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About retrocon

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    Chopper Commander
  1. It's funny I was just going through my MAME collection and I found this late 70's western game that was actually quite fun. I think it would be an easy port to the 2600. The name of the game is Dead Eye and it is simple enough. You are a gunslinger and your objective is to keep a coin in the air as long as possible (hitting targets, bouncing off walls, etc) by using your gun. The game has this slow gravity thing that makes it fun. And you can easily control your shots to send the coin flying in different directions. Out of the many many arcade games I tried that night from that era I was surprised how long I played this simple game and how fun it was.
  2. retrocon


    I personally think having some sound is important because it will help flesh out the simple visuals. Sounds for indicating successful movement and encounters with the various objects and pirate, and sounds for winning and dying. So really I'm thinking you only need a handful of simple yet fun little sounds.
  3. I will bet you had T.J. at "...it needs a bit of optimization."
  4. Huh? Archon, Archon II: Adept, M.U.L.E., Lords Of Conquest, Murder on the Zinderneuf, One-On-One Basketball, Pinball Construction Set, Realm Of Impossibility, and The Seven Cities Of Gold were crap? 918138[/snapback] My original comment still stands. "M.U.L.E.", "Murder on the Zinderneuf", "One-on-One Basketball", "Pinball Construction Set", and "The Seven Cities of Gold" are all great games...and they were all released in 1983 or 1984. "Realm of Impossibility" was a so-so sequel to "Zombies". "Archon II" was O.K., but didn't stretch anyone's imagination. And who even played "Lords of Conquest"? It's hardly news that EA spent minimal resources developing XE products, and they certainly didn't port over any marquee titles after the end of '84. 918181[/snapback] Yeah, the golden era though for EA was definitely the 800 era. "M.U.L.E.", "Murder on the Zinderneuf", "One-on-One Basketball", "Pinball Construction Set" and "The Seven Cities of Gold" were absolute classics that transformed the industry. Then C64 got a couple years worth of games, then Amiga got a couple great years (the silver years?) and then the consoles moved in and it was all downhill from there.
  5. More ideas: bombs - you shoot them over, but they don't explode right away. You have a few seconds to wait for the enemy tank to near and then press the button again to detonate. first aid - tanks take two hits to kill, but after first hit, a random first aid icon appears and if the tank makes it over to it before getting hit that second hit is restored again. panic mode - you have x number of seconds, lets say 20 seconds to hit the other tank or you die. A hit just slows the tank down, doesn't kill it but it does reset your 20 second clock. Player who loses is the first player not to hit the opponent in a 20 second span. sniper - you each only have one shot at a time and after you shoot you have to wait for your opponent to shoot off his shot before you can reload (or other way around). Like a shootout at the OK Corral. warp - you can space warp ala asteroids once each life. tunnel - going to the top or bottom will take you to the other side. pong version - you actually can't let a shot get by you. The first player that lets one get past them loses. multi-player tank - one player shots, one player moves tank - player VS player mode of course too (it probably has that already, haven't checked). three tank version - 2600 could probably handle this well. Have three tanks vertically adjacent to each other. The tanks move up and down as one tank. Press button to fire middle tank, button + up fires top tank, button + down fires bottom tank. Good luck keeping all your tanks in one piece. sandtrap - there are random patches (sand traps) in your path that are sticky and your tanks passes through them slowly. In these places your tank is particularly vulnerable. That's it, my brain is spent.
  6. Come on, this little community is too small for everyone not to get along. Carlos, you should have known that that comment would have hurt Curt's feelings. Those are actual colleagues of Curt's with real feelings and real families they have to support and I'm sure they're trying as hard as they can to make a great product. Curt, you know Carlos is a competitor just trying to antagonize you a bit. Why did you have to go and use the lawyer card? Just because you have nukes doesn't mean you should throw in everybody's face? No one here is getting rich are they? Are they? This is just a small fun hobby. If people want to get rich, they sell online porn or pharms or online gambling. They don't hang around 2600 forums and build little niche products, homebrew games and hardware for long dead console systems. Bringing out the lawyers, not cool my friend. Let's keep this a fun open community. And the FB2 is the first spark of Ol' Atari that's been seen in 10-15 years. Let's enjoy it!
  7. As far as I understand pocketpcs, palms and gp32 are doing 2600 emulation at more or less fullspeed. For instance, this emulator for the pocketpc is pretty much just a heavily optimized hack of stella ( http://pocketvcs.emuunlim.com/ ). So if you can imagine this system as just a pocketpc designed to run one app, stella, very well, it should be very possible. And I don't really disagree with the assistive hardware thing. You would probably want to throw some assistive hardware in there like a simple gpu/frame buffer/ntsc output. Then you would just have to make some changes to the stella core as necessary (it probably just outputs to a frame buffer anyway). All of the quirks of the TIA would be handled by stella - the assistive hardware would have no effect on that. It would just be a modern-era frame buffer that would be simple to code for. You would just need to customize/rewrite the lower-level video routines for the hardware and maybe speed up some slow routines with some assembly as necessary. The Samsung S3C2410 is a nice Arm chip. You can get a 203MHZ multi-chip package with integrated 32MB of SDRAM and 32MB FLASH pretty cheap. I was looking a pdf dated 9/2003 that listed the starting price at $11. I'm sure for a million pieces that prices drops steeply. Then build your little video GPU and build a customized version of stella for this specific hardware (lots of arm ports already available to start with). With 32MB FLASH you could hold a simple os, stella and every 2600 game ever made. Custom ASICs aren't that cheap are they? I have heard they cost $1Mil just to tape out. What do you think the FB2-2600 chip costs per unit?
  8. Authenticity of emulation if only part of the problem. The other major part is cost. It is far, far FAR more efficient to emulate any system at the hardware level than at the software level. Systems powerful enough to run cycle-perfect 2600 emulation software in realtime are many times more expensive than the $30 Flashback (which I'm sure costs a fraction of that to manufacture). 917207[/snapback] Well, maybe, but I'm pretty sure a low-end Arm could emulate the 2600 fullspeed and I'm sure they could be had for dirt-cheap per piece in that volume (900K). Still more expensive, but then there's no reason it has to be a $30 toy. Most would pay up to $50 or so without much thought. Just add a few more games (or maybe even a compact flash port).
  9. I think this pretty much closes the book on the idea that the recreation of hardware is somehow more accurate or better than software emulation. They both suffer from flaws and imperfections, no matter how much manpower is thrown at them. A fast embedded microprocessor with a custom ported version of Z26 or Stella on rom would have probably been much more accurate, no?
  10. Yeah, I was thinking along those same lines. How about powerups when you hit those fast moving vehicles in the background? Things like: player-guided missile multi-missiles shield renewal speed up tank These might be a fun way to mix it up. Also, in more advanced levels, maybe the computer could actually have some of these better weapons as a handicap to the player.
  11. I think you raise some good points. The real value of the A8 family to the current marketplace is the broad scope and nostalgic value of its incredible software library, and not necessarily the nostalgic value of the systems themselves. Atari itself changed the "look" and form factor of the A8 family many times in response to the market's changing emphasis: the Atari 800 was built when the market wanted an expandable home computer (as evidenced by its internal expansion cards), while the Atari XEGS offered little expansion and was optimized as a game platform (optional detachable keyboard, an SIO port that could be easily ignored, game control buttons enlarged and moved to the console, etc). If Atari/Infogrames indeed builds the FB3 using the A8 architecture as a foundation, I imagine that it will be similar to the XEGS in that its design will emphasize its role as a game machine, with little or no recognition of its origins as a computer. This means no flash disks, USB ports, integrated hard drive controllers, or other extensions that aren't necessary for games. Exposing the SIO port as a pin header, or adding some other little "extras" that fall out of the original design, would be a nice and easy thing to do but is a secondary concern at best. I can't see Atari spending any money on significantly upgrading the architecture (beyond making large bankswitched cartridges in the smaller form factor Curt mentioned), and it probably won't look like any of the old machines, either; I think that would limit its appeal to the younger crowd. I brought up the possibility of a low-cost keyboard earlier because you almost have to have one to properly play some of the most marketable games in the A8 library. The only alternative I can think of, making a controller with some extra buttons, would mean that Atari would have to design a whole new controller AND modify the old games to use the extra buttons. Adding a membrane/chicklet keyboard to the design seemed to me to be a cheaper and easier way to go, but of course we're all speculating here so I could be wrong. I like the idea of an A8/2600 hybrid, but since there's very little overlap in the components of both platforms, I can't see a system like that being cost-effective to build (it would essentially be two systems in one box). 916277[/snapback] Mini-5200 would be easier and would make more sense. They did a replica 7800 with replica 7800 joysticks. They did replica 2600 with replica 2600 joysticks. Why not a 5200 with mini-5200 joysticks? Maybe we are over-analyzing things a bit. No keyboard issues, no third-party licensing issues. This seems like the obvious next console doesn't it?
  12. WoW! All I can say is Wow. Is this really a 2600 game? How many hours did you put into developing this if I might ask?
  13. retrocon


    Some ideas: I had trouble navigating. Add a 'footstep' sound effect or something to indicate a move as occured. Also, I would add some variety to the graphics. I like the trees you did. I would ass maybe 3 or 4 more, maybe a beach scene, maybe another tree. Create some variety so it really feels like the player is moving. I also had an idea that might make it more fun. Have an AI player that is moving around the screen looking for the treasure too. If the AI player finds the shovel first, the player will hear a warning beep and have to stop the AI player before he can dig up the treasure. Maybe something like that, I'm not sure exactly. Maybe there should be a map and a shovel. The player has to find the map first and then the X will show itself when he is in the right location and then he has to go get the shovel to go dig it up. Maybe the pirate could move things around like the bat in adventure.. Just some brainstorming...
  14. I think fb3 could be something as simple as the same hardware as fb2 with 40 completely different games, including maybe a bunch more homebrews. They still have plenty of games in the back catalog or ones they can license. It really seems like there is room to grow with the fb2 hardware still. Maybe they will also add a proprietary cart connector so they can make new (cheaper and smaller) 2600 carts. I have to admit if it is Atari 800 hardware, I am feeling kinda like "so what". From 82 to the release of the Amiga I was heavy in the A800 scene and I can tell you it was not about the "Atari" games at all. It was about the 100s and 100s of third-party games like Alternate Reality, Ali Baba, BallBlazer, Conan, BC's Quest for Tires, Shamus, Picnic Paranoia, Ultima III and others. I can tell you because I had a copy of them all. And realistically, many of these games required a keyboard and would be too complex to put on a simple toy. No, rather I expect if that is the direction they go, it will be A5200 hardware with A5200 cart games and maybe a few of the best ported A800 games thrown in. Shall we call it the "petite sexy" or maybe just Anna - short for the Anorexic Atari?
  15. Ok, my W.A.G: This is going to be the atari 15600, with Atari System 2 coin-op hardware on a chip. Then they could include almost any Atari coin-op game pre-86 by including System 1 and pre System 1 hardware support (hardware should be close enough to port easily): for system 2: Championship Sprint Paperboy Return of the Jedi Super Sprint Xybots for system 1: Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom Marble Madness Peter Pack Rat Road Blasters Road Runner for pre-system 1: the centipede hardware games: Centipede Millipede Qwak Warlords the Missile Command hardware games: Missile Command Missile Attack Missing any? What do you think?
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