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Handy News Archive

5th July'00: Just the NetLynx code to finish before I release V0.80, I've still not managed to debug it. With a test app written by Lucien one of the active Lynx developers the networking works perfectly I just wish it would go as well with the commercial carts!!

The new V0.8 version supports Eagle mode and a new Lynx LCD emulation mode, you can see some new pictures on the screenshots page. V0.80 has to be released sometime in the next 10 days due to an imovable personal deadline so unless I manage to fix the NetLynx code I will have to ship V0.80 with it not working which would be personally very disappointing. The new version supports frame skipping for slower machines and has a re-written speed throttler so should be a lot more stable on the speed front.

A couple of people have volunteered to do a BEOS port, but the guy who I gave the code to hasn't responded to the two emails I've sent so I've no idea how its progressing.


6th June'00: I've been contacted by a number of people experiencing crash problems with Handy exiting on the file dialog under Win98 when you try and load a second cart, I'm glad to say this has now been solved thanks to Paul Irvine who managed to find the key to the problem. This only occured if the joystick was enabled. There is now a V0.73 release that should solve this problems. I also rather overdid a cycle counting fix on the previous V0.7x builds in that they were running much too fast, I've now put things back as they should be.

The missing BEOS source code backups have been found, if you are a BEOS programmer with experience and fancy completing/updating the Handy BEOS port then please drop me a line.

14th May'00: Whoaaa, what a screw up. I commented out a single line of code and managed to break Handy for all of you using Win98/95, sorry about that. It did work very well for Win2000 though. I've released a fixed version V0.72 available on the download page.

14th May'00: A quick update to Handy, no changes to the core Lynx code, but plenty of changes on the windows side of things. The display rendering sub-system of Handy has now been completely re-written and I'm happy with the results. DirectX is now used for all modes/resolutions except for 256 colour mode which defaults to the GDI. Zoom modes now run well in windowed mode. I've also changed the DirectX rendering to be a little more friendly on some video cards. I've also fixed an issue with NT4.0 that was causing error messages to occur when sound was enabled.

I've been contacted by a couple of people interested in porting to some additional platforms so maybe Handy will make the leap onto some new machines, more news when there is something more definate to say.

1st May'00: Well here it is, the new version of Handy. There are a huge number of changes in the new version, pretty much every game I've checked works perfectly. The only thing that hasnt made it into the release is the networking code, its all present but alas doesn't work correctly.

25th March'00: I'm alive !!!!! and so is Handy. I'm busy working on V0.7 again. I took a few days rest from Handy to work on my Mame Namco System 2 drivers and all of a sudden it was Dec 1999. BEOS and I have had  a parting of the ways, lovelly OS but without the Apps all is lost. About 3 months ago I had a bit of an accident with my BEOS partition and now it is no more, the unfortunate upshot is that I've lost the BEOS sourcecode, I dont even have the last version I used to make the screenshot below. Sorry BEOS Folks.

In the meantime I've moved to Win2000, for me at least it has the stability (if not the speed) of BEOS. The windows version now supports the LynxII background. I've made quite a few enhancements to the Developer version that assist me in debugging and hopefully the Lynx developers out there. The whatsnew for 0.7 is quite long now. Sprite collision has been improved, some speed improvements. Marlboro Go works properly and my arch nemesis Scrapyard dog is almost working correctly. I've still got a few changes to make before a 0.7 release.

My skills as an artist are questionable so if you are the arty type and want to submit a replacement image for the central window that looks more like a Lynx than my effort please go ahead and I'll include the best one in the 0.7 release. The aperture for the Lynx image needs to be central on the picture and 160x102 pixels in size.

lynxii.jpg (31733 bytes)

If you're a Lynx developer and you want a pre-release of 0.7 then send me a sample of what you're doing to prove you're serious and not some joker after an early release and I'll drop you a pre-release of 0.7 to play with. I'd also welcome any technical feedback on Sprite engine problems from anyone out there who is developing and having problems running under Handy.

7th Sept'99: I was delighted to receive an email from Dave Needle yesterday, he's corrected and added to the information about how the Handy development started at Epyx (see below) and is pleased to see the Lynx is still alive and well.

Handy development work is still proceeding (albeit slowly), I've recently finished modifying the core Lynx emulation code to make it easier to port. There is now NO dependency on any windows function in the core Lynx code, the core should compile out of the box (excluding endian problems) under other systems, it did under BEOS.

17th May'99: The download page went down today when Geocities decided they'd shut down the original Handy page. I've moved the executables to the Demon server so you can still download.

13th May'99: Jonas Gustavsson has updated the WinNT Alpha port to V0.60. Grab it from the download page.

2nd May'99: Many thanks to Lee Witek for the cool new logo.  I'm having a break from Handy for the next few weeks so don't expect anything on the 0.70 release for a while yet. "Back in Time" added to the Links page.

17th Apr'99: V0.60 is released.  Major features of the V0.60 release are the snapshot load/save support and the new CPU core, there are many other items, see the download page for more details. Now you can save your games and reload at the exact point you were before. The new format files are called .LSS (Lynx SnapShots) and as the name implies they include a snapshot of the complete system.

Unfortunatly this version doesn't have network support as I've ran out of time, I had set myself the deadline of releasing V0.60 today several weeks ago and I've spent less time on it than I'd hoped as I've had to do some decorating instead !! The preliminary support for networking is now in the Lynx core, two common variables need to be exchanged between the machines over the network, just needs the top level windows & TCP/IP parts to be written. The UART & its IRQ's etc seem to be working correctly now. The next release will support network functionality and a number of bugfixes to the sprite engine. I'm temped to re-write the sprite engine as its such a kludge at the moment that its hard to improve one area without breaking it somewhere else !!

31st Jan'99: Jonas Gustavsson has ported Handy to WindowsNT on the DEC Alpha platform. Its available on the Downloads page. I've been messing around with some new driver emulation for Mame, I've done a little bit of work on the edit box. A number of people have been asking about link-up options so I'll take a look at this (no promises) for the next version, both PC-PC and PC-Lynx.

30th Dec'98: If progress was slow before, its been almost non-existant in the last month. I've added multiple breakpoints but not yet added the edit facility to the dump windows. There are two major reasons (if you're interested) for the lack of progress:

Half-Life - Buy this game, its the best game of its type (FPS) I've played since Doom all those years ago.

Zelda64 - While you've got your wallet open buy this one as well. You may regret it, not in terms of wasting money but in how much time you spend playing it, its been a major contributor to sleep depravation for me and I still havent finished it yet!!!This game is big, very enjoyable and beautifully made.

So until I've finished Zelda64 dont hold out any hope of a new Handy release, rest assured I've not forgotten or abandoned Handy just sidelined it for a while. I've added some new links to the links page.


To all the Handy users out there.

26th Nov'98: Life goes on, Handy progresses slowly. The CPU recoding is complete and working to the same level as the old code, Handy is about 5-7% faster with the new CPU core. Most of the other things I'm currently working on are behind the scenes in Handy to improve the debugger to the point where it is a little more useful that currently, like the new graphic dump window and the ability to edit in the hex dump window. I need to add more than one breakpoint but I havent implemented that yet. There seems little point in releasing 0.53 until there is at least some improvement on the gameplay side of things.

8th Nov'98: Just a quick update on progress of V0.53, I'm currently re-writing the CPU emulation, its a fairly major update that should make life a lot simpler and remove some of the bugs I think are present in the CPU core. Essentially I'm moving from byte oriented to int on the structures and arithmetic etc. The fringe benefit is that the new CPU code should be a lot faster. If this does speed things up I'll probably make the same upgrades to the remainder of the codebase.

1st Nov'98: I've released V0.52 which now uses DirectSound as opposed to the old multimedia implementation. I've also fixed a couple of bugs in the GUI. There appears to be a problem when running under Windows NT (NT4 SP3) where the sound is very choppy, it works perfectly under Win95/98 on all the machines I've tested with. Rather than hold things up for I've released anyway, if I find a fix I'll post a new version.

28th Oct'98: V0.52 is coming along well, the DirectSound implementation is complete and up and running. It seems to be smoother in terms of sound quality. The only thing left to do is implement a new error catching mechanism to force things back to windowed mode on error. Due to Demon Internet PATHETIC download restrictions I've had to move the binaries back to GeoCities, get your act together Demon.

24th Oct'98: Finally got around to redesigning the homepage and moving it to its new location. I hope you like it, please don't moan if you don't like it, this is about as artistic as I get. I've also released V0.51 which is a very minor fix that should solve the problems with joysticks not being detected on some machines.

25th Oct'98 Handy V0.51 Released (Fix for joystick problems). The new Handy Homepage is up and running. (http:\\www.dysfunction.demon.co.uk)

20th Oct'98: Handy V0.50 Released. Contains full screen DirectDraw support and some core fixes for memory leaks. I'm now working on DirectSound support, this should get rid of the bug where Handy disables sound on some systems.

15th Oct'98: Progress is slow but steady. All of the UI support for Full Screen DirectX is now in place as is the full screen create/destroy code, I can go in/out of full screen but the core emulator doesn't yet render to full screen (next job). I've got some problems creating the backbuffer at the moment, I must be using the wrong flags in the CreateSurface call. The next release will be as soon as directX support is complete, the following release will be targeted as some core fixups to squash some of those game bugs, I really want to play Slimeworld. The Unix port pages are down currently. One day I'll give the site a makeover, the GeoCities file manager HTML editor is rather basic for doing anything decent!! More soon...

29th Sept'98: Fixed some broken links, changed my email address, tried to reset the counter. Started work on Handy 0.5 (Don't hold your breath but its on the way). I've lost the links to the Unix port of Handy, anyone still got them ??

24th Feb'98: Handy source code (V0.4) released to the public. As I'm unlikely to continue the project I've released the code so that someone who's willing and able may wish to do so.

1st Sep'97: I'm currently taking a break from Handy, working on...nothing. Having a rest. I'll post here when I start again on 0.5.

19th Jul'97: V0.40 Released. Time for sleep.....

19th Jul'97: V0.40 is almost ready for release, just a few more tweaks required. Tomorrow is the day..Hopefully.

13th Jul'97: I've spent a couple of hours debugging the sound and the quality is now good on most games, except California games which is the one I really wanted. A little more investigation is required. Handy now uses the registry to store your last used settings. BMP & RAW format screen dumps have also been added.

10th Jul'97: Sound is now fully implemented, some tweaking is needed to get rid of some nasty distortion that is occurring with some titles, also a few mods needed to the UI to stop sound output when menus are accessed.

6th Jul'97: Sound: Lack of free time is hampering progress. All of the support code is in place, only the final buffer building needs to be added.

6th Jul'97: Lynxit cartridge reader archive added to WebPages.

20th Jun'97: V0.31 Released.

17th Jun'97: V0.30 is almost complete, and should be released in the next 2-3 days. New in V0.30 is screen rotation, joystick support and further speed improvement 60-100%(80% typical) on a P133 regardless of 8/16 bit colour.

9th May'97: V0.20 is in the pipeline and should be out some time in the next 1-2 weeks, it now runs at about between 40-75% on a P133 depending on the zoom factor and video mode. It will also have the ability to run almost all of the games out there, I just have one last bug to fix before the release.