PSPTetris
This week we'll be running the finalist entries in our PSP vs. DS hacks contest. At the end of the week, we'll open the floor up for voting on the best of the best. Looks like we're in for a week's worth of PSP hacks, folks — not a single DS hack came through the door! Guess the DS fans weren't up to the challenge… Anywho, without further ado, let's bring up finalist numero uno!

PSPTetris

by Cristian Gadea (webtopsp@gmail.com)

It's fairly well-known by now that there is a hidden web browser in the (fortunately) excellent PSP game Wipeout Pure. But just what can the browser do? Early tests by roto showed that it had decent HTML support and could even run a few JavaScript commands. Would this be enough to run a basic game and give me a shot at some real games from Engadget?


I began by testing several free online scripts from websites like The JavaScript Source. Since I still had to figure out how I was going to pay for that PSP on my credit card, a calculator seemed like a good first script to try. After a few modifications and a bit of reformatting of the free code, PSPCalc resulted.

While it was interesting to confirm my huge debt by using the PSP that had caused it, PSPCalc didn?t make for a very exciting game. A bit more experimenting revealed that a Tic-Tac-Toe script also worked in the PSP browser and I ended up with PSPTicTacToe. It appeared that the browser could run games, but could they be as complex as, say, Tetris?

Surprisingly, the answer was yes. Using techniques known to work on the PSP and some basic sample Tetris code, I was able to create PSPTetris. This required a number of compatibility and formatting considerations since practically none of the JavaScript versions already available online would actually start on the PSP. Adding GameBoy-like controls posed another interesting challenge. The controls still aren?t perfect and there?s no catchy music (unless you consider the Wipeout menu beat catchy), but PSPTetris should be very playable even in this first version.


How to Run PSPTetris


1. If you don?t already have a portal that lets you browse the web with your PSP (via DNS or proxy), complete Engadget?s HOW-TO: Get RSS feeds on your PSP. The parts involving Bloglines are optional.

2. Use the PSP browser to navigate to http://webtopsp.com and select PSPTetris from the list. If you actually enjoy using the PSP?s ?keyboard?, you can also go directly to http://webtopsp.com/psptetris.

3. Once the page has finished loading, push X on the PSP to play.


Controls

Use left/right on the PSP?s directional pad to move a block, down to drop, and X to rotate. You can pause the game by using the PSP?s power button (sleep mode). This way, you should be able to actually take the PSP away from the wireless network (it will disconnect anyways) and play PSPTetris anywhere as long as you don?t change the page.


Gameplay Notes

PSPTetris has four levels (speeds). The level increases with every 10 lines until you reach level 4 (after which you just have to outlast your battery). Lines give more points at higher levels. Use the game?s ?SET LEVEL? button before ?START/RESET? to start at a specific level.


Known Problems

There are several bugs/glitches due to the PSP browser?s limitations and the early version of the script. They include:

  • One of the images may not load properly and remain a white square. The box showing the next block may also be unaligned or have an unusual border. Refresh the page if any of these things happen (?O? button on the PSP).

  • The controls were implemented in a somewhat unusual way and require a small square and a few dots to flash to the right of the board. Try to ignore them.

  • The X button can be unresponsive (noticeable at higher speeds).

  • Holding the drop button may leave a color square on the way down. The game will correct this once the block is placed.

  • Sometimes after selecting ?START/RESET?, the block will appear but not move down. You need to disconnect (?quit? using the PSP?s Start button) and reconnect to fix this.


Feel free to use a regular web browser to visit the links above if you want to have a peek at the code. You may modify and re-host the scripts if you wish. Perhaps new PSP-friendly online games will appear now that more of the PSP Browser?s capabilities have been revealed.

Send any feedback to webtopsp@gmail.com.

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How-To Hacks contest finalist: PSPTetris