my gaming past, present and future
Saturday December 27th 2014

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The 4th and the Forums

Happy 4th of July!

Most of Monkeystone Games took the DART train to the AT&T Trinityfest (along with the rest of Dallas!) It was a great event and the full hour of amazing fireworks was great to watch and listen to. Then, the eventual leaving at 11pm took us 2 hours to get to our car — all of downtown Dallas was at a standstill with at least 100,000 people swarming about.

So, I decided to stick some feedback forums on my site to see what y’all have to say about stuff. If it turns out well, then I’ll probably upgrade UBB and customize it to match the site design and add some more forum topics! Thanks in advance for your feedback, everyone.

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Buckets O News

Well, I finally finished the PC version of Hyperspace Delivery Boy! We shipped the game earlier this month and I’ve already started on my next project which is a new game for the Game Boy Advance. Hyperspace Delivery Boy! looks very much like the classic Zelda III on the SNES, and the play is similar as well except that the game is more focused on puzzles.

Tom and I were going for the Rescue Rover-style gameplay (a game we did back in 1991), but with lots of NPCs. The PC version has over 1,000 lines of crazy spoken dialogue voiced by yours truly and the rest of the monkey bunch here at Monkeystone Games. The game’s humor is pure Tom Hall so if that’s what you like, that’s what you’ll get.

E3 Report: I’ll keep it short and sweet. I went around and saw lots of stuff but I didn’t get to see everything (too many meetings). What was most interesting to me was Age of Mythology, Legend of Zelda, Mario Sunshine, Mertroid Prime, and DOOM III.

I just randomly came across The Underdogs site the other day and they had a nice write-up on Hyperspace Delivery Boy!… check it out here.

It was Quake’s birthday yesterday, but I was too busy to update my site. I’ll do something soon!

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Reformatting

I just got a new template set up to redo my game pages to match the new site design. The first game that I have reformatted is Alien Attack.

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Overclocked Remixes – Full Sail – Subnodule

OverclockedI recently found out about a really cool music website, http://remix.overclocked.org. It’s just full of remade or remixed versions of a ton of videogame music. You need to check it out if you really like game music like I do. There’s so many great ones, but one of my favorites is the Team Gato song that’s a remade version of Chrono Trigger’s Gato Song (“My name is Gato/I have metal joints/Beat me up/And win 15 silver points”winking… but they go so far with those 4 lines! Heh.
They have remixes of just about every game you can think of – check it out now. Other remix recommendations on the site: Monkey Island (AmIEvil), Lounge Lemmings (mazedude), Kid Icarus Funky Dungeon (mazedude), F-Zero Mute City (JD), El Rolling Thunder Salsa (DJ PRETZEL), Christmas Nights Merrylittlechristmas (Dale North), aarrg – there’s too many!

Full SailA couple weeks ago, Stevie and I were treated like VIPs by Full Sail College in Orlando, Florida. They were holding a Success Seminar and asked us to speak for a couple sessions. What an amazing place! I never knew a place as high quality and professional as Full Sail existed. Go to http://www.fullsail.com and get an idea of the quality… and you will still not truly understand how amazing this place is – you must actually see it for yourself.

Full Sail is a fully accredited university and right now you can get an A.S. degree (they’re working on a B.S. right now) in several subjects. My favorite, of course, is Game Programming. The university has 3,000 students attending right now and graduations are held every single month – yes, the school year starts when YOU start!

And what a year it is – 14 months to be precise, from entry to graduating. If you are taking the programming track, you will graduate with 900 hours of coding experience – incredible! Basically, you live with your laptop the entire year. When you leave, you take a massive tome of your work with you that you use as a pretty cool resume.

One of the instructors at Full Sail is none other than the legendary Dave Arneson, co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons! (read about D&D here) During the evening on Sunday, a bunch of us played Ghost Recon deathmatch for several hours (with Dave), and then to end the night we played a couple hours of D&D with Dave as the DM (dungeon master). Wow – I’ll never forget it! Oh yeah, the game ended with us all getting killed by zombies.

Subnodule

Subnodule

So I somehow found some random references to an old Apple II game that I wrote back in 1984-85 called Subnodule. One guy even made a song based on it!

Check this out first This is where the song is located.

Then check out this link (Ed: site gone) – they named their site because they could never say Subnodule correctly! Heh. Here’s an email I got from Nick (he runs that site):

“Well, about Subnodule… to be quite honest, besides King’s Quest 4 and Wheel of Fortune, it was the only fun game I had for my old Apple II. My buddy Andy and I always used to play that game just because of the sheer weirdness of it, and our ability (or lack thereof) to pronounce the title sort of evolved into an inside joke with us. We just thought it would be a cool, memorable name for our little site. The reason I remembered to include your name in the history of our site is because Subnodule was the only game I had with credits. I remember busting out the old Apple a few years ago and thinking as the title scrolled down, “Damn! That’s the guy who did Doom!”

“The Melvin stuff is pretty weird, dude. And you were an adult when you did these? Hehe. Thanks for checking out the site, and of course, feel free to swing by every now and then, and tell every living soul how awesome the Subnoodle is and how you’re not going to sell your Ferrari and instead donate it to us… okay maybe not.”

So, now I feel like I should make a Subnodule game page since I dredged it up from the sea of forgotten games…

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Website Redesign – HDB PC

Well, I finally got tired of the old design and tried out a new look. Simpler and no flash menu (which incidentally doesn’t even load on my machine when accessing it over the net!). I’m still going to keep the flash banners for the game stuff, but I won’t use it for a critical navigation feature.

We’re close to landing a couple Gameboy Advance contracts, so I’m really excited to be learning that little machine. I can’t say what the titles are (of course), but as soon as they’re done I’ll let everyone know. It will take almost a year before you see either of them though, as the development time will be about 8 months.

hdb_pc_01

click to enlarge

So, yes, I’m almost done with the PC version of Hyperspace Delivery Boy! Here’s a screenshot of the PC version. If you’ve played the Pocket PC version, you’ll notice a number of differences.

First, since there’s no stylus on the PC, you use a mouse cursor (the blue circle) to point and click your way through the game. Directional keys are also supported and there’s a new Controls screen that allows you to configure them to your liking.

No longer do you need to bring up your Resources and Deliveries as they are on-screen at all times. You can click on an item or delivery and get specific information on it as you would expect.

The sound effects are now at 44khz and the music has been lengthened and now plays at high quality as well.

AppleWinThere’s been a REALLY cool update to the AppleWin Apple II emulator. This has always been my favorite Apple emulator but the damn thing would NEVER run in full-screen mode – it was always a little window.

Well, the source code has been updated by a different guy, Oliver Schmidt, and he’s done a fantastic job adding DirectX support and FULL SCREEN mode!

I’m going to be putting all my old Apple II stuff on the site at some point and this is definitely the emulator that you should be running it in! Click the Emulators link at the top to download AppleWin.

So as I’m fixing up my site, you’ll notice more links appearing. Right now, most are disabled because I need to reformat those pages to match the new design.

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Hair, Car and Random Trivia

Haircut-After_smallI CUT MY HAIR!

I started growing my hair in April 1991, just after starting id Software. Two companies later, I have cut it. Tom Hall shaved his head bald, too, so we’re LOCKED & LOADED!!!

It’s so much easier to take care of and never gets in my way – YES! I donated it all to Locks Of Love. I’m sure it’ll find a nice home. AARRGGG!!!! Someone will be wearing a John Romero WIG!!!

Time to redo the PlanetRomero banner….

tr_back_02_smallI’m sure it’s no surprise at this point that I’m finally selling my Testarossa. Since we moved out to the country over a year ago, I have only driven it about 3 times or so — it’s just not a practical car out here where everyone drives trucks and the roads are bumpy.

It’s pretty damn fast, though, at 625hp right now. Oh, it can be turned up to about 750hp, but I prefer to keep the engine intact! happy It’s on eBay right now in the eBay Motors section / Ferrari.

I decided to start popping random trivia bits on my page as they crop up. And I just came up with one after scanning the net for a bit…

zork zero!RANDOM TRIVIA!

Back at the very start of 1989, I was between jobs having just left a company I co-founded called Inside Out Software. I was living in New Hampshire at the time and had visited Infocom in Massachusetts a few times for software development meetings.

My friend Lane Roathe and I had a good contact at Infocom that we talked to about doing some contract work for them. They told us they needed an operating system for their Apple II games that was as small as possible, 1k total if we could do that. We told them we could and we got the job.

It came very close to 4096 bytes (Lane’s RWTS routine was a little over 1024 bytes and my high-level ProDOS-like code was less than 3072 bytes). The result was called InfoDOS and was the OS used in Steve Meretzky’s next game, Zork Zero! It was also used in 3 other Infocom titles.

Lane and I put a little easter egg in there, too. If you hold down both the Closed-Apple and Open-Apple keys when the game boots, you will see a crazy, random line that Lane came up with: “I was running around the house sleeping!”. Here’s a screenshot of it in action.

You’ll notice in the screenshot that Lane and I had a little company together called Ideas From The Deep. I’ll talk about that in a future !RANDOM TRIVIA!

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PlanetRomero Goes Mobile

I decided it would be a fun thing to make the site compatible with PocketPCs and Palm Pilots, so I’ve made a mini-version of the site reachable by going to mobile.rome.ro, palm.rome.ro, mobile.johnromero.com, palm.johnromero.com.

Uh, I haven’t been able to test it yet since my iPAQ doesn’t reach the Net this far out, but if you could email me the problems you run into, I’ll fix them. Known problems: Site Sections link doesn’t work, no link for The Saga of Dangerous Dave. I’ll fix these soon…

Point your Pocket Internet Explorers here and save it as a favorite! More news to come…

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