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Atari 2600 Boulder Dash (R) Announced!

Boulder Dash

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#501 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 4:38 PM

Hey-- I've been wondering something. As a programmer, how does it feel to get close to release?


It's a long road, and the last few steps are always the hardest. It's very hard to push and actually finish something. By the time I get to the end of a program, I really don't want to be doing it any more.

When it's all said and done-- is it fun as a programmer at this point? Or, more tedious and painful?


Getting it out the door is not fun. Box and manual design is tedious hard work. There are a few moments of 'fun' during development. Releasing the demo was one of those. I enjoy very much getting feedback from those who tested it. I also have some sense of achieving something... "special". So there's probably a bit of an ego trip there. But really, this is a game I enjoyed way-back-when, and I liked the challenge of bringing it to the 2600. The underlying systems that made it all work are reasonably interesting and I'm quite happy that it all came together teetering right on the edge of practicality. The game is running beautifully, but only by the skin of its teeth. It's doing so much work that it's amazing that it all comes together in a playable form. So that's fun... watching with some amazment that the game actually works, and works well. When I thnk of the complexity of the underlying system... it's amazing. Even though I wrote them. And also, without Thomas, although the systems were there... things would have been much less capable. Doing the programming in tandem with Thomas was quite enjoyable -- although we clashed frequently we both had "the best" as our goal, and working through those interesting optimisations and systems improvements was definitely much fun.

And, when the first copy goes out the door, will it be an ecstatic moment, or maybe just a little sad?



Probaby a touch of pride that it's actually done. Not sad, as I'm happy to be done. Not ecstatic, as it's been such a long time coming... perhaps a bit of relief. The incredible amount of work that's gone into it is soon forgotten and suddenly there's a finished product that you don't really have a connection with. Because for such a long time you've been dealing with a keyboard and a screen and assembly language which has no real association with this.... boxed thing. The physical embodiment of the finished product doesn't create an association for me with all that hard work. I'll look at the box and not really believe I created that.

I think it would be very tough to keep the motivation going on a project of this magnitude, and then to just "let it go" seems like it would be strange to do.


In a way, yes. I'll feel a bit lost now it's complete. On to another project!

Cheers
A

#502 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 7, 2012 6:27 PM

On to another project!


Great! Now you can work with batari and get batari Basic all fixed up and bug-free. And maybe throw in some magical kernels while you're at it. :grin:

#503 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 3:58 AM

In short, I almost feel/felt like Andrew. Most fun is really coding the thing and making it work and fast enough. Getting feedback of the demo and the label contest was fun too. And watching the sales :) (100% not for the money, but for the response). But that's about it.

Finalizing things and discussing subtle changes are very tedious. And since that's what I am doing for a living all day long, I am really, really not interested into doing this as my hobby. But it has to be done.

Now I am looking forward to the day when everything is finally done and I can wait for getting my personal copy. And then I hope for a lot of (hopefully, but not necessary) positive feedback about the game itself (not just the packaging).

#504 Marco Miccoli OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 12:46 PM

I'm happy to know that the game is nearing completion.
The box is really nice.
I hope to see the game soon.

#505 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 2:05 PM

Why can't some ship from Germany to Germans/Europeans?
Will they be shipped from USA with the green export sticker ticked as 'Gift' and value not over $20.00?
Otherwise customs and excise will take a share as well.

#506 pac^man OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 8, 2012 2:11 PM

Why can't some ship from Germany to Germans/Europeans?
Will they be shipped from USA with the green export sticker ticked as 'Gift' and value not over $20.00?
Otherwise customs and excise will take a share as well.


Good question.
But I fear logistics and costs won't allow distribution centers for the game on each continent.
I'll be near Düsseldorf next week, so I even could stop by Thomas and get it in person, if he had a pile of boxes with games and goodies ready ;). But as we learned, only the boxes are printed in Germany.
Well, after paying more than $80 for the game we can for sure afford some additional € for customs.

#507 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 5:39 AM

But I fear logistics and costs won't allow distribution centers for the game on each continent.

Right. And additionally you would have to find someone besides Al who would like to do such tedious tasks.

I definitely am not interested. :)

#508 high voltage OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 5:45 AM

Of course you could do like Extra Terrestrials did, the green export sticker tick the box 'gift' and add the value of $20

#509 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 5:57 AM

Of course you could do like Extra Terrestrials did, the green export sticker tick the box 'gift' and add the value of $20


Yeah, but the customs people aren't stupid and they see this all the time. Once they decide to have a look and realise it's Boulder Dash® for the '2600, they'll know the true value is many hundreds of dollars...
Better to declare the $75 and pay the lesser amount. By the way, here in Oz they don't just charge you on the item value -- they also charge on the (item+postage) total. So the heavier things are, the more they cost to post here, and the more customs duty we pay. Ouch The other side of that coin is that items under $1000 in value aren't taxed at all, as the cost of collecting the tax is greater than the amount of tax collected!

#510 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 6:12 AM

The other side of that coin is that items under $1000 in value aren't taxed at all, as the cost of collecting the tax is greater than the amount of tax collected!

Well, in Germany everything above 20€ is taxed. Period.

Maybe if Al declares it as review copy (to be send back after review) I can get away from it... :ponder:

#511 lucifershalo OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 6:32 AM


Of course you could do like Extra Terrestrials did, the green export sticker tick the box 'gift' and add the value of $20


Yeah, but the customs people aren't stupid and they see this all the time. Once they decide to have a look and realise it's Boulder Dash® for the '2600, they'll know the true value is many hundreds of dollars...
Better to declare the $75 and pay the lesser amount. By the way, here in Oz they don't just charge you on the item value -- they also charge on the (item+postage) total. So the heavier things are, the more they cost to post here, and the more customs duty we pay. Ouch The other side of that coin is that items under $1000 in value aren't taxed at all, as the cost of collecting the tax is greater than the amount of tax collected!


In Belgium, custom people are stupid
which is a blessing and a curse
up to now any box from Japan costs me a max of 10 euros
received a huge box from JF / Collectorvision for european distribution and paid...10 euros
but when there is a problem it is a nightmare but only once or twice in 15 years of collecting

#512 YesRushGen OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 7:53 AM

Been lurking on AtariAge for years. The existence of this game caused me to crawl out of the wood, order the game, and then post. :)

Can't wait to try it; the demo and video look amazing.

Many thanks to those who made it possible,

Kelly

#513 bomberpunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 8:10 AM

welcome, officially, to the club.

#514 VectorGamer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 8:26 AM

When will this be shipping?

#515 YesRushGen OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 11:59 AM

welcome, officially, to the club.


Thanks! I'm trying to post an introduction over in the... well... Introductions forum, but our network's IPS keeps throwing it out. I'll try again tonight from home.

#516 Mayhem ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 9, 2012 12:21 PM

$20 value always slips under the radar of Customs here, which is why I asked everyone shipping from the US to declare that as the value. And as Andrew states, here is the same, the tax is levied on the value of the item AND the shipping combined. I've always WTF at that.

#517 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 7:42 AM

Here's a quick update for everyone. First Star Software, Inc. have approved the final label designs. These are now being printed by Al. He will no doubt soon put up an image of an actual Boulder Dash® cartridge -- genuine playable final version... but until then, please see the attached rendering using the approved label design. Credit to Nathan Strum for the layout and rendering.
Cheers
A

Attached Thumbnails

  • Boulder-Dash-cart.jpg


#518 KevinMos3 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:48 AM

I gotta say – that wasn't my first choice in the label contest because I was wanting a larger image of the main character, and although I liked the colors I didn't think they were fitting for Boulder Dash – but darn if that label art on the rendering doesn't look absolutely AWESOME! It's completely changed my opinion like I hoped it would.

#519 Miss 2600 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 13, 2012 12:29 PM

I'm on the same page as KevinMos3. That artwork now looks very appropriate for the game. I really like the colors!

#520 Albert OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:19 PM

I just printed some Boulder Dash labels and made the very first Boulder Dash cartridge! Here's a photo to to demonstrate (click the photo for a larger view):

bd_cart_1.jpg

Progress!

..Al

#521 Dino OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:34 PM

:thumbsup:

#522 bomberpunk OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:14 PM

:lust:

#523 atari181 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:17 PM

Stop the teasing!

#524 Nathan Strum OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 14, 2012 7:43 PM

Stop the teasing!


You do all realize April 1st is right around the corner... don't you? :ponder:


;)

#525 Andrew Davie OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:28 PM

I just printed some Boulder Dash labels and made the very first Boulder Dash cartridge! Here's a photo to to demonstrate (click the photo for a larger view):

bd_cart_1.jpg

Progress!

..Al


Mmmh... thanks, Al. Looks to me like we need to reduce the red just a little bit... what do you think?
Also, I got the package in the mail today -- extras look great! Very nice visuals.
Cheers
A





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