The smooth machine

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby kiwilove007 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:42 am

I could never get interested in the 2600 - mainly because I am graphics orientated. Took art at high school, did drawing as a hobby/interest - that was later superceded by an interest in still photography. So, games and games machines/computers capable of reproducing arcade quality graphics would interest me. I took note of the appearance of the first kitset solder it yourself computers - which did very little at all. I wasn't into electronics or soldering, so I could not get into it then - and the likes of the TRS-80 and such like were of no interest. The Atari 400/800 were the first computers to appear - that seemed better suited than the rest - of course, the Atari name helped. But I got to see the Sega SC3000 console with Starjammer - and was unimpressed by it.
Although I purchased an Atari 800 with 48k, Star Raiders, Pacman and Shamus - it wasn't until Miner 2049'er and the Blue Max appeared - that it seemed I did make the right choice after all. At the arcades Zaxxon made a big impression upon me - and Galaga with it's colourful graphics and fantastic gameplay.
I did get to play the Japanese Famicom - and yes the quality of it's titles showed - I had about 4 titles to play with, including Duck Shoot with the lightgun. But the NES never got to be distributed down here - nor the Sega Master System, I'd guess. Never noticed it's presence - the Sega SC3000 did not do all that well.
I don't play games any more - but I'm keen to discuss game design ideas - and like working again with the old Atari graphics.

I'll guess that everyone has their own preference for games. I never really got into Donkey Kong - although I would play it. I remember the coin-op well, and how certain people got attracted to it. Certain game designs stand out to me - like Bristles, Necromancer, Encounter, Blue Max...

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby kiwilove007 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:43 am

I could never get interested in the 2600 - mainly because I am graphics orientated. Took art at high school, did drawing as a hobby/interest - that was later superceded by an interest in still photography. So, games and games machines/computers capable of reproducing arcade quality graphics would interest me. I took note of the appearance of the first kitset solder it yourself computers - which did very little at all. I wasn't into electronics or soldering, so I could not get into it then - and the likes of the TRS-80 and such like were of no interest. The Atari 400/800 were the first computers to appear - that seemed better suited than the rest - of course, the Atari name helped. But I got to see the Sega SC3000 console with Starjammer - and was unimpressed by it.
Although I purchased an Atari 800 with 48k, Star Raiders, Pacman and Shamus - it wasn't until Miner 2049'er and the Blue Max appeared - that it seemed I did make the right choice after all. At the arcades Zaxxon made a big impression upon me - and Galaga with it's colourful graphics and fantastic gameplay.
I did get to play the Japanese Famicom - and yes the quality of it's titles showed - I had about 4 titles to play with, including Duck Shoot with the lightgun. But the NES never got to be distributed down here - nor the Sega Master System, I'd guess. Never noticed it's presence - the Sega SC3000 did not do all that well.
I don't play games any more - but I'm keen to discuss game design ideas - and like working again with the old Atari graphics.

I'll guess that everyone has their own preference for games. I never really got into Donkey Kong - although I would play it. I remember the coin-op well, and how certain people got attracted to it. Certain game designs stand out to me - like Bristles, Necromancer, Encounter, Blue Max...

Harvey

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Sep 19, 2013 7:14 pm

I'm not so much into gaming these days myself. It's more about to collect everything about the gaming history even if i play some game now and then. Then off course nostalgia is an importand part too. All the great memories from a time when gaming was something new and for the "choosen ones" while most people hardly knew what a videogame was.

I have always been the typical graphic guy too. I think it's very enjoyable to watch how the graphics in a game is made and how the artist used a very limited palette to make a certain game look very good. Some games has such awesome graphics that it's hard to belive that you watch the same console in action.

NES games often contained lots of cut scenes, static drawings and a small story to make the games come alive. It worked surprisingly well.

On Megadrive they often used the sheer speed of the processor to make games look good using many layers of parallax scrolling, like in the Sonic games for exemple. They also used lots of colour cycling for great effect. When comparing Super Mario World to Sonic II it would be easy to think that Megadrive had superior graphics even if Megadrive used a lower resolution and fewer colours. When Sega released Sonic & Knuckles some levels contained incredible good graphics. I remember myself playing the Death Egg Zone stage in Sonic & Knuckles for the first time, i went WOW, AWESOME GRAPHICS.

NES had a total palette of only 52 colours, yet many games looked great thanks to skilled japanese artists from the big gaming companies such Konami and Capcom.

To be honest, i can watch a new game for Xbox, PC or PS3 and think, ok, they have millions of colours to play with, nothing strange. Then i can watch an old Atari or Nintendo game and think, WOW, awesome graphics because i know the limitations. ;)

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby bullis1 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:02 pm

Retrogamer_ST wrote:...even if Megadrive used a lower resolution and fewer colours.

I'm nitpicking here, but Megadrive actually used a higher resolution (320x240) than SNES (256x224). That was one of its strengths that made up for the lower colour-count.
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Re: The smooth machine

Postby kiwilove007 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 10:09 pm

Cost was always a factor for me - as far buying new consoles and new games, etc etc. But also the First Person Shooter was not my favourite genre - as it became more and more graphic. And to endlessly play the scenario of killing people against my own morals. Of course, there is a link with a certain type of person who'll view it as enjoyment from the inhuman and violent act it is.
I did not really want to sell my Atari 800 computer - but if I was to get into the 16-bit computers - I had no choice. And when I finally did buy a PS2 - I actually didn't/couldn't afford any games for it - such was my lack of money.

I did keep a lot of the documentation about the development of Laser Hawk and Hawkquest - and I had interest from New Zealand and Australia - preserveration keepers (digital history) who wanted access to it. Then it so happens that Paul Lay had an idea or several to work on for a new 8-bit Atari project - and so I'm back at it again.
In the beginning I started off drawing some pictures using Micropainter, then Atariartist with touch tablet, then Fun with Art. Started messing around with Fontbyter - which allowed you to create landscapes with characters - and so I mimicked some arcade games with it - a friend scrolled these screens. Another friend started his own game programming - and I did the graphics for him. It was so successfully completed, that we started on a follow up game straight afterwards.
Certainly it was beyond my wildest dreams back in the early days - when I was just playing games in the arcade - keen on buying a computer some time...

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:11 am

bullis1 wrote:
Retrogamer_ST wrote:...even if Megadrive used a lower resolution and fewer colours.

I'm nitpicking here, but Megadrive actually used a higher resolution (320x240) than SNES (256x224). That was one of its strengths that made up for the lower colour-count.


You're right, the higher resolutions of SNES was rarly used. SNES used it's bigger palette and 256 on screen colours to make things (mostly) look smoother then on Megadrive.

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Fri Sep 20, 2013 6:12 am

kiwilove007 wrote:Cost was always a factor for me - as far buying new consoles and new games, etc etc. But also the First Person Shooter was not my favourite genre - as it became more and more graphic. And to endlessly play the scenario of killing people against my own morals. Of course, there is a link with a certain type of person who'll view it as enjoyment from the inhuman and violent act it is.
I did not really want to sell my Atari 800 computer - but if I was to get into the 16-bit computers - I had no choice. And when I finally did buy a PS2 - I actually didn't/couldn't afford any games for it - such was my lack of money.

I did keep a lot of the documentation about the development of Laser Hawk and Hawkquest - and I had interest from New Zealand and Australia - preserveration keepers (digital history) who wanted access to it. Then it so happens that Paul Lay had an idea or several to work on for a new 8-bit Atari project - and so I'm back at it again.
In the beginning I started off drawing some pictures using Micropainter, then Atariartist with touch tablet, then Fun with Art. Started messing around with Fontbyter - which allowed you to create landscapes with characters - and so I mimicked some arcade games with it - a friend scrolled these screens. Another friend started his own game programming - and I did the graphics for him. It was so successfully completed, that we started on a follow up game straight afterwards.
Certainly it was beyond my wildest dreams back in the early days - when I was just playing games in the arcade - keen on buying a computer some time...

Harvey


I was hooked to GAD (Graphics Arts Department) when i used my Atari 800 XL for drawing and on ST i used both DeLuxe Paint, Degas Elite, Canvas and Spectrum 512 to create pictures were DeLuxe Paint was THE app to use with it's fantastic features as the "stencil" feature for exemple.

The good thing about retro gaming no matter what console or computer you want to run, it's all free out there on the net and i have downloaded countless of roms, emulators, scanned computer magazines, longplays and other similar stuff without paying anything for it. The only cost has been thousands of hours to sort everything out in my huge collection of digital history. ;)

I'm glad to see you in action creating graphics for Atari 8bit again. ;)

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby kiwilove007 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 10:34 pm

When Mame first turned up - I got straight into it - marvelling at how you can run the classic arcade games accurately - on what was then a 40Mhz PC - and now it runs all manner of ROMs. I haven't checked out the latest version to see what late model games have since been added. Its more of a question of what games does it not run...
The ultimate Mame setup would be to have arcade quality button and joystick controllers hooked up - and for Defender to have the original buttons with no joystick being used - I can imagine some classic videogames purists having exactly this with a really nice sound system. The original arcade machine would be too expensive these days - and you'd never know how many years it could stay going still?
I have to admit to copying computer games - and doing the inevitable swapping to build up a vast library cheaply enough. Hire libraries took off in the UK - which were mail delivery. Sadly royalties did not go back to the software company/authors via this distribution. Just when you think the games are so old, and machines so few - they may get revived on new portable platforms, such as cellphones and the like.
You would not think that these new doodads could emulate the old Atari 400/800s accurately enough - but I did notice back in the day, that the Dreamcast had an excellent Atari 800 emulator - because I ran Hawkquest on it, with using a PC keyboard - but I wonder if an emulator(s) would appear on tablets and the like?

I did try out most graphics programs for the Atari 800, Atari ST and Amiga computers. Fun with Art had the custom brush (like Deluxe Paint) and colour remapping over the simpler Micropainter. I did get into the Atari Touch Tablet - tried out the Light Pen over a weekend - likewise Computer eyes digitizer. Being friendly (and a best customer) for a local computer store helped get me access to such things - if only briefly. But I set up a slideshow featuring NZ scenes done in Fun with Art colours that probably helped sell a large number? of Ataris... I did edit a small local Atarizine that only ran 2 issues and helped set up the local Atari User Club.

Last year I would not have thought I'd be working on Atari graphics again - because I stopped doing any kind of graphics work in any medium for some years - although I have passed on most of the good material I had concerning the 2 Atari computer games I've worked on. I do want to show off what the Atari 400/800/etc can really do - and to take it towards an 'art' level - which should be apparent in the next demo release - as we've been overly cautious so far in not releasing all that is presentable so far. Seeing that the number of people actively developing these days are so few.

If you have definite design ability and like to work to a high standard, and have the free time? You could easily work on something for us? Or for yourself --- seeing that the editor generates a demo for you anyway. You just need plenty of time and enthusiasm - which will determine how successful you will be. The problem of course, is working with these fat-flat pixels in the GTIA mode - and it's limited colours - its up to you if you want to try to outdo the Atari Robot and Spaceship designs. Of course - the easier route is to copy them somewhat and do your own version of them, that way you truly learn from their design - that is what we all do anyway - in learning.
It takes getting use to the editor too - because it does not have sophisicated drawing routines (or complex ones) - you are working at the pixel level but you do have the custom brush available.

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned trying it out yet. It is straightforward designing your own sprites, using that editor - though so-called multi-coloured sprites on the Atari 400/800 are actually very very difficult to get good colour combinations working - I'm amazed how bounty bob was put together. I find it almost impossible to reproduce that? Unless a programming trick was also used?

You have gotten into more graphics programs than I have - I only did a little work with Technicolour Dream and Rambrandt - and of course I did use Degas Elite and Deluxe Paint II. I would be interested to see what you have done? If you've seen my Youtube videos - you'll see a slideshow of almost all of the pics I have done - year is usually given - and there are some ST/Amiga ones in which I tried recreating actual game graphics. You could recreate game graphics in the current project - where possible. eg. I like to see a Zaxxoness landscape done - probably top view - if possible in GTIA9? (or 10) otherwise Antic 4 will have to do...

Harvey
Last edited by kiwilove007 on Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby nativ » Fri Sep 20, 2013 11:20 pm

http://www.bigfivesoftware.com/Emulator/emulator.htm

Here it mentions Bounty Bob used NO OS calls as this chap was able to emulate the Atari bit to run Bounty Bob with NO OS ROM!
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Re: The smooth machine

Postby kiwilove007 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:43 am

I should mention that - with retrogames development....

If a programmer does not have the graphic design skill to produce high quality graphic designs - he should be able to get someone else to do that. There should be keen graphics guys (and girls) out there, who would do that kind of work for you.

Also it should be possible for programmers to work together. Not every programmer is fully capable to create their own program - and develop it to the max. I'm not a programmer - but I can guess there are lead programmers who enjoy creating new projects - but are reluctant to finish them - to the quality necessary to be 'completed'. And so it is possible for another programmer to actually do the finishing work required for a major project - which is very boring and tedious to do, to retest, change and retest again and again - until a game is gametested enough to have that addictive gameplay? And of course to do the other programming work necessary - at the tail end of a development cycle. That a lead programmer may not enjoy doing...

And with retrogaming development - I will guess, there is not the money in this - to say make a living. That people work in retrogames - just for the joy of doing it, and it's accomplishment because the market is very small - for computers which are around 30 something years or less.
If you wanted to make money - you'd develop for the current technology of today - which includes tablets and mobile phones....
I don't have any knowledge of developing for the newer hardware - nor of how much one can earn for a successful app?
My interest is not in that area.

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Sep 21, 2013 2:09 pm

kiwilove007 wrote:When Mame first turned up - I got straight into it - marvelling at how you can run the classic arcade games accurately - on what was then a 40Mhz PC - and now it runs all manner of ROMs. I haven't checked out the latest version to see what late model games have since been added. Its more of a question of what games does it not run...
The ultimate Mame setup would be to have arcade quality button and joystick controllers hooked up - and for Defender to have the original buttons with no joystick being used - I can imagine some classic videogames purists having exactly this with a really nice sound system. The original arcade machine would be too expensive these days - and you'd never know how many years it could stay going still?
I have to admit to copying computer games - and doing the inevitable swapping to build up a vast library cheaply enough. Hire libraries took off in the UK - which were mail delivery. Sadly royalties did not go back to the software company/authors via this distribution. Just when you think the games are so old, and machines so few - they may get revived on new portable platforms, such as cellphones and the like.
You would not think that these new doodads could emulate the old Atari 400/800s accurately enough - but I did notice back in the day, that the Dreamcast had an excellent Atari 800 emulator - because I ran Hawkquest on it, with using a PC keyboard - but I wonder if an emulator(s) would appear on tablets and the like?

I did try out most graphics programs for the Atari 800, Atari ST and Amiga computers. Fun with Art had the custom brush (like Deluxe Paint) and colour remapping over the simpler Micropainter. I did get into the Atari Touch Tablet - tried out the Light Pen over a weekend - likewise Computer eyes digitizer. Being friendly (and a best customer) for a local computer store helped get me access to such things - if only briefly. But I set up a slideshow featuring NZ scenes done in Fun with Art colours that probably helped sell a large number? of Ataris... I did edit a small local Atarizine that only ran 2 issues and helped set up the local Atari User Club.

Last year I would not have thought I'd be working on Atari graphics again - because I stopped doing any kind of graphics work in any medium for some years - although I have passed on most of the good material I had concerning the 2 Atari computer games I've worked on. I do want to show off what the Atari 400/800/etc can really do - and to take it towards an 'art' level - which should be apparent in the next demo release - as we've been overly cautious so far in not releasing all that is presentable so far. Seeing that the number of people actively developing these days are so few.

If you have definite design ability and like to work to a high standard, and have the free time? You could easily work on something for us? Or for yourself --- seeing that the editor generates a demo for you anyway. You just need plenty of time and enthusiasm - which will determine how successful you will be. The problem of course, is working with these fat-flat pixels in the GTIA mode - and it's limited colours - its up to you if you want to try to outdo the Atari Robot and Spaceship designs. Of course - the easier route is to copy them somewhat and do your own version of them, that way you truly learn from their design - that is what we all do anyway - in learning.
It takes getting use to the editor too - because it does not have sophisicated drawing routines (or complex ones) - you are working at the pixel level but you do have the custom brush available.

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned trying it out yet. It is straightforward designing your own sprites, using that editor - though so-called multi-coloured sprites on the Atari 400/800 are actually very very difficult to get good colour combinations working - I'm amazed how bounty bob was put together. I find it almost impossible to reproduce that? Unless a programming trick was also used?

You have gotten into more graphics programs than I have - I only did a little work with Technicolour Dream and Rambrandt - and of course I did use Degas Elite and Deluxe Paint II. I would be interested to see what you have done? If you've seen my Youtube videos - you'll see a slideshow of almost all of the pics I have done - year is usually given - and there are some ST/Amiga ones in which I tried recreating actual game graphics. You could recreate game graphics in the current project - where possible. eg. I like to see a Zaxxoness landscape done - probably top view - if possible in GTIA9? (or 10) otherwise Antic 4 will have to do...

Harvey


You will get a much longer reply next time i log in. I'm not really the artist working with Degas Elite and such appz, i'm more into Photografphy and using Photoshop. My mother was a painter but i never got that skill myself. I'll post some of the pics that i have created.
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Re: The smooth machine

Postby wongck » Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:28 pm

The river and surround environment looks very beautiful :D
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Re: The smooth machine

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Sep 21, 2013 4:09 pm

Most german, french, danish and norwegian tourists misses those colours when they visit Gotha Canal in the summer only.
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Re: The smooth machine

Postby kiwilove007 » Sat Sep 21, 2013 8:52 pm

,,,I'm not really the artist working with Degas Elite and such appz, i'm more into Photografphy and using Photoshop....


Before getting into home computers - my interest would have been 35mm still photography - and I spent a couple of years working in a film processing laboratory. When Star Wars was released, I would read up about movie special effect techniques, etc - I would have liked to have created some sfx shots - but never got round to it - ie. using flashgun and delayed exposure (open aperature) photography. I did quite a bit of low light photography around the city.
Looking at your photograph - you will probably enjoy autumn over in Central Otago where you see such a blaze of colour over there - maybe over there during winter too - if you can stand the cold and snow.
It was at high school that I started my photography interest - having a friend there with the same interest, who introduced me into it, helped a lot then. After that I devoured any and all information relating to still photography. Which later happened of course with home computers.

I do like copying other peoples' work - such as with line drawing - using a pen and light desk. I can admire the skill with how the drawing is done. I often use to work over photographs, turning it into a drawing - I've never gotten into Photoshop and such complex programs, which I note - do have a cell mode available which allows you to work on top and separate from a photograph or drawing etc.

There is a need of a 5200 console - even if it is for a loan of - so, if anyone has one available, in which they don't mind loaning out? All for a great cause - you can help out with the greatest 5200 project - that would put a smile on every keen 5200 collector...

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby mlynn1974 » Wed Dec 10, 2014 1:15 am

I liked the look of the Atari 65XE but in Britain, as far as I know, there weren't many retailers that sold Atari 8-bit machines or the games.
The Co-op used to sell them for a while about 1982 but at that time the Spectrum was outselling everything. I think Peter at Pheonix PD previously had an Atari 8-bit machine and was a great fan.

Looking back at the Atari 8-bit the games did look smooth and the sound from POKEY was excellent. The sprites and scrolling features were very good. When I got my ST in 1989 it was heavy, sharp, fast and a great leap forward in terms of programming tools from the ZX Spectrum.
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Re: The smooth machine

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Wed Dec 10, 2014 10:40 am

Today when i know more about Atari VCS 2600 i can understand why Atari 8bit computers was so good at displaying clear beautiful colours. Not even ST can display such clear colours. I always wanted to buy an Atari 800 but couldn't afford one back then, i bought a Vic 20 instead. A few years later when swedish telecom sold Atari 800 XL for half the price i was quick to buy one. :)

Today so many years later i'm glad that i bought that Atari 800 XL that gave me so much fun for some years in the early 80's. I learned to love Atari 2600 too. Then in 1988 i wanted to go 16 bit and bought my first Atari ST. ST was my only computer until 2002 when i got my first PC. From now on it was all about emulation and i use emulators for everything these days.

I have never understood ST owners that don't like Atari 8bit or Atari 2600, because that's real nostalgia and unique machines you won't find anywhere else, from a period when vidogaming was something new and exciting and Atari Company the big player on the market. People next to arcade machines in long lines to play the hottest thing around, Defender, Space Invaders, Galaxian and Pac Man.

ST nostalgia will never get close to the nostalgia of the early Atari computers and consoles, the golden era of videogaming. That's why i like all Ataris machines so much and not just ST. I regulary get A8, Atari 2600 and Atari ST periods, right now it's 8bit all the way.

Watch this to see what i mean :)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JJywbVZvCI

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Re: The smooth machine

Postby kiwilove007 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:49 pm

Everybody is different and this shows in what people are passionate about and why - even though you may have things in common.

I don't think the ST fans will like to admit that their favourite computer was seriously flawed - coming off 2nd to the Amiga - and others?
You had to put up with jerky sprites and scrolling - sure they could have been smooth - but that would seriously slow down a lot of other stuff going on... You needed the graphics chip support to smooth it all out - like on the Atari 8 bits (and all other consoles/computers...)

The Atari 400/800 suffers from it's own flaws and inadequacies - though clearly they were ahead of their time - and Atari did not take advantage of this advantage. Retrospectively - we can say - Oh, why didn't Atari sell/package Star Raiders with each Atari 400/800 it sold? Having a killer app showing what other computers cannot do - would have silenced the doubters and critics - and doing it all in 8K - and not using hi-res graphics...

If you liked the coin-ops - going from A8 hardware onwards - I went the Super Famicom/SuperNES way - because this machine delivered coin-op quality videogames for the home from the early 90s'...until the Playstation/Saturn arrived.

Harvey


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