December was full of awesome projects and a great way to end off the year! Remember when we didn't know how much we'd miss 2019?
- 'The first GOOD looking' TI Basic CE Snake Game: User 4k has started working on a snake game called Spicy Snake! The features list is pretty complete but go show your support on the thread if you want the author to post some screenshots or download!
- Ace Recon CE: epsilon5 has updated his CC23 entry which was an awesome stealth focused spy game to version 1.0! The game's graphics looks very beautiful and the levels are well made. It even has a level editor so go check it out!
- Calculatormon CE - A Pokémon game: Love Pokémon games? Then KellerWheat has you covered with a fantastic looking Pokémon game! This month they added several new items but are needing some help with map design. If you'd like to help them out or just want to get an awesome game, go visit the thread!
- Dino Run CE (Chrome dino game clone): Although we still don't have internet on our calculators, that didn't stop commandblockguy from keeping offline gaming fun! With this accurate port of the beloved dino run easter egg from the Chrome browser, commandblockguy has replicated every graphic, hit block, and even day/night cycle! It's quite a fun game so go visit the thread for a download!
- Grammer 2- The App: Xeda112358 just doesn't give up on updating their programming language for the TI-84 Plus, Grammer! Only a month after its 8th year of support, much better font support has been added. It's an awesome looking update so go check it out!
- TI-84+CE Mode7 test (previously CSE): tr1p1ea has continued working on his 3D Mario Kart style game, Mode 7! This month he worked on adding multiple sprites to a scene at once and created the star power up! It's quite an awesome project so go visit the thread!
- TI-Planet's "Project Builder" with online CE C/C++: Adriweb just barely squeaked in one more update before 2020 rolled around! For those who don't know, Project Builder is TI Planet's amazing online TI-84 Plus CE emulator and development tool. They've added support for C99, C11, and even C++17 along with other features!
- Zilog Z8671 BASIC/DBG Pocket Computer: Botboy3000 may have took a long break from Cemetech, but that didn't stop them from getting right back into awesome projects! The goal is to create a pocket computer from scratch using a Zilog CPU, similar to the CPU used in the TI-83/84 Plus calculators! Botboy3000 has made some awesome progress with the hardware and it's definitely worth looking at the eye candy!
That's all for this month! Be sure to vote for your favorite completed project in the poll above!
On Wednesday, we revealed that TI was removing ASM/C functionality from the TI-83 Premium CE in OS 5.5, and a TI response documented at TI-Planet subsequently confirmed that the TI-84 Plus CE will also lose ASM/C in OS 5.6. Unsurprisingly, the response here at Cemetech and elsewhere was overwhelmingly negative: although some expressed understanding of the pressures TI is under from exam boards and teachers, and others uncovered sensationalized videos suspected to be part of the impetus for this change, most expressed anger, disappointment, and betrayal.
I later spoke with Peter Balyta, President of EdTech at TI, and he understands that removing ASM functionality is a bitter pill to our community. He reaffirmed that this was a difficult decision, but one that was made out of an abundance of caution to prioritize learning for students and minimize any security risks.
He expressed hope that in lieu of ASM/C support, the community will be vocal in helping guide TI's development of Python support on an increasing breath of TI handhelds. Whether it's what would allow you to make powerful programs and games in Python as you would have done in ASM/C, or control and interface with hardware for physical computing (c.f. the Innovator and Rover), he is keen to hear the community's input. He is even open to hearing other ideas that could balance the needs of students, teachers, exam agencies and the desires of our developer community - please take advantage of this opportunity, and I/we will amplify what we hear.
There has been some brainstorming in the past few days among community members about (for lack of a better name) the TI-84 Plus CE Developer Edition. If we were to float that idea to TI, perhaps a calculator clearly and visibly distinguished from the TI-84 Plus CE that could be used on tests, what would you want from it? Opened up for ASM, C, and Python programming? Having the same specs as the usual TI-84 Plus CE, or something else? Having more features to help you connect hardware to it? And considering that TI is (after all) a business, would you buy one, and how many others do you think would? Beyond the community, who else could it be marketed to? Why would someone choose to buy the Developer Edition over a standard TI-84 Plus CE? Why would TI benefit by having it?(Poor) Artist's Rendering
TI Education has announced that the newest OS for the TI-83 Premium CE, the French version of the TI-84 Plus CE, removes the ability to run native programs - assembly, or ASM, and by extension C programs, which compile into assembly. This new version, OS 5.5.1, both disables assembly support and prevents the OS from being downgraded. BASIC, and where supported, Python, will continue to work as-is. Although no such software update has been announced for the TI-84 Plus CE yet, our observations of the broadly shared featureset between the TI-84 Plus CE and the TI-83 Premium CE makes us strongly suspect that ASM/C support will be removed from the TI-84 Plus CE in a similar OS update in the near future.What does this mean for me?
- Students: TI-BASIC and Python programs and games will still work, but once you have OS 5.5, assembly and C programs and games will no longer run on your calculator. Downgrade protection will prevent you from switching to an older OS to restore that functionality. We suspect that some exams in France will require you to upgrade to this OS version in order to use your calculator on those exams. On the plus side, OS 5.5.1 also introduces exciting new Python features for the TI-83 Premium CE Edition Python that have been extensively outlined by critor on TI-Planet.
- Teachers: Very little will change for teachers.
- Hobbyists: Depends whether this change remains restricted to the French community or will be rolled out to all TI-84 Plus CE calculators. To a smaller or larger extent, the community will no longer have as wide an audience for assembly and C programs. As students continue to buy and upgrade calculators, a smaller and smaller audience of pre-OS 5.5.1 users will exist to use assembly and C programs and games. If this change does indeed affect all TI-84 Plus CE calculators, we anticipate that there will be decreasing motivation in the community to continue to write and maintain new ASM/C programs. Unfortunately, students-turned-hobbyists will no longer be able to progress from TI-BASIC to assembly/C on their calculators, and will instead need to be directed to Python (if they have Edition Python calculators) or to other platforms like smartphones, computers, Arduinos, Raspberry Pi, etc.
According to our contacts at TI, who took the time to share this difficult decision with us ahead of time, pressures from a combination of standardized testing groups and teachers drove this decision. While TI-BASIC programs can be removed by clearing memory, and Apps can now only be signed by TI-approved vendors, ASM/C give programmers significantly more control over the calculator. As we know, the majority of the community has used these powers to make TI's calculators (including the TI-83 Premium CE/TI-84 Plus CE) a more engaging platform, pedagogical concerns remain. More succinctly, an official statement:
I expected that you're as shocked as I was when I first learned of this change. Although optimistically we might hope it won't come to the TI-84 Plus CE as well, we're fairly confident that the established pattern means we will see this before the next school year here in the US. It would be nice if this removal was offset by Python support on non-European TI-84 Plus CE calculators, but we don't know of this being in the current development pipeline. We will keep you posted on new developments, and we will continue doing our best to champion the community as an important part of TI's customer base. We anticipate having further information and commments from TI on this issue as it continues to develop, and we will share that further information with you as we're able.Download
Although 2019 is months in the past, we're nearly done with every 2019 PoTM and excited to start the 2019 PoTY poll soon! Let's get right into the projects!
- Ace Recon CE: Just because Cemetech Contest 23 was finished didn't stop epsilon5 from updating his entry which was a stealthy spy game! They've made a ton of progress this month by adding a store, vastly improving performance, and a level editor! There's a download link to a beta program so go visit the thread and try it out!
- CETris, another Tetris game for the TI84CE: Minxrod has made another update to his Tetris game with different game modes and high score saving! It looks pretty slick so go check it out!
- Grammer 2- The App: Most software and programs are dropped by their author after a few years, but not for Xeda112358! Only a few days after their programming language for the TI-83/84 Plus called Grammer had its 8th anniversary, they submitted an update fixing tons of bugs and optimizations! It's a powerful languageand definitely worth checking out if you want better speeds than BASIC offers!
- NESizm (Casio Prizm NES emulator):Tswilliamson has picked up his NES emulator for the Casio Prizm project again and vastly improved game compatibility! It's quite an awesome project so go check out the thread!
- Sudoku CE:Jeffitus has started on a Sudoku game for the TI-84 Plus CE! There's already some eye candy and it looks pretty good! Go visit the thread if you want to follow its updates!
- System/I MICRON Progress Thread: Tergav17 is keeping with his awesome custom OS and Kernel project! This month he got it running on a TI-83 Plus! Go check out the thread if you'd like to see the juicy details on how it all works!
- Webserver on a CE: Remember the joke about Cemetech servers being hosted on some TI-84 Plus CSEs? Well commandblockguy has taken that joke to the extreme and hosted a whole webpage off of his TI-84 Plus CE! The only external hardware is a USB to ethernet adapter! Go look at the thread to see the Archived version of the webpage and see how he did it!
- [TI84PCE] 8-Ball CE Development [C]: Alvajoy123 has started an awesome looking project which allows you to play pool on your TI-84 Plus CE! The sprites look pretty slick but it seems like they need some motivation to keep at it, go show your support in the thread!