Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Now it's me on a rampage! (LOL!)

Looks like i had some time today so i have updated not one but FIVE!! Yes, five games! Here's which games: Analogic (with sound and red chips), Cat and Mouse, Ski, Table Tennis (with sound, AI, scoreboards and not one but two overlays) and the last game: Santa's Gifts Hunt (added the first overlay draft as a bonus game - many thanks for CN10 for the suggestion!).

You can dowload all these new updates on the right menu, just click and save where you want it.

Ok, now there is only 4 games left on the 12 original games that came with the Odyssey, which leaves: Football (this one will be a pain in ass!), Roulette, Simon Says and States.

So enjoy all these five new updates until the next ones! =)


CN10 (aka Brian) on a rampage!

LOL!! I think i'll have his attention...LOL!

OK, CN10 left me a hailstorm of comments:

November 04, 2016: The latest post contains a giant amount of great stuff! My initial comments are:
-I will hopefully have time to play at least one of the games this weekend. The games are like fine paintings, and it's not good to just glance at them. You have to get with the instructions first and then try to work the actual game. (In fact I'm still working on my ability in tennis).
-The pictures of the teleprompter are rather jaw-dropping. I'm not even sure what I'm seeing other than a time juxtaposition of 40 years! Looking forward to read more about that. (Also accentuating my surprise is that I use that very same model of Amiga monitor for retro gaming, with the lower lip opened to adjust the controls. I spent many hours playing Defender of the Crown back in the day, followed by even more hours of It Came from the Desert).
-The Patent reference does clearly talk about a scoreboard. The problem is that it's too easy to spend time checking out the other patent links. I'm still looking for a working example of "Automatic bowling scorer with cathode-ray tube display"
-I've also long believed that Haunted House should be shooting game, like "Shoot out." It would be awesome to see it "updated" in that fashion.
-Speaking of shooting games, do you have thoughts on the ideal hardware set-up for the odysim shooting games? I know they make light guns for an LCD monitor but I don't have one. I do have the old ACT-Labs light gun for PC monitors (but requiring an CRT VGA monitor), and am planning to try this out with the Ody-Sim soon.

Thanks again for your hard work on this fascinating piece of videogame history!

My reply: About the Teleprompter mod, i will discuss about this in the future as well as many other mods/hack for the Magnavox Odyssey. I know that the first one people will ask is the Video output and the second one will be Audio output. I've already done the video output mod and i have made a schematic for the audio output but the circuit isn't built yet. All this and more this upcoming year (2017). You still have oyur Amiga monitor ? Lucky you as mine has kicked the bucket as i accidently dropped the monitor and broke the neck of the CRT. :(

The scoreboard in the patent was to illuminate with a spot a number on the screen but would have needed to resize the wall spot and be able to move it to do so. Was a good idea back then. As for Haunted House as a shooting game, it will be in the "Super OdySim" as this will be another project once the OdySim is finalise.

I did thought abit on this for a LCD light Gun to be able to play with the shooting games with the OdySim, but for now i'm trying to release all the games. As now, there is only four games for the Rifle Gun and three others i've made as homebrews for it. Maybe another project ?

But if anyone wanna use a real Rifle Gun on a LCD/LED TV, it will work as the Rifle Gun needs only a light source (like a light bulb, a brigh LED, even a candle!) to work. Don't beleive me then try it! :P

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November 10, 2016: I finally got a chance to play Submarine. The sound is a nice addition. The scoreboard is great! When I consider the games I think If you were snowbound in a cabin with your family with nothing but an Odyssey set and a television (that didn't get any other signal), which games would you most likely play? Submarine is actually playable, and good in that you don't need a PHd, as you do in Football and Baseball. The big limitation, I think, is deciding when the ships actually leave the blue line (and are lost to "mines") particularly at the mess of spagetti at the 4 O'clock position. I think if they had made the ship course humanly possible to follow (as they did with Skiing), it would have made the game markedly better. (I wonder if back in the day, anyone tried playing it with the skiing overlay).

I really appreciate having the option for "true simulation" (with and without the overlay) and the "aftermarket upgrades" (particularly the scoreboards, which a are completely necessary to make the games actually playable).

Looking forwards to trying Hockey soon. I will try to see If I can program my USB joystick to to Work with OdySim which may make the gameplay better.

Thanks again for the privilege of Submarine Sly, I will probably boot it up again soon!

My reply: Great that you like Submarine with sound and all. Any "aftermarket upgrades" as you call them is only to make the game(s) more funand they are optional as you need to push a certain button to activate them. Let's say a museum or a video game conference wants to show a (or a few) game(s) with the help of OdySim, as you start a game it is ready to play as it would be on a real Odyssey (with the exception of the self-centering English), and the rest are "options" and "upgrade/bonus options" and is at the discretion of the handler.

In Santa's Gifts Hunt, there is a "bonus option" that a real Odyssey can't do as i wanted to make the game more "seasoned". If you haven't read the manual, try "1" to activate (and also to switch it off) this bonus option. :)

BTW, if you are succesful to use an USB joystick, could you tell me how to do it so that anyone reading this blog could use an USB controller ? That would be great! =)

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November 13, 2016: I just finished playing Hockey. Another fine addition to the Ody-Sim line up! It is great to see on the monitor! If I could make two suggestions, though: First, it's a bit difficult to calibrate the AI level with the 9 and 0 buttons(which I like to do as I'm always trying to "take my game to the next level" (sorry for that long worn-out cliche). The second suggestion would be to not allow a score against the AI unless the ball goes through the goal. If that happened, it would make it distinctly difficult game than tennis (and I suspect that back in the day, people likely gave up on the face-off and icing/off-sides rules, and just started playing tennis with the hockey overlay on.) Conversely, however, I would allow the AI to score against the human player if the puck/ball passes anywhere over the human's right vertical side of the screen (that is, i'd keep things the same as is now for the AI player. (If you required the puck to go through the human's goal, it'd be pretty impossible for the AI to ever score). Anyway, thanks again, and I would ask that you not feel rushed to get all games completed by the end of the year. Please rather pace yourself and take time for your self and family. Even the Christmas Game can wait until after New Year's so you can spend time with your family (By the way that looks totally cool, and when you do release it I wounder if you'd consider adding the "first sketch--Santa on the Skiiing hill--as an option."
Take care my friend--this is such a great project!

My reply: Again, it's always a pleasure reading your comments Brian and please do continue to send comments (good or bad). Suggestiuon #1: it is true that trying to calibrate the AI and also the Ball Speed is not easy as the numbers changes way fast. I'll try to reduce the setting speed by half at first to see if it's easier to calibrate. That's a great suggestion!

As for the second suggestion, that would be a great option to add to the game as it is too easy to score. And that was true that people back in the days would play the Tennis game with the Hockey overlay as both uses the same cartridge. I'll check that out eventually.

And the third one (without knowing it...lol!) for including the Santa-Skiing overlay (the first draft) as a bonus or as a 2-in-1 game ... i haven't thought of that at all! Another great suggestion Brian!

So in review, suggestion #1 is on the "DO" list as it will be easier to calibrate Ai & Ball Speed and also suggestion #3 as a bonus game to Santa's Gifts Hunt. For suggestion #2, i will have to make a sub-code as an option and that will take some time so it's in the "To Try Later" (TTL..ha!).

So continue to send comments/suggestions/rotten tomatos/Playboy mags (hahahahah!)/etc... as
i always appreciate them my friend. Even thought of being an Odyssey game designer ? ;)

Take care and keep those comments rolling! =)


Monday, 21 November 2016

Ho! Ho! Ho! (it's not Xmas yet ?!)

Hi folks!

As promised, i will now release my latest homebrew which is called "Santa's Gifts Hunt!. After Brian (aka CN10) ask me if i could release the Haunted House game before Halloween, this started me to think (i'm even thinking when i dream...%&&*%?%?& i hate that!) what if i coud do a Xmas theme game for the Magnavox Odyssey ?

Well now it's finally done and ready to be downloaded, so here's the LINK for the game and here's a little video i just uploaded on Youtube:

And here's (again, see previous posts) a screenshot of the game:

And the two pages on how to play with the game (which is also included in the ZIP file in PDF):

And if anyone wants to make a real version of this game for any Magnavox Odyssey, then please contact me at: slydc@yahoo.ca

So enjoy this latest homebrew and please give me your comments, game on folks! =)

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Hockey and Submarine updated

Hi folks,

To start the "month of the dead" AKA November (that's what we call this month in French "Mois des morts") as November is cold, windy, rainy and leaves in the trees have mostly fallen, nature looks "dead" sort to speak (more like zombie).

Well to cheer things up, here's not one but two games with newer version (LOVE 0.10.1): Hockey (season has started!) and Submarine. Hockey has sound and AI as bonus features and i added sound in Submarine but you will only hear it if the ball passes thru a spot (and if sound in ON of course). Oh! Almost forgot! I added also a scoreboard especially for Submarine as this feature was planned (in a way) in the U.S. Patent #3,809,395 "Television Combat Game". I suggest to read this patent, it has great information on how Submarine was created and how games in that time period were imagined.

Back to the subject, here's two screenshots:

So enjoy these two games while i'm doing the others. Oh and here's a sneak peak of the upcoming Xmas homebrew game i'm doing. The game is titled "Santa's Gifts Hunt" and the game is already finished! Yup BUT... the only thing i need to do before i release this homebrew is the game manual in PDF format.

Here's the first sketch of the game:

I know, it's the "Ski" game with an Xmas twist. I felt it wasn't enough as it lacked gameplay so i've redone the overlay, made 36 cards and you need a die to play. Check now what it really looks like:

Now it's more playable, don't you think ? It's like a video board game which the overlay is the board and the tokens are the spots. I'll explain the game concept when i'll have finished the game manual. =)

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Reply to CN10 to his comment posted on Oct.31, 2016:

First off, i think that all understand that all of the coding takes time, and the homebrews will only be created if your time allows.

Second, That Haunted House simulation is off the charts! Yes it's true that rules are all but incomprehensible (as the angry videogame nerd points out) but the game is there with the cards! One my childhood disapointments was that when I finally got to play the actual haunted house game, it was basically a piece of cling-wrap with a drawing on it. It wasn't really "on" the TV , the way that the paddles were. At that time J. Paul Getty was widely thought to be the worlds richest man (even though people would now snear at his measly one billion). But if Mr. Getty wanted to play Haunted House, he'd have to put the overlay over the screen and be content with it. Now anyone can have the Haunted House playfield actually "behind" the screen, which was my vision of what even a billion bucks couldn't buy back in the day. Plus the cards "magically" appear as part of the game as a bonus.

This is a tremendous Halloween gift to all fans of retro gaming. Thank you, Sly ,very much"

My reply: "Hi Brain!

First, thanks very much for the kind words as always! ;)

Yes, that's true. The more "spare" time i have, the more i can work on the OdySim. But be sure that i'll try my best to finish coding all original 12 games released with the Odyssey by the end of this year. I don't make a promise but i'll try my best! =)

I totally agree that the instruction for Haunted House is pretty "nonsense". They tried to come up with a game rule for but that failed. Would be way more fun to adapt "Clue" or would be more appealing as a "rifle gun" shooting game (aka "Spot-buster") where you hunt down (square) ghosts. Ahh DRAT!! I just told you a preview of the upcoming "Super Odyssey" simulator i'll be working on AFTER OdySim will be finished.

BTW, any overlay (or playfield) in OdySim are really in "front" instead of in the "back" because i would never made this project in the first place if i couln't simulate the real thing (meaning overlays). Mr.Baer did back then (in 1967 i think) a playfield in the back which he called "Teleprompter" and redone it for a cable company in 1974. I even made a circuit not long after my encounter with M.Baer that reproduced the Teleprompter on a real Odyssey like in these pictures:

I did shown these pictures to M.Baer a couple of month before he left this plain of existance and he was impressed and told me that no one redone the teleprompter since 1974. Well, i "blushed" when i read his email and still doing it when i'm thinking of this story. ;)

Oh and i also made a video output which was easier to display on a Amiga monitor (or any Video input TV/monitor), but the teleprompter and video out mods are future stories for this blog (i'm more confortable with electronics than programming).

I can play my modded Odyssey on the 49" LCD TV without any snow, distortions, rf noises, etc...it's so great! And the next mod will be "SOUND"!That's right, i know how M.Baer done his "active card" (he made two which both have sound output and where the sound of the OdySim comes from!) but like i wrote, these are all going to be future stories as i have many hardware mods to write and show.

I'll stop right there before i write too much (LOL!). So continue to send me your comments, i enjoy reading and responding to them! So take care and keep in touch Brian! =)