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Doctor Clu's Sprite Hacks and other Hacks

As a kid I enjoyed playing games, and would say " Not bad, but it could also use this..." As a teen I loved to use a sector editor to give me 1,000,000 points of energy (originally like 10,000) in the Adventure International Star Trek 3.5 game. I'd change wording in games, error messages into more funny messages, etc.

In more recent times I've learned about sprite hacking programs (Hack-o-matic), Hex fiend, and other fan based tools that have made some dreams of game changing and altering come true. (Thank you fellow fans!) Lots of great advice from those here in the Atariage community.

This is a list of games that I have had fun altering to date. I would say I got interesting starting 2014, but then all of this helped me grow in the computer/video game hobby.

OTHER HACKS AND TINKERING
1977

  • Dad had the Sol Terminal 20. Cool machine. Lots of Trek80 and Targ played.
  • Also had a 2600 rom reader on the Sol and a Flash cart.


1978

  • We got a Sears Telegames system, which got us into Atari stuff.


1980

  • Sold newspaper subscriptions and got my own Atari VCS.


1981

  • Sold the VCS, got a Atari 400. Was going to get a Colecovision but when I saw Choplifter, Miner2049er, and Archon I decided to get a computer. Also learned about floppy disks and piracy!


1982

  • Later in this year got on my first computer BBS. Now I could get games over the phone! Whoo hoo!


1984

  • Attended Atari user meetings at the Dallas Infomart.


1986

  • Dad had already upgraded the 400 to 48K, but installed a Atari 1400 keyboard from Radio Shack.


1989

  • Bear in mind, no Internet yet, really believed Atari was dead.
  • Saw a friend’s Mac SE with Dark Castle and managed to score a Mac 128K. Later would upgrade that to 4 MB.


1993

  • I got onto the text Internet while in college computer labs.


1994

  • While in Guam, scored a Mac Plus. Lots of BBSing while on the island.


1995

  • I saw my first graphical Internet page on Mosiac. (Didn’t think it'd catch on.)
  • Dad gives me my first Newton 110 when I returned from Guam. At first didn’t know what to do with it.
  • First home Internet service through a BBS (Chrysalis BBS in Dallas)


1996

  • Picked up a Performa 550 (68030) later upgraded to 68040 with math co-processor.


1997

  • Picked up the amazing Newton 2000. 10x faster than my Newton 110.
  • Played video!
  • Started using graphical web browsers. (I was a slow adopter on that one.)


1999

  • Out of college, found out Atari user group was still around. Borrowed 520 ST (upgraded to 4 mb) for newsletter.
  • Used Pagestream and had a laser printer!
  • First year to attend the First Saturday SideWalk Sale.


2000

  • Managed to score an Atari TT030, Lynx, Atari Jaguar.
  • Atari user group folds due to having to move from the Infomart that they had for nearly fifteen years.
  • I learned of Bubsy Bobcat on the Jaguar!
  • Continued using TT030 alongside Performa 550 for Internet.
  • Featured in the Dallas Morning News: Atari Jaguar on front cover.
  • I met this local Dallas Amiga User Group (MCCC) as they were also in the newspaper article.


2001

  • Got an IT job, used a Athlon 1 Ghz processor with Win98. Later used Linux.
  • Still tinkered with retro computers (Atari XE and ST).
  • Got my first DVD player as the spiritual successor to the Jaguar, the Nuon Samsung 2000.


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2002

  • Scored two Macintosh G3 Powerbooks for my wife and I. I was back in the Mac world using OS 9.
  • Attended the JagFest in St. Louis (while visiting wife's family). Saw the Korean version of the Nuon there as a contest prize.


2003

  • Attended JagFest in 2003 in Austin, TX with KevMos3.
  • Joined Amiga User Group. They helped me get an Amiga 3000 working that I picked up at the 2002 JagFest. Even had a Ethernet card!


2004

  • Upgraded to OS X.3 on the Mac.


2005

  • Won the retro-challenge (like the first or second year of it) using nothing but an Atari 800 for one month.
  • Figured out I didn’t need portable computing right before smart phones. My Newton 2000 and Duo Macs became used less.
  • I was handed a G4 12" 800 mhz Powerbook. Beautiful little computer! Well I was handed it in parts and I managed to reassemble it.
  • Tinkered heavy in the Dreamcast after a friend showed me that system.
  • For the next five years lots of calling BBSs and Internet with beige Atari 800. Many discussions over Atariage and Atari IRC channels.



2006
Worked with Warerat on testing XL memory on the Atari 800.

Lots of chatting at Atarinews.org on Tuesdays.

Put an archive of the Dal-ACE disks online.
2008
Started the Bubsy Bobcat Fan Blog

Testing of Atari800DC version 0.77 for the Dreamcast with Christian Groessler.

Gauntlet by Donald R. Lebeau. Thing I like about Atariage are the authors that show up from time to time. Shortly after he showed had a High Score Club contest and Donald offered a signed copy of some game art. I blast every pixel I could to get that. As of 2019 the score still stands...
GAUNTLETAK (Graphics:6 Sound:7 Playability:8 HSCR *8*) doctorclu : 1235025 [5-4]


2009
Binary hacking and uncompression of Bubsy rom for the Jaguar.

Picked up the Lynx Flash Cart.

2010
Dial-up/Telnet out set up at the Prison Board BBS

Was the first to come up with a shell for the Jaguar's Skunkboard. Also created a photoshop prank where I claimed to use the clear case from a Battlesphere Gold cartridge. Only did that joke for a few hours but the outrage was priceless.

Got a Macbook Pro dual Core processor laptop in parts. Fixed it up. Hated it. Traded for 1.2 Ghz G4 12" laptop. Used that G4 through my time in Kuwait along with a 1.4 Ghz G4 Mac Mini.

2011
My first Android device, the Archos 32, and my first experience with Angry Birds! Picked up the device while in Kuwait.

There was a certain joy of posting "Happy 2011" on a Atari BBS. Seemed surreal to myself and others.

Did a photoshop of a Jaguar and CD for a more streamline appearance.

I beat Cybermorph a second time.

IRC chat more commonly used for Atari chat.
2012
Wondered if there was a way to piggy back memory on the ECS?

Got my first Intel iMac 1.5 Ghz from a sidewalk sale.

Bought the Incogneto boards from Candle while in Kuwait.

Had at time the unbeatable 5200 HSC Gyruss score of 279,850.

2013
Installed one Incogneto board while snowed out of work for three days.

The year I achived Star Commander Class 1 in Star Raiders.
The year I beat Blue Max.


2014
BBSing
Veered away from Atari 800 use after experiencing overheating problems after installing Incogneto board.

Oh 04 January 2014 connected an Intellivision with ECS and Cuttle Cart 3 to a modem using the terminal program by Joe Zbiciak


Video shows the end of the first known time for an Intellivision to call a BBS and records the second time such a thing had happened.
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"1979 Calling the Internet..."
Later the Intellivision dialed to a BBS and then telneted to a shell account getting on Atariage and posting a message. Good times!

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The proto Dual Action Controller

I was listening to the Intellivisionaries Podcast and they talked about how you cannot move and fire the disc with the same controller. Came up with the idea of put both mylar underlays in the same controller but cancelling out the upper or lower part of the underlays.

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Originally Intellivision 2 controllers were used which proved the point though a bit stiff. When the Intellivision Flashback came out however, well designed thin controllers worked quite well with this concept as Nurmix of the Intellivisionaries podcast would find out. Nurmix asked a few questions on the tinkering and then later tried the idea on the newer controllers and viola!!

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The research was later referenced by Nurmix in his dual-action controller thread. Nurmix converted Flashback controllers to the Dual-Action design, and the rest is history. So now many have had more fun at playing Night Stalker, Tron Deadly Discs, and AD&D thanks to my initial tinkering. Another fun addition, and first, I got to add to the Intellivision legacy.

Battlestar Galactica (Intellivision) [Hack of Space Battle]
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Long before I was sprite hacking, I was hex and text hacking. This was a simple hack that taught me that as long as I stayed within the original character count given, you could hack information in a rom and it not break. Oh, and don't write over crucial instructions while you are doing it.
  • Picked up a Amiga 500 from a friend. Fixed it up to 8 MB and SD card slot. Then got a Amiga 1200.



2015
Hacked an Atari 400 keyboard to an Atari 800.
Created the sounds for Joust and Moon Patrol which CyranoJ ported from the Atari ST to the Atari Jaguar. Made me extremely happy as those are my favorite arcade titles, and CJ was and is great to work with.

Picked up a Macbook Air 1.8 Ghz from a friend. (What I'm using to write this.)

2016

  • Picked up a 27" iMac 2.7 Ghz 32 GB RAM from a friend.
  • Set up Internet server on the Newton 2000 for a while.
  • Bubsy Fan Blog interviews Bubsy creator Michael Berlyn.
  • Got the Atari Flashback Portable from Atgames that gets me back into the Atari 2600. Helped in testing hundreds of games to see what is compatible with the SD card slot. Then worked with fan hackers to get dozens more tuned up and working.


2017
Bubsy Kitt'N Kaboodle (Atari 2600) [Hack of Fast Eddie]
blogentry-4709-0-14682200-1534696145.png
This was the one that started it all. "Wouldn't it be fun to have Bubsy on my Atari Flashback Portable..." was the original idea. The handy tool of Hack-O-Matic was found, I had some guidance from fellow sprite hacker and friend Kevin, and off I went on adventures. Versions for the Atari 800, 5200, Vic 20, and Commodore 64 have also been hacked. And this has had the fun of being played in alpha versions on Atari 2600 emulators on the Atari Jaguar and Nuon as well.

This game also turned into an unofficial way to advertise the release of the newest Bubsy game, the Woolies Strike Back. Actually helped get them a few more sales. :P
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Moon Patrol (Atari 2600)
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Hacking an already amazing hack that looked more like the Arcade, detail was given to make more arcade accurate enemies and eventually a buggy with three rolling wheels. :)

During the summer and fall I helped on the Oregon Trail port to the Intellivision. Actually came up with the name "Oregon Bound" which I understand was later used for the TI port. Helped come up with some of the mini games and sound and music ideas for some segments. Was working with everyone on this game. :D
blogentry-4709-0-11844600-1550968736_thumb.png

Was also a lot of fun working with a group of people on the game AstroStorm programmed by Sporadic. I loved how the game had a very utility look and feel to the ship. And as I was playing said "wouldn't it be nice if we had ways to store powerups". Sporadic liked the idea and added that to his game.

  • Got the Sega Flashback Portable from Atgames, causing me to get into some tinkering on Sega Genesis.
  • To date, Bubsy Bobcat Fan Blog on Atariage has had 175,398 visitors.
  • Still call computer BBSs and write a blog on that as well.
  • And the MCCC Amiga user group in the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area is still active with live YouTube broadcasts every month.



2018
Virtual VCS (Atari 2600 emulator for the Atari Jaguar)
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Pasting in game rom images into a program just thought to be a demo and finding some games that actually worked! :D

Atari 800 emulator (Nuon)
blogentry-4709-0-04109400-1534695747.jpg
Same trick as above, replacing a built in game image in a burnable disc image with another game image. Got Return of Heracles to come up, though it doesn't play very far. Still fun to see that much.

Battlestar Galactica (Atari 2600) [Hack of Space Attack]
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The following was Inspired by reading up on Space Battle for the Intellivision and after discovering that Space Attack for the Atari VCS works on the VCS emulator for the Jaguar. From that point on, the game was hacked to look and feel more like the show it was supposed to be based on in the first place: Battlestar Galactica. So this has changes in color to the enemy fire, the background color, the color the screen flashes when you ship explodes, the color of the squadrons, and of course sprites. Took a bit to track all that down. :D

Miner 2049er (Atari 2600) [Hack of Miner 2049er and Miner 2049er II]
blogentry-4709-0-41888400-1534695360.png
Played first on the Retron 77 as part of a collection, I found the initial game had a surprising amount of detail of the Atari 800 version for a Atari 2600 game. But the character sprite didn't even have Bounty Bob's hat. So sprites were altered based on the Atari 800 version of Miner 2049er.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (Atari 2600) [Hack of Buck Rogers: Planet of Zoom]
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Recently played Buck Rogers on the Retron 77 and enjoyed it, but said to myself the same thing I've said over the years "If only Buck Rogers had a Thunderfighter like in the 1980s TV show. OH WAIT... I sprite hack now!" :D

I'll try to make other adjustments, but so far the fonts and the ship are designed to match the show with Gil Gerard.

Shame Twiki can't make an appearance.

Alien Visitors Are Our Friends (Atari 2600) [Hack of Cosmic Ark]
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This fun project was started on a Battlestar Galactica (Space Attack hack) thread by Marcallie when he said:

"This is great! Now go re-theme Cosmic Ark as V: The Final Battle."

> Interesting. The Visitors collect humans while Earth forces try to stop you from eating their population?

"Exactly! It would be very cool to play as the bad guys for once, right?"

Actually sounded like a fun idea so I spent some time giving this more of a "V" the sci-fi series feel.

Scraper Caper (Atari 2600) [Hack of Fire Fighter]



Originally wanted to hack Towering Inferno but the characters were not much to work with. Fire Fighter had better character but too easy of a game. Anyway, just wanted to make some reality of the Bounty Bob game (Scraper Caper) that was advertised but never finished. But at least now we have Bounty Bob's nemesis, Yukon Yohan, in a game. :)

Miner 2049er (Atari 800/5200) - Miner animations of TIX
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So Bounty Bob is a Canadian Mountie, but on the game art he is a Miner. Well TIX drew up new miner animations and I looked into making them a reality. I think many liked the end result, though I am partial to Bounty Bob being a Mountie. ;)

Moon Patrol (Atari 800/5200) - Working back and forth with TIX, EnderDude, Level 42, and a few others. Before it is all done we were able to modify the sprites, and change most of the colors. We had fun creating our own buggy designs. Below was a design I came up with which I thought matched the arcade best.
blogentry-4709-0-12155900-1550968427_thumb.png

To wrap up the year I released a version of VirtualVCS that had three version of Space Battle, Sky Diver, AstroBlast, and Space Chase. The most notable was Space Battle and the Battlestar Galactica Hack (fully working) and Sky Diver (also fully working). And with that, I played the first ever two player 2600 game on a Atari Jaguar against KevMos3 when he was in town


2019

-----------------------------------------------------------
I was surprised to see my name was still on the 5200 HSC listing for all time high scores. Been a while since I played the 5200 or any High Score Club for that matter. I figure someone will beat my scores so I will post these now to remember them.

Countermeasure - (Level 1) doctorclu 184,450
Gremlins -(Night 3) doctorclu 2,503,623
Gyruss - doctorclu 279,850
Joust - (Skilled) doctorclu 1,611,000

Looked in the Atari XL/XE HSC
ASTEROIDS (HYPERSPACE) (Graphics:6 Sound:6 Playability:6 HSCR *5*) doctorclu : 115370 [5-5]
EMBARGO (SKILL 1) (Graphics:7 Sound:6 Playability:6 HSCR *6*) doctorclu : 37910 [3-13] [9-12]
GAUNTLETAK (Graphics:6 Sound:7 Playability:8 HSCR *8*) doctorclu : 1235025 [5-4]
JOUST (EXPERT) [Graphics:8 Sound:8 Playability:9 HSCR *8*] doctorclu : 1106250 [3-2] [10-18]
LASER HAWK [Graphics:8 Sound:6 Playability:7 HSCR *7*] doctorclu : 75260 [5-7]
WIZARD OF WOR (7LIV) [Graphics:7 Sound:8 Playability:9 HSCR *9*] doctorclu : 377400 [5-10] [2-3,7-21, 15-5]

Lynx HSC. (I was surprised!)
Battlezone 2000. doctorclu (180,600)

For the Atari 2600 there is a huge pdf document. there I was for Spy Hunter June 28, 2009 for 193,200
I didn't have any scores in the 7800 HSC

And for the Atari Jaguar as of 2010 I had a lot of the high scores, but now one remains, my epic gaming on Pitfall!
PITFALL: THE MAYAN ADVENTURE [A]. Atardi & Doctor Clu (TIED) - 999,999 (Link). (Crazy that the score flips over.)

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More work on 2600 Buck Rogers.

Created the sound effects for Revenge of Doh which was ported by CyranoJ from the Atari ST to Atari Jaguar.

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Two hacks, the 2600 Moon Patrol (black buggy) with three moving wheels and the 2600 Miner 2049er are nominated for Best Game Hack of 2018. Moon Patrol lands 2nd place with Miner 2049er landing 1st place.

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Rented a Mountie costume from Norcostco Texas Costume rental for the thank you from Bounty Bob himself. Was fun working with Cimmerian and the ZeroPage HomeBrew crew on this first year of the Atari Awards.



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More hacks to be added here as they happen. :D



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