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To do... or not to do...

Posted by Nathan Strum, 22 April 2006 · 1,091 views

To-Do Lists
Well, I'm buried at work for the next few weeks, so I'm not going to be getting anywhere on any projects for awhile.

But before the sky fell in, I did manage to make some progress on a few things:
  • The MGD manual is about 75% done. I just need to do the back page (assuming Alex approves the overall design... that is). I need to revise the label a little bit to better match the manual, too.
  • Started some additional illustrations for the RPS manual. Also lined up someone to help me design better costumes for the characters. While neither is strictly needed, I tend to revise things right up until the minute they have to be done. So I'll keep trying to improve this until the game gets released.
  • Revised the RPS sprites and sent them off to Billy, and he said he'll be working on the game again soon. I may go back in and re-work them a little more, but they're pretty much done. Also, there's some music being created for the game, so that's pretty cool! (Still no source code yet though, Bob.)
  • Created a rough dragon for Medieval Mayhem. And it's very rough. But I think it's going to work. It uses double-width pixels, and each line of the sprite can be single-pixel-shifted to make it seem higher-resolution than it is. (The same trick is used in Dolphin.)
  • Silvio put the sprites I did for Rainbow Invaders in the game, and I've been doing some testing of the binaries for it. I think this game is going to give Space Invaders fans some cool new challenges. At its hardest level, I don't think anyone will ever complain about it being "too easy". ;)
  • The Four-Play label is basically done. Only minor tweaking remains.
Stuff to do after the mayhem at work subsides:
  • Colony 7 title screen (if Manuel still needs it by then)
  • Juno First title screen (need the specs from Chris, first)
  • Finish the new RPS illustrations.
  • Finish (and animate) the Medieval Mayhem dragon.
  • Create an illustration for the AtariAge store.
  • Finish the MGD manual.
  • Finish the RPS manual.
  • Revise my 2600 Bosconian mockups, based on Bob's feedback.
  • Start editing "Stella at 20".
  • ...and it seems to me there are a couple of label contests on the horizon, too. :ponder:
Actually, after looking back a bit, I'm really quite surprised at how much I've been involved with the homebrew community, especially considering the fact that I have no programming abilities whatsoever. :roll: It's really cool to be able to contribute to new homebrew games in one way or another, and it really speaks to the AtariAge community and the character of the people who are a part of it. Everyone I've worked with has been exceptionally nice, and always open to suggestions and feedback.

So, thanks! :D I appreciate the opportunities to contribute. It's something I only dreamed about doing as a kid, sitting in front of my parents' old TV, playing my 2600. Being able to do all of this is really an Atari 2600 fan's dream-come-true.

Here's what I've been involved with so far. The list surprised me when I put it all together...
  • Krokodile Cartridge - label, icon for OS X software
  • UltraSCSIcide - label, additional manual artwork
  • Man Goes Down (in development) - label and manual
  • Warring Worms: The Worm (Re)Turns - label
  • RPS (in development) - label, manual, game graphics
  • Fall Down - running man sprite
  • Reindeer Rescue - game graphics (lots of game graphics) ;)
  • 2005 MiniGame MultiCart - label and manual
  • Solar Plexus - label artwork (coloring)
  • Colony 7 (in development) - game graphics (spaceships and explosions)
  • LadyBug (in development) - game graphics
  • Juno First (in development) - game graphics
  • Four Play (in development) - label, title screen
  • Rainbow Invaders (in development) - game graphics (revised some invaders and power-up icons)
  • Stellar Fortress (in development) - player's ship sprite
  • SuperBug (in development) - player's VW sprite
  • PacMan (in development) - revised ghost sprites, title screen logo
  • Strat-O-Gems Deluxe - AtariVox logo (well... at least it was something) ;)
  • Medieval Mayhem (in development) - dragon sprite
Plus, there are a few more projects waiting in the wings, too.

What's really amazing about the homebrew scene, is the sheer number of new games being developed now.

I'm really glad I stumbled across AtariAge a few years ago.

Is this a great time to be an Atari 2600 fan, or what? :D

While rough, everybody I've shown the dragon to has been extremely impressed :)
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I do love how those of us with no programming experience can contribute to homewbrew development. I'm not even an artist like you and I was able to design the sprites for the Seawolf mines. Also, being able to playtest homebrews and provide suggestions to the authors is great, especially when put you suggestion into the game.

I can't wait for you to finish editing Stella at 20. While I've owned volume I for years, I can't wait to finally see volume II.
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Thanks for putting all your work in one place, Nathan. Otherwise it would have taken a lot of research to identify which labels were yours.

(If you haven't noticed yet, my current avatar is Nathan's work as well.)
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That is certainly an impressive list - I think it clearly cements your position as the leading homebrew artist on the Atari 2600. I am always amazed by how much of a difference some good artwork can make to a game - it creates the all-important first impression that often decides if a game is worth playing or not. The latest batch of homebrews have artwork that compares favourably to the very best games back in the day, and I think this is very important for their continuing popularity.

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That is certainly an impressive list - I think it clearly cements your position as the leading homebrew artist on the Atari 2600.

Thanks - but I think David Exton is a much better artist. His labels and manuals are absolutely outstanding. It's the kind of work I look at and think, "Man... I've got to rip that idea off someday." (Not that I'm trying to put myself out of work or anything.) :)

I've lost count of how many 2600 games he's done artwork for, but I think the Fall Down manual may be my favorite (and he's got the coolest website, too).
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Oh... I thought Chris meant in-game artwork, where I'd fully agree with him. For label/manual artwork I have to agree with you. I'm programming new games all the time, just to see some new art from Dave :)

Well, anyway you both just rule ;)

(And of course I like your label artwork as well! ;))
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I need to be careful not to step on any toes here, since all contributions to the 2600 scene are appreciated. However, I was referring primarily to sprite graphics, though your other artwork is also very impressive.

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Thanks for the compliments. :) Yeah, I guess I've fallen into a nice little niche for doing game graphics, although there are certainly others around who are really good at it, too. I'd really like to see more people get into it, since they tend to come up with approaches that are different (and often better) than mine.
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