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About kiwilove

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    Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Interests
    Playing Volleyball and Table Tennis, interest in ancient ancient civilisations, UFOs, truth/reality, ancient technologies, future technologies, morals and ethics, anti-violence, anti-religions, etc etc
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    Not a gamer anymore... retired in that area.
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    Testing as in current project AtariBLAST!/GTIABlast!

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  1. Something so obvious which hasn't been stated - is that graphics for a static screen is one thing, and graphics within a game another, so too for graphics within a demo. That so-called tricks can be done to enhance the image - to what is presented. Harvey
  2. I believe in a fair comparison between different hardware - and praise where it's due. I would guess it may take up to 2-3 years to fully understand the hardware to get the most out of it. Maybe even longer, because the early releases do not show what the system could really do? That kind of time was not available when you see releases on both systems at about the same time. I could not understand at first, why AtariBlast! did not make a favourable impression upon the C-64 fanbase. Maybe it was their reluctance to acknowledge something noteworthy on a competing hardware? But maybe it is because there is no C-64 equivalent to AB! That to do some kind of comparable C-64Blast! would take up too much time and effort to do so. And when completed - would not compare well against it? Anyway - I think the most significant thing to AB! - was the amount of animation going on, within it - and then to list all the other stuff that is included as well. I think the programmers can list them all. While there is no direct connection between the games AtariBlast! and Scramble - there is some AB! influence to it - that Scramble would not have ended up the way it did, without the work done on AB! And so the tip is, animate, animate, animate. Like with any other hobby or interest, etc. It is the time and effort you put into it, that you get the results out. And that if you had the long, long desire to do something special - it will eventually get done if you really want to do it. And you do it, because it is something that 'you' want to do. Harvey
  3. For me - it was always about the games themselves. That they had to measure up. Being a coin-op videogames fan first - I wanted a home version that looked the part and was playable. Being an all time Zaxxon fan - no home version was ever good enough, until the Synapse C-64 version appeared. All the other home ports simply didn't satisfy me, in what I wanted in a Zaxxon game. No surprise because it was a difficult game to port/convert. Same with Xevious - only the PC Engine conversion came close to the arcade - no surpise it needed some capable hardware to deliver it. A review of it at the time (1986?) simply did not appreciate this landmark game at all and said it was boring and stale, etc. I did try my hand at my own version of it graphic wise - and found a combination of foilage/forestry graphics that works, using a minimum of characters to do so, which was put into Hawkquest - which mimicked various coin-op games graphics. Bruce Lee as a game didn't really satisfy my yen for a Bruce Lee game - being a big Bruce Lee fan (watched that extra long Chinese TV series - which wasn't too bad?) - but with the arrival of StreetFighter II, the videogame - this was what was needed. No surprise it revived interest in playing coin-op games and spawned a whole series of copycat games. And the only decent home version was out on the 16-bit gaming consoles - and later 32-bit consoles. I can't recall any good home computer version/conversion of it? Or any similar kind of game? IK+ probably come closest - I don't know what happened to the ST/Amiga version - as it looked terrible. It's always the games that matter. I did have a C-64 also, back in the day - so I'm familiar with certain titles - but so far I haven't checked out the homebrews, etc. From around the late 80s' onwards. The last thing I checked out on emulation, was Armalyte - which was the best shooter to date, on that hardware. I long wanted to work on something that could show off what the Atari hardware could do, in a shooter - that became AtariBlast! I'm sure more new levels could be done for it - but I haven't got the zest/energy to start on that - so maybe 10 years after it's appearance, I may feel the need to get started? I don't think it is fair to compare the 2 scramble conversions done for the C-64 and Atari's. As I would guess there were different objectives in mind for them. That the C-64 conversion (that was completed around 2? or less years ago) wanted to stick with the arcade as close as possible. Whereas I wanted a version/conversion - that could incorporate some new minor enhancements to it, without affecting it's original gameplay. When you have projects in which the same developers are responsible for them - then, I'll say you can then compare the Atari vs C-64 versions - which can then show the hardware differences. Harvey
  4. In this kind of discussion - it's always helpful to cite examples to illustrate - instead of simply quoting specs. When you compare say Pole Position vs Pole Position on Atari vs C64 - you could say the C-64 version was hardly trying to outdo the other. Being both from Atari? You can say they're trying to keep both versions more or less the same. However comparing Dropzone to Dropzone - done by the same author, it is said the Atari version (done first) is faster and more maniac than the other. I haven't played both to compare. When you look at Blue Max - I think you're comparing the programmers more - that there is a change in scale on the C-64 to it's disadvantage. The original was done on Atari first and is brilliantly done. Xevious on C-64 was a big disappointment. The programmer wasn't up to the task. It seems to be more like the 7800 version than of the coin-op. But Xevious wasn't successfully done for the 8-bit Atari also. Spelunker is a good comparison, whereby the Atari version shows overscan in use. Encounter? I haven't checked out the C-64 version - but will imagine the Atari version comes out better? Being the first version out. Some comparisons will come out virtually identical? Say for Choplifter, Lode Runner, Bristles and others. Some will have the Atari version being the better version - say for Miner 2049'er, Boulderdash and others. Others will have the C-64 being better done such as Zaxxon, (2 out for C-64, the better one being from Synapse) and others? At least the hardware comparisons between the C-64 and Atari 8-bit is not so clear cut, as with the likes of the Apple II, and Spectrum. But then, you can bring up the Atari killer app Star Raiders - here is an 8K game, that uses low res (well, med res) graphics - that is fast moving in real time - that was ready in 1979. Try citing a C-64 equivalent - and how many years later on, was that? Harvey
  5. What is done in a 'demo' does not necessarily apply to within a game situation - unless the demo was to demonstrate a game situation/application. ie. a graphics demo is just that. A game demo is something different. If you look at 16K games - which was the standard cart size for 1982/83 - you can see that the graphics are not that sophisticated - as it was the 32K and 48K games that looked far better. Just compare Defender with Dropzone. By the time the XE/XEGS came out - bankswitched carts appeared, so even more can be fitted into a cart. Maybe someone can list these titles - commercial and homebrews? It is up to the programmer as to how much you want to push the graphics within a game, and probably show someone relatively new to the Atari hardware versus someone who's done various game projects already for it. I would say more tricks/techniques need to be employed to add a Wow to the graphics. It is always subjective as to what are the best titles - whether it be for the graphics or gameplay, or both. You should be able to have access to most of them, and can decide for yourself - what are the best? Harvey I like designing graphics, and am no programmer.
  6. I would think that most of the 400/800 design was during 1978 to be ready for 1979 release - but it was 1980 that you could actually start buying them? For that time of development - you can say it was 'ahead of it's time'. But with the C-64 - having a date of around 1981/1982 - it must have looked at the 400/800 design, and decided to improve upon what was available for that system? Stronger sprite support, likewise with it's music capability? You're looking at a 3 year time difference - which is huge for this time period. The next leap forward, I think, came from the SNES - the Super Famicom with even better sprites and sound capability - because this easily tops the Amiga hardware - in terms of home versions of coin-op videogames. I have mixed feelings about the Amiga hardware - for me, it didn't quite deliver what was hoped for, in a machine. Sure it performed very well in certain areas - but in others - the software did not deliver. Was it the fault of the developer(s) rather than the hardware? Maybe it was both? But if you talking about 3D simulation environments, and strategy games - you can say that the 16-bit computers covered that field better than gaming consoles. The next leap forward was the Sony PlayStation in which 3D worlds became the norm, as too home conversions of coin-op games - that were identically the same. The 5200 should have been released shortly after the 400/800 computers - so as to establish a strong foothold - instead of following the crowd. Likewise the late release of the 7800 didn't help it's image but it's hardware wasn't all that much of an improvement over the 400/800 hardware, same with the XL/XE hardware which only offered marginally little improvement. Atari was dragging it's chain and was no longer leading the videogaming world. While a few homebrew developers have significantly shown what the 400/800 hardware can really do - when pushed - it's always at a cost to do so. In no way can the hardware limitations be overcome but the lines can be blurred to make the impossible seem to be possible? Harvey
  7. While not in the 'best' category - there is Laser Hawk - you can look at - as an example of someone's first game effort - which happens to be a side scroller shooter game. I think he wrote 3 mini-games (simple routines) before this, that explored the use of the Atari graphics hardware. Harvey
  8. An option could be to use Atarimax 8mbit carts - and get the programmer kit, so as to burn files to them. Probably not the cheaper option. I only tested an Atari 400 with a 8mbit game (that uses bank switching) this way. You just need a confirmation that the menu driven games work fine too with Atari 400/800 machines. That you use a PC to burn files to the carts via the programmer kit. It's not hard to do, once you know how to do it via the menu system. You don't have to search for individual games - but merely go to the Atarimax forum and download a workbook, someone else has compiled already. You can check to see if the games you want - are in some collection already? Harvey
  9. OK. Back in the day - I wrote up something for my Communications English class - about coin-op videogames and computer videogames. Mostly the former I think. Going to a local videogame arcade and listing the noteworthy games running there. I have it still somewhere in my archives. A few years later I wrote something up - some proposal for setting up a home computers drop in centre, something for the local city council to support? That it was for entertainment purposes (videogames) as well as for applications/etc use. This concept is now in use at the city library, with a room full of computers for Internet use. People could play videogames there, I guess if they so desired? And do other things I guess - since a printer is readily available for use too. I would write up a short story back story for the games I was involved with then - Laser Hawk and Hawkquest. I had to explain why your helicopter was struck down by the trees present - saying these were petrified trees - amongst the volcanic background. And what was the mission in Hawkquest - to recover ancient advanced technology. There was a piece about the current state of being a home computing enthusiast - from the view of being an Atari Home computerist. Again in my archives somewhere, that I can't readily get my hands on. I never got around to taking any photographs for illustrative purposes, though 35mm still photography was a major interest of mine before affordable home computers turned up. I guess I was too busy with using home computers - and I tended to use my camera to only take screenshots off coin-op arcade games for reference purposes. Harvey
  10. Something to consider? Is maybe to have a different set of green for the playfield rolling effect - as opposed to the tree/bush foliage? Provided this is possible to do? Don't know if this will look 'better' or not? And to maybe change these colours further on - indicating levels passed - brown? White? For dirt/snow/etc. I have no idea if this is worthwhile to do at all - so can only put it forward as a suggestion only. Harvey
  11. Some people did start off an Atari 400 or 600XL - 16k machines - and they easily outperformed their competition. And even the occasional later game of today - can run off one. When Ataris got to be ignored - it's supporters always felt that - that it's hardware still had the potential to deliver quality results. And so later on the homebrew scene delivered some gems indeed. But hard work had to be undertaken to get the results out. The hardware is one thing - and needs the software to show it all off. Harvey
  12. If you wanted to see what could be possible on the 5200? You can check out the various road racers that have appeared for the Atari 8-bit computers. There should be videos somewhere with most of them running? And of the best of these - how many of these could be converted to run on the 5200 hardware? Elektraglide is like Pole Position without the cars present (from 3rd person to first person viewpoint) - with music. Not a likely 5200 version to hack for - because of the music I guess? And there's Pole Position X - which is a map editor attached to Pole Position. I can't say if these alternative tracks makes Pole Position better or not? Played them back in the day and can't remember if they were fun or not? Of course it's not likely to be a candidate for a 5200 conversion - but may provide some thought as to changing Pole Positions tracks? I can't answer the technical questions as to whether Stunt Car Racer could be hacked to run on the 5200? Probably not enough memory to do so? And far too much work to even try hacking it for a 5200 conversion. Baja Buggies only comes to mind - which is probably already hacked to run on the 5200? It's not better than Pole Position - but was OK to play before Pole Position appeared. Night Driver comes to mind - as something that ought to run on the 5200 - but I can't remember if it was a good conversion or not? To consider it a worthwhile hack to do for someone to do it? There is a current road racer project being coded - but it needs to be already adapted to run on the 5200 - for it to be a prospect for the 5200 also. Most A8 projects are not written with a 5200 version as well - in mind. Harvey
  13. Being an Atari 8-bit user back in the day. I didn't view that many Creative Computing magazines - but note that they did publish a very useful Antic 4 Character Editor. While Compute! published loads of program listings for various computers. I found their Fontbyter map editor very useful - and they published their very good quality Speedscript and Speedcalc wordprocessor/spreadsheet programs. These being in machine language. They did publish various introductory graphic programs in BASIC - which I tried out in store with an Atari 800 computer. This computer I would later purchase elsewhere - where I could get it cheaper. I can't say much about the Mac. It wasn't a computer I was interested in, back in the day. Though I did make use of them, when I was using a computer network at University - so many years later on. Harvey
  14. The matter of whether to incorporate the stripes or not - would be a personal preference. Though it would be better with the stripes to be able to mask them out for on the road - though I'll guess that to do this would take away (slow down) the other animated objects. While it's nice to get feedback from a variety of people/players/etc. It's always down to the person programming the game to decide exactly what to do with the project. What suggestions to take on board that are worthwhile - and to discard/ignore those which don't add to the project. You do have to compromise on a lot of stuff because of the hardware limitations - on superior hardware (eg. the SNES) the hardware can deliver a better result - though it still needs to be competently programmed. It's not going to be easy to deliver a project that ticks all of the boxes, most people would expect from it - and it's pretty rare when that happens. Harvey
  15. Your choice of high quality games is extremely limited when you have only 16K of memory available - as you are cartridge based. Which is fine if you are happy to purchase all the cartridges available - but there are 32K and 48K/64K games which will be your worth while to spend time on. Back in the day - you would get the extra memory fitted first, and go for the disk drive option - to give you access to the disk only games and fast loading times. Nowadays you can bypass the disk drive altogether and go for a flash cart instead. There is a guide to them in the forums somewhere. I've only got the Atarimax carts with it's programmer so you can pick and choose what games to put onto a cart in compiliations. These carts are rewritable many times over (using a laptop PC or whatever) - other more recent carts use SDcards - but may not support the bank switching as in the Atarimax cartridge system? It's easy to get a hold of someone else's compiliations to instantly build up a library or sample the most popularly played games. I can imagine it's the easiest and less expensive way to play most of the games available and that buying individual carts is really only for the dedicated collectors out there. It is a big wide world out there - of games, demos, utilities and what have you ... Harvey
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