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To-do or die!

Posted by Nathan Strum, 28 March 2013 · 2,110 views

To-Do Lists
Another year, another To-Do List. I actually started this list in February, but it didn't get done because I didn't add finishing it to my old To-Do list. (Is that a Moebius Loop or a Vicious Circle? )

Besides, formatting is still woefully broken in the blogs, and even though it looks good in the editor, once I post it, it becomes a mess. But since I'm not going to wait around forever for that to get fixed, I might as well post it now.

As always, here's a link to last year's. Been there, done that.

Or rather... done some of that. :roll:

This time, I'm changing the formatting some, and how I handle updates. I'll keep all of the original entries intact, and just append them with colored text. Maybe mauve or puce.

So, let's see where we are...

Homebrews/reproductions in development:
  • Draconian (was "P.I.E.S.") *
    Game graphics: In-progress.
    Development status: Just beginning, but stuff is already showing up on the screen!
    3-20-14: Added to to-do list
    3-28-14: Now revealed as Draconian (a port of Bosconian)
  • VecMulti MenuMaker
    OS X port: Application icon
    3-13-14: Added to to-do list
    3-30-14: First pass done.
  • Star Castle Arcade
    Game graphics: Revised graphics finished (smaller player ship, new explosions, sparks, mines).
    (w/Dave Dries) Label and manual: Preliminary concepts underway.
    Development status: Game in active development.
    4-16-13: Label design now has a direction. We think.
    8-5-13: Development is nearing final beta. Probably ought to start working on the label again... :ponder:
    9-6-13: Dave and I thought Star Castle Arcade would be a good fit for a label contest, so we're stepping back from doing the design. We might still enter the contest though. ;)
    12-6-13: The label contest has come and gone. Dave submitted a couple of designs, but I bowed out of this one. Congratulations to Jordi Cabo for his winning entry - it's a terrific painting! Very reminiscent of vintage sci-fi artwork. It's always great to see what kind of artwork others come up with.

    1-23-14: Working on "extra" to be included with game. No release date yet, since the game is waiting for Harmony boards.
  • Stay Frosty 2 (was "Chun-Li" *)
    Game graphics: Finished.
    Level design: Finished (I think...).
    Development status: Final testing, music. Currently on hold until... well, that would be telling. Posted Image
    4-16-13: Development has resumed. More testing, music tweaks, and... walls.
    5-19-13: Development "continues". Get it? Ha! I kill me. Anyway, play-testing resumes.
    8-5-13: Development has resumed in earnest. Adding a few new level layouts, but we're nearly there.
    9-25-13: Development marches on! Final new levels have been added. Now it's testing, testing, and more testing. Very excited for people to see this at PRGE.
    10-16-13: Finally
    revealed at PRGE as Stay Frosty 2. Even more optimizations have been done, possibly freeing up space for a few more levels.
    12-6-13: Stay Frosty 2 has been officially declared
    finished (screenshots here). When it actually gets released is anyone's guess
    12-25-13: Demo version available for download.
  • Omicron
    Label and manual: Label finished, third pass on manual finished.
    Development status: Game in active development. Nearing completion?
    7-25-13: Manual nearly complete, need to update some text and screenshots.
    9-6-13: Created banner for PRGE.
    1-23-14: Manual updates complete. Waiting for final approval.

    2-24-14: More manual changes completed. First pass done on box design.
  • Ixion (was "Unreleased prototype #2" *)
    Title screen bitmap: Done.
    (w/Dave Dries) Box, label and manual: First pass done on box artwork.
    Development status: Finished. Release tentatively slated for sometime in 2013. Maybe. Possibly.
    7-25-13: Resuming work on box artwork. Originally, we'd considered starting over, but decided it wasn't necessary and are just tweaking the concept.
    9-5-13: Box artwork is finished and at the printer. Banner artwork is finished and heading to the printer. Label and manual are up next. We're also tweaking a bonus game that's to be included on the cart.
    9-13-13: Game title has been
    revealed - it's Sega's Ixion. Manual is in progress, boxes are printed and just need to be shipped.
    9-22-13: Manual, poster, magnet and label art finished. Updated graphics for enhanced version finished. Title screen graphics finished. Basically, it's finished.

    12-6-13: Ixion is available in the AtariAge store.
  • Homebrews/reproductions not currently in development, but not completely dead, either:
  • AtariVox+
    Manual and label: In progress.
    Development status: The AtariVox finally seems to be making its way back to the store. The "+" version adds Vectrex support.
    4-16-13: Label finished. Manual in progress (awaiting final text).
    1-23-14: Project moved to inactive list.
  • 2600 Toolbox (tentative title)
    Description: This is something I've been meaning to add to my Stupid Game Ideas! series. But with the 2600 Toolbox, it's not so much a game, as a utility. The idea is to vastly expand upon the idea of the Test Cart, including color calibration patterns, hardware tests, sound tests, and various patterns for checking color combinations, flickering, and so forth. The cart can be used to test consoles, set up TVs, and be used by homebrewers and artists while developing new games.
    Development status: I have a list of things I'd like to see in it, I just need to write it all up, then hope a developer finds it interesting enough to pursue.  ;)
    8-15-13: Project added to list.
    1-23-14: Project moved to inactive list.
  • "Project Retro" *
    Graphics: In-progress.
    Development status: A speculative project akin to "Bruce" (see below). Currently in early development with some working code. Project was effectively dead until recently... we'll see what happens next.  :ponder:
    1-23-14: Project moved to inactive list.
  • "Gut Bomb" *
    Game graphics and level design: In progress.
    Development status: On hold. May return in 2013.
    7-25-13: Game is back in development again.
    1-23-14: Project appears to be on hiatus.
  • RPS
    Game graphics, label and manual: All in progress, to varying degrees.
    Development status: On hold. Maybe someday...
  • "Bruce" *
    Game graphics: In progress. Several rounds of mockups completed.
    Development status: Purely a speculative project, but some early coding done by a couple of programmers. May or may not ever materialize.
  • "Cat Food" *
    Game graphics, concepts, play-testing: Not started.
    Development status: Basic kernel working, but project is on hold. May return as a different project.
    9-26-13: "Cat Food" was revealed as a Jumpman clone originally being developed for ThinkGeek starring their mascot Timmy. That project ended up getting shelved, but the kernel may live on as something else. So, why "Cat Food"? Simple. Because he isn't dog food.
Miscellaneous projects:
  • New classic gaming related art project. Preliminary sketches in progress.
    5-31-13: Concept sketches and color rough finished, awaiting approval to move forward.
    7-25-13: Revised design approved. Working on final artwork.
    8-1-13: Final artwork (hopefully) finished.
    8-5-13: Yep. Finished. :D

    8-30-13: Revealed to be Bill Loguidice's upcoming book: Vintage Game Consoles: An Inside Look at Apple, Atari, Commodore, Nintendo, and the Greatest Gaming Platforms of All Time.
  • Post "Lost Episodes" of Artie the Atari. (Not so much "lost" as "never finished".)
    7-25-13: Done and dusted.
  • More "Stupid Game Ideas".
  • Get my 2600 fixed. My original Sears six-switcher up and died nearly two years ago, and I still haven't fixed it.
  • More homebreviews. Got some catching up to do. Although I actually have to acquire the homebrews first. And of course, fix my 2600.
  • Update old MacMAME.net video game movie reviews and redesign website. I'd really like to get this off the ground this year. I'm paying for a domain name for it, after all.
  • 2600 Mods Comparison Project - Another project I need to get back to. If this summer isn't insane at work again, just maybe...
  • The 2600RM. A pet project I have in mind. Could be expensive... could also be awesome.
  • 2600 Tron console mod. Yes - I want to make this happen for real.
  • Stella at 20. More likely Stella at 20... at 20.
* As always, project names that are in quotes are code-names, and not the actual titles.

Chun-Li will be announced and available for play at PRGE.


Cat Food was revealed.

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That Toolbox sounds tasty.  When I was making M.M.S.B.C. II I leaned heavily on flickering and altering colors per frame.  Picking colors by hand was a nightmare.

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Forgot about Cat Food being revealed. I'll add that next update.


2600 Toolbox is at the top of my list when the current projects wrap up. Mind you, there's nobody actually volunteering to program it yet. But I can at least lay out the concept.

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Updated Ixion ("unreleased prototype #2") with a few more items that have been finished over the last couple of weeks.

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Update to "Chun Li".


Sooooo close now... soooo close...

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I have a theory.


Now, I'm not superstitious, but I think that calling anything "final" when developing a homebrew is a bad idea. Historically, whenever someone has called something "final", it hasn't been. Some bug will crop up, or something else will happen that will somehow cause whatever was "final", to go back under the knife.


Case in point - in my last update, I wrote (for "Chun Li"):


  • 9-25-13: Development marches on! Final new levels have been added. Now it's testing, testing, and more testing. Very excited for people to see this at PRGE.

I never should've written "final" and I knew it at the time. The thought even ran through my head that I shouldn't use the word "final". But I figured it was safe, since we were completely out of ROM space for any additional levels.


So now?


There's room for another level.


Which is a good thing... since in this case, more is better.


But that'll teach me not to use the word "final", until after the game gets shipped. :roll:

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But that'll teach me not to use the word "final", until after the game gets shipped. :roll:

And even then... the original release of Skeleton+ had a bug in the "You Win" screen.

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Update for "Chun Li":

  • 10-16-13: Finally revealed at PRGE as Stay Frosty 2. Even more optimizations have been done, possibly freeing up space for a few more levels.

There are several postings around the forums now (including this one) revealing the game's title, showing footage from PRGE, etc.


So why "Chun Li"? Well, the character Chun Li first appeared in the game Street Fighter II, or SF2. Stay Frosty 2 shares the same abbreviation.


I won't say much about the game at this point, since there are a lot of surprises in the game we want people to discover. But I will say this has been in development for a long time, has been getting a lot of play-testing, and is a huge leap over the original Stay Frosty. ;)

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Added a few updates:

  • Stay Frosty 2 (aka Chun Li) is now officially finished. If not yet actually released.
  • The Star Castle Arcade label contest has concluded - congratulations to Jordi Cabo for an outstanding entry!
  • Ixion is available in the AtariAge store

Also, I re-colored older updates to a sort of greenish color, so the most current updates stand out. Not that anyone asked or anything. :roll:

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Maybe you should have used Shades Of Grey instead. :)

BTW: Anything you can show (me) regarding the Star Castle manual? How about incorporating Jordi?
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I'm not working on the Star Castle manual. When Dave and I stepped away from doing the label artwork, that included the manual.

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Darrell has posted some Stay Frosty 2 screenshots in his blog.


I've also posted a short video on YouTube:



This was kind of a tricky video to make (I've made most of the ones on the AtariAge channel). I had to limit it to certain levels so we wouldn't give away too much about the game, because there are a lot of things we want people to discover for themselves. The problem is, I've played the game so much during testing, those levels are really easy now. So I had to try and play them like someone who hadn't played the game before, without looking completely inept, yet without giving too much away about how to solve those levels. :roll:


Hopefully, the game will be released soon. Darrell has made a couple of additional minor tweaks and bug fixes, but the game is, in fact, finished. Just waiting on parts.

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Updated a bunch of stuff.

  • Changed the "old updates" color to gray to make current updates stand out more.
  • Omicron's manual is done, barring final approval.
  • Added the links to Ixion and the Stay Frosty 2 demo.
  • Moved some projects to the "inactive" list.
  • Added another project to Star Castle Arcade.
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Update to Omicron: More manual changes, first pass at box design done.


I've been sick for the last few weeks, so this is the first opportunity I've had to work on any projects for awhile. Hoping to wrap up everything soon.

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Added: Icon for OS X port of VecMulti MenuMaker.

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Added a new homebrew to the list. Codename: P.I.E.S.

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Update: "P.I.E.S." now revealed as Draconian - a 2600 port of Bosconian - based on my own mockups from eight years ago!


Why "P.I.E.S."? The enemies are listed as:

  • P-type
  • I-type
  • E-type
  • Spy ship


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Update: First pass done on VecMulti icon.

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