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Everything posted by DanOliver

  1. Wow, I'm a bootlegger now. I guess it doesn't matter that I said ripping off Melody isn't a viable option, that a large part of the community would likely boycott (pretty sure I used the same words as you...but I 'm a bootlegger. More fun to read just the parts. To prove myself as a developer...an interesting idea. I should consider that. Yes, and then the owners of Melody might consider working with me. Great advice if I were a veal calf. Please excuse me from this discussion.
  2. My goodness. The very last thing I would ever try is to convince anyone is that such things are possible. I don't know why anyone would have the need to try and convince me that such things are impossible. I do understand why people would try and convince themselves. But, just looking at the ballpark numbers... Cost of cart, box, manual say $10. Sales price of game $75. Profit $65 Units sold: 150 Gross profit $9750 Development time: 6 weeks 8 games released per year gross profit: $78,000 Now, yes, anyone can shred those estimates, please, enjoy yourself. Certainly the entire amount wouldn't be collected in 365 days since sales of the last couple of games would spread into the following year. And people can debate whether that's enough money for a person to live on. And I've certainly read long debates here on whether a game could be sold for $75, but a $25 game in 1980 adjusted for inflation is about $75. Having another person create the cart, box, manual and sells channel would of course reduce the gross profit to $6-12k and yeah, that's not a reasonable income. So yeah, that type of business model isn't very interesting. That's true for most products. Can any of these hypothetical games be ported to HTML5 or Facebook to leverage the design cost? I see no reason why not. But of course if a person doesn't think it's possible then well, yeah, it certainly wouldn't be possible. Any of this guaranteed? Let's not be completely silly.
  3. That's nice. I disagree with any premise that implies a game designed for the 2600 can't also be implemented on other platforms and earn a very good income. I get it's not common, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. Especially today with so many web based game publishers.
  4. Assuming the emoji is suppose to mean the statement is sarcastic... Creating a game for the 2600 assumes, I assume, that the only cash would come from the 2600. I'd be surprised if there's a single professional game designer in the world who would design any game for a single platform, or not have in mind possible web site promotion, licensing, books, movies, etc... Games are a big business. It doesn't really take that much additional effort to design a game with those possibilities in mind. I get most are very skeptical of such things. That's what makes it interesting.
  5. Yes Mine would be be produced professionally. A person who produces a game with the intent to sell it as their main paid occupation and wants to call what they do as homebrew is of course within their right. It's not what the term means, but like I said, making up meanings to words is all the rage. Pretty much everyone does it. It seems a partially favorite pastime online when trolling.
  6. Oh....and I don't want to sell homebrew games, I want to sell professional games. I try not to make up my own definition of words although I do understand doing so is all the rage these days. From Google... professional 1. relating to or connected with a profession. 2. (of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime. From Urban Dictionary... homebrew 1. a beer brewed at home 2. any of a number of creations or modifications by an individual or group on an amature level at home Let me know if you require further clarification. I wasn't an English major so maybe I'm not the best person to ask as the two words seem pretty clear to me. Or if you wanted to know if I was implying some derogatory meaning in the hopes of a flame war please ask that directly. Thanks.
  7. DanOliver


    Four years, no progress. For me doing a game means producing a board, box, cart, manual. Giving a player a complete experience. I got everything nailed down except the board. I had two basic board choices. Melody or non-Melody. I know there is a debate about old school code or new. I understand the challenge of writing an old school game, but I've done that already. Doing it again with modern tools, Stella, fast builds, not having to burn an EPROM for each build wouldn't seem as challenging to me. And I hate the idea of doing a non-Melody game knowing there're other designers with that option available. Having a hand tied behind my back seems silly to me. I want to deliver the best game possible. Players should care less what crap is inside the cart...it's what's on the screen, the beauty of the box, the cool story line, that matters. So really, hard to see the non-Melody option being one I'd take. Been 4 years, could have by now. The Melody option has been frustrating. Melody is a monopoly. I'm not even completely clear on who controls this monopoly. I've been unable to secure a reliable source. My goal was to produce a series of maybe 10 games to spread out the startup cost. Figured I might be able to break even if my games were really good. Without a secure source of Melody boards, or a license, that plan is far too risky. I could try and get into the inner circle, curry favor, move to the front of the line. I hate that crap. When I say Melody is a monopoly I don't consider it a dirty word. I'm a capitalist and a monopoly is always the goal of capitalism. Markets normally provide many ways to break monopolies like how Activision broke Atari's monopoly on 2600 games. I love that environment. I'd love to rewrite the Melody BIOS, make my own PCB and go head to head with the monopoly. I don't think there are any patents so it would be legal. To me, that would be fun. But there's a rub. Something I can't get around. I'm pretty damn sure the community would not like me doing this at all. At least a big chunk wouldn't. I'd be ripping off whoever. It is a community, not a market. So I'd have to deal with that mess, boycotts probably. Back to not making financial sense. Since I am a capitalist I do believe markets define what is wanted and what isn't. People can say they want something as much as they like, but if they're unwilling or unable to pay the cost it means they don't actually want the product no matter how many posts in a forum they make. I trust the market. And besides, I want to get into that BIOS. That's where the power is. That's where something really great might be possible. I don't know, but maybe. There was a recent project, to do some hardware to get C++ able to make games or something. I didn't really understand it. Just sounded like maybe there was going to be some open source Melody type board I could get my hands on. Looks like that project has now stopped short. I'm unable to see a way forward. Once again I've a spent a couple days researching, setting up yet another workstation and another dead end. I think that's enough for me. I don't like too many items on my todo list so I'm dropping the idea of doing an Atari game. My rant letter to the editor... For what it's worth I think the owners, whoever they are, are incredibly dumb to not open source Melody or to at least license it. They have every right to do whatever they like of course. But from my perspective, wouldn't it have been great to see lots of people taking their design and running with it? Maybe doing games that we never imagined? Maybe adding more hardware? Look what happened when Activision broke the Atari monopoly. The quality of games jumped orders of magnitude. Would there even be an AtariAge today if Atari had been able to keep their monopoly on 2600 games? I think the creators of the 2600 console, the people, must have been so proud to see their machine, their creation, exploited so beautifully and so completely. Even today, with Melody, which was a huge triumph. But yet today only a few games exploit it even a little and by even fewer designer. That Melody's potential has been so limited is a shame. It's primary purpose to make producing games easier, to get lots of old games into a Harmony, seems a waste of a brilliant design to me. I get I'm a completely insane person, never been a shortage of people to tell me. But I thought with enough people creating games for Melody that maybe a break through game could have been developed and ported to other systems. And in Wikipedia it would say that this monumental game started on Melody, on the Atari. That would have been cool. At least a cool goal. I think it would have been possible. Pretty well known in the game design world that great games can come from designing on simple platforms. Limiting the platform forces focus on the game itself. Yeah, non-Melody could provide that platform. But really, a lot of good designers exploited that platform back in the 80's. A small boost in power propelled game design forward a bit with Pitfall....that could have continued with Melody. And maybe it still will. But each year there will be fewer people who remember the 2600. Fewer designer will follow. Just a shame.
  8. I guess collectors could rent the game, keep it, and see the deposit as just the price. Hmmm, was thinking, well, I could then buy another Melody board to replace that unit. Now I'd right back to trying to get more boards so that's not thrilling. Maybe overthinking this. If I can cache 10 boards before I start a game I'd know it could be released at least. Not optimal, but get's me out of being at the whim of whoever. Then after that if I can get more boards then cool, if not, then that's it. And actually if I have trouble getting more boards and players want the game they could contact whoever to lobby for access. That would probably work. This would mean something like a few units being released each month or whenever. Would the community be cool with that? The problem I was having before is I wanted hundreds of boards, which if I remember right Batari had to solder by hand. I'd hate to have to solder 1,000 boards by hand so can't blame him to be vague on delivery. I think I was pushing for a way to get these wave soldered or some automated method. Maybe we couldn't get the run large enough, I forget, but got nowhere.
  9. That really depends on how it's released. What would be the response if the game were say for example rented? Say $10 to rent a game for a month? For me playing the crap out of a 2600 game is plenty, maybe renting for another month after a year. There would be a deposit of course, but not crazy. Maybe the renter gets to keep the box since a run of boxes is cheap per unit and that I have no trouble sourcing. So the game would come to each renter in a new box. I get a game can be released as just code and run in Harmony or an emulator. But to me, that's not appealing as a designer. The box, the cart to me was substantial and a big part of a game. Maybe because for me it was the hardest parts to create. When people were making Apple II games, putting them on floppies and selling them in zip lock baggies it wasn't appealing to me. Great games no doubt, but just seemed cheap, like anyone could do it. When you have to design, buy and assemble the cart, box, art, manual, etc... it really kind of forces you to think...crap, I'd better make this game as good as I can.
  10. Absolutely. I can handle soldering and bread boarding as long as I'm told exactly what goes where. You can email me 3635 at waterbugdesign plus com if you like.
  11. I'd be thrilled to be able to write for something better than Melody. I'd be willing to kick in cash, maybe others would. Be great to make it all open source. I suck at hardware so no help there. But anything I can do software wise I'd be happy to help. Developer system, tools, drivers. One thing though...Hardware people often look at these things from a hardware standpoint, of course. They see the hardware as they designed and them have a specific expectation. I on the other hand look at hardware as something to be exploited, violated, bent over a chair so to speak. So I would very much like to get a board built with whatever goodies a hardware designer can cram in then design a game. Designing a game for Melody and porting it just sounds a little limiting to me. But I don't really know anything about hardware. It just seems if the new board had a more powerful CPU, maybe a FPU, or whatever, that a game could be designed better to exploit those features. And I say screw cost. And screw making it easy to program. I never really understood this C++ thing. C++ easier than Assembly, or libraries making it easier. Well yeah, for doing "a" game. Not for doing the greatest games ever.
  12. Hmmm... I have to check out the portable. Thanks. However, I still want to target Melody or similar board. It's hard to describe...desire to make the best 2600 games ever. You know, writing this I had a thought. I have been focused on a market of 100-200 carts per game. Maybe I should just release 5-10 copies. I can get Melody boards for that number. Hmmmm, indeed. Maybe target the portable for other games. Not super appealing, kind of same old same old. But maybe. OK, talked myself into it. If I can't get a Melody type board that I can produce I'll just do 5-10 copies. Thanks for the back and forth, helps me think.
  13. Size of the target market was always a huge concern in designing a game. At VentureVision production issues for me was a bigger issue than game design. I loved designing the cardboard insert in the box to keep the cart in place, that saved us time and money. I learned the entire production process at Apollo in order to start VentureVision. At Atari, yes, I lost production control. That sucked. The cart, box, manual to me is as much a part of the game as the game itself.
  14. Thanks. Been told that type of thing on many ventures by endless amounts of people. Sometimes they were even right.
  15. Bingo. That is the entire issue. It's totally cool for people to do whatever they like, no problem. For me I want to produce some 2600 carts and therefore need a source I can depend on. Therefore that source can't be anyone who does it only when they want to unless of course that person is me. So I'm looking for someone who can help deliver a board I can take to a manufacturer and produce. Cases, labels, boxes I have handled.
  16. That was my understanding too. But actually making that happen is an entirely different experience.
  17. Yes, I choose option #2. Anyone wanting to help? Otherwise, yeah, I'll look other places. Of course the harder this process is the less fun, the less chance of completion.
  18. That's a good question. I don't really know. I'd like whatever gets the most stuff on the screen. I don't really care how or what language. I assume it would kind of depend on the game whether loads of ROM/RAM was better. Are the BoulderDash boards/design available? I really don't understand hardware. It's kind of like the original Atari. The hardware designers create it thinking it can do Pong and simple games. My job is to figure out how to make it do more. I never had any idea what chips were in a 2600. I just knew what values in what memory locations did what. I want to get my hands on something with the most power, something I can manufacture, and see what I can make it do. Melody sounded like it's got a lot of power, that makes it my prime target. I'd rather have more CPU power than ROM/RAM if I had to guess. I want to target a single board and do several games. It takes a few to really understand and exploit a system. And it's cheaper, or at least easier, to use the same board for several games. Open to suggestions. I've been kind of waiting a long hoping something would become available. Was hoping this project was it, but sounds dead now.
  19. Perhaps I'm not explaining myself very well.... I want a board that provides Melody type power or better. Is there any source other than Albert and Batari?
  20. Oh....and I don't want to sell homebrew games, I want to sell professional games. I think that is the issue. In order to do that I need a board source. This puts me into competition with Albert so surprise he's not thrilled at the prospect. I wouldn't be either. So, I'd welcome any help in the creation of such a board.
  21. I'm sorry, but I'm completely baffled why you think I didn't already do that. Let try to be super clear here.......It is completely insane to think any serious game creator would put themselves completely in the hands of another person/company. Can you imagine Activision writing games and then asking Atari to produce the carts and sell them????? If Albert happens to have a few games in his pipeline well, too busy, or whatever, then it's sorry Charlie. I would never in a million years ever put effort into the development of a product without very clear path to release. That apparently is completely unavailable going thru Albert. It's very much a...well maybe...do the game and let's see... And just to get that "response" takes weeks. Yes, if I was willing to just write a game for fun, then sure...here Albert, do whatever you want...then sure, great channel.
  22. Sorry, yes it was the Melody board I tried to purchase in quantity. And yeah, perfect solution...except for actually getting them in quantity, or feeling like a reliable source could be had. Seems impossible. It's one thing to say something is available and completely another matter to actually get them. If I remember correctly just getting emails returned took weeks. And the answer was always...well maybe. If I'm going to spend weeks writing a game I'd kind of like to know I could actually produce the cart. Yeah, I've heard about this cost thing...a lot. I may be wrong but wouldn't the cost per board be under $10? Maybe way under like maybe $4? I see no reason that should be a factor in selling a game for $75. If it's a kickass board and a kickass game. I don't care if it's a Melody clone or grafts a monkey brain to silicon. Any board that can get the same or better performance would be great. I only care about power. I want the chance to make the best game the 2600 has ever seen. Unfortunately I suck at hardware. But maybe I can learn enough to knock off a board.
  23. Very true. I tried to buy Harmony cards or license the design awhile back and got no where. Would be great if someone came up with something that developers could use. I don't want to write a game that requires players to own a Harmony cartridge. I want my game to be in a standalone cartridge. It's really been very frustrating. I'm willing to paid for prototype boards and/or a board run and give a number of boards to anyone who can make a Harmony clone...standalone, no loading lots of games. Or discuss other terms.
  24. I'm normally after a specific feature so I only go into detail with those parts. The rest uses generic labels, enough to assemble. I can change code and see the results to make sure I understand the part I care about. So length of time depends how fast I can grasp a feature. For a first game to see overall structure I don't need to go into a lot of detail.
  25. Some of the greatest games are pretty simple, video and otherwise. Just like in movies, lots of special effects will sell some tickets, but that alone can't make a movie great. To me polish means tweaking how the game reacts to user input...smooth, makes sense, player doesn't ever struggle to move. Second is the difficulty level, fun to play while learning how and then also ramps to difficult and then to almost impossible. Give them an experience, feel natural. This tweaking normally requires very little code changes, hopefully. But it takes a lot of playing, time and very critical eye. You also have to have some level of player in you too. I'm not a great player so I can test the starting and middle level. For the hard I have to guess based on the middle level settings. For impossible it's more technical, figuring out if your joystick movements and windows to accomplish a tasks are possible. If say player has to move 10 lines vertically to accomplish a goal and they can only move one line per frame and you give them 8 frames they can't win, not cool. So something needs a tweak. If you can get others to test that's great too. IMO that can't be remote, you have to see how they react, how they do, and say nothing while they play. If remote then a video of them playing and the screen is the next best choice. However, player testing is not a substitute for the designer. They'll make suggestions maybe, consider them if you want, but don't lose track that it's your vision and rep on the line. But, if you really aren't happy with a game then screw it, do another. Release the ROM. Do you want just anything with your name on it or your best effort? Second game will go faster and be better. Only you can judge.
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