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Redb3ard

DataBiotics game manuals

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As noted earlier, Spot Shot came first, @INVISIBLE, so the price went down, not up. Also, manuals were a bit hit-or-miss with them too. Sometimes, they were nicely printed on card stock, but I also received some of them (new when I purchased them BITD) with poorly photocopied instructions (and that in the case of my original Black Hole cartridge, completely failed to include the actual instructions--it was just a cover picture and blank inside). I later purchased another one on eBay, just to get a good manual.

Edited by Ksarul

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Wonder if this is pretty close to yours Adamantyr...

 

Dragonflyer-vectorized.pdf

 

The title's still in Cooper Black, but it's higher on the cover. And of course I've just replaced references to Spot Shot with the new title (only 2 of them).

 

Also guys, the copy I found used that green paper, but looking at these photos it's clear that they'd mail them out with various colors (probably whatever was available at the time). Do you have any preferences for what background-color I should use? Should it just be black text on white background?

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30 minutes ago, Redb3ard said:

Wonder if this is pretty close to yours Adamantyr...

 

Dragonflyer-vectorized.pdf 180.51 kB · 4 downloads

 

The title's still in Cooper Black, but it's higher on the cover. And of course I've just replaced references to Spot Shot with the new title (only 2 of them).

 

Also guys, the copy I found used that green paper, but looking at these photos it's clear that they'd mail them out with various colors (probably whatever was available at the time). Do you have any preferences for what background-color I should use? Should it just be black text on white background?

It's actually picture perfect to mine! Well done!

 

I agree with OLD SCI, white background is best so people can print their own.

 

Most of these are definitely cheap photocopy/print. Any card stock heavier than 110 pounds won't run through printers or photocopiers, and printing press prices were too high for such a low volume market.

 

It's one of the reasons the Rainbow software manuals for Wizard's Lair and Revenge stand out; somebody actually contracted a printing company to make them. They printed the covers on 9x12 stock and then trimmed them down, allowing them to run ink all the way to the edges. The tapes and disks also had fancy foiled labels.

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SpotShot-white.pdf

 

Dragonflyer-white.pdf

 

Please keep in mind that with Dragonflyer, I'm working off of Adamantyr's photo, and assuming the contents are identical except for the two references to "Spot Shot". Until someone provides a scan, that's just a guess.

 

Let me know how these print up... I prefer digital for my stuff, and like the 1 page per pdf-page, but that might complicate things if you're trying to print all 4 on a single sheet.

 

Think I'll work on Star Runner next, trying to get the artwork down under 300kb, but it's a tough one. Also, is it the only one that was printed with blue ink?

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3 hours ago, Redb3ard said:

Let me know how these print up... I prefer digital for my stuff, and like the 1 page per pdf-page, but that might complicate things if you're trying to print all 4 on a single sheet.

I printed up Dragonflyer, four pages on a single sheet in booklet form and it looks great to me!

 

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I had some yellow card stock laying around.  Looks brilliant.  @Redb3ard You seem to be an old hand at this.  I would love to know your secret as I have apparently been doing it the hard way.

 

 

DSC00030.JPG

DSC00029.JPG

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This is my secret weapon. You're seeing the orange "overlay" on the left (original page) so that I can precisely align stuff. The right-hand side is rendered in the app as html. Of course, that's just for the text... I've been using Inkscape to trace out the graphics. I'm shooting for about 4000 bezier nodes (comes out as less than 200kb), but that's tough when it's both line and filled shape. For Spot Shot I just ran two passes for each, and deleted the bad tracing from each and combined them, but for Star Runner it's way worse... I can't get it under about 10,000 nodes. Will balloon the size of that pdf probably.

 

Also, Electron/Chrome (what the app is written with) seems to be screwing up the pdf generation *bad*. When I copy and paste from the pdf, it's somehow reversing the order of all the strings. That may not be an issue for some of you, but if I get that fixed I'll post some links to the better versions here once I get it figured out.

 

Give me a couple of months, and I should have the full Databiotics catalog ready, and I can get to work on the other manuals.

Screen Shot 2020-05-25 at 4.59.10 PM.png

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I have been taking scans and loading them into Inkscape to vectorize.  Takes me forever to remove and fix the imperfections.  I have some DBT manuals, but I think they are all accounted for.

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I think the correct way to release these is with a variant for each of "printable" and "digital". Some people (myself included) don't need physical booklets printed out. I haven't had an actual TI-99 since I was in 5th grade after all... I don't even know what happened to it.

 

My son's been playing Alpiner and a few others on Retropie, and it feels weird to not have the manuals (on some of these I honestly can't remember how to play!).

 

Anyway, the printables will be all-white background. For the digitals, I'll use the colored background. It'd be great if you guys could vote on which color to use for each, I can make it anything (it's not really like there was an official color, they used whatever color was cheapest, I guess).

 

I'll also release nice front-cover images too, in case anyone wants just those (on some emulation it gives you a pretty poster in the games menu). Though if someone's offering to do full-color recreations, that'd be great, I can't do anything like that myself.

 

Also, for the title-variants, I think I'll be releasing both of those, and people can choose which they want (or both). I will probably still need help tracking down photographs of those and the like (in the cases where I have a scan of one, a photo of the other might suffice).

 

If anyone has any favorites, just ask, I'm not doing these in any particular order. I had planned on finishing Star Runner tonight, but the first letters of those are using a "swash" variant of Bookman ITC, and I'm having a heck of a time figuring out how to enable those correctly. (Not much of a graphics/typography guy, truth told).

 

I'll be able to lift the warranty from the first manual (no retyping!) but strangely the justification is off just a bit as if DataBiotics re-typed it themselves (word for word). I figured they just photocopier-composited that page in on all of them.

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Star Runner is really challenging me. The body text isn't a standard typewriter.

 

If Databiotics was desktop publishing these manuals is it possible that they were actually using a TI-99? What printers were available for this machine in 1987? Were there any high-quality daisy wheel printers (not dot matrix, not thermal, etc)? Does anyone know if they had any Mac Pluses in their shop, or even some 68020 Mac? The clip art was coming from somewhere, Mancala is clearly not a hand-sketch (well, half of it's clearly not that) even if a few others might have been some local or semi-amateur artist.

 

 

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