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Messages - Ben

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He built his own games, too!
In the late 1990s, my parents divorced, and my mother took my brother and myself and had us go live in a very rural area of Australia with a psychopath who was wanted in 3 states. This was our new stepfather, so we were to remain in isolation so that he wouldn't be found. This being said, we were not allowed to leave the house after school hours, nor use the internet, nor own mobile phones. Before leaving, my dad left me an Osborne 486, with a whoppping 640k of extended RAM if memory serves me correctly. This 486 had only a copy of MS Dos 6.0 on it, and the standard utilities (, QBASIC etc). It had a shareware copy of Rise of the Triad 1.0, and I believe, one or two other shareware titles, Xargon and Wacky Wheels. The last game I saw before leaving New South Wales in the 1990s was a Half-Life preview in a games magazine. I was not allowed to rent books that were not strictly relevant to school work and this made the 6 hours after school incredibly slow, so I set to work making my own games and entertainment on this 486. Thankfully I was able to convince my parents that I needed a copy of "BASIC BASIC" and "ADVANCED BASIC" by James S Coan from our school library, despite being dated to the 80s. With these, I built my first DOS Clone which emulated/mimicked dos in every way I could possibly achieve. Technically, it would function identically (you can move/change/rename/delete files and directories, list time, date, directory listings etc). Fairly basic stuff. I'll post the source codes to all of these shortly, just sorting them as I type this. Next I moved onto text-based adventure games: I wrote a horror game and some generic crappy adventures which totalled to around 40 000 lines (bearing in mind, that's by labelling each line as "100, 200, 300" etc, rather than going by single digits. My next experiment was to introduce graphics. Ideally I wanted graphics to accompany the parser. You would say "Walk NorthEast", and the screen would show a little display that of a first person view walking. I began work on my own "raycaster" of sorts. Below is a screenshot of an early version before I had working skies: Soon after, I was able to create very very primitive "detailed" scenes using various ASCII combinations. I created a DOOM clone to the best of my memory, as I hadn't seen or played doom for a few years at that point. It had relatively small maps consisting of 10 x 10 unit data grids which looked a bit like this (Each number represented a different wall tile or object. 0 meant nothing - floor and sky. The screen would be divided up into 8 x 8 chunks and project pre-written ASCII art that depicted walls at different angles. I did a wall at a 45 degree angle, a 22.5 degree angle, etc until I had 4 or so of each wall setup rotated at each angle, and then was able to make the player rotate in iterations of 22.5 degrees at a time (creating a very basic "3d" engine). (map grid example) DATA 1, 5, 1, 5, 1, 5, 1, 5, 1, 5 DATA 3, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2 DATA 4, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 2, 4, 0, 5 DATA 3, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 4, 2, 0, 2 DATA 4, 0, 1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 5 DATA 3, 0, 1, 0,-1, 0, 0, 0, 0, 2 DATA 4, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 6, 0, 6, 7 DATA 3, 0,10,12,10,12, 0, 0, 0, 7 DATA 4, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 7 DATA 8, 7, 8, 7, 8, 7, 8, 7, 8, 7 By this point, I wanted to up the ante. I had vaguely recalled one of my childhood friends at the school I had been going to before leaving for the country whom was into C++. He told me about John Carmacks wolf3d engine, and how it "cast" rays out until they hit a surface, and simply calculated the distance from the camera, then painted the image in vertical strips on the screen. I made a simple (albeit crappy and slow) raycaster over the next year and ended up with this. Instead of projecting pre-made ASCII art at various angles, it correctly cast rays and projected them onto the screen in vertical strips. I then wanted to take it a step further and make my own "game engine". (Silly me, thinking I might make something that could possibly sell? It would've been about 2004 by now). I developed my first general GUI and implemented the raycaster into it (only just noticed that I had the map being read back to front. The map on the right should be mirrored the opposite way)

Sega Chat / Re: Sega Mega CD Thread
« on: December 20, 2014, 17:04:00 PM »
I just watched that Game Sack video (thanks for posting TrekMD), and I think it does a good job of showing that there are quality games for the console.  To me, there are two main issues. 1.  The best games are very rare, expensive and obscure and 2.  There are only certain genres well represented, this is not a console where you can say that there is something for everyone.  I wish they had touched more on the Japan only releases (especially the RPGs), several of which have thankfully been fan translated.  I have to say that, speaking only for myself, I never regretted the Mega CD purchase and it is still one of my favorite consoles.  But, I also love RPGs, shmups, and side scrolling platformers/beat 'em ups as well as the occasional anime inspired FMV game.  If those aren't your thing, this just isn't a console worth picking up, I think.  If they are, this console is going to be full of hidden gems for you.

Retro News & Chat / Re: Review of the Week - Home Alone SMS
« on: December 19, 2014, 21:39:18 PM »
I'm with Zapiy on that as well, I never played this one or knew anyone who did, although I do remember passing it up at the video store back in the day.  I was burned by too many movie based games at some point and quit trying them. 

Sega Chat / Re: The Sega Master System Discussion Thread
« on: December 19, 2014, 20:50:36 PM »
I thought I would mention I re-played Galaxy Force recently, and it's better than it gets credit for.  It is pretty much a Space Harrier clone, but an excellent one.

Sega Chat / Re: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Color Hacks
« on: December 19, 2014, 20:29:52 PM »
I just googled it, and funny enough the old amiga I had (that was using a VGA monitor) was indeed doing RGB to VGA with an adapter.  It really is puzzling that they would switch the colors when the MD had the same native output.

Sega Chat / Re: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Color Hacks
« on: December 19, 2014, 20:00:41 PM »
Quote from: "AmigaJay"
Well it would be the same for the Amiga or Megadrive as both could be used via coaxial etc not sure i see the reasoning there!
Ah, I wasn't sure about the old Amigas vs. ports of DOS games like Doom.  I had an old Amiga growing up, but couldn't remember what type of connection it used.  Just a thought I had.

Sega Chat / Re: Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Color Hacks
« on: December 19, 2014, 19:45:28 PM »
Quote from: "AmigaJay"
That looks so much better with the improved colour selection! Makes you wonder what the devs were smoking when they put these ports out!
I have no idea if this could be it, but the trend I'm noticing is that the console ports were much brighter.  Well, that got me thinking:  Remember how fuzzy and dark the picture was on late 80's and early 90's tube TVs?  VGA CRTs had a much better (and brighter) picture at the time, maybe they were trying to offset the difference in the display mechanism?  Obviously now we have retro gaming enthusiasts using RGB with Sony WEGAs, but if you were using standard coax output on a floor model TV you bought at Woolworths in 1986, I think I understand the reasoning (not that I agree with it).

Retro News & Chat / Re: What's your fav retro game?
« on: December 18, 2014, 20:38:04 PM »
Although it borders on being retro or not, for me it still has to be Xenogears.  I keep going back to that game over and over, and even though it's flawed and never realized its full potential, it's my favorite game in my favorite genre (RPG).

Sega Chat / Re: The Sega Saturn Thread
« on: December 17, 2014, 23:15:54 PM »
I wanted to respond to a couple of things here.  First, Tomb Raider.  At the time it came out, everyone complained about the lighting issues in the Saturn version compared to the PSX.  I had both, and here was my issue with the PSX version that gets forgotten:  The camera in the PSX version was much worse at following you, and any time you jumped or turned a corner, it would create graphical glitches (usually large polygons would just disappear and there would be clipping).  Here's a video that gives an example:

2nd, in regard to the two controllers, I always preferred the "second" model (the skinnier one), which is actually the only model ever released in Japan.  That is still my all time favorite controller for 2D games.

3rd, I put together a list of value games.  Keep in mind these are NOT the best games by any means, but as of posting this these can all be had for under $20 and IMHO are worth playing, some being better than others.  I might do a mid tier list later; this one took a long time and came in it at 21 games, but with the other 5 I listed gives you 26 sub-$20 games worth picking up.  I checked UK prices (with the help of a Google exchange rate calculator) and they are comparable, also.  This was really hard to do, Saturn prices just keep going up.

After Burner II - Nearly arcade perfect.
Alien Trilogy - Fun shooter and nice homage if you're a fan of the films.
X-Men - Children of the Atom - Different enough from X-Men vs. Street Fighter to be worth a purchase.
Space Harrier - Another arcade perfect port, just get the JP version for the cheaper price.
Sonic 3D Blast - I think in hindsight, this was a solid game, just not a traditional "Sonic" game.
Pandemonium - Underrated platformer.
Last Bronx - Excellent weapon fighter.
The Horde - Notorious for the Kirk Cameron scenes, it's actually not a terrible game.
Clockwork Knight - Another underrated platformer.
Earthworm Jim 2 - My favorite version of this one.
Torico/Lunacy - Underrated Puzzle/FMV game by Atlus.
Manx ITT Superbike - Underrated arcade racer.
Mr. Bones - Worth playing for the Montrose soundtrack alone.
Sega Touring Car Championship - Very underrated racer.
Skeleton Warriors - Based on the cartoon, similar to Shinobi.
Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo - Still my favorite version of this one.
WWF Wrestlemania: The Arcade Game - Actually an underrated fighter (yes, it's a fighter) based on the WWF.
Soviet Strike - Excellent helicopter shooter.
Bug! - Underrated Platformer.
Bug Too! - Another underrated platformer.

Sony Chat / Re: 20 Years of Playstation
« on: November 23, 2014, 16:42:11 PM »
Quote from: "AmigaJay"
Quote from: "Greyfox"
For Me PS1 was revolutionary beyond words, to this day or than the PS2 nothing has been as truly exciting from the 16-bit 2D era to the wonderful world of 3D console gaming that in my opinion the PlayStation did back in 1995, that was incredible to see games for the first time at home looked and possibly played better than the arcade games did.

I remember to this day inserting my copy of Ridge Racer for the first time and thinking to myself, this is the best thing I've ever experienced in my life at the time. Never to be seen again such excitement in the history of gaming.
It was a massive step, not just in terms of graphics and music, but the biggest change was the way people thought about games, i.e not just a kiddie 'thing' anymore, it was acceptable to be playing games in your 20's and beyond.

Not sure i agree with the arcade statement, yes they were good, but compare Playstation Ridge Racer to the arcade one, it still pales in comparison, but obviously games like Tekken that were made using Playstation arcade boards looked identical. But yes they did bridge the massive gap that was there previously though.
I agree with this absolutely, the marketing was key in making gaming acceptable for adults.  I was 17 when it launched, and while I was buying a Saturn anyway, I remember those ads made me take notice.  In particular, these Crash Bandicoot ones (not sure if they aired in the UK):

This ad campaign also stands out to me: Final Fantasy VII TV Commercial Final Fantasy VII Commercial 2

Retro News & Chat / Re: Discoloured Dreamcast Options.
« on: November 23, 2014, 16:35:01 PM »
Quote from: "deKay"
There are places that sell replacement shells, if you'd prefer not to go the painting route.

Sega Chat / Re: The Sega Dreamcast Thread
« on: November 11, 2014, 06:55:32 AM »
That is correct, although the GameShark also works.  A free boot disc can be downloaded here:

Sega Chat / Re: The Sega Dreamcast Thread
« on: November 06, 2014, 23:42:49 PM »
The original Dreamcasts with a 1999 manufacture date are the ones to have.  They can use all of the boot disc add ons (like Bleemcast) that were disabled in later models.  They also have a reputation for better build quality, a lot of the later ones had fans that are notorious for noise. 

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