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About this blog

My recently renewed passion for all-things Atari, as well as more general retro-computing, gaming, and development, has me itching to play, explore, discuss, and build such things. What better place than here to cover various Atari/retro-computing related projects, small and large, both hardware and software in a build-log/series and/or how/to format? And I’m sure other history/commentary will creep in as well ...

Entries in this blog

Tools: Image2Fnt Converter (Atari 8-bit)

IMAGE2FNT - Converts Bit-Mapped Files to Atari 8-bit .FNT Files   This tool was born out of a need, or at least desire, for a quick and easy way to create character sets/fonts for some Atari 8-bit projects I'm working on - most notably my Oregon Trail homage "The Woebegone Trail".  As I talked about in this post, I tried a variety of such tools, some free, some commercial, some Atari 8-bit native, some for modern systems.  None quite worked the way I wanted them too (even though most a

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The Woebegone Trail: DevLog - Day 4 - First Code

Woebegone: An “The Oregon Trail” Homage - DevLog: Day 4 (05/20/24) - "First Code"   Disclaimers   The first thing to say, here, is that this is NOT the actual/final presentation!  It is a low-fidelity, coarse, facsimile of it. Its purpose is purely to bring together the elements/techniques that'll be used in presenting the "Travel Screen" (which will also be the core of the "Title/Start" screen, and the architectural hub of the game), to act as a testb

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The Woebegone Trail: DevLog - Day 3 - Prep & Practice

Woebegone: An “The Oregon Trail” Homage - DevLog: Day 3 (05/18/24) - "Prep & Practice"   Temporal Anomalies   While it has been seven days since I started this DevLog, this is only the third day I’ve had time to work on the project to which it directly pertains.  And in thinking about that, I decided the counter in the graphic, and number of days elapsed, will be incremented for the number of days of actual work on the project, rather than just th

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Tools: Fnt2Data Font Converter (Atari 8-bit)

FNT2DATA - Converts Atari 8-bit .FNT files to data blocks for various Assemblers   As I started my thinking around how I would build "The Woebegone Trail" (my homebrew homage to "The Oregon Trail"), it quickly became apparent that I would be doing a lot of work with custom character sets (both as actual readable character sets, and as "tiles" for ANTIC MODE 4 displays).  Creating those is one thing, which I'll come back to below, but using them is another matter entirely.  And I wasn't

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The Woebegone Trail: DevLog - Day 2 - Dev Tools

Woebegone: An “The Oregon Trail” Homage - DevLog: Day 2 (05/13/24) - "Development Tools"   Choosing Development Tools & Environments   I’ll start here by saying that my original, nostalgia-soaked, thought was to do this build on actual Atari hardware and software (nominally MAC/65) – just as I would have done if I had undertaken this as 12/13 year-old back in 1982.  The attendant nostalgia/purist factor would, however, come at the cost of being tied to a desk.  Not tenabl

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The Woebegone Trail: DevLog - Day 1

Woebegone: An “The Oregon Trail” Homage - DevLog: Day 1 (05/12/24)   Here begins my “devlog” for “The Woebegon Trail” (working title, subject to change); my build of a “homebrew” Atari 800 version of, or at least homage to, the 1985 (and later) versions of “The Oregon Trail”.   Why “Woebegone”?   Let’s start with a definition:   Woebegone [phn: woh-bi-gawn, -gon]   adjective:   Beset with woe; surrounded by woe; affected by woe,

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Tools: Gamestation Pro & THE400 Mini

It would be fair to say that it was the combination of acquiring the Atari Gamestation Pro and then THE400 Mini that re-ignited my Atari retro-focus.  I have computer-based ways to do everything they do, but these dedicated units were very appealing for use on the big-screens and group-play without needing a dedicated computer in the living room.   Credit where it is due; it was @jonreddick's videos on both units, on his GenXGrownUp channel, that got me interested initially.  Things sn

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Introductions, History & Dysentery

A Brief History   I wrote my first code when I was seven or eight.  That was hand translated Z80 opcodes on a NASCOM 1.  I was utterly captivated from the moment my first “program” (a few dozen bytes) showed output; LEDs counting in binary.  Since then, I’ve written and shipped code in every major language, for every significant platform, and on everything from tiny embedded micro-controllers to super computers.   Yet it is the Atari 8-bit series that holds my heart and my fo

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