Continuing work on Disaster compiler and display boards

Display replacement boards:  Did a good amount of work a couple weeks back, and the processor is up and running.  It is starting to display some test digits.  I’ve added discovery code to discover how many slave display boards are installed.  The initial code also displays which boards are installed to make troubleshooting easier.  This allows the board to only operate with a subset of the player display boards.

Disaster:  Working on the compiler for parsing the rules file.  I’ve spent a lot of time on this over the last couple of weeks, and I’m just now getting to the point that I can parse the whole file.  Unfortunately it doesn’t do anything with the information, but it is starting to fill out the data structures.  These data structures are going to be the ones that the java uses to run the rule set.  There has been a major update to the rules file.  I went back and forth trying to decide whether the file should look more like lisp, or more like C, and I ended up going with it should look more like C.  This means curly braces and parenthesis instead of all parenthesis.  This was more pleasing to me visually and more what I’m used to seeing.  It will probably continue to take me another couple weeks to finish this work off, and get something working.  I ended up not using pyparse because I could not figure out how to get it to output into my data structures.  I could have had it verify the syntax, but that is not the most difficult aspect of the project.

Restoration:  One of the local people who runs pinball machines in establishments has given Mark and I a POTC machine to fix up.  The last couple pinball nights have been spent fixing that machine.  It is amazing how easy it is compared to the early 80s machines that I have been restoring.  The machine seems to want to tell you what is wrong.  With the other pinball machines, it seems there is a lot of divining what is wrong with the machine.  The nice part about this, is in a night we can fix a lot of things that are wrong on the machine.  The machine’s ship was not working properly and had a lot of other issues including the slingshots not operating.  Fixing the ship was a lot of fun because it was completely mechanical and is a simply great toy on the playfield.  I particularly like when you have one more hit on the ship, and it starts floundering.  Very cool effect.  That machine should be restored in the next week or two, and we might get a chance to work on a few more machines that this guy has in the area.

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