[stella] Farewell, StellaList

Subject: [stella] Farewell, StellaList
From: "John K. Harvey" <jkharvey@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2001 00:03:50 -0600
Greetings, StellaListers,

Well, I'm heading off to bigger and better things.  I know I haven't been
active on this list in a long time, but I feel that the community has
changed, and I no longer feel like I could be a useful contributor.

When I first started out on StellaList, the community was still in its
growth days-- programming the 2600 was supposed to be one of the hardest
things to do, in a programming sense.  128 bytes of RAM, 4K of coding
space, and real-time television protocols made the feat near-impossible.
In those former days, I asked many questions, as many newcomers do, and
learned quite a bit about the system, and felt a part of the community of
learners, which even included those with a more advanced understanding.
Everyone had something to learn.  People like Eckhard Stolberg and Erik
Mooney (and even the late-arriving Thomas Jentzsch) still baffle me with
their wisdom and love for the system.  I would like to thank those who
helped me on that journey that began oh so long ago.

I could give a list of reasons for my untimely departure, but a lot of it
has to do with me-- not the group as a whole.  The 2600 is becoming an
easier system to write software for, and the bandwagon of new-programmers
is astounding-- even threatening.  Aslo, I get far too many emails to keep
track of the list's activities (over 150 a week sorted out per weekend is
too ridiculous for me to even fathom).  So in essence, I feel that I don't
know the community at all anymore.

Note that I do not leave the StellaList on bad terms.  It has been quite
thrilling to see things happen for a system that I admire so dearly.  That
is why I leave programmers with one piece of encouragment-- make something
good.  If I could redo Pressure Gauge, I would fill the 4K of codespace
(and consider 8K), spend a lot of time optimizing, and brainstorming ways
to make it better, even if it meant modifying the kernal.  I remember
thinking that "there-- that's done, now let's never touch it again" when I
finished my kernal-- don't close your mind up so soon.  The one thing that
saddens me most is going to an expo or some other event where a "new"
homebrew game appears, but more time was taken to make the label/box nice
instead of the game.  I understand the difficulties of keeping your
motivation, but I would rather not go to my next expo to find over 20 2600
games for sale that I could have written myself in a few short hours for
sale at $40 apiece.  I would advise you to send your "learning" games to
Randy, but send your gems to the expo (this would also make the decision of
dividing my money up between homebrews at the next expo easier... so far it
seems there are over 5 games I need to consider purchasing already).
Profit is not the reason to program a game-- it should be for love for the

As a side note, in no means am I leaving my projects free for other people
to "finish".  This debate has come up on the StellaList before, but I never
gave my 2 cents.  I still consider Pressure Gauge II (and anything else
I've posted) to be very much my own intellectual property.  Just because
I'm leaving StellaList does not mean that I'm giving up on the 2600--
Please don't ask if you can finish or add to any of my projects, as the
answer will be no.  Feel free to be inspired by the code (though some of it
is horribly inefficient), and use snippets, but within reason.

Currently, I can be reached at jkharvey@xxxxxxxxxxx  In all likelihood, it
will change shortly, so if you want to keep tabs on me, let me know.  Feel
free to drop me a line anytime.

I plan to unsubscribe from the list shortly after this final post.

Thanks to all who've helped me out over the past few years.  It's been
quite a fun and enlightening journey.

Best regards,
-John K. Harvey
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