Despite the beginning of the last school year, September of 2021 continued unabated Cemetechians’ impressive dedication to their projects. As we continue to try to catch up to the present on our Projects of the Month posts, here are the project updates that our members posted:
- (Axe) Generic Fighting game (Not Super Smash Bros at all): Wavejumper3 brainstormed a Super Smash Bros-like arcade-style fighting game to be written in the Axe programming language. After posting the design for a sprite, he pivoted to planning to make the game in PyGame; at press time, the game remains paused.
- Calculator Street Racing: A drag racing game for 84+/CE: In September, Oxiti8 added many more cars (the full list reached at least 30 cars by the end of September), graphical improvements, a Doors CS icon, and other features to this TI-BASIC game for monochrome z80 calculators. Through this year, a color version for the TI-84 Plus CE has progressed, so check out the topic for details.
- CE C Toolchain and Libraries for the TI84+CE/TI83PCE: In September 2021, MateoConLechuga released v9.2.1 of this vital CE C development component, primarily encompassing bugfixes.
- Darkblasters: A graphical TI-84+ BASIC RPG: Returning to his roots, DJ Omnimaga released an impressive, pure-TI-BASIC, text sprite-harnessing RPG. Check it out, and relive the glory days of monochrome TI-BASIC RPGs!
- First Fantasy: Mana Force (xLIB CSE & CE Textlib RPG): It was a busy month for DJ Omnimaga: he also updated and re-released a color-screen calculator RPG called First Fantasy: Mana Force for both the TI-84 Plus C Silver Edition and TI-84 Plus CE. The re-release adds new dungeons, difficulty balancing by way of more treasure chests, great-looking sprites, and assorted QoL fixes.
- HexaEdit CE: On-calc hex editor: This month, Captain Calc announced that an in-progress third version of the tool, a complete rewrite with focus areas like speed and performance, incomplete test coverage, adding a Ports editor, and more security features. At press time, Captain Calc has not announced any further progress, so we hope it will eventually be forthcoming!
- ICE raycast (paused): Paradoxically, the start of the school year gave Therad2 more time to work on this game. It resembles a Doom-style shooter, and the updates Therad2 showed in September add optimizations that increase the framerate and improve the visuals.
- Janus — A quickstart library for games: It is inevitable that in the course of writing decently large software projects, software developers tend to accumulate sets of convenience functions and classes that in many cases they want to pull out to reuse or even share with others. In this fashion, slimeenergy announced a TI-84 Plus CE library called Janus extracted from their game projects, with early features for working with the keyboard (e.g. debouncing), positional easing, simple physics, simple UIs, and more. There’s a lot of good stuff in here, so check it out if you’re building a TI-84 Plus CE game in C.
- Pony Express [C]: Candledark started another TI-84 Plus CE C port of Google’s Pony Express doodle game. Unfortunately, the images Candledark posted in September 2021 have been lost in the void of the internet, but in a future month, they put the code on Github (and added screenshots to the topic): check it out!
- RoulCE: After about a year of development, ZebraVogel released version 1.0 of this TI-84 Plus CE roulette game on Cemetech and elsewhere. It’s roulette; what else is there to say? Check out screenshots and the download in the topic.
- TI-81 CE - (TI-81 1.8K ROM running on the TI-84+CE): I’m glad that we’ve finally gotten up to the point in PotM where we show off this project: tr1p1ea made a TI-81 run on a TI-84 Plus CE. That is, he patched and ported the TI-81 operating system to run (not be emulated!) on the TI-84 Plus CE. He even made it capable of patching an original TI-81 OS at runtime, so the tool can be distributed without running afoul of laws around ROM distribution. Check it out, and be amazed.
- TI-Planet's "Project Builder" with online CE C/C++: In September 2021, Adriweb announced the most recent Project Builder update, bringing the TI-84 Plus CE Toolchain’s convimg tool into this web-based C/C++ IDE.
- Z80Test: Software Tests for Hardware Components: CVSoft has been one of the several Cemetechians spearheading documenting the different variations of our favorite calculators, like TI-82s and TI-84 Plus CEs. It’s helpful to get PCB photographs of different hardware variations, but acknowledging that some people don’t feel comfortable opening up their $100+ calculators, CVSoft published a tool to identify the ASIC and display driver in each of the supported calculators (TI-83 (and compatibles), TI-83 Plus, TI-83 Plus Silver Edition, TI-84 Plus series (NOT the TI-84 Plus CE), and TI-86) and explain the results. Further progress is to come in future months!
- [C] CEdit editor for the TI 84 plus CE: Version Beta.4 of Michael0x18’s TI-84 Plus CE text editor brought custom color, bugfixes, and additional features. Perhaps the most mature text editor for the TI-84 Plus CE, this will also continue to mature in the coming months, so keep your eyes open!
- [TI-84+] 9-Level GrayScale Image Viewer: In September 2021, tr1p1ea created a rudimentary image converter for his existing 9-level grayscale image viewer demo. It’s still a demo, so try it at your own risk, but this TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus continues to showcase tr1p1ea’s prowess with these calculators.
August 2021 was a fairly eventful month, with plenty of projects being started, completed, and updated.
- Calculator Street Racing: A drag racing game for 84+/CE: Oxiti8 started work on his drag racing game CSRacing this month, adding text sprites, car upgrades, a Crew Battle mode, a plethora of cars, and much more.
- Collection of my old TI-82 games: munsie has ported a bunch of their old TI-82 games to TI-83+, including games like BREAKOUT, CRAPS, FIGHTER, and SLOTS.
- Connect 4 Blitz Discord Bot: _iPhoenix_ has created a Discord bot that allows you to play Connect-4 in Discord itself with a friend by typing in where you want to drop your piece.
- Jetpack Joyride for the TI-84 Plus CE: King Dub Dub has continued working on Jetpack Joyride for the 84+ CE. He's added a new font, fixed the pause menu, and made various optimizations.
- Oiram Unlimited CE (An Oiram Hack): Captain Calc has released a hack of Oriam called Oriam Unlimited that allows the user to modify Oriam's stats and abilities in unprotected level packs.
- Rpg for ti 83+ (working title:Ricardo’s game): Wavejumper3 has restarted development of her RPG Ricardo's game, reportedly having added a basic map system and interaction system.
- Snorlax's Lunch Time port to TI-84+/SE: TIny_Hacker has nearly finished his Snorlax's Lunch Time port, implementing scoring and a myriad of graphical tricks.
- Software Tests for TI-83 Plus Hardware: CVSoft has been working on a suite of various software tests to determine differences between z80 calcs.
- SRLPKTCE | A packetization library for the CE: ACagliano has released a packetization library for CE under the name SRLPKTCE, allowing programmers to more easily send data in a standardized packet format.
- TI-Python Plus: commandblockguy has been making a patch for the Python app on the TI-84+ CE Python that allows users to call LibLoad library functions along with other miscellaneous functions.
- VAPOR - CE Software Update Mirror and Service Host: ACagliano has rebranded VAPOR, now replacing it with a library called Vapor Package Manager and splitting the Vapor network project from the former VAPOR client.
- [On Hold] VYSION 2 CE: the ultimate CE shell: epsilon5 has added plenty of new features to the Vysion 2 shell, such as custom backgrounds, the ability to run both TI-BASIC and Assembly programs, a Stop token hook, VAT sorting, and window title bar icons.
- [PAUSED] Xenon Development [C]: Alvajoy123 has added custom backgrounds and a couple smaller tweaks to their shell, Xenon.
- [Port] AgneCE: Agnes for the TI-84 CE: ordelore has ported Agnes, an NES emulator, to CE. It's not fast, but it is functional.
- [Ti84+CE] Reverse Polish Notation!: vikarjramun84 has created an RPN calculator in C, complete with various features such as the ability to display scientific notation to two significant digits.
There was more than one completed program this month, so remember to vote for your favorite!
We're back with the latest guide to what graphing calculator to get for Back to School 2022. Since we first started producing this guide in 2011, the world of graphing calculators has evolved from simpler handhelds with black-and-white screens powered by AAA batteries, to color-screen devices with more powerful software, rechargeable batteries, and more. Building on our past guides, this year we once again present a guide helping you select from the baffling array of graphing calculators now available to high school and college students. We'll help you figure out which calculator is right for primary school, high school, or college students, whether you're buying for yourself, your child, or researching for your students.
We'll be covering five main calculators in this guide:
- TI-84 Plus CE (Info/Buy)
- TI-Nspire CX II (Info/Buy)
- TI-Nspire CX II CAS (Info/Buy)
- HP Prime (Info/Buy)
- Casio Prizm fx-CG50 (Info/Buy)
All three of these calculators are accepted on the SAT, but of these three, only the TI-84 Plus CE is allowed on the ACT. Although we don't actively recommend it, if you still have a TI-84 Plus Silver Edition, don't throw it out: it does 95% of the math the TI-84 Plus CE can do, and while graphing is less user-friendly on its black-and-white screen, it's still a good calculator. Finally, while the TI-Nspire CX II is a fairly popular high school math and science calculator, we feel that the TI-84 Plus CE is a better, easier-to-use choice, and the general student, teacher, and programmer consensus appears to overwhelmingly agree.
|Learn to use your TI-84 Plus CE with Using the TI-84 Plus, from math and graphing to statistics and programming. Learn to program your calculator with Programming the TI-83 Plus/TI-84 Plus.|
The HP Prime is also a very powerful CAS calculator, albeit with a few growing pains like a smaller support community. It offers a multitouch screen, and extensive graphing features that expose more options that the TI-Nspire CX II CAS (once you learn to use them), and CAS features similar to those on the TI-Nspire CX II CAS. The HP Prime's OS was polished over several versions from a slightly rocky start, and with a beautiful design, powerful hardware, and an extremely fast BASIC programming language, the Prime is our favorite tool for college students and professional engineers. Given the traction that the HP Prime has gained in our community, we were surprised that our members voted the TI-Nspire CX CAS as the superior calculator for engineering and college. In short, the HP Prime is a sleek, powerful, and improving touch-screen calculator with a symbolic CAS that makes it a great choice for college students, especially STEM majors, and for professionals.
The Final Verdict:
If you need a new calculator, here's our advice:
- If you (or your child) are a middle or high school student, your teachers may recommend a TI-84 Plus CE or a TI-Nspire CX (or very similar TI-Nspire CX II), in which case you should follow their advice. For high school students getting a new calculator, the TI-84 Plus CE (currently $105 at Amazon) is our favorite choice, combining well-documented math and graphing features with a slim case and a color screen.
- If you're looking to take college classes in higher math, science, or engineering, the HP Prime (currently $129 at Amazon) is our favorite choice, with the TI-Nspire CX II CAS (currently overpriced at $202 at Amazon) a close second.
- If you're a programmer, or you want to encourage your student to learn programming and STEM skills, the TI-84 Plus CE is the best option. Every TI-84 Plus CE has TI-BASIC, the TI-84 Plus CE Python Edition has Python, and if you jailbreak the calculator, you can also write ez80 ASM and C. The HP Prime also has a very fast BASIC language, and the Casio Prizm fx-CG50 (on sale for $80 at Amazon) was the original C-programmable calculator.
Good luck with the hectic rush that is Back to School, and I hope this guide helped make at least one decision easier. If you need help picking a calculator, getting games and educational programs for your calculator and onto the device, or you want to learn to program, just stop by Cemetech and chat with us. We're always happy to help. Finally, if you prefer this information in visual form with some calming narration, here's our Back to School Graphing Calculator Guide 2022 as a video, with everything you need to know to select your first (or next) graphing calculator: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtWZqrmbKD0.
Notes about the ACT:
Remember, all models mentioned herein are accepted on the SAT, and most on the ACT, so there are no winners or losers on that count. Don't forget to double-check the SAT calculator policy or the ACT calculator policy to ensure your calculator is permitted! In particular, note that the TI-Nspire CX CAS is not allowed while the non-CAS version is acceptable.
Affiliate links in this article support Cemetech.
July of 2021 was full of progress on all sorts of projects by Cemetech members. Let's take a look at them:
- 1555 Color Picker: RoccoLox Programs has created a website that allows you to pick colors and find their RGB 1555 color values. Give it a try next time you're making a palette!
- Adventure from the Atari 2600: RoccoLox Programs has released his clone of the classic Atari game Adventure. If you're in the mood for a retro castle-exploring, dragon-slaying adventure, be sure to check it out.
- Folders: Frederik has been hard at work improving his file management program for the CE, adding the ability to give folders custom icons and to see how much room is left in a folder.
- HASHLIB - Cryptography Library for the CE: ACagliano has released version 6 of his cryptography library, improving performance and adding support for MGF1 hashes and AES ECB-mode ciphers.
- HexaEdit CE: On-calc hex editor: Captain Calc has improved his hex editor to allow you to write to memory-mapped ports, and also added a "superuser" mode to give you the hex-editing power you deserve while still protecting you from unintentionally crashing your calculator.
- Programmer's Calculator CE: Have you ever felt that a calculator was just the program your calculator was missing? If so, then check out DrDnar's programmer's calculator. It includes many developer-oriented features like hex and binary modes and bitwise operations.
- Snorlax's Lunch Time port to TI-84+/SE: TIny_Hacker has started recreating this Pokémon Mini game for the monochrome TI calculators! So far, it can show falling food and even an occasional falling Pichu.
- [C] CEdit editor for the TI 84 plus CE: Michael0x18 released the first beta of his text editor for the CE this month! He also added more customization options and the ability to cut and paste.
- [C] Convertion from TI-Basic to C: stbradley has started rewriting INTRPOL8, one of their TI-BASIC programs, in the C programming language.
- [On Hold] VYSION 2 CE: the ultimate CE shell: epsilon5 has been making major improvements to his shell for the CE, adding many new GUI features and a directory system, and squashing some bugs.
- [PAUSED] Xenon Development [C]: But VYSION isn't the only shell being developed this month - Alvajoy123 is also working hard at building Xenon. He's implemented a mouse system, program icon display, and custom backgrounds, and fixed some bugs with the filesystem.
- [TI-68k] CBLM, a Modular CBL/CBL2/LabPro Interfacing Program: CVSoft has added support for the TI-92 to his TI-89 CBL program. Be sure to check it out next time you need to use a sensor with a 68k-based calculator.
Make sure to give your vote for the best completed project in this month’s poll!