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Nathan Strum

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Everything posted by Nathan Strum

  1. The official thread is here: That will have the latest information, when John has updates to share. There are some other Champ Games in the pipeline ahead of Qix, so it will be awhile before it sees the light of day. Homebrewing is a hobby, and as with all hobbies, you fit it into real life when and where you can.
  2. This is one of those things that you read, and re-read, and still can't believe it. Nukey was such a fixture here. Contributing to so many projects. Elevating games to new heights. Fer cryin' out loud - he actually made a version of the original Pac-Man that I liked. That takes talent. He'll be sorely missed. My most heartfelt condolences go out to his family and friends.
  3. I'd like to think it's just age, or exhaustion, or being really distracted. But somedays, I'm just stupid.

  4. It would be a waste of perfectly good 2600 parts. You could probably make them fit (Ben Heck has built portables by hacking up 2600s), then you'd just have a vaguely cube-shaped Atari 2600, and what would be the point? It wouldn't have HDMI output, unless you added a video mod and an HDMI scaler to it.
  5. Somebody say, "Keep on rockin'"...

    1. masschamber


      I usually say "rock on" as I leave, is that good enough?

    2. Nathan Strum

      Nathan Strum

      I'm not sure. Rick Derringer seemed pretty specific.

    3. retrorussell


      Rick Derringer and his bandmates from Edgar Winter Group all seemed like they got along really well.  Edgar especially seems like a really likeable guy.

  6. Took ya' long enough. I tried Facebunk years ago, because a friend of mine said that was the best way to stay in touch with him. The whole experience was so phenomenally annoying (and I wasn't even using it regularly) that I killed my account after just a few weeks. Never missed it. It's a bit annoying that some people/businesses/groups only post updates there, and if you don't have an account you can only read a handful of posts before content gets blocked. But it's not annoying enough to do anything about it.
  7. I had no luck with cheap knock-offs. Then I bought the Retro-Bit controller, which is officially licensed and effectively identical to the original Genesis controllers. Works great!
  8. A dangerous place, if you're hungry for nostalgia... https://rocketfizz.com

  9. Yeah, but an "attempted delivery" in Canada means they just stand outside your door politely for a half an hour, because they don't want to be intrusive.
  10. Things that weren't on my to-do list for today: spending two hours on hold with Apple, because nobody can figure out how to email me a receipt.

  11. Tower of Rubble is complete and available on cartridge in the AA store. Downloadable ROMs however, aren't for sale yet. But plans are in progress to add that as an option to the AA store.
  12. Nathan Strum


    You can follow the progress of the game in this thread. It's still in development, but as with all homebrew projects, it'll be finished whenever the programmer has the time.
  13. No updates to report. As with all homebrew projects, progress is entirely dependent on the available free time of the programmer. I'm sure Chris will pick up this project again, but "when" is subject to whenever real life permits it. Best thing to do is keep an eye on this thread, and when there's something to announce, it will be announced here.
  14. My dream job is to be the guy at Apple who goes through the OS, finds any remaining useful features, and tells the programmers to get rid of them. Because clearly someone is doing that, and is probably getting paid really well.

    1. BydoEmpire


      Or the guy that takes something useful, stable and familiar and completely reworks it into something worse, uglier, clunkier, less stable and just plain different.

  15. Updates: 7-31-21: Gorf Arcade label artwork concept approved. 7-31-21: Lady Bug Arcade label artwork concept approved. 8-2-21: Galaxian 7800 label artwork concept approved. 8-2-21: Pac-Man Collection XM 7800 label artwork concept approved. 8-2-21: UniWarS 7800 label artwork concept approved. Off to a good start! I have roughs of all five labels in various stages (all but two have color), and they're far enough along to show John and Bob the direction I'm heading in. Fortunately, they liked all of them! Although if they hadn't, I suppose that would've let me off the hook for working on them. Maybe I'm doing this wrong... Anyway, as long as I've been doing this, it's always a pleasant surprise when the programmers like the labels, especially if they're for known properties, but the labels don't resemble the original game artwork at all (admittedly, Pac-Man is still Pac-Man, and Galaxian is at least a nod to the original). Of the three 7800 games, I'm having the most fun with UniWarS because it tells a story, but if I can pull it off, Galaxian will look the coolest. For the 2600 games, I solved the Gorf problem of trying to represent all five stages, basically by only representing one. I'm having the most fun with Gorf out of all of these, probably because Gorf is a big, goofy, space gumdrop that shouts insults at you. And the Lady Bug Arcade label turned out much better than I was expecting. I'm really quite pleased with it, and I think it's an appropriate upgrade to an upgraded game. Maybe this time around I won't spend the next 15 years regretting drawing this one. Next, I have to actually execute the final illustrations. On a difficulty scale of 1-10 (1 being super easy, barely an inconvenience, 10 being insane), I'd give them: Gorf Arcade: 4 Lady Bug Arcade: 6 Galaxian 7800: 10 Pac-Man Collection XM 7800: 5 UniWarS 7800: 8 I'm probably going to be wrong on all of those.
  16. Currently in a Zoom meeting, where we're having a meeting about how to have meetings, and they literally just said not to have a meeting about other meetings. I think I'm actually wasting time faster than time is passing, but I'm not good enough at mathematics to figure out how to graph it.

    1. sramirez2008


      This is funny. Last night I participated in a meeting about too many meetings. 

    2. frankodragon


      Did the meeting also include mention of what kinds of donuts should be eaten when having meetings?

    3. Nathan Strum

      Nathan Strum

      @frankodragon Sadly, no. That would've been productive, and caused a rip in the space-time continuum.

    4. Show next comments  18 more
  17. Fully appreciated. Until you pointed it out though, I assumed you'd been adding them in editing! This is really spectacular. Playfield graphics rule!
  18. I'd suggest asking around to see if someone (who takes PayPal) would buy one for you. Bribery might help. Maybe in the Marketplace. (Sorry... not volunteering.)
  19. If you ever get back to Battlezone, I'd love to beta test it. It's my all-time favorite arcade game. I'm fair-to-middlin' at it, too.
  20. Asbest-O's - the tasty breakfast treat with extra fiber!

    1. frankodragon


      Then do your teeth with Mr. Clean eraser pads after eating. 

    2. thanatos
    3. x=usr(1536)


      "I like this Ano-Weet, it really unclogs me!"

    4. Show next comments  18 more
  21. Updates: 7-4-21: Lady Bug Arcade label artwork in progress. 7-4-21: Gorf Arcade label artwork in progress. 7-4-21: Added Homebrew Label section, to separate out games I'm only creating packaging artwork for: 7-4-21: Galaxian (7800) label artwork in progress. 7-4-21: Pac-Man Collection XM (7800) label artwork in progress. 7-4-21: UniWarS (7800) label artwork in progress. And yes... I'm working on five labels at the same time. I must be insane or something. However, I'm not creating the manuals for the 7800 games (Bob does that), just the artwork. The manuals are the time-sucking, soul-draining monsters that make life a living misery, so I think doing just the labels is manageable. Plus, Gorf is months down the road. I should note when I say "labels", that the label artwork also gets repurposed for the boxes and manual covers (and sometimes posters). They all get cropped to slightly different proportions (thanks for that, Atari), so the layout has to be somewhat flexible, and to do that I try to keep each element split out on separate layers. For Lady Bug Arcade, I wanted to completely re-do the artwork from the original release. I've never been happy with it, since I didn't do proper research on insects and just kind-of faked my way through the character designs (one of these days, I'll add a blog entry about it in my Homebrew Art series). The new artwork will still be cartoony, but completely different. I've been researching insects a lot this time, and I've got an all-new appreciation and fascination with ladybugs. I'm pleased with the results so far, although anyone expecting just an update of the original Champ Games version, a Coleco-style label, or an homage to the arcade artwork... prepare to be disappointed. For Gorf Arcade, I've been struggling mightily for months trying to come up with an idea. Actually, ideas. I'd thought about doing something elaborate like a classic Star Wars poster (think Gorf as the Death Star with two superlaser dishes as eyes), but the execution just wasn't working. Ralph McQuarrie I'm not. Plus, it was looking too much like Draconian. Other failed ideas and sketches came and went with no luck. I think the idea of it being five games in one was really intimidating me, or at least getting me hung up. But as I was researching "groovy 70's graphic design" the other day, I came across a really simple set of stripes that finally triggered what I think is a keeper. It's still an early design, and it's very different from anything I've done before, but it appeals to me in a way none of the other ideas did. Plus, I may be able to do something with it that would be kind-of-fun for collectors, although Albert would probably kill me. And for anyone expecting an homage to the CBS or arcade artwork... prepare to be disappointed. Bob (PacManPlus) DeCrescenzo originally asked me to work on... was it Pac-Man Collection XM? Or Galaxian? I forget now. Pac-Man, I think. Anyway, this was many months ago, and I was already committed to working on Zoo Keeper and Venture Reloaded, so I suggested he might want to find someone else if he wanted it done in a timely manner. Later, he asked me to work on Galaxian, which I said I could do, but not until later. Well, now is later, or perhaps "later is the new now" as the kids say (I'm assuming they probably say that, on their YouTube TV shows or whatever). Mostly because I'm on vacation for the first time in a year-and-a-half. Fully away from being stuck in my apartment, away from work, and with time to just sit and be creative with no pressures (except the looming deadlines of getting these labels done, of course). But I've found I can't force myself to be creative. If I'm stressed-out, it just doesn't work. So if you're wondering sometimes why games my not be released right away when the programmers declare them "finished", it's because they ask artists like me to create artwork for them, and sometimes that's where the delay comes from. Some artists are better at "on-demand" artwork than others. I'm not one of those. I don't even keep track of how much time labels, manuals and boxes take to create, because it would probably just end up turning me off from ever doing one again. Anyway, although hopefully not related to that, the other artist slated to work on Pac-Man XM is apparently a no-show, and Bob also needed artwork for UniWarS, so he asked if I could do all three games. And since Bob has almost single-handedly doubled the 7800's game library, is one of the nicest and most talented guys on the planet, and I've never done a 7800 label before (save for a few failed contest entries), I thought I'd give it a shot. Also, I was still stuck on Gorf at the time, and hoped working on something else would un-stick me. I started with UniWarS, since I didn't have any preconceived notions about it. It's an obscure Galaxian-style shooter from back-in-the-day, and I figured it would be the one that I could be the most creative with, since it's pretty-much the opposite of iconic. The flyer and arcade game art are nothing special, but I did get inspiration from one of the flyers and the backstory of the game. So I'm using the story as the basis of the label, and telling that story from the point-of-view of the poor, oppressed aliens who you have decided to arbitrarily exterminate. I like the way it's turning out. Again, it's different from the arcade artwork and flyers, so if you're a fan of those (if there are any of you out there)... prepare once more to be disappointed. For Pac-Man XM... whew. What to do with that? It's Pac-Man, fer cryin' out loud. You can't go too far off the rails there. I didn't want to re-hash the previous Pac-Man Collection artwork though. So if you're a fan of that... well, you should know the drill by now with the preparation and disappointment and all that. Rather, I'm mixing my own cartooning style with Namco's official version(s). I don't want to just outright ape Namco's artwork. It needs to be my own, or at that point I'm just copying. I may mix a few different styles in there, because of the different games present in the collection. But it took a surprising amount of time to be able to knock-out versions of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man that I'm happy with. If I don't like what I'm doing, that will be reflected in the artwork. Maybe nobody else will see it, but I will. If I like what I'm doing, that will be reflected as well, and the end result will be something that I've put more effort into, and hopefully the programmer will like as well. I've got the characters and concept figured out for this one, now I have to work on the layout. It's going to be tricky, because it's not just going to be one Pac-Man, one Ms. Pac-Man and maybe a monster or two. Nope. Think more along the lines of a Pac-Multiverse. Galaxian, on the other hand, borrows pretty heavily from the arcade flyer, cabinet artwork, and 2600 artwork. I like the flying-bug spaceship, as weird as it is. Like Pac-Man, it's iconic, so you kind-of have to use it, or at least give a nod to it. So I'm giving a nod to it. However, it will not replicate the look of any of the above mentioned artwork, because I'm taking it in a different direction. Again, I don't want to just copy. There's no fun in that. So if you like the flying-spaceship-bug-things as seen on anything mentioned above, it'll be there. But if you want it to look exactly like the other versions of it... once again, prepare to be disappointed. Then I'll be five-for-five. Always happy to be of service.
  22. I'm presently on that map. Just about where the dot is, just NW from where it says 44 above Seattle.
  23. Inspired by nature for new label artwork. And no, it's not Gorf.

    1. Omegamatrix


      Best guess: Bob Ross vs the Lawnmower Man

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