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rob fulop

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About rob fulop

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    Chopper Commander

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    san francisco

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  1. I think the class of demons in the top row don't ever transform into the class of demons that can dive - this was originally a big and then later left as a feature for exactly the reason you state- to give experienced players a potty break. If I recall the dropping bombs used different variations of the missile register - the player shot used the ball register I was aware of the wrong demon sometimes explodes feature - that particular feature crept in during the code crunch phase - I think it had something to do with the hoiziontal speed of the demons at the time - there was some race conditions where the wrong demon was detected as "hit" - I think it depended on WHEN the code checked for collision and WHEN where demon states updated - moving code around at the end becomes too risky so I let it go. No way mothership bonus level was gonna fit ito 2600 4K ROM Nothing reused in 400/800 version - so much more memory means most of the techniques employed in 2600 version had no practical value. For those interested in topics like this, the early days of talking pictures - movies with soundtracks- borrowed very little from silent pictures. Once filmmakers learned how sound could be used to improve storytelling, many of the lovely silent techniques of letting the audience "hear" a sound that was never uttered were no longer needed. So many of our 2600 innovations were not needed in a world where the constraints were not do onorous
  2. rob fulop


    Hey, get in touch with me and I'll buy it back from you. There's a backlog. Inbox me through Atari Age.
  3. rob fulop


    I think this issue has been dealt with. The problem was my website was still sending everything related to Actionauts to my prior email address , which I abandoned early this year due to the usual reasons. So I only was going to check my old address once a month or so, and last month there was this person who ordered an Actionauts and thought he was dealing with Walmart.com and not some bumbling older father of a rambunctious two year old, the very guy who took lessons from Mister Magoo about how to do PayPal mail order sales. So I got involved in trying to extricate myself from these three layers of PayPal Kangaroo Court, where I was sent to in order to resolve the issue after a complaint was filed. So many messages, omg. And that took like a week, I had never been in the Pay Pal Vendor Prison before, I tried to resolve, since I wanted to complete transaction only after the PayPal police had cleared my name from such a disgrace. So finally I just refunded the sale -took three times - so dunno how many refunds were awarded - anyway it should all be okay now. Sorry about the person who never received a cart - it's here if you want it. To the person/people that mention the Actionauts game isn't as fun as some of my others - well - there was a reason I stopped working on the piece midway thru development - if you look at anything unreleased from any author - musician - filmmaker - anything unreleased/unfinished is likely going to not be as "good" as their best stuff. That's why the unreleased work was never released it in the first place. The author didn't think it was worth releasing. Later, if there becomes a fan /collectors market, some people are very excited to see these sorts of things.
  4. The "game over" bug in Demon Attack sprung from a sloppy bad idea, hatched literally two days before the code freeze, after which the game would officially leave Development and enter Production. I had spent prior two weeks desperately crunching what had started as 4,500+ Bytes of compiled DA 6502 assembly into the 4,096 available on the ROM chip. So I spent two weeks trying to take out 9% of the Demon Attack code/data without losing game functionality or introducing any new bugs. It's the kind of work that is fun for awhile, and gets increasingly less fun the closer one gets to the end. Getting to 4,200 was easy, getting to 4150 Was much less so. The next 30 bytes come out one at a time, using byte-saving techniques that no dignified programmer would ever admit to. And then the final 25 bytes are pure examples of guerilla street coding in it's most raw form. In the case of Demon Attack I ended up stumbling across a pot of gold right at the end - finding a seven byte color data table that was originally intended to add more color variation to each game level, but never been used. So after deleting the unused table, the game was actually UNDER 4090 bytes, with six glorious bytes left over to spare! I remember walking into lunch that day feeling like a true 2600 Code BOSS, and bragging about my six unused bytes, So the challenge now became "what can be done in six bytes to improve the game?" So I thought," hey I could have the game END! If somebody beat these angry demons, how would they respond? Maybe they would just shut the game off and go away, the equivalent of beating a five year old child at checkers, whose shame of being defeated combined with their immaturity results in them turning over the checkerboard and running away, thus taking the victory "away" from their opponent. So that was it! Turns out six extra bytes did the deed ------ next level initiation - run this code to set stuff up for the next level LDA game_level. ; Retrieve current game level number CMP #MAX_LEVELS ; Check if the last level of the has been completed Loop. BGT Loop. ; If the new level number has bumped up over the maximum levels (84) then go into an endless loop So the game essentially "Froze" after beating level 84. Ship it. And yeah, so like three days later the game is shipped to Sears and ToysRUs, we started getting the "wtf, the screen goes black after my kid played DA for two days straight" calls. Whooooops. My bad. Two minutes later, the stewpid game over feature is gone - BUT OBVIOUSLY NOT FORGOTTEN as evidenced by this thread. Thanks a LOT, guys! I dunno how many units shipped in the first run - lots and lots of them - probably 100k - but I really don't know
  5. So fun to read the comments! Two Night Driver tidbits to share 1) There is an annoying buggy screen roll that was never fixed - triggered (I think) by turning paddle all the way to right and then quickly all the way to the left - I believe the code takes a big too long to calculate in this one condition thus causing the screen to roll because the code gets to the "wait for VBLANK" loop too late - and thus the display misses a frame which causes the screen to roll. It's an ugly bug, and probably easily fixable, I just never got around to it at the time. Still annoys me every time I've played the game since - only viewable when playing on an actual Stella console, not in emulation 2) I did an early demo of the game to Atari marketing department - it was my very first time presenting anything to a room full of suits and high heels - and they did not disappoint - very distinct memory of high heels gingerly click clacking on the linoleum floor of the lab just making it extra clear that these people had zero business being there in the first place. The demo set the tone for my interactions with marketing for years to come. VP Marketing looks at the self running attract mode and says "whoa, that's so cool, where did you come up with THIS idea?". I'm like "Well, Night Driver is one of Atari's most popular coin operated games" to which he responds "hmmm, I've been meaning to check out some of our games actually" - followed by nods of agreement and murmering all around - like - "yeah, you know, we probably SHOULD know what games we actually put out, huh?"
  6. I'm finally cleaning out and organizing my dust schrouded classic game mystery box - ideally I'd like to find somebody who can help along multiple diminsions - i have old 2600 Prototypes which I need to test, as well as Atari 400/800 content (floppy discs mainly) that's is not accessible to me. 400/800 Please leave me a private message if you think you could help, or know someone who could.
  7. R u kidding me? What do i need to do to run this? I remember goofing off with a text adventure engine on the Atari 800 over a long weekend and some teasing reference to Dennis Koble's office being littered with racing forms since he sometimes went to the race track at lunch time. So funny ... Can't wait to play it ... How do I do that? speaking if lost games, there was about four months after finishing missile command before I was awarded the turkey bonus. During that time I developed an original 2600 game, it was a planetary fly-over pseudo first person display .... Sort of like missile command from perspective of the bombers. Player would fire shots that would drop on the planet they were flying over ... Trying to take out the cities that sometimes fired back at you. The game was focus tested and didn't do that well. I was in the middle of improving it when I was approached to be a founder of Imagic. Was advised strongly to take nothing with me so sadly I don't have the game in EPROM form, or even a source listing. The assembly code was probably archived somewhere ... I don't even remember the working name .... Maybe "Death From Above 3" ... But I'm not really sure. Finished game existed though ... 4k EPROMs were used for focus tests. Circa 1980-81 perhaps,
  8. The author of Zynga games are the audience. They use the "ready-fire-aim" model, and as much as I personally don't enjoy playing most of their games, the numbers are pretty hard to argue with. There are no real "designers" in the social games companies. A designer is somebody hired to make "choices", plain and simple. Most of the choices that you made in Pitfall were probably made much like the choices I made when making Demon Attack. I basically made choices that appealed to me, personally. It wasn't very hard actually ... I would fiddle with a bunch of stuff, and if I liked it, it went into the game. Enemy logic ... colors ... sound ... number of levels ... difficulty. Whatever. All choices that we made based solely off our personal preferences. It's the basic "author" model. But this "author" model has nothing in the world to do with what happens at a place like Zynga. Because the author of a social game is the audience itself .. the audience makes all of the choices ... every single aspect of every game is tweaked based on audience feedback, which is often instantaneous. Metrics rule each and every 'choice'. So there is no need for any one person to make the choices that you and I had the priviledge to make in those early years. The audience votes instantly, with their eyeballs and mouseclicks, all measured and instantly delivered back to the team. I think Zynga has built a near-perfect machine to create the types of games they do. They used to hire "designers" all the time, and they were chewed up and spit out almost as fast as they were hired. And everybody in the social games space wants to be just like them. My latest experience was with EA ... less than a month ago ... brought in to help with the design of a new Zynga-like game featuring one of EA's cherished brands. My involvement with the project lasted exactly one day! It was an astonishing experience, to sit through a day of EA design meetings, to see just how the process of how a game is made has changed from "the day". One thing for certain ... there were no choices to be made. Zero. There was absolutly no reason for a person like myself to be sitting in the room. What we are discussing here, the notion of 'authorship', occurs to me as irrelevant to a conversation about experiences like Farmville. Farmville was never 'authored', there is no script or blueprint or spec. Farmville is a living never finished "thing", morphing every day, with all choices made for tomorrow's version based on yesterday's metrics. There will never be any sort of retro-Farmville players community, since there will never be a playable version of today's version of the game three months from now, let alone ten years from now. I remember playing Mafia Wars when it came out a few years ago, but there is NOWHERE I can go to play that game anymore, it's forever gone. I mean, you can go back and watch old movies, television shows, browse old magazines, read old books, listen to old recordings, or play old 2600 games which haven't changed since the day you made them. But you can never go play last week's Farmville, it's forever gone. The Farmville experience is not authored, it exists merely to serve the whims of the current audience, which changes every day. Sort of like Reality Television .. who is going to be watching reruns of Reality TV? Nobody will care.
  9. So maybe some people already know that a few of my prior games have been selected to possibly appear in The Art of Video Games exhibit at the Smithsonian Art Museum. This exhibit is one of the first exhibitions to explore the forty-year evolution of video games as an artistic medium, with a focus on striking visual effects and the creative use of new technologies. The exhibition will feature some of the most influential artists and designers during five eras of game technology, from early developers such as David Crane and Warren Robinett (and maybe me if I make the cut!) to contemporary designers like Kellee Santiago and David Jaffe. It also will explore the many influences on game designers, and the pervasive presence video games have in the broader popular culture, with new relationships to video art, film and television, educational practices, and professional skill training. Chris Melissinos, founder of Past Pixels and collector of video games and gaming systems, is the curator of the exhibition. The exhibit website is here: Smithsonian Art Of The Game Exhibit The 80 or so games selected will be culled down via online voting by the general public at the below address .. THIS IS WHERE PEOPLE VOTE ON WHICH GAMES GO INTO THE EXHIBIT Vote For Your Favorite Game Here Obviously it would be a real thrill to see Missile Command or Demon Attack make the cut, so if you have a moment please go to the above site and put in your vote! It takes about two minutes … the 2600 games in the ERA ONE section Thanks! Rob
  10. Because "collecting" is not about what one has ... it is all about what one does NOT have. The items that a collector does NOT have drives that collector CRAZY ... they care not about the thousands of items in their collection that they already have .. it's the HOLE that fuels their compulsion/obsession. So anything that is "rare", ie .. not many of that thing exist .. are obviously going to become items that collectors will value, by definition as there won't be enough of those rare items to go around to complete enough collections in the world. So they will pay a premium for such items, which is why those are the items that everybody in the collector community talks about.
  11. Sorry if this is old news, I just found it and thought it was so funny. Venture Brothers DVD
  12. rob fulop

    Doodle Jump

    Doodle Jump is my favorite Iphone game. The play pattern occurs to me as a very pure 2600 game, a vertically scrolling Playfield with assorted Player and Missile elements. It just fits. I would wager a reasonably competent 2600 hacker could bang out a version in a few months, and everybody would love it.
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