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  1. Last night on my Youtube series Old Games on a Thursday (Old GOAT) I continued my series of playing through Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar for Sega Master System in its entirety.

     

    I made some solid progress in this one, but man I feel like I've got to get the lead out, given that the overworld started throwing Hydras and Liches at me! As one of my viewers mentioned in the chat, the game throws more difficult enemies at you in the overworld depending on total number of turns taken, not how powerful you are.

     

    I did make some solid progress in this chapter, described in the following spoiler tag (in case anyone cares about that!):

     

    Spoiler

    acquiring the sextant, loading up on a ton of Cures, locating Mandrake and collecting some, finding the Silver Horn (which will clear the daemons blocking me from entering the Shrine of Humility), and gaining partial avatarhood in three virtues: Honesty, Honor and Valor! That just leaves Humility, Spirituality and Sacrifice. The only one I'm doing well enough in yet to achieve partial avatarhood is Sacrifice. The other two I should be able to get next time. Also I'd like to start knocking out some of the dungeons. I have a good chunk of Despise and Destard mapped out, and it would be great to get their respective stones now that I'm better equipped to do so! (Mandrake will allow me to mix some Negates to use against Reapers; piles of Cures and Heals are necessary in general, hah!)


    I've got to keep moving forward to complete the Quest of the Avatar! Excelsior!

     

     

  2. I updated a couple more backgrounds and changed a couple more songs.

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    The first one is underwater (level 4) and the second one is a mountain (level 5). The first one looked a lot different because it had fish and a shark, but I redesigned the entire thing because I didn't like it. It looked like a 3-year-old drew it. Of course, all my drawings look like a 3-year-old drew it, but this especially. I replaced the fish and shark with rocks and seaweed. I've decided that I will add more levels and songs since I have the room to.

     

    I was looking through my Game Gear collection when I realized I didn't have the Little Mermaid. So I got it on eBay for only $7. When I buy an eBay game, I would like to pay <$10, so this was good. But do I really need three e-mails about it?

     

    Guess what, gang? It's snowing again. It will probably do this again for the next three mornings: non-sticking snow like this.

  3. Sometime back I designed a two PCB set to help with installing mini din connectors in my Intellivision service work. I had requests from other to provide these files so that the PCBs can be used by all that might want to use them. Here is a link to the PDF guide that details the assembly process for the PCBs for use in the Intellivision 2609 model consoles. These can also be used on the Super Pro System and INTV III consoles as they are designed for installing in place of the RF modulator to provide a no cut solution for such AV upgrades.

     

    Link to 2609 mount board assembly PDF guide

     

    The advantage of these mount boards is that being a 2 part PCB means I can use the same bottom base PCB for both model 2609 and INTV II consoles. With only the top PCB portion being different. Here is an example install I did very recently showing one of the completely mount board setups in place in a 2609 Intellivision that received an RGB upgrade. Here I used a 9pin mini din for the RGB and audio, but also the 9pin allows for composite to be wired up. This means that any Sega Genesis/MD model 2 AV cable setup can be used.

     

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    And the mount board has room to allow for aligning the mini din connector to be as centered as possible.

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    I've also attached the PDF to this blog to make it easier as well. Links for the gerber files to have PCBs made up can be found within the PDF.

     

     

    2609_INTV_Mnt_Brd_Build.pdf

  4. neogeo1982
    Latest Entry

    We find everyone and do some back tracking and boss fighting. Some plot twists again that are interesting. 

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        The prince of the evil empire joins us after being fed up with their killing ways. And we steal an airship he helps us get.

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      Then it feels like the game opens up way more. Building a base, collecting crew members, ship upgrades, discovery searching. Even some humor and light hearted banter in-between. I'll finish fighting the empire after more exploring and building up for awhile. 

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  5. Awesome cover of Paint it Black by Harp Twins and Volfgang Twins.

     

     

     

    I saw them perform it live back in November at the Houston Arcade Expo:

     

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    For those of you in Europe they are currently touring in your neck of the woods. Well worth seeing them live if you can.  

     

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  6. I already made a blog post not that long about about my new designs and had posted pics of the render of the PCBs. Well, I actually received the PCBs in the other day and have had a chance to test them out. While I did make a pretty big blunder on my model 2 specific PCB, it was easily fixed and isn't that big a deal to fix in situ when installing. And it only affects me since the gerbers that I play to release publicly already have the fix in place so future boards that get made up should be good to go.

    A quick recap on these PCBs. It is a total of 3 different boards. The bottom base PCB is the same for both original 2609 model and INTV 2 model consoles. I designed it that on purpose. So what is different between the models is the top PCB that you use as they are specific to the model of the console you plan to use them in. These mounts are designed to be installed in place of the RF modulator so that a 'No Cut' option is able to be achieved when upgrading your Intellivision.

    Here is a mock up the 2 PCBs put together for the original 2609 model of the console. This is essentially an upgraded extension of my original older mounts that is easier to install and secure into place vs the older mount PCBs I've been using. The top PCB has a large solder section on it so that the mini din jack that is used can be more easily be quick tack soldered into place to test alignment and fit before flood soldering all around the jack to secure it into place. While the mini din is technically being installed upside down in this fashion, it is important to know that the actual 2609 style mainboards install upside down to begin with. As a result, the mini din is actually right side up in the end.

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    The model 2 setup was much more difficult for me to design and I really gave my calipers a workout making so many measurements. So the main difference with the INTV 2 setup is that the bottom base mount PCB (Again it is the same on both models), has cut outs on one corner of it. This is because the top board of the INTV 2 mount actually has you solder the mini din direct to the PCB like it would be normally. The cutouts on the bottom base PCB allow for room for these soldered pins off the mini din to come through and allow the two PCBs to sit flush together. It does require that the pins and ground tabs be clipped fairly flush to the PCB once soldered to make sure nothing sticks out beyond the bottom PCB where it would likely then short on the large ground plane that the RF modulator was sitting on. But this isn't a big deal and the end result is a nice finished mount where the mini din is again able to be right side up when all put together. Previously, the mini din was actually upside down on the INTV 2 installs. So this will be less confusing for people going forward.

    Here is a detail showing the two sections assembled. You can see the cutouts on the bottom base PCB to allow for the soldered pins of the mini din to come through. So this means that you need to solder the mini din to the top PCB first.

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    When you cut the soldered connections pretty flush to the PCB the mini din was soldered to, it will ensure that the soldered connections and pins don't come through to cause any issues below. Here you can see where I trimmed an applied fresh heat to the joints after to be sure everything was secure and wouldn't cause any issues with shorts.

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    Like mentioned before, the entire PCB assembly is designed to install in place of where the RF modulator was located. Here you can see how that would look internally. There are solder pads provided on the PCB for all the needed connections. There are 2 sets of RGB pads that are to be used depending on if you use the 8-pin or 9-pin part of the PCB. Yes, I designed it with through holes for both types of commonly used mini dins for RGB installs like this. There are 3 pas in the center that are shared between both mini dins. Those are the +5, Sync, and Audio. In the picture below I used an 8-pin mini din. So you can see the space in the opposite corner for the 9-pin through holes that weren't used in this install. You can also see the pads specific for the 9-pin that weren't used. The blob of solder on the mini din is part of what I have to correct for on these first set of PCBs but won't be needed on future ones.

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    And once in place, it should be centered pretty well in the spot where the RF used to be allowing for plenty of room for your cables to be plugged in without any modification of the case. Again, a 'No Cut' option is achieved. Ignore the switch below this as that is needed for something else since this INTV 2 uses an older RGB setup.

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    So again, the plan is to release the gerbers for these publicly so others can have them made up for their own installs. I've already had a few other modders reach out to me wanting the gerbers because they actually want to change out their current mounting to use of these new setups. 

    View the full article

  7. The Jaguar has got to remain one of the coolest, most fascinating pieces of hardware to ever emerge as a gaming console. At least for me, anyways. 
     

    On one side, you have these incredibly powerful GPU and DSP chipsets. Even with the hardware bugs they may contain, they’re capable of doing some impressive things given the 1992/1993 time frame and price point they were released in. 
     

    On the other hand, it’s completely bottlenecked by Atari’s cost cutting decisions and hand-forced limitations due to memory constraints and a unified system bus architecture that is further diminished by the 16-bit Motorola 68000.

     

    The system was originally designed around a 32-bit 68030 and 4MB of RAM. Imagine how much of a difference having twice the available RAM and a far faster CPU with proper bus access would have made! Alas, that was not to be the case. Hindered performance be damned, we still got one hell of a cool cat that certainly has a unique personality. 
     

    So, yadda yadda yadda. Why am I still rambling about this sort of stuff in 2024? Well, because from a hobbyist homebrew developer standpoint, we’re on the brink of a major turning point.

    I started my homebrew development journey in late 2017 on the Jaguar with Raptor Basic and have worked on dozens of things (mostly unseen) during this time. It had been somewhat a lifelong dream to create games for one of my favorite consoles of all time. So, I set out to learn 3D modeling and rendering, music composition and programming. This is pre-Jaguar game drive mind you. Rb+ evolved and matured into what is now JagStudio. For those who may be unaware, it’s a free and rather incredible software development package aimed at allowing anyone to make games on the Jaguar in c, assembly or even basic.
     

    Snag it here: https://reboot-games.com/jagstudio/
     

    All this, thanks to several hardcore and dedicated hobbyists who continue to devote their free time to improve these tools for others to make cool things as time goes on. Jaguar community gets a lot of static for ruffled feathers but this is the gold standard of community driven inspiration that fuels fun and creativity.

     

    JagStudio is getting a major update soon. One that will allow things to be done that was seemingly impossible on the Jaguar before. I won’t let the cat out of the bag until it’s ready, but the guys working behind the scenes to make this pivotal shifting point possible (CJ and Rik) deserve some major kudos! Granted, the roadway here has been a long one. So many other devs have contributed to what has morphed into and become JagStudio, where do you even start. Maybe a proper credits page should be added on the site.
     

    (inserting major kudos to all here!)

     

    Anyways, on to bigger and better things. Here’s to 2024 being a super cool year for the Jag all-around. It’s a really exciting time to be a Jag fan. I’m pretty excited with the little things I’ve been able to achieve with it all behind the scenes, that it almost feels unreal.

     

    Soon….

     

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  8. The year is 1995. President Bill Clinton is currently on the DL with Monica Lewinsky however it would be a couple of years before that bombshell would come to light. SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron was a runaway success on the newly launched Cartoon Network however it was cancelled after its second season. Microsoft launched the wildly popular Windows 95 operating system and began their reign as the dominant OS provider.

     

    I'm currently in grade school and while I guess you could say I was a "gifted student" who made high grades I was also constantly getting myself into trouble. Personally? I blame the fact that doctors at the time were (over)diagnosing ADHD and were completely oblivious to the autism spectrum which I most certainly was on. I made friends with a kid named Adam and we bonded over our mutual interest in Sonic the Hedgehog. We hung out often and when one of us was up to something we shouldn't have been the other wasn't far away. I remember spending many physical education classes in detention because when "run laps around the playground" day reared its ugly head Adam and I would instead just walk along the fence talking about whatever and the teacher hated us for that.

     

    Adam and I used to entertain people at recess by telling jokes. Usually we'd just wind up roasting our classmates but we also drew humor from the video games we played. At some point one of us got the idea to start recording our routines to tape and before the end of the year we had produced "Justin & Adam's Stupid Stuff", a 50 minute cassette tape filled with our "greatest hits". We would pass the tape around to classmates for them to listen to and then return to us. This whole thing ran on the honor system. But what was a spoken word album without a group name to go with it? Adam named the group with the first thing that came out of his mouth when we pressed the Record button: "This is F.U.C.K. Radio". We actually wrote that on our first tape. It was constantly getting confiscated by teachers who would always tell us we should know better than to use that kind of language. Inevitably they would begrudgingly give the tape back to us after a period of time and we'd just add more to it and pass it around again.

     

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    "Justin & Adam's Stupid Stuff", 1995 (2006 Digital Re-issue)

     

    A couple of years passed and in 1997 Adam and I were still making nuisances of ourselves at school. Our first tape had been passed around and played so much that the first 15 or so minutes of tape were damaged and the audio pitch sounded way higher than it originally was. We decided it was time to retire the first tape and make another one. By now our classmates knew about the Radio F thing. Also in between 1995 and 1997 we retconned the group name to "Radio F" because that was more likely to fly under the radar and was something you could say aloud without getting into trouble. Our second tape was titled "Adventures & Shit" which entirely defeated the purpose of taking the sting out of what the "F" in Radio F stood for. Our content had evolved over time and now one of the bits we would do was talk about amusing hypothetical situations in video games. In a sense I guess what we were doing was akin to writing a purposefully humorous fanfic except we were relaying the content verbally. We did also write things down though as at one point we made a couple of issues of "Radio F Magazine" and passed them around school. Unfortunately none of these zines survived being handled and confiscated constantly.

     

    Fast forward another couple of years. It is now 1999. Radio F is still around but Adam and I have done a lot of growing up. We're in high school and although our peers remember us for our comedy of yesteryear we are rapidly aging out of it. We decided to start recording one more tape before it was too late. There was no funny name for this one it was just the eponymous "F.U.C.K. Radio". We'd gone back to using the old name because this was high school now and we were basically grown ass men who no longer whispered profanities at the back of the classroom and got in trouble for giggling too loud. Now we'd gotten into pulling pranks on people. Our best prank was when I reverse engineered the block page for the school's NetNanny software and produced a fake error page that made it look like the school's own website was blocked for containing "child pornography". The IT department disabled the site filtering software for months trying to replicate the error which meant we could all go play games on Miniclip or whatever and not be denied access. In hindsight that prank was probably a little extreme.

     

    Our third tape was passed around by classmates but the enthusiasm just wasn't there anymore. It was time to move on. Adam and I wound up having a major falling out toward the end of the year and we went our separate ways.

     

    Time marched on in a world without the inappropriate wisecracks of Radio F. In 2003 the game Robot Arena 2: Design and Destroy released. I've always been a huge fan of BattleBots so I bought the game day one and couldn't get enough of it. I immersed myself in the online community that surrounded the game and after only a couple of months on the market the game was blown wide open with the revelation that it was incredibly mod-friendly. Players started making new parts to build with and new arenas to fight in but I focused my attention to the game's roster of AI opponent robots. The first AI mod dropped some time around September 2003 that replaced all of the stock enemies with brand new harder designs. I was inspired to design an AI mod of my own so after teaching myself basic Python skills I churned out a mod of my own. But who would it be attributed to? I couldn't think of a good name at the time so I fished "Radio F" from the gutter and tacked "Software" onto it. The Radio F Software AI Pack for Robot Arena 2 launched to... lukewarm reviews.

     

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    A pirated copy of Robot Arena 2 pre-patched with The RFS AI Pack. (2005)

     

    I didn't push the envelope enough like the first guy did. If I wanted to get recognition for something I was going to have to go real big. In the Robot Arena 2 game you can have up to six robots in your team but the AI teams were limited to only three. A friend I'd made through the BattleBots community hypothesized that you could somehow change the AI's team limit from three to six. With some tinkering he figured it out and since we were friends he gave me permission to roll out this tweak in the follow-up release to my AI mod. The second installment of the mod doubled all of the AI team rosters while keeping the designs from the first version playable. Nobody had ever done this before. This was the big thing I needed to get the attention I wanted from the community. But I didn't stop there. I found out through my own code exploration that there was nothing stopping you from increasing the total number of AI teams from 15 to theoretically anything you wanted. I released a third AI mod update that increased the number of opponent teams from 15 to 30. There was now 180 AI opponents you could fight in Robot Arena 2 if you were running my AI mods.

     

    The Radio F Software AI Mod for Robot Arena 2 soon became the most downloaded mod of all time according to the download trackers on the website that hosted all of the known mods for the game. Someone once sent me a screenshot of a popular torrent download of Robot Arena 2 that came pre-patched with my AI mod. The AI mod was eventually dethroned as the "most downloaded" when more experienced programmers arrived to completely overhaul the game.

     

    I was at the top of my game so I decided to branch out into other ventures because there was realistically nothing more that I could expand upon within Robot Arena 2. In 2004 I opened the website Radio F Software Headquarters (or the impossible to remember "RFSHQ" for short). Programming stuff was cool and all but I was starting to miss the days of being a comedian so RFSHQ would be my place to host writings on various topics that amused me, usually bad video games though which for 2004 was very much era-appropriate for the internet. I also (re)joined AtariAge because I'd lost access to my original account that I'd signed up with a few years prior. The account I'm using today to post this blog entry is that same account from 20 years ago. With my own website at my disposal I was able to essentially recreate the "Radio F Magazine" of old in a new digital form. My first post went live on May 9, 2004 and was a snarky review of The Adventures of Bayou Billy for NES. Concurrently with writing content for RFSHQ I was also learning how to decompile Atari 2600 games and modify them. I hacked up a number of games but the first one I ever posted about was Pineapple 2000, released on September 13, 2004.

     

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    "Pineapple 2000", 2004 (Radio F Software)

     

    I was very much enjoying myself and having fun online. I was in my element. What's that meme? "Moisturized. Flourishing. Relaxed. In my lane." That was me. But the good times were not destined to last. I ran RFSHQ sort of like a bootleg version of Something Awful and my sense of humor very much aligned with the talent on that website (I had actually applied to be a columnist on Something Awful multiple times but was turned down every time). I made a lot of enemies online because the type of person I portrayed online was still that of the mindset of Radio F in 1995; I would take pot shots at people and places except rather than the targets being people I went to school with now it was things that had an online presence. They could also strike back. The forums on RFSHQ wound up becoming a hot spot for web drama and over the years this slowly ate away at my nerves.

     

    But there was another more nefarious thing in my life whose presence was growing rapidly. There's no appropriate way to phrase this without sounding like a freak so I'll just be out with it, Spyro the Dragon was my first real crush back in 1998. When I wasn't writing content for RFSHQ or working on Atari games I maintained a secret double life on sites like VCL and FurAffinity. It was not feasible for me to be an internet bad ass while also maintaining a presence in the burgeoning furry fandom. It was the one thing people I made fun of could nail me back with that I'd have no recourse to deflect. I kept things under wraps for as long as I could but by the time 2008 came around I was also becoming quite the notable person in the furry fandom under my alter ego (whose name I will not disclose and I've worked extremely hard to erase from the internet). Something had to give and in June 2008 things reached a breaking point. I retired from RFSHQ. I made the decision to pursue a presence among the furries full time as I thought this was the higher road that would lead to a better life. I revoked my administrative status on my own website and handed the keys over to my best friend Dan who had helped me work on RFSHQ over the years.

     

    Radio F Software died on that day but I don't think that ever really sank in until much later.

     

    RFSHQ hobbled along for several months before the website was gutted for its database of users which would go on to form the base of the newly formed TrackMill Games, a company spearheaded by my friend Dan that would see immense success for several years as one of the first "social gaming" websites on the web. All of the content that existed on RFSHQ such as the articles, comics, and videos were discarded without any consideration for what value they once had. I went on to become a very prolific writer within the furry fandom which led me to securing invitations to some of the largest conventions in the country to speak on panels as a guest. I was invited to private room parties. Publishers wanted manuscripts from me sight unseen. I rubbed elbows with the fandom's elite. I let all of this get to my head and I believed myself to be invincible, that I had outgrown my rank as a lowly internet comedian into something far greater.

     

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    Self Portrait, 2011

     

    I got a big head about things which culminated in a very humbling moment years later. Without naming names and going into details I was visiting someone very well known. Other noteworthy people were present. The owner of the property then brought out something that was highly illegal. Like, felony illegal. It was at that moment I realized I was not in good company. None of these people were my actual friends. I was surrounded by hedonists whose only aspiration was to chase thrills and highs. Everything I'd invested myself in over the past several years led me to this very moment and in that moment I wanted nothing more than to be anywhere else. I did not partake. The moment I returned home I opened every profile and portfolio I maintained online and blanked them all. I phoned in every single favor I was owed to get webmasters and other people to unperson me and make it appear that I never existed. There is no trace of me on the Internet Archive whatsoever which was no easy feat. Most would consider the lengths I went through to disappear outrageous. To me this was a matter of self preservation. I vanished so quickly and so wholly that most people assumed I had died. I took that as a compliment.

     

    I've spent nearly a decade in and out of therapy including several stints in psychiatric hospitals. Only last year in 2023 did I really start to make progress getting over what happened and move on with my life. Today I am working with my doctor to wean myself off of my psych meds to see if I can handle being on my own for the first time in nearly a decade. Things are looking good. For the first time in what feels like forever I feel like I am going to be okay. I lost a significant chunk of my life, all of my 20's and most of my 30's, and I regret that I didn't get to have the life experiences of a "normal" person and likely never will. I'm almost 40 now and I have a lot of catching up to do.

     

    I wronged a lot of people. I'm still making amends to this day. Radio F Software may have died on the altar of depravity but its legacy lives on. Remember the AI mod for Robot Arena 2? There was meant to be a fourth expansion but despite my best efforts I was never able to see it through to completion. After 19 years in development hell The Radio F Software AI Pack v2.0 for Robot Arena 2 released on February 18, 2023 -- the twentieth anniversary of Robot Arena 2's release. There is a special Easter egg for skilled players to find in the form of a selected anthology of some of the best work from RFSHQ. F-Sides, a collection of techno music that was originally released in 2006, was remastered last year and reissued online with physical copies to follow later this year. Gator Love, a romhack whose origin can be traced back to the year 2007, is now my current project and its connection to Radio F Software history won't be left out. I still have the original tape masters of Radio F skits that were recorded in the nineties. Despite their damage and age I am working on remastering them and next year I will be releasing "This Is F.U.C.K. Radio: The 30th Anniversary Collection" on physical disc in very limited numbers. Later on down the road I'm planning on working with my old friend Dan from the RFSHQ era to bring an archive of the website's content back online for its upcoming 20th anniversary.

     

    For a media label that's been defunct since 2008 there sure is a lot on the horizon for Radio F and I for one can't wait to experience it again.

     

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    Radio F, 1997

  9. Here we are the day before leaving 2023, and things in the Bubsy-verse have been quite interesting.  Chatter continues on the Bubsy Officious Discord Server and new Atari continues to hint at further Bubsy games after buying the Accolade titles.   At the very least the execs seem to remember Bubsy well.

     

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    In all this we lost our good friend Michael Berlyn, creator of Bubsy, back in April.  His humor and comments are missed.  Ultimately I feel among his many projects, we the fans helped show him how much his creation of Bubsy as a character is appreciated.

    ScreenShot2023-12-31at4_11_47PM.png.91fdc1eab58e4c4e4072e3128e7690b6.png(by Sponge Fox)

    Earlier this year we witnessed Bubsy Fractured Furry tales as the game was explored with mapping and more short cuts found.  And we also saw hacks of the game maps, and replacement of the music.  And on the "Bubsy Opinions" thread we even got some input from Andrew Seed, the programmer of Bubsy: Fractured Furry Tales.  If you look on that thread there is a version of the game that opened up a hack to the lost room on the sixth level.

     

    Earlier this year in April there was an interview with Bubsy Fractured Furry Tales producer, Faran Thomason.   We see Faran on some of the Atari forum on Facebook and other places.

     

    In the Bubsy merchandise we caught a sighting of a long sleeve version the Bubsy 1 shirt.  And we caught a few more examples of the ever rare Bubsy plush!  And here at the end of the year one of the iron on T-shirt Transfers showed up on ebay:

     

    ScreenShot2023-12-31at3_45_04PM.thumb.png.9630165018f682c3d24e5cf9345a3516.png

     

    What are iron on T-Shirt transfers?  Well growing up in the 70s and 80s and into the early 90s there was a promotional item for whatever was being promoted.  I honestly don't remember what my first shirt was to sport a iron on decal.  I did recently find another iron on from a Cheerios cereal box promotion:

     

    240962815_10158617720128651_1903118438185505009_n.thumb.jpg.84ed2fdfb708533cb68969c2a9b14680.jpg

     

    You would place this on your T-shirt decal side down, and the heat from the iron when pressed against the wax paper surface would do one of two things: 1) activate the adhesive so the decal would stick to the T-Shirt and 2) release the decal from the wax paper even so that you could peel away the wax paper once the iron on transfer/decal was applied.

     

    When it came to the Cheerio's promotion for the T-shirt image for "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" which you see above from 1978, I honestly can't remember if it came in the cereal box, or if you sent off for the iron on transfer by sending in a certain amount of box tops to a certain address and the cereal company would send a iron on transfer.  Honestly the latter would be a better way to go as not everyone would want a iron on transfer of a movie.  Some might just want to eat their Cheerios in peace.  :P

     

    That brings us to the Bubsy iron on transfer, which I believe came from around 1993 and around the Bubsy: Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind game:

    ScreenShot2023-12-31at3_18_26PM.png.a08c797feef74a2963b8c3d3e7c3240c.pngScreenShot2023-12-31at3_18_33PM.png.35145df06793af738aa605f2de0b9973.png

    So far the Bubsy Fan Blog and friends have not found out how this iron on transfer was distributed.   Currently asking the person this transfer was bought from, so we'll see if they can shed some more light on this.

     

    (and they responded on January 2nd)

    "I used to be a store manager at a game stop and it was offered as a pre Purchase promo item if I remember correctly"

     

    Well there we go!

     

     

    Party on Bubsy fans! See you in 2024!!

     

    -The Bubsy Bobcat Fan Blog!

     

     

    Originally posted at:

    https://forums.atariage.com/blogs/entry/18803-cruizin-ebay-the-bubsy-iron-on-t-shirt-transfer-december-2023/

     

    ScreenShot2023-12-31at4_11_58PM.thumb.png.5fb704e5e6f9fe91c56e269bea22a785.png

    (By Spongefox)

     

     

     

  10. I'm over 50, thus I have 1 deceased parent (from year 2000), 1 elderly mom and her elderly husband (of 21 years) , my stepfather. This year I spent a lot of days in support of my 2 elderly parents. My stepfather's health deteriorated a lot in particular, and thus there were many trips to hospitals, caregiving, then in-home hospice, then his death in December at age 84.  Now my mom is a widow again.  The first time she was widowed in 2000, she was only a few years older than I am now. 

     

    So, things like Atari, and homebrewing, well there wasn't much time or energy for that. 

     

    But I did make some progress on these:  

     

    Koffi Redux.  I've been reworking the OG 2002 game in the same 32K memory space. Got some new tweaked graphics like more colors and more interesting backgrounds, a  2-player simultaneous gameplay, and plans for a more pinball-game inspired style of gameplay. But I did all this in the 1st part of 2023 with little progress in the tail end of 2023.  I want to include things like appearing bumpers and targets (on the clouds and tree edges) for Koffi to hit and earn you points as you play.  I'd like to release whatever I can accomplish in 32K as a demo, then bump it up to bank-switched 64K for a more fleshed-out follow up. 

     

    Adventure II 5200 2023. I applied bug-fixes, minor gameplay tweaks,  and engine improvements to the OG 2007 5200 game, still 32K as well. These improvements were based on what I did on Adventure II XE in the 2010's. I don't have much ROM space left.   I was trying to make a new 'base' version of Adventure II 5200 that I could then modify for future DLC ROMs which would have fresh new things for folks to play.  The changes significantly improve the efficiency of the sprite engine. The only problem is that these fixes introduced an old bug.  I could put in a simple plug to identify if the bug happened and fix it on the next frame -   but I really would like to solve the root problem that causes it. I put in an error trap , played in Altirra until the bug happened, then investigated memory.  But I haven't really solved it as I haven't had time the past few months.  

     

    Very little progress of another long-running 5200 Homebrew "Detective Powers". 

     

    Going forward in 2024, after this end-of-year period where I'm really slacking, drinking, and just playing games and watching movies - I hope to get back into the rewarding creativity of homebrewing games for 5200 and A8. 

  11. I recently took the time to learn more about the graphics processors of the Sega Genesys & SNES and realized that my previous "retro 720p GPU" had a little too much Atari 7800 in it's design.  Really, if someone wanted to create an HD 2D GPU they really should start with the SNES (or the GBA or NDS) PPU as these really represent the ultimate in 2D GPU design.  However, IMHO there will be three main challenges which the designer will need to address:

    1. 720p has a 74.23MHz pixel clock (versus 5.37MHz on the SNES) which will limit the number of tile layers & sprites per line and bits per pixel depending upon VRAM width & access speed.  Basically the PPU has to be able to fetch all of the data for each pixel of each tile & sprite from VRAM in less than 13.5ns.
    2. The SNES used a 32x2? tilemap with 8x8 tiles.  At 720p 8x8 tiles would be a 160x90 tilemap, 16x16 a 80x45 tilemap and 32x32 a 40x23 tilemap (closest to SNES).  So the question is what size tile is appropriate (although this could be selectable via different graphics modes).  In addition, larger tiles & sprites need more colors to make best use of those pixels.  (But note #1)
    3. While not as significant as #1 & #2, one minor challenge is the screen width is not a power of two.  If the width is a power of two then each X & Y positions are separate bits in the address byte.  So either the address calculation needs to use adders or there will be wasted space in the tilemaps for vertically scrolling games. 

     

    One enhancement to the SNES I would suggest is to have four address pointers for each tilemap (main, right, down & down+right).  This would greatly simplify scrolling games as the level could be loaded into VRAM screen by screen.

  12. drawer_rants.png.ca66f4e2ddd2f60eccac3405895f71d9.pngThis has been dealt with at this point, so I am going to tell the story. I ordered $257 in laptop accessories to replace what was stolen. As a USPS PO Box holder, I avail myself of its "physical address service," which allows me to ship items to the Post Office's physical address. So now I can get my FedEx, UPS, USPS, and whatever in one convenient location.

     

    FedEx "delivered" my package on November 1. However, by November 10, nobody in the PO knew where it was. The person whose name was on the "proof of delivery" does not sign for packages. I notified FedEx, but a missing package claim must come from the shipper. This is where the story really begins.

     

    I notified Dell via the website. They came back within 24 hours saying, FedEx says it was delivered, we cannot replace or refund you, and your request raises "security concerns." I called and told the rep, I do not want a refund or replacement, I simply need Dell to file a missing package claim with FedEx.

     

    This request generated another ticket, which was responded to in the same manner: FedEx says it was delivered, we cannot refund/replace, your request raises "security concerns." So, I emailed Dell's executive support team (which is where your email to Michael Dell actually goes.)

     

    In this email, I laid out in minute detail the entire event. Within a couple of days, Mikhail responds in the old ticket. He explains his logistics team told him they filed the claim with FedEx which reports the package was delivered. Attached was the same "proof of delivery" website printout they had already given me. Oh, and my request raises "security concerns."

     

    At this point I exploded. I have had a Dell account for 20 years, I have a package which was signed for fraudulently, and is missing, and Dell will not lift a fucking finger to help. As well, since Dell is all but accusing me of fraud, I will frankly say the logistics team is out-right lying. If they had actually filed the claim this could not be resolved so quickly as FedEx takes 10 days to investigate a claim.

     

    With my bank's blessing given the situation, I processed a charge-back. Of course, the day I got my money back from the bank, the package shows up: exactly one month after FedEx says it was delivered.

     

    Here is what apparently went down. The PO has a counter which is marked "USPS outbound packages, only." FedEx and Amazon both have nasty habits of dropping deliveries on this table and just putting in a name in the device. At the end of the day, the USPS staff sweeps that stuff into a bin and off it goes to Jacksonville. We can only assume this is exactly what happened, and they have put up even more signage to indicate the proper delivery process.

     

    I informed Mikhail that the package had shown up, what we believe happened, and that my bank was aware of the situation and would work out the charge-back with Dell. I also told him that I did not want to hear another word from him as he had so poorly handled my case that any further communication would just be salt in the wound, and it is highly unlikely I will never buy from Dell, again. As it is time to replace my laptop, I am looking at a different brand.

     

    The dipshit responded. He was so happy to hear the package was "located," he was sorry for the experience with the delivery, he shared this information with his logistics team which will contact FedEx. Never once apologizing for how Dell would not help me, how Dell accused me of attempting a fraud, how Dell would not take ownership of the situation in any form or fashion.

     

    If this is how Dell will treat a long-time customer, Dell can fuck itself. If Mikhail is constrained by company policy, then the company truly has fallen and consequently has lost me and my customers. If this was not a result of company policy, then Mikhail needs to find a different career as top-tier customer care is not his bag. Additionally, FedEx needs to investigate as this is not the first package which was supposedly delivered, except the other packages were never found and I was refunded by the vendors. But, I seriously doubt this will occur as a result of any effort from Dell.

     

    fuckdell-missingpackage.png.5938442059cd3d7a2e7b8f470a4d9786.png

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    KAYRO

    AGE: SEVENTEEN

    GENDER: MALE

    HAIR COLOR: WHITE

    EYE COLOR: BLUE

    SKIN COLOR: PEACH

    FAMILY: MOTHER AND FATHER

    CLOTHING: SCRAPS OF DISCARDED CLOTHES HE FOUND ON THE STREET

    PERSONALITY: BRAVE,,  KIND,,  RESPONSIBLE

    KAYRO IS A PEASANT ON THE PLANET POLUS..  WHEN HE DID NOT SACRIFICE HIS BELONGINGS TO THE TYRANT CEREBUS,,  HE WAS THROWN INTO THE DUNGEON TO BE PREYED ON BY THE FEARSOME HELLHOUNDS CALLED ZOTS..  OF COURSE HE SURVIVED AND REUNITED WITH HIS FAMILY..

     

     

    CEREBUS

    AGE: PROBABLY FORTIES

    GENDER: MALE

    HAIR COLOR: NONE SPECIFIED

    EYE COLOR: RED

    SKIN COLOR: NONE SPECIFIED

    FAMILY: THE ZOTS AND THE PEOPLE WHO SERVE HIM

    CLOTHING: HELMET WITH A ZIG-ZAGGED PATTERN AND ARMOR WITH RAZOR-SHARP EDGES..

    PERSONALITY: TYRANNICAL,,  EASILY ANGERED,,  SINISTER

    CEREBUS IS THE RULER OF PLANET POLUS AND THE OWNER OF THE FEARSOME HELLHOUNDS CALLED THE ZOTS..  WHENEVER SOMEONE DISPLEASES HIM HE HAS THEM SENT TO THE DUNGEON WHERE THE ZOTS WILL PREY ON THEM..  HE ALSO HAS A PERSONAL VEHICLE CALLED THE STORMRIDER..

     

     

    REDZONE

    AGE: ADULT IN AI YEARS

    GENDER: MALE

    HAIR COLOR: NONE SPECIFIED

    EYE COLOR: RED

    SKIN COLOR: PINK

    FAMILY: NONE SPECIFIED

    CLOTHING: RED ARMOR THAT LOOKS ROMAN,,  BROWN CAPE

    PERSONALITY: LOGICAL,,  COLD,,  CALCULATING

    REDZONE IS THE COMPUTER VIRUS WHO DESTROYED THE CRYPTIC COMPUTER..  HE HAS A SPECIAL WEAPON CALLED A DANTE DART..  

     

     

    BRAD

    AGE: TWENTY FIVE

    GENDER: MALE

    HAIR COLOR: BLONDE

    EYE COLOR: BLUE

    SKIN COLOR: PEACH

    FAMILY: NONE SPECIFIED

    CLOTHING: BROWN SWEATER AND CARGO PANTS

    PERSONALITY: SARCASTIC,,  INDIFFERENT,,  LAID-BACK

    BRAD IS A MALE PATIENT WHO IS AFFECTED WITH AN ABSCESS CLOSE TO HIS HEART..  AMY AND MONICA ZHAO MUST TRAVEL INSIDE HIS BODY ON A MINIATURIZED SUBMARINE TO FIGHT GERMS AND REMOVE THE ABSCESS..

     

     

    DAVID YOUNG

    AGE: TWENTY FOUR

    GENDER: MALE

    HAIR COLOR: RED

    EYE COLOR: GREEN

    SKIN COLOR: PEACH

    FAMILY: NONE SPECIFIED

    CLOTHING: BLACK LEATHER JACKET AND RIPPED SHORTS

    PERSONALITY: BRASH,,  FREE-SPIRITED,,  ALSO VERY TIMID

    DAVID IS A MALE PATIENT WHO HAS DEVELOPED A BLOOD CLOT NEAR HIS BRAIN..  LISA STEIN MUST TRAVEL INSIDE HIS BODY ON A MINIATURIZED SHIP TO MAKE WASTE OF THE CLOT..

     

     

    AMY AND MONICA ZHAO

    AGE: TWENTY EIGHT AND TWENTY NINE

    GENDER: FEMALE

    HAIR COLOR: BLACK

    EYE COLOR: GREEN

    SKIN COLOR: LIGHT YELLOW

    FAMILY: EACH OTHER

    CLOTHING: AMY WEARS A WHITE TANK TOP AND A SKIRT,,  MONICA WEARS A BLACK T-SHIRT WITH DOUBLE DENIM

    PERSONALITY: AMY IS SWEET AND CHEERFUL,,  MONICA IS ROUGH AND BOISTEROUS

    AMY AND MONICA ARE CHIC SISTERS WHO WORK AS SCIENTISTS IN STARPATH CITY..  THEY OWN A SUBMARINE AND A MICRONIZER..

     

     

    LISA STEIN

    AGE: TWENTY SEVEN

    GENDER: FEMALE

    HAIR COLOR: BLONDE

    EYE COLOR: BLUE

    SKIN COLOR: PEACH

    FAMILY: NONE SPECIFIED

    CLOTHING: A LIGHT PINK NURSES OUTFIT

    PERSONALITY: SOFT,,  GENTLE,,  CAREFUL

    LISA IS A DOCTOR WHO WORKS IN MICROBIOLOGY..  SHE OWNS A SUBMARINE AND A MICRONIZER..

     

     

    LUISA

    AGE: ELEVEN

    GENDER: FEMALE

    HAIR COLOR: BRUNETTE

    EYE COLOR: BROWN

    SKIN COLOR: LIGHT BROWN

    FAMILY: NONE SPECIFIED

    CLOTHING: A BLUE SHIRT AND PINK SHORTS

    PERSONALITY: NAÏVE,,  TIMID,,  THINKS BIG

    LUISA IS A YOUNG GIRL WHO LIVES IN SPIRIT BAY AND VENTURES INTO ZACHARY GRAVES' OLD MANSION TO FIND THE URN THAT COULD BE WORTH A FORTUNE..  SHE IS SCARED OF BATS..

     

     

     

  13. arwanderer
    Latest Entry

    After a little over a decade of disinterest in Atari (and video games in general), my son rekindled my interest this past August with programming.  Little did I know that it would be an interesting time period to get back into Atari (the VCS/2600 specifically).  New games were being made, AtariAge was purchased, and a new 2600 would soon be released, among other things.  It all seemed pretty exciting.  

     

    I preordered the Atari 2600+ from Amazon on September 28th.  Over the following weeks, I talked myself into preordering the other stuff too, extra joystick, paddle set, Berserk (Enhanced Edition), and Mr. Run and Jump.  My Atari 2600+ was delivered this evening, but none of the other stuff has even shipped yet. 

     

    Anyways, here's some unboxing photos.  Not a review or anything yet.

     

    image.thumb.jpeg.2850d6c90157dadbf1d68099467e43b5.jpeg

    Back

    The front and back of the packaging.

    3.thumb.jpg.b65901a635814913aa212586bfde6ae5.jpg

    Once you open the top flap, there's the little VCS sitting underneath a protective plastic shield.  To the right is the box containing the joystick and game cartridge.

    4.thumb.jpg.4fa800e44095226a26679528cbdf48b2.jpg

    Underneath the console is a quick start guide and a flat box containing the HDMI and power cables.

     

     

    5.thumb.jpg.7168653721522e17d30d9212fd88b7ac.jpg

    ...and here's everything you get.  The joystick has a nice feel to it.  The game cartridge comes in a little slip case.

    6.thumb.jpg.29d452a4e159dfb343db745166ac55de.jpg

    7.thumb.jpg.0a9bf0ee3c07949a4fcc08917bc5a339.jpg8.thumb.jpg.694b3eae04bef857228e75d4373611a1.jpg

    And finally, here is a side-by-side comparison with an 80's four switch.

    9.thumb.jpg.6eafa2bd28e0fe994f3f089e58e7fe17.jpg

    91.thumb.jpg.14148d465409c981a6fa7e8453f0a46e.jpg

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    OK,, so growing up in the Seventies we all read DC,, right???? I think we all loved SUPERMAN,, BATMAN,, WONDER WOMAN,,  et al..

     

    But there was one hero i was ABSOLUTELY DRAWN TO..

     

    GREEN LANTERN..

     

    specifically HAL JORDAN.. i do not know why i liked him so much,, but that brownish? Reddish? Hair had me IN LOVE..  i think i started liking him the most after seeing him get hypnotized a multitude on the SUPER FRIENDS,,  like damn this guy can SUBMIT..  haha..

     

    But it was a few instances i realize hal was the real deal for me..

     

    I never had head lice in school,,  but someone else in a class i wasn't in did,,  so they sent out the notice that someone has lice and all,,  but WHAT WAS UP WITH THEIR INSISTANCE to anthropomorphize the lice,,  like there was a community living in your hair????

     

    That of course got me INTERESTED,, since i had heard horror stories from friends that lice made your head ITCH.. they shut down the school,, and with me,, that notice,, and a GREEN LANTERN hyperfixation,, I just wrote an entire story of Hal Jordan with ANTHROPOMORPHIC LICE in his hair..  i could visualize the itching in my mind..  how he went from being sassy about it to ABSOLUTELY FUCKING FERAL as the story progressed as the itching was driving him MAD.. and of course SUPERGIRL and BATGIRL were there to help him out by combing his hair,,  which just made things worse as the itching had turned into pain.. blame the PORKY PIG with the RAT STAMPEDE record for this whole interest with the anthropomorphic lice..

     

    Later when i was like 11 i owned a game called TUMMY ACHE by colorforms,,  the object of this game was to give this kid junk food until he threw up..  now first of all i ate alot of junk food and never threw up..  but something about this interested me..  so i wrote a story about hal jordan eating the same food in the game (real versions OFC),,  and getting a tummy ache + throwing up.. This time CAROL FERRIS was there to take care of him,,  pepto bismol alka seltzer..  it was oddly cute..

     

    Also when i played FANTASTIC VOYAGE for 2600 the first time,,  I imagined the patient being Hal Jordan..  this was before david so i had to make something up on the spot.. lol..

     

     

    In the Nineties when Hal became PARALLAX i was strangely like,,  "yeah i think i like hal all over again",,,  keep in mind I was 24..  i wrote a story where he got a fever,,  showing he wasn't invulnerable even if he was an unstoppable badass..  and paying homage to that first FANTASTIC VOYAGE playthrough,,  carol had to shrink and go inside him to cure it..  since parallax being bratty asf "COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!!" Cute and savage at the same time..

     

    When steve blum did hal's voice in INJUSTICE 2 I felt my childhood return..  especially when he became a red lantern and got all angry.. reminded me of hal going FERAL in some of the stories i wrote..  i believe there was one of him with chickenpox..  yeah feel free to laugh at me.. i'm a fiend,,  and hal is why..

  14.  

     

    I forgot about these blogs existing

     

    In anticipation of the 2600+ I've updated my updated 2600 list:   I just need 2 to finish the Activision set!

     

    3-D Tic Tac Toe
    Adventures of Tron
    Air Sea Battle
    Airlock
    Alien
    Amidar
    Arcade Golf
    Armor Ambush
    Asteroids
    Astroblast
    Atlantis X2
    Bank Heist
    Barnstormning
    Basic Math
    Basketball
    Battlezone
    Beany Bopper
    Bermuda Triangle
    Berzerk
    Big Bird's Egg Catch
    Blackjack 
    Blueprint
    Bowling
    Boxing
    Brain Games
    Breakaway IV
    breakout
    Bridge
    Buck Rogers
    bugs
    California Games
    Canyon Bomber
    Carnival
    Casino
    Centipede
    championship soccer
    Checkers
    Chopper Command
    Circus Atari x2
    Circus Convoy
    Coconuts
    Combat
    Commando
    Commando Raid
    Cookie Monster Munch
    Cosmic Ark
    Crackpots
    Crossbow
    Cruise Missile
    Crypts of Chaos
    Crystal Castles
    Dare Driver (Sky Diver)
    Dark Cavern
    Dark Chambers
    Deadly Duck
    Decathlon
    Defender
    Defender II
    Demon Attack
    Demons to Diamonds
    Dig Dug
    dodge 'em
    Dolphin
    Donkey Kong 
    Double Dragon
    Dragon Fire
    Dragster
    E.T
    Enduro
    Fantastic Voyage
    Fast Eddie
    Fast Food
    Fathom
    Final Approach
    Fire Fighter
    Firefly
    Fishing Derby
    Flash Gordon
    Football
    Freeway
    Frogger
    Frogger II: Threedeep
    Frogs and Flies
    Frostbite
    Galaxian
    Ghost Manor/Spike's Peak double-ender
    Ghostbusters
    Golf
    Gopher
    Gorf
    Grand Prix
    H.E.R.O.
    Haunted House
    Homerun
    Human Cannonball
    Ice Hocey
    Ikari Warriors
    Indy 500
    Journey Escape
    Joust
    JR Pac-Man
    Jungle Hunt
    Kaboom
    Kangaroo
    Keystone Kapers
    Krull
    Kung-Fu Master
    Laser Blast
    Lock 'N' Chase
    M.A.D.
    Mario Bros
    Mash
    Math Gran Prix
    Maze Craze
    Mega Force
    Megamania
    Midnight Magic
    Millipede
    mineature golf
    Miner 2049er
    Missile Command
    Mogul Maniac
    Moonsweeper
    Mouse Trap
    Ms Pac-Man
    Night Driver
    No Escape
    Oinki
    Omega Race
    Othello
    Outlaw
    Pac-man
    Pele's Soccer
    Pete Rose Baseball
    Phoenix
    Pitfall II
    Pitfall!
    Planet Patrol
    Plaque Attack
    Pole Position
    Pooyan
    Popeye
    Porky's
    Pressure Cooker
    Private Eye
    Qbert
    Racquetball
    Raiders of the Lost Ark
    Rampage
    Reactor
    Realsports Baseball x2
    Realsports Football
    Realsports Tennis
    Riddle of the Sphinx X2
    River Raid
    Robot Tank
    Seaquest
    Skiing
    Sky Jinks
    Slot Racers
    Smurf
    Solar Fox
    Solaris
    Sorcerer's Apprentice
    Space Attack
    Space Cavern
    Space Invaders
    Space Jockey
    Space Shuttle
    Space War
    Spacechase
    Speedway II
    Spider Fighter
    Spider-Man
    Squeeze Box
    Stampede
    Star Raiders
    Star Ship
    Star Strike
    Star Trek
    Star Voyager
    Star Wars Empire Strikes Back
    Star Wars Return of The Jedi
    Star Wars:Jedi Arena
    Stargate
    Starmaster
    Stellar Track
    Strategy X
    Street Racer
    Street Racer
    Summer Games
    Super Breakout
    Super Challenge Baseball
    Super Challenge Football
    Super Football
    Superman
    Surround
    Swordquest Earthworld
    SwordQuest Fireworld
    Tac-Scan
    Tennis
    Title Match
    Towering Inferno
    Trick Shot
    Tron Deadly Discs
    Turmoil
    Tutankham
    Vanguard
    Venture
    video checkers
    Video Chess
    Video Olympics
    Video Pinball
    Warlords
    Warplock
    Winter Games
    Wizard of Wor
    Word Zapper
    Worm War I
    Yars Revenge
    Zaxxon

     

     

    Right now I'm looking for the following:

     

    Cosmic Commuter
    River Raid II
    Bump N Jump
    Dishaster
    Encounter At L-5
    Fatal Run (PAL only [retron 77 compat})
    Frankenstein's Monster
    Gravitar
    Lost Luggage
    Moon Patrol
    Name This Game
    Pigs in Space
    Real Sports Boxing
    Real Sports Volleyball
    Skate Boardin'
    Skeet Shoot
    Sneek'n Peek
    Soccer
    Strawberry Shortcake
    Super Cobra
    Thunderground
  15. Last Updated: 2023y_10m_26d_0403t (Started: 2023y_10m_21d_0538t)

     

    I'm sure I'll forget most of this stuff once I stop playing, so here are some random thoughts and tips in case I or anyone else wants to know in the future.

     

    I had some gift card money built up, so I bought Starfield on September 13, 2023 for $74.71 without realizing that the only way it works on my Xbox is through the "cloud." So I bought three months of Game Pass Ultimate at Amazon.com. I've been disconnected from the cloud countless times and the game randomly freezes up (just like all the Bethesda games I've played before). It's very irritating when the game freezes up when trying to save.

     

    There could be semi-spoilers below depending on how much you don't know about the game. Read at your own risk.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Do Not Trust Auto Save

     

    Always save manually since you could lose hours of gameplay if you trust auto save. I've also had the game freeze up while trying to save manually, so expect that to happen more than once.

     

     

     

    Favorite Weapon

     

    Commander's Advanced Orion

    ENGY 234

    AMMO 3KV LZR - MAG 40

    ROF 33 - RANGE 60 - ACC 85.2%

    • Long Barrel
    • Recon Laser Sight
    • Medium Scope
    • Focus Nozzle
    • Ignition Beams
    • Amplifier

     

    That's after I fixed it up at weapon workbench with all of the crap you need unlocked and a bunch of resources. I've tried all kinds of weapons and none of them seem to be as good as my fixed up Orion. My Orion kills just about anything in a few shots. Weapons that are supposed to be at least two times more powerful seem to do less damage.

     

    Since I only use one weapon, I buy 3KV LZR CARTRIDGE AMMO every chance I get. I have almost 4,000 in my inventory at this time. I had more the first time I played if I remember correctly.

     

    I don't know if it's because I was at level 80, but I found and fixed up a new Corrosive Commander's Advanced Orion. It has the same stats as above (except it has ENGY 222 instead of ENGY 234). It also deals double damage to targets with full health and randomly deals corrosive damage and reduces the target's armor over 6 seconds.

     

    I found this at level 81 or 82:

     

    Eternity's Gate Legendary Particle Beam Rifle

    PHYS 163 - ENGY 608

    AMMO Heavy Particle Fuse - MAG 20

    ROF 25 - RANGE 70 - ACC 81.6%

    • Long Barrel
    • Recon Laser Sight
    • Recon Scope
    • Focus Nozzle
    • Ignition Beams
    • Amplifier

     

    I'm using this new one for now.

     

     

    Favorite Spacesuit

     

    I don't really like the special spacesuit you get after finishing the game a certain way, so I went back to the Mantis outfit. I fixed up all three pieces the best I could and it seems to be better in general than the other spacesuits I've fixed up and tried.

     

     

     

    Favorite Powers

     

    Personal Atmosphere

    This is my favorite power since I collect a ton of stuff to sell when taking out a bunch of bad guys (I quickly get encumbered). I can create a bubble of oxygen for a certain amount of time and run at high speed.

     

    Sense Star Stuff

    See living humans even when they are behind walls. Helpful when fighting bad guys or trying to find crew members on your large ship.

     

    Elemental Pull

    Instantly extract nearby resources from the ground.

     

    Void Form

    Becoming invisible is great for stealing ships from bad guys.

     

     

     

    Ship

    FUEL 1300

    HULL 1576

    CARGO 38460

    C REACTOR 41 - CREW 8

    JUMP RANGE 29 LY - SHIELD 1500

    BAL 74 - MSL 581 - PAR 38

    TOP SPEED 130

     

    my_ship.thumb.png.0aa0a938a12c1bb612b4171240e223c8.png

     

    I adapted the Star Eagle and now the cargo hold capacity is 38,460. I got tired of going back to the basement of the Lodge. I can keep most of my resources on the ship and upgrade things using the ship's workbenches.

     

    Thanks to this page I found out that the Stroud Battle Station 2x2 (sold in the Stroud-Ecklund shop in Neon) increases crew capacity by a significant amount.

     

    I didn't know until my second time playing that I could put stuff into or take stuff out of my ship's cargo hold from a fairly long distance away from the ship. For example, you can be up the stairs past "The Rock" in Akila City and still access the cargo hold. Press the menu button, use the left stick to select SHIP (bottom left), press the A button, then press X for CARGO HOLD. It's nice to know that if you are close enough to the ship, you can put things into and take things out of the cargo hold.

     

    In case you didn't know or in case I forget, the cargo hold is accessible when dealing with shop owners (switch between the seller, you, and the ship using the bumper buttons) and any resources in your cargo hold seem to be available when you use a workbench anywhere on any planet.

     

    My 2-story ship has the Cabot C4 Bridge with the stairs. The only ladder is at the far back where the docker is.

     

     

     

    Selecting Multiple Parts of Your Ship When Editing

     

    I didn't know how to select multiple ship parts the first time I played. I moved individual parts too many times to count and it was boring and annoying. The second time, I looked it up and pages like this said we could select multiple parts using the right bumper. Click on each part that you want to move with the right bumper to change the color, click on any part of the highlighted section using the A button, then drag the whole section where you want.

     

     

     

    Beware of Asteroids

     

    If you shoot asteroids, there is a chance that some of them will stick with your ship. I have 8 stuck around my ship at various distances. They can't be shot and they can block your view of an enemy ship. I've shot at my phantom asteroids countless times when trying to shoot at real asteroids.

     

     

     

    Selling Contraband

     

    The first time playing, I looked up how to sell contraband and I got some kind of complicated crap about joining a group of some kind and doing a bunch of missions before I could sell my illegal stuff. So I just dropped it all into space. I eventually found out that all you have to do is go to a star system called WOLF that is to the right of SOL and above ALPHA CENTAURI. Simply dock with THE DEN that is orbiting Chthonia. Sell your illegal stuff and anything else you want to sell to the guy at the Trade Authority.

     

     

     

     

     

    Useful Links

     

    Ship power allocation randomly changing

    Xbox Shipbuilding - Multi-Select

    No ladders 2-story ship

    Starfield Glitch Gets Player Unexpected Traveling Companion

     

     

     

     

     

     

    MORE TO COME

     

     

     

     

     

  16. Just a fun thiing I put together today.   Sadly this awesome banner I was not able to use as a cover picture for Facebook:

     

    Bentley_Breaking_Bad_792x178.thumb.gif.5cbad7c3dbf1dff4d3adea858544af47.gif

     

    So I made this static picture.  Enjoy!

     

    ScreenShot2023-10-02at3_39_00PM.png.a948e21bd166a40dd832c63f4e61af49.png

     

    One more for Atari's unspoken mascot!

    • 1
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      views

    Recent Entries

  17. I have worked long and hard on a NTS-1 Patch Editor to make it operate with the Diamond GOS.  But I fear that it will never work on my system.  Strange things started happening as the last of the routines were being worked on.  It's taken me a couple of months to realize that the drive to continue working with Diamond was at an end.

     

    Over time there were bugs showing up in this compiled program in an ever-increasing frequency.  These were problems with code that had already been debugged. At some point I noted that the Free Space reported at the end of the M65 assembly process was all over the place.

     

    The real surprise was when an operational program was downloaded from a previous blog entry and would not compile into a working version. Then I couldn't get a simple show-me-a-Dialog-box program to compile and run.

     

    I don't have the drive to figure out the problem.  It could be the Diamond and/or MAC65 Cart, or the computer.  I've even wondered if the power supply might be part of the problem.

     

    And…. There is a real possibility that I wasn't up to the programing challenge. This program did require some parts of my brain that hadn't been simulated for some time.

     

    Now, I still want utility programs for the NTS-1 and the MIDI MUSIC SYSTEM. They just won't be running under a GOS.

     

    Please leave me a thumbs down if you're devastated by this news.

  18. During a discussion with @SvOlli about how to optimize calculations required for a low-res, playfield based plasma effect within a 512 byte demo for the 2600, I started coding myself to verify my own ideas. This eventually led to the current code.

    Usually the plasma effect is created by combining sine waves. Since one of the goals was to use only minimal ROM space, I started by using precalculated, small sine tables. This worked OK, but still needed some ROM space and also a lot of checks in the code when wrapping around the table index. This also affected my second goal negatively: display as many scanlines with the highest vertical resolution possible. While looking for improvements, I found this website, which uses easy to calculate parabolas for generating sine tables. A stock 2600 cannot make use of this, due to the limited RAM. But Svolli wanted to use CommaVid bankswitching, which allows up to 2K of RAM. Great! After a little optimizing, I came up with the following code. Since it is placed right after the initial clear loop, A and X are 0 already, so that saves a few bytes too.

     

        ldy     #$3f                ; A = X = 0!
    ; Accumulate the delta (normal 16-bit addition):
    .loopSine
    ; Reflect the value around for a sine wave:
    ;    clc                         ; this makes no difference
        pha                         ; = .delta
        adc     .value				
        sta     .value
        lda     .delta+1
        adc     .value+1
        sta     .value+1
        sta     SinLstW + $c0,x
        sta     SinLstW + $80,y
        eor     #$7f
        sta     SinLstW + $40,x
        sta     SinLstW + $00,y
    ; Increase the delta, which creates the "acceleration" for a parabola:
        pla                         ; = .delta
        adc     #$08                ; this value adds up to the proper amplitude
        bcc     .skipHi
        inc     .delta+1
    .skipHi
    ; Loop:
        inx
        dey
        bpl     .loopSine

    The result is a 256 bytes sine table, ranging from 0 to 127. So now we have a large table which automatically wraps around. Nice.

     

    For creating the plasma effect, several sines with different offset and frequency have to be combined. Svolli's idea was to aggregate two sines per axis. And then aggregate the results per playfield pixel. If that result overflows (carry set), the pixel would be set. Even for a mirrored playfield, the number of calculations required for the final aggregates exceed the available CPU time by far. So the plan was (and still is), to do that on-the-fly during kernel display. Here is an excerpt of the original code:

    LoopKernel
        lda   YSinLst,y  	; from CV RAM, e.g. 50 aggregated sine values
        tay               
        adc   xSinLst+19	; from ZP-RAM, 20 aggregated sine values
        ror   .tmpPF0
        tya
        adc   xSinLst+18
        ror   .tmpPF0
        tya
        adc   xSinLst+17
        ror   .tmpPF0
        ...			; and so on for 20 pixel and 3 PF registers
        lda   .tmpPF0
        sta   PF0  

    This fully unrolled code would need 10 cycles per pixel for the sine list aggregation. So that's 200 cycles already, and with some overhead (e.g. colors), it would barely fit into 3 scanlines, and most likely need 4 scanlines. That's when Svolli contacted me, asking if I have any ideas how to optimize this.

     

    Since I had never coded the effect, initially I barely understood all the details. :) But somewhere in the back of my mind I had the idea that there must be a simpler solution. I first thought about using deltas in xSinLst to avoid the TYA, and this would have saved 2 cycles per calculation. But then I came up with something completely different. Instead of adding the two sine lists, due to their symmetric nature, subtracting them might work as well. And since we only need the carry flag, we could use CMP instead of SBC. Which means we could use A for aggregating the carries. Here is the new, faster code:

        ldy     #KERNEH_H-1
    LoopKernel                      
        ldx     YSinLst,y           
        cpx     xSinLst+19          
        ror                         
        cpx     xSinLst+18          
        ror                         
        cpx     xSinLst+17          
        ror
        ...
        sta	    PF0

    Now each pixel requires only 5 cycles, 50% saved! :) Which makes the code fit into just two scanlines now. But does it really work? Svolli was not convinced, so I started coding myself to test the idea. The initial results where OK, but no exactly what I was expecting. But that was due to a lack of understanding of how to prepare the sine lists. Svolli was kind enough to give me some detailed explanations. Later it turned out, that the new kernel code works almost exactly like the original code. Just that everything is shifted by 180°. Which doesn't matter for the plasma effect at all.

     

    The missing piece was the calculation of the sine lists for X and Y axis. Since we combine two sine tables per axis with varying offsets, we first have to change their offset each frame. To make movement smooth, 16 bit math is used here. So that's four 16 bit additions. Again we can make use of the 256 byte table size to ignore any overflow checks. And then I had the idea, that we could do eight 8 bit additions instead. Which makes the loop a bit smaller and saves some bytes. I only had to rearrange the variables a bit.

    offsetLst       ds NUM_SPEEDS*2
    xOffsetAHi      = offsetLst
    ;xOffsetALo      = offsetLst+1
    xOffsetBHi      = offsetLst+2
    ;xOffsetBLo      = offsetLst+3
    yOffsetAHi      = offsetLst+4
    ;yOffsetALo      = offsetLst+5
    yOffsetBHi      = offsetLst+6
    ;yOffsetBLo      = offsetLst+7 
        ...
        ldx     #8-1
    .loopOffsets
        lda     offsetLst,x        
        adc     SpeedTbl,x         
        sta     offsetLst,x        
        dex                        
        bpl     .loopOffsets

    Pretty simple.

     

    What's left now, are the final calculations of the two sine lists from two sine tables each. This is pretty time consuming, as we have to do 20 calculations for the X-axis and about 100 calculations for the Y-axis.

     

    Since the X-axis goes into ZP-RAM and I need X and Y registers for the offsets, I make heavy use of the stack pointer here. For that I did put the list at the beginning of the ZP-RAM, so that I can now easily check the N-flag in the loop branch. 

    ; setup X-list:
    ; A = xOffsetAHi from previous code          
        ldx     #xSinLst+PF_BITS-1  ; 2
        txs                         ; 2             SP also used as loop counter     
        ldy     xOffsetBHi          ; 3 =  7
    LoopCopyX
        tax                         ; 2
    ;    clc                         ; 2		
        lda     SinLst,x            ; 4
        adc     SinLst,y            ; 4     
        pha                         ; 3     
        tya                         ; 2 = 15
        adc     #13                 ; 2
        tay                         ; 2     
        txa                         ; 2
    ;    clc                         ; 2      
        adc     #-11                ; 2 = 8 
        tsx                         ; 2
        bmi     LoopCopyX           ; 3/2= 5/4

    That's 28 cycles per loop. Nice!

     

    Adding 13/-11 to the offsets for each column simulates using sinus tables of higher frequencies. So we can use our single 256 bytes sinus table here too. The values used for adding are arbitrary chosen, they just have to look nice. The code ignores clearing the carry flags, because I found that the differences are hardly noticeable, only of you look very closely. Since my goal is to minimize the ROM space, this is an acceptable compromise, IMO.

     

    Now to the Y-axis. Here we have to do the same calculation for about 100 values, so this is very time consuming. Especially since I cannot use the stack pointer, so I have to use variables to keep track. Initially I planned to put the previous code into Overscan and the Y-axis calculations into VBlank. But then I would have wasted some remaining CPU time in Overscan. But I wanted to display as many scanlines of plasma as possible. So I had to split the calculation between Overscan and VBlank. Doubling the code was out of question, and a subroutine would have made the code more complex and slower. Then I had the idea, that I could check the timer during the loop, do the VSync when it is due and continue with the loop. The timer check would have cost me extra cycles, but the extra CPU time gained from Overhead made more than up for that. Still the timer check was bugging me, since reading INTIM takes 4 cycles. Eventually I realized that all my code execution timings are constant (or can be made constant), so I don't need the timers are all!

    ; setup Y-list:
    .tmpX       = tmpVars
        lda     yOffsetAHi          ; 3
        sta     .tmpX               ; 3
        ldy     yOffsetBHi          ; 3
        ldx     #KERNEL_H-1         ; 2 =  8
    LoopCopyY
        txs                         ; 2 =  2
        dec     .tmpX               ; 5
        ldx     .tmpX               ; 3
        tya                         ; 2
        adc     #5                  ; 2
        tay                         ; 2 = 14
    ;    clc			 ; 2
        lda     SinLst,x            ; 4
        adc     SinLst,y            ; 4 =  8
        tsx                         ; 2
        sta     YSinLstW,x          ; 5 =  7
    ; Instead of splitting the loop, do the vertical sync in the middle of the loop.
    ; This maximizes the available CPU time for the loop and minimizes the code.
        cpx     #OVERSCAN_X         ; 2
        bne     .skipVSync          ; 3/2= 5/4
        lda     #%1110              ;           each '1' bits generate a VSYNC ON line (bits 1..3)
    .loopVSync
        sta     WSYNC               ;           1st '0' bit resets Vsync, 2nd '0' bit exits loop
        sta     VSYNC
        lsr
        bne     .loopVSync          ;           branch until VSYNC has been reset
    .skipVSync
        dex                         ; 2
        bpl     LoopCopyY           ; 3/2= 5/4

    41 cycles per loop, ~3977 cycles (~53.3 scanlines) in total. That would have never fit into Overscan only, even if we deduct the 5 extra cycles for the VSync check.

     

    Finally I just have to waste the few remaining cycles (~150):

        ldx     #VBLANK_X           ;           waste remaining time
    .waitTim
        dex
        bne     .waitTim
        sta     WSYNC

     

    For now, everything was just black and white, which looked pretty dull, even with animation:

    NoColor_1.thumb.png.e480e68e8516f7d34afecfd95a7fbbcf.png NoColor_2.thumb.png.ec60bcd4a80cbf64c7eaba826d5a9fa6.png

    But the kernel code had ~25 cycles free within its two scanlines. By rearranging the code a bit, I was able to merge the free cycles into one block. And after a bit of experimenting, I came up some code which mixes the values of PF1 and X. Not exactly what plasma usually looks like, but still nice looking. Maybe one could use a precalculated a color table here, but what do I know. :) 

     

    ; A = PF1, X = YSinLst,y
        and     #$60                ; 2         ;  0, 2, 4, 6
        adc     colorOr             ; 3         ; +2, 3, 4, 5, 6 
        sta     .tmpCol             ; 3         ;  2..12
        txa                         ; 2
        lsr                         ; 2
        lsr                         ; 2
        lsr                         ; 2
        lsr                         ; 2
        ora     .tmpCol             ; 3
        sta.w   COLUPF              ; 4 = 25    @17     

    To make the colors move lively, I change colorOr every 256 frames:

        inc     frameCnt            ; 5
    ; update color
        bne     .skipColor          ; 3/2= 8/7
        lda     colorOr             ; 3
        cmp     #$50                ; 2
        bcc     .ok                 ; 2/3
        sbc     #$50+1              ; 2
    .ok
        adc     #$20                ; 2
        sta     colorOr             ; 3                 $28..$68
    .skipColor      

    That looks much more interesting:

    Color_1.thumb.png.75b38ea146937380d6c186b49eb0a436.png Color_2.thumb.png.92e0b553ccdaa0ab3779e0267e24990b.png

     

    One last little trick is, that I use BRK to jump back to the begin of the main loop.

     

    Now, what's the final result? The minimal code (no color) needs exactly 247 bytes, with colors added ~30 bytes more. And in the end I managed to display 97 double scanlines (NTSC, 117 for PAL). So a nice demo with sound and some bells and whistles within 512 bytes seems very double.

     

    I also experimented with a 32 pixel wide, non-mirrored playfield, but that takes at least 385 bytes and halves the vertical resolution:

    image.thumb.png.a24220eda253bf227fe8b0ad9253f062.png

    Anyway, I am no demo coder, so I stopped here. But I learned some new tricks, which I can maybe use in the future.

     

    I have attached some ROMs and source code files. PlasmaCompact.asm shows the cleaned code, with all options and further distracting stuff removed. Then I have the same code, prepared for PAL and NTSC, and with some assembler options. I also added my code for the non-mirrored playfield. And last not least, a version with Svolli's nice full coloring.

    Plasma_FC.thumb.png.538d693734d3ab9d057ef3ea9c15d637.png

     

    The ROMs show the results with all options enabled, which means you can change the settings with the joystick:

    • With left difficulty = B you can change the offset steps within the setup loops. Left and right for X offset steps, up and down for Y offset steps. Since there are two values each, you change be 2nd value by holding the fire button.
    • With left difficulty = A you can change the speed of the initial offset changes. Again, left and right for X offset speeds, up and down for Y offset speeds. And since there are two values each here too, use the fire button for the 2nd one.
    • By using RESET, you can reset all settings to their initial values. 

     

    The effects of the changes are hard to describe. But when you experiment with them, you will get an idea. Here is an example:

    image.thumb.png.87cd2139e7cc7f2ee770f8d467280c83.png

    I hope that made sense or you have at least some fun playing with the plasma effect.

     

    Thanks to @SvOlli for contacting me and helping me out quite a lot. Therefore I respectfully waited with the release of this entry until after the Nordlicht 2023 demo party (September 8. - 10.), where he successfully presented his demo.

     

     

    Plasma.bin Plasma.asm PlasmaCompact.bin PlasmaCompact.asm PlasmaAsym.bin PlasmaAsym.asm Plasma_FC.bin Plasma_FC.asm

  19. Yes, that blog title is hinting at the subject of this post. Care to take a guess? Ok, yes, it was obvious to anyone with half a functioning brain that I'm referring to the Atari VCS, of which I am now a proud and unworthy user. As you can see by my thread in the VCS forum, I purchased this last December when Atari had a big sale going on, but didn't hook it up then because I simply didn't have room to do so. Fast forward about 9 months or so, and the recent news about Atari purchasing this very website has kind of lit a flame under my rear, and one of the consequences of that was me finally getting around to hooking up the box.

     

    Well, you can read my impressions of it in that thread if you want to know what I think. It's both a car crash and a miracle rolled up into one piece of technology, and I'm having quite a good time with it so far, despite its obvious flaws. There's tons of unrealized potential in this box, but at the same time just looking at it fills me with excitement....it's really hard to explain. Should I be enjoying it as much as I am? Probably not, and let's face it, there are plenty of good and valid reasons to find it an utter disappointment. The system has plenty of glitches and bugs that drive me to the point of insanity at times, such as my controller not wanting to sync up for a full minute despite the fact that it actually wakes up the unit (explain that to me, someone, PLEASE), the fact that I sometimes have to double-press the A button on the home screen to open a game, the default settings for MAME in 7800 games being far less than ideal....the list of problems goes on and on and on.

     

    Yet....I can't stop playing with it, going round after round in Amoeba Jump, doing a few rounds of Caverns of Mars Recharged, or getting my butt kicked in Donut Dodo, I've spent far more time the last 3 days playing on this system than I have spent on my Wii in the last month. It's crazy. Maybe it's that glowing fuji that's putting so much joy into me? Maybe it's the promise of what could come of this iteration of Atari in the future? And actually, that last bit I think hits the nail on the head. I'm feeling inspiration from my all-time favorite brand that puts me back to how I felt as a kid when I first played on the Atari 2600, or when I first opened a present on Christmas to find a 130XE, or when I walked into Babbage's first thing after getting home from boot camp to buy my Atari Jaguar, or even the first day I discovered this website. It's the magic of Atari being rekindled in me for some strange reason, giving a person who feels stuck at the moment in life the swift kick in the ass they need to make something good happen. And I think that's best thing that this little black box that somewhat resembles a Vader 2600 could possibly give to me.

     

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