Simple ncurses Console Game

I wrote a simple ncurses game in C++ on Fedora.

I’ll actually be releasing the code and talking about how to build the game as part of a new Eclipse-C++ course I’m currently creating (sign up to my mailing list if you’d like updates on this).

It was pretty straightforward (once I finally got the ghost AI working properly – breadth first search anyone?). Ahem.

Anyway – here’s a little video I made of the game.

I cropped the screen area to get rid of distractions, which means the quality suffers a little bit, but you get the idea. And you’ve got to luuurve the cheesy music provided by iMovie…

Enjoy!

 

No Picture on TV with Playstation 1 Games and Elgato Game Capture HD

The first thing I tried to do when I got my Game Capture home was connect it up and video Tomb Raider 1 (the PS1 1996 original).

But it just wouldn’t work.

Although the Game Capture software could see the game output, the telly just displayed an unhelpful message saying Unsupported signal.

Even more bizarrely, the console output DID appear on the telly at start-up, but as soon as I tried to load a game, it vanished.

Bah.

Well, it turns out there is a fairly simple explanation and solution to this problem.

The PS1 is a retro console and the reason you can’t see the game on the television when you add in the Game Capture is because most modern televisions do not support low resolution input over HDMI.

Eh?

What I mean is, when you connect the PS1 to your TV, it ordinarily goes via a composite input. Composite input supports, among others, QVGA (quarter VGA) or 240 horizontal line resolution, which is what most PS1 games output.

But when you add the Game Capture into the equation, you’re sending the input to your TV via HDMI, not composite. Most televisions (ours included) do not support any resolution lower than 480 horizontal lines over HDMI.  The television just doesn’t understand the signal.

You can check this in your TV manual to be certain of the range that your HDMI input recognises.

Er, OK. So basically my PS1 is sending a signal via HDMI that my TV can’t use?

Exactly.

But how come I can see the console output at startup?

Ah. Yes – this is because the PlayStation itself outputs at a higher resolution than the games it plays.

Oh right. Now what?

OK, so there are various solutions to this problem.

For the full list of options (um, there are four), use this support page at Elgato (My TV can’t receive the HDMI passthrough when using Elgato Game Capture HD with my retro console) to see which is easiest for you.

We went with option 4 – buying a small HDMI to composite converter. We paid £27 on Amazon for ours. That particular one is no longer available. You can try this AV2HDMI converter, which looks to be the equivalent (although I haven’t personally used it), and has power included.

The loss of quality was negligible using the mini converter and I was really pleased with how easy it was to use.

To see the converter in action with our PlayStation 1, check out this tutorial on the full set up.

PQP39QQJGYZ6

Tutorial: Elgato Game Capture HD + PlayStation 1 Setup

PlayStation 2 set-up is here.

Footage I recorded with the set-up detailed below:

 

For an explanation of why we need a third party converter for this set up (item 6 below), see this post.

OK, you will need:

  1. PlayStation 1 (or a PS2, it doesn’t matter)
  2. PlayStation 1 game
  3. Telly with HDMI input (see photos below)
  4. Elgato Game Capture HD
  5. A laptop or conveniently located computer
  6. A composite to HDMI converter (see step 3) – this is an extra purchase and does not come with the Game Capture. You may not need this if you have an older TV. To find out, follow the PS2 setup instructions. If you get no picture on the TV with a PS1 (or with PS1 games on your PS2), it is likely that your TV doesn’t support the lower PS1 game resolution over HDMI.

 

Read moreTutorial: Elgato Game Capture HD + PlayStation 1 Setup

Tutorial: Elgato Game Capture HD + PlayStation 2 Setup

Go to PlayStation 1 Setup.

Well, this is exciting!

I decided I couldn’t blog about my Tomb Raider Replay without being able to fully share it all with you, so the husband recommended this fantastic little device for recording and sharing gameplay:

gamecapture

After a quick trip to Currys and the siphoning off of all my current account funds, I was the proud owner of an Elgato Game Capture HD. And I couldn’t wait to have a play.

We got it up and running on Sunday night with the PlayStation 2, so I thought I’d provide a quick run-through of the hardware connections and system settings you need to record your own gaming moments.

It really is a wonderful little device.

Ready?

Off we go.

You will need:

  1. PlayStation 2
  2. PlayStation 2 game
  3. Telly with HDMI input (see photos below)
  4. Elgato Game Capture HD
  5. A laptop or conveniently located computer

Step 1

Before you even open up the Elgato Game Capture HD box, connect your PlayStation 2 up to your telly, pop your game in and make sure it all works together. This is especially relevant if your PS2 has been sat in the loft, or under the stairs for the last 8 years and you’ve never used it with your new telly.

Once you’re happy it’s all working, and your game is appearing on-screen, it’s time to link in the Game Capture.

Step 2

First of all you need to connect the HDMI cable (supplied with Game Capture) from an HDMI slot on your telly to the “HDMI out” slot on your Game Capture.

hdmi_connector
HDMI cable, supplied with Game Capture HD.

 

step2
Game Capture HDMI out to TV HDMI port.

 

Step 3

Next you need to connect the composite cable (supplied with Game Capture), to the end of the lead that usually runs from your PS2 to the television.

Connect the red and white into the dual black connector, and the yellow into the red.

step3
Playstation 2 cable connected to composite lead supplied with Game Capture HD.

 

step3_
Close-up of the connectors.

Then plug the black end into the Game Capture A/V In slot.

step3__
Game Capture between TV and PS2.

 

Step 4

Connect the USB cable (supplied with Game Capture) from the USB port on the Game Capture to a standard USB port on your laptop/computer.

step4
Complete set up.

 

Step 5

Go to:

www.gamecapture.com/download and download and install the Game Capture HD Software (running version 1.4.2 as of this post).

Step 6

Set up the software with the correct settings.

Input Device: Other

Input: Composite

Profile: Standard

Leave everything else unchanged.

step6

 

Step 7

Finally, make sure you switch the AV on the television to the correct HDMI port, or you won’t see anything on your TV.

Ta da! You should see output on both your TV and your laptop.

Record your best moments and share with the world!

step7
Game Capture at the ready!

Troubleshooting

When we used this piece of kit at home, we soon realised that our PS1 games weren’t displaying on the television, even though the Game Capture software was able to capture the output. This was the case with all PS1 games, both via the PS2, and directly using a PS1. See this post for why. Or just go straight to the full PlayStation 1 Setup instructions.