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Marble Madness 2: Marble Man

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8 hours ago, prOk said:

Modified refers to the changes needed to get the game to run on a more commonly available configuration of an original Atari board that is mostly compatible.  Also, fixed a couple bugs in the game to make it more stable. Making from scratch new boards isn't an option, but tweaking the code to work on another variant of the same board is.

OK, that's understandable.

8 hours ago, prOk said:

Currently, trackball code simply doesn't exist in the codebase.  It's not there, would have to be added which is in the plan.

So the ROM set in use is the joystick one.  Cool.

8 hours ago, prOk said:

Beyond showing photos, having already built and brought one machine into the public twice and john's arcade having video of the board running it's clear some people are still going to be Debbie downers.  That's cool, you stay down. I choose to stand up and help the game make it into public play.

Oh, please.  You make your effort sound as though you've found the cure for cancer and its name is Marble Madness 2.

 

What's amazing to me that you post a photo so vague that no real inference can be drawn from looking at it - particularly with the complete lack of usable information supplied with it - then turn around and snap at people for being sceptical, or even just requesting more information.  All of this could have been avoided if, instead of behaving like the stereotypical obnoxious arcade game collector, you'd just been a wee bit more forthcoming.  But, nope, gotta get up on that high horse instead.  Good job!

8 hours ago, prOk said:

Preservation of a game doesn't always mean mame.

You're right.  It doesn't.  But the last few posts you've made demonstrate why a great deal of preservation takes place that's kept under wraps: a pretty good number of people who are into the preservation aspects of the hobby don't want to deal with the "HEEEYYYY GUUUUYYYSSS WE'RE IN THE BASEMENT!!!" crowd.  That mentality (amongst others) has quite frankly created a trust barrier between collectors and preservationists, and I can't blame the collectors one bit.

 

Care to reveal how you came across the MM2 ROMs, or is that too Secret Squirrel to talk about?

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Well, here's a simple question:

 

Clearly you have the ROMs for the game.

Clearly you are willing to release them (granted, in a slightly modified form to run on 'more common hardware').

 

Okay, that's great and all, especially for people that want to run it on that hardware.

 

But why not just release the original ROMs NOW, so people that just want to play it in MAME can do so, NOW.  Once your modified ROMs are released, they'll just be distributed and put in MAME for emulation (maybe unofficially since they aren't the untouched ROMs, but it'll happen), so obviously releasing the ROMs to the public is no longer an issue...

 

So what is the wait for releasing the untouched ROMs?

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54 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

So what is the wait for releasing the untouched ROMs?

If they're released and just anybody can get their hands on them, he can't reasonably feel superior about being involved with putting together the hacked hardware that the ROMs are being hacked to run on.

 

For as much as @prOk has thrown around the P-word here, preservation typically doesn't involve hacking a game's software so that it can run on hacked hardware that wasn't designed to support it in the first place.  And before we go down the rabbit hole of splitting hairs over Atari's intentions behind the controller types, the simple fact is that the joystick version is the original in this case unless a verifiable trak-ball version from Atari's field testing / labs turns up.

 

Things like this are one of the major reasons why the arcade collecting scene is a cesspit these days.  The sheer amount of, "LOOKITMEIGOTATOYYOUDON'TGOTNYAAAAH!" is just fucking ridiculous.

 

So, prOk, again: how did you come by the images you're turning into HBMAME candidates?

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16 hours ago, prOk said:

Currently, trackball code simply doesn't exist in the codebase.  It's not there, would have to be added which is in the plan.  Beyond showing photos, having already built and brought one machine into the public twice and john's arcade having video of the board running it's clear some people are still going to be Debbie downers.  That's cool, you stay down. I choose to stand up and help the game make it into public play.  Preservation of a game doesn't always mean mame.

But the question remains. Can efforts make it available to me (and all)? At present it seems well-controlled and limited. For all we're concerned it may as well be unobtainium.

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Posted (edited)

i'm not sure what the rush is now, and why everybody wants to try it out.

 

in the video, they said they are contacting people, and they would work with them if they had

the hardware or the knowledge.

 

if people are working on it, why not just wait, until they figure out how to get it to people.

 

maybe they're prioritizing JAMMA boards first, so it can be tested. 

then they're working on the trackball support.

 

no point in trying to get it now, if its only halfway there, with the tweaks and fixes being made.

 

later

-1

Edited by negative1

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14 minutes ago, negative1 said:

i'm not sure what the rush is now, and why everybody wants to try it out.

 

in the video, they said they are contacting people, and they would work with them if they had

the hardware or the knowledge.

 

if people are working on it, why not just wait, until they figure out how to get it to people.

 

maybe they're prioritizing JAMMA boards first, so it can be tested. 

then they're working on the trackball support.

 

no point in trying to get it now, if its only halfway there, with the tweaks and fixes being made.

 

later

-1

Because there's no reason to wait for people that want the original code, to run on emulation of the original hardware.

If they can release the code, in ANY form, they can release the ROMs now for those of us that just want it in MAME.

 

Then when they get the hardware figured out with trackball support, offer that to the people that want to build a full arcade machine.

 

You are literally looking at, maybe, 10 people that want 'modified code on replica-ish hardware' compared to thousands that just want to play the original code on an emulator.

 

Release the original code now, share your new experiments as they happen.  Those that like the game will still be eager for a trackball version as that really is the best way to play Marble Madness (and thus, I assume, MM2), and some will even be interested in the code modified for a more common board.  But we will ALWAYS want the original code, untouched, preserved in MAME, and most people will prefer that anyway.

 

It sounds to me like one of two things will happen:

1- They will make one or two boards, and sell those to people they trust to never release the ROMs (thus 99.99% of the world still doesn't get to experience the game) (or even worse, just have a copy on their own board to prove to the world they can do, and still never share it with anyone.  In which case, who the f*ck cares?)

or

2- They seem to think there's a huge market for a modified board/code so that they can sell a bunch of them and make money, then (maybe) release the ROMs...

(And maybe they'll never release the originals, making us have to settle for their modified ones...)

 

Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm willing to bet that #2 just ain't going to happen (the first part).  MM2 is a novelty, sure most people want to play it ONCE...  But I don't know how many people would pay $50 for a copy of it, much less however much it would cost to make the boards/customized code profitable...

 

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Couple of things, and I'm basing part of this off of comments made in the relevant thread over on KLOV: Marble Madness 2 Reproduction PCB

 

From post #13:

Quote

It isn't a repro PCB. It's actually a conversion of an existing Atari PCB. I'm not at liberty to provide any details that aren't in the video, but stay tuned. It is more than just a ROM swap, it isn't a Rampart PCB, and it isn't a simple conversion. The boards (if and when they are made available, there is no date set) will most likely be sold as already-converted boards, and they won't be cheap, as a lot of work has gone into this.

Assuming that that comment is accurate, it's not unreasonable to infer that a ROM release is probably not imminent as doing so would likely be considered detrimental to sales of the upcoming PCBs.  Note the, "and they won't be cheap," part of the statement, which supports that assertion.

 

I'd also really, Really, REALLY like to know how the ROMs have made it to a point whereby their release in hacked form on hacked hardware is somehow seen as acceptable to the parties concerned with their distribution, yet releasing them in their original form apparently isn't.  Perhaps there's an idea that by significantly modifying both the hardware and software the end result will be removed enough from the originals that there would be no breach of the non-distribution agreement.  I'm speculating at this point, but I do truly hope that that isn't the train of thought behind what's apparently happening at present because the logic is dangerously specious at best.

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Well, that wouldn't work to get around a non-distribution agreement...  It's the GAME that the author doesn't want released, not just the exact copy of the compiled code.  If they are using enough of the code to make the game playable in the same state as the real hardware, it's still copyright infringement.

If he had actually licensed the code to sell legally, he'd say so.

So either he hasn't and is going to sell it anyway (and yes, selling a 'blank board' and 'Oh, here's a neat free download to make it work' is still selling the code.  If people won't by the board without the promise of the game code, it's still illegal without a license because the 'free' distribution of the code is still a copyright violation).

Or he's trying to get a license to sell it.  But that's something he could tell us.  "I'm trying, but they might say 'No' "

Just come clean and tell us exactly what you are doing and what you have planned.  Why is that so hard?

 

But since they apparently have gained permission to release the code, maybe someone else will just release the original ROMs now.  As, one way or another, a playable version of the game is apparently imminent. Someone will buy one of these boards and just dump the ROMs so people can at least play it on an emulation of the hacked board...

 

Again, unless only 'trusted' people get the boards or the ROMs are modified uniquely for each board to scare people from doing it (which probably wouldn't work).  Which would make them VERY limited (based on what you wrote), and as quoted, very expensive.   Which means it applies almost NO ONE.

 

So bragging about it now is just that- bragging.  As in "we have something you don't have".  And we will become a dozen more people!  Just not YOU.

 

The funny thing is, almost NO ONE cares about a limited release of any kind.  Anyone that cares at all wants it RELEASED to everyone.  So if you aren't teasing a future public release of the ROMs, most of what you have to say (and even do) most people don't care about.  I'm happy playing the game annually at CAX.  It'd be fun to have it at home to play once a year or something, and that's what people are hoping for.

 

They'll probably end up saying they made 3 or 4 and auction them just to make a bunch of money and then they can brag that they brought MM2 to the world...

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41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

Just come clean and tell us exactly what you are doing and what you have planned.  Why is that so hard?

Maybe there's a bit of lording going on here?

 

41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

But since they apparently have gained permission to release the code, maybe someone else will just release the original ROMs now.  As, one way or another, a playable version of the game is apparently imminent. Someone will buy one of these boards and just dump the ROMs so people can at least play it on an emulation of the hacked board...

We will see what we shall see. In time.. In time..

 

41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

Again, unless only 'trusted' people get the boards or the ROMs are modified uniquely for each board to scare people from doing it (which probably wouldn't work).

It would not. Everything gets out sooner or later. Trusted or not. It gets out.

 

41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

 Which would make them VERY limited (based on what you wrote), and as quoted, very expensive.   Which means it applies almost NO ONE.

There's only one game I'd spend bux deluxe on. And should this "mystery" game ever come to MAME. The coders and dumpers working on the modules and drivers would get a handsome bounty. Patience.

 

41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

So bragging about it now is just that- bragging.  As in "we have something you don't have".  And we will become a dozen more people!  Just not YOU.

Maybe. A little lording things over adds some drama and drums up conversation, like it's doing right this instant. But that's still bottom-feeding behavior.

 

41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

The funny thing is, almost NO ONE cares about a limited release of any kind. 

That's right. As soon as something becomes Unobtanium the value to me snaps in the opposite direction. My attention turns to other stuff that is made of Obtanium.

 

41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

Anyone that cares at all wants it RELEASED to everyone.  So if you aren't teasing a future public release of the ROMs, most of what you have to say (and even do) most people don't care about.  I'm happy playing the game annually at CAX.  It'd be fun to have it at home to play once a year or something, and that's what people are hoping for.

Yup. I don't even get a hard-on for the Marble Madness "franchise". Too much cheap deaths and exacting timing. For me. And there's a point in the game where it's no longer worth playing on the quarter you just inserted. Like most arcade games you need savant skills to progress beyond the first 2 or 3 levels.

 

I have some nostalgia for the original because I played it in a real 80's arcade. And wanted it 5x badly on the Amiga when I had one. But overall I'm happy to play the first version every year or so.

 

With MM2, and so many games I haven't played yet, I'm alright with watching playthroughs on youtube.

 

41 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

They'll probably end up saying they made 3 or 4 and auction them just to make a bunch of money and then they can brag that they brought MM2 to the world...

They can. That is their right. None of it's Earth shattering.

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Keatah said:

There's only one game I'd spend bux deluxe on. And should this "mystery" game ever come to MAME. The coders and dumpers working on the modules and drivers would get a handsome bounty. Patience.

 

Actually, there's no coding or dumping to be done. The MAME driver already exists, and the ROMs are already dumped...

 

Maybe this conversation will just encourage someone to share... :)

 

I think it would be funny to find out they aren't building anything, just trying to annoy someone into releasing the ROMs to 'shut them up'.  Hehe...

18 minutes ago, Keatah said:

They can. That is their right. None of it's Earth shattering.

 

Well, it's only their right if it's legally licensed...

Edited by Rik1138

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2 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

Actually, there's no coding or dumping to be done. The MAME driver already exists, and the ROMs are already dumped...

My "mystery game" isn't MM2, or even from Atari or any Japanese co.

 

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6 minutes ago, Keatah said:

My "mystery game" isn't MM2, or even from Atari or any Japanese co.

 

Ahh, mis-understood that...  Thought you were talking about MM2.  :)

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7 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

Actually, there's no coding or dumping to be done. The MAME driver already exists, and the ROMs are already dumped...

MAME is - and has been for about two decades at this point - honouring the non-distribution agreement that was set in place with Atari.  A driver was created, and ROM images of MM2 were used to test it.  That driver has not been released publically to the best of my knowledge, and the ROMs certainly haven't.

7 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

Maybe this conversation will just encourage someone to share... :)

Not at all likely.  Hasn't happened in the past, not going to happen now.

7 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

Well, it's only their right if it's legally licensed...

Doesn't stop people from auctioning pre-loaded emulation shitboxes on eBay that they don't have the rights for.

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Just now, x=usr(1536) said:

MAME is - and has been for about two decades at this point - honouring the non-distribution agreement that was set in place with Atari.

I wonder, would the MAME team release the driver if the ROMs were released, even 'unofficially'?

 

Just now, x=usr(1536) said:

Doesn't stop people from auctioning pre-loaded emulation shitboxes on eBay that they don't have the rights for.

Oh yeah, didn't say it wouldn't stop them, just pointing out it isn't their 'right'...  :)

 

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As an aside and general observation from 20-plus years of watching what's gone on with this game: more than just about any other arcade video game that I can think of, it's remained the most constant shitshow generator any time the merest whiff of a mention of the possibility of it seeing a public release crops up.

 

I played the cabinet that was brought to CAX in 2000 (its first outing for public play since it went on field test), and people attending the show even used that one as an excuse to badger the owner about releasing the ROMs.  I don't get it.  It's like it just attracts some of the worst behaviours found in the arcade game collecting community.

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5 minutes ago, Rik1138 said:

I wonder, would the MAME team release the driver if the ROMs were released, even 'unofficially'?

Probably not.  The driver was developed somewhere in the vicinity of 20 years ago, so would require significant changes to fit into a modern MAME framework.  It would be better for a new one to be developed from scratch, checked in, and voted on for inclusion or not.

 

And yep, that doesn't stop someone from releasing their own fork of MAME that supports it.  Things like that have happened before.  But I'm not going to chase my tail by going down that rabbit hole; it's not a particularly interesting one to me.

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9 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Probably not.  The driver was developed somewhere in the vicinity of 20 years ago, so would require significant changes to fit into a modern MAME framework.  It would be better for a new one to be developed from scratch, checked in, and voted on for inclusion or not.

Well, my question was basically would they put it in MAME if the ROMs were released...

 

the Akkh Arrh ROMs were (by the accounts I’ve read) flat-out stolen and released and they included that game...  So while I understand THEY won’t release the ROMs themselves (which I wouldn’t expect), if they got out somehow, no reason to not include the game in MAME at that point...  Sort of a ‘damage done’ situation, might as well...

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1 hour ago, Rik1138 said:

Well, my question was basically would they put it in MAME if the ROMs were released...

Understood, and my response was in answer to that question.  Barring any statements from MAMEDEV to the contrary, it would be dependent on a new driver being written and accepted for inclusion - much the same as for any other title.

 

MAME does have a history of respecting the wishes of individuals and/or entities (usually with a copyright interest) outside of the project when polite requests are made.  That may have an impact in this instance.  There is no point, however, in trying to determine a decision that may be reached in the future.

 

One thing I will add: if the ROMs are altered to work on hardware other than the original or to use controller types that were not intended to be used with that version of the software, it can be expected that they may be rejected due to not adequately reflecting either the hardware or software from a preservation standpoint.  That would make HBMAME the more appropriate place for them, but even then there's no guarantee of acceptance.

1 hour ago, Rik1138 said:

the Akkh Arrh ROMs were (by the accounts I’ve read) flat-out stolen and released and they included that game...

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

1 hour ago, Rik1138 said:

So while I understand THEY won’t release the ROMs themselves (which I wouldn’t expect),

Who is, "THEY" in this context?

1 hour ago, Rik1138 said:

if they got out somehow, no reason to not include the game in MAME at that point...  Sort of a ‘damage done’ situation, might as well...

See point above re: HBMAME.

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marble madness was a successful game, so there would be some interest in the unreleased sequel.

 

i wouldn't imagine the general public would be interested though.

 

however, something like the head to head missile command 2 would also be of a lot more interest,

as that game was much more popular.

 

it all depends on who has it, and what its like.

 

i love akka arrh, and maze invaders, those are just hidden gems that should have been released.

 

later

-1

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3 hours ago, x=usr(1536) said:

Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

 

Who is, "THEY" in this context?

See point above re: HBMAME.

Heh, I don’t...  that’s why I wrote it the way I did...  I don’t actually care, so just read one story about it and moved on.  :)

 

’They’ was referring to the MAME team that have (or had) access to the ROMs to write the original driver...

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Even if Marble Madness II was dumped and released on MAME unmodified, I wouldn't mind at all if I had to play it with only a joystick- it just has to work so you can still go straight across the lines of the grid regardless of whenever you do it on flat or sloped ground. The NES version did this (with a turbo button to simulate faster spins of the trackball) and it still felt good to play- considering the NES had no such thing as a trackball controller.

 

iirc the one in John's video is the earlier "Marble Madness II" build, not the later "Marble Man: Marble Madness II" that changed the marbles into superheroes altered the voice, and updated the  level selection screens.

Edited by Justin De Lucia

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We’re all just overthinking this. (well, not me as I myself haven’t really given this game much thought over the past year) But my point being that whatever strange and convoluted plan has been put into motion by the powers that be, and no matter how elaborate or shameless it gets, the eventual and inevitable outcome will be the same as all the other unreleased games before it; it will be released and available to the public. Nothing can stop it now. It’s “owners” have already multiplied and will continue to do so exponentially. And whatever “code” is “altered” and whichever “controls” are “modified” will also inevitably be figured out and changed back. (Hackers & tinkerers are a dime a dozen around here.)

So don’t lose any more sleep over this game. It’s already old news. Found, Saved, Dumped, and Emulated. Onto the next one.

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My god, imagine if a Bouncer ever turns up? People will be in the streets attacking each other with swords. :( 

 

I've probably already said this here but personally I take some satisfaction just knowing the game is safely preserved, sure I hope to play it someday and would love to see the ROMs and repro/modified boards put out but there are some decent play through videos where I get to see what the game's really all about, so it takes most of the mystery out of it for me. Spellsinger... Gremlins... probably Bouncer and maybe Vertigo, too many great games are simply lost forever and that bums me out far more than never being able to play something that is otherwise safely preserved. 

 

Re: Interest in head-to-head Missile Command II, isn't that game extremely buggy and the ROMs found from relatively early in its development? Still wouldn't mind playing it and again I'm glad it still exists but at least MM was pretty much completely finished and ready for production, I get the impression MC2 is more a curiosity than much of a playable game. 

Edited by Tornadoboy
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