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Developer Spotlight: Thomas Jentzsch (June 28, 2020)

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ZeroPage Homebrew will be welcoming @Thomas Jentzsch to the stream, LIVE via video, this coming Sunday June 28, 2020 (11AM PT | 2PM ET | 6PM GMT)!!

 

We will be discussing his history in the homebrew community and the Atari 2600 games he's worked on. During the show we'll be playing our way through his back catalogue (Thrust, Star Castle Arcade, Boulder Dash, etc) and discussing his upcoming cartridge release of Robot City!

 

If you have any questions you'd like us to ask Thomas, post them below!

 

- James

467010572_20200628-LetsPlay.thumb.jpg.2ffe02a09ebf87ef498ac0588532230d.jpg

 

Edited by ZeroPage Homebrew
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Q: What inspired you to start developing for the Atari 2600?

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Q: What is the story behind Star Castle Arcade, and the Kickstarter Star Castle by D. Scott Williamson?

 

Q: Is there any bad blood between you two?

 

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Robot City was featured on ZPH, and you decided to make some excellent improvements and complete the game. 
 

Q: Do you have any old Atari 2600 game projects that you haven’t updated / completed that ZPH should preview to help inspire you to complete them?

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You have previous stated that you only use 6502 Assembly to make your games, and the results are impressive (Aardvark, Boulder Dash, Thrust, Star Castle Arcade)


Q: What are the reasons why you want to to stick with 6502 Assembly?

 

Q: Have you ever developed, or considered developing a game on another 6502 based system, because it had more powerful (graphic/audio/RAM) hardware that the 2600 would be incapable of producing? (Atari 800, Commodore 64, NES, etc.)

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Q: What is your favorite hack that you think provided the greatest improvement on the original game?

 

Q: What was the most difficult hack you have made for the 2600?

 

Q: How many hacks have you created for the 2600? (Estimate, perhaps break down by graphical hacks, TV format hacks, new gameplay)

 

You have several AtariAge listed hacks ...

Amidar DS (Hack of Amidar)
Asteroids DC+ (Hack of Asteroids)
Atlantis FH (Hack of Atlantis)
Battlezone TC (Hack of Battlezone)
Missile Command TB (Hack of Missile Command)
Omega Race DC (Hack of Omega Race)
Robot Tank TC (Hack of Robot Tank)
Sadistroids (Hack of Asteroids)

Sprintmaster DC (Hack of Sprintmaster)

 

... other unlisted hacks ...

Pitfall!x256

PDP Spacewar


... and NTSC to PAL conversions

https://atariage.com/software_conversions.php

 

 

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Q: Can you share with us your developer’s setup for making 2600 games? (What tool chain are you using, DASM, Visual Studio Code with a plugin or just Notepad++ with/without a plugin).

Q: What tools do you use for your graphical editing?

 

Q: What are your favorite tools for development? (Other than Stella and/or a Harmony+VCS).


You just created a turbo mode toggle for the Stella emulator to help with reducing the wait time for games where the Atari 2600 is “thinking.”


Q: How long have you been making improvements to the Stella emulator? What Stella improvement has been your greatest accomplishment?
 

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Thomas, it seems like a lot of your contributions are behind the scenes doing code optimization.  How did you end up doing that, rather than more public game design?

 

You've worked with most of the current crop of "heavy hitters" homebrewing for the 2600 today.  Is there anyone that you have not worked with that you would like to work with in the future?  Is there anyone who has dropped out that you would like to see return to the scene?

 

What would you like to see more of in the current homebrew scene?

 

semi-serious question:  you appear to be involved in *so* many conversations on atari age.  Exactly how much time *do* you spend on atari stuff each week?

 

;)

 

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The Commodore 64 dominated Germany during the 80s. The Atari VCS didn’t get to Germany until 1979.

 
Q: When did you first start playing the Atari 2600?

Q: What were the video games you grew up with that made the biggest impression on you? (Not necessarily VCS games, could be arcade, other home console, or microcomputer games)

 

(any VCS German exclusive titles worth playing?

http://www.atarimania.com/pgelstsoft.awp?system=2&type=G&country=8&original=1&step=25

)

 

Q: When did you first start programming? Q: When did you first start programming for the Atari 2600?

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