Good day, Colecovision fanatics!
I'd like to begin this news bulletin by wishing you all a Happy New Year! May 2013 bring you all good furtune and good health for you and your loved ones. And also lots of new ColecoVision games, but that's an understatement. ORDER PROCESSING REPORT
As I write this, no package has been shipped yet. The e-mail processing rush is now mostly behind me, although roughly 50 customers still haven't replied to the Christmas e-mail, so I may have more work ahead of me there. In any case, I will begin preparing packages today, and I will drop them off at the post office as quickly as I can. I have roughly 55 packages to prepare, and probably a few more will be added to that total over the next few days, so this is definately going to take a while. Thanks in advance for your patience.
The first packages that will be shipped with be those where customers paid for XpressPost. Considering the price of that shipping option, I think giving those packages priority is the right thing to do. Fortunately, I only have about a dozen XpressPost packages to ship, and I'll ship the rest as quickly as I can afterwards.
Quite a few people have taken advantage of my offer to produce more copies of my past releases. Some of you may recall that I only had 9 unglued Gulkave boxes left. Well, those are now all spoken for, so you can consider Gulkave to be permanently sold out, same as Girl's Garden and Peek-a-boo. I also have 15 pre-orders for Pitfall II Arcade recorded so far, and somewhere between 10 and 15 pre-orders for each of the other games. This is quite a bit more than I was expecting! WEB SITE UPDATES
If you visit teampixelboy.com, you may notice a few updates. First of all, I added a section in the "completed projects" section for Super Action Soccer. It's an official Team Pixelboy product, after all, and I thought it would be nice to tell the project's story.
Sadly, you may also notice that Champion Ice Hockey is no longer on my release schedule. The hockey players on the screen felt more like bumper cars than human skaters, and I just wasn't confortable releasing the SG-1000 port as-is. So I had asked Eduardo Mello to fix the skating physics of the game within the software, to make the action more crisp and exciting, but that turned out to be too complicated to do, so we both agreed to drop the game entirely.
There are also three new games added to the "outsourced projects" section, and they are described in the other paragraphs below.MECHA-8
Yes my friends, our good friend nanochess strikes again! Following the awesome work he did with the recently-released Princess Quest, he's coming back in 2013 with a brand new shooter game called Mecha-8! Originally conceived and programmed for the MSX, the game came in fifth place in the MSXdev'11 homebrew contest.
Since then, nanochess has improved the game tremendously while porting it to the ColecoVision. Everything from the smooth scrolling, great graphics and perfect difficulty curve make this an awesome entry in the ColecoVision's homebrew library. And here's the cherry on the sunday: While the game does NOT require the Super Game Module, if the SGM is detected, the game will automatically take advantage of the auxiliary sound chip inside the SGM to improve the background music! Mecha-8 will be a 128K MegaCart game. Check out the video below, prepared by nanochess himself and graciously posted on YouTube by opcode!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsAUDZpJc0ABATTLE OF HOTH
Okay, it's time to come clean! Many of you will recall this strange commercial that was "uncovered" on YouTube a couple of weeks ago:
The culprit behind this fake commercial is none other than another high-profile resident ColecoVision homebrewer, youki! While the video commercial may be fake, the game it features definately is not! youki has been working on Battle of Hoth for the past year, and it's getting close to completion. The game features smooth parallax scrolling, cool background music curtesy of Mystery Man, and a few nice additions like the occasional attacking TIE Fighter, and also the Snowspeeder grappling hook that the player can use as a last resort against the AT-ATs!
I'm planning an initial release of 75 copies, each of which will feature a white cartridge, and if there's any additional demand for the game (like I expect there will be) I will likely produce more copies. And before you ask, this game will NOT require the Super Game Module. GHOSTBUSTERS
This one is the result of a recently "renewed" agreement between myself and Eduardo Mello. The MSX port of this classic game will require the Super Game Module, and will likely not be released this year. Eduardo has many other projects to finish in 2013 before he tackles this port.
Ghostbusters is definately one game that should have been released on the ColecoVision back in the early eighties, and Team Pixelboy is proud to correct that unfortunate oversight, albeit over 30 years later! RELEASE SCHEDULE FOR 2013 AND 2014
Many of you have expressed dissatisfaction at the fact that I release all my games on Christmas Day every year. I agree it's a burden on the ol' wallet, so this year, I'm going to try something different. Here's my tentative release schedule for the next two years:May 2013:
- Battle of HothSeptember 2013:
- The Goonies
- KnightmareChristmas 2013:
- Jewel Panic
- The Stone of WisdomMay 2014:
- The Black Onyx
- SpelunkerSeptember 2014:
- Yie Ar Kung-Fu 2
- ZanacChristmas 2014:
- Module Man
This schedule is of course subject to change along the way, especially considering there are several factors, over which I have no real control, which may induce delays. Module Man is also not a sure thing yet, so that's why I'm placing it at the very end of the schedule. I may shift games around the schedule as these various projects progress over time.
Releasing a couple of games every few months implies totally different development and production logistics, compared to releasing all the games at the end of the year, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I'll be able to make it all work out as planned.ABOUT THE BLACK ONYX
It's been sitting in a corner for a couple of years, without seing much progress, but now, thanks to my good friend Mystery Man, it seems the Black Onyx project is finally going to take off for real! Mystery Man has already done a lot of the work which I outlined in the original outsourced project contract (like replacing the password system with an EEPROM-based instant savegame feature) but some loose ends need to be tied up before we can go ahead with actual beta-testing. While these details are being resolved, I can tell you about my general beta-testing plan.
Beta-testing will happen in two phases, both of which will hopefully be completed in 2013 so that the game may be released as soon as possible in 2014.
The first phase will be done under emulation only. I will be needing at least three or four beta-testers to test The Black Onyx beta ROM using blueMSX, and unlike other beta-testing efforts of other past games where just a few weeks of testing was usually sufficient, this one will be much more demanding. Beta-testers will not be testing the software just to find bugs and problems, they will be required to explore every nook and cranny of the game, and offer a report of their gaming experience. This will allow us to discuss the key features of the software and determine if the game should be tweaked for the target audience. For example, does it take forever to earn enough money from battles to buy equipment at the shops? Since players will be full-grown adults with less free time to play the game, perhaps some kind of adjustment to speed up money-gathering would be a good idea. This is not the kind of question that can be answered after just a few minutes of play. So I'll be looking for beta-testers with lots of free time on their hands.
Once the first phase of beta-testing is passed, the second phase of testing will be done on real hardware. This will be somewhat tricky, because neither the AtariMax 128-in-1 USB cart nor the AtariMax SD cartridge provide support for the EEPROM-based savegame feature of my Activision PCB. So I will be providing socketed Activision PCBs to selected beta-testers, who will be required to own an EPROM burner so that they can reprogram the main 32K EPROM with new revisions of the game ROM, whenever necessary. Testing on real hardware will continue until everyone involved (including me) is satisfied that the game functions properly.
Once the first phase of beta-testing will be ready to commence, I will start a new thread on these forums to recruit beta-testers. This may take a couple of months to work out.
Again, Happy New Year!
This concludes this Team Pixelboy News Bulletin. We now return you to your regular forum activities.