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steve-vx

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Everything posted by steve-vx

  1. What I find most interesting is that many of the whitebeards of the early industry are still with us - and they are willing to talk. I have interviewed quite a few of them already and can only recommend to browse and search and make contacts as long as they are with us. As to where the Arcadia Maxit comes from... I assume that they packed some early tech demos together to have yet another cart to sell. And board games like checkers or games like hangman were easy to identify and to connect with for non-gamers. We must not forget that the medium was new for most and familiar games helped to lower the entry barrier of understanding and acceptance. Stefan
  2. Dear colleagues, Harry Saal replied and here is his original message. I must admit that he replied relatively quick, but I was so busy finalizing two books that I simply had no chance to do anything else. So, have fun: "I'm happy to update you and your colleagues on the history of MAXIT! and the many clones it engendered. Feel free to post the following notes, in full and unedited. Here's the backstory about a computer game which I developed over 40 years ago. I was introduced to the Orda (Israel) board game MATTIX in about 1974; from materials posted on the web, it appears that MATTIX was introduced by Orda in 1968. I was developing multi-player gaming software for the original 4K Commodore PET which I acquired early in 1977, thanks to the help of Sam Bernstein, VP of Marketing at Commodore. As one of several 2 players games being developed for a future online gaming system ("GameNet", which never came to pass), I wrote a very close implementation of the Orda game and called it MAXIT! (note the exclamation mark at the end of the official name). It was written entirely in Commodore BASIC and with full instructions just fit into the 4K RAM memory of the PET. As an active member of our local PUG ("PET User Group"), I contributed a cassette of the game (V3.0) to the club in 1978. I also sold cassettes of the game in the US , Germany and the UK for $3.95 via club newsletters and distributors. Probably less than 50 copies were ever sold while many many more were passed around. (Much more successful was the "BASIC Programmer's Toolkit", a ROM-based collection of programming utilities, such as RENUMBER, that I introduced in 1979). I was not involved in ANY of the many versions and variants of MAXIT! that you have traced but I'm proud to have sired so many children and grandchildren. Thanks for the excellent detective work! Looking at the actual code of those version would be like genetically tracing the lineage more closely than just the general game play and user interface. I am somewhat saddened that there does not appear to be any cognizance of what I consider by far to be the best part of my original MAXIT! program. MATTIX was a two person board game, but MAXIT! allowed one user to play against the computer, by entering "1" as the number of players. In the minimal 4K memory, I was able to craft a really powerful computer opponent, which used a 2 or 3 half-ply look-ahead to select its move quite rapidly. Of course, the starting board being random and the human player having varied skills, the PET didn't always win, but it usually whupped the human with some very sharp moves, especially in the end game (when the search space was small.) I'd love to know if any of that code ended up in the successor implementations which would be a very clear marker of the evolution of my code. P.S. The name MAXIT! was coined to embody the program's skill in maximizing its score when looking ahead. -- ================================================================= Dr. Harry J. Saal Chairman, Retrotope, Inc."
  3. I dropped Mr. Saal a line. Let´s see if he replies. I will keep you posted.
  4. Also, I hope that I am not the only one who is eagerly waiting. If financial support would be needed I am sure some of us could get funding organized
  5. Yeah, I hope it will. Hopefully in my lifetime... we Jag lovers are... what´s our average age btw? Did anybody ever analyze this
  6. Would a port of one of the rare good strategy games on the ST be worth considering? I am thinking of Utopia or Populous maybe (I do know about and own Defender ot Crown of course). There is not even a decent port of chess available on the Jag or is it?
  7. I guess there is still now news regarding Soul Star? My hope that a release will ever happen is fading unfortunately
  8. Ah, surely sounds plausible from your POV.
  9. Great, finally a Tennis game - but why not Great Courts, which is possibly the best and most playable game of Tennis on the ST, according to many incl. myself?!
  10. Sounds good. Thanks for the update CJ!
  11. Thank you for your response. I assume you are being asked this a lot: But can you give us any status? Like "its 7/8/90%" done or which issues need to be fixed or if there is any timeframe? This is one of the games that almost made me buy a SegaCD back then - and I opted for the Jag.
  12. Has there been any activity on Soul Star for the Jag lately? Or is it canned... for the next 2 decades?
  13. Well, me and my 8 year old son love to perform 2-player gaming on the Jag. In fact, that´s what we play most. Sensi Soccer, Joust, network Doom although the lockups are tedious. A good 2 player mode would be a major reason to buy a game. Just ordered Defender of the Crown by the way and Draconian for the 2600. I wonder if DotC can save games.... we will see.
  14. It seems as if this kind of games can be played more effectively by an experienced player. Then again, some things never change: my personal highscore in Pac-Man for instance is nailed at 59.650 for years. And I own a cabinet to play it as it was used to be played to rule out any hardware variations. I do not seem to make any progress. I guess hand-eye-brain-coordination work differently on different types of games. It can not only be age.
  15. Absolutely fabulous. Isn´t it interesting how the gameplay of these classics feels "slow" by today's standards? I already noticed this when playing Xenon II on the Jag. 30 years back this was acknowledged as "frantic action". Back in the day we were sitting in front of the monitor with friends getting red faces and sweaty hands from all the action on the screen and the sheer amount of enemies.
  16. Hi, I have also received the new pro-controllers yesterday. I have only tested them briefly but compared to my original pro-controller they feel and play exactly the same. Great work, really. What others experience happened to me with the original Jag-pads. After disassembling them it was always a bit of a trial-and-error game to get the dpad to work correctly again. All in all I am very happy with these controllers and can only pay the highest respect to those who picked up the gauntlet and went through all the steps. I guess finding a good manufacturer could have been the hardest challenge.
  17. Wouldn´t it be a good idea to enhance Breakout 2000 and add rotary support?
  18. For what its worth: Has anybody considered porting Great Courts 1 or 2 over to the Jag? There is no good Tennis games available on the Jag.
  19. Nice, very nice. Is Sky Shark 2-player?
  20. Ah, so it is Gaztee who I should talk to for a physical version?
  21. Hello everybody, as somebody who is following this thread for quite some time and who is playing Atari ST games since 1989 and Jaguar games since 1997 I am most happy about any conversion. And I agree to what was said above, that while subtle changes are OK, keeping ST games otherwise largely intact serves the purpose of preservation as well as transformation into a new century best. But... I am not really sure if I understand what we are waiting for. The games CJ is converting are available for this Jaguar flash device. But neither commercially nor freely on CD or something. Are there official releases planned? I would buy most of these, but I will not buy a flash device that I have to flash and reflash any time I want to play a game. Because in this case why wouldn´t I buy a ST and start swapping floppies again? Not to mention that I can attach my Jag pad to my Mac and play emulations of any ST games with the feel of a Jaguar. Maybe somebody can bring me up to the latest developments that I might have missed because I am mainly watching this thread only.
  22. Please also produce different colors. I would like mine transparent if possible.
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