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Everything posted by Starcat

  1. JagMind: Bomb Squad PLUS is a fully remastered release of the 2006 CD game. All art has been updated and is crispier and cleaner. Same with sound effects. The music is completely new, with tracks made by Carl Forhan and Marcus Losbjer. Most importantly the gameplay has been completely rebuild and features a much improved progression in singleplayer and better playability in two player mode now. It features improved highscore saving, too. Roughly estimated 80% of assets and code are updated or redone from scratch. If there is interest I'm happy to share some insights from the development.
  2. Hey folks, for a recent project I needed a serial eeprom on my Skunkboard (for saves). Here are some pictures of what I did if you want to try it yourself. You should be skilled at soldering and do this at your own risk. It’s a very basic mod and only the first 128 byte slot of this eeprom is used like a single game would. But it works fine if that’s all you need. http://www.starcat-dev.de/2019/01/skunkboard-serial-eeprom-mod/ Cheers Lars
  3. @sh3-rg: What I have in mind will probably be a cross between something text heavy like you posted and some location artwork, but in a simple pixel style. Lost Dragon, Saturn, Clint Thompson, Diatoir3d, and Stephen Moss: You have summed things up pretty well. @agradeneu: I agree with what you said about storytelling games and them being available for all kinds of systems. Except that I don't understand that last part about "rather than to project unrealistic expectations." For now imagine it as an interactive story like sh3-rg posted, but with some location art to illustrate. That should be close enough without raising false expectations.
  4. Hey folks, just dropping by quickly today. Have you seen our (Starcat Devocean) Atari Jaguar game "HalMock FurBall - Sink or Swim" yet? It's a cartoony one-button highscore-hunting game, well suited for competitions on events. You can download the game for FREE on our Website: http://www.starcat-dev.de There you also find downloads of our other games. Enjoy! Here is a gameplay video as was asked for in another thread: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL6B70RgT-A
  5. To all: It would be helpful to me, if you filled the poll with your preferences for later. Please comment if this interactive story idea sound like something you would want to play (or collect if a publisher teams up). It's not a big game, but it's meant to be replayed. There is no action, it's not a graphics-showcase. But it's focus is on storytelling in a way the Jag doesn't have yet. As mentioned in the first post, we're working on the game for the PC. Once that is done, you'll get a better idea what this is about. Until then I thank you for your constructive feedback. If you want to keep in touch on what the Starcat Devocean team or myself am up to, there is always Twitter, Facebook and the websites in my signature.
  6. @Stephen Moss: It's not a complex game as it is and it's not for everyone. What's there was to test the waters with a mode that could be used for competitions on events for example. We make the games we want to make, much like any decent creative does what they do best. It's not like feedback didn't matter. All I meant was: In the past most of my games were done, because people asked for them at some point. But personally I was never happy with the results. They weren't the games I wanted to make. What I learned was, it works much better if the team focusses on the game we are good at. Thanks for answering the questions. It helps. In fact we are developing our games on PC primary and then we would adjust it to the Jaguar. @CyranoJ: What was said in this post was already helpful to me. The thing is, I still love the Jag, but my opinion is not enough. The team has limited resources and doing a Jag version is a lot of extra work. If nobody cared, there would be no point in doing it. @agradeneu: I'm not SELLING anything. I am ASKING. We are not a company. We are not making a profit. We are creatives asking for the honest and hopefully self reflected opinion of the fans. That's what the poll is for. To see why HalMock tanked and if the Jag may still be worth the effort. Most people in this thread already said helpful things.
  7. Hmm, I can't seem to edit my original post to include comments at the top. Thanks for the replies so far. This is very helpful. I'm aware that doing something for the Jag is a labor of love. That's the only reason work on games anyway. However in many cases what we saw in the past felt like like very conditional or even unrequited love. It's understandable, we are strangers. You may want something from us (a game, entertainment, a physical good) and we want something from you (to entertain you, appreciation, support to allow us to keep doing this). Naturally things had to be a certain way to earn the love, like a certain type of game, a physical release for collectors, well promoted... Many of these things we can't provide. We can not make professional games without a professional team and budget. That's a hard lesson I had to accept during the Eerievale project. Starcat Devocean will not make games of that scope anymore. It serves no one to have big plans that can't be realized with the resources we have. I didn't promote much in the past, because that feels much like hyping or empty promises. And still there was too much of that. There are no videos of HalMock, because I felt that providing the game bundled with an emulator would be better than just a video. I don't have the equipment to grab a video signal. Maybe I have to film it off a screen. I don't want to do physical releases myself, but I can imagine teaming up with a publisher to take care of that. @Stage_1_Boss: That's what I meant. Collecting versus playing. My impression is that these days a lot more people collect and less time is put into playing for many different reasons (time, priorities, too many games out there on other platforms to play, etc) @Clint Thompson: The stability problems of the original release of HalMock were improved, which was later patched. The problem was the OP crashing due to bandwidth issues which of course do not happen in VJ. Real hardware sometimes runs into problems, but most of the time it's fine. I could never make it *perfect* though. This new idea will not be like Eerievale at all. It won't be a traditional graphic adventure, it won't be huge and will not have such a strong focus on art. The focus will be on gameplay, storytelling and will be text heavier. Best imagine it as an interactive story with some pixelart to illustrate different locations. Which on the plus side means it could run from Cart or CD, maybe it will even fit into RAM. A problem may be saving to a regular save eprom. 128 bytes is not much. But I'll think about that issue if things get there. @Isgoed: Maybe you could send me a PM to let me know about your issues with the puzzle mode of Bombsquad. I get what you're saying and I agree. However HalMock as an example is not sold, it's free. So our guess was that people would check it out. At least that's what I'd do with any new Jaguar rom I get my hands on. If people don't know about the game and nobody talks about it, that's a problem. Maybe the Jaguar has reached a point where there are too many releases to try every single one? Like having a library of 300 games on steam. @agradeneu: I fully agree. Considering a hobby project a promise is a problem by itself. It's also one of the reasons I'm not doing the whole Indiegogo, Kickstarter thing. I'm not promising anything anymore. To be clear: This post is not an announcement for a game. There may or may not be a release for the Jag. We will know when it's there, until then it isn't. @haightc: I get the appeal of a cart release. It's just something I can't offer myself, maybe through a publisher. At the same time you say releases are expensive and not everyone has a Jag setup next to their TV. Well, our rom was bundled with the emulator for free. But maybe that doesn't feel much like playing a Jag game? @davidcalgary29 and @saturn: I guess you're both right. Again this is something a publisher could provide. As a developer I want to focus on making something rather than distributing it. @UHATEIT: Sorry. We tried very long with Eerievale, but we can't do a project of that scope in our spare time. @82-T/A: Okay. So maybe my assumption was wrong. Just because many have the means to play homebrew roms, doesn't actually mean people use them as much? Was there ever a poll how many users of homebrew devices or CD drives are out there compared to cart? -- What I hear is: Physical releases are important to you (cart prefered), even if they are not cheap to produce. And releases need more promotion rather than to hope for word-of-mouth? What about this interactive story idea then? Does it sound like something you would want to play (or collect if a publisher teams up)? (Please fill the poll if you haven't already.)
  8. Hey everyone, in this post I speak for the Starcat Devocean team. We’ve been toying with a new game idea for a while now. This post is about getting an idea whether or not there may be enough interest in a Jag version. And how such a version could be realized and distributed. Who are we? Starcat Devocean is a team of two from Germany (Starcat and Gavia + occasional helpers) developing homebrew video games in our spare time. We’re not making games for a profit, but because we want to say something, share our vision, entertain and tell a story. The games are experimental, creative / artistic and sometimes raw. There is no padding around unpolished edges. If you like games in 2D pixel style strong focus on storytelling and oldschool game mechanics maybe there is something here for you. What making homebrew games is like... This isn’t a business. It doesn’t pay any bills. (Maybe it does for pirate scum on Ebay, but not for us. We don’t even get a dollar donation if we don’t enforce it, but we don’t want to resort to that.) We’re creatives, artists and programmers and we do what we do with what limited resources (time, energy, motivation, money) we have. The best thing you can do to support us is enjoy what we make, spread the word, show a bit of appreciation and if you liked a game maybe consider a donation. Like help cover expenses, buy us a virtual beer or coffee as a token of love. A look back... The previous Starcat Devocean release »HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim« was a bit of a shock to us. The download numbers were the lowest of any of our releases yet. From a technical and creative point of view it was pushing the Jag further than any of our releases before. So what went wrong? Not your kind of game? Not interesting because there is nothing for collectors? Not enough »promotion«? Not interesting because it’s just a demo to test the waters? Our expectation was that at least people would be curious to play something new. There are definately worse releases out there... Whatever it may be. To us it felt like we were wasting our time by bringing new games to the Jaguar. We have decided that »HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim« will not be developed further for the Jag and maybe not at all. We were considering a cart version of »JagMind: BombSquad«, but we got zero reaction to that. Again it feels like nobody cares. To us it’s a simple question of priorities and time. Making a game for the Jag is a lot of extra work. Personally I still love the Jag and would like to keep doing something. But my honest question and worry is: Is this still the right platform to put time into? I’m willing to give it another try. But I’m really having a hard time understanding today’s community. I've been keeping an eye on the forums and social media for the past year. Prices for hardware and software go through the roof. Most people have the equipment to play homebrew games. There are less flame wars. People have grown up it seems. There are more releases than ever before. Great things are happending. More developers are around, but still the community doesn’t feel as active or more healthy than it was fifteen years ago. Why this post? I'm not asking what games you want to see on the Jag. That's not the point here. We can only make our games and I wonder if the Jag is still a good fit for those. What I’m trying to figure out is how this whole thing can work for me and my team. And if our game idea is something you want to get for the Jag. Do you still play Jaguar games or just collect them? Do you care about a game if it’s only available as digital release and would you be willing to pay for it to support the developers? Would you care about a game because it’s on the Jaguar, but not if it was on a different platform? Is there a kind of game on the Jaguar you’re sick of? Something you do NOT care about? What would be your perfect release scenario and medium for a new game? (CD, Cart, Download + homebrew-runnable-device...) Our game idea... ITCAN (working title) would be an interactive story in a noir-like setting with life-simulation-like and rpg-like elements. A bit coming-of-age, a bit dystopian, socio-critical thought-provoking. It’s based on a short story of mine, which I wanted to turn into an animated movie almost ten years ago, but that never happened. The idea never went away. I feel like a game format would be perfect, because playing is stronger than watching something. It will not a big game in one run, but replaying it will open a lot of possibilities. It won't be a feel-good game and there is no action. It’s no graphics or hardware showcase. But there is nothing like this on the Jaguar and if you like indie storytelling games this one is for you. A lot of the game concept is already written and I’m prototyping on PC. Now I’m trying to get an idea if this would be a title you want to get and play on the Jaguar. Cheers Lars
  9. I use the same setup: OSSC + retrogamingcables Scart cable. It's awesome even on a modern 40" LED TV. I love crisp pixels.
  10. As the auction ended I got about $70 extra after fees etc over what I originally paid for a reproduced skunk (incl. shipping) earlier this year. That is actually more than I expected and I'm very thankful for that. Of course I included a little thank you note to "ultrastorm" (the auction winner). Yeah, I still have another skunk to test my code on. As mentioned in the auction the full sum will be put towards Starcat Devocean support, like keeping the servers up and running. @JagChris: Has he? That explains a lot. -- No seriously, it's true I haven't been doing much game development in recent years and I miss it. I'm still tinkering on the Jag from time to time. "HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim" being a late example. I'm also experimenting to build a version of "JagMind: Bomb Squad" that doesn't require a JagCD. I love the Jaguar, always have and I do believe there are a lot of great people left in the community, but sure a lot has changed and I'm still figuring out what this means for making Jag games. It kind of feels like we wasted our time? Sometimes I wonder what people think making homebrew games is like? This isn't a business. It doesn't pay any bills. (Maybe it does for sellers of pirated copies on Ebay, but not for us.) Starcat Devocean is not a company, but a team. We're creatives and artists and we do what we do with what limited resources (time, energy, motivation, money) we have. The best thing you can do to support us is enjoy what we make, spread the word, show a bit of appreciation and if you liked a game maybe consider a donation. Like buy us a virtual beer or coffee as a token of love. Most of my time goes into earning a living as a programmer in my bread-and-butter-job and being a writer the rest of the time. After getting out of commercial game dev it took a while until my passion in making games returned. I couldn't even stand playing games anymore. Fortunately that's all coming back. I never liked the commercial side of games and 'the industry'. I grew up with the homebrew spirit of the 80s and 90s. It was all about creating something awesome. Over the years I've learned how hard it is to make time for creative work next to a busy workday earning a living. And to justify doing so in front of family, friends and even myself. Somehow it's even more difficult to explain what it means to be a creative, even moreso a homebrew developer to somebody who is looking forward to a game and may not have the same background. I had to realize that there is no way for me to earn a living being a creative. Not because I'm no good, people happily take my work, but because there is no way to get paid a decent wage. Or not be treated like dirt. That only leaves my spare time for creative work. Which means things take long. There are many people with awesome projects out there. Too many to really get noticed. But only Gavia and I can make OUR games. Just like nobody else can do my writing for me. This isn't a race and for us it's all about making our games. They may not be perfect and they may not be what you expect. But if we feel something is a good idea maybe others enjoy it too. So since earlier this year Gavia and I have been working on new ideas together as Starcat Devocean. These are 2D or simple 3D retro style games. Kind of a reimagination of 1995 spirit with strong focus on gameplay and story. They are different from what I did before. They are not for the Jaguar at this point and I don't think I will create another exclusive game, simply because development is much more effective on modern platforms from a creative point of view. Which means two things: Higher quality and lower development time. Something might actually get finished. Something might even find it's way back if it's in any way feasible, I don't know at this point. First comes the game. As a fan I can somewhat relate that you may *want* to see new titles released for the Jaguar. I do, too. But I can't relate anymore to only care for a game if it's on one specific platform. Not in the age of gaming platforms being literally everywhere. If I care about a game the platform is only a question of access. I care about playing that game and I hope you do, too. Maybe you think different. In that case our games are probably not for you and that's fine, too. But those of you who are in it for the fun, not just for the collecting, they'll be able to play Starcat Devocean games on a platform they already own. Even tough I worked in Unity on professional games before, I never really considered it to make retro-style games until then. It's awesome. We can quickly try an idea without much hassle. Perfect for prototyping.
  11. Hello everybody, I'm selling an original Atari Jaguar Skunkboard (with proto) to raise some funds for Starcat Devocean projects. https://www.ebay.de/itm/Atari-Jaguar-Original-Skunkboard-with-proto-flash-dev-tool-support-homebrew/263749061973 It's an original Skunkboard I bought back in the day when the Rev. 2 was just released. It was used to develop and test some of the Starcat Devocean games (i.e. HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim). The board has been upgraded to a Rev. 3 and has the latest firmware installed. As a little gimmick for collectors I put two games on it: My latest release HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim which is basically the version I offer as a download, but running from Rom. And an unreleased experimental version of JagMIND: BombSquad which previously was only available on CD. This one is fully playable, but does not include sound or support saving. I am selling this Skunkboard to get some funds to put into future Starcat Devocean projects and cover operating costs of the website such as server fees. Frankly, I've been offering my games and other Jag related downloads such as the dev manual for free for many years now and kind of wish to get back at least *something* as a token of appreciation. I will keep things as they are even if I don't but still. If you care to know: There were a few thousand downloads over the years, compared to three digit sales of Ocean Depths back in the day and two digit sales of later releases. The donationware approach never amounted to anything sadly. I'm kind of dissapointed that even the downloads and thus play count of my latest release (HalMock) were lower than anything I was used to. Maybe I should have done more to promote all that, but that I don't like overhyping something. It is what it is. The winner of the auction does not only get an original Skunkboard (in it's original cardboard box) and with the mentioned games, the support is also highly appreciated. Don't worry, this is not the only Skunkboard I have, but the only one for sale. I'm doing this auction to offer the skunkboard I used for development over the years to a fan or developer to hopefully make good use of it. The money is used as support for Starcat Devocean projects. Who is Starcat Devocean? We're a team from Germany developing homebrew video games in our spare time. Our passion lies in retro-style games like those of the 80s and 90s we grew up with. The team consists of my girlfriend and myself with other developers helping out on occasion. If you like games in 2D pixel style with humor, strong focus on storytelling and oldschool game mechanics maybe you enjoy our games. We're making video games like it's 1995. http://www.starcat-dev.de
  12. At some point on real hardware the OP could crash resulting in a blank screen. Something only powering the system up again would fix ( as far as I know). The issue was ultimately a OP and bandwidth problem. (Which was why Virtual Jaguar didn't have a problem with it.) The game uses a lot of big overlaying objects with scaling, so the OP needs as much time as it can get on the bus. So I had to reduce the CPU time that was spent on memory access and restructure the OP list a bit.
  13. Hey folks, some players had compatibility problems on actual hardware, especially Jaguar models of the early M series. We worked hard to fix the issue and updated the download. Thanks a lot to Nicolas Persijn who tested the game. It should now work on all retail units. HalMock FurBall: Sink or Swim is a cartoony one-button highscore-hunting game for the Jaguar. The game is designed to run from RAM. Use a Skunkboard or similar dev kit or convert the game using Jiffi into a format you can use. Enjoy the game! http://www.starcat-dev.de/projects/halmockSOS.php
  14. @joeyaage: Hmm. Please look on the back of your Jaguar. Is there a K or M near the serial number? I'm using my own dev environment, but sadly so far I have not discovered what causes instabilities between different Jag setups. I'm using PAL and NTSC K series with a skunkboard. In a few rare cases I had the blank screen problem, but couldn't reproduce what's causing it yet. If you're using Virtual Jaguar it should work fine.
  15. @nicolaspersijn: Yes, it came with the Sound player. Then again I think it fits nicely and I credited the creator. So it stays until there is something better to replace it. @Felyx: You are welcome. Have fun! @Clint: Do you also have a K series you could test with? Other than that I'm using the same setup.
  16. I have seen the game can be picky on some Jaguars (usually before the first wave of levels though) and not get futher, but for me it was never reproducable when or why it happened. Retrying always fixed things for me. What setup do you have? I assume it's NTSC, K or M? Standard console with skunkboard or modified in some way? Yes, I figured people outside of the community might find the included VJ useful. I hope you still get to play and enjoy it.
  17. Hey everybody, Here is a little something from Starcat Devocean for you to enjoy. I present: »HalMock FurBall – Sink or Swim« for the Atari Jaguar. Featuring: – Cartoony graphics – Fun one-button space hamster action – EEPROM highscore saving (if device supports it) The game is designed to run from RAM, so you need Virtual Jaguar (Alpine mode), a Skunkboard or similar dev kit or convert the game using Jiffi into a format you can use. Enjoy! http://www.starcat-dev.de
  18. I'm interested in two. Just wanted to mention it again, to be on the list for sure. I originally just posted in the other threat and sent the email. Next time maybe an automated email answer would be an idea to confirm the mail arrived.
  19. @Jeffrey: I can relate that you are excited about the project and you want to share your progress. But the community may not be ready for that. Better share with other developers who are closer to your project and better understand the stage it is in. I would like share a few related lessons I learned in professional game development as well as homebrew game dev if I may: 1) People may like the sausage, but they don't like to see how it gets made. If you are working on an original idea game development is rarely the organized process that players believe it is. Not in professional game dev, much less in homebrew games. For creative people, builders and hackers the creative chaos is awesome. Hacking together a prototype is part of the fun and making games has to be fun, otherwise what's the point? It's what made the wild spirit of early 80/90s games and the demo scene. Today people are used to serious and planned franchises big companies produce year after year. Often with a marketing budget as big as development budget or bigger. All of what the audience sees from these games is staged. They see staged demos and staged appearances on events. They read carefully revised interviews with people who's whole job is actually PR and not development. If a team is really wild, there may even be staged workspace pictures, but they look nothing like their real workspaces. All that is not done to fool players. It's done not to alienate them and give the right impression. This is of course a very polarized view of things. There is something in between "creatives at work" and "people in suits demanding you follow their milestone plans to the last detail no matter what" and having entertainers present the results to the public. But the thing to keep in mind is: The whole staging was invented to make the right impression at the right time. And that is true for any project, no matter how big or small. 1b) There is a time to show a prototype to a selected group. That time is the beta stage. If you show too early, people will just get irritated and confused, because they are not involved in the development process and can't tell what already is done and what is still being worked on. You end up with a lot of feedback that you already know and at the same time people get the wrong impression because they always see what does not work. It's human nature. One very difficult truth I had to learn as a game designer: The work of a good game designer is invisible. It's a natural part of the game. You only see it when something does not work. 2) For a professional team, making a demo is never fun. They do it because they have to. It means stepping back from actual development and building something artificial that has to look and feel good, but all that work is later thrown away. It eats up development time that's all. This is actually a mistake I always made in my early years. I put too much time into building tech demos. Some of my projects in a nutshell: Star Alliance: Learning programming and building tech demos. - all games in between: tech demos - Eerievale (on the Jag): Building technology, learning adventure game development, writing story and building tech demos. The first real games I made even though small were during my game design study. Funny enough this can also happen in commercial game development. On the first big project I worked on, my approach would have been to build a gameplay prototype first. The idea was scrapped as a waste of time. We ended up building a nice looking product, that was more a tech demo than a game with gameplay being slapped on in the last minute. I had to fight hard to get the resources to add any gameplay at all. Ah well, now back to topic.
  20. That's cool! My demo was created using Project Tempest as test environment back in the day and was quite picky on the real hardware. Sometimes it ran, sometimes not and back then I didn't have the time to figure out how to fix it. I have sent you a PM. I'll see if I still have the original assets somewhere. Maybe you can tell me more about your idea and what you need.
  21. Looks great! Actually this is something I wanted to do back in the day to, but I got distracted during my study. Let me know if I can help in any way.
  22. Hmm, with the recent hype of the Mini consoles such as Genesis Mini, C64 Mini, the enormous success of the Mini Nintendo consoles (NES, SNES) with the SNES selling over 2 million units and the very good Analogue devcies (Nt Mini and Super Nt coming soon) which actually use some kind of FPGA implementation in mind... Has any progress been made on the Jag FPGA since? How compatible is it to the original Jag? It's just a dream but I would love to have a Jaguar Mini with HDMI connector similar to the Analogue Nt devices that use original controllers and carts. It could use a smaller version of the Jag case design too. I always loved that.
  23. This is awesome! I'm interested. I've just recently been looking into getting another Pro-Controller and gave up on the idea after seeing the insane prices on ebay and resellers. The mentioned $150+ on ebay that was mentioned before is only if you're very lucky and from the US. You seem to rarely find new Pro-Controllers on ebay anyway and here in Germany for example, you can expect to pay 370-400 Euro for it. Which is just not worth it. So new Pro-Controllers are really great news! Personally I feel like the Pro-Controller is an improvement in every way over the original, at least I prefer it. If you haven't tried it, it's not just for the few newer games that support it. Even after longer playtime the D-Pad doesn't hurt your fingers and the buttons feel more like on traditional controllers.
  24. It's definately WAITL in the schematic, assuming looking down at the cartridge port, http://www.jagware.org/jag_uploads/dev/glenn_bruner_atarishowroom/cart_sch.htm The damage to the cart port happened due to a reproduced Skunkboard that did not have beveled edges and even though I tried being careful. Obviously I wasn't careful enough. It's on the Jaguar I have used for years and never had any problems. The WAITL pin is visibly crushed, I couldn't find any other damage. Maybe the pins were "widened" by the thicker cart so they don't make proper contact anymore? The Skunk still boots to a green screen, but can't run any games from flash. In that console my Jag CD doesn't do anything anymore. Just a black screen, the CD doesn't spin either. I'm pretty sure regular carts would behave the same, although I can't verify this right now. What other explaination could there be?
  25. There is a bent pin in my Jag cart connector. It is the WAITL line http://www.jagware.org/.../glenn_bruner.../cart_sch.htm Cam somebody tell me what exactly it does? For some reason I still get a green screen using the skunkboard, but games do not boot from flash (might be a different problem). The Jaguar CD does nothing. I don't have a regular cart here to test. So my assumption is that the skunk initially uses a different cart access mode than the Jag CD or a regular cart and when it switches to a different mode the bent pin might cause problems. Can somebody tell me if this may be true?
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