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PiePacker (Beta) works great Chrome (in AtariOS)

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I guess most people here have heard about the PiePacker project. If not, see below.

PiePacker on the new Atari VCS - under AtariOS

Just to confirm, PiePacker works really well, in Google Chrome, running under AtariOS. I 
was playing with a friend for a few hours tonight, but only dipped my toe in the water of
the service so far. There are so many games already - I played one new, and one old via
the emulation - that was Worms. (I do feel for sure, the Atari Jaguar version was better!)

The modern controller was immediately recognised, although in some games there were
some unexpected controller mappings - it different from the Xbox controller layout using
Bluetooth, but I also used a wireless (USB dongle) Bluetooth controller with the VCS test.
It's still in BETA so I'll report the differences in behaviour to them - but it's all cloud based.
(I did not try either Atari VCS controllers via USB, where they also support the Xbox mode.)

The VCS Classic controller was immediately recognised, but only up/down worked, and not
the left/right, so the mapping for that to the PiePacker app needs to be adjusted - it's BETA.

Although the Kickstarter has now closed, here is the link to that, just for historical details.
They recently ran a Kickstarter, and I was a backer, and today got my "backer BETA-access".
Prior to the Kickstarter, they had 100K (yes, 100,000) play-testers using it for some months!

PiePacker Background

If you don't have any idea what it is - it's a cloud service - to legally run multi-player retro
and modern (or reimagined) classic games over the Internet - games which are not written
for the Internet, of course, but playable in real-time over the Internet with friends on other
platforms, just using Chrome, and with video and voice chat, where people want to do that.

It ideal for pandemic times - playing together, even when we're apart - no special hardware
to buy, or software to install. The "owner" just sends an invite to friends, and they can join,
anytime, and join in the fun. My friends and family are not local, to come and sit on the sofa
next to me - they're scattered across this country, Europe, and the USA, as for many people.

There is OPTIONAL hardware called the PieReader (shown below) which takes a range of
adapters (more will follow) to plug physical cartridges into, but no support for Atari yet.
(Even an adapter for a CD unit could follow, but the hardware is not necessary to play.)

I was in communication with the CEO, who's a very friendly guy with a great track-record.
He said they are very keen to support the Atari VCS. Perhaps we'll see an Atari partnership!
It's quite different to Antstream, but certainly complements it. I'd love to see it as an "app".

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On the PiePacker Backer Discord, I reported the shortcomings of the controller mappings,
and got an excellent response. They immediately sent me a document, so I can update the
controller details, and they also gave answers on a couple of other tweaks or minor bugs.
Excellent response, making PiePacker on the VCS even better. 🙂

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As of today, you can sign-up for free, and we could play some multi-player retro games!
Of course, as ever, I have no connection with the company, except I paid-up as a backer.

It works great, with the Atari controllers in Xbox mode. Soon, also in wireless mode. :-D 


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Think I’ll give this a try on my VCS via the Chrome web browser later this week it looks pretty good!. I’m sure Nostalgia Nerd done a video on YouTube about this last month and I remember thinking I must get round to checking it out then as with most things I totally forgot about it lol. 

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Subscribers (or lifetime access backers like me) can invite other players
to play the retro-games which were local play only, of course, to play over
the Internet, with a simple link. Making classic"couch co-op" games also
playable over the Internet, is an amazing feature, ideal in this pandemic!

Mostly, my friends are not in the same town, they're in another country,
or another continent, so sitting together with a beer isn't possible for me.
I hope in future, they'll add Atari systems too. The CEO told me he's also
a big Atari fan. (A 7800 cartridge adapter for the PieReader is possible.)

No video chat yet in AtariOS.
The one thing we can't do right now is video-chat via the VCS, but that is
something maybe can be addressed in an update. (My webcam not found.)
--> I suspect this is not technical - it's also a "kid safety" restriction actually.

So, for video-chat, booting into Windows 10 is presently necessary for now.

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, Lord Mushroom said:

I had never heard of Piepacker before. I like that they (unlike Antstream Arcade) focus on later retro games, which I prefer.

Yes, and they even commission games for their platform, which can be played the same way.
One of the backer rewards (which I did not get) was also a unique physical NES game cartridge.

The Kickstarter is over, and I've not invested in it or anything, so I can share this just to explain it.
Most notably, even pre-Kickstarter (which was done in one day) they had 100,000 testers online...

This is just the sort of thing where the VCS is much more than a normal games console, IMHO.
It's also great that it's cross-platform multi-player. It's definitely "pandemic safe" couch co-op!

I didn't buy the PieReader, because I don't have a collection of Nintendo/Sega cartridges, but
if they later bring out a black PieReader, and a 7800/2600 cartridge adapter, I'll go for that. 🙂
(I suggested to them they should have a VCS edition, with some real woodgrain, perhaps. :-D )


Edited by justclaws

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2 hours ago, Mockduck said:

I don't get how they can be licensed to play any game someone just drops into their Piepacker hardware?

The copyright/patent of consoles expire after 20 years. So anyone can make something which mimics the functionality of 20+ year old consoles. Games, on the other hand, have an 80 years or something copyright.

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