Re: [stella] PhillyClassic, John K Harvey, the homebrew scene, etc WAS:Climber 5 source code

Subject: Re: [stella] PhillyClassic, John K Harvey, the homebrew scene, etc WAS:Climber 5 source code
From: Albert Yarusso <albert@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 07:47:19 -0600
Does anyone have a valid email address for John K. Harvey? We have tried to contact him in the past (well over a year ago now), but to no avail.



Albert Yarusso, albert@xxxxxxxxxxxx - Atari news, rarity guides, images, forums, and more!

On Mar 23, 2004, at 8:36 PM, KirkIsrael@xxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:

I can honestly say that the quality of 2600 homebrew games has dramatically
increased over the past few years and the Stella list has been a great
resource for all of us!

Actually, on this note, has anyone heard much about Pressure Gauge? I noticed it on the phillyclassic Packrat entry. Not to talk too much trash about my fellow hobbyist (especially one allied with a bit of a rival of AtariAge whom I've worked so closely with) but it's definately pretty sparse in the graphics, variety, and overall presentation departments. The music is pretty decent, but overall it definately could've used a "Stella Eye for the Programmer Guy" makeover. In fact, in a lot of ways it reminded me of the "first theoretically releasable Alpha" version of JoustPong I had; similar blocky title screen, core elements roughly in place, but really significantly lacking in completeness and polish.

Huh, using the Dig, I see he used to be a regular.
His farewell is interesting: action=message.view&&message_id=9409
It mentions the idea of too much stuff coming out,
as well as too much emphasis being placed on the
presentation. (oh, and looks like he had a version,
maybe this one, of pressure gauge out in 1999)

(Oh, by the way, Glenn....would you PLEASE consider
changing the CSS on that page so it wasn't stuck to
an 8pt font, but could be resized a bit? I find
white-on-black uncomfortable enough, but make it
that tiny, and I tend to cut and paste it into
a text editor instead!)

Even though the scene is a bit different now, sometimes
I wonder if there is a bit of a homebrew glut.
Games often won't sell out at shows, though Al is
pretty confident the first run of JoustPong will clear
out pretty quickly from the online store.  On the other
hand, I don't hear of too many new projects that are
alive and kicking at the moment.  Some, but not all
that many. (On the other hand, for a whole year nothing
happened on JoustPong, so sometimes a project suspended
will get resumed when you least expect it.)

One thing I've been thinking seems most
homebrews definately don't have the level of background
level a lot of the old Activision games did.  Or even
graphic finesse in general...with some exceptions, of
course. I know JoustPong is in that category, black background,
monochrome sprites.  I guess there still is plenty to
shoot for.

BTW, showing off my game at PhillyClassic was great.
It got a very positive response, I left feeling more
confident in its fun-game-ness aspect.  (I also found-
gasp- a small bug. Well, oversight: the winning score
should switch to "W" after a 3-pt "Poorlords" game just
like it does for the 10-pt "Classic" game. Ah well!
I might release an updated bin for the next run of games,
but it's not a big thing.)

(Interestingly, relative to the previous and next
bits, I had many people who seemed most intersted
in programming themselves.  People with little experience,
I tried to give them a realistic leveling up (like,
frankly, not starting with the Atari right off) people
who had a stronger programming and/or console background,
the conversation got pretty deep. I plugged my own
2600 101...maybe I should tried selling printouts of
it :-)    )

I really would like to make a followup to 2600 101.
I'm strongly leaning towards the name "2600 Cookbook".
In it, I'd list a number of things I learned in JoustPong,
things that used to be a little more blatantly at hand
with the old Dig:
-joystick/player movement (lifted from 2600 101)
-full screen playfield (ala Nick's old work, and JP title screen)
-music and sound basics (the simple engine I made for JP)
-exact horizontal positioning
-subpixel "fixed point" motion
-16 bit math review
-comparisons (at Philly, Ronen Habot mentioned using some Macros
        for various >, <, >=, <= type compares...that might be
        a good idea, I spent a lot of time looking up the boiler
        plate for those...)
-read a paddle (need to learn)
-.skipDraw (need to learn better :-)
-that combat missile trick
-48 Pixel sprites
-some tricks to know how much ROM/RAM you have
-symptoms, macros, and fixes for dealing with page boundary issues

I'm half tempted to incorporate some of these in a walk through
of creating a simple game demo I have in mind, InterGalactic
SpaceMan BlastFest..

So that might be my next miniproject. Of course I'll be soliciting
feedback and for suggestions here.  And there is this icky issue
of having to get a house sold in the meanwhile...

Well, I covered a lot of ground in this email...interested
to see if it sparks any conversation...


"Our research and experience show that there is nothing in life
  more fun than the military." --Capt. Mike Doubleday

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