HoloVCS – Play Atari 2600 Pitfall! in 3D on a Looking Glass Portrait

Have a Looking Glass screen and want to try the above thing? Well, you can!

Download for Windows (~70 MB)

Github source

To run this, you need:

  • A Looking Glass holographic display device connected to a Windows computer via hdmi (designed for the Portrait, but in theory it should run on all of them…)
  • The Holoplay driver installed
  • A beefy ass graphics card
  • The pitfall 2600 rom (.a26 file) which needs to be put in the /atari2600 dir. For legal reasons I can’t include it.

I’ve only tested with the Looking Glass Portrait and the OG 8.9. They both seem to run around the same speed, with the OG 8.9 being too zoomed in initially. (try the – key to zoom out?)

How to set it up and play it

When it starts, it will show a menu with the hotkeys, but here they:

Gamepad/Arrow keys: Move
Ctrl/Button A: Jump
Return: Reset game
Num 0 through 5: Set frameskip (higher makes the game run faster)
A: Adjust audio to match game speed (experimental but can help with audio problems)
-/+: Zoom in/out. Hoping this will help with other Looking Glass sizes.
S: Save state
L: Load state

Speed is a bit too slow even on my 3090, so good luck. The frameskip options help though.

If you have problems, check the log.txt file. (created in the root dir where HoloVCS.exe is)

Q. Does it support other games besides Pitfall!?

A. Well, yes and no, yes it should emulate any VCS game, but the 3D layer processing is designed for Pitfall! so I’m sure it would be… quite the experience

Q. I noticed you’re using Stella’s libretro interface, does this mean I can pop in a NES emulator or whatever by replacing the dll?

A. In theory yes, but because pixel sizes/input/etc are kind of hard coded for the VCS I’m sure it’s going to hilariously explode.

Q. The snake is mostly invisible!

A. This is a known bug, sorry. I mean, it’s a ghost snake now

Q. The 3D effect is sort of cool, can I play this in VR?

A. Not yet but would be really easy to add support for that! Would run much faster too.

Subfish: Search youtube channels for spoken words, export clips to Premiere/DaVinci Resolve timeline

Features:

  • Download all subtitles from a channel or playlist
  • Search subtitles for keywords (regex supported)
  • Export video timeline of all found clips as .EDL for Premiere or DaVinci Resolve
  • Will notify you on startup if a newer version is available
  • Full source code on github so feel free to submit patches, report bugs or make feature requests.
Exporting found clips to a Premiere/Resolve timeline

Download/install instructions (Windows)

To run Subfish, you need to download some Windows libraries from Microsoft first because I’m too lazy to make an installer for now. Requires Windows 7 or newer.

1. Install the .NET 5.0 Desktop Runtime. (Windows version is here)

2. Install the WebView2 runtime (Try here, look for x64 version probably).

3. Download the latest version of Subfish (in a zip) for Windows.

Inside the zip there is a folder called “Subfish”. Drag that folder onto your desktop (or somewhere) to extract it. Then enter it and run Subfish.exe. (The binaries are signed by RTsoft so Windows shouldn’t give you any trouble running it)

An exciting screenshot

Why I made this

Earlier I was doing some youtube research and needed to look through thousands of videos for spoken words. While I did figure out a way to do it using youtube-dl and text scanning utilities, it was a clunky process and I couldn’t instantly jump to the exact spot in videos to preview video without some shenanigans.

“This is stupid, someone must have made a slick front end for this…” and well, I couldn’t find one, so here we are. As for the name, well, check out my other free utility Toolfish!

The timeline export options were actually added for a friend, but that’s pretty handy too.

Info & Issues

Audio sync problem after importing the EDL timeline into DaVinci Resolve? I think this is a Resolve bug when importing something that has clips with multiple internal timings. No problem – I created a script to fix it, check the ScriptsForDaVinciResolve sub directory. The readme.txt there explains how to copy FixTimelineSync.py into %PROGRAMDATA%\Blackmagic Design\DaVinci Resolve\Fusion\Scripts\Comp so you can run Workspace->Scripts->Comp->FixTimelineSync in resolve.

Is there a way to automatically add date, video counter, video name etc on top of the videos in the exported timeline? Yes, I’ve done it with DaVinci Resolve scripts, hoping to do a tutorial on that later as it’s kind of tricky. The .json metadata we export with each video is useful for this.

It seems to stop after downloading around 4500 subtitles? This seems to be a youtube limitation. One trick is to download again in reverse order, so 9,000+ from a single channel is possible. I think with some changes to optimize youtube-dl I could have it “continue” pulling data in a much smarter way but I haven’t been bothered enough to try yet. (youtube-dl’s current date restriction options just don’t work for right for subtitles, it still checks every video in order)

I’m getting “This browser or app may not be secure.” when I try to login to my Google/Youtube account in the preview window?! Yeah, I started getting that recently too. Luckily it has nothing to do with the actual text/video extraction process, but clip previewing tends to show google ads if not logged on. I think you can fix this by enabling “Less secure apps” but I didn’t actually try it.

OSX/Linux support? Cross-compiling is a problem due to using WebView2 for now, so I guess that’s out. On a side note, in theory this does support Windows-10 ARM based devices too but I don’t have one to test with.

Privacy – On startup, Subfish visits www.rtsoft.com/subfish/checking_for_new_version.php?version=<version #> in its little web-browser thingie which will give a download link if a new version is out. That’s the only communication done with our servers.

Legal – Only use this product if it’s legal to do what you’re doing where you’re doing it. That’s probably good advice for life in general.

To report a bug or feature request – Post here, twitter, or drop me an email

Using computer vision to enforce sleeping pose with the Jetson Nano and OpenCV

(special thanks to Eon-kun for helping demonstrate what it looks like)

Imagine you HAVE to sleep on your back for some reason and possibly restrict neck movement during the night. Here are some options:

  • Tennis balls strapped to sides
  • Placing an iphone on chest/pocket and using an app (SomnoPose) that monitors position with the accelerometer and beeps when it detects angle changes. (it works ok but the app is old and has some quirks like not running in the background)

The above methods are missing something though – they don’t detect head rotation. If you look at the wall instead of the ceiling while not moving your body, they don’t know.

The tiny $99 Jetson Nano computer combined with a low light USB camera can solve this problem in under 100 lines of Python code! (A Raspberry Pi would work too)

The open source software OpenCV is used to processed the camera images. When the program can’t detect a face, it plays an annoying sound until it does, forcing you to wake up and move back into the correct position so you can enjoy sweet silence.

If you’re interested in playing with stuff like this, I recommend Paul McWhorter’s “AI on the Jetson Nano” tutorial series, the code below can be used with that.

I’m really excited about the potential of DIY electronics projects like this to help with real life solutions.

The Pi and Nano have GPIO pins so instead of playing a sound, we could just as easily activate a motor, turn a power switch on, whatever.

Of course instead of just tracking faces, it’s also possible to look for eye, colors, shapes or cars, anything really.

The Python code listing for Forcing you to sleep on your back

import cv2
import time
from playsound import playsound
import os

dispW=1024
dispH=768
timeAllowedWithNoFaceDetectBeforeWarning = 22
timeBetweenWarningsSeconds = 10

timeOfLastFaceDetect = time.time()
timeSinceLastDetect = time.time()
timeOfLastWarning = time.time()
warningCount = 0

def PlayWarningIfNeeded():
    global timeBetweenWarningsSeconds
    global timeOfLastWarning
    global warningCount

    if time.time() - timeOfLastWarning > timeBetweenWarningsSeconds:
        print ("WARNING!")
        warningCount = warningCount + 1
        os.system("gst-launch-1.0 -v filesrc location=/home/nano/win.wav ! wavparse ! audioconvert ! audioresample ! pulsesink")
        timeOfLastWarning = time.time()


bCloseProgram = False

cv2.namedWindow('nanoCam')
cv2.moveWindow('nanoCam', 0,0)
cam = cv2.VideoCapture("/dev/video0")

cam.set(cv2.CAP_PROP_FRAME_WIDTH,int(dispW))
cam.set(cv2.CAP_PROP_FRAME_HEIGHT,int(dispH))
cam.set(cv2.CAP_PROP_FPS, int(10))
face_cascade = cv2.CascadeClassifier('/home/nano/Desktop/Python/haarcascades/haarcascade_frontalface_default.xml')
fnt = cv2.FONT_HERSHEY_DUPLEX

while True:

    ret, frame = cam.read()
    frame = cv2.flip(frame, 0) #vertical flip

    #rotate 90 degrees
    #frame = cv2.rotate(frame, cv2.ROTATE_90_CLOCKWISE)
    gray=cv2.cvtColor(frame, cv2.COLOR_BGR2GRAY)
    faces = face_cascade.detectMultiScale(gray, 1.3, 5)

    for (x,y,w,h) in faces:
           cv2.rectangle(frame, (x,y), (x+w, y+h), (0,255,0), 4)
           timeOfLastFaceDetect = time.time()
   
    timeSinceLastDetect = time.time()-timeOfLastFaceDetect
   
    if timeSinceLastDetect > timeAllowedWithNoFaceDetectBeforeWarning:
         PlayWarningIfNeeded()
        
    text = "Seconds since face: {:.1f} ".format(timeSinceLastDetect)
    frame = cv2.putText(frame, text, (10,dispH-65),fnt, 1.5,(0,0,255), 2)

    text = "Warnings: {} ".format(warningCount)
    frame = cv2.putText(frame, text, (10,dispH-120),fnt, 1.5,(0,255,255), 2)

    cv2.imshow('nanoCam',frame)
    if cv2.waitKey(10)==ord('q') or cv2.getWindowProperty('nanoCam',1) < 1:
        bCloseProgram = True
    
    if (bCloseProgram):
        break

cam.release()
cv2.destroyAllWindows()

Seth answers Growtopia questions (FAQ)

What is a F.A.Q.?

It means frequently asked questions.  It’s a single webpage that I can direct people to for detailed answers to common questions.  I also have one for my BBS games here which I sold to another company.

I’ll update it to modify and add questions as needed. (last updated 8/17/2020)

Why did you sell Growtopia in 2017?


I can only speak for myself for all of these answers, but after four years Growtopia had gotten too big. Too many players, not something I’d ever consider a problem before it happened.

While we were able to hire great customer support folks, it was still only Hamumu and myself developing and running the game.  

We were stretched too thin.  When you’re taking money for a product, you have a responsibility. 

The legal responsibility grows proportionally to your player count and how much they’re spending.  Too much cash was being spent for us to claim ignorance if something went wrong.  

What if a backup failed?  What if we screwed up on COPPA compliance?  The excuse of “hey, we’re just two people” wouldn’t cut it anymore.

The pressure builds.  After four years of running Growtopia I started to have regular nightmares, usually involving backups failing during a rollback or other server problems.

In the end, selling the game meant it could continue to see new features and grow, without us having to become bosses and have employees and all that, things we never wanted.

We got to use the profit from the sale to remain small and happy indies that can work on what we want, when we want.

In my experience that’s extremely rare you get a chance like that so I feel really lucky it worked out.


Would you ever come and work on the game as a real dev?

No. Assuming I was ever asked, I couldn’t accept the job.

Working on an MMO is not something you can do part time, you have to eat and breath it and get woken up by alarms at 3 AM when something breaks.

My life has changed now, less stress and very different kinds of challenges including running a cafe and hotel with Akiko. (Hotel? Well, er, it’s only one (amazing) room, but we are officially licensed as both a restaurant and hotel)

Growtopia is being ruined!

Ok, that’s not really a question but it’s something people say to me sometimes, especially when the server is down.

People tend to remember the positives of history rather than the negatives.  But if you go back to the forums there was no time after the first year we ran the game there were not “Growtopia is ruined and dying now” threads being made.

The life of this kind of game is all about change – breaking, fixing, adding, and very little removing.

The bigger the change or addition, the greater the risk.  The more systems piled on top of each other it is increasingly challenging it is to keep it all running smoothly. I have a lot of sympathy for the developers as I know their pain. :)

I hope they succeed and the game runs forever but there isn’t really any kind of comment I can make on this kind of thing, especially since I don’t play much or know what the issues are.

If the game isn’t for you, try something else for a while, it’s perfectly normal and ok to get tired of a game and bounce around.


I was banned for no reason, please help me by contacting Ubisoft

Sorry I can’t.  I don’t have access to the logs or support system, I’m the wrong person to ask. 

It would be really awkward if I was trying to do any kind of modding while not actually on the support team!

You need to go through the normal Growtopia help channel here.

Do you still play GT?  Can you sign my board?  Take a selfie with me in the game?

This is kind of complicated to answer.  Currently my @Seth account remains completely locked (even from me) unless I specifically ask for it to be unlocked for a period.  I like it this way.

The reasons for this are: security (it’s VERY bad if this account gets hacked), performance (if people see I’m online, they ALL msg me at once, can cause problems), and also something I call “the rumor wildfire” – sometimes a rumor starts that a hacker is using my account and mods and support gets flooded with emails about this emergency – so it’s important that they know in advance when I’ll be online.


So in the end, I almost never ask that my account be unlocked because it’s a hassle for everybody and I don’t want to cause any trouble.  (Ubisoft has been very cool about it, but I still feel bad)

I tried using another account but.. Mehhh, it’s just not the same.

It’s pretty rare that I login these days for anything other than P.A.W. for reasons stated above.  

However, if I’m online in the game I will make every effort to accommodate those kinds of requests, I use /rgo a lot.


Note: One of the conditions of the sale was nobody would ever pretend to be us, so if you ever see @Seth or @Hamumu talking to you, it’s really us!

Are you annoyed that every tweet or video you make has Growtopia related comments and questions on it?


The truth is I’m really not.  It’s proof that we made a big impact in people’s lives.  I hope nobody forgets our work on old school GT and I appreciate those players because without them I’d likely still be sweating over contract work instead of enjoying the freedom I do now.

I do feel bad if someone I replied to on Twitter gets a lot of GT related stuff they didn’t want though (they probably don’t even know what GT is!), and if I reply it makes it worse, so just tweeting at me (or emailing) directly is the best way to go for a GT related question that isn’t answered here.

Will you give me DLs and make me a mod so I can stop casinos?

No I can’t.  I’m not a GT mod or dev anymore, I’m just a player like you.  

By the way, my own kid would DEFINITELY ask developers of Fortnite for vbucks and skins before even saying hello, so I totally understand why younger players ask me that question.  I can’t ever actually say yes though.

Will you make another MMO?

No plans right now.

Can you try to buy back Growtopia?

No, I mean, even if it was for sale and I could afford it, I don’t want to run it again for the reasons mentioned above.  

Maybe in twenty years ask me again though. :)


Will you be in GT during Player Appreciation Week 2020, whenever that is?

Yep, I’ll be there and using /rgo like a madman so feel free to msg me if you see me!

When will <insert thing> be fixed or <insert thing> be added?

Sorry, I don’t know the answers to that kind of thing.

If I see the @Seth account online, is that you?

In most cases yes, but keep in mind this account may be logged on for maintenance reasons by GT staff. (To stop small locks from decaying, for example)

How were the original mods chosen?

Some were carried over because they were trusted mods in my other game Tanked, some were hand picked by me. In later days they were probably mostly suggestions from existing mods or chosen by Solorian. I can’t remember Hamumu ever picking a mod but maybe I’m forgetting.

Why don’t you wear clothes

Bodies need to breathe! Oh you mean in the game? I had the look (the cape, etc) early on and it just sort of stuck.

Oh, you know what, it was originally for a kind of super-hero alter ego I would use called “Heroman” who would run around punishing scammers but maybe I got tired of changing the clothes and just left it on. That’s why the item’s name is “Heroman Cape”.

Technical questions about servers: Were they run in RAID?

Yes, Growtopia’s server used custom picked super fast PCIe SSD raid arrays. Of course I can’t speak to the current technology state or challenges, only what we were using in 2017 and earlier.

How much did you sell GT for?

Er, I avoid answering this because it might fall within an NDA I signed, not sure. However, I’m pretty sure the number is just sitting there in the Ubisoft 2017 public financials so you might be able to figure it out.

Where did you get the music and sound effects?

Both Hamumu and I used a lot of sounds (and music) from our older games as well as new ones. (Some licensed, some created by us) As for music, Cory Mollenhour was commissioned to do the main Growtopia soundtrack. When characters talk it’s usually Hamumu’s voice.

Is there any update you regretted making? Or wish you could change how it worked entirely?

Not really, but I was worried about the vending machine update. I knew it would fundamentally change the game and giant vending machine worlds would replace “trade worlds” where people communicated more. In the end I guess it did, but it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I was against a global market method of buying/selling items for the same reasons. (that’s a feature that never made it in)

What did Hammu do after and do you still talk?

He’s still making great games, go play Robot Wants It All, it’s packed full of Hamumu-humor goodness.

Yes we still talk occasionally. Well, if text counts as talking, but that’s how we always communicated, we never liked meetings or phone calls!

How’s Cosmo doing, does he still play Growtopia?

He doesn’t play these days but there was a time when he and his friends from school were addicted. That’s never happened with any of my other games.

Over the years “Little cute sweet Cosmo” changed into “studies too much math genius teenager Cosmo” who is great in a different way but I’ll never forget this little guy:

Dang, just teared up posting this pic.

Even more stuff to read

If you got this far, why not go all the way and read this stuff too:

Two guys made an MMO – The Growtopia postmortem (2013)

Seth’s old Growtopia question/answer forum thread (2014)

Unity editor script: No BS Cut and Paste

As far as I can tell, Unity doesn’t offer a way to drag an object around the hierarchy in the editor (moving it to a new parent) without also modifying its local transform to keep the rotation/position in the same final worldspace/orientation as before.  (The default copy/paste options have the same issue too)

Sometimes you absolutely don’t want this and I got tired of using work arounds so made this simple script that adds an additional “no frills” cut and paste option to the editor that can be used instead.

To install:  Download NoBSCutAndPaste.cs and put it in any folder named “Editor” that is in your Unity project’s assets folder.  (The “Editor” folder being in a sub-folder is also ok)

Notes:

  • No multi-select, only works on a single object (which can contain sub-objects)
  • Nothing actually happens until you paste a gameobject (it isn’t actually moved until then)
  • If you paste without an object selected, it will be moved to the hierarchy root
  • Undo doesn’t work for this cut and paste
  • (barely) Tested with Unity 2019.3.2f1

The file above is this:

/*
 
 Name:  Cut and paste without changing shit
 Release Date:  2/25/2020
 Version: 1.0
 Credits: Written by Seth A. Robinson except where otherwise noted
 License: No rights reserved, do whatever with it

 Description:

 In the Unity editor, if you drag gameobjects around in the hierarchy, their local position and rotation will be modified so they end up in
 the same final rotation/world position as they had before.  This adds an option so you can do a "pure" cut and paste without that silliness.

 To use:

 Make a folder called "Editor" somewhere in your assets folder (or a subfolder of it) and put this file in it.

 If you right click a gameobject in the editor hierarchy, you should now see two new options "Cut without changing shit" and
 "Paste without changing shit".  Using those you can move an object without Unity modifying its local transform like it normally does.

 Notes:

- No multi-select, only works on a single object (which can contain sub-objects)
- Nothing actually happens until you paste a gameobject (it isn't actually moved until then)
- If you paste without an object selected, it will be moved to the hierarchy root
- Undo doesn't work for this cut and paste
- (barely) Tested with Unity 2019.3.2f1

 www.rtsoft.com
 www.codedojo.com

*/

using UnityEditor;
using UnityEngine;

public class NoBSCutAndPaste
{
    static GameObject _tempObj;

    [MenuItem("GameObject/Cut without changing shit (Shift-Ctrl-X) %#x", false, 0)]
    static void CutWithoutChangingShit()
    {
        var go = Selection.activeTransform;

        if (go == null)
        {
            EditorUtility.DisplayDialog("Woah!", "First click on a gameobject in the hierarchy!", "Ok");
            return;
        }

        var s = EditorWindow.focusedWindow.ToString();

        if (EditorWindow.focusedWindow.ToString() != " (UnityEditor.SceneHierarchyWindow)")
        {
            EditorUtility.DisplayDialog("Woah!", "Don't use the 3D window, click on the gameobject in the hierarchy tree instead before doing cut/paste.", "Ok");
            _tempObj = null;
            return;
        }

        _tempObj = go.gameObject;

        Debug.Log("Cutting" + _tempObj.name+ ", now choose Paste without changing shit");

    }

    //This part by Jlpeebles taken from https://answers.unity.com/questions/656869/foldunfold-gameobject-from-code.html
    public static void SetExpandedRecursive(GameObject go, bool expand)
    {
        var type = typeof(EditorWindow).Assembly.GetType("UnityEditor.SceneHierarchyWindow");
        var methodInfo = type.GetMethod("SetExpandedRecursive");

        var window = EditorWindow.focusedWindow;

        methodInfo.Invoke(window, new object[] { go.GetInstanceID(), expand });
    }

    [MenuItem("GameObject/Paste without changing shit (Shift-Ctrl-V) %#v", false, 0)]
    static void PasteWithoutChangingShit()
    {

        if (_tempObj == null)
        {
            EditorUtility.DisplayDialog("Woah!", "Nothing to paste.  Highlight an object, right click, and choose 'Paste without changing shit' first.", "Ok");
            return;
        }

        if (EditorWindow.focusedWindow.ToString() != " (UnityEditor.SceneHierarchyWindow)")
        {
            EditorUtility.DisplayDialog("Woah!", "Don't use the 3D window, click on objects in the hierarchy tree instead before doing cut/paste.", "Ok");
            _tempObj = null;
            return;
        }

        var go = Selection.activeTransform;
        if (go == null || go.gameObject == null)
        {
            Debug.Log("Pasting " + _tempObj.name + " without changing its local transform stuff.  (Pasted to root as a gameobject wasn't highlighted to parent it to)");

            //Move the object to the root
            _tempObj.transform.SetParent(null, false);
            _tempObj = null;
            return;
        }

        Debug.Log("Pasting " + _tempObj.name + " under "+go.gameObject.name+" without changing its local transform stuff.");
        _tempObj.transform.SetParent(go.transform, false);
        _tempObj = null;

        SetExpandedRecursive(go.gameObject, true);
    }


    /*
     //In theory this would grey out the paste option when it wasn't valid, but due to Unity weirdness it only works in the "GameObject" drop down, not the right
     //click context menu on the hierarchy.  Better to not have it on as it just looks like it doesn't work when using from there.

    // Note that we pass the same path, and also pass "true" to the second argument.
    [MenuItem("GameObject/Paste without changing shit (Shift-Ctrl-V) %#v", true)]
    static bool PasteWithoutChangingShitValidation()
    {
        // This returns true when the selected object is a Texture2D (the menu item will be disabled otherwise).
        return _tempObj != null;
    }

    */

}