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Nathan Strum

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Everything posted by Nathan Strum

  1. This was The Video Game Critic, and he gave the original Super Cobra an "F" long before the Champ Games version came out. He subsequently re-reviewed the Parker Bros. version, but the grade remained the same. (And FWIW, I refer to my Atari games as "Punch Cards". Or just "Cards" if you're one of the cool kids. )
  2. Very cool. Looking forward to adding a HOKEY to my Concerto. (Although James will be sending me the POKEY he... uh... broke. So I'll see if I can revive that.)
  3. You even mentioned in the after-hours stream that you noticed staying to the side helped avoid getting hit. Of course this is the sort of thing that will end up in the manual, but right now, there is none . This is the sort of thing we would've shared during the reveal as the game was played more, but with the mid-show interruption a lot of that fell by the wayside. This is how you deal with it in the arcade game, too. Crashing cars usually retain some of their momentum in the arcade game, but some of them come at you really fast. The key will be reaching a balance where they're still a hazard, but an avoidable one if you're quick enough. There's months of gameplay testing, balancing and refining left to go. Yep. I've noticed that as well. But at least the cars are actually going around corners now. Edit: I see John just beat me to the reply. 🏎️
  4. It was great watching James and Tanya playing Turbo Arcade again! You really got the hang of it. That's one of the things I really like about Turbo - there's really not much to learn strategy-wise. It's just about balancing risk vs. reward. A few notes about questions/comments you had (you already figured out some of these): You do max out at 41 cars passed (as per the arcade game). You are briefly invulnerable after a crash or after the "cars passed" are done being counted (per the arcade). When two opponents crash, only the trailing one gets taken out (per the arcade). AtariVox/SaveKey support isn't working yet. Some of the sequences are very short, but the timing is straight out of the arcade. We may make modes where the scenes run longer. If you think it's hard now, you should've seen it just a couple of days before the reveal. Or play the early arcade ROM set in MAME. Advanced will likely be the most difficult level. But we have some ideas for additional gameplay modes. The arcade game will always be there, but it won't be the only thing. There are certainly bugs and incomplete issues to resolve. The gameplay aspects of it were put together really quickly and all within the week before the reveal. Only the trees (both types) and shrubs were scaled in After Effects. Everything else was scaled/animated in Photoshop. Cheap deaths: You do get killed if you crash into a crashing opponent. Best bet is to keep an eye on the cars ahead of you - if they get near each other, back off or prepare to dodge them. When you crash in Round 1, you will get hit from behind by other cars - a lot. This per the arcade, but we added an "out" because it's so unfair - if you immediately move to the side of the road, they will avoid you. Don't slow down too much - cars will take you out from behind. Just like driving in L.A! The ambulances should push opponents further out of the way than they currently do. In the arcade game you can more safely chase the ambulance. I die most frequently attempting to pass when I know I shouldn't. Thanks for playing the game again and giving it a really proper run-through! Glad you enjoyed playing it.
  5. We explored this early on, and there were some issues: There's no solid sky color. The sky is two different colors on alternating lines that visually "mix" to form the sky (and other objects). There's no single TIA color that matches the mixed colors. A solid color would always appear different than the sky, effectively creating a "frame" around the score/data area. Against a striped background, the legibility goes right out the window. Even against a solid light sky color, it became very hard to read. The information in there is critical to gameplay, and we needed it to be clearly readable. We mocked up a couple of sky backgrounds behind the score area, and neither of us liked the way they looked as much as black. Black had the best contrast and was the most readable, so that's what we went with.
  6. It would be great to have some help with it, I'm sure. We still have more stuff we want to add! I think a lot of what's in the arcade game was done out of necessity of getting things done, rather than smoothly transitioning from one scene to another. We're not as interested in reproducing the glitchy stuff, as we are making sure the essence of the gameplay is preserved. Where better transitions improve the gameplay (space permitting) we'll add what we can.
  7. Thanks! Yes - that wall transition is very abrupt. If you step through the video I posted of our version, you'll see we did add an exit transition to it. It's very fast, so it's more visual than functional, but it's a lot cleaner looking that what the arcade game does (which is apparently just turning off different layers of graphics as you leave the scene). The wall scene is always preceded by a curved section of the road facing the same way, so at least you aren't doing something horrible like suddenly jumping from a right-hand curve to a left-hand wall. If I can figure out some way to bring that curved wall into the scene (without gobbling up tons of ROM) we may add a transition there at some point. But we don't want to "fix" too many things from the arcade game either, because those are all gameplay elements that have been baked into the history of the game for 40 years now.
  8. Well, thank heavens they don't consider themselves Homebrewers then! I don't think we could afford that sort of damage to our reputation. (Mostly kidding.) (Seriously. I love Laser Blast.) (And Space Jockey.)
  9. The original arcade game doesn't have return-to-center steering - it uses an encoder wheel, so it just steers from wherever it happens to be. You can see it in the lower illustration on this page from the arcade manual (#16 is the encoder disc, #17 is the sensor): You can also see it (for real) at 1:02 in this video: (Note to self: add deep bass sounds for the tunnel sequences) Hopefully, we can get enough resolution out of the 2600's steering controller to make it work, without having to spin it around a half-dozen times to move the car across the screen. Here's a pretty decent video of another arcade cabinet in action:
  10. Here's a YouTube video showing the first couple of rounds of Turbo Arcade (be sure to watch at 60fps):
  11. Not gonna wear the little green hot pants.
  12. Update: 5-21-21: "Not a SuperCharger Game" revealed as Champ Games' Turbo Arcade on ZeroPage Homebrew. And it was "Not a SuperCharger Game" because, well... a Turbo is not the same thing as a SuperCharger. (As an aside, I've been dropping some hints in my Status Updates now for a couple of months. In hindsight, they're probably pretty obvious.)
  13. Glad you enjoy them! Of course I'll keep them coming, as long as there are games being developed that are being kept under wraps. Wrong one. "Historical Documentary" was the second game we were considering doing alongside Turbo Arcade, before sanity kicked in and we decided Turbo was enough. But the other one is still in the list... so someday...
  14. Yep - I also found it while typing up the above post (here's the specific post). That's the original, un-fixed prototype. To make it work in Stella, you may need to change the controller to Joystick. I think it defaults to Paddles, which do not work.
  15. I posted these links in the chat last night when James' computer decided it could no longer handle the awesomeness of what the 2600 was doing . I had sent these to James to show/link during the stream as a kind of history of Turbo on the 2600, but that never materialized. So here they are now for your perusal/bemusement. Turbo arcade game (video) : I threw this video together really quickly, since a lot of the other YouTube videos either use cheats or are of poor quality, or have too much talking. (I didn't make it to the red bridge though...) Coleco catalog listing Turbo for the 2600: https://atariage.com/catalog_page.php?SystemID=2600&CatalogID=18&currentPage=5 Anyone who ever bought a Coleco game has probably seen this. Along with Cosmic Adventure and Lady Bug, Coleco never actually released Turbo for the 2600. Promises, promises. But Champ Games will have done 2 out of 3 after Turbo Arcade is finished. You're welcome, Coleco! Intellivision version (video) : Avert your eyes! Well, at least they got a version. It did come in handy for one thing: when we were putting the box together for the AtariAge prototype reproduction, we bought a CIB Intellivision copy off eBay so we could scan it. ColecoVision version (video) : This was the only game I ever would've considered buying a ColecoVision for. Electronic Games Magazine "review" of Turbo: https://archive.org/details/1983_Software_Encyclopedia_Number_1_1983_Reese_Communications_US/page/n31/mode/2up From their 1983 Software Encyclopedia. They probably saw it at CES that year. Maybe Coleco sent them a WIP version. Who knows? But this ruined my life because I kept waiting for Turbo to show up for the 2600 for years. Resellers even listed it in their ads in the back of the magazine. But of course, they'd probably just gotten a list from Coleco saying "Coming soon!" Maybe even a flyer... Coleco promotional flyer (at AtariMania) : "Actual game screen may show variation from illustration above." Indeed. 2003 April Fools version (based on flyer): Thomas Jentzsch (and others) conspired to pull off this April Fools prank, based on the above flyer. 2006 Discovery of the actual prototype: Just three years later, the real thing finally appeared. There's a link to the original prototype ROM in this post. AtariProtos write-up about the Turbo prototype: http://www.atariprotos.com/2600/software/turbo/turbo.htm Essential reading if any of this has been of interest to you so far! AtariAge release at CGE2010: https://atariage.com/features/shows/cge2010_preview/new_games.html The prototype (and an enhanced version) sees the light of day in a boxed release. Hard to believe this was over 10 years ago... And finally... The Turbo that never was: My blog write-up about my involvement with the prototype project, my desire to make a better Turbo, and some concept mockups from 2009 that eventually led to, well, this!
  16. Some scenes (the city, tunnel entrance and curved wall) use the PF above the horizon. The city was the first one done, so I never considered not using it. That's how I was drawing everything when those were designed, and I do like the consistency of it. We could throw some sprites in there for extra detail, but we're already using that space for the warning flag, and we may end up putting other sprites up there. There are different transitions: pre-rendered (tunnels, cities, curves); and ones done on-the-fly wiping from one scene to the next. At some point, everything should have one transition or the other (or a combination of the two). We're mostly trying to match what the arcade game does, but have made a few improvements like lengthening the transitions in and out of the curved roads to give you a bit more time to react, and adding a cleaner transition out of the curved wall. Not sure we'll add one into the curved wall or not (there is none in the arcade game). Anything pre-rendered like that comes at the expense of ROM, and we ran out. But as we have the time and space to clean up the transitions, we will. When John first showed me the transition wipes between scenes, I told him, "Okay... you're just showing off now!" I really wasn't expecting to see that. Most of the arcade hills are darker in the distance (the lower elevation): There are a few that are the other way: I suppose either could be correct - it just depends on if you think the crest of the hill (where the car is) is in the sun or the shade. I think having the darker color in the distance helps it feel like it's at a lower elevation. In the arcade game, the hill scrolls all the way off the bottom of the screen. Ours does too (in terms of road width) but the upper-half color does not. The standard color replaces the darker one as the hill scrolls off the bottom. This is what our hills look like now (this is what my Photoshop files look like, BTW): You can see the narrower road being "pulled" all the way to the bottom of the screen. It's really kind of a cool almost "wave" effect. I did suggest that we pull the darker color all the way to the bottom, along with the narrower road: But this was really, really late in development, the display engine didn't support it, and we were trying to get some gameplay in there before the reveal . Also, we'd be "stuck" at a darker color set until we could throw in another transition to get out of it (as shown above). But it's something we'll likely revisit later. I'm still completely amazed John managed to stuff everything into the game that he did, in the amount of time we had. The hills were a pretty late addition (although we had always known we wanted them). I didn't notice the glitch at the time, but I wasn't watching the video much since it was so far out-of-sync with the Zoom call, and I was also trying to read the chat. But it could be James' system (again). It's not there on real hardware (on my systems). The only older Turbos out there are your April Fools version, the prototype (which I don't believe has ever had a ROM release), and the mockups in my blog that I did while the prototype was being worked on. I posted links to those, which I'll post below in another response.
  17. Bummer. Hope you still enjoyed the reveal anyway. Well, you guessed twice... so technically you were only half-right.
  18. Just a few hours left until the new CHAMP GAMES reveal on ZeroPage Homebrew! 6:00PM PT on Twitch!
    https://atariage.com/forums/topic/276956-zeropage-homebrew-twitch-stream/?do=findComment&comment=4827430

  19. Yeah, but you can sleep in. The show doesn't start until 6PM PST.
  20. It sounds better in marketing materials than "if you're lucky". My apartment building is my limiting factor. They're using the original 30+ year-old phone lines as twisted pair. I'm lucky I can get anything. My upload speeds are effectively unusable.
  21. I wonder if Tommy James surgery would do a pitcher any good?
  22. Many early games did use two-line kernels, but single-line kernels are nothing new. Home Run's sprites are single-line. They don't have any color changes so they appear to lack detail, but the sprites in Champ Sports Baseball won't be any higher resolution, they'll just have more color changes and more frames of animation. The playfield-based scoreboard in Home Run (and other early games) also lent to that low-resolution look. We're still limited to the same resolution the 2600 has always had. The ARM just lets us throw more sprites on screen at one time, at single-line resolution, and with color changes. But we're not making it draw anything at an increased resolution. We're just able to make more use of the higher resolution capabilities already there.
  23. For me, it's wish-fulfillment. As a non-programmer, it's still amazing to me that I get asked by homebrew developers to work on their games (both ARM and non-ARM) and create graphics for them. I wanted to do that since I was a kid, but math and I never got along very well, so I went down the art path instead. I really enjoy the challenge of making something recognizable out of so few pixels, and my goal is to push those graphics to look as good as they possibly can. To me, the underlying technology driving the cart matters very little, but if I'm able to get single line resolution, more colors, or extra ROM to store more frames, then that gives me more crayons in the box to play with. As to why I don't work on games for other systems, I don't have any nostalgic connection to them. The 2600 was *my* system, and the one I wanted to make games for back in the day. I got a 7800 when they were finally released, but the game library was anemic and I played more 2600 games on it than 7800 ones. Even though the 7800 has an amazing homebrew library now and I get pretty-much every homebrew for it, developing for it doesn't have the same appeal.
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