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Homebrews No Longer Obtainable?

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I remember back when you didn't have access to anything other than a hand drawn screen shot in a catalog and a marketing description to help you determine if a game was going to be good or not. I don't need a ROM out there to coerce me into buying a homebrew. If the game looks good and the reviews are good, then I'm willing to risk my dollar to ride the pony. Some games are relatively risk free. Anything by Thomas, Darrel Spice Jr, and handful of others is a lock, worry-free purchase. But otherwise, I check out screen shots, reviews, and descriptions and then just buy or not based on the research. It's part of the fun of it all, and always has been. We bought some serious crap back in the day, but we also bought a bunch of great games. You take the good you take the bad. I see the modern homebrew scene no differently. Honestly, I think developers should wait a year to release a ROM for a game that they are trying to sell. Give plenty of time for the newness and excitement to sell as many carts as possible, and then, if they choose, let loose the ROM for free play. I, for one, don't need it, but I understand why some out there do. I missed lots of great games due to risk/reward purchasing as well. It's part of it.

 

And yeah, I've missed some great homebrews that probably won't come around again, but I also missed Magicard, Video Life, and Cakewalk. Life goes on.

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Sample roms of new homebrews would be more than fine. Maybe just a level, or a couple of minutes of game time. That's more than I got when I was a kid trying to figure out what game to buy. I'm going to try to buy at least a homebrew a month. Homebrew roms are cool and all, but if we don't actually buy the games, there won't be any new ones to play.

 

Curious to ask: was the homebrew scene more vibrant in years past? Many of the hombrews in the AA store look like they were made a while ago, and there are several programmers who seem to be no longer active. Is Xype defunct? I'm going to try to collect the Xype Catalog. Lots of cool releases there. :)

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IMO the scene it pretty vibrant today too. Lots of bB releases and quite some Assembler games (in the making) often using extra ARM power. The latter take some extra time due to the increased amount of resources and exploring new ground.

 

XYPE was pretty short lived it was abandoned long ago (2005) for various reasons (e.g. real life, members left the hobby, loss of interest and last not least, getting accused of being elitist for its quality policy).

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Curious to ask: was the homebrew scene more vibrant in years past? Many of the hombrews in the AA store look like they were made a while ago, and there are several programmers who seem to be no longer active.Is Xype defunct? I'm going to try to collect the Xype Catalog. Lots of cool releases there. :)

 

Homebrew development is still quite active, probably more so overall than it has been in the past. I'm about to release several new homebrews for the 2600, 5200 and 7800 into the store (just waiting on the labels, which are at the printer). And by several, I mean over ten. :D And there are more games in the pipeline. Certainly there are programmers who are no longer active, but there are also programmers who are newer to the scene. Like with any hobby, people will come and go over time.

 

No games are being actively released under the "XYPE" label, as Thomas just mentioned above..

 

..Al

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Sample roms of new homebrews would be more than fine. Maybe just a level, or a couple of minutes of game time. That's more than I got when I was a kid trying to figure out what game to buy. I'm going to try to buy at least a homebrew a month. Homebrew roms are cool and all, but if we don't actually buy the games, there won't be any new ones to play.

 

Curious to ask: was the homebrew scene more vibrant in years past? Many of the hombrews in the AA store look like they were made a while ago, and there are several programmers who seem to be no longer active.Is Xype defunct? I'm going to try to collect the Xype Catalog. Lots of cool releases there. :)

 

Yes, Xype is pretty much defunct. It was good while it lasted but I think the way that games were "selected" became too difficult to manage. My memory is vague on this, but it just seemed to peter out; there was no bust-up or argument/disagreement. We just stopped. I think the homebrew scene was more interesting in the past - there was the [stella] programming list which was an active discussion between many of the pioneer homebrewers. After [stella] closed down - or became less used - then the "scene" seemed to fragment somewhat and the old-timers didn't communicate so much anymore. With the advent of bB and harmony cartridge and the ARM stuff, I think the homebrew scene is much more vibrant now - it's way, way more easy to make stuff. But as I said, it's also less interesting to me - it's a lot harder to find and develop new and unique stuff. There have been amazing developments in pushing the hardware by using external processors and bus-stuffing techniques. While I admire greatly the skill of the developers, and results of these techniques, they are not for me. Programmers have their own areas of interest and focus, and all are valid. I consider a bB game as valid as a pure assembly game as valid as an ARM-based bus-stuffer. But they all have pros and cons, and some things possible with one are not possible with others. From a game-player's point of view, there's no difference. From a programmers' point of view, though, there's a world of difference. My personal view is that we will see less and less "old skool" style 2600 games, purely because of the difficulty in writing and time required. And that's one of the reasons I'm not active anymore.

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The latter take some extra time due to the increased amount of resources and exploring new ground.

 

Very true - the Bus Stuffing exploration was really fun, but sadly proved to have issues on a number of systems (mostly NTSC Juniors). On the plus side, we were able to take what we learned and created CDF, which lets us do a lot more per scanline than DPC+ due to the new Fast Jump feature.

 

If anyone's interested in CDF this blog entry covers most of the new features, with the exception of Fast Jump which was added about a month later. I'm putting the new features to good use in Draconian.

 

blogentry-3056-0-06938200-1495593179.gif

 

We still have some issues to resolve with CDF (namely compatibility with my Evil 7800). Once those are resolved, and I've finished Draconian, I plan to write up a tutorial on using CDF.

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My personal view is that we will see less and less "old skool" style 2600 games, purely because of the difficulty in writing and time required. And that's one of the reasons I'm not active anymore.

 

Regardless of how old-school the VCS is I think people have come to expect more complex games. The likes of SF2, Scramble, Draconian, Pac-Man 4k and 8k, DK VCS, SpaceRocks, Thrust, and others, are the way forward.

 

Gone are the days of Combat, Slot Racers, Outlaw, FlagCapture, and Miniature Golf and Breakout. Their blocky graphics and simplistic gameplay have a certain appeal and charm today. But I would not expect new titles to continue exploring that style.

 

Additional hardware and BS schemes allow for not only better sound/graphics, but more in-depth gameplay rules. And that is where the hobby is taking us at the present.

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Homebrew roms are cool and all, but if we don't actually buy the games, there won't be any new ones to play.

I don't know, I think there are plenty of folks like me that will make games for the joy of making them. Any sales are a bonus. I mean, like others have said, you're lucky to get $1/hr doing this. I'm not going to judge anyone's motivations (everyone is different) but I don't understand people putting much priority on sales. There's much easier ways to earn money if you're a competent programmer.

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Gone are the days of Combat, Slot Racers, Outlaw, FlagCapture, and Miniature Golf and Breakout. Their blocky graphics and simplistic gameplay have a certain appeal and charm today. But I would not expect new titles to continue exploring that style.

 

 

Very true, but if someone comes up with something fun to play, I don't care about the complexity of the programming. I do love the "fancier" games, too! Gameplay & addictiveness are the features that make the biggest impression on me.

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I don't know, I think there are plenty of folks like me that will make games for the joy of making them.

True, and that should always be the main motivation. But when you release a game, the number of sales (not the money gained!) can provide extra motivation.

 

That and the (far to few) (honest) reviews.

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Perhaps the difference here lies in the digital vs physical media question. I like actual cartridges. I like emulation, too, but buying a game is fun. It's cool getting packages in the mail. There's a great sense of anticipation, and memories created. I still remember getting my 1st 2600 in the Cote-Des-Neige plaza, at a now closed up store called "Miracle Mart". I enjoy digital media, but I never get that same feeling from a digital product. The production of games might not be tied to sales, but I imagine the production of cartridges must be. I suspect that no one is getting rich from the production Atari homebrew carts - it must be a labor of love - but the makers should be able to cover their costs. If not, the physical releases will most likely stop. :(

 

This quote from Andrew resonated with me: "I consider a bB game as valid as a pure assembly game as valid as an ARM-based bus-stuffer."

 

As long as a game is enjoyable, every game is valid :)

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The ARM7TDMI-S in the LPC3103 in the Harmony cartridge is almost vintage already. It's like 17 years old!

 

I tried emulating the experience of getting a new physical game by having a copy mailed to me on SD. It didn't work. Nothing quite like reading EGM, discussing it with your buddies, watching the TV commercials with Saturday-morning cartoons, and then some couple of weeks later going to the store to get THAT game.

 

For me it was Compu-Shop, Data-Domain, Northbrook Computers, Venture, Minnesota Fats, K-Mart, Osco Drugs, Toys'R'Us, and even RadioShack Computer Centers.

 

Between those retailers I had every conceivable videogame and computer need met. Past, Present, and Future. It was all there. And they were all within a 20-mile radius and all could be visited in one day if I didn't lollygag in one store too long.

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Perhaps the difference here lies in the digital vs physical media question. I like actual cartridges. I like emulation, too, but buying a game is fun. It's cool getting packages in the mail. There's a great sense of anticipation, and memories created.

 

As long as a game is enjoyable, every game is valid :)

 

Couldn't agree more. Maybe its due to my age, but there is nothing like plugging in a cart and firing up the old hardware. This is how I was introduced to gaming, and after all these years, it still feels right. BTW, I'm also not against emulation. I have Wii2600 loaded and use it from time to time, but I still prefer to play the actual hardware.

 

As for homebrews that are no longer obtainable, the IP belongs to the developer(s), so its up to them if a re-release or ROM should be made available. I'm just thankful for the homebrews that we have and the new ones that are about to arrive.

Edited by sramirez2008
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I grew up with carts'n'consoles too. But the desire of an all-in-one emulator rig was fresh in my mind even in 1977.

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Very true - the Bus Stuffing exploration was really fun, but sadly proved to have issues on a number of systems (mostly NTSC Juniors). On the plus side, we were able to take what we learned and created CDF, which lets us do a lot more per scanline than DPC+ due to the new Fast Jump feature.

 

If anyone's interested in CDF this blog entry covers most of the new features, with the exception of Fast Jump which was added about a month later. I'm putting the new features to good use in Draconian.

 

blogentry-3056-0-06938200-1495593179.gif

 

We still have some issues to resolve with CDF (namely compatibility with my Evil 7800). Once those are resolved, and I've finished Draconian, I plan to write up a tutorial on using CDF.

Ooooh, Draconian, nice! Will this ultimately get released in the AA store? :D

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Homebrewers are the devil, their mission in life is to make obsessive collectors go insane with jealousy. :mad:

 

:roll:

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Ooooh, Draconian, nice! Will this ultimately get released in the AA store? :D

Yes, I've agreed to be on a panel at PRGE, so my goal is to release it there. We did the same for Space Rocks when I attended back in 2013.

post-3056-0-07984500-1497752608_thumb.jpg

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True, and that should always be the main motivation. But when you release a game, the number of sales (not the money gained!) can provide extra motivation.

 

That and the (far to few) (honest) reviews.

 

Absolutely. Those things sure feel good. Particularly the reviews, and people's comments. Knowing people are playing and enjoying my games is great. (Which was my biggest complaint when I released an Android game a few years ago. People downloaded it, a number gave it a score (between 1 and 5 stars), but that human element of community, discussion, and comments was missing.

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This is already on my Must Buy list. Oh, and I can't wait to see the box for this one.

 

 

Guess I better get back to work on it... :ponder:

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Very true - the Bus Stuffing exploration was really fun, but sadly proved to have issues on a number of systems (mostly NTSC Juniors). On the plus side, we were able to take what we learned and created CDF, which lets us do a lot more per scanline than DPC+ due to the new Fast Jump feature.

 

Do you think people will release actual bus stuffing games (not just "demos") anyway, considering that most all woodgrain Ataris, and possibly Vaders too, run them without issue? Could be fun seeing games with Coleco style graphics running natively on the system.

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OT regarding the [stella] mailing list, that Andrew mentioned.
While I discovered the scene after its time, I'm interested in any techincal discussion about the VCS and I still like searching the stella archives and read those old posts. I think a few years ago it was mentioned that it could have been imported into AA as a read-only forum for easier searching and to better preserve that important piece of Atari homebrew history. Is that still the plan?

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Is there a games list for Xype available online? I found a website, but the gameography looks to be incomplete. Thanks!

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