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Posts posted by orange808

  1. The games business is about games.  The Commodore 64 welcomed development.  Atari tried handle their home computers like a VCR.  Atari had no exclusive amazing killer app to move units, so why would third party devs want to pay Atari to make games on the computers?   Mad at Nintendo for their 1987 takeover?  They made Super Mario Bros and sold those systems all by themselves.  The game biz is about games.


    • Like 3

  2. To elaborate more, this is a recording of the MIDI demo for my gameplay opening of my (apparently) endless, vaporware, black hole ACE project.  🙂 I have it running on real hardware, but without any kind of "DPC audio" support on ACE, it loses quite a bit.  Obviously had to be reworked and drop parts of the audio while looping to avoid driving gamers insane.  Anyhow, better audio hardware would be very welcome.  I could probably almost reproduce this audio.


    **Please note that sharing this does not release this audio into public domain.  If you need music, hire me.  🙂


    Atom Is Too Late__Time For Revenge.mp3

  3. Yes please.  I would love something like Beatnik.  In another life (at the dawn of mobile), it was nice to define samples and use MIDI triggers.  The ability to call samples, change the playback rate, select a starting position, and play it backwards would be handy.  We were always short on space, so we reused/recycled samples whenever possible.  I could definitely use something like that--and not burn a lot of rom (from my perspective as a dev using ACE) using it.  All I need is playback ability.  I can build the tools to handle MIDI myself.

  4. Remember five years ago when brand new feature films at theatres was a separate business from streaming services?  Is that still true?  🙂


    At some point, things become hopelessly intertwined.  That is especially true when one part of a given industry is disrupting and "eating up" another part of the industry.


    It's not a perfect analogy, but that's how I see the decline of the arcade--as home console gaming began to overtake the arcades.  Not the same, but they are similar in some ways.


    Cutting edge is a subjective term.  Honestly, neither the Tales or KI franchises pioneered their genres.  Although, I found the Tales games to be more compelling additions.  Probably related to my fighting game fatigue after years of Street Fighter and MK.  YMMV.


  5. Nah.  There was once a pipeline of arcade to home ports.  Arcade ports once brought reliable extra momentum to the home console software business--and that was evaporating away.  When the fighting game bubble popped, it definitely mattered.  Street Fighter 2 series and the Mortal Kombat games were blockbusters!  The 16 bit machines had benefitted greatly from arcade ports.  The N64 and PlayStation were the dawn of new era where consoles began to swallow up the arcades. 


    That separate biz statement was true in 1983.  Not so much in the mid-1990's.  The hardware had closed the gap.


    As for the hot take remark, I think the word you are looking for is "subjective".  Although, the Tales franchise has maintained a following.  The tired recycled fighting game clone game mechanics of Killer Instinct (combos!  combos!  combos!  Yee-Haw!) combined with gimmick graphics didn't seem to hold attention nearly as long.  Subjective for sure, but Tales seems to remain relevant, while Killer Instinct went under the waves.  YMMV and whatnot.


  6. Nah.  I don't see it.  That was a transition.


    Mortal Kombat, NBA Jam, and Street Fighter gave the arcade on one last surge in 1993 and 1994; both franchises were also juggernauts at home.  Sonic 2 landed late in 1992 and ushered in the golden age of Sega in 1993-94.  Doom arrived in 1993.  Nintendo had Super Mario All Stars.  There were so many popular releases.  That was the golden age of 16 bit.


    1995 wasn't nearly as great for general audiences.  It was the end of the cycle.  The year started on the fumes of XCOM and Doom 2.   Fighting game fatigue was real; Street Fighter Alpha and Mortal Kombat 3 landed with a thud for most of us.  (That bubble had popped.)  The highlights for me were Yoshi's Island, MechWarrior 2, and XWing.  1995 was jam packed with cult classics and "deep cuts", but short on blockbusters.  A couple of the best games that year were Japanese exclusives.  (They get Tales of Phantasia and we get Killer Instinct?  Really?)  The PlayStation was new and Sony was still working to get new IP of their own to counter Nintendo.  It took time to get traction.



    By 1996, we were back on the upswing with big hits outside of the cult classics.  The N64 and Super Mario 64 were the big headliners.  PlayStation had a killer app with Resident Evil.  Behind that, there's Duke Nukem 3D, Quake, Super Mario RPG, and Mario Kart 64.  Metal Slug, NBA Hangtime, and Tekken 2 were decent headliners at the arcade (although it was still on the decline).  Both Tekken 2 and NBA Hangtime both made high quality appearances on PlayStation later in the year--at the tail end of the arcade port era.  The new cycle had begun.  PlayStation had established itself and Nintendo had gotten the N64 out the door.


    I don't see a crash.  I see a transition.

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  7. There's no way we can have a proper conversation about why cryptocurrency matters, here in this thread.  It's going to hijack everything.  Nevertheless, I think the blockchain has merit.  I see multiple projects with ideas that will change the world someday--and benefit society.  Of course, we aren't there, yet.  Maybe these projects will become MySpace when a Facebook shows up and does it better, I don't know.  There are professional devs out there with real visions of disrupting the banking and online "app stores" with the blockchain; it's not a scam.  I am not going to add any examples, because this isn't a promotion, but I am telling the truth.  It's not about ripping off bubble investors, meme coins, or crime.  Grifters and criminals always flock to new things; we'll flush them out as the industry matures.  Ignore the grifters.  I would go on, but it's impossible without promoting something.  This needs it's own thread.  But, where does it go?

  8. Interesting debate.  Ethereum is an interesting art project.  It's a conversation starter.


    Maybe someday, it would be nice to see a moderated section here on AtariAge to share links to NFT projects.  That way, we don't have to sift through the huge pile of lazy lousy NFTs (that are floating out there) to find quality video game projects.  I agree with Andrew; without guaranteed royalties, many people are going to be less interested.

    • Like 1

  9. 28 minutes ago, keithbk said:

    While 360,000 C64s were sold in 1982, about 1.3 million were sold in 1983, followed by a large spike in 1984 when 2.6 million were sold. After that, sales held steady at between 1.3 and 1.6 million a year for the remainder of the decade and then dropped off after 1989.


    By 1989, 25 million Atari 2600 units sold (1977-1989, 12 years).


    By the end of 1989 (8 years on the market), approx. 13 million C64 units sold (roughly half the number of Atari 2600's on the market).


    I can just about guarantee you that almost everyone who bought a C64 owned an Atari at one time, and if half your market switches brands, it causes huge ripples through the market.

    And, of course, not every Atari owner was an enthusiastic gamer.  So, many people left the video game market.  Lots of moving parts.



    This isn't directed at anyone in particular on the forum:

    I get the impression that some of this untrue ET meme has hurt HSW's feelings.  The ET meme is a fat lie.  He's a person, you know.  It would be nice if we could correct the record while we're all still together.  When the bold print or headline says he broke the industry, the details of the podcast don't matter a lot.  You're still spreading misinformation and bashing Howard.  Let's get the story right while we still have time to apologize.

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  10. 3 hours ago, Random Terrain said:


    Thanks. SpiceWare said there's a possibility that the trick is tied to a specific version of the DPC+ driver:




    He'll check on that when he can find the time.


    These two programs were working perfectly with the versions of Stella before 6.0:


    test_bb_dpc_88_rows.bas 8.68 kB · 2 downloads


    test_bb_dpc_176_rows.bas 11.94 kB · 2 downloads


    For example, they work fine with Stella 5.1.3.


    Without the trick, the top 2 rows of an 88 row DPC+ playfield would share the same color. And without the longer trick in the example program above, the top and bottom rows of a 176 row DPC+ playfield would be messed up.

    Thanks.  Sounds like I really can't do anything to help with that.

    • Like 1

  11. 3 hours ago, Random Terrain said:

    Looks like the trick wasn't supposed to work:




    Is there an updated trick that might work on a real Atari 2600?

    Please post the specific way to reproduce the bug and a test .bas source file that automatically demonstrates the issue.  I'll look at the kernel for you.


    In the meantime, try this:


  12. On 7/30/2021 at 5:57 PM, Andrew Davie said:

    This is my bizarre compile-time "bit reverse" table, generated through C #define statements.

    It produces a 256 byte table with each entry having the bits in the binary entry reversed left-right.

    Weird and yet somehow satisfying...


    #define RVS(a) ( \
          ((((a) >> 0) & 1) << 7) \
        | ((((a) >> 1) & 1) << 6) \
        | ((((a) >> 2) & 1) << 5) \
        | ((((a) >> 3) & 1) << 4) \
        | ((((a) >> 4) & 1) << 3) \
        | ((((a) >> 5) & 1) << 2) \
        | ((((a) >> 6) & 1) << 1) \
        | ((((a) >> 7) & 1) << 0) \
    #define P0(a) RVS(a)
    #define P1(a) P0(a), P0(a+1)
    #define P2(a) P1(a), P1(a+2)
    #define P3(a) P2(a), P2(a+4)
    #define P4(a) P3(a), P3(a+8)
    #define P5(a) P4(a), P4(a+16)
    #define P6(a) P5(a), P5(a+32)
    #define P7(a) P6(a), P6(a+64)
    #define P8(a) P7(a), P7(a+128)
    // Want to call RVS(n) for 0-255 values. The weird #defines above aloow a single-call
    // It's effectively a recursive power-of-two call of the base RVS macro
    const unsigned char BitRev[] = {


    A very elegant solution.  Nice.  🙂

  13. Research Risky Rick for a cautionary tale on DRM.  There's a lot we can learn from that event.


    1.  Gamers got upset when the game didn't work on unicorn and modded consoles.  This was a legit complaint.  It's very difficult to clearly communicate that a game won't work on modded consoles.  The biggest problem was a few unmodded genuine ColecoVision machines had issues.  Unlike the 2600 Jr, there's no clear console branding to warn users about.  Hardware DRM is tricky because it's so difficult to debug all the edge cases--and a few outliers will blow up on the internet into a huge shit storm.

    2.  The dev insisted there was no DRM.  Security by obscurity doesn't work and people also get self-righteous and uppity when they are lied to.  Developers have every right to not disclose all the details of their games, so this is a grey area.  If you ask me how my game engine works, I have every right to lie or dodge the question.  The big problem was that some users couldn't play the cart on real hardware and the dev didn't want to disclose the details of their DRM efforts (and I understand and sympathise).  It was a tough situation.

    3.  Kevtris "helped" the community by cracking all the DRM efforts to get a warez rom version running on his FPGA console (that doesn't have a ColecoVision cart slot).  Why would that console need compatibility with a brand new cart that wasn't available as a download at the time?  You f****ing tell me and we'll both know.  He says the mystery was irresistible, but publishing the full details of his discoveries was unethical.  He could have verified that DRM was the issue without gifting pirates helpful information.  He also discovered why people were having trouble dumping the cart and demonstrated how to copy a cart.  (Why share that information?  If I posted a way to help the community and dump and reverse engineer the "unauthorized" firmwares for the Analogue machines (we don't know who wrote them, right?  wink wink, nudge nudge), would I get served with a lawsuit?  You betcha!)  That guy doesn't give a shit about IP unless it's his IP.  Rather or not someone else would have eventually figured it out is moot.  Hardware and emu devs have to agree to not help plebs steal new games.  If devs want unprotected roms available, they will publish unprotected roms.

    4   Of course, the warez crowd will always howl and whine.  Maybe they don't believe people should have to pay for "shitty homebrews" (direct quote).  I assume users have gotten so comfortable with the idea of downloading free legacy software, they assume brand new software should also be free.  

  14. 11 hours ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

    The problem is, that the frequency is fixed to 60Hz (or for YouTube sometimes 30Hz). So if your game runs at e.g. 59Hz, every 60 frames a frame has to be duplicated. If the game uses flicker or fast movements, this is very noticeable.

    First option would be to adjust your output rate to be as close to the dominant input frame rate. The tearing or studdering will be minimized.  Plenty of options to do this, but it will require a little setup.  Probably best to cook up a rom that sweeps a "192 line" tall, eight color clock wide white missile from side to side--and uses the joystick to toggle the amount of scanlines.  Should be able to dial in the best settings (for different situations) doing that.  Might also add an interlaced option.  Maybe I'll make one of those.


    Could also try running the video processor output at 120Hz and letting capture card software interpolate frames down to 60.


    Ultimately, though, a few hiccups don't matter much on a stream.  It's really only a big deal on the "gaming" screen.


    Better scalers solve the problem entirely, because less than a frame of latency doesn't really matter much--and that's probably enough to maintain sync and frame lock with such a small window of variance.  Right now, we can't get a decent frame lock and small buffer together, but I think it can be done--and the artifacts won't be very noticeable.


  15. 34 minutes ago, Thomas Jentzsch said:

    Cool, though better scalers would help for your home equipment only, but not solve the streaming and YouTube issues. 

    Why?  I don't follow.  Streaming is already a pretty easy fix, because the latency on the streaming feed doesn't matter much.  Feed the local CRT directly from the matrix switch and knock the stream feed through a seamless scaler before the capture card.

  16. There are two high end video game scalers in the pipeline (the PixelFX Morph and marq's OSSC Pro).  We should be able to lobby better support for the VCS from one or both of those machines after they hit the market--at the expense of a small amount of latency.  I haven't gotten a Retrotink5x yet, but it's possible that Mike Chi may be willing to help out as well.  I partially agree with Andrew.  Good video scalers should be bridging the gap. Valid CRT signals should work on digital displays, versus coming up with hacks of existing software or putting strict requirements on development.  That can be done and it doesn't require nearly as the amount of latency (usually a full frame of more) that most "seamless" switching video scalers use, because the VCS signal remains within a small range.

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  17. The 5200 joysticks were a problem that would have forced a change of direction (and probably a nasty backlash) if the console had been a success.  The real problem was a lack of improvement.  The really good games were all hitting the Commodore 64.  Consoles couldn't compete with it.  All that RAM and floppy disk media was too much to compete against.  What could the poor VCS do against that?  Atari Pitfall 2 still commanded my attention (I didn't like the ports much), but most of the things I "needed" to play were hitting the C64 or Apple.


    I also remember my dad lecturing me that we already had some of the launch games for the Coleco and 5200.  They didn't have enough exclusive new games to sell the systems.  Ultima and Castle Wolfenstein pushed the limits of what a video game could be in big ways--and Beyond Castle Wolfenstein and Ultima 3 were absolutely epic in '84.  At the time, I didn't think I would ever game on a console again.  It was the C64 that remained part of my gaming life all the way until 1989, not the VCS.  That machine is a legend.


    Where I lived, we decided the 5200 and Coleco weren't worth the money and the C64 was already a better buy in 1983--in addition to the ability to work the "educational" value of a home computer with our parents.  The Commodore 64 is where core gaming went and it held influence for a long time.


    I won't bother describing the NES much.  I will just say this:  core gamers of a certain age remember the first time they saw Super Mario Bros vividly.  It was a revelation.


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