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About ALaMothe

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    Space Invader
  • Birthday June 14

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    Computer Scientist
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    Hardware, Software, Embedded Systems, AI, 3D Rendering and Algorithms, Computer Architecture and Processor Design, Retro Computing, Atari 800!
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    More Crysis :)
  1. Yes, I have a harmony cart. But, what I am saying, is that I want the basic to be able to produce binaries that can go on a standard cart without any special features, etc. -- In other words, I don't want large bankswitching, or whatever else to be a requirement of the BASIC.
  2. Cool -- thanks. One of the biggest problems writing books or doing classes on a subject is the tech changes TOO fast, or TOO slow Anyway, I clearly need to research this subject and anything I do make sure that the course is generic enough, that it isn't "broken" in 6 months
  3. Good -- thanks, I have visited that site as well of course. So, seems I am correct in my assumption that BB hasn't been updated in 10 year? Right? Everyone is still using the 2007 version? If this is true, I am amazed someone else hasn't picked up the project, AA is HUGE, someone from here, etc. and kept making updates... Andre'
  4. Everyone, Hopefully, this is the right place to get information on this Anyway, I am coming up with topics to do another Udemy course. My last was on electronics and PCB design, so I am toying with doing a game dev course. But, there are countless classes on game development, and after writing about the subject for 20+ years, I am not really interested in re-hashing things I have already covered in one of my books. That said, I want to do something more unique and I was thinking about a course on 2600 game dev for beginners, but I wanted to use BATARI BASIC rather than ASM, since developing kernals and coding in asm is going to shrink the potential student pool about 90%. I think BB is the way to go. That said, I had some questions -- its been many years since I played with BB. I played with it when it first came out, thought "pretty cool", and shelved it in my mind, thinking maybe some day I will write a book and use BB as the language. Anyway, I spent the last hour or so looking around the site, it doesn't look like its been touched in 10 years. So, my questions are: 1. Are people still coding in BB? I see lots of posts here about it, so I would imagine yes. But, if that's true why hasn't there been an update in 10 years? http://bataribasic.com/ 2. Do you think its worth doing a course on BB and game dev on the 2600? There would be only ONE of these courses on Udemy, so it would at very least be unique, although pretty useless from a job skills point of view for students. 3. Are there any games that really stand out written in BB as holy shit that's amazing? I should look at? 4. And finally, I HATE emulation, I like HARDWARE -- so, I don't mind teaching on the PC with emulation, etc. but, at some point, I want to burn the binary to a cartridge and play the game on my 2600, and I want students to as well. Any comments on this? Are their problems? Things that emulate, but the 2600 don't handle correctly? Thanks everyone -- I am just in the "maybe" phase right now, but trying to talk myself into it Andre'
  5. Hey everyone, I wanted to announce my new Electronics and PCB Design course on Udemy. I worked on it for 18 months and tried to create something that would enable people to learn electronics and PCB design in a single course, have fun, and not be overwhelmed by math and too much theory. The goal of the course is to teach electronics both theoretically, but practically as well with lots of bench work. And then once the fundamentals are learned, we dive into PCB design from schematic to manufactured PCB. Those that are interested in building add-on boards for various retro system, but haven't made a PCB, then this is perfect for you. Also, those that "hack" electronics, but want a deeper understanding of analog, filters, amps, and circuit analysis, you will find this course helpful without needing a Ph.D in math Here's the information, links, and discount code... (along with some images of project developed in the course; PCBs, simulation, bread board work). Crash Course Electronics and PCB Design @ Udemy -- 135 lectures, 87 hours. 50% Discount Code HAL9000 https://www.udemy.com/crash-course-electronics-and-pcb-design
  6. @Shawn -- LOL. Yup, seems these kinds of products sell in the 10's and 100-200 ish. Oh well. Andre'
  7. I just played Space Rocks, very impressive -- of course its 32K, so would have been an expensive cart back in the day. But, imagine playing that instead of Atari Asteroids, the authors would have been rich! Very nice game -- I would have come up with a better name though
  8. Hmmm -- well, C/C++ support doesn't really have anything to do with a cart. That has to do with the architecture, the 6502 has C/C++ support right now, you can always get a compiler and generate 6502 machine code and then write games, just like there is Batari BASIC. It's just that the memory, math, and video kernels require you to code in ASM for a lot of things. But, I guess if someone wants to couple a 64K cart with bankswitching, extra RAM, and an API of functions and pre-written video kernels, and then put a C/C++ 6502 compiler on top, that could be done, but that's a different kind of project. I think the Batari guys would be better suited to do that since they already have a BASIC based solution, coupled with the Harmony they could get that working in a few months. But, I think this goes back to BASIC is a lot easier than C/C++, so a complete toolchain and hardware solution for C/C++ games would definitely allow better games, but I wonder if it would scare away as many programmers But, the grand scheme of app stores and DRM and all that is applicable to something where you have development companies spending a lot of money and developing professional level games. Right now, as far as I can tell there are a handful of actual finished working homebrews and programming the 2600 is so complicated, there aren't a lot of people that want to take on the challenge since their is no ROI. However, I like the idea allowing 2600 players to play with each other via a network and hardware, I have always thought that would be cool. But, you would need a meeting place, then a way to log your 2600 onto the network, then there is no way really to play a game "networked" other than to hack it such that one player sends his controller commands to the other player and then the video stream is shared. Playing two 2600's at the same time with the same game, and then remotely sending the joysticks to each wouldn't work without synchronization. In other words, the games would have be to designed as networked in the first place. Hmmm - anyway, I kinda want to keep this to just a cartridge for the 2600 that adds memory, and some features. But, I want to target players not programmers (since there are like 50 of them , but even still there aren't that many players either than actively care about multicarts -- I think I am coming to the conclusion that the harmony (great product by the way), has covered the market need more than enough. And sure, I could add features to it, but those features would have to target players, and I am not sure there is enough there to get a good amount of sales for the engineering effort... Continues to think.....
  9. Hey everyone, I have been toying around with developing an Atari 2600 enhancement cartridge, but I am not into the scene as much as others. Basically, I love the Atari 2600/800, used to write games for the A800 (but not the 2600, but played them of course), and now I develop gaming hardware, 3D engines, etc.. That said, I have been trying to make sense of the different products available for the 2600. So, after doing some research, seems the Harmony Cartridge does what I wanted to do more or less. I wanted a cartridge with a microSD card, that supported bank switching, RAM, and maybe had some support for features that Atari 2600 home brewers wanted as long as I could add them without shaking the trees too much. I am thinking about everything from added sound support in the cart, to a color LCD screen to RGB LEDs to add special effects. Anyway, I have been developing hardware for about 30 years, and the last 15, I have my own manufacturing in china, so if I did this, I would hope to sell 1000+ carts to break even, thus, I am just wondering about the market size. I found one cart that sold 204 units then the company seemed to go defunct, or the license expired? In any event, if I did this, I would probably put it on kickstarter at some point to get the word out and use that to generate sales, so any "special" features in the cart, hopefully enough people would get it, so it became a standard ideally. But, primarily I would follow the rules for all the bank switching and RAM carts that have been reverse engineered to be compatible. So, I can tell over the years that many of these "super carts" or "multicarts" have been developed, but its not clear to me if they are successful? Seems many never ship, or ship a little, or whatever. Maybe the problem is many developers have not done formal manufacturing and get overwhelmed? Alas, I guess I am putting out an "RFC" of sorts with the simple question -- is there a need for another multi/supercart for the Atari 2600 (sorry 7800 people, I never got into that console, so I will stick with the 2600 for now -- and if there is a need, based on my specs above, is there anything else that is very common that home brewers are desperate to have? As well, as making something that normal 2600 fans can use to play games that range from 4-64K. Finally, I don't want to go nuts on this and make a huge project that never gets done. I have shipped about 50-60 embedded systems over the last 15 years and the one lesson I have learned is keep it simple as possible to serve the purpose, you can always add stuff LATER! Comments? (I will post this on Atari Museum, and Atari 2600 on Facebook as well, so I can get a good cross section of comments, not sure were "developers" hang out primarily). Thanks --
  10. Thanks, I am REALLY impressed by the technical level of the posts. Everyone on here really knows their stuff, its been 20 years since I wrote games on the 800, so as I read the posts, I am like wow, this guy knows his stuff! What's interesting to me is how software techniques can leverage hardware more. For example, if you look at games for the original Playstation 1 and then look at games made just a few years ago when AAA companies finally stopped making them on the Playstation 1. Its like they had completely DIFFERENT hardware, but its just that programming, math, optimization, etc. got better, so they made the Playstation 1 look like a machine that did 10x more. So, as with the Atari, I need to start downloading some of the cutting edge games and demos and see what people from 2013 are able to do on a machine from 1978! Of course, back then, we made the machines do crazy things, I still look at games like Pitfall 1 and 2 and just blows my mind Andre'
  11. De Re Atari is the defacto standard for graphics programmers, but it isn't the most friendly book. Another book that blew my mind was "Computer Animation Primer" by David Fox and Mitchell Waite, published by Byte Books in 1984. One of the books that took my game programming to another level. Cool related story -- 10 years later, I went on to write "The Black Art of 3D Game Programming" for Mitch Waite Group in 1994. I still had my original copy of his Computer Animation Primer book, and now he printed and published mine, so we both signed each other's books, kinda closed the circle Anyway, here's a link to: http://www.atariarchives.org/cap/ I literally ordered this book out of the back of another book, I think a PASCAL book and waited months for it -- when I got it, it was like finding Atlantis -- I read it cover to cover, over and over. AWESOME book. Andre'
  12. Hmmm -- VC, its possible it made its way up there, It looks like it! It's so long ago, but that's the right perfboard, the right box, cables, and I vaugely remember, the audio filter cap was changed to change the cutoff frequency, so I had to wire leads to it, and I like CLEAN design, so this looks like my work (when I was 15-16 years old)... maybe... But, if not, then its an exact clone of my boxes I made at San Jose Computer -- either way, very cool. Thanks for taking the pic, hope it still works! If I recall, one of the cool things I did with it was to write a DLI that would read the text buffer from a simple editor I made (basically a straight scrollable text buffer), then try and say the words based on a limited phonem dictionary and parsing anything with white space surrounding it. The main problem with the IC was that you really had to tune words based on context, and I spent a LONG time trying to make words sound right, then you string them together of course, and it sounded horrific, so then you had to have the transitional rules to make it sound reasonable, too much work and switched to S.A.M. Andre'
  13. Yup, a lot of famous people came in the store. Nolan Bushnell of course came in, but I didn't recognize him at the time, he was tall, lanky, and very scrufy. The brother of the owner told me who is was, I was like really? Then in 2003 or so, we became friends, he's even been to my house, hired me to do a remake of XO football for his new company uWink, which imploded, and finally I got him to write a foreword for my Tricks of the 3D Game Programming Gurus book. But, I completely forgot about him coming in the store and when I meet him back in 2003 about developing some stuff for him, I was like, he looks the same, just more gray But, what I liked most is that he is a hardcore engineer and really knows his stuff, but at the same time he is very business savy and social. Not nerdy at all. Kinda like a hybrid of Woz and Jobs in one. Andre'
  14. Yes, lots But, hard to remember. There was a girl they hired to work there, she was kinda a hippie -- rode a bike with tassles, she introduced herself - "hi, you can call me STAR CHILD" That set the tone for our working relationship Steve Jobs came in once, didn't say much, he asked me some questions about the Atari ST vs Amiga graphics and processing power, I was the only one there that programmed graphics and 68000 ASM, so I knew both machines inside and out, thus I gave the truthful answer that the Amiga was a far better machine and more like an Atari 800 and Intuition was years ahead of GEM. The ST was more a conventional machine. And I think he liked my candor, all he did was smile like a chesire cat, stared at the machine for a bit as if he was plotting something, not saying a word, then noded and left. And of course, the owner was always bringing in truck loads of dumped Atari hardware, we literally had a "moutain" of junk to the ceiling in the tech lab that we would dive into to find parts. I was always amazed how rough Mark Dalldorf (the owner) was with the hardware, he would just pick things up throw them down on the ground -- I was like "dude, they are sensitive electronics!". Another funny thing about Mark, he had a BA in Math, he could recite Pi to 50 or more digits, maybe 200, I can't remember, but it was a neat trick I remember we got 100's of Androbots, for like pennies per pound, I fixed damn near ALL of them. And they sold them for $150 a piece if I recall. And I think all they did was plug into the DB9, and then you could control the motors and LEDs, but in the 80's that was like WOW! But, the coolest part was Atari was the cutting edge of creativity, and everyone that worked with or around was unique and eclectic in a GOOD way -- I miss that. And San Jose Computer was like the center of it all, plus I got paid 3x as much as my friends working fast food. I think $7.50/hr, and min wage was $2.25 an hour at the time I was RICH compared to my friends, and I worked at an ATARI store in high school, hard to beat that Andre'
  15. Yup, I think I got the box from radio shack as well, of course in california silicon valley we had the best stores for electronics development - quement electronics, halted, excess solutions, weird stuff, and the list goes on and on, but I remember, I liked the blue boxes from radio shack and not the black ones -- boring color. Of course, "radio shack" was RADIO SHACK then Andre'
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