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Picking up where life left off....


Max_Chatsworth

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So, as I've mentioned before, I've recently come back to Atari 8 bit computing after decades away.  Currently I don't actually have any of my old hardware, other than 520ST.  I am in the progress of procuring some old hardware in the form of an 800XL and supporting hardware(possible disk drives/SIO solution/display/etc).  

 

One of the goals I have set for myself is to *finally* do some programming for the old 800XL.  I did BASIC back in the day on my old 400/800XL, when I was a kid.  Then didn't really touch computing from 90-96 or so while I was in the US Navy.  After leaving the navy I went to school and became a software engineer, which I still am today.  But I never have done any assembly programming.  

 

Until I have actual hardware to develop on, I plan on using one of the emulators I've used over the years(most likely Altirra) to write/test my code. I'm also considering using a windows editor/compiler for the actual development work, whether I have actual hardware or not. 

 

Does anyone have any thoughts on how they would proceed if they were me?

 

More later...

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I'm not a dev or anything, just a technically oriented layperson. But I can tell you that Altirra would be the emulator of choice. It's undergoing upgrades and fixes all the time and has a near-reference level of accuracy. The reference manual there is a great read. http://virtualdub.org/altirra.html

 

 

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On 6/26/2020 at 11:13 AM, Keatah said:

I'm not a dev or anything, just a technically oriented layperson. But I can tell you that Altirra would be the emulator of choice. It's undergoing upgrades and fixes all the time and has a near-reference level of accuracy. The reference manual there is a great read. http://virtualdub.org/altirra.html

 

 

Thanks very much.  I think I will be going with WUDSN which is a dev ide for assembler(atari 8 bit) that integrates and launches Altirra to test your code.  Thanks for the heads up!

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I came here because of the Blue Max banner. I played that game so much as a kid and I even wrote a letter to Bob Polin with some questions and suggestions. He wrote back; wish I still had that letter.

 

Best of luck to your 8 bit programming endeavors. I also did a bunch of BASIC programming on my 800 as a kid but haven't done much programming in the last 20 years.

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10 minutes ago, socrates63 said:

I came here because of the Blue Max banner. I played that game so much as a kid and I even wrote a letter to Bob Polin with some questions and suggestions. He wrote back; wish I still had that letter.

 

Best of luck to your 8 bit programming endeavors. I also did a bunch of BASIC programming on my 800 as a kid but haven't done much programming in the last 20 years.

Ahh..a fellow devotee. I have to say it was probably my favorite game as well both because of the revolutionary scrolling but also the subject matter. Do you recognize my user icon as well?

 

Wow..I'm impressed you were able to get his address back in those days. I had a hell of a time getting it in the internet age. I conversed with him via email 2 years ago quite a bit regarding a Blue Max remake I've been tinkering with for a bit(a modern 64 bit remake/homage). 


I just acquired some equipment from my old days, trying to rebuild my collection from nothing so I can get some projects off the ground. I'll be posting about that on my blog in a bit.  If you are interested, check out the club I am trying to build:  

 

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I'm pretty sure I probably send the letter to Synapse and it got forwarded. That's great that you conversed with him recently. I wonder if there are any published interviews with him. I became of fan of Synapse games and I've collected a few this past year.

 

I also reacquired an Atari 800 (and 800XL) recently. Unfortunately, I threw away all my original hardware about 20 years during a move after having kept everything in boxes for years.

 

You'll need to help me with the user icon.

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4 minutes ago, socrates63 said:

I'm pretty sure I probably send the letter to Synapse and it got forwarded. That's great that you conversed with him recently. I wonder if there are any published interviews with him. I became of fan of Synapse games and I've collected a few this past year.

 

I also reacquired an Atari 800 (and 800XL) recently. Unfortunately, I threw away all my original hardware about 20 years during a move after having kept everything in boxes for years.

 

You'll need to help me with the user icon.

You're in luck!

 

https://ataripodcast.libsyn.com/antic-interview-141-bob-polin-blue-max

 

Incidentally it was the guys at that podcast that got me in touch with Bob.  

 

I was an idiot to let my hardware go back in 1990. Well I didn't so much let it go as I did not safeguard it properly. That's when I left for the navy and left my 800XL in the care of friend of mine and my 400 at my parents house.  Also, in those days I was enlightened enough to think to save ANY old things like toys, games, hardware, etc. I had an original NES and a ColecoVision as well that I just let disappear somewhere in the mists of time.  Ugh....

 

A lot of people don't recall this or never new it but the Synapse promotional flyer for Blue Max inexplicably used cats instead of people:

 

See the source image

 

 

I actually asked Bob about this during my conversations with him and he had no idea why and had never even seen that, having zero to do with marketing/promotion of the game. 

 

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Someone in Synapse marketing department must have been a cat person ?
 

Thank you for the link to the interview.

 

Had I known that there was this thing called “retro” gaming, I’d have held on to stuff ? Oh well. At least I’ve started enjoying all things Atari again. 

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42 minutes ago, socrates63 said:

Someone in Synapse marketing department must have been a cat person ?
 

Thank you for the link to the interview.

 

Had I known that there was this thing called “retro” gaming, I’d have held on to stuff ? Oh well. At least I’ve started enjoying all things Atari again. 

I kind of wandered if they were going all in with that theme since they also had that hit Alley Cat!     So what part of the country are you in if you don't mind me asking?

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Yep, I played Alley Cat quite a bit as well as Necromancer, Shamus, Rainbow Walker, and Dimension X. Fort Apocalypse was my very first Synapse game.

 

I'm in the Seattle area. it used to be called the Second Silicon Valley back in the 90s, I think.

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1 hour ago, socrates63 said:

Yep, I played Alley Cat quite a bit as well as Necromancer, Shamus, Rainbow Walker, and Dimension X. Fort Apocalypse was my very first Synapse game.

 

I'm in the Seattle area. it used to be called the Second Silicon Valley back in the 90s, I think.

Shamus!!! I forgot about that. Also one of the greats. I never owned it technically but my good childhood friend and partner in Atari crime owned it..so you know how that goes. Instead of pirating stuff we essentially just were constantly borrowing from each others collections. I played Fort Apocalypse a few times.   I enjoyed Shamus: Case II quite a bit. Were you the governor's son or something that you had so many of the Synapse titles?! LOL....  For my money Synapse was my favorite game company back in the day and then by virtue of buyout, Broderbund was my favorite, then perhaps SSI.  I never owned most of Synapse/Broderbund's games, but I remember pouring over the catalogues from Synapse/Broderbund drooling at the little screenshots and descriptions, but not having the money to buy all I wanted...hence my buddy and I would pool our resources and buy games in partnership.   

 

Yeah..I think you're right about Seattle....with MS, Amazon, and several other tech giants locating there during the 80's and 90's..it completely changed the economics of the city.  Where I live now is a place called Overland Park, KS which is called the Silicon Prairie since so many tech companies have begun to move to the midwest/KC area and then that was further boosted by KC being the first Google Fiber city. 

 

So are you in tech at all for a living? I gather you are probably around my generation(graduated high school in 89).  

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I did a lot of drooling over the SSI catalog :) I even bought an SSI catalog from eBay last year. I owned Cosmic Balance and maybe a couple more. I also admired the Brøderbund catalog :) Also a fan of Electronic Arts during the days of Archon, Seven Cities of Gold, and MULE. 

 

I was born in 1969 and graduated high school in 88 so we are about the same age. 
 

Yes, I’m in the tech industry. I started my career with Microsoft and then moved to Amazon before landing in my current gig three years ago with HBO (now known as WarnerMedia).
 

It’s cool to hear the tech industry has moved to the Midwest. My wife and I sometimes talk about what our lives may look like when we become empty nesters (still 8-10 years out). Moving to a different part of our vast country has come up in our conversations. 
 

How is life in Kansas City? What do you do for a living? Football fan? 

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Damn..every post you remind me of other greats I played and loved!  My older brother and I spent many a grudge match in Archon II: Adept and I believe Seven Cities of Gold was one of the first games I bought with my own hard earned paper route money and played it religiously in my room in the basement ..but never "solved" it so to  speak.  Electronic Arts also a great one..I had Movie Maker and made some really (at the time) cool stuff with it.  I know people will say it's heresy, but I actually *never* played MULE :)

 

I'm a software engineer, but reading you worked for MS then Amazon, it's pretty clear you've hauled in a lot more $$$ than me! The most "high profile" place I worked was for SquareUSA(the Japanese company that makes Final Fantasy and lots of other Playstation games).  From 1998 to 2001 or so I worked on the rendering pipeline systems for the Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within fully CG movie that came out in 2001. I actually have a former coworker form those days who went and became and engineer at Amazon that I wonder if you might know...a guy named Anthony Higa?

 

 I live in KC, but I moved here a little over a year ago from Hawaii where I lived for 27 years.  I know you're asking "WHY?!?!".  I grew up in KC, joined the navy after high school and after nuke school, got stationed at Pearl Harbor on a fast attack submarine in 91.  My one tour ended in 96, but I had met and married my wife who was born and raised in Hawaii, so I stayed and used my GI Bill to attend the U of Hawaii(where my wife went as well).  W moved back to KC after I had been there for 27 years, since I hadn't seen too much of my folks in the last 2 1/2 decades and they were getting older.  We still have our properties...our house and a couple rental properties in Hawaii..that we will likely retire to after the kids are out of college here. My daughter just graduated and my son is a sophomore and he is eyeing one of the service academies, so we might be empty nesters in about 2 -3 years. 

 

KC is great. I always say it's one of the worst places to visit and the greatest places to live..meaning it's not a huge tourist draw, but boy are the people nice, the roads clear, and the quality of life high. The biggest knock for living here is the weather...hot in the summer and cold in the winter. My wife, being born and raised in Hawaii..has often said thtat long term she'd consider retiring in the Pacific NW, Oregon or Washinton...but I would probably stay outside Seattle just due to the cost of living/real estate there. I also like being central to travelling the whole country. Union Station is a major Amtrak stop on the Southwest Chief historical line...we took a train trip with the kids from KC to Manhattan,NY Penn Station last Spring Break.  When we first moved back to KC, we had planned on living outside of town a bit on some acreage, but with the kids being in school activities and whatnot we decided to stay more in the burbs..and we love our neighbors/neighborhood.  

 

And yeah..tech here has tons of jobs..probably not the power broker IT jobs you are used to in that area, but Garmin started here and is headquartered here and there are tons of other companies with tech jobs here.

 

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