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potatohead

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Everything posted by potatohead

  1. It isn't as bad as it was for our parents. We are all old enough now to have shown people the ropes. I did. My Apple, and maybe Atari setup will be a little playground for my grand kids here soon. One is almost 5 and wants to do stuff. The MECC programs for the Apple are great for that kind of thing. Why not? I tried paddle games this year. Not quite there, but they can do touch and use a mouse! Weird. For us, it was Atari and misc consoles. That is what I had. My kids saw Apples in school. Where I lived, they kept them running for primary school into the 00's. Oregon Trail, typing, vocab, numbers... A whole bunch of people used earlier PC"s too. Anyone who has done that on say a 386 will have little trouble with an Apple. And there are the cards! It has been a pretty great time to be into Apple 8 and GS machines. It was a bigger PITA a while back, and I stayed with my Atari and CoCo3 for programming fun, and I really did not share that with many people. And that is a factor too. This stuff gets warm and cold. Like I have a CFFA 3000 card. Those are done, and for a while, it was a little rough to get good disk emulation. In fact, for the first couple years, I used floppy drives for that reason. Now, there are a handful of devices, sound cards got cloned, the basic cards are cheap, and there are spiffy things for HDMI, speeding the machine up. It all kind of works like PC's did. I like that part personally. Others do too. Like any hobby, there is the initial getting in, and then the ongoing fun. Pretty much all the discussed machines work that way, and some are cheap to get into, like a VIC 20 and multi cart. On Atari, one could score XL, or XE machine, some carts, BASIC, Star Raiders, whatever. Get or make controllers. Then maybe cassette. Maybe not, right? Until FujiNet, the next move was either a disk drive, or SIO emulator. With FujiNet, that's the next move I would make, and I have an 800XL, no disk right now. Perfect. But that gets someone online, fetching stuff from servers, playing games with others, using the IRATA PLATO system... Or get SIO disk emulation. Fetch software from the internet. From here there are mods and kits to build on the system. Maybe get a killer CRT. Over time, someone will spend a few hundred dollars. On Apple, one can score a Plus, //e, C, or GS. Buy or make a joystick. Then audio load a lot of software using a phone, or computer, whatever from the Apple Game Server. The C has everything one needs built in. From there, get a disk drive and card, or disk emulation, and or card. Fetch software from the Internet! From here there are cards and mods to build the system. FastChip or other accelerator. (Includes RAM expansion) Sound card, original or new one made today. Serial card for comms. Video card for VGA, HDMI. Other things. Maybe get a killer CRT. Over time a person will spend a few hundred dollars, and more than they would on an Atari or C64, but not too much more, given some thought. I like to add something every so often when a great device becomes available. Honestly, unless someone is just going to load up a multi cart and play games, this is how things go, and it is a fun ride along the way. Or... Get one of those FPGA devices, or emulate. And, if they emulate at all prior to getting the real deal, they will know a lot. And unless they are doing it in a vacuum, they will be chatting others up having a good time not unlike how it all goes with say, classic cars. People can get in on something for a song sometimes. More often, they will spend some, maybe get in for a coupla hundred and then take it a bite at a time from there.
  2. Oh I don't know about that. These days, setting an Apple up isn't terribly difficult. One gets a drive emulator, and a lot of the good stuff is packaged up, ready to go! Total Replay is a labor of love that really does present a great retro experience in an easy way. For many, it's connect all the bits together, make sure the package is on the card, turn the machine on, and select from the menu, go! https://archive.org/details/TotalReplay I've put kids and other adults on mine, and they had a blast! It's a different kind of games machine. Somewhat like the Beeb, or Spectrum. Bitmap games. DOS. Now make no mistake, I keep a VCS and an Atari 8 bit or two for those frame locked experiences. People, who experience that today, notice! Low latency and all that. But, in the scope of gaming, a whole lot happened on the Apple. And Apples were used to develop for other machines due to being "a real 8 bit computer", in the sense of having a high density text display, fast storage and flexible, simple hardware that made building interfaces fairly easy. RPG type games are excellent on Apple computers. And some arcade ports are amazing! Try both the DOS and Apple 2 ports of ROBOTRON, for example. Killer! There is a lot out there. We all have our faves. For me, it's been interesting. I played a ton of Atari and kind of stalled. Went back to the Apple and it's a whole new round of fun, and I've enjoyed the machines for the last decade or so now. People, who get into this, are gonna start somewhere. As was said by several, myself included, it really depends on what sparks their interest really. Whatever that is gets them going. If they are into it at all, they will want to check the era out and when they do, others will need to help out some. Maybe that happens on real machines. I think probably not, unless they are super serious. But, having one real machine can be the anchor for making the FPGA projects, for example, or emulation as another example, relevant. It's all getting simpler across the board. An Atari, with FujiNet is looking sweet! Apples have their game server, audio connection which just isn't all that hard, and many different storage devices people can drop files onto and go. I have not kept up with the C64 options, but I do see similar devices for that one that look pretty easy too. Frankly, if someone is interested, I'm game. Let's hook it up and do some stuff, learn some stuff, play some games, whatever. If we want this hobby to endure at all, that's what it will take. In any case, the Apple is totally a competent gaming machine. All of these computers have a sweet spot. For some, it's pretty big, others smallish. But, they all nail a couple things and it's the differences from there which made the era so damn much fun in the first place.
  3. I'm going to play through Nox Archaist. It's been a fun ride so far. Finish a Miniature Golf game I'm working on for the Apple computers. Install the 6309 and 512K RAM upgrade I got for my CoCo3. Then I don't know. Might sell it. Adjust the yoke on my PVM. Screen is a bit rotated. I've just not wanted to break it open just yet. Recap a bunch of stuff and either fix, or toss my other PVM. That one has a tinted tube, but all colors are present. Hoping it's just old components, but could be the tube. Looks at 800XL in box. Maybe get a FujiNet. Get one of those wi-fi adapters that we can use to put old machines online and maybe explore PLATO. Thomas has done a ton of great work and I've not been able to check it out. Misc hardware projects that plug into an Apple.
  4. Maybe they don't believe there is an audience, or that the perception of their machine would be impacted.
  5. I have a 2012 Mac Book Pro. Frankly, I love that computer whether it is running Windows or Mac OS. But, it got a coffee spill event, took out the keyboard. So, I ordered (very questionably legal) parts from Asia, took a day, rebuilt it. Back in business! A week later, family knocked water on it, aaaaand yeah. Took out the keyboard. Not doing that surgery again, so now it is a backup, software build machine, with a USB keyboard. Way too delicate. And that repair was tough! Not something people want to, or maybe can do. I was very seriously challenged! Crazy tech, small, things glued together, screws with odd pitches and heads...
  6. And we ended up seeing it all as this stuff got disassembled and analyzed. There is a similar pro dev vs school culture today. Different tools and systems, but similar dynamics. You can bask in being a member of a fun club though. Assembly game project completed! With accolades. Whatever you may have gotten in school worked! Cheers
  7. That's an interesting observation. I would say the exception is the Apple 2 Series computers. But otherwise yeah I agree with you.
  8. Look at FujiNet. It does bump the Atari 8 bit computers up the list some. Just saying. That project is under cool, and it puts 8 bitters online in a relevant and accessible way.
  9. Thanks for that! Self modify today is voodoo. Back when I was learning assembly, almost of that was on a 6809. On that CPU, it is as possible as it is a 6502, but generally not necessary. A friend and I were working on basics, pixel plotters, blitters, and doing that on 6502 came up as a way to do things quickly. There was a whole, "should it?" discussion mixed in with how to debug, or "what happens when it goes badly" one. After a time, we settled on, better just get it right. And the many lectures from others, mainly educators, as this was happening on the school lab machines, were all bad, don't do it, etc... but, looking at finished programs we could run and what was happening and how quickly did not jive. They had to have done it. Clearly, you had reached that point of code zen where it was no longer a question, just the way forward. Cool beans! I will catch the shows. Should be a good time. Thanks again.
  10. Seriously! I made one from some article in a magazine, maybe Creative Computing. It seemed super exciting, but using it kind of sucked. These were a fail too, but I wanted one too. When I finally got one, someone had made an simple script to decode the text properly. Was fun for a day. Scanning stuff worked. And it was fun to push it with increasingly shitty barcodes. Managed to hand draw a couple too. Meh otherwise. Re: Print Buffers Where I grew up those things were a success! Saw them in action at schools, some business and working professionals had em. Seemed common to me. Re: Mechanical keyboard for Atari 400 I should have kept mine! Got one, did it and loved working on the computer. One of the best upgrades ever! Maybe they were a fail generally though. I did not see another one for a long time. Re: C64 REU Yes. I knew a guy who had one. We also nodded his disk drive and did a few other things to his C64 system. That REU was a pretty great idea and it got very little support. Didn't see another one of those for a while either. At the time, I thought the Atari XL series machines could benefit from a similar device plugged into the expansion bus. Maybe had the REU hit sooner? Maybe it was doomed anyway, but earlier would have been better.
  11. I don't, but I am sure the Kansasfest people, Retrocomputing Round Table, amd friends would want to have another conversation. You have had some in the past, which is how I came to follow your project. But hey! It is done. Now it's time to talk about what seeing people enjoy means and the future, assuming you have one in mind. It is OK if you don't, and you do not need me to say that either. Just want to be clear it's no pressure and all that good human stuff. For me personally, a tech breakdown would be awesome. The font renderer was mentioned, for example. Deffo interested, and its quick! How you wove the story together? Tools you had to make to make other tools that helped you build the game? Painful tradeoffs? There had to be some of those, lol. Discoveries? Along the way, did you have an epiphany, or discover something about the 6502, or Apple that was notable, or maybe was that thing that helped you know it was gonna happen, all come together? How did you choose your tool chain? I love that kind of stuff.
  12. How much fun was that? Seriously. Have you done a postmortem type write up or talk yet? You should. Plenty of people, myself included, would enjoy your take on things now that you have released and can bask in the glow of it all being done. You know, I was thinking this morning... For me, the best is just kind of open world and discovery. As one has fun, what needs to happen becomes known. Makes the time go by.
  13. Totally! Had a nice, long play last night. Will need to continue on emulation at times though. No worries on that. Frankly, it brings a more favorable arrow key arrangement to the experience. That always has tripped me up and I never seem to get past it. But, there was no way I was going to have my first experience be on anything but original hardware. I am definitely going to show this off a time or two. Man, many of us used to spend hours on these kinds of games! From what I can tell the depth is there. Good. I can park this on my laptop and chip away at it in modern life. Thanks again for this nice labor of love. I do have a GS so it can all happen again one day when that project runs to completion. 8 bit Apple gaming is my fave though. So glad this one happened first.
  14. The spiffy game font looks better, but I can read the simple Apple font quicker. Had a couple of hours to play, so I went for speed. No big. Nice to have the option frankly. There was real love put into this game and it shows! I had a good time exploring the little town and building my party, whomping on the baddies, poking around... Great pixel art. I have always loved these kinds of games and the Apple has just enough color to make them shine! One can do anything in 6 colors and a dither. ANYTHING, lol. That all got put to good use, from what I have seen so far. I am running the hard disk image on a CFFA 3000 card. It is my first time playing one of these with something other than floppy disks. It's great! The game is a gem at the stock 8 bit 1Mhz. After the introductory portion, which is very well done and helpful, I chose to play it at the GS like 2.5Mhz. It is just a bit more snappy. Just to be clear though: A lot of work went into this game, and it's performance on a stock Apple 8 bit computer shows off that work well. If you like ULTIMA style games, this one is new, plays well, looks like it has depth and plenty of hours of entertainment in it. Highly recommended!
  15. Grade school, when I went through, had only one Atari machine. Was used by the educators. That changed right after I was through, and they used Apple 2 computers from the High School. I had those Apples in High School. Two big labs full of them. Was a mix of Plus through Platinum machines. I loved, and ended up with a Platinum I use today. As I was graduating, High School got a couple Mac computers, and replaced one Apple lab with IBM PC's running monochrome displays and adapters. With that came a shift too. With the exception of some students, myself included, who were interested in more than just using the computer and basic literacy, the focus became job training basically. The result of that was people in the know hung out in the Apple lab. Games, programming, graphics, all happened there. The IBM machines ended up like the typing room, until graphics were added. Hercules + QBASIC brought a lot of the fun back into computing in that lab, and I was out the door right as it all happened. The Mac was treated like a super computer, BTW. Mere mortals were not allowed to touch it. Programming on it? ARE YOU HIGH! THIS IS A REAL COMPUTER! Yeah. I graduated at exactly the right time.
  16. We do what we can! It's still fun. We can still score good toys. I like to value what I got and do stuff with it. Sometimes I get new stuff! Sometimes I lose / sell stuff, or it dies. I don't know that I care as long as I can continue.
  17. I like that one. Any chance you can get a close up photo of something in color, saturation low and one with saturation high? I am wanting to compare it to my Sony PVM. Just wondering about the CRT. Haven't managed to score a display for myself to get an up close look.
  18. The monochrome mode switch is good, but the color tubes, even super fine masked ones like computer CRT's and PVM's, do not compare to an actual monochrome screen. That said, the art can be appreciated that way, and it is convenient! (Missed my edit window on phone, so end of other post goes here) For me personally, writing code, editing bitmaps and other detail tasks is great in monochrome, assuming color isn't needed. People may vary on color preferences, but overall ease on the eyes is generally a good thing, particularly for longer sessions. Also, trails! For some gaming, the long persistence phosphors found on most monochrome displays is just cool! Darkened room + higher contrast setting = awesome sauce. Color displays can approach that. My PVM has a fairly short phosphor, but I have a little TV that is pretty long. Coarse shadow mask though.
  19. Well, the best way to go is just get two displays! That's what some people did back in the day. Back then, a lot of people went with mono because it was readable, and good for any serious tasks, 80 columns, etc... The green screens were and are the least desirable. I personally liked white, "as in CRT white" displays, or amber much better. So, that's what I have today. Great little 9" Amber screen, and those are crazy good, will do 800 pixels / line, and whatever color display makes sense. Right now, that's a PVM. But, for a long time, it was a great little TV that I recapped and then tuned up. I did two displays because the pixel art is different for both displays! (more in a minute)
  20. Definitely my fave too. I just got a FastChip for mine, and it's a whole lot of fun now! Next project on that is to setup a fast Applesoft boot disk so BASIC runs at 14 or 16Mhz! Always wanted to do that.
  21. Until it doesn't. Let's hope it doesn't. Some of my stuff is starting to need recapping. So... Getting stocked up this year. Gonna do the Apple, PVM, Atari, and some misc items, including this which I just got: I had one of these long ago. Saw one that needs a recap on ebay for a song and bought one! Amazingly, the overall resolution is respectable. CRT's scale down pretty well. This thing will display 300 pixels / line or better pretty easy. I love CRT's and this one is just tiny! In any case, @Keatah isn't wrong. A ton of this stuff is going to need a little electronics love over the coming decade. Using it all, from time to time, helps, IMHO.
  22. Personally, I always considered the Apple ][ series of computers more like workstations. And that represented how I personally used the machines. It's why I still have one. (well two, but I don't run the GS much, unless I want to play GS games) For example, a lot of 8 bit development for other machines and game consoles was done on Apple 2 machines. Fast and big storage, 80 column display, co-processor cards, big RAM all were easily had, though doing so wasn't cheap. Workstations generally aren't cheap, and for similar reasons. The slots also meant robust interfacing. One could make anything from an EEPROM programmer, to a full on emulator, slot it into the Apple and end up with a nice, fast, robust dev environment. Similar things were done in the sciences, industrial automation, to name a couple. And that all overlapped with the PC when it arrived too. The rest boils down to configuration. A home user might prioritize sound and a game controller, maybe two screens over bigger storage, or a ton of RAM. Business user might buy the RAM and storage, maybe an accelerator card. I didn't pick either poll option.
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