Theoddbot's Interview


Hooka: When did you get your GP2X?


Theoddbot: 28th of November, it took about a week to get down under from the UK.


Hooka: What made you decide to get one?


Theoddbot: The idea of having a portable toy that runs Linux. I was also looking at the Nokia 770 tablet at the time, but the community spirit behind the GP2X and the GP32 was the clincher.


Hooka: Where did you get yours from?


Theoddbot: From craigix at gbax.


Hooka: Would you like to tell us a bit about yourself?


Theoddbot: I've just finished the first year of my PHD research at QUT ( in Brisbane, Australia.


Hooka: Ahh, Dr. OddBot is it? Or is it Dr. Steal everything from the sacred

planet, Red Mars?


Theoddbot: Uhh, It's Dr. OddBot...


Hooka: Well then, how do you explain this:

Hooka: We're waiting!


Theoddbot: What? That's some picture somebody drew!


Hooka: Take the prisoner down to the dungeon!


Sir Phobos: Uhh, we don't have a dungeon...


Hooka: Awww crap, well then we'll use the galley cause it's got a tile floor and a drain in the middle and that'll be good cause theirs gonna be lots and lots of blood and OddGuts slopping all over the place! And then we can sacrifice a virgin to Aeries (Diab0l, we're looking at you!) Sir Phobos, tune him up a little!


*Hooka wakes up from the dream*


Theoddbot: I got into the development scene about 5 years ago, with one of the lesser know Half-Life bots (theoddbot). When it got a bit more popular I had to figure out how to make a version that ran on Linux dedicated server boxes, so I bought(!) myself a copy of RedHat, and thats how I got into Linux. Since then Uni and work have gotten in the way a bit, but now I have a bit more time, and coding for the GP2X seems to be a good way to spend it :)


Hooka: Your first project was porting a PDF reader to the GP2X, did certain dependencies for this project lead to the porting of python?


Theoddbot: pdfview is a fairly thin wrapper around the poppler PDF rendering library (part of the gnome project). As it's all in C and C++. it's not related to python at all.


Hooka: Were you surprised to see how easy it was to port python?


Theoddbot: Not really, I always thought it would be pretty easy :). The version that I use now I ported at about the same time the toolchain was leaked from GPH, with DJWillis putting up with testing it for me. Most Open-Source stuff is fairly easy to port, since its designed to run on multiple systems anyway.


Hooka: Why did you decide to port pygame?


Theoddbot: To give people a way to get down to the business of writing games, rather than mucking around with toolchains and compilers and libraries. You can write a program on your PC and test it there. When you're ready you copy the same file to your GP2X and you're away.


Theoddbot: Python is quite an easy language to learn, and I find it fun to program in. It frees you from a lot of the low level stuff.


Hooka: Were you a sopwith kid too? I remember playing it for hours on an old XT back when I was really young...


Theoddbot: Yeah we used to play it on the network at school. The PCs were locked down fairly tight, but you could launch it using WordPerfect's file browser :)


Hooka: Are you an avid linux user in general or is it something you just use occasionally?


Theoddbot: I use Linux most of the time. I've got a windows install on my computer solely for the enjoyment of Half-Life 2. I don't think I've booted into it for a few months now. My other main computer is an iBook G4, which is getting a bit sluggish, but it's rock solid.


Hooka: Once again thanks alot for compiling the libs for soft-float for all the windows users who needed compiled libs, why do you prefer hard-floats anyways?


Theoddbot: No personal preferences. The first libs release was mainly from the work in getting pygame running, so there were no other compilers around at that stage.


Hooka: I noticed from your email that your part of, is the only thing available from oddsoftware iiWidget?


Theoddbot: It's the only proper release I've made under the Odd Software banner.


Theoddbot: I've also just started a blog at which will be used for chronicling my GP2X and other Linux developments.


Hooka: What made you decide to port Kobo Deluxe?


Theoddbot: I found the game insanely hard, so I needed to play it as much as possible. Even now that I can play it whenever I get a spare few minutes, I still haven't managed to beat it. And also I feel the need to inflict it on as many people as I can :)


Hooka: Are you a big fan of flying shooter type games cause I noticed you also ported RockDodger?


Theoddbot: Sure, I hope to see a bunch of these on the GP2X. Ports, remakes and originals :)


Hooka: What kind of things would you like to see ported/made using pygame?


Theoddbot: I'm hoping that it will help get some new programmers into the development scene, so from that perspective a slew of puzzles and minigames would be nice.


Theoddbot: I've got it in my head to try a vertical shooter with it, which should be good fun if I ever get a chance.


Theoddbot: I also think it would be great for an RPG type game, as the python language is so close to writing game scripts anyway, and you don't need to worry about the fast action too much.


Hooka: What's your favorite GP2X game/port/utility so far?


Theoddbot: Kobo Deluxe gets the most playtime on mine. I'm quite impressed by the NeoGeo CD emulator. I should to get a chance to try out DrMDx soon too, it sounds awesome.


Hooka: Both the NeoGeo CD Emulator and Dr. MD have gotten alot of play from me, I have to say that both NightKnight (atleast I'm under the impression that that's NK's full nickname) and Reesy have done terrific jobs and they really give a glimpse at the potential of the system off so early into it's life!


Hooka: Are you looking forward to actually working with the GP2X hardware directly or are you more comfortable with linux?


Theoddbot: I want to have my cake and eat it too :). I've got some ideas for what to do with the 940T co-processor under Linux, so there won't be any need for any of my projects to do away with it, and it makes testing a lot easier. I think the possibility is great though for specialized projects such as emulators.


Hooka: If you were a bot in a channel what would your triggers be?


Theoddbot: !beer !pizza and !wittyremark maybe? I've never really thought about it.


Hooka: What other ports/plans do you have for the GP2X?


Theoddbot: I want to get my current projects cleaned up and finalized, then I'll look around and see what hasn't been done yet.


Hooka: What do you plan to implement in your PDF viewer?


Theoddbot: I've got a nice big list on blog


Theoddbot: There's a version sitting on my PC with a file browser. I haven't had a chance to try it on the GP2X yet. After that there will be a few more tricks to try and make it feel a bit more fluid, instead of waiting for the page to finish rendering.


Hooka: How did you wind up with the nickname theoddbot?


Theoddbot: Back in the Half-Life days I was using as my email. It kind of stuck from there, and has the bonus of being fairly unique, so it's usually available as a website username.


Hooka: What can we expect from you in the future?


Theoddbot: More ports I think. It's a bit time-consuming to do original stuff at the moment.


Hooka: What's the biggest fault of the GP2X from your point of view?


Theoddbot: The incomplete/buggy firmware, especially the usb, annoys me the most, but at least that's easily fixed. The joystick can make Kobo Deluxe a bit painful sometimes. Finally, not putting a USB host port in the case, even if it was unpowered, it would have opened up so many possibilities for hardware addons.


Hooka: What would you like to see done on the GP2X in the future?


Theoddbot: I'd like to let things run their course. The developers are quite a talented bunch, so I'm sure I'll be impressed whatever happens.


Hooka: I noticed awhile back that you mentioned that you were going to play OpenTTD on the GP2X, have you been enjoying ZodTTD's port yet?


Theoddbot: I haven't had a chance to play yet. It looks great though.


Hooka: Are you still intending to do a Frozen Bubble port or has Perl gotten the best of you so far?


Theoddbot: I may still port perl, but I haven't looked at it yet. Unfortunately Frozen Bubble only runs at 640x480, so there's a bit of work to be done there. Maybe someone wants to port it to pygame instead ? :)


Theoddbot: Finally, big thanks to everyone in #gp2xdev for putting up with me, especially DJWillis, Squidge and Robster.


Well, thanks alot for doing this interview and hopefully we'll see you around the scene for quite awhile!


And as a closing statement I'd like to add that I don't seem to know anybody who likes to collect navy toys or dolls but if you do I highly urge you to go out and buy a whole box full of them for them for christmas and give your loved one a box full of seamen!


*Note: The above stuff is an exerpt from sealab 2021 and is copyright and trademarked and whatever else 70-30 studio's I'm just doing this as a tribute to Harry Goz (aka Captain Hank Hazel Murphy) If you like it check out sealab 2021 ;)


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