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Interest check in ColecoVision overlay fabrication


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#1 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:41 PM

As many of you know, I will be returning the mold (used for making new ColecoVision casings) to Eduardo in about a month (on October 10th, to be exact), and I am currently waiting for Moldex to produce the last batch of casings for a few customers here. But my dealings with Moldex may not end after October 10th... ;)

Just yesterday morning, I had a meeting with Sylvia at Moldex, and we discussed the possibility of producing new ColecoVision controller overlays. I showed her several samples: One original Mouse Trap overlay (which has the best plastic quality), one Smurf Paint & Play Workshop overlay and one Face Maker overlay (quality is a little less in those two cases, compared to the Mouse Trap overlay, but not too bad). I also showed her a custom overlay I created for Gateway to Apshai, which was printed on mylar by eColeco.com, a couple of years ago. It should be noted that eColeco does not offer this overlay printing service anymore.

The main problem with the eColeco overlays is that they printed the artwork on top of the mylar, and the artwork tends to get scraped off while you insert the overlay in a CV controller, especially along the left edge. I speak from experience when I say this, and that's why I have actually refrained from using my eColeco overlays. Another problem with eColeco's overlays is that they were cut by hand, which did not always produce good results.

Moldex is not equipped to print the overlays themselves, but Sylvia has contacts with another company that can do the job, with laser cutting for great results every time. And the artwork would be printed under the mylar, so it would be more durable and less prone to peeling off after repeated uses. :)

So we effectively have a brand new possibility of having new ColecoVision overlays produced. I haven't worked out all the details, but as you can imagine, there are certains issues and constraints that we have to work with. Sylvia measured the thickness of the Mouse Trap overlay with a caliper, and she came up with 6 "thow" (I don't know how to spell that). All the other overlay samples were 5 "thow". She told me she could offer me a thickness of up to 12 "thow", which would be quite durable, but I'm not sure if such double-thick overlays will actually slide inside the CV controller without problem. So there's some testing to do there.

The second issue is the artwork. When printing stuff like this, the number of colors becomes important. A basic printing job involves no more than 4 colors. If you require more than 4, it adds to the complexity of the job, from what I've been told. So it may be slightly less expensive to limit ourselves to 4 colors. I'm not sure if the 4 colors can be ANY color, or if there's a precise range of colors to choose from, I have to get more details about that too.

And of course, there's the issue of quantity versus price. Just like for cartridge casings, there's a fixed machine setup fee of over 100$CAN, no matter how many overlays are produced. Sylvia gave me a rough estimate that each overlay should cost between 1$ and 3$, depending on colors and total quantity produced, but that DOES NOT include the fixed machine setup fees. I do not currently know how many overlays can be printed on a single sheet of transparent plastic (it depends on the dimensions of the sheet), but it's clear that producing just a handful of custom overlays can be overly expensive, mostly because of the fixed setup fees.

On the plus side, this opens the door to several opportunities:
1) Create replacement overlays for legacy games (Mouse Trap, Ken Uston's Black Jack/Poker, Spy Hunter, etc.)
2) Create custom overlays for legacy games that did not have any (Gateway to Apshai, Quest for Quintana Roo, etc.)
3) Create overlays in higher numbers for upcoming homebrew CV games (Utopia and Space Shuttle immediately come to mind, where my own Team Pixelboy projects are concerned). For a run of 100 games, if two overlays are included with each game, then that's 200 overlays right there.

So what do you guys think? :)

#2 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:50 PM

I think she meant "thou" and not "thow". For example that would be 6 thousands of an inch or approx. 1.5mm.

#3 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:17 PM

I think she meant "thou" and not "thow". For example that would be 6 thousands of an inch or approx. 1.5mm.

Ah, I see. I just wrote "thow" because that's how she pronounced it. I didn't even even understand the unit of measurement, I just understood that it was very thin. :P

#4 GroovyBee OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:25 PM

Ooops! Decimal point in the wrong place :(. That should be 0.15mm (its been a long day today).

#5 dano OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:29 PM

I would like to have overlays for the games that didn't come with any. Like the games you listed: Gateway to Apshai, Quest for Quintana Roo etc. Sounds like a good thing to me.

#6 retroillucid OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:36 PM

Interesting! :twisted:

#7 RangerG OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:47 PM

You should make a set of orphan overlays like were made for the Intellivision (games that never had overlays). Great idea and I would buy them. Go for quality (even if it costs more).

#8 Mord OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 12, 2009 12:49 AM

So what do you guys think? :)


Certainly a plus, and if I manage to get a Colecovision game ready to go out the door I'd be interested in having some done up. Obviously way too soon to know for sure.

I'd recommend seeing about if you can get replacement keypad overlays for the 2600 done as well while you're at it. They're not so different. Having some plastic overlays done for synthcart would rock for instance. :)

#9 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 12, 2009 5:44 AM

I'd recommend seeing about if you can get replacement keypad overlays for the 2600 done as well while you're at it. They're not so different. Having some plastic overlays done for synthcart would rock for instance. :)

I'll keep that in mind while I pursue the project. :) How many 2600 games use the keypad?

#10 King_Salamon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:45 AM

Very interesting idea! I think Gateway to Apshai is a must do... and same goes for the reprinting of the ones that were done. So I think overlays for all games would be cool. Although the cost of $100 per overlay setup is rather steep... example would be Mouse Trap... I don't think there are too many people who would pay $1-3 for a Mouse Trap Overlay (especially when you add the cost of setup to that number).

Question... what about Super Action Controller Overlays?

Another question... Utopia? As in Intellivision Utopia? For the Colecovision? (Where do I sign up? :) )

#11 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 12, 2009 1:27 PM

Very interesting idea! I think Gateway to Apshai is a must do... and same goes for the reprinting of the ones that were done. So I think overlays for all games would be cool. Although the cost of $100 per overlay setup is rather steep... example would be Mouse Trap... I don't think there are too many people who would pay $1-3 for a Mouse Trap Overlay (especially when you add the cost of setup to that number).

One thing I want to investigate is how many overlays I can fit on a single sheet of mylar. Let's say I can print 20 overlays on a single sheet, then the setup fees can be distributed and that comes down to 5-6$ per overlay (plus a couple of bucks per overlay to pay for actual printing and laser cutting). In an ideal situation, I could place an order to print several different overlays at once, on multiple sheets of mylar, and pay the setup fees only once for the entire order. Or perhaps there's a setup fee for each sheet, I dunno yet.

Question... what about Super Action Controller Overlays?

My first reflex would be to say that Super Action overlays are beyond the scope of this project, since they are not made of plastic and Moldex is a plastics company. However, I could look into it if there's enough of a demand. eColeco's Super Action overlays are nice, but they are cut by hand, and if you compare the original S.A. overlays with eColeco's, the difference in cut quality is painfully obvious.

Another question... Utopia? As in Intellivision Utopia? For the Colecovision? (Where do I sign up? :) )

Utopia is indeed on my to-do list, under my new "Team Pixelboy" ColecoVision publishing label. There are a couple of projects I want to do first (namely "Sudoku/Solitaire" and "Boxxle"), but Utopia is next on my list after those two. Once my new web site is up, you'll be able to see all the projects I have lined up. :)

#12 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:52 AM

Here are some custom overlays I made back in 2006, for commercialy-released CV games.

Attached Thumbnails

  • overlays_legacy.png


#13 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 13, 2009 8:53 AM

And here are some overlays I did for homebrew games. :)

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  • overlays_homebrew.png


#14 ten-four OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:41 AM

Here are some custom overlays I made back in 2006, for commercialy-released CV games.


Hi Team Pixelboy... :)

I remember you worked with these overlays for some years ago.
I believe that you also tried with Miner 2049'er, -right !

I think you should go for it. :D

#15 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 13, 2009 10:50 AM


Here are some custom overlays I made back in 2006, for commercialy-released CV games.


Hi Team Pixelboy... :)

Why do you call me "Team Pixelboy"? :? That's just the name of my CV publishing label. :)

I remember you worked with these overlays for some years ago.
I believe that you also tried with Miner 2049'er, -right !

The Miner 2049er overlay is among the ones I showed above. :)

#16 Ikrananka OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:33 AM

I remember you showing your custom and homebrew overlays before and was blown away with how great they looked (and still do). At the time I thought how sad it was that these were not available to buy - particularly professionally cut!!!! Personally I'd buy a full set of your custom and homebrew overlays in a heartbeat - however on the flip side I wouldn't want any reproductions of legacy game overlays.

So my vote goes to your options 2 and 3 :)

#17 TMOSteel OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:11 PM

On the plus side, this opens the door to several opportunities:
1) Create replacement overlays for legacy games (Mouse Trap, Ken Uston's Black Jack/Poker, Spy Hunter, etc.)
2) Create custom overlays for legacy games that did not have any (Gateway to Apshai, Quest for Quintana Roo, etc.)
3) Create overlays in higher numbers for upcoming homebrew CV games (Utopia and Space Shuttle immediately come to mind, where my own Team Pixelboy projects are concerned). For a run of 100 games, if two overlays are included with each game, then that's 200 overlays right there.

So what do you guys think? :)


Cool idea, on all fronts. I like the idea of replacements, since 1) I have a 128-in-one flash cart from Atarimax and 2) I have a large collection of ColecoVision games I picked up a few years back were "loose" carts with no overlays.

New overlays for games that never had them and upcoming releases sounds pretty cool too, so I say go for it.

Just let me know when you need the money, :D

Edited by TMOSteel, Mon Nov 2, 2009 12:04 PM.


#18 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 14, 2009 1:40 PM

The overlays look very, very cool...

#19 jblenkle OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 7, 2009 11:07 PM

...Just yesterday morning, I had a meeting with Sylvia at Moldex, and we discussed the possibility of producing new ColecoVision controller overlays...

Overlays sound like a great idea as the originals are getting harder and harder to find. And there are several games that overlays were never produced for that they would come in handy.

I think the only game overlays I have are for the Mousetrap game.

Joe B.

#20 RayXambeR OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 1, 2009 2:55 PM

Very great idea! I think you can made a set like Orphan overlays on Intellivision, with commercial games and homebrew ones.
I am not really interesting by new existing overlays (like mouse trap or others)

#21 Colecovision OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 28, 2010 5:48 PM

I'm interested in option 2. I really need an overlay for Gateway to Apshai.

#22 HARMIK OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:30 PM

Hate to be greedy but I like option 1,2 and 3 :)

#23 Pixelboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:50 AM

It's nice to see people interested in this project, but considering I'm currently working on the simultaneous release of three different homebrew ColecoVision games, and that I'm paying for all that out of my own pocket, you can understand why this overlay project is currently stalled. :)

#24 zodiacprime OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:46 PM

I'd be extremely interested in all options. Those overlays look amazing!

#25 lucifershalo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 5, 2011 2:10 PM

hope this project is not completely abandoned




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