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New Game Card, Special Controller, and 3 Games For Magnavox Odyssey 1

Odyssey 1 Odyssey 1972 controller hardware

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#1 zhorton OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 7, 2019 5:10 AM

I’m excited to show you the OdysseyNow Game Pack, the result of a lot of research and development at the Vibrant Media Lab that I direct in Pittsburgh. We’ve developed a brand new game card for the Odyssey (the first one not designed by the Magnavox team), a brand new accessory controller (the first created besides the original light rifle), and a set of three new games. This was all produced as part of the OdysseyNow project, which you can read more about in another AtariAge thread. Here’s a glimpse of the games…

 

 

Tannhauser Gate

 

 
Tannhauser Gate- Overlay.jpg

 

 

In a remote wing of a remote galaxy, on the frontiers of cosmic knowledge, lies Tannhauser's Gate, a colossal directed energy beam fed by a spacio-temporal anomaly of seemingly ceaseless energy. On the other side of the Gate is The Expanse, one of the most mysterious and deadly regions of outer space yet discovered, a zone that seems to vacillate in its allegiance to the laws of the quantum to the laws of the galactic. Spacetime here seems to have a will of its own. Charybdis, a black hole, lies not far from the Gate, and is clearly related to it in some way. Crimson Maw, a mostly uninhabitable planet, nonetheless provides researchers in the area with an ample supply of both common and rare minerals. Unfortunately, the planet and its single natural satellite, “Odysseus,” are isolated from the gate by the massive parade of interstellar stone known as the Scyllan Corridor. Closer at hand, yet surprisingly more barren, is the planet Coronation. Because few minerals or supplies of interest can be found there, it is used mostly as a garbage dump. Such is the fate of even the most regal of mineral-poor planets.

 

Multiple interstellar civilizations have sent researchers to the area, mainly in an attempt to understand the intergalactic wormhole that serves to connect this remote spot to the energy-rich Flywheel Galaxy via Quantum Refluctuation. While ostensibly a demilitarized zone, Tannhauser Gate is plagued by intense rivalry over the scientific knowledge that it provides to its sponsoring corporations, governments, and collectives. These researchers must uneasily share a moon base shielded by the Gate. To venture beyond its boundaries is to be bombarded with a relentless stream of dark particles. No shields can last for long. While an interstellar team of engineers has managed to harness the local energy flux to construct the Gate, its operation remains partially at the whim of the energy patterns that feed it, making the expanse beyond the Gate even more risky to explore.

 

For this reason, the largest scientific collective to currently study the area has created a specialized, long-range scanning platform. Located safely behind Tannhauser Gate, it launches and receives C-beams capable of probing any form of matter. Their rivals, however, use replicant-manned spacecraft to explore outside of the Gate, directly.

 

Take on the roles of the Scanner, Explorer, and Gate Keeper as you compete to complete your missions and disrupt your rivals. Will you be the one to discover the secret of Tannhauser Gate?

 

Tannhauser Gate cards-low.JPG

 

 

Tannhauser Gate is a 3 player game that makes use of a newly designed game card (#13). This card includes an external Aux jack and a “Switch Controller” that attaches to it. The card generates the Tannhauser Gate. The switch controller opens and closes the gate. The Gate Keeper player draws a special Gate card at the beginning of each round, which contains a special gate pattern that must be followed. The Scanner player remains stationary throughout the round, but may send C-beams (represented by the Odyssey’s ball) through the gate to scan various objects in the expanse beyond. The Scanner draws Scan cards that provide specific assignments to carry out. Meanwhile, the Explorer must charge up their ship, activate their life support system, wait for the right moment, and zip out into the expanse, attempting to complete their missions (given on special Explore cards) and return to safety inside the gate before their ship is destroyed by the energy fields of the expanse. This is extremely risky, however, as misjudging the ever-changing rhythm of the gate could cause the ship to implode before it can reach safety!

 

Card 13 with switch-low.JPG

 

In addition to Game Card #13 and the Switch Controller, Tannhauser Gate makes use of the Damocles controller, the first Accessory controller for the Odyssey besides the light rifle. The Damocles controller plugs into the ACC port on the Odyssey. When Player 2 presses the large red button on its face, a countdown timer lights up and begins counting down. When it hits zero, it extinguishes your on-screen player spot. Its button also lights up red to remind you that you’re dead! A white “regen” button allows you to regenerate your ship when the time is right.

 

Damocles Controller-low.jpg

 

In Tannhauser Gate, all three players are doing completely different tasks using completely different tools, yet all three interact in unexpected ways (the gate can bounce the Scanner’s C-Beams away as well as “lock out” the Explorer at a crucial moment, Scan missions can require the Scanner to scan the Explorer, and Explore missions sometimes require the Explorer to intercept C-Beams. The results ensure that no two games of Tannhauser Gate are the same!

 

 

Fukushima

 

 

Fukushima-overlay-low.jpg

 

 

Fukushima is the first-ever cooperative game for the Magnavox Odyssey. Two players are placed inside the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and must work together to prevent the inevitable: a meltdown. Each player takes on a different role in the plant. Player 2 uses the Damocles controller to continually complete a Cooling Cycle, while also assisting Player 1 complete a progressively more difficult Maintenance Cycle, which involves directing the ball to specific points while also activating particular buttons at specific times. This would be enough of a challenge as it is, but a third player with a timer consults a Meltdown reference card and at the appointed times calls out various new disasters that the players must contend with. (Note: If you only have two players, you could also make a recording of the Meltdown Cycle and play that back during gameplay.) The game starts out easy, but gets progressively more difficult as you try to beat the clock to safely shut down the reactor before it fully melts down. Because the game has a delineated set of “levels,” you can easily track your progress. Your team can even compete against other teams for a high score (level achieved + time survived at the point of failure). No one here has been able to beat the game yet. Maybe you can?

 

Fukushima is not only the first coop Odyssey game, but is also the first to utilize the “Wall adjust” control on the console itself. In this game, the wall represents the reactor’s containment barrier, which must sometimes be moved by the players to gain access. But be very careful: when the containment barrier is open, you must prevent the ball from entering the core or it will instantly melt down!

 

Fukushima requires game card #13 and the Damocles controller.

 

 

Super Cat and Mouse: Cheesy Castle

 

 

SCandM- Cheesy Castle- overlay-low.jpg

 

At OdysseyNow, we are big fans of the underappreciated Cat and Mouse game on the Odyssey. We think that a fun concept and mechanic was undermined by substandard production design, and have decided to re-invent the game by giving it a proper setting: a medieval castle. Now, the mouse must collect cheese strewn about the castle by lazy humans, while avoiding the King’s fierce cat! As the King’s cat, of course, you must rid the castle of that peasant vermin.

 



#2 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 7, 2019 5:24 AM

Actually, you're not the first non-Magnavox designers of a game card for the Odyssey. Odball by RevRob uses a specially-designed card. Anyway, glad I'm not the only one making new Odyssey games after 47 years!



#3 zhorton OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 7, 2019 5:34 AM

Actually, you're not the first non-Magnavox designers of a game card for the Odyssey. Odball by RevRob uses a specially-designed card. Anyway, glad I'm not the only one making new Odyssey games after 47 years!

 

Indeed, I have both of your games.  :-)  Odball, however, used card #11, designed by Magnavox.  They never deemed the card useful for any games, and therefore never released it.  They did, however, release the schematic for it, which RevRob used to produce the physical card for Odball--a very cool project.  Our card #13, on the other hand, is a completely new design.


Edited by zhorton, Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:33 PM.


#4 superbee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 7, 2019 7:36 AM

Excellent. I´m really excited to know more about it. :)



#5 zhorton OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 13, 2019 2:25 PM

We're working on a very limited release for this community.  The challenge is reaching the currently very small Odyssey community!  No dedicated forum on AtariAge, or anywhere else that I know of.  Let me know if you have any suggestions about how to get the word out!



#6 stupus OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 13, 2019 3:04 PM

Definitely interested in all of This!
Thanks for posting in other threads so I saw this!

#7 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 13, 2019 4:22 PM

I'll buy one if it's not super duper expensive.



#8 slydc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:20 PM

Hi again Mr.Horton,

 

It's been quite a while we haven't spoken (err..written). The last time, you were asking about scans and the source code

of the OdySim. I'm glad that someone else is also trying to preserve the Magnavox Odyssey and like Chris, i would also

be interested in a copy of your 3 games and controllers.

 

For those who doesn't know, card #8 and the unreleased  #11 are almost the same, the only difference between the two

is that the width of the wall in card #11 is half compared to card #8. So if your Odyssey is opened, plug in card #8 and

after variate the pot R17 (Wall Width) on the Wall Generator board, you can resize the width of the wall as you like (very

thin to very large). 

 

And if anyone wants to play versus the game console (vs AI or Robot, etc...), you only need one..yes, ONE jumper to

be able to play vs the Odyssey itself (i implanted the AI on the OdySim in the same manner for the "jumper"). But when

playing vs the game console, it is unbeatable (it follows the ball like a cat with a laser pointer...lol!). Discovered that

option while toying around on a real Odyssey three years ago.

 

So if the price is good, sign me up for the 3 games and accessories! :)


Edited by slydc, Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:20 PM.


#9 mckafka99 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 13, 2019 6:37 PM

Definitely interested in learning more of pricing and release date for these - sounds interesting!



#10 Shawn OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:26 AM

We're working on a very limited release for this community.  The challenge is reaching the currently very small Odyssey community!  No dedicated forum on AtariAge, or anywhere else that I know of.  Let me know if you have any suggestions about how to get the word out!

 

Maybe the folks in the O2 and Videopac forums might be Odyssey fans too? Could be worth checking out. I find many more fans for those machines are overseas compared to those stateside. 



#11 zhorton OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:07 AM

you only need one..yes, ONE jumper to

be able to play vs the Odyssey itself (i implanted the AI on the OdySim in the same manner for the "jumper"). But when

playing vs the game console, it is unbeatable (it follows the ball like a cat with a laser pointer...lol!). Discovered that

option while toying around on a real Odyssey three years ago.

 

So if the price is good, sign me up for the 3 games and accessories! :)

 

Sylvan, good to hear from you!  That's very interesting about the jumper.  It makes sense: that would slave the vertical value (voltage) of P2 to the vertical value of the ball.  I suppose that would be a good way to practice one's Tennis skills!

 

Shawn, thanks for the suggestion.  I may post something over there at some point.  I just don't want to spam these forums!  Anyone else is also free to share this wherever they wish, of course.

 

I'm not much of a promoter--I'm just excited to be able to expand the world of Odyssey gaming.  Quite a few people on the OdysseyNow team have worked for a couple of years to develop something really special for the Odyssey platform.  It's a big moment for us to give the outside world a peek at what we've been up to!  Thank you to those of you who have shown interest so far!



#12 slydc OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:57 AM

Hi Zack, same here! Oh and it's Sylvain but it's easier to write Sly (or say it..lol). ;)

 

Exactly! By connecting the vertical ball with the vertical pot of player 2, this gives you a "robot" mode. But i must

apologize as i was wrong (well semi-wrong) as i tested this back in March 23, 2013 and not 3 years ago as i've

checked my notes this morning. The first test i've did was putting a jumper to connect the vertical ball with the vertical

pot of player 2. It works but... when player 1 hits the ball, player 2 (now robot) jumps instantly to the position of the ball

and you have 2 blind spots (upper screen and bottom screen) that the robot doesn't go.

 

This was my first try and after a couple more tries, finally got  the robot to scroll very smoothly (and not jumping) and

has very small blind spots by the next day. After that, connected player 1 the same way for player 2 (robot) and

seeing the Odyssey play versus itself was pretty cool! :)

 

Oh and for future projects, you should take one of the pins of J2 (cart port) that not in use and ground it has the

team at Magnavox back then forgot to ground the cartridge port, so if you need a ground you either take if from

the ACC port (pin#4) or from the AC adaptor input. Talked about this with Mr.Baer (before he departed) and he

too agreed that this makes sense.

 

So take pin#1 of the cartridge port as it is not connected in either BLAK and BK12 models and ground it.

This will be very helpful for future projects (and less fuss too). :)



#13 MemberAtarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 14, 2019 1:25 PM

I can say this is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Such great work for a system that is so overlooked!



#14 Dastari Creel OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 10, 2019 4:40 PM

Glad to see someone actually make an active card for the system. That's one of those projects I'd had on the backburner that I wish to get to one day when I actually have free time between work and free time. 

 

I'm definitely interested in these games. I'd suggest if you want to develop future games that you look at doing something with the hunting rifle. It'd be cool to have a new game for that accessory after all of these years. I know that ManCaveArcade was planning a game to use the rifle years ago, but he seems to have dropped off the face of the forums. 



#15 Flojomojo OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 11, 2019 6:33 AM

Crazy creative cool! 😎

#16 zhorton OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 18, 2019 2:53 PM

Thank you all for your comments and feedback!  We're very proud to be pushing the Odyssey platform further than it has been in 47 years.

 

We're making 10 copies of this game and hardware pack available.  For details, see this thread.  Please keep this current thread focused on the games or their development.







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