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caffeine-fueled projects & reviews

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Star Wars The Mandalorian

Star Wars The Mandalorian

Star Wars: The Mandalorian series.  Episodes 1-7.      Initially I wasn't going to subscribe early to Disney+. But then they showed the trailer for The Mandolorian.   There was absolutely no thought process after that.  I waited a week to let 2 episodes queue up, then subscribed and watched the first 2 eps back-to-back.   I've now watched all 7 of the aired episodes, so what do I think?   I'll list my top 5 surprises and bottom 5  'cons'  so far.     I was going to post this earlier bu

Cafeman

Cafeman

Star Wars Binge - Xbox KOTOR.   (Dantooine. They're on Dantooine.)

Star Wars Binge - Xbox KOTOR. (Dantooine. They're on Dantooine.)

If I had to rate Xbox Knights of the Old Republic based on the first 5 hours, I'd have given it a meager 4/10 , and those 4 points were solely because of the Star Wars universe.  You are stuck on boring planet Taris.  Your character slowly jogs around the upper and lower levels of a city block, talking to characters, breaking into apartments (how exciting!),  trying to remember who's who and why you care, and engaging in some turn-based battles with unimportant characters.  Blah.   The music, vo

Cafeman

Cafeman

Episode IX Star Wars binge part 7 - film rankings

Episode IX Star Wars binge part 7 - film rankings

I am done watching the films in story-chronological order!  Here is my ranking of the 8 Skywalker films and 2 side story films, which I'm sure nobody will agree with:  Ep5 > Ep4 > Ep6 > Ep7 >  RO > Ep8 > Ep3 > Solo > Ep1 >  Ep2.  Breaking it down a bit:  Ep5 > Ep4 > Ep6  -  because the OT films are the best of all them. Unbeatable.   Ep6 ROTJ is an 8.5/10 film, not quite up there with Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back - both of which are 1

Cafeman

Cafeman

Episode IX Star Wars binge part 6: TFA and TLJ 

Episode IX Star Wars binge part 6: TFA and TLJ 

I've watched Star Wars Episode VII:  The Force Awakens about a dozen times;  I've watched Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi a couple of times.    I just re-watched them, after having watched all the other SW films in story-chronological order.  I've already blogged a lot about Episode 7: The Force Awakens, so I'm not in the mood to say the same things.  Basically I really enjoyed its return to the OT feel, and I really liked Daisy Ridley as Rey.  Even though TFA mimics story points f

Cafeman

Cafeman

Episode IX Star Wars Binge Part 5:   Rogue One and the OT films

Episode IX Star Wars Binge Part 5:   Rogue One and the OT films

I decided to re-watch Rogue One, then Episode IV: A New Hope immediately after.  I have never done this before!   Rogue One is a 2016 film, but a prequel to 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope.    I know the original Star Wars film like the back of my hand, but I wonder, how will the experience change after having just watched its prequel?   Rogue One ends with Princess Leia having just escaped the Imperials and Darth Vader, with the plans to the Death Star.    Star Wars began with Princess Leia storin

Cafeman

Cafeman

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 4  (more KOTOR)

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 4 (more KOTOR)

I started to play Xbox Knights of the Old Republic for the first time in advance of Star Wars Episode IX ... although I've owned it for 15 years!     On Monday I played for another hour or so.  I'm still on Taris but I have seemingly finished the sewers/Vulkar Swoop Bike prototype engine mission.   I  won the subsequent Swoop bike racing heats (not hard at all), and the female Jedi Bastila has been freed and she is a member of my party now.   I think I learned something about fighting

Cafeman

Cafeman

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 3

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 3

I have  re-watched all three Prequel Trilogy films back-to-back.    I've come to live with and accept some earlier harsher criticisms, so I won't focus too much on those.  But I will be talking about what was dumb.   Some random thoughts:    Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones  (Released May 2002, 17 years ago!)  -- thoughts:    Anakin acts like an immature,  whiny brat the entire first half of the film. It is awkward to watch these scenes, as everybody else in the sce

Cafeman

Cafeman

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 2

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 2

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker , episode IX of George Lucas' original 9-chapter story, debuts December 20, 2019.       Back in the autumn of 2015 before  Star Wars: The Force Awakens (episode VII)  came out,  I binged the Clone Wars animated series (on Netflix  I think) and found it was mostly very good!      And now, leading up to Episode IX, I am  binging on Star Wars content again to get me in the SW mood.  On the movies side of things, I'm going to re-watch all the films in chronological s

Cafeman

Cafeman

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 1

Episode IX Star Wars binge, part 1

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker , episode IX of George Lucas' original 9-chapter story, debuts December 20, 2019. Or Thursday night December 19 as new big movies started to bump up the day.     I remember in the early 80's when Star Wars was the best and most exciting thing there was, and articles would comment that these films were really just episodes 4,5 and 6 of a bigger story that floated in George's head.  I never thought we'd actually get films for 1,2,3 or 7,8,9.  And now epis

Cafeman

Cafeman

Adventure II XE update 10-10-2019

Adventure II XE update 10-10-2019

Still running down my laundry list of more minor tweaks.  The past few things I've done are:    - WSYNC  screen color changes tweaking. I can't believe it, but on several screens I had the WSYNC on the DLI  *after* the actual color register change, not *before*. Thus in the 5200 version there are a few screens where you can see a color change mid-scanline.  I tested 5200 AdvII on a 27" CRT so it probably didn't concern me , or I didn't notice it back in 2007.  So, I  fixed a handful of

Cafeman

Cafeman

Adventure II XE update 08-02-2019

Adventure II XE update 08-02-2019

I've been going through and making tweaks to a laundry list of subtle and minor things.  I'm using the CONSOLE keys more than before so that you can play the game on an XEGS without needing the optional keyboard.    START  resets you back to Game Over / Rankings screen,   SELECT  Revives you to a Checkpoint,   and OPTION is Pause.    If you play on a computer like the 800XL etc, you can also rely on the  SpaceBar for Pause, "R" for Revive.     You can also Revive after getting eaten by just pres

Cafeman

Cafeman

AdvII XE testing

AdvII XE testing

I'm putting the final touches on this long delayed project., so here is the first summer '19 status report. I tested on my real XEGS hardware to ensure no game-ruining bugs!     Didn't find any!  Although that ranking seems too high based on how many times I got devoured and how many minutes I took to beat it ...     I take notes of which variation I play , the end stats, and the ranking given. I'll review them after a few weeks and see if I need to tweak the rankings logic. It's not a

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Pressure washer art?

It always amazes me the GUNK that sticks to our cement and brick  walkway slabs in 1 year.  Every year I spend a full day pressure-washing all these front & back, and also my pool deck which has composite decking but still accumulates dirt that needs to be washed off.   This year I had a little drawing fun before cleaning them all off.   This isn't chalk on cement;  the dark parts are slime, the bright parts what it looks like after the pressure wash water cleans it off.   

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Cafeman's Necessary 2D Page

https://web.archive.org/web/20010720152157/http://cafeman.www9.50megs.com:80/   I found a 2001 version of my old site (Well, some of it) on the internet Archive. This site was a part time project of mine, mostly about 2D games on the Saturn. It was created with hand-coded HTML and MS Paint between 1998 and 2001, and it was basically my introduction to web pages and picture formats, early on.   The site is still there but my Atari 5200 stuff took it all over eventually... Http://cafeman.ww

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

SEGA Saturn is hooked up again

I've been in a real old-school SEGA mood since fall hit. Up until December, I have been enjoying playing many 16-bit Genesis and SEGA-CD games. I finally had my fill for a while, put that system into the closet and hooked up the SEGA Saturn for December. At first it took some time to get into the 32-bit Saturn again. I was still in a 16-bit mood. I looked at my game wallet that has my 40+ Saturn games, didn't really know what to play. Well, I hit a retro store and picked up on the cheap, Mad

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

The Adventure II timeline

2001-2002 -- Alan and I begin the game and design 75% of what it will be like. Raccoon joins as the artist. 2002-2005 -- Raccoon Lad & I discuss 5200 limits, we design and create screens, and program the game. 2005-2006 -- mostly just me finishing and debugging the program and trying to accomplish my own vision within dwindling memory space. Jan - March 2007 -- Since I have to wait for the game to be manufactured, I do add a few things like the Dragon Trap, then test some more. May 2007 -

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

ReplayFX 2017 Friday report

I attended ReplayFX (Pittsburgh, PA) on Friday July 29 2017. Didn't go the first day (Thursday). I intend to go Saturday too, tomorrow. This is the 3rd year in a row I've attended, and I'll keep attending as long as it keeps happening each year in the City of Champions. Vendors - pretty similar to last year, mostly the same ones it seems. Lots to choose from, from comics, posters,magnets, D&D books, etched drinkware, artwork, local chocolate goodies (mmmmmm!) , and various nicknacks a

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Mean Bean Machine, Part Three

July 24 2017 post - Well, I couldn't put the game down and my scores and strategies have increased. At one time I couldn't score higher than 50k, now I'm regularly hitting over 100k. I'm still not able to get the big-scoring chains. I try to set them up but they get blocked. Usually a chain reaction of four is good enough to finish off the opponents or at least put them on the defensive. You can't putz around too long or YOU will be on the defensive and you might as well give up the round

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Adventure II tells it as it is!

I got the new Rankings logic typed in and I hope debugged. Because I doubled the number of rankings from 5200's 7 , to XE version's 14 Rankings, and I doubled the lines of code for the actual 'rules' , I blew out the main ROM memory bank $4000-$6FFF. So I moved some of the new rankings logic down to $7000-$7FFF and the code now fits.

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

AdvII XE and the Icons of Adventure!

Today I worked on my to-do list of minor tweaks, including the Alternate Icons logic. In the 5200 version of Adventure II, you could pick from various icons but they would not play any differently from using the default Sir Square. I started changing that in for Adventure II XE back in 2013, and gave the Crab and Bat special abilities, both can crawl over / fly over background graphics. Today I finished all of the icons' abilities and tested them. - Knight Helmet and Blue Knight - I

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

AdvII XE and January optimizations

I spent some time in January reviewing the sprite drawing & erasing routines, and the collision routines. I discovered a couple areas I could optimize the code. Maybe this is prep for working on a 2600 game next, counting cycles so much. With 5200 programming, although I did optimize, I didn't really analyze the cycles as much (I didn't need to!) as I did this month. I've heard it said among more experienced [Atari 2600] homebrewers than myself, that there's always another byte you can

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Adventure II XE update 01-03-2017

I am rewriting parts of the sprite collision routines . I thought I could get them to work , but the timing is too different from the original 5200 version, and the Collision routines make certain assumptions that are not true 100% of the time in-game. Here is a quickie video I made to share what the problem is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHe-yjXFceY&t=2s

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Star Wars Rogue One - Spoilers Talk n'at

I also wrote a spoiler-free blog entry about the film here - http://atariage.com/forums/blog/618/entry-13519-star-wars-rogue-one-spoiler-free-review/ I wrote that quickly after seeing the film, being careful to avoid all other reviews because I didn't want my thoughts influenced. Once an idea gets in one's head, its there forever. I left the film in elation, feeling some of the 80's stunned wow-factor that I remember as a kid watching the originals. Rogue Squadron stirred the Star Wars excite

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Reactors

I was discussing Atari homebrews and Reactor was brought up. I can remember only one arcade that actually had that awesome coin-op, with its trak-ball and loud electronic music and cool sounds. Atari 2600 Reactor by Parker Brothers (the only console port I've ever heard of) was one of my most often played 2600 games, and I still go back to it. It's just so unique. The 2 types of reactor cores, the switching bonus chambers, and the invisible walls keep it interesting as you play across levels.

Cafeman

Cafeman

 

Daytona CCE vs Daytona CE

I bought an inexpensive new copy of the Japanese Daytona USA Circuit Edition recently. I've played a lot of versions of Daytona USA over the years - the coin-op original, the Saturn launch Daytona USA (which I lost and no longer own), the North American Daytona USA Championship Circuit Edition (CCE) on Saturn, and the Dreamcast Daytona USA. I guess I'm a real sucker for Daytona USA. Searching online for differences between the original CCE and the later import CE, I found some claims that t

Cafeman

Cafeman

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