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Project Odball - Complete


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#1 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:55 PM

Hello, all. It's coming down to it, so this is the official thread for my Magnavox Odyssey homebrew game, tentatively title "Project Odball." Yes, this is for the original Odyssey, not the Odyssey 2. I'll use this thread to post information and updates about the project.

This is the first time I've ever made a homebrew. I am really doing it as a thank you to the retro game community and fellow collectors. I love collecting, I love the scene, and this is my chance to give something back.

I am planning a pre-Christmas release, and will begin taking preorders by month's end. At that time, I'll post a new thread in the Marketplace. I won't be taking preorders until I have an actual final product that's ready to ship. I want to be able to show y'all what you're buying before you buy it. :)

The game will ship with the following items:

  • An all-new Game Card
  • A scaled down Odyssey box
  • A scaled down screen overlay
  • A custom score pad for keeping score
  • A sand timer to start a new round
  • Instruction page in the style of classic Odyssey games
  • A hand numbered certificate of purchase

Here are some basic FAQs to get started, but I'll answer questions as they come.

What is the plot of the game?

One player is defending a mystical castle floating in the sky from an attack by the Odball, and the other player is the attacker. Rounds will be determined by a sand timer.

How long will the rounds last?

The sand timers are 30 seconds. This leads to a fast paced game. However, the sand timers can be turned over for a 60 second round.

How is score determined?

The attacker must hit the Sky Castle from its one vulnerable spot, above it. Rounds will continue and players will alternate between attacker and defender until one player has successfully hit the opponents Sky Castle 11 times from above. At that point, the castle is destroyed and the game is over.

How does the game play?

There is a vertical line on the screen to the left. Players can set the position of this line using the controls on the console. The ball does bounce off of this line. The screen overlay containing the Sky Castle is placed on the TV. The attacker will attempt to hit the defender's Sky Castle from above. This is done by bouncing the ball off of the vertical line. Once the ball is over the castle, then the player hits the Reset button on the controller to cause it to plunge downward for a hit. The defender's job is to deflect the Odball projectile.

How far along is the project?

It's pretty much done. I am using an artist for original artwork for the Sky Castle. The artwork should be delivered within two weeks, at which point I'll print the boxes and overlays. Then I'll post pics here, and open it up to preordering. Some of the PCBs are already printed and I've got them here. More can be ordered based on demand.

Why are you using scaled-down overlays and boxes?

I wanted to be as authentic as possible and use actual size boxes and overlays. The reality is that this would've made each game cost a ridiculous amount of money. By using smaller boxes and overlays, I can keep the cost down. The overlay element doesn't need to fit to the screen, anyways. It's just one object, the Sky Castle, that can be placed on the screen. I think this also helps with the problem of people having different sized TV screens.

How much will the game cost?

I am not 100% sure because I am not certain of the exact printing costs, but approximately $65. That includes the costs of the PCB, materials, printing, and things like that. I'm not looking to make money, and I am no expecting to sell a great deal.

What Game Card is used with the game?

The game will ship with Game Card #11.

Why did you use Game Card #11?

Game Card #11 is previously unreleased. It's one of those mystery items. I wanted to see what it did differently from other Game Cards. Game Card #11 was originally intended for use with Basketball, but to save money Magnavox reused Game Card instead.

While Game Cards #8 and #11 are similar, there is a key difference that "Project Odball" takes advantage of, making it essential to game play. It's also easy to imagine how the Basketball game could've been.

Has there ever been a homebrew for Magnavox Odyssey?

No, I don't believe so. I think this will be the first Odyssey game in 36 years.

When can I pre-order the game? When will it be released?

Pre-orders will begin within a few weeks, and the game will be released by year's end. 2009 marks the 37th anniversary of the Odyssey's release, and this game will be released this year. Update: I am setting a deadline for release of December 10, 2009.

Orders can be made here: http://www.atariage....-taking-orders/

What is the name of the game?

Odball

Do you realize that you spelled "Oddball" wrong?

Yes, the "Od" is for "Odyssey."

If I purchase this item, will the original files be made available?

Yes, I will email anyone the original file for the box, manual, score pad, and screen overlay in case anyone wishes to improve upon the design, or make their own replacements in case the original gets lost or damaged.

Edited by Rev. Rob, Sun Jan 3, 2010 12:37 AM.


#2 RevEng ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:13 AM

That's a most interesting sounding homebrew - Can't wait to see the finished product!

#3 rpgcollector OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:59 PM

Wow. An Odyssey 1 homebrew. Very Cool. I would love to display this along side my CIB Shooting Gallery!

#4 Animan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:41 PM

We need more Odyssey 1 Homebrews!

#5 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:23 PM

Updated FAQs:

What Game Card is used with the game?

The game will ship with Game Card #11.

Why did you use Game Card #11?

Game Card #11 is previously unreleased. It's one of those mystery items. I wanted to see what it did differently from other Game Cards. Game Card #11 was originally intended for use with Basketball, but to save money Magnavox reused Game Card instead.

While Game Cards #8 and #11 are similar, there is a key difference that "Project Odball" takes advantage of, making it essential to game play. It's also easy to imagine how the Basketball game could've been.

Has there ever been a homebrew for Magnavox Odyssey?

No, I don't believe so. I think this will be the first Odyssey game in 34 years.

When can I pre-order the game? When will it be released?

Pre-orders will begin within a few weeks, and the game will be released by year's end. 2009 marks the 35th anniversary of the Odyssey's release, and this game will be released this year.


Please also enjoy this concept art!

Attached Thumbnails

  • Odball.jpg


#6 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:36 PM

Here's some new concept art.

Enjoy!

Both works will make it into the game in some way. Here's the question, which do you guys like better, the Photoshop art or the pencil art?

Attached Thumbnails

  • small1.png
  • small2.jpg

Edited by Rev. Rob, Mon Nov 16, 2009 10:37 PM.


#7 accousticguitar OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:08 PM

Pencil

#8 vcsdream OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:56 AM

I want one

#9 Bill Loguidice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 17, 2009 1:51 PM

Pencil.

#10 Impaler_26 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:23 PM

Pencil

#11 iwan-iwanowitsch-goratschin OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:39 PM

Pencil


+1

#12 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:45 PM


Pencil


+1


The pencil is definitely going to be the box art. This week I am going to print them both as screen overlays. I am not sure if the pencil art will work well for the overlay, so it may just be the Photoshop art for that. Or, I just may ship the game with both overlays and give players a choice as to which they would prefer to use.

Edited by Rev. Rob, Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:11 PM.


#13 Arkhan OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 18, 2009 3:28 AM

I dont even own an odyssey but I think I will buy this game.

#14 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:29 PM

Just for fun, here's an early concept art that was rejected. "Silicon City"

Attached Thumbnails

  • silicon_city.png

Edited by Rev. Rob, Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:30 PM.


#15 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 21, 2009 10:57 PM

I am experimenting with ways to make the "handle" for the Game Card. I tried epoxy putty, and that was a disaster. I am going to try resin. If that doesn't turn out to be inexpensive and affordable, it'll just be a PCB that plugs into the Odyssey, like a single sided Apex card.

#16 Godzilla OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 2:44 AM

please keep me updated on this, I would love one (since I have a complete odyssey 1 collection.) :)

#17 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 22, 2009 8:14 PM

Here's a prototype Game Card with a prototype box.

The Game Card may actually represent what the final version will look like, in fact, it's beginning to really look that way.

The box is my first test with box printing/folding. The box design is finalized.

I am going to use different materials. You can see that part of the ink flaked off because I used paper that was too glossy. It almost looks like it really is 35 years old, heh. I did a test on less glossy paper (I didn't fold that one yet) and it came out perfect.

Also, I made a goof on the folding and this box is a little warped. The final product will look a lot better. So, from the looks of it, pre-order should begin soon. :)

Note: The box isn't exactly to scale because I need it to have enough depth to fit the sand timers.

Attached Thumbnails

  • DSCN0840.JPG
  • DSCN0841.JPG


#18 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:28 PM

Updated FAQs:

What is the name of the game?

Odball

Do you realize that you spelled "Oddball" wrong?

Yes, the "Od" is for "Odyssey."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And, here's an update on progress:

I've been practicing box folding, and I've gotten a bit better. If anyone has some tips, I'd love to hear them.

I am cutting them out with an exacto knife. Folding is the tricky part. On the "inside" of the box (i.e. on the back of the sheet) I am making a slight trace with the exacto knife to make the sheet fold in the proper places. Still, if it's not done perfectly, then the box appears "warped" slightly." I've been successful in getting it "perfect" about 1 out of 3 times.

Right now I am waiting on a shipment of sand timers. I was debating on 30 second or 15 second timers, but I settled on 30 second timers. They should fit in the boxes, but if not, then I'll widen them. After they get here, and after a final round of play testing, I'll begin preorders.

Thanks to everyone who has expressed interest and who sent messages of encouragement.

Edited by Rev. Rob, Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:35 PM.


#19 gokugohandave OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 25, 2009 11:25 AM

Dude count me in on a preorder, id love to have one these.

#20 vcsdream OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:25 PM

Seeing the prototype box, how about using the 1973 range graphic style which shows the contents? Sand timer and note pad, I like the extra contents. Unless your box is really finalised, leave it, it looks pretty cool too.
Posted Image

My question: Will it be availabe in the new year?

Edited by vcsdream, Thu Nov 26, 2009 2:33 PM.


#21 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 26, 2009 5:27 PM

Seeing the prototype box, how about using the 1973 range graphic style which shows the contents? Sand timer and note pad, I like the extra contents. Unless your box is really finalised, leave it, it looks pretty cool too.
Posted Image

My question: Will it be availabe in the new year?


That's a pretty good suggestion. I don't yet own the 1973 games, and I haven't seen the backs of those boxes up close until now, so I based it off of the original design. The box design is pretty well finalized.

To answer your question, it will be available before the new year. I should be ready to start taking pre-orders next week and ship the first order by the end of this year. :)

#22 Rev. Rob OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 29, 2009 9:58 PM

Update:

I pretty much completed the instructions today. For anyone who has the Basketball game, I am including modified instructions for play using Game Card #11. Most Odyssey collectors know that Game Card #11 was originally intended for Basketball, but was dropped in favor or re-using Game Card #8 in order to save money, and was never released until now. So, anyone lucky enough to own Basketball will be able to play it a slightly different way. I like to imagine this is how it was originally meant to be played.

In other news, I would actually be 100% done today, except I ran into a cost problem with the custom score pads. I am looking into another solution, but they may get removed from the package. I really want to keep this under $60, and the price of PCBs went up a little.

Edited by Rev. Rob, Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:02 PM.


#23 the.golden.ax OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Nov 29, 2009 10:18 PM

I'd be interested if I HAD an OD1 console. :D

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#24 Godzilla OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Nov 30, 2009 4:38 PM

can't wait :)

#25 rbudrick OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 1, 2009 7:02 PM

We need more Odyssey 1 Homebrews!


Err, umm, we can't. All 12 games are built in. #11 is the only game without a jumper card to access it.

Perhaps if some guts were replaced one could create new configs. You'd have to be damn good, though. It's not like the games can be programmed, as they are all analog.

-Rob




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