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Twenty-three Skid-to-doo

Nathan Strum

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Well, I figured before the last list hit three years old, I'd better replace it with a new one - clean out the completed projects, update existing ones, and add a few more.

Latest updates are in red.

 

Homebrew packaging artwork only: 

  • Galaxian (7800)
    Box, label, and manual artwork: In progress.
    7-4-21: Label artwork in progress.
    8-2-21: Label artwork concept approved.
    12-29-21: Final box/label/manual artwork in progress.
    1-14-22: Final box/label/manual artwork complete. Manual and box layout in progress.

    5-21-22: Galaxian packaging previewed during AtariAge Day on ZeroPage Homebrew.
     
  • Pac-Man Collection 40th Anniversary Edition (7800)
    Box, label, and manual artwork: In progress.
    7-4-21: Label artwork in progress.
    8-2-21: Label artwork concept approved.
    12-29-21: Final box/label/manual artwork in progress.
    1-14-22: Final box/label/manual artwork complete. Manual and box layout in progress.

    5-21-22: Pac-Man Collection packaging previewed during AtariAge Day on ZeroPage Homebrew.
     
  • UniWarS (7800)
    Box, label, and manual artwork: In progress.
    7-4-21: Label artwork in progress.
    8-2-21: Label artwork concept approved.
    12-31-21: Final box/label/manual artwork in progress.
    1-14-22: Final box/label/manual artwork complete. Manual and box layout in progress.

    5-21-22: UniWarS packaging previewed during AtariAge Day on ZeroPage Homebrew.
     

Homebrews in development:

  • "Two-fer"*
    Game graphics: In-progress.
    Development status: Pre-development discussions.
    6-3-22: Added to to-do list.
     
  • "Champ Sports Shot Put"*
    Game graphics: Early development.
    Development status: Pre-development discussions.
    3-5-22: Added to to-do list.
     
  • Elevator Agent (was Elevator Action/"Otis")*
    Game graphics: In progress.
    Box, label, and manual artwork: In progress.
    Development status: Active development.
    11-18-15: New homebrew project.
    1-27-17: First pass done on title screen graphics, character sprites are in progress.
    3-15-17: Character sprites mostly finished.
    11-2-18: "Otis" revealed to be John Champeau's port of Elevator Action.
    2-25-22: Elevator Action is being rebooted as a CDFJ project.
    6-5-22: First pass at label artwork is in-progress.

    6-15-22: Elevator Action renamed to Elevator Agent. Thread added to Homebrew forum.
     
  • Boom! (was "Black Squirrel")*
    Game graphics: In progress.
    Development status: Active development.
    3-3-17: New homebrew project.
    3-3-17: First pass at title screen graphics and sprites finished.
    7-13-18: "Black Squirrel" revealed to be Chris Walton's port of Bomberman titled "Boom".
    2-25-22: Boom! is being rebooted as a CDFJ project.

    6-3-22: Boom! previewed on ZeroPage Homebrew. Demo version now available for download in the AtariAge forums.
     
  • Turbo Arcade (was "Not a SuperCharger Game")*
    Game graphics: In progress.
    Game audio: In progress.
    Development status: Active development.
    2-15-21: New homebrew project.
    3-18-21: Graphics in progress. Early non-playable proof-of-concept build.
    5-17-21: Most graphics are in place. Preliminary sounds being added. First "somewhat playable" build.
    ;) 
    5-21-21: Revealed as Champ Games' Turbo Arcade on ZeroPage Homebrew.
    1-20-22: Turbo nominated for the 4th Annual Atari Homebrew Awards: Best 2600 Homebrew Port (Work-in-Progress).
    2-13-22: Turbo won Best 2600 Homebrew Port (Work-in-Progress) in the 4th Annual Atari Homebrew Awards.
     
  • Qyx (was Qix)
    Game graphics: In progress.
    Development status: Active development.
    7-19-20: Proof-of-concept Qix for the 2600 posted by Champ Games.
    1-19-21: Added to to-do list.
    1-20-22: Qix nominated for the 4th Annual Atari Homebrew Awards: 
    Best 2600 Homebrew Port (Work-in-Progress).
    5-21-22: Qyx label artwork (by David Exton) previewed during AtariAge Day on ZeroPage Homebrew.
     
  • Zeviouz (was "Starts with a 'Z'")*
    Game graphics: In progress.
    Development status: Active development.
    5-9-20: New homebrew project.
    5-23-20: First pass at graphics completed.

    8-18-20: "Starts with a 'Z'" officially announced as Chris Walton's port of Xevious.
    1-15-21: Zeviouz nominated for the 3rd Annual Atari Homebrew Awards: Best 2600 Work-in-Progress (Port).
    2-6-21: Zeviouz won Best 2600 Work-in-Progress (Port) in the 3rd Annual Atari Homebrew Awards.
     
  • Frantic
    AtariVox voices: First pass complete.
    Development status: Active development.
    8-18-20: Added to "Homebrews in development" list. First pass at AtariVox voices complete.
    1-15-21: Frantic nominated for the 3rd Annual Atari Homebrew Awards: Best Work-in-Progress (Port).
     
  • Champ Sports Baseball (was "Trash Can")*
    Game graphics: In progress.
    AtariVox voices: Planning stages.
    Development status: Early development.
    2-2-20: New homebrew project.
    4-9-20: "Trash Can" officially announced as Champ Games' first sports title: Champ Sports Baseball.
    1-18-21: Game graphics in progress.
     
  • Gorf Arcade (was "Neville")*
    Game graphics: In progress.
    AtariVox voices: In progress.
    Box, label, and manual artwork: In progress.
    Development status: Active development.
    4-2-19: New homebrew project.
    9-16-19: "Neville" officially announced 
    as a Champ Games port of Gorf! (And yes - it will have all five screens!)
    10-30-19: First pass at graphics completed.

    2-23-20: First pass at AtariVox voices completed.
    1-15-21: Gorf Arcade 
    nominated for the 3rd Annual Atari Homebrew Awards: Best Work-in-Progress (Port).
    7-4-21: Label artwork in progress.
    7-31-21: Label artwork concept approved.

    5-21-22: Gorf Arcade packaging previewed during AtariAge Day on ZeroPage Homebrew.
     

Completed Homebrews:

Homebrews previously in development, but currently on hold:

  • "Historical Documentary"*
    Game graphics: In progress.
    Development status: Pre-development discussions.
    2-15-21: New homebrew project.
    3-9-21: Graphics in progress.

    3-5-22: Moved to "on hold".
     

Homebrews not currently in development, but not completely dead, either:

  • 2600 Toolbox (tentative title)
    Description: At some point, I need to make a Stupid Game Ideas! entry for this. The idea is to vastly expand upon the idea of the Test Cart, including color calibration patterns, hardware tests, sound tests, and various patterns for checking color combinations, flickering, and so forth. The cart can be used to test consoles, set up TVs, and be used by homebrewers and artists while developing new games.
    Development status: I have a list of things I'd like to see in it, I just need to write it all up, then hope a developer finds it interesting enough to pursue. ;)
     
  • "Bruce"*
    Development status: Interest has resurfaced in this project. It's pretty far on the back burner, but may yet see the light-of-day.
     

Miscellaneous projects:

  • Blog
    More homebreviews. I need to start slogging through a huge backlog of games.
  • ArcadeCinema.net
    Update old MacMAME.net video game movie reviews and redesign website.
  • 2600RM
    I want to build a custom, rack-mountable 2600. Could be expensive... could also be awesome.
  • Tronty-Six Hundred
    An Atari 2600 Tron console mod. Yes - I want to make this happen for real.


* As always, project names that are in quotes are code-names, and not the actual titles.

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Updates:

  • 1-14-22: Final box/label/manual artwork for Pac-Man, Galaxian and UniWarS are now finished. Manual and box layouts are in progress.
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Oh... and in case anyone was wondering:

On 8/3/2021 at 12:58 AM, Nathan Strum said:

Next, I have to actually execute the final illustrations. On a difficulty scale of 1-10 (1 being super easy, barely an inconvenience, 10 being insane), I'd give them:

Gorf Arcade: 4

Lady Bug Arcade: 6

Galaxian 7800: 10

Pac-Man Collection XM 7800: 5

UniWarS 7800: 8

 

I'm probably going to be wrong on all of those.

Apart from Gorf Arcade (which will be completed later in the year), I guessed pretty well on these. I'd probably give Lady Bug Arcade a difficulty of 7 though.

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Once the other artwork is revealed, I can explain a bit more. But basically it has to do with the amount of detail in each illustration, the amount of shading (ie. not just flat colors), and the software I use to create the final artwork with.

 

In the case of all of the above games, they started out with a digital (bitmap) sketch on my iPad using Procreate. This is great for roughing out ideas, but I don't use it for finished work, because I don't feel that I have enough control over the final image. So from there they went over to Adobe Photoshop to weed out errant layers and get converted to CMYK colorspace (required for printing). After that, they went into Adobe Illustrator for the finished illustration.

 

I've typically used Illustrator for the line artwork, because Illustrator is a vector drawing program - not bitmap. So the artwork is infinitely scalable (and malleable) in a way bitmaps aren't. I can get super-clean lines and change characteristics of them in ways I can't do with bitmaps. Then I'd often take the line art back over to Photoshop for "painting" since it's well suited for shading, textures, gradients, etc. For artwork that doesn't have much shading (Zoo Keeper, Aardvark) I just used Illustrator for most of the artwork since flat colors are very easy to do (and again, very easy to change). Zoo Keeper has a bitmap for the brick background. Aardvark's background is fully vector.

 

This time, I did nearly all of the final artwork in Illustrator (except for the backgrounds in UniWar S and Galaxian, which are bitmapped "paintings"). For Lady Bug Arcade, the shading was minimal, so it wasn't difficult to do. In Photoshop, you can just grab a big ol' brush and swipe it across an area to add shading. But to get complex shading in Illustrator (where it follows a shape, or you have a highlight and shading in the same area), then it requires more work to set up because you're not "painting" as such, but assigning values and parameters to objects. So with Lady Bug Arcade I started experimenting more with that, which required using multiple layers of different gradients with transparency, or setting up (what Adobe calls) Freeform Gradients. Freeform Gradients are relatively new and a bit twitchy (and not always predictable) to work with. But they're very powerful since you can create gradients of (almost) any shape and color combination. And again, you can edit them without "repainting" them as you would using bitmaps. You just change values and parameters. It's like sculpting, but on a flat plane.

 

Once I'd gone through a learning curve on Lady Bug Arcade (which is part of the reason it's a "6", but also because I completely re-drew the entire label after the original version was well underway :roll: ), I decided to try applying those techniques in Illustrator to both Galaxian and UniWar S, which are both more "painterly" in appearance, and are the kind of labels I would have historically done in Photoshop instead. That's where the difficulty went way, way up, because I was trying to replicate the appearance of what I would have traditionally done pretty quickly in Photoshop, using a completely different method in Illustrator. There was a lot of trial and error in the process, but I was able to achieve the end results that I wanted. Perhaps even better than what I could have done in Photoshop. Certainly, there are some tools that vector graphics have (such as easily replicating and scaling objects) that makes repetitive tasks much, much easier to do.

 

At the other end of the difficulty spectrum, Pac-Man Collection is pretty straightforward. Mostly flat colors and minimal shading. So the technical challenge of executing it was the easiest of the bunch.

 

Pretty sure I'm not going to work on so many labels at the same time again though. ;) Although it did help in the sense of having something else to switch to when I got frustrated or stuck.

 

38178823_LadyBugArcadeBoxfront4K.thumb.jpg.4a33f1c442e4ee44ba68988bd7aed247.jpg

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Coming up with the ideas is always a 10. ;) 

 

But yes, in this case I was referring to the technical challenges of executing the artwork, rather than coming up with the ideas. But I'll go over those a little bit as well, once the artwork is revealed.

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So... many... updates:

*code name

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1 hour ago, Nathan Strum said:

2-25-22: Elevator Action moved back to "active development" - rebooted as a CDFJ project.

Yes!!!

1 hour ago, Nathan Strum said:

3-5-22: New project added: "Champ Sports Shot Put"*

🤔 

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Updates:

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