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Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/10/2021 in Blog Entries

  1. 2 points
    Six² is a new Magnavox Odyssey game I made a few years ago and then sat on it. It is for one or two players. Basically, the game is like Monopoly, which I thought should have been an Odyssey game given its use of extra stuff to use. You can't have a true Odyssey game without stuff to play it with. I am talking about the original Magnavox Odyssey, not the Odyssey 2. Which is confusing since the game's title has a superscript two in it. The last thing I need to do is make the overlays done. I will do this next week. The reason why I brought this up was because someone posted an Odyssey game they made, and I wanted to share mine. I am wondering how many people are interested in a game like this. Here are the specifics: A player rolls one blue dice and one red dice, which corresponds to a space on a grid. The object of the game is to move the square to the grid on the overlay without touching the other player's square. At the end, if both players' white squares are still on the screen, the person who has claimed the most squares wins. In the probably will never happen, but still might, if both players have 18 squares, then a tie is declared and both the players must turn their underwear inside out and dance the robot for 73 seconds. I don't know. I am thinking of getting tubes to mail these in (because of the dice). The price I am thinking of is $6. This is due to all the stuff you get: overlays instruction sheet 2 dice ownership squares (like Monopoly deeds) 10 of these sets (sans overlays) have been sitting in a desk drawer for a few years. The question is: do I need more? Or is 10 enough?
  2. 1 point
    Over the past few years, I've been making retro-gaming designs for jack-o-lanterns. As we approach Halloween, and without a Halloween-themed episode coming up (spoiler alert: Dino Dudes is not scary) I thought I would share some of those, even though none are Jaguar-related. My son suggested I carve Skylar this year, but I'm nowhere near that talented. Most jack-o-lanters are basic binary designs: either there's a hole in the pumpkin, or there isn't. You can create a lot of cool designs like this, faces and silhouettes and so forth, but it wasn't sufficient for video game graphics. At a minimum, I found I needed three different "colors": uncarved, carved all the way through, and carved to a thin depth, where you don't quite go all the way through. That allows light to pass through, but not as much light as where it's carved completely out. I have a couple cheap tools for making these, gathered from pumpkin carving kits over the past few years. I'm including the patterns I used as well as pictures of the finished product. To transfer the patterns to the pumpkin, I print out the patterns, tape the paper to the face of the large orange winter squash, and use a scoring tool along all the edges of the image. This renders the pattern on the pumpkin's skin as a series of dots, used as a guide for cutting and digging. The black areas of my patterns indicate where it should be cut all the way through, and the grey areas are where it should be dug out just enough to let some light through. 2012 - Haunted House This was my first one. I mentioned it in episode 70 of the Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast, and it looked pretty cool with the flickering light within. I seriously doubt any of the kids walking by got the reference. My kids did, though, so at least I'm doing something right. The pattern includes a Haunted House ghost, but I ran out of time to actually carve it. 2012 - Portal My son was really into Portal, and asked me to carve him a Portal-themed pumpkin. It's not retro, and I can't find my pattern for this one, either, but hey, Portal is cool. 2013 - Pac-Man Ghost Monster Since it's orange, I guess this would be Clyde. Being from Pac-Man, it was widely recognized by trick-or-treaters. I apologize, I can't seem to find the pattern I made for this. I wish I had some blue cellophane to tint the pupils, but I always tend to carve these at the last minute, without much prior planning. My original intention was to use a ghost from Atari 2600 Pac-Man, but they don't scale well. I don't know if even I would have been able to recognize it. 2014 - Adventure The closest I got to recognition from trick-or-treaters was one kid who said, "Cool! Minecraft!" 2015 - Space Invader Here's my design for this year (2015). I'm including a step-by-step guide for those who want to duplicate the process. We'll start with the template. I originally planned to cut the eyes out completely, but my wife suggested I leave them fully intact. It's more consistent to the actual arcade game, so that's what I did. Anyway, on to the steps. Download the template, resize to fit your particular pumpkin, and print it out. Cut out the pattern itself, and tape it to the pumpkin (regularly-placed slits in the paper help fit it to the rounded surface). Use the scoring tool to go around all the edges. Once you remove the template, you'll see the pattern rendered in the pumpkin's skin as a series of small punctures. These are your cutting/digging lines. Use the depth carving tool to remove the outer skin where appropriate. Don't go too deep at this stage. Now you can go deeper. Dig down to a consistent depth throughout. It doesn't need to be too deep, probably around 8mm. Now, scrape out behind the image from the inside of the pumpkin. Scrape scrape scrape. Scrape until the pumpkin's minimum thickness is about 5mm. This should provide sufficient light that the image will glow when a candle (or other light source) is placed inside. 2016 - Zool 2 Eyes For 2016, my design was based on the box art eyes from the game Zool 2, to be covered in episode 16 of the podcast. I'm really pleased with how this one turned out. 2018 - Jaguar Logo Slash My 2018 design used the slash marks from the letter "r" on the Jaguar logo. It seemed like something that might be appealing even if you weren't intimately familiar with the Jaguar logo. I didn't have any good way to make it glow red, but I had a strand of green battery-powered LED lights which I stuffed inside, and it still looks pretty cool. 2019 - Minecraft Creeper Arguably not retro. My plan for this year was not just to create a pixel-accurate Creeper head from Minecraft, but also to wire it up to a Raspberry Pi with a motion sensor so that would play the Creeper's fuse sound and then explosion when a trick-or-treater approached. All the existing Creeper patterns I found out there were simply holes cut for eyes and mouth. But that's not how they actually look in the game, so I took a different approach, with "pixels" carved to various depths to represent the different shades of green. The strand of green LED lights from my Jaguar slash mark design in 2018 provides the color. It took hours to carve this thing, and toward the end, I was regretting my decision. I had planned on putting a Raspberry Pi, battery pack, battery-powered speaker, and motion sensor inside the pumpkin, but there simply wasn't room, so I put it all in a box underneath the jack-o-lantern. A Python script was launched on boot that would watch for motion from the sensor, and when detected, would play the hiss-boom sound lifted from the game. That part worked pretty well. So, sure, this project may not be terribly retro, but it sure is nerdy. 2020 - DOOM Cacodemon What's big and round and pretty scary when you don't have a chaingun? A Cacodemon from DOOM! I used scrap chunks from this and other jack-o-lanterns to form the horns, held in with pieces of thick wire, and put some colored film to more-properly represent the blue mouth and green eye seen in the game. The colors didn't photograph well, but I'm still pretty happy with how this big beast of a pumpkin turned out.
  3. 1 point
    I have been waking up at about 8 p.m. and going to sleep at about 8 a.m. So I don't know when I am going to go finish the game. I have Odysseus, Stupus, and Mikebloke on a sort of wating list. I need to go to Wal-mart to get some tubes and go get the overlays made. I saw on the news that shipping time is incredibly horrible right now, yet I just got a package that went all the way across the country in just 3 days. So I need to get myself readjusted so that I'm awake all day and sleeping all night. That is the first step. I also have been working on a 4k Intellivison basic game. I have a couple of tips to reduce your INTVBasic file size. Don't put constants.bas in your game. Instead, use it as a guide to see what you should put in your game. Put all your graphics in one big file and use the fact that you can define more than one sprite at a time to your advantage (DEFINE 0,4,sprites) That's all I have to say right now on that. I have found my LTO Flash cartridge and have been using it since I got my Intellivision out from storage.
  4. 1 point
    There is plenty of music and sound effects available for download in the VGM format for the SN76489 PSG (programmable sound generator,) a cousin of the TMS-9919 sound generator in the TI-99/4 and 4A computers. For a while I have enjoyed working with the sound list format played by the 99/4's ISR (interrupt service routine) as defined in the Editor/Assembler manual. It is a simple format defined in rows or frames, each containing a number of bytes sent directly to the 9919, and each row may have a duration (or delay until processing the next row) from 1/60th of a second to 255/60ths (roughly 4.25 seconds.) The format is well-defined in the E/A manual, and suffice to say, each row looks basically like below, and a song is terminated by a row with duration of >00. x { y } z BYTE >06,>8E,>0F,>93,>AC,>1F,>B3,>28 Where x is the number of bytes to send to the 9919, {y} is the set of bytes to send, and z is the duration of this row or frame in 1/60th second jiffies (or 1/50th for PAL consoles, as it is timed by the vertical blank.) This script will take a VGM file for PSG and convert it into a binary containing an equivalent ISR sound list. It is an oafish and ham-fisted way to do it, but it works and most lists output can be loaded by SoundListRipper for review, editing, or conversion to Extended BASIC statements. The caveat here is vgm2isr does no processing of the VGM, so fancy things like frequency sweeps may produce binaries which cannot be loaded in SLR, and loops are ignored. It cannot produce usable output of pseudo-PCM encoding nor VGMs with timing which differs from 50Hz or 60Hz frame-rate. This script requires Regina Rexx or compatible. While it was originally written to work in ARexx, I can no longer guarantee it runs on an Amiga as my system has been non-functional for a while. In Amiga parlance, the command template is vgm2isr FILENAME/A,TO/K,NF=NTSCFIX/S,D1=DEBUG/S,D2=DEBUG2/S,BYTE/S,V1/S Or for non-Amiga types vgm2isr.rexx <filename> [to <filename>] [{nf|ntscfix}] [{d1|debug}|{d2|debug2}] [byte] [v1] nf or ntscfix will brute-force a PAL VGM into NTSC timing by inserting an additional jiffy every four (or add 1/60s every 4/60s.) byte will output a list of assembler BYTE commands of the ISR list, one BYTE command per row. to followed by a filename will over-ride the default output filename which replaces .vgm with .bin v1 forces VGM file recognition as under v1.50 (see notes below) The two debug levels output information as the VGM is processed. Do not use filenames or paths with spaces. vgm2isr.rexx help or just the command with no arguments will display command template and example. Just remember, the ISR sound list format is not optimized. Long songs can be ridiculously wasteful of memory. It works just fine for short songs, fanfares, sound effects, interludes, &c. But level background music (like Sonic the Hedgehog) can easily take up most or all of cartridge space memory. There are better tools for such work, like the VGM Compression Tool. Notes on current version: Not all debugging is enabled or in place -- currently just identifies the VGM header version. Byte output does not prevent binary file output. Syntax checking is not complete and could over-write your source file if you are not careful. v1 switch is added to deal with v1.50+ VGMs in which the commands do not start at 0x100. This may be my misreading of the spec, but if a conversion is missing some leading data in the output and debug shows v1.5 VGM or later, try the v1 switch. ISR output is not optimized: commands and rows may be repeated unnecessarily. Priority to-do: Some game systems use a different timing for generator 3 modulated periodic noise, so the output will be a semi-tone off. (The fix is currently part of my personal sound_list.rexx manipulation script.) Dual-channel PSG support. ISR output optimization. Example of the v1 switch, see the included "madness2.vgm" and two output files, "madness2.bin" and "madness2_v1.bin". Other working examples included are inchworm.vgm song, and powerup6.vgm sound effect. vgm2isr_74.zip
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