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KermMartian


Site Admin


Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 58989

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 11:14:10 am    Post subject: State of the Prizm: February 2012

Almost one year ago, I wrote a Cemetech news article criticizing the TI-Nspire CX and promoting the Casio Prizm. I felt that TI's closed-ecosystem attitude towards their newest calculator and disregard for the third-party developer community showed a shortsighted focus on the wishes of standardized testing and a small minority of calculator interests while ignoring the larger needs and wants of the student and developer communities that use their devices. In particular, I expressed disgust at TI's irresponsibility in closing off an avenue for students to learn programming, through which I and tens of thousands of others were exposed to coding. In the past year, Casio Prizm activity at Cemetech has blossomed. From a GCC-based PrizmSDK by Jonimus et alia in August that was updated to v0.3 in November to Merthsoft's Minesweeper, the first Prizm game, to my own Obliterate and Tetrizm for the Casio Prizm, we have steadily forged ahead.

In the past month or two, however, Prizm development at Cemetech has increased dramatically. Some of the key points:

:: I discovered a Prizm Training Program run by Casio to teach students and teachers to better understand the Casio Prizm, with a perk of a free Prizm at the end of the training. Although some members of the larger TI community unfortunately treated it as a giveaway and cheated, lots of Cemetech members completed the training and now have a Prizm of their own. They have almost universally expressed a wish to learn Prizm BASIC and/or C programming for the device, and we are excited to teach them.

:: Cemetech's budding WikiPrizm aims to be a well-organized and authoritative reference to the Prizm. Users like TIFreak8x and YeongJIN_COOL have been working hard to document BASIC tokens, while Merthsoft, Ashbad, AHelper, and myself have been documenting overclocking, the RTC, installing and using the PrizmSDK, and most importantly, the system calls of the device.

:: A great deal of development is occurring. As part of Cemetech Contest 8, Ashbad released a beta of his impressive Raptor space-shooter game. Purobaz's Free Wheel game and Nitrosax's port of The Impossible Game, though both in Prizm BASIC, are both extremely fun. Merthsoft updated his Minesweeper game with an attractive graphical upgrade, which joins his repertoire of games, educational programs such as Periodic, and tools such as the invaluable Character Finder. AHelper has released Sink, a beautiful Battleship game for the Prizm. If you look through Cemetech's Prizm Development Forum, you'll see numerous other threads underway, such as a WAV player, a password-protection program, a calendar and clock, a game called Gravity Duck, and continued investigation of the Prizm's hardware and software.

I'm proud to say that Cemetech members who participated in the Training Program have largely expressed admirable wishes for their new Prizms. Souvik is "plan[ning] on making a Falldown clone for it in C", Spenceboy98 wants to "experiment and explore the capabilities of the Prizm", and thydowulays "would love to help improve the community of calculators by helping with both TI and Casio programming, and [wants] to make an application such as maybe (maybe) an IDE for Prizms to be able to develop C on calc from." Krazylegodrummer56 will "work on some math programs so people can have an easier time in math", and Homer-16 will try "developing for the Prizm in C/C++ once I find the time and a project idea". I applaud these honorable sentiments, and look forward to working with all of you to write great Prizm programs and to keep teaching new Cemetech members the joys of programming.

Please feel free to reply to this post with your general thoughts on the state of Prizm hardware and software development, and/or a pitch about your latest project. I ask that if you want to debate the Nspire vs. Prizm route, that you take it to the relevant topic.

Prizm skins from Cemetech's thread about Casio's Skinit offer

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JosJuice


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Joined: 17 Oct 2010
Posts: 343
Location: Sweden

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 12:04:20 pm    Post subject:

I'm pretty excited to try all of the new add-ins! Hopefully we'll make even more in the future. I should probably try writing one myself... I've been wanting to do it for a while, but never gotten around to it.
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KermMartian


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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 58989

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 12:11:23 pm    Post subject:

JosJuice wrote:
I'm pretty excited to try all of the new add-ins! Hopefully we'll make even more in the future. I should probably try writing one myself... I've been wanting to do it for a while, but never gotten around to it.
You certainly should! In addition, I think it's high time that we all sit down and finish hammering out some kind of common shell program format so we can get some shells underway.
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krazylegodrummer56


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Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 451

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 12:44:44 pm    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
In addition, I think it's high time that we all sit down and finish hammering out some kind of common shell program format so we can get some shells underway.

I liked the DCS format and would like that as an idea but we wouldn't be able to use trace and graph as click and right-click(respectivly). we could still use 2nd(shift) and alpha though.
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KermMartian


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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 58989

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 12:46:26 pm    Post subject:

Well, we could still use the F5 and F6 keys above the arrow keys if we want to emulate the mouse interface. However, I'm talking more about the file format for shells' programs, like the headers that define name, author, version, icon, dependencies, viewer, all those fun things.
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krazylegodrummer56


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Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Posts: 451

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 12:50:02 pm    Post subject:

ah that sounds more complicated but we could still have headers and names like in doors. also you would need to find a way to "see" the programs in the calculator's system.
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KermMartian


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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
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Posted: 24 Feb 2012 01:02:01 pm    Post subject:

krazylegodrummer56 wrote:
ah that sounds more complicated but we could still have headers and names like in doors. also you would need to find a way to "see" the programs in the calculator's system.
Luckily, we already have the system calls to manipulate the file system, including reading, writing, creating, and deleting files and directories! Smile
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graphmastur


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Joined: 27 Jul 2010
Posts: 464

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 03:25:33 pm    Post subject:

And, of course, as soon as I get ample time, I'll get to logging the OS update to 1.03.
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KermMartian


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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 58989

Posted: 24 Feb 2012 03:26:28 pm    Post subject:

graphmastur wrote:
And, of course, as soon as I get ample time, I'll get to logging the OS update to 1.03.
Very good; I look forward to your positive (or negative) results on that project.
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alberthrocks


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Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Posts: 403

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 11:14:49 am    Post subject:

Are there any plans to merge PrizmWiki and WikiPrizm? I think it would be counterproductive to have wikis compete, so the best from both could be combined to make a more thorough PRIZM development resource. Smile
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KermMartian


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Joined: 14 Mar 2005
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Posted: 25 Feb 2012 12:06:07 pm    Post subject:

alberthrocks wrote:
Are there any plans to merge PrizmWiki and WikiPrizm? I think it would be counterproductive to have wikis compete, so the best from both could be combined to make a more thorough PRIZM development resource. Smile
At present I don't really see much competition between them. I think people are still adding material to both wikis, and although I think they have different goals (WikiPrizm wants to be a Prizm one-stop-shop, whereas I believe PrizmWiki wants to be a general FX wiki), I think they can peacefully coexist. WikiPrizm is modelled after WikiTI and the Doors CS wiki, in that each system call, BASIC command, etc has or will have organized information about each, whereas I believe PrizmWiki is more of a repository of blocks of reference material, correct?
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souvik1997


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Joined: 19 Apr 2010
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Posted: 25 Feb 2012 12:09:59 pm    Post subject:

I think it would be better to merge the two wikis, not because there is competition between them but because the information is scattered and should all be kept in one place.
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JosJuice


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Joined: 17 Oct 2010
Posts: 343
Location: Sweden

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 12:51:04 pm    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
I believe PrizmWiki wants to be a general FX wiki
That's what it currently is. It's not really something that it "wants", it just ended up being that way.
KermMartian wrote:
I believe PrizmWiki is more of a repository of blocks of reference material, correct?
To be honest, I'm not sure how it's organized Razz We just set it up and started writing a few articles. The Prizm section didn't get updated much after that, and I don't visit the general fx section often.
souvik1997 wrote:
I think it would be better to merge the two wikis, not because there is competition between them but because the information is scattered and should all be kept in one place.
Yes, that would probably be the best thing to do. There's no point in maintaining two separate wikis that are about the same thing.
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alberthrocks


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Joined: 29 Jul 2010
Posts: 403

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 12:53:31 pm    Post subject:

Heh... not really competition, just that they are aiming for the same goal, and it would be kinda pointless to have two wikis aiming in the same direction.
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HOMER-16


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Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 85
Location: US

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 03:45:48 pm    Post subject:

Looks like Casio's Prizm event was a smashing success. Smile
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KermMartian


Site Admin


Joined: 14 Mar 2005
Posts: 58989

Posted: 25 Feb 2012 04:06:56 pm    Post subject:

HOMER-16 wrote:
Looks like Casio's Prizm event was a smashing success. Smile
Well, the goal was to get a lot of people trained to use the Prizm properly, so I'd agree with you at least from my perspective that it was a success indeed!
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HOMER-16


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Posted: 25 Feb 2012 04:30:36 pm    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
HOMER-16 wrote:
Looks like Casio's Prizm event was a smashing success. Smile
Well, the goal was to get a lot of people trained to use the Prizm properly, so I'd agree with you at least from my perspective that it was a success indeed!


There's also speculation that it was to increase usage to gain a stronger foothold in the US. On that point, you can see in the hobbyist community alone its foothold increased dramatically as you pointed out with the article.
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KermMartian


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Posted: 25 Feb 2012 04:35:30 pm    Post subject:

And as I pointed out in the Abandon editorial, the hobbyist community and the quality of the games and programs that we write are at least partially responsible for how "cool" or "powerful" the general student public thinks each calculator is.
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Dingus


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Joined: 24 Feb 2011
Posts: 33

Posted: 31 Mar 2012 12:47:42 am    Post subject:

KermMartian wrote:
And as I pointed out in the Abandon editorial, the hobbyist community and the quality of the games and programs that we write are at least partially responsible for how "cool" or "powerful" the general student public thinks each calculator is.


When I look at the progress that you and others have made with the Prizm and I consider the constant set backs and frustrations that TI gives the nspire coders, it defies logic that talented programers should waste their time struggling with the constraints that TI produces when they can turn their attention to the Prizm and be free to create great new programs for that device. I really think that programming for the Prizm is the wave of the future and as time goes by, more coders are going to come to that conclusion, abandon the nspire, and turn their attention to the great new stuff they can create for the Prizm. Smile
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Ashbad


Guru-in-Training


Joined: 01 Dec 2010
Posts: 2499

Posted: 31 Mar 2012 07:18:35 am    Post subject:

Dingus wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
And as I pointed out in the Abandon editorial, the hobbyist community and the quality of the games and programs that we write are at least partially responsible for how "cool" or "powerful" the general student public thinks each calculator is.


When I look at the progress that you and others have made with the Prizm and I consider the constant set backs and frustrations that TI gives the nspire coders, it defies logic that talented programers should waste their time struggling with the constraints that TI produces when they can turn their attention to the Prizm and be free to create great new programs for that device. I really think that programming for the Prizm is the wave of the future and as time goes by, more coders are going to come to that conclusion, abandon the nspire, and turn their attention to the great new stuff they can create for the Prizm. Smile


That's honestly my opinion as well; it almost upsets me that people are preferring to turn to the Nspire at this point, mostly because it has "better hardware" -- it's not like they're ever going to be able to use it to full potential anyways. Cheers to the future of Prizm dev!
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