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ledzep

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ledzep last won the day on May 29 2015

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About ledzep

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    River Patroller
  • Birthday 10/10/1966

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Los Angeles
  • Interests
    Musclecars, Atari videogame systems, Atari classic arcade games, hard rock/metal/blues/big band music, SGI computers, mid-century modern architecture
  • Currently Playing
    Atari 5200, Vectrex

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  1. Ya, I have the Deluxe Edition, it's fantastic. I love that style of box art from the early Atari days. I even bought those empty prop game boxes from Panic, Inc., just because they look like period-correct long-lost 2600 games. I wish game boxes today had that style. https://panic.com/blog/panic-retro-art/
  2. There's another thread on that somewhere from years ago about the code needing to be changed, someone said he'd look into it but I don't think it ever was. I wonder if that could be addressed and tested on real hardware because I think that would be a great title to be sold, boxed, in the AtariAge store. I know I'd buy one. I would also like to know if the 8-bit version could be had in cart form and, even better, if anybody knows how to correctly wire up an 8-bit trak-ball with 3 buttons like apparently existed internally at Atari(?). I wouldn't mind modifying one of those things just to be able to play it as Odin intended.
  3. I'm not sure any of the 2600 versions are "better". Simpler, yes, and therefore easier for the machine to handle. 5200 Missile Command with the trak-ball actually feels close to the arcade version. Only 1 base in the middle so that's a knock against. But the 2600 with a joystick is just... another game. Missile Command-like, but not Missile Command. If I remember correctly (been a while) the missiles only come down in 2 or 3 different angles, there's less variety. Asteroids, same thing. The 8-bit versions are trying to emulate the way the asteroids moved in the arcade game. Not well, but an attempt. The 2600 version just has (again, hazy) 2 sets of asteroids at the start on the left and right and their movements are less varied. I can't remember Defender that well. I will agree that the programming on the 8-bits could have been better, and in some cases we've seen that "better" from homebrews for the 5200. Compare the 2 versions of Tempest if you want to see what the 2600 cannot do. But it is easier to fail when you're trying to get 90-100% of an arcade game on the 8-bit platform and you land on 80% than just punting and shooting for 60% on the 2600 and hitting or exceeding the mark. I'm sure there are some decent ZX-81 ports of games that on that platform seem fine... until you step back and compare them to the originals and then the oddball graphics and gameplay might stand out. I much prefer the 5200 versions of ports to the 2600 versions except where extra play options are concerned, I think Atari knew what they were handing people and decided that as a concession to the limits of the actual games they would add interesting options to make up for the simplicity of the ports. I like the moving shields in Space Invaders, for one.
  4. Ya, I've seen that, too. Some people don't want physical crap to have to take care of, others don't want to pay extra, just want a ROM file to cram onto a multicart. But there are a lot of us who want to pay for the whole deal. In the AtariAge store I see some games with options for box or no box, no box being like $15 cheaper, I think. That would be fair, I suppose, box/overlay or no box/overlay. That could be true. In which case it sounds like I'm volunteering him for more hassle which I suppose isn't what he's begging for. Ah, ok, that changes things if true. What I'm suggesting is more of an expansion into a sort of Zazzle for homebrew games, only AtariAge would be doing it instead of some other outfit. If it is feasible. It might require extra hands helping out/hired to assemble runs of games, I don't know. To me it seems like AtariAge is the best option for that since they already publish games from multiple programmers with different artwork styles. I wonder if maybe a few independent publishers out there aren't so high on doing it all themselves but have no better option but if AtariAge or some other 3rd party presented itself that they might take the hit on total profit in order to avoid dealing with website hosting and physically assembling all the parts needed to create one finished game. And ship it out and all the rest. But then maybe that's part of the appeal, the geek cred of not only coding a cool homebrew game but designing and selling the completed physical game with no outside help.
  5. Interesting. I didn't read the whole thread but I had no idea that Atari 8-bit computer carts were such a pain to deal with. I would guess so, if the games were done "complete", meaning box/instructions/overlay. I say this because, yes, there are other publishers but half of them tend to half-ass (compared to a traditional GCE boxed game) the final product. By that I mean that, for example, Fury usually offers his games in tiny boxes just barely bigger than a cart (and tiny instructions and no overlay), a couple other publishers like Madtronix do something similar, Der Luchs and others do the flat cart versions, Kristof uses those VHS clamshell boxes (but does include overlays), etc. I've bought from all of them so I'm not just criticizing but not supporting. I was thinking more of a standardized design for the packaging/overlays (like the Atari 2600 and 5200 homebrews already share), the artwork could be whatever. But I've read certain programmers explain that the reason they're not offering their games complete boxed is because that's too much of a pain in the ass, which I can totally believe, but what if they could just submit the games, artwork and instructions to a centralized publisher? That would also, hopefully, eliminate the "I'm only going to offer 50 copies because I can't deal with assembling physical boxes" argument, too. Instead of expecting every new homebrew programmer to reinvent the wheel in terms of packaging, why not hand of that part off to AtariAge, which has already figured that out, for an I hope reasonable fee? Maybe it's a stupid idea, I don't know enough about the Vectrex homebrew community. AtariAge is a quality brand unto itself, I agree, I was just curious as to why they don't include Vectrex homebrews when they already sell non-Atari system games, so it's not an Atari purity thing. I mean, they have people advertising here in the Vectrex forum about repro overlays, overlays for homebrew games, new homebrew games coming out, overlay envelopes, box cart inserts, etc. Whole games are here, in pieces it seems, could be worth it to just consolidate the effort? I would want (hope for) the option to get a Vectrex game complete with a "normal size" box, cart, overlay and instructions. Some other publishers do almost all of that - envelope and flat cart instead of a boxed game, no overlay, no box just a bare cart or PCB. I doubt they believe that the best version of their games is incomplete, like an overlay or box would ruin the experience. Less hassle (I suspect some of them might welcome not having to maintain a separate website just to describe/sell the game), too. Sort of like how Zazzle or RedBubble offer t-shirt manufacturing, you just supply the design, not your problem to gather the t-shirts and fabric ink.
  6. Oh, very cool. Ya, I figured it would be expensive initially, I just didn't know if it had been done already like your example of ya, a while ago but not anymore. I mean, there's a new 2600 game in the Store, Dare Devil, with artwork that looks like Activision made it, how cool to have an Activision cart shell. Unnecessary, of course, doesn't affect gameplay, but if the programmer went that far he'd probably welcome being able to go the last 5 yards with the "correct" shell shape. Which is why I asked here since AtariAge seems to be a sort of central hub for homebrew games (compared to other places that mostly just assemble/create their own in-house games) so it might be worth it to get the molds made once and have the option (maybe encourage future 2600 homebrews to be done in the Activision style to increase volume). But then that's 3 or 4 options if you include SEGA and CBS and others but I think Activision would be the logical first option, there have been other homebrews done in the Activision style. Of course I have no idea how game components are supplied and purchased by AtariAge when they go through this process of offering new homebrew games. I mean, I assume AtariAge is coordinating the effort, not the individual homebrew programmers, but I could be dead wrong there.
  7. I've bought a lot of homebrew carts from AtariAge, for the 2600 and 5200, and I was wondering about a few general things about that "make it yourself" world since there aren't many options for buying completed games (PCB in cart shell, box, instructions, etc.) and I figured this is a good place to ask since AtariAge sells homebrews for a few systems. Please forgive the "how do you not know this already" of my questions. 1) Are there options for other bare shells? Meaning, at least for 2600 and 5200 games, there were other companies (Activision, SEGA, CBS, etc.) making cartridges back in the day that had unique cart shell shapes (and colors). I've bought a few homebrews (2600 SEGA Turbo, 5200 Zaxxon) that weren't originally Atari corporation games and I think it would be cool if they had been offered with the "correct" shells for the PCBs. I am assuming that since all the games come in Atari shells that there is no option or source for Activision/SEGA/etc. style shells, or the Atari shells are way cheaper. So I guess my question is does anyone make those other shells? Can they be made same as the Atari ones are made? I assume the original PCBs from other companies probably have unique locations for the screws to hold everything together but maybe making the other brand shells with the Atari screw locations would suffice in order to use standard homebrew PCBs. I love seeing homebrew games with boxes that look very close to non-Atari companies (Activision), adding in the alternate shell style would be the icing on the cake. 2) I've seen a few people offering replacement controller overlays for 5200 games. Would it be possible, for future 5200 games at least, to be offered with overlays for those clowns like me who prefer the "complete game" option (box, instructions, etc.) even though it costs more? If they're too expensive to make or they're not as durable as the originals I can understand not bothering but I don't know if that's true or if most people are of the opinion that they're worthless. I'd love to have overlays for Tempest, Scramble, etc. Maybe sold separately in the Store. 3) Will AtariAge ever sell Vectrex games? Except for the obvious pain of the screen overlay I would think that a Vectrex game would be no more terrible to assemble and sell than an Atari 5200 game (especially now that that paper overlay sleeves and plastic cart holders are available). And it would be cool to see games in cardboard boxes that don't look like the typical grey GCE boxes with grids on them. It might draw more Vectrex homebrewists to AtariAge as a way to sell/distribute their games beyond the ROM dump. I guess I'm just excited to see the homebrew world expanding for my favorite systems that I'm getting greedy for more options. I mean, I think it would be cool to offer some Atari 2600 homebrews in both Atari style artwork and Sears Tele-Games versions, maybe as first run/second run or something. Easy to say, it's twice as hard to come up with 2 sets of artwork and fonts to look "right", I know. I would not have believed, back when these systems were new, that a homebrew community like what we have now would exist 40+ years later.
  8. How cool! Ads back then were much better. Is it possible for you to scan the full page for the Dodgers/Padres example? My brother would love that.
  9. Interesting. I just looked at mine (can't remember how I got it - eBay or somewhere else), the box has artwork very much like the general release eyes/bow tie look, so does the manual. But the cart has the "limited" label as shown by Steverd with the full moon. It would be cool to get a couple controller overlays, had no idea anyone ever made a design for them.
  10. ledzep

    Vectrex Reboot?

    Agreed, even if you could get good saturation and glow, it ain't vectors. That's the whole point of a Vectrex, the little b&w screen, the overlays, and the true vector graphics (and the analog stick). The LCD version would be the Beyond Meat fake beef burger of the vector video game world. Good day, sir, take your fraudulent "vector" console and be gone. I said good day!!
  11. Ya. Makes me wish I had bought a dedicated cabinet years ago - http://mhedit.askey.org/PromisedEnd.aspx Intellivision's "Swords & Serpents" could certainly use a similar, if less complicated, fix.
  12. Sweet! So you're treating the trak-ball controller like a true trak-ball controller, not a joystick (directions only), correct? What pins are being read, then? I mean, are you sacrificing 2 button inputs and bypassing the joystick inputs? There is a spinner controller out there that does the same thing. I was wondering about somehow feeding the trak-ball through the joystick inputs so that the 4 buttons could still be used, which is why I mentioned the Atari 5200 solution. As an aside, I don't consider that Atari 5200 trak-ball/analog joystick emulation an issue because that sort of seems, to me, to simply be having the trak-ball convert the signals internally into something that the Vectrex is used to (analog joystick with direction and speed) vs. having the Vectrex convert the signals (through I assume a couple button inputs) from the trak-ball into what amounts to the same thing. So either the trak-ball does it and hands it off to the Vectrex or the Vectrex does it. I'm not saying the signals are the same, just the treatment of the data would have to be in order to have analog (direction + speed) movement vs. a digital joystick. I'm sure there's much I'm not understanding here so I guess what I'm asking is how do you use the DIR/CLK signals? Could you give an example of what those signals typically look like and how you use that to update the crosshair coordinates compared to how the joystick does (essentially) the same thing?
  13. I'm surprised that more Intellivision games weren't ported since both systems had number keypads and overlays. I always hated the slow Intellivision graphics but some games were really cool. I would love to see - Space Battle Armor Battle Sea Battle Utopia And could somebody port Swords & Serpents and include an actual ending to it?! Sort of like how the Major Havoc arcade game is getting an extension/ending coded for it? That would be so cool, it's the only part missing. A significant part, though.
  14. How have you modified the code? I mean, how is the trak-ball read (analog joystick pins, button pins) and are you converting gray code to something the Vectrex can use or doing something else? I've always wondered why nobody ever made a "real" trak-ball for the Vectrex, and I've always wondered if the Atari 5200 approach - convert trak-ball output into analog joystick output - would be the best option since people wouldn't need to change the games, only the controller.
  15. I suppose you don't need them but I don't like playing without them. They provide colors, yes, but for me it's also about the faux arcade cabinet vibe. The Vectrex is already shaped like a tiny stand-up arcade cab but the overlay provides a version of the arcade experience as well, the artwork on the edges of the arcade game screens like back in the day. Some stuff is "important", like the colors for the Star Castle rotating shields but the overlays don't provide anything critical. Why wouldn't you want something unique, though, that makes the games cooler?
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