slow processor was only really suitable for development in Z80 (same processor as the old TRS-80's and Pac Man machines) assembly.

Nowadays, though, you've got enough horsepower to write end-user kids' games in Flash, which requires stuff like an ActionScript (aka JavaScript) interpreter, extensive class library, bitmap and vector graphics subsystem with anti-aliasing, and polyphonic MP3 support.

That's pretty cool and, at $80, it's a pretty unbeatable deal for a handheld Flash-machine. Unfortunately I also learned that the Leapster folks aren't interested in 3rd-party Leapster development in favor of doing everything in-house. That means I'll have to wait until somebody hacks it before I can walk around with a little handheld gizmo that'll run my games nicely.

And yeah I know that some cell-phones run baby-Flash, but that takes much of the fun out of it, as they can only run Flash 4, have only support for MIDI audio, etc. Flash 5 is actually fairly powerful.




Oh, and I've gotta recommend something, following my earlier entry about comment spam. It's MT Blacklist, which is a nice little gizmo. It's just a little perl program that scans through all of your comments looking for the URL's of known comment-spammers. If it sees one, it kills it. Of course it's got a couple of tools that allow you to add new entries to your blacklist. It's awfully nice for those times that I pop up Outlook to find that somebody's just posted 25 new comments to my diary. With MT Blacklist, I can just run it and clean 'em out in one step.
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