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      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
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We All Live in a Fuschia Automaton

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First, the most important and awesome news: X3: Reunion has officially gone gold. It is a good day indeed.

Now on to more mundane things.

Apparently, I'm not the only lunatic who's done this. The project describes how to use a PIC microcontroller to generate a PAL-compliant composite video signal. Should be fairly simple to adjust it to generate an NTSC signal instead, and rig it up to the LCD. Should also be quite trivial to adjust the concept to whatever microcontroller I end up deciding to use for this thing.

Of course, since NTSC runs at nothing remotely resembling the scanline resolution of the LCD itself, the long-term applications of such a controller are undoubtedly limited. However, I'll need a couple of microcontrollers anyways, and learning how to output a composite signal is a decent way to get acclimated with the whole notion of generating video signals in general. Since the controller on the 4L-U4EB line also takes analog RGB (i.e. the same basic format as your video card produces) I should be able to adapt the microcontroller concept to that. The difference is really just three circuits instead of one, and a slightly more complex signal format. Mastering the RGB signal would give me the ability to build a video controller ROM of sorts with the microcontroller, and set up a pixel-precise memory mapped graphics system for the thing.

All the tech data I have on the LCD is for the color model, the 4L-U4E. The part I have though is the U4EB, and the receipt I have for it clearly says "black and white." I'm assuming that the controller will simply greyscale the input signal (either directly or simply by virtue of the fact that the liquid crystal system itself only has a monochrome structure) so I'll be able to cheat and ignore a lot of the complexities of both composite video and analog RGB with respect to generating correct colors. If this does indeed turn out to be a simple greyscale display then I can cheat quite a bit with the video controller system - 1 byte per pixel for 256 intensity levels, and all that good stuff. Should be fun to see what comes of that.

When I get the ribbon cables I'll do a quick hack-job and rig the thing up to my VCR, maybe watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica on it or something. I might be convinced to do another photo archive of the whole project if anyone is interested, although the general response to my collections of blurry camera-phone pictures has been... subdued, to say the least [grin]

Anyways, I vaguely promised myself that once we went gold I'd start going to bed at 2 AM again. I should probably make good on that, or I might find myself very angry at me in the morning.

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I'm a firmware guy, and noticed that you have been working with the Sharp 4L-U4 display. Is the data for the color panel available via PDF?

Thanks in advance, Cheers,

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