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Nathan Strum

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Everything posted by Nathan Strum

  1. Presently somewhere between fan art and plagiarism. 

    1. GoldLeader


      Are we talking about my Battlestar Galactica erotic fan fiction?   I can't help it if it's based on a true story 😅

    2. Omegamatrix


      Can't these live happily together, i.e. from fan art and plagiarism to you're a fan of "art plagiarism"?

  2. That's also on his to-do list, right after "getting the blogs fixed".
  3. Maybe you can use the downtime to read the Super Cobra Arcade manual, which would've answered the questions you were asking during the livestream the other day. - Nathan
  4. Could you offer an "IKEA option" for those who didn't mind unfolding the box themselves? Maybe at a slight discount?
  5. Congratulations IGN on becoming even more unreadable! I have absolutely no idea what I'm looking at over there now.

    1. jaybird3rd


      When it comes to basic usability, I increasingly find most of the biggest websites—Facebook, Pinterest, etc.—to be completely incomprehensible.

  6. I also documented the cleaning process myself, some years ago.
  7. I'd blame the power supply for the powered USB hub. Power supplies love being noisy. What sort of HDMI cables are you using? Are they crossing any power cables? If you haven't, you might trying an active HDMI cable. I've had very good results with these, especially for long runs.
  8. Or more to the point: Working with the programmer and a graphic artist to get a box, label, and manual designed, proofread and made print-ready (this can take months... so be prepared to wait). Dealing with printers (yes, plural) to get those items printed to a consistent and professional quality (this can also take months... patience is a virtue!) (It's also expensive.) Obtaining cartridge shells (either new or used). Be prepared to spend more money, and wait some more. If using used shells, prepping them by removing the old labels and cleaning them to look like new again, and discarding the dozens that people sold you that were unusable. Obtaining the circuit boards and other necessary components to build the games. (More money. More waiting.) By the way, you don't yet know it will only be 10 carts. So you'd better order whatever you think you *might* need. Soldering the components to one of the boards. Loading the game onto the circuit board (having acquired the necessary hardware/software to do so in the first place, of course). Testing the game on a variety of oddball console variations to make sure it works. Working with the programmer to fix the issues that have cropped up. More testing! Yelling at the printers to fix their stupid mistakes and reprint whatever they screwed up. Keeping all of AtariAge running while this is going on. Prepping the store entry for the game, including photos, screenshots, descriptions and videos. Keeping track of the orders that have come in (fortunately, we're only talking 10 carts here). Making sure you have everything needed for all 10 carts. Yelling at the printers some more (note: for the sake of brevity we'll limit this to only three times, but that's laughably optimistic). Answering emails, forum posts and PMs from the 10 people wondering where their games are. Soldering the rest of the components onto the circuit boards. Loading the game onto all of the circuit boards. Testing every single one of them. Fixing the ones that don't work. You're still keeping AtariAge running, right? Assembling the carts, applying the labels, folding the boxes, adding any extras such as flyers, buttons, stickers, etc. (I just made this one line because it can't be all that hard. ) Making sure you have enough shipping materials for all 10 orders. Packing all 10 orders, making sure you didn't miss anything, and getting everyone's address correct. Don't forget postage! Driving them to the post office and shipping them. What could be easier? It's only 10 carts.
  9. Thanks! I shot that in front of my monitor with a rendering of the box full-screen. (If The Mandalorian can do it... )
  10. Just got this in the mail... thanks Óscar!
  11. They haven't announced that they're going to announce it yet. So they can't announce it, until they have an announcement announcement.
  12. It's about time. I have a list of things that need fixing.
  13. If you haven't, clean the contacts on the cartridges and in the cart slot. Never hurts, especially with Activision carts. A little 91% alcohol and a cotton swab will take care of the cart contacts. I posted a method for cleaning cart slots in my blog. For replacing parts, I'd suggest a re-cap kit first. Then the hex buffer (socket it, if it isn't). Those are easy, off-the-shelf parts to replace. Then go after the bigger chips if the problem persists.
  14. Confirmed - it works just fine! (I keep forgetting to switch my HDTV to "Game Mode" though. Without it, I get terrible display lag which makes everything unplayable. )
  15. Right - that's the flugelhorn's job! (Former) trumpet player here. Still have my horns. Including a vintage rose brass Yamaha YFH-631 flugelhorn (same model Chuck Mangione played... but I could never get that kind of a sound out of it). I suppose I should post something on-topic now. I've probably mentioned this before, but to me, the tools, development environment, programming language or cartridge hardware don't matter at all in terms of the actual quality of a finished game. What matters is the outcome. How much fun is the game to play? How engaging is it? Do I want to play it again, or is it frustrating mess? Having been on the ZPH Award nominating committee a couple of times, I've played dozens (if not hundreds) of homebrews. And what jumps out at me are the details. The details programmers get right, and the details they get wrong. I've played more homebrews than I can count that had amazing concepts and/or cool graphics that catastrophically failed because the programmer reached the "I'm done" point too soon and didn't put in the effort to properly finish the game. They didn't follow through on perfecting the controls or physics or difficulty ramping or enemy AI or other issues that have to do with gameplay that are entirely about programming. Whether they lacked the knowledge or lost interest, the end result was a game that failed to reach its potential. No amount of extra hardware is going to compensate for that. You still have to put in the work, and grind through the tedium of polishing every last aspect of whatever your game is until all of the rough edges are knocked off. And for programmers who don't know how to do that, there are plenty of programmers around here who do, who are perfectly willing to share that knowledge.
  16. 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. )
  17. 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.)
  18. 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. 🏎️
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.)
  24. 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:
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