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DataBiotics game manuals

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I've managed to find many of these (at least the front page with artwork) via ebay auctions, Google image search, and here on AtariAge (was a little surprised about that, it had been years since I've logged in here).

 

I was hoping to be able to convert the clipart on them to vector format (the latest Inkscape's tracing tools are remarkable), so that I might provide some recreations of the originals for those who would want them. I've had more than a little luck making pdfs that are 100% vector, no OCR or raster.

 

I'm still missing the following:

 

* Jumpy

* Star Trap

* Spy's Demise

* Break Thru (unsure of spelling on this one)

* Sorgan II

* Star Gazer (unsure on this one?)

* TI Toad

* Red Baron

* Mancala

* Intercept

* Escape

* Dragonflyer

 

Scans (or even bad photographs) of the other pages would be very welcome too.

 

In case I'm missing some on the list and don't even realize it, I have good (or at least usable) copies of

 

* Barrage

* Beyond Parsec

* Black Hole

* Boxer

* Burger Builder

* D*Station II

* Junkman Jr.

* Micro-Pinball

* Micro Tennis

* Midnite Mason

* Qmaze

 

I'd also welcome any other manuals that were... how do I put this kindly, less polished? Munchman II comes to mind as an example. Those that were black and white clip art and photocopy folded over and stapled. Any and all help (even just correcting any misconceptions you might notice) would be appreciated.

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39 minutes ago, fimbulvetr said:

There is a scan of Dragonflyer (Spot Shot) in this month's High Score Competition thread.

Thank you so much fimbulvetr. 

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Several DBT cartridges had multiple names, but used the same artwork.

 

Dragon Flyer was originally Spot Shot

Escape! was originally King of the Castle

Qmaze was originally Jumpy

Breakthrough was originally Breakout

Micro Tennis was also sold as Love Tennis

 

Cartridges that had differences:

 

Star Trap was available on disk before it became a cartridge, with the title Star Wars

Red Baron was available on disk before it became a cartridge, with the title Spad XIII

Star Runner was available on disk before it became a cartridge, with the title TI Runner

Star Gazer 1-3 was originally available as individual cartridges from Exceltek, DBT sold them as a combined cartridge

 

These are also missing:

 

Face Chase

D-Station I

Space Patrol

 

I have never seen a DBT Intercept cartridge. . .I've only ever seen it on disk from Republic Software.

 

I hope this helps--and the list does not include their utility programs.

 

 

 

 

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I don't know if anyone's interested in this... but I plan on making them for myself anyway.

 

This is very preliminary work. I'm using a custom-made application called "Chronoscope" that I've never actually released (it was disappointing that I couldn't make it as automated as I might like). The image was vectorized with Inkscape... the latest version has centerline autotrace, which makes the image only about 150k (it's most of the pdf size and will remain so, there's less than 10k of markup/css). I had to hand-tweak it because centerline-autotrace does line art really well, but not solid shapes and combining the two tracings was irritating.

 

I've never been able to figure out automatic typeface detection (so I have to match those by eyeball, and I'm not great at it). So the title on the cover is wrong... I'll get that figured out tomorrow (likely this was made with desktop publishing on a Mac in 1987ish, there really are only a couple dozen possibilities).

 

Chronoscope does OCR (and often badly), so for this I may just end up typing it in by hand, can't be more than 15 minutes' worth or so. The main text of this thing looks typewriter-ish to me, and there are some decent typewriter fonts to use for this.

 

I intend to correct typos and misspellings. I'd go nuts if I didn't (but if someone wants to object, I can be persuaded to provide an alternate version). 

 

I also suspect the DataBioTics people were using some standard clipart, but I don't think I've got much chance of finding the originals (if so, this pdf would probably look better still and be under 60k). If anyone has any insight into that, I'd love to hear it.

 

If this doesn't look much different to you, that's what I intended. But if you want to really see the difference just to understand, zoom in on both the original and my version. Crisp, clean lines as far as you can zoom in. On the art and the letters.

 

All criticism welcome.

 

SpotShot-vectorized.pdf

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A number of the original DataBioTics drawings sold on eBay last year (I bid on them, but the final price was a bit egregious, so I dropped out of the bidding at some point). IIRC, it was six or seven drawings and the schematics for the Miniwriter III cartridge. I copied the schematic image which was a bit low quality in the eBay picture and reconstructed it in Visio to get a high-quality image. I'm not sure who ended up with the lot though, unfortunately.

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As it was not on either list, I've taken the liberty of scanning my Star Runner manual.

...

I swear that paper doesn't look as orange in reality as it does on my screen(Understandably, it has yellowed with time and is no longer white). The blue mottling is legitimately a part of the manual, though. Part of me wonders if it wasn't an effort to stymie duplication efforts(it'd xerox TERRIBLY).

starrunner inside.png

starrunner outside.png

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1 hour ago, JB said:

As it was not on either list, I've taken the liberty of scanning my Star Runner manual.

...

I swear that paper doesn't look as orange in reality as it does on my screen(Understandably, it has yellowed with time and is no longer white). The blue mottling is legitimately a part of the manual, though. Part of me wonders if it wasn't an effort to stymie duplication efforts(it'd xerox TERRIBLY).

Thank you so much JB. If you want a better digital copy, I think I can do that. I've got two of the fonts matched already, everything except the "Star Runner" though I suspect strongly I'll find it was an included font with Aldus Pagemaker or something like that. The "Minimum requirements" is Palatino Bold, and I'm using JMH Typewriter Dry for the content. Looks like they changed up the warranty page a bit, guess I get to re-type that one, haha.

 

Also, slightly off-topic, why in the hell does CSS not have a sentence-spacing property? Driving me nuts, makes it difficult to get pixel-perfect layout matching. Whoever typed these up liked to double-space new sentences, but the typewriter's pitch was different.

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Naw, I'm good with the paper copy. May be a few more decades before it decides to get brittle and disintigrate. I'm just contributing to the causedAppreciate the offer, though.

Edited by JB

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You can find a newly created manual for Micro Tennis / Love Tennis / US Open / Nicesoft Tennis etc at:


https://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?do=findComment&comment=4530923

 

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From this thread- documents on atariage which may be recreations or predate the databiotics releases:


 

barrage see Barrage (Databiotics)
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=3433650


 

beyond parsec see 
Beyond Parsec
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=3433650


 

black hole - awaited


 

boxer see Boxer
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=3434747


 

burger builder - Good manual on ti99iuc


 

d station 1 and 2 see
D STATION 1
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?

do=findComment&comment=4460442

D STATION 2 (printed format- front cover sketch)
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?

do=findComment&comment=4460442

D STATION 2  (typescript format)
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/268739-disk-doc-to-pdf/?p=3830066


dragonflyer= see spot shot below

escape= king of the castle

face chase awaited

intercept awaited


 

junkman junior see Junkman Junior
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=3434019


 

jumpy see qmaze below


 

mancala - awaited


 

micro pinball see Micro Pinball (Software Specialities / Databiotics)
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=3434019


 

micro tennis see 
MICRO TENNIS
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?do=findComment&comment=4530923


midnight mason - see Midnight Mason (Omega manual)
https://atariage.com/forums/topic/223079-strips-reference-cards-manuals-labels-and-more-hq/?do=findComment&comment=3144203


 

qmaze = jumpy = see QMaze
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=3434747


 

space patrol = awaited


 

spot shot see
Spot Shot
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=3434747


 

star trap awaited


 

spy's demise see Spy's Demise  (cassette)(module) Challenger Software
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/248687-ti-99-docs-manuals-ebooks-lost-found/?p=4197174


 

stargzazer awaited

ti toad awaited

s

 


 

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Ok, this is pretty close to final for Spot Shot:

 

SpotShot-vectorized.pdf

 

This still has some problems, notably that something about the pdf rendering makes it difficult to select text (I've seen this in pdfs created with other software, still haven't tracked it down). Also, the svg/vector image on the front lets you select each and every little path element, which annoys me. Gotta figure out how to make that so it's just a single image.

 

Fonts are matched. Line-height isn't always matched... on a typewriter it was controlled mechanically, and if the paper slipped a little more or a little less on each new line you'd not get them perfectly spaced. That makes it tough for me.

 

If someone could proof-read, see if they can spot any discrepancies, that'd be great. I'd also appreciate screenshots of it (to test whether the font-embedding is working correctly... would suck if your pdf viewer just shows Times New Roman or whatever).

 

I worked from the one posted in the high score thread, I'll repost it here for convenience:

 

SpotShot.pdf

 

Note that my copy has nearly perfect fidelity, and is only 20% of the original size.

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I like the first one!  It prints out perfectly in booklet form only taking one piece of paper.  I've added it to my collection and linked to it as well.  THANKS!

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I do hope a Dragonflyer scan turns up some day.  Probably it'd be as lazily rebranded as the game itself (where they just removed the text "spot shot" from the game screen), and be along the lines of Red Baron (basically the same manual, with updated title text).  But it'd be nice to know. 

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11 minutes ago, pixelpedant said:

I do hope a Dragonflyer scan turns up some day.  Probably it'd be as lazily rebranded as the game itself (where they just removed the text "spot shot" from the game screen), and be along the lines of Red Baron (basically the same manual, with updated title text).  But it'd be nice to know. 

Assuming it was rebranded lazily, I could probably reproduce it even with a shitty ebay photograph that's distant and perspective distorted. Probably would just release the cover page (assuming the rest didn't change).

 

Which came first though? And who owned it prior to rebranding? What was the point ("Spot Shot" doesn't seem to be stepping on any intellectual property toes)?

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42 minutes ago, Redb3ard said:

Assuming it was rebranded lazily, I could probably reproduce it even with a shitty ebay photograph that's distant and perspective distorted. Probably would just release the cover page (assuming the rest didn't change).

 

Which came first though? And who owned it prior to rebranding? What was the point ("Spot Shot" doesn't seem to be stepping on any intellectual property toes)?

Spot Shot was first and was rebranded as Dragonflyer a couple of years later. DataBioTics had it the whole time. They changed names of some of the games to make their line appear fresh and new, without the tedium of actually producing new software.

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2 hours ago, Ksarul said:

Spot Shot was first and was rebranded as Dragonflyer a couple of years later. DataBioTics had it the whole time. They changed names of some of the games to make their line appear fresh and new, without the tedium of actually producing new software.

Wow. I remember ordering these out of catalogs and the backs of magazines... what about the poor schmucks who thought it was a new game and ordered it only to find out it was the same game they already had?

 

I know with certainty that's how my uncle got Picnic Paranoia, and a few others besides.

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32 minutes ago, Redb3ard said:

Wow. I remember ordering these out of catalogs and the backs of magazines... what about the poor schmucks who thought it was a new game and ordered it only to find out it was the same game they already had?

 

I know with certainty that's how my uncle got Picnic Paranoia, and a few others besides.

Anyone reading the game description in the Triton, Tenex, or Tex-Comp catalogs would immediately recognize it as one they already had before they ordered it. Only a few of their games changed names--but just about all of their utility programs did.

 

Their word processing program was a definite moving target, but at least it really was changing: Miniwriter I (on disk), Miniwriter II (on cartridge, with the option of a parallel port added to it and branded as the Miniwriter II+), Miniwriter III (also with a + option), Wordwriter, Wordwriter Extra, and lastly Beyond Wordwriter. A couple of additional iterations were apparently planned but never saw the light of day (Wordwriter II and Wordwriter III), although they may also have just morphed into the last two published titles. Every word processor from Miniwriter II onward was a cartridge-only release.

Edited by Ksarul

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Yeah, it'd take a pretty blind eye to see Spot-Shot and Dragonflyer as different things, given the (1987 and 1988 respectively) Triton ads are almost identical:

 

image.png.70449cd50e28809856c8fa58f2998b7c.pngimage.png.9d1ad3aef23aeaf3f7aad5936e1a92b7.png

 

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You've never seen anything like it... except as the previously released DRAGONFLYER, so come on, spend an extra $2.00 so we can make more money on the same re-released program.  Oh, and never mind that this cartridge (#BAAW) has exactly the same inventory designation as the cheaper version of the same program.

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5 hours ago, INVISIBLE said:

You've never seen anything like it... except as the previously released DRAGONFLYER, so come on, spend an extra $2.00 so we can make more money on the same re-released program.  Oh, and never mind that this cartridge (#BAAW) has exactly the same inventory designation as the cheaper version of the same program.

Yeah, at least Dragonflyer/Spot Shot was an interesting game with good use of bitmap. Many of their titles were not so good.

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