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FINALLY! Vectrex overlay repro's

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How large of an overlay can you do? Also, do you do custom orders if someone can send you an image to be printed?

 

Right now I'm limited to standard print sizes...8.5x11, 8.5 x 14 and 11x 17. That said...if you really wanted a larger overlay for something like the Magnavox Odyssey, a full blown print shop is probably your best best. They'd have to print on a large format transparency and would likely use a white ink on the reverse.

 

Not to mention, the Vectrex folks were gracious enough to release the licensing on all things Vectrex to encourage our little community to grow....I couldn't say the same about a Magnavox product even after 30 years.

 

As for custom overlays that are Vectrex sized, I'm happy to plug out whatever you'd like. Shoot your ideas and/or art files over to [email protected] and let's figure something out!

Edited by omeganu

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Here's a question for you all....

 

Do you find eBay's new "Add to Cart" option confusing? I just had an eBay user flip their lid over the assumption that I was selling all 24 overlays for $12.99 total (wouldn't that be nice!). After explaining that I was using eBay's "versioning" option (i.e., the drop down list in a single auction where you can add "versions" of an item to your cart), they freaked and claimed they were reporting me for false advertising.

 

I basically told them to go ahead because in truth, they'd be reporting nothing other than a disagreement with a new eBay feature.

 

Am I off base on this?

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Simply put on eBay you will run in to people who are either incredibly stupid, or want to take advantage of you by pretending to be stupid. When they don't get their way they become hostile. It stinks but it's part of ePay life as a seller. Like water off a ducks back, block them and move on.

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@omeganu

 

I just emailed you through ebay before I saw you joined aa. I'd like an option to buy like 10-12 overlays at a time at a bulk price. maybe half what you charge for the set of 24? are you using media mail to ship? that could also save a few pennies. I don't think your ebay listing is confusing at all, I knew exactly what you intended, some ebayers are just plain idiots.

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I was wondering if there might be a way to make this a bit cheaper if you used a base blank overlay, one that was as stiff and thick as the original, and then just put up the various transparencies on top of that, provided it stayed clean, static cling should hold it in place or you could use a clip on each side. this would alleviate the lamination process perhaps? just a thought.

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@omeganu

 

I just emailed you through ebay before I saw you joined aa. I'd like an option to buy like 10-12 overlays at a time at a bulk price. maybe half what you charge for the set of 24? are you using media mail to ship? that could also save a few pennies. I don't think your ebay listing is confusing at all, I knew exactly what you intended, some ebayers are just plain idiots.

 

I just replied to your eBay question and then read this comment myself. I misunderstood the question about a bulk price for a "half order." Email me at [email protected] and let's figure something out. Thanks!

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got your message and I bookmarked your site. very cool! I will send you a message when I have some duckies to spend on this, hang tight cuz it might not be for a few weeks or so but I will buy them and I think you will find a steady stream of people who will do the same. I'd be interested to see if there was a more economical option as well, as you said, this is not for collecting but playing. regardless I will buy a dozen of the ones you've already created, I need to figure out which games I'd want.

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I was wondering if there might be a way to make this a bit cheaper if you used a base blank overlay, one that was as stiff and thick as the original, and then just put up the various transparencies on top of that, provided it stayed clean, static cling should hold it in place or you could use a clip on each side. this would alleviate the lamination process perhaps? just a thought.

 

That would be a more ideal method from the process point of view. But I'm afraid that the cost would not be comparable and I'd be in a position to outsource some printing. I think that as long as I can use equipment that I've acquired in my home, I can keep the cost just below what it would be to buy an original overlay off of eBay.

 

As mentioned earlier in this thread, the best method would have been that Alps printer with the ability to print white opaque ink. It's a sad story how the US market showed no interest in that product and they yanked it from distribution here...making supplies and maintenance very expensive.

 

I will say that for what you get in the end, these repros turn out pretty good for the game play experience. There's just the occasional lamination mark or small air bubble that may be evident especially when held up to a bright light source. I make a point of testing them all on my Vectrex before shipping them out and I've admittedly garnered a collection of "rejects" that I have from trial and error as well as the occasional laminator "burp" that isn't acceptable for the full price.

 

Perhaps I should start up a second eBay auction and sell those off for $5 a pop....like a "scratch and dent" sale! LOL

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Do you find eBay's new "Add to Cart" option confusing? I just had an eBay user flip their lid over the assumption that I was selling all 24 overlays for $12.99 total (wouldn't that be nice!). After explaining that I was using eBay's "versioning" option (i.e., the drop down list in a single auction where you can add "versions" of an item to your cart), they freaked and claimed they were reporting me for false advertising.

 

 

I discovered your ebay auction a week or two ago and I DID initially mistake the item as being a full set. Yes I thought the price was quite low for such a set, but it wasn't until i tried to add the auction to my "watch list" that i realized what you were selling for that price. At that point the site prompted me to select a particular overlay.

 

It's hard for me to discern the quality of your overlays from the pictures. I'd highly recommend providing pics of each overlay with the matching game running behind it.

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I discovered your ebay auction a week or two ago and I DID initially mistake the item as being a full set. Yes I thought the price was quite low for such a set, but it wasn't until i tried to add the auction to my "watch list" that i realized what you were selling for that price. At that point the site prompted me to select a particular overlay.

 

It's hard for me to discern the quality of your overlays from the pictures. I'd highly recommend providing pics of each overlay with the matching game running behind it.

 

That is definitely in my plans. Great suggestion.

 

I am awaiting the arrival of my Multi-Cart to fill in the gaps of the games I don't have. At that time, expect to see higher resolution photos and YouTube linked videos of each overlay with its corresponding game.

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I ordered a set yesterday. This is something I have wanted since I got my Vectrex and the multicart. Maybe homebrewers take advantage of this and create images that can be convereted into overlays for both existing and new games. :)

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I discovered your ebay auction a week or two ago and I DID initially mistake the item as being a full set. Yes I thought the price was quite low for such a set, but it wasn't until i tried to add the auction to my "watch list" that i realized what you were selling for that price. At that point the site prompted me to select a particular overlay.

 

It's hard for me to discern the quality of your overlays from the pictures. I'd highly recommend providing pics of each overlay with the matching game running behind it.

 

That is definitely in my plans. Great suggestion.

 

I am awaiting the arrival of my Multi-Cart to fill in the gaps of the games I don't have. At that time, expect to see higher resolution photos and YouTube linked videos of each overlay with its corresponding game.

 

Fantastic. While I have most of the original games boxed with their overlays it's good to know that there are replacements available so the originals can stay in decent shape longer.

 

I have a couple of questions for you -

 

1) Have you considered talking to the various homebrewists out there who make games without overlays in order to come up with some "official" overlay designs for those newer games? I think it would be cool to have the option to buy one or more overlays from you for those games and that they would be what they "should" be in terms of design. I know a few programmers have created or made available overlay files for emulators but I'm sure most of the homebrew games don't have any.

 

2) Are your overlays arranged exactly like the originals or have you made adjustments for some that might not have been aligned correctly? I think I remember that Star Castle and maybe a couple others don't really line up with the game graphics correctly and could use some tweaking.

 

Anyway, thanks for doing this!

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2) Are your overlays arranged exactly like the originals or have you made adjustments for some that might not have been aligned correctly? I think I remember that Star Castle and maybe a couple others don't really line up with the game graphics correctly and could use some tweaking.

 

It could be that the alignment on the Vectrex is off a bit. Not too surprising for something 30 years old to have drifted a bit. I always adjust my Vectrexes using solar quest because the colored spot for the sun is pretty small. You just center it and I have not noticed any issues. The service manual that explains where the positioning pots are is online, I think.

 

I got my Dark Tower overlay today and have to say that's it's pretty darn nice. Is it as nice as the originals? No, but pretty good, and the only real option, at least for that game. I expect to fill the gaps in the originals I don't own with these repros

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Fantastic. While I have most of the original games boxed with their overlays it's good to know that there are replacements available so the originals can stay in decent shape longer.

 

I have a couple of questions for you -

 

1) Have you considered talking to the various homebrewists out there who make games without overlays in order to come up with some "official" overlay designs for those newer games? I think it would be cool to have the option to buy one or more overlays from you for those games and that they would be what they "should" be in terms of design. I know a few programmers have created or made available overlay files for emulators but I'm sure most of the homebrew games don't have any.

 

2) Are your overlays arranged exactly like the originals or have you made adjustments for some that might not have been aligned correctly? I think I remember that Star Castle and maybe a couple others don't really line up with the game graphics correctly and could use some tweaking.

 

Anyway, thanks for doing this!

 

1) Another great idea. I've already got all the equipment set up and can plug out any graphic that is of reasonable quality. I'll shoot some of em an email and see what sort of response I get.

 

2) The overlays I sell are exact scans of the originals. I do adjust the colors to "punch" out a bit more as I use a 4-color laser printer and sometimes the scans available aren't as color accurate. As far as modifying the placement of the colors/graphics on the overlays, I haven't done anything of that nature. Once my multicart arrives I'll probably tinker with some of them as I actually get a player's experience of the overlay versus just a dimension and color check.

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It could be that the alignment on the Vectrex is off a bit. Not too surprising for something 30 years old to have drifted a bit. I always adjust my Vectrexes using solar quest because the colored spot for the sun is pretty small. You just center it and I have not noticed any issues. The service manual that explains where the positioning pots are is online, I think.

 

I got my Dark Tower overlay today and have to say that's it's pretty darn nice. Is it as nice as the originals? No, but pretty good, and the only real option, at least for that game. I expect to fill the gaps in the originals I don't own with these repros

 

I'm glad you like it! I've had a few inquiries about whether these could be confused as originals and resold to unsuspecting buyers. You have to hold one in your hand to see what I mean when I say that they're "daily use" and "meant to be played" versions of the collector originals. A "functional alternative" that fills in the gaps of your collection or just lets you store the collectibles away and not risk scratching them I guess.

 

On a side note, I've created a "scratch and dent" listing on eBay for the overlay rejects that don't pass my quality control LOL. They're basically the ones that come out of the laminator with a larger than acceptable air bubble and/or a blemish located directly over a key area of the screen like the crosshairs of Star Trek or the sunburst in Solar Quest. I'm selling them below my costs just to recuperate what I can - $5.99 a piece and the assurance that while there are blemishes, they could still work just fine if you don't want to spend more money.

 

Somebody actually bought out my first set almost in its entirety but I have more around and will continually update my eBay "inventory" as new rejects get produced :)

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2) Are your overlays arranged exactly like the originals or have you made adjustments for some that might not have been aligned correctly? I think I remember that Star Castle and maybe a couple others don't really line up with the game graphics correctly and could use some tweaking.

 

It could be that the alignment on the Vectrex is off a bit. Not too surprising for something 30 years old to have drifted a bit. I always adjust my Vectrexes using solar quest because the colored spot for the sun is pretty small. You just center it and I have not noticed any issues. The service manual that explains where the positioning pots are is online, I think.

 

I got my Dark Tower overlay today and have to say that's it's pretty darn nice. Is it as nice as the originals? No, but pretty good, and the only real option, at least for that game. I expect to fill the gaps in the originals I don't own with these repros

 

From what I remember (haven't checked in a while) it wasn't really an alignment problem, Star Castle's overlay has those colored circles in the middle that are just too big. The arcade version has an overlay as well, the central area (with the actual star castle ship) is yellow and that includes the innermost ring. The middle ring is orange and the outer ring should be red. But the Vectrex overlay for that game has the whole group in the yellow circle and then there is one or two color rings (I think orange and red) but they don't color the rings because they're too big. It would be cool to get a repro overlay that has that problem fixed. I doubt any other Vectrex game is that off but if there is another game that could use a tweak, why not? Maybe it could be the optional version of the overlay, a director's cut, haahahaa.

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I gotta say omeganu, you beat me to the punch. I've been in digital printing for 15 years, and had yet to see a viable solution to recreating Vectrex overlays without the cost of screen printing. That is, until the company I work for bought a new wide format flatbed printer that can print on anything (including plexi) AND with white ink, which was pretty unheard of until recently. The machine is designed to print backlit pieces, so it would probably be perfect. We also have a companion flatbed cnc cutter that can cut the pieces out to perfect precision. My plan was to do exactly what you did, but I hadn't gotten past the initial price estimates. Frankly, I wasn't sure what the market would bear, and as you stated, there is no cheap way to produce them and still make much profit if any.

 

So, now I feel like I've missed the boat here, unless you get tired of making them! Of course, there might not be a market left by that point. :_(

 

Oh well, I might still try making them for myself and see how they turn out.

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Well, if either of you are still looking for reasons to make even more Vectrex overlays, you might want to consider the ZVG board + hooking it to a Vectrex as a vector monitor = a market, though probably very small, for overlays to mimic the original arcade game looks. Some aren't going to be "right", the color vector games like Space Duel and Tempest would need some imaginative but otherwise incorrect color schemes and some games like the Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator could have correct colors for the bridge info but not really for the main screen, but all the black & white games or games that don't have shifting elements could really use overlays. Battlezone would be a great one. I have one of those boards and the Vectrex wiring harness so at some point I'm going to have a Vectrex Zektor VectorMAME (say that 3 times fast) game droid. Would be cool to be able to get overlays. Can you imagine, a little Aztarac bubble overlay?

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I gotta say omeganu, you beat me to the punch. I've been in digital printing for 15 years, and had yet to see a viable solution to recreating Vectrex overlays without the cost of screen printing. That is, until the company I work for bought a new wide format flatbed printer that can print on anything (including plexi) AND with white ink, which was pretty unheard of until recently. The machine is designed to print backlit pieces, so it would probably be perfect. We also have a companion flatbed cnc cutter that can cut the pieces out to perfect precision. My plan was to do exactly what you did, but I hadn't gotten past the initial price estimates. Frankly, I wasn't sure what the market would bear, and as you stated, there is no cheap way to produce them and still make much profit if any.

 

So, now I feel like I've missed the boat here, unless you get tired of making them! Of course, there might not be a market left by that point. :_(

 

Oh well, I might still try making them for myself and see how they turn out.

 

You should make a set of "replicas" instead of "reproductions" like I do. I work a lot in the printing world too and my gut tells me that a firm plexi printed on both sides in 4 color process with a white ink on the reverse would put your overhead costs at a point where your asking price might just be too close to what you can get for an actual original on eBay.

 

In time as the originals get more sparse, I think you'd be on to something for sure! Very fun to have that equipment tho! Let us know if you ever plug any out.

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On a side note...I've located an expo table that has a remarkable similarity to the highly desirable Vectrex Store Kiosk (Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about). With the cutting machine I've ordered, I'm going to make a set of Vinyl decals to recreate the look and feel of the kiosk for my collection. If it doesn't turn out like crap and doesn't take me a month to complete just one of them, I may entertain the idea of selling these as well. Any thoughts?

 

Phase I of my kiosk is done....I'll throw photos up at http://www.skywaytwi...trex/Kiosk.html

 

Let me know your thoughts! Phase II is to fashion a plexiglass door with holders for games to display, Phase III is to decide on whether to keep the flat black top or fashion a replacement for the vacuum molded plastic display, Phase IV is to create the curved "backdrop" display behind the Vectrex and Phase V is to see if any of you want one and what a going rate for something like this might be. Thoughts?

 

IMG_8861.jpgIMG_8862.jpg

 

Perhaps I should start a new thread on this...sorry I'm new.

Edited by omeganu
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On a side note...I've located an expo table that has a remarkable similarity to the highly desirable Vectrex Store Kiosk (Google it if you don't know what I'm talking about).

 

Sweet! Do you have a link to the expo kiosk available?

 

Phase V is to see if any of you want one and what a going rate for something like this might be.

 

SInce I'm your biggest fan, $1 for me and at least a couple hundred for everyone else :D ;)

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Phase I of my kiosk is done....I'll throw photos up at http://www.skywaytwi...trex/Kiosk.html

 

Let me know your thoughts! Phase II is to fashion a plexiglass door with holders for games to display, Phase III is to decide on whether to keep the flat black top or fashion a replacement for the vacuum molded plastic display, Phase IV is to create the curved "backdrop" display behind the Vectrex and Phase V is to see if any of you want one and what a going rate for something like this might be. Thoughts?

 

That is very impressive. I seriously love your project. Great work :D

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Phase I of my kiosk is done....I'll throw photos up at http://www.skywaytwi...trex/Kiosk.html

 

Let me know your thoughts! Phase II is to fashion a plexiglass door with holders for games to display, Phase III is to decide on whether to keep the flat black top or fashion a replacement for the vacuum molded plastic display, Phase IV is to create the curved "backdrop" display behind the Vectrex and Phase V is to see if any of you want one and what a going rate for something like this might be. Thoughts?

 

That is very impressive. I seriously love your project. Great work :D

 

Speaking of great projects... did you finish all of your gaming cabinets?

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Phase I of my kiosk is done....I'll throw photos up at http://www.skywaytwi...trex/Kiosk.html

 

Let me know your thoughts! Phase II is to fashion a plexiglass door with holders for games to display, Phase III is to decide on whether to keep the flat black top or fashion a replacement for the vacuum molded plastic display, Phase IV is to create the curved "backdrop" display behind the Vectrex and Phase V is to see if any of you want one and what a going rate for something like this might be. Thoughts?

 

That is very impressive. I seriously love your project. Great work :D

 

Speaking of great projects... did you finish all of your gaming cabinets?

 

:D Yeah, that "stage" of construction is finished. I'm still unpacking things here and there, setting up systems, repairing consoles, etc.. Gradually I'm weeding out duplicated and lesser played items that won't be missed, since I would need another 800-1000 square feet to set everything up properly (and that's not going to happen).

 

The only thing I'm disappointed with on the cabinets is the paint. Years ago I used Krylon to paint classroom lab surfaces with amazing results, so I figured that would be a great long-lasting finish for the cabinets. Not anymore -- either I got multiple cans of bad paint or they changed the formulation, because it is far too easily damaged :(

 

Once I hone the collection down to the most important bits, I may build a few more cabinets specific to systems... but my wife doesn't like retail kiosks, so I doubt it will be anything as cool as omeganu's Vectrex project :(

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I've been working on making overlays for all the Vectrex games that never had one...primarily homebrew games and unreleased games. I'll keep you posted!

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