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ubox MSX libs one year on

Today is the first anniversary of ubox MSX lib –1.0 was released today one year ago–, and yesterday I tagged version 1.1.9, and it is likely that wraps 2021.

I believe the code is stable, and in the 14 releases on 2021 I mostly focused on:

  • Improving Windows compatibility. Although I didn’t want this to be a priority –I don’t use Windows at all, I can’t support it–, once I had one user trying to compile on Windows, it was a great opportunity to make things more portable –portability is good–.
  • Added compression (with aPLib and apultra). Arguably this should have been in the first release, but it was not essential.
  • Added missing documentation. This is mostly regarding the tools used by the example game. In my original idea, the important thing were the libraries, so that was well documented. Turns out users want to use the Python tools in their own projects.

Then I had a few contributions from one user (Pedro), and that resulted in a few unexpected improvements:

  • Some usability improvements in the Python tools.
  • A better build pipeline, including basic CI in GitLab.

And on top of all this, some bugs where fixed. These are mostly issues that I introduced accidentally when I ported the original code from Night Knight / Uchusen Gamma to something more general and usable.

What is next?

It is complicated because I’m currently not actively working on an MSX project, and adding functionality that you are not using, is hard. But I have a TODO list:

  • Add some CAS support.
  • Add perhaps another compression tool; probably ZX0 with salvador.
  • Support 48K ROMs.
  • Add some MSX 2 features.

Pedro is interested in the MSX 2 support, but that is something I’m still planning and I want to create an experimental branch to see how we can support some sort of configuration to target MSX or MSX 2, dealing with the limitations of SDCC (specially sdasz80). Besides it would be ideal if I could align that with a game project, so things are well tested and I can justify adding code to the project that I will have to maintain.

Open Source projects can take a lot of your time, and I very much prefer making games than libraries/tools, but with some patience I think we can do some interesting things in 2022.

Would you like to discuss the post? You can send me an email!