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200th Stupid Blog Entry!

Posted by Nathan Strum, 19 September 2008 · 2,313 views

To-Do Lists
Funny... it feels like only about 100 blog entries since the last time I did this, but here we are... at #200!

It's been about 15 months since #100, and somehow my blog managed to creep back up to being the most-read blog at AtariAge again...

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I'm still trying to formulate a reasonable theory for this, and the best one I can come up with is that numerous people are under the mistaken impression that this is still going on, and they've been repeatedly submitting examples from my blog for consideration.

At any rate, it's nice that people are either interested in what I've been writing, or are so bored during their lunch break that they'll read any-old-blog to kill time and mine has just about as many words in it as any other. (The 80+ Homebreviews alone should keep you busy through a week of tuna-fish sandwiches. ;))

Of course, my blog not only has words, but pictures! Some 41 of the last 100 entries have been episodes of the now world-famous* comic strip: Artie the Atari. I was rather surprised to find out I had done that many, and I've already got the next few strips written. If I'm not completely bereft of ideas by that point, I may even get to #50.

*Hey... he's got his own line of refrigerator magnets. You can't get much more famous than that.

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                  The current cast of Artie the Atari


Anyway, since it's been awhile, I thought I'd use this as an excuse to catch you, faithful reader, up on the various projects I've been working on, or not...

Stella at 20

Well, nothing has happened with this since the last update. The footage is sitting on a couple of hard drives, nicely backed-up, and ready to go. The thing is, Stella at 20 is basically like a homebrew project. I'll work on it when 1) I have the time, and 2) I have the interest. It will get done, but when is anybody's guess. I have had an offer from someone to help out on it, and if I put off working on it much longer, I may just take him up on it. Also, while not necessarily complicating things, but certainly changing them from a logistical standpoint, Glenn has moved to Boston. I still have all of his master tapes however, so if any additional digitizing is needed, I can do that.

As an aside, one of the things which may get me working on this again is Apple's ProRes codec. I plan to do some direct comparisons with that and 10-bit uncompressed, and if it looks as good as claimed, I may end up going that route for final mastering instead. The reasons being: ProRes is also 10-bit; I will (in all likelihood) be getting a ProRes I/O for my editing system in my office at work; and it's much more space/hardware friendly than uncompressed is, which makes keeping a full-quality digital copy of the footage (or at least the final masters) far more feasible.

To-Do List stuff

Sprites - Champ Games
John Champeau is on hiatus from 2600 programming for awhile, so the sprites for his games are on hold as well. That said, I'll probably just go ahead and finish the ones for Wizard of Wor and Moon Cresta, since I had a good start on those. John's listed several games publicly that I'd given code names to before, so now I can just refer to them by their real names. I'll repeat his status list here, with my comments added in italics:
  • Championship Hockey - About 30% done, although if I ever finish it I'll probably start from scratch as I have some new ideas for it. This is the one I code-named "Stick Fight". Activision's Ice Hockey is one of my favorite 2600 titles, and John is well on his way to making an even better game. There are some graphics in place, but John asked me to design new ones when he resumes work on it. I don't have the specs for them yet, but I did tape a couple of hockey games off TV for reference.
  • Dark Tower - Game is in the design phase - only a small part has been coded as a proof of concept. This and Championship Hockey were mentioned in a previous To-Do list in the "On-hold" category as un-named homebrews. No graphics work has been done yet.
  • Lunar Lander (NR) - Complete, but can't release it due to copyright reasons (originally slated for release on an update to the FlashBack 2). I've played John's version, and it's far and away better than the original Flashback 2 version. I made some suggestions for additional enhancements and graphics for it. It's doubtful those changes will ever happen given the questionable future of the Flashback 2, but I may post the mockups here for interested spectators. This one I code-named "Not Asteroids" since Lunar Lander cabinets were converted over to Asteroids when the latter became a huge hit.
  • Rip Off (NC) - About 50% complete Graphics are complete. The game already rocks, even though the AI and collision detection are absent.
  • Wizard of Wor (NC) - About 50% complete Graphics are mostly complete - I just need to animate them. John's kernel for this version is amazing.
  • Moon Cresta - About 10% complete - mostly just proof of concept stuff. Graphics have been started, but there's quite a ways to go. All of the sprites have been ripped from the arcade game though for reference. What John has working looks really, really cool.
  • Mountain Raider - Original game I designed back in 1982 (submitted to and rejected by Atari ). Proof of concept stage. I have the design docs for this from John, and it looks like it will be a cool game. I code-named this one "Calidac" since that was the name he'd put on the copyright in the original proposal. No work has been started on the graphics yet, but we've had some discussions regarding the game.
Other sprites
...include the following which I've done nothing with yet, either. Of course, if I had, then I guess it technically wouldn't be a "To-Do" list, would it? ;)
  • Enemy sprite for Thomas - Should get back to this.
  • Street Pizza - Yeah... really need to do this one, too.
  • Tank sprite for Manuel's Tron demo - Likewise. Just to have it done. :)
  • SuperBug - If other cars, tracks or power-ups are needed when development resumes.
  • Chetiry - When development resumes.
  • Graphics for the inevitable(?) 2008 Holiday Cart
Other AtariAge stuff
  • Artwork for Incoming! contest - Done!
  • Artwork for Lead contest - Done!
  • Artwork for unreleased prototype - On hold until 2009 - The box art (yes, box) is done. Just need to write the manual. Started writing the manual. Here's a sneak-peek at the artwork:
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  • Artwork for other unreleased prototype - On hold until 2009 - The box art (yes, another box) is basically done. I've been working with Dave Dries on this one, who has been doing some awesome work. I still have to write the manual, and come up with a layout for it. First pass at writing the manual is now done. Here's a sneak-peek at the artwork:
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  • Label artwork for Juno First - Done! Dave Dries did this one (I helped a little bit :)). Chris sent me the manual text, so I need to write a short backstory, lay it out, and see about getting Dave to do a few illustrations for it. - Manual is done!
  • AA Store project - I don't even remember what this was now. So much for being cryptic. :roll:
  • Finish new artwork and manual for RPS - If game resumes development.
  • Finish manual for Man Goes Down - If game resumes development. Nobody seems to be able to contact Alex.
  • More magnets... but what to do this time? Maybe something... wacky. :ponder: :D
Other stuff
  • Even more homebrew reviews - Done! Well, almost. I can't review the remaining three games (Mental Kombat, Sea Battle, Sword Fight) without a second player.
  • Mac OS X folder with Atari logo - Probably should do this. I've got the icon-creating software for it now. Done.
    Posted Image Download the icon here.
  • Move MacMAME.net movie reviews to Cinemarcade - Some year. Whenever.
  • Update "Joysticks" and "WarGames movie reviews for new DVD releases - Ditto. Someday. Although I should point out the new WarGames DVD looks great!
  • Finish "The Wizard" movie review - Whenever.
  • Create GarageBand sample set of 2600 sounds - Sometime.
  • Update the 2600 Video Mods page - Probably 2009. I need to get a donor 2600 or two, and maybe a 7800. I don't want to hack up my own systems anymore.
  • "How-To" tutorial for creating sprites - Maybe. Someday.
  • Even more Stupid Game Ideas - As time permits. It's sure not for a lack of stupid ideas though. ;)





Congratulations! Looking forward to the next 200 entries! ;)
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I'm not surprised your blog is so popular - there aren't many homebrew projects that you don't have a hand in, so it's a good point to find out the status of the scene. I'm guessing one of those label projects is for Lead? Looking forward to the next Artie adventure.

Chris
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Congratulations! Looking forward to the next 200 entries! :D

Thanks! Wait... does this mean I have to do another 200 of these?! :D

I'm not surprised your blog is so popular - there aren't many homebrew projects that you don't have a hand in, so it's a good point to find out the status of the scene. I'm guessing one of those label projects is for Lead? Looking forward to the next Artie adventure.

Thanks Chris! For some reason I've been involved in a ton of homebrew projects to one degree or another. I think a lot of it probably has to do with just being willing to put in the time. But it's (usually) been a lot of fun. ;)

And nope - a label for Lead isn't on my list at this point. At least until the contest happens. ;) (But I did edit the manual for it.)

Note: I've updated the entry to include the OS X Atari icon.
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I know what it is, I know what it is! But I ain't talkin'! ;)

But I will say that it's pretty cool if I do say so myself. It was done in 3D so it's one of those projects that, unlike painting or doing things by hand, can be hit-or-miss. Meaning you're never 100% sure exactly how things will reflect, how shadows and highlights will impact the design, and the creation of the image can sometimes be more science than art. This one ended up being a pleasant surprise to us both I think. A lot of work, but worth it in the end.

As for the popularity of the blog, I thought you said it was due to the mass spam email blasts that you send out periodically. :D

But seriously, if a picture is worth a thousand words you're well over 200 entries by now. That's why I have this blog pinned at the top of my list. Odds are the latest entry will include some sort of colorful, shiny eye candy.

Congrats on 200!
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Congratulations! ;)

I has always been a real pleasure to read your blogs, no matter what the topic was. Thanks a lot!

Looking forward to #1000. :D
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And nope - a label for Lead isn't on my list at this point. At least until the contest happens. :D

Well, now it's on my list. ;)
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Congrats ;)
And, what you think to create a book with compilation of all Artie comics?
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Congrats :D
And, what you think to create a book with compilation of all Artie comics?

Thanks, but I don't think its limited appeal would justify the expense, nor would it be worth doing with fewer than say, 200 strips. So I'll have probably another five years to think about it. ;)
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This one ended up being a pleasant surprise to us both I think. A lot of work, but worth it in the end.

I agree. It's very unique, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It was a little strange in that there wasn't any reference at all to work from. No descriptions, previous artwork, manual text, nothing. So we had a completely blank slate to work from, save for the actual game itself.

But seriously, if a picture is worth a thousand words you're well over 200 entries by now. That's why I have this blog pinned at the top of my list. Odds are the latest entry will include some sort of colorful, shiny eye candy.

Thanks! I'm hoping to add more eye candy soon, like breaking down the making of some more label art, or another Photoshop "how-to" or two.

I has always been a real pleasure to read your blogs, no matter what the topic was. Thanks a lot!
Looking forward to #1000. ;)

Thanks! Although I wouldn't bet on me doing this blog for another 12 years. :D (Although I ran MacMAME.net for nearly 10, long after it ceased being useful. So you never know...)
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Congrats on 200. I enjoy reading your blog, especially the comics. Keep up the good work.
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The Atari folder turned out well ;)
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Thanks. I wasn't sure if I should make a 10.4 version or not, but I'm no longer using 10.4 anywhere, so I figured I'd just go with the current one. Leopold or whatever. ;)
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Updates:
  • Lead contest entries are done
  • Started writing the manuals for the unreleased prototypes, but their releases have been pushed back until after the holidays
  • Juno First manual is done
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Update:
  • Added entry for Incoming! label contest
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