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About Redb3ard

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    Star Raider
  • Birthday 09/02/1974

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    Lubbock, TX
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    Petitioning the Unicode Consortium for the inclusion of an appropriate glyph for the artist formerly known as Prince.
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  1. For those who think I've dropped dead on this topic. I've fallen into some rabbit hole of identifying the fonts for this, but not without progress. The main body text on the cover is MacWrite 1.0 (for the Mac Plus), Geneva 12 point bold. It's a bitmap font, and it does not exist in that form anymore (Modern Geneva is a vector font). Each point size has a different shape, and the styles (bold, italic, others) is created algorithmically. This means that the few reproductions others have made won't work... they reproduced the regular/plain version of Geneva, which does not have the correct shape. I've been working on a system to screen capture each of the 220 characters, I've got a script that can take bdf fonts and turn them into Truetype. The only missing piece is something that takes the bitmap and turns into bdf (which is a bitmap-ish format). With 7 typefaces, 5 styles, and 5 sizes, that's 1120 font files if I do them all (which, once I get it automated, will be easy enough). I have yet to identify the headline fonts in that cover, but I'm assuming it's still MacWrite, possibly with third-party fonts. Might be a few more weeks, but I'll finish this one and get back to the DataBiotics manuals that are relatively easy.
  2. Preliminary graphic for TI Runner... not perfectly happy with it, but if it was square pixels then this is the best I can manage. All of the bricks line up relatively, but the middle ladder has to be wider than the rest. The source svg is 96k (plenty small for our purposes), but the monochrome.png is only 1k. Pretty tiny. If anyone has *any* clue on the font on the front cover (honestly wonder if it might not be TI software that did it), please respond. It may be impossible to match otherwise.
  3. Vector will scale more cleanly, but I wonder how authentic it is. I think I've figured out a way to do both at the same time, so will run tests and see which one looks right, works, etc.
  4. Does anyone have any strong opinions on whether the front cover image for TI Runner's manual should use a vector image (I've used those so far, but the lineart/clipart for those justified it, and the filesize reduction made it really awesome) or a monochrome bitmap image? It will be roughly the same amount of work to clean it up to my standards either way. As a bitmap, I worry that it won't look correct even though PDF supports raster embedded images. The size of the image requires each "pixel" to use several literal pixels, but as those can only be in 2x2 or 3x3 blocks (etc), the size this needs to be has those being fractional. Even if I manage to get it sized correctly, I worry that some pdf viewing software will blur or do interpolation when you're zoomed in, you won't see the crisp pixel lines. Vector will almost certainly be larger (in monochrome raster, you get 8 pixels per byte, even more with run length encoding). It may print better (unsure of that), but if anyone ever wants to extract it from the pdf to use in some other material, I've sort of made that more difficult. In any event, about 50% done with it, but having a hell of a time matching fonts. If anyone can speculate on what EB Software was using for their manual design, I'd love to hear it.
  5. I have finished the primary typesetting for Star Runner: star-runner-printable-black.pdf star-runner-printable-blue.pdf These are the printables, on white/empty backgrounds. The blue one may consume quite a bit of expensive ink, please proof it before deciding you need a paper copy. It's as close to the blue ink in JB's scna (Thanks JB!) as I could get. These may not be the final version, if anyone points out any flaw or typo I'll present newer versions correcting those. I'll also provide a digital copy, but you guys should decide what bacjground color to use. Some pastel like the other Databiotics manuals maybe. I might even do both a black-ink and a blue-ink digital version for this one. Please let me know what you think, I'm not averse to criticism. Some curiosities I've noticed myself: the black is significantly smaller than the blue, despite being essentially identical. The only real difference is that instead of #000000 for the SVG's color, I've switched it out for #4f5095. I suppose that unlike Chronoscope's html source file where it only has to have that color once, Adobe pdf format is explicitly setting that color (that isn't black/#000000) for every little path stroke/fill in the image. That may not be correctable (thankfully, this stuff's pretty much all black line art). On Preview.app in MacOS, the pdf file is still showing weird stuff when I select/highlight text. Worse, when copy-pasted, the text is always reversed. If someone could open these and copy-paste into notepad.exe or whatever and check that out, I'd love to know if I've borked the pdf files somehow, or just my own computer's copy'n'paste. If no one nominates another, I'll probably work next on EB Software's TI Runner as that scan appeared in another thread even though it's not technically Databiotics'. I'll probably do that with the rest, doing both versions of each game manual before moving on. Off-topic: What's up with 80s video games naming their heroes "Dirk"? (It's Clyde in TI Runner, so Databiotics renamed him.) Is there a more 80ish first name out there?
  6. Star Runner is really challenging me. The body text isn't a standard typewriter. If Databiotics was desktop publishing these manuals is it possible that they were actually using a TI-99? What printers were available for this machine in 1987? Were there any high-quality daisy wheel printers (not dot matrix, not thermal, etc)? Does anyone know if they had any Mac Pluses in their shop, or even some 68020 Mac? The clip art was coming from somewhere, Mancala is clearly not a hand-sketch (well, half of it's clearly not that) even if a few others might have been some local or semi-amateur artist.
  7. I think the correct way to release these is with a variant for each of "printable" and "digital". Some people (myself included) don't need physical booklets printed out. I haven't had an actual TI-99 since I was in 5th grade after all... I don't even know what happened to it. My son's been playing Alpiner and a few others on Retropie, and it feels weird to not have the manuals (on some of these I honestly can't remember how to play!). Anyway, the printables will be all-white background. For the digitals, I'll use the colored background. It'd be great if you guys could vote on which color to use for each, I can make it anything (it's not really like there was an official color, they used whatever color was cheapest, I guess). I'll also release nice front-cover images too, in case anyone wants just those (on some emulation it gives you a pretty poster in the games menu). Though if someone's offering to do full-color recreations, that'd be great, I can't do anything like that myself. Also, for the title-variants, I think I'll be releasing both of those, and people can choose which they want (or both). I will probably still need help tracking down photographs of those and the like (in the cases where I have a scan of one, a photo of the other might suffice). If anyone has any favorites, just ask, I'm not doing these in any particular order. I had planned on finishing Star Runner tonight, but the first letters of those are using a "swash" variant of Bookman ITC, and I'm having a heck of a time figuring out how to enable those correctly. (Not much of a graphics/typography guy, truth told). I'll be able to lift the warranty from the first manual (no retyping!) but strangely the justification is off just a bit as if DataBiotics re-typed it themselves (word for word). I figured they just photocopier-composited that page in on all of them.
  8. This is my secret weapon. You're seeing the orange "overlay" on the left (original page) so that I can precisely align stuff. The right-hand side is rendered in the app as html. Of course, that's just for the text... I've been using Inkscape to trace out the graphics. I'm shooting for about 4000 bezier nodes (comes out as less than 200kb), but that's tough when it's both line and filled shape. For Spot Shot I just ran two passes for each, and deleted the bad tracing from each and combined them, but for Star Runner it's way worse... I can't get it under about 10,000 nodes. Will balloon the size of that pdf probably. Also, Electron/Chrome (what the app is written with) seems to be screwing up the pdf generation *bad*. When I copy and paste from the pdf, it's somehow reversing the order of all the strings. That may not be an issue for some of you, but if I get that fixed I'll post some links to the better versions here once I get it figured out. Give me a couple of months, and I should have the full Databiotics catalog ready, and I can get to work on the other manuals.
  9. SpotShot-white.pdf Dragonflyer-white.pdf Please keep in mind that with Dragonflyer, I'm working off of Adamantyr's photo, and assuming the contents are identical except for the two references to "Spot Shot". Until someone provides a scan, that's just a guess. Let me know how these print up... I prefer digital for my stuff, and like the 1 page per pdf-page, but that might complicate things if you're trying to print all 4 on a single sheet. Think I'll work on Star Runner next, trying to get the artwork down under 300kb, but it's a tough one. Also, is it the only one that was printed with blue ink?
  10. Wonder if this is pretty close to yours Adamantyr... Dragonflyer-vectorized.pdf The title's still in Cooper Black, but it's higher on the cover. And of course I've just replaced references to Spot Shot with the new title (only 2 of them). Also guys, the copy I found used that green paper, but looking at these photos it's clear that they'd mail them out with various colors (probably whatever was available at the time). Do you have any preferences for what background-color I should use? Should it just be black text on white background?
  11. Wow. I remember ordering these out of catalogs and the backs of magazines... what about the poor schmucks who thought it was a new game and ordered it only to find out it was the same game they already had? I know with certainty that's how my uncle got Picnic Paranoia, and a few others besides.
  12. Assuming it was rebranded lazily, I could probably reproduce it even with a shitty ebay photograph that's distant and perspective distorted. Probably would just release the cover page (assuming the rest didn't change). Which came first though? And who owned it prior to rebranding? What was the point ("Spot Shot" doesn't seem to be stepping on any intellectual property toes)?
  13. Ok, this is pretty close to final for Spot Shot: SpotShot-vectorized.pdf This still has some problems, notably that something about the pdf rendering makes it difficult to select text (I've seen this in pdfs created with other software, still haven't tracked it down). Also, the svg/vector image on the front lets you select each and every little path element, which annoys me. Gotta figure out how to make that so it's just a single image. Fonts are matched. Line-height isn't always matched... on a typewriter it was controlled mechanically, and if the paper slipped a little more or a little less on each new line you'd not get them perfectly spaced. That makes it tough for me. If someone could proof-read, see if they can spot any discrepancies, that'd be great. I'd also appreciate screenshots of it (to test whether the font-embedding is working correctly... would suck if your pdf viewer just shows Times New Roman or whatever). I worked from the one posted in the high score thread, I'll repost it here for convenience: SpotShot.pdf Note that my copy has nearly perfect fidelity, and is only 20% of the original size.
  14. Thank you so much JB. If you want a better digital copy, I think I can do that. I've got two of the fonts matched already, everything except the "Star Runner" though I suspect strongly I'll find it was an included font with Aldus Pagemaker or something like that. The "Minimum requirements" is Palatino Bold, and I'm using JMH Typewriter Dry for the content. Looks like they changed up the warranty page a bit, guess I get to re-type that one, haha. Also, slightly off-topic, why in the hell does CSS not have a sentence-spacing property? Driving me nuts, makes it difficult to get pixel-perfect layout matching. Whoever typed these up liked to double-space new sentences, but the typewriter's pitch was different.
  15. I don't know if anyone's interested in this... but I plan on making them for myself anyway. This is very preliminary work. I'm using a custom-made application called "Chronoscope" that I've never actually released (it was disappointing that I couldn't make it as automated as I might like). The image was vectorized with Inkscape... the latest version has centerline autotrace, which makes the image only about 150k (it's most of the pdf size and will remain so, there's less than 10k of markup/css). I had to hand-tweak it because centerline-autotrace does line art really well, but not solid shapes and combining the two tracings was irritating. I've never been able to figure out automatic typeface detection (so I have to match those by eyeball, and I'm not great at it). So the title on the cover is wrong... I'll get that figured out tomorrow (likely this was made with desktop publishing on a Mac in 1987ish, there really are only a couple dozen possibilities). Chronoscope does OCR (and often badly), so for this I may just end up typing it in by hand, can't be more than 15 minutes' worth or so. The main text of this thing looks typewriter-ish to me, and there are some decent typewriter fonts to use for this. I intend to correct typos and misspellings. I'd go nuts if I didn't (but if someone wants to object, I can be persuaded to provide an alternate version). I also suspect the DataBioTics people were using some standard clipart, but I don't think I've got much chance of finding the originals (if so, this pdf would probably look better still and be under 60k). If anyone has any insight into that, I'd love to hear it. If this doesn't look much different to you, that's what I intended. But if you want to really see the difference just to understand, zoom in on both the original and my version. Crisp, clean lines as far as you can zoom in. On the art and the letters. All criticism welcome. SpotShot-vectorized.pdf
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