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MADrigal
Gakken Dig Dug


Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Last Visit: 02 Aug 2017
Posts: 188
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:09 am    Post subject: Empty room? Reply with quote

Actually I did invent more than one handheld...

Last year I've been asked to design 4 games, I did it, I've been paid for it, and 2 of those games are currently on sale.

Unfortunately I can't tell you the manufacturer and/or name of the games, due to privacy policy, but the fact is that it's a GREAT satisfaction for me, because I spent the past 8 years programming "freeware simulators" of existing handhelds... and I ended up designing new games for a TRUE, BIG, FAMOUS toys manufacturer!

I can't wait to design more games for that company! Wink
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mario101
Adventure Vision


Joined: 17 Oct 2006
Last Visit: 11 Oct 2015
Posts: 440
Location: South Berwick Maine

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

COOL:P that must of been fun...
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nicknicknickandnick
Bandai FL Burgertime


Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Last Visit: 18 May 2014
Posts: 107

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wheeee! A thread is here, after all this time. (Although I think I recall a spammer put some ad for pills or whatever in here before.)
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Rik
Site Admin


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Last Visit: 13 Aug 2017
Posts: 1851
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, it's nice to see a real inventor here! (Even if it's for modern handhelds... Mr. Green )

I had originally left this one area available for posting without registering on the site... That got abused quick. I'm still hopeful some inventor will be searching the net for his old games, find the site and post some stories... Cool
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tanatron
Gakken Moon Patrol


Joined: 03 Mar 2007
Last Visit: 12 Jul 2017
Posts: 324
Location: Merate, Italy (near Milan)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic! Very Happy One question though, in coding the games do you in some way find inspiration in your vintage game simulators or the games themselves, or it's a completely new "intellectual" work?

Alex
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MADrigal
Gakken Dig Dug


Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Last Visit: 02 Aug 2017
Posts: 188
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Apr 04, 2008 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well... the games I coded are quite more complex than the usual 1st generation of Game & Watch, otherwise they would become boring rather quickly.

The main problem when designing this kind of videogames is having all correct hardware specs by the chief, that's the maximum number of LCD segments to use, and the LCD screen size.

Nowadays LCD games use 8-bit LCD controllers made by... don't remember the name now but there's 2-3 important manufacturers of those CPU's.

Each manufacturer produces CPU's with certain specs, as the maximum number of LCD segments to drive, the amount of RAM and ROM, etc.

So, consider that a "score" panel is made of 4 to 6 "digits", each made of 7 LCD segments, plus there's a "lives" panel made of 3 to 5 sprites, the "game over", "game A", "game B", "sound on", "sound off", etc... and this is for the control panel alone! ...then you must add all the other sprites.

The first game I programmed needed a quite "expensive" CPU because it used around 300 LCD segments, and it needed the "320 segments model".

The other game just needed less than 256, so they could "fit" it into a cheaper CPU: "256 segments model".

Also, the size of LCD screen is important because, when drawing graphics, I must care of making it "readable" (well visible).

As for the programming technique, yes it's similar to the handheld games I programmed before, though I found some smarter solutions in order to reduce the algorythm complexity and specially minimize the possible number of bugs - that are usually a pain in the ass!

That's all! Smile
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woolfman
Entex Crazy Climber


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
Last Visit: 27 Apr 2016
Posts: 93
Location: AUSTRIA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 11:44 pm    Post subject: VFD/LSI outfashioned? Reply with quote

What about the old, cool VFD/LSI displays? AFAIK they were cheaper to produce - or theyīre now...at least they were great under almost any condition (except bright sunlight - but that goes for LCD also).

Why donīt we see any games made with this technology? It is still being used in small displays like DVD-Players, car radios,etc...?
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MADrigal
Gakken Dig Dug


Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Last Visit: 02 Aug 2017
Posts: 188
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think VFD games are not popular anymore because of the much higher power consumption than LCD displays.

VFD games usually needed 4x "C" or 4x "A" batteries to work, while LCD games use tiny "button" batteries.
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woolfman
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2008 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well...thatīs quite a reason...
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Wolf

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woolfman
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Location: AUSTRIA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MADrigal wrote:
I think VFD games are not popular anymore because of the much higher power consumption than LCD displays.

VFD games usually needed 4x "C" or 4x "A" batteries to work, while LCD games use tiny "button" batteries.


How much effort would it be to create a new VFD game, say, for collectors/fans? What would we have to think about if we would try? Could we do it by ourselves?
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Rik
Site Admin


Joined: 07 Oct 2005
Last Visit: 13 Aug 2017
Posts: 1851
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The hardest thing would be getting the VFD display made (well, the hardest part might be _designing_ the VFD...). Circuit boards, components and a microcontroller are all fairly off-the-shelf these days (and someone would have to program it), but we'd have to contract Futaba or some other VFD manufacturer to make the displays. Probably wouldn't be cheap in small quantities..

You could go with a VFD dot-matrix display if you want to keep it cheap, but that kind of negates the cool-ness of VFD 'sprites'.

Futaba's website:
http://www.futaba.com/products/displays/general_info/introduction/index.asp

They'd know how much it would cost... Mr. Green

Rik
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MADrigal
Gakken Dig Dug


Joined: 20 Mar 2008
Last Visit: 02 Aug 2017
Posts: 188
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the plastic shell would also be VERY expensive, because you first have to model the metal mould on a 3D CAD software, then find some cheap (Chinese) manufacturer to save on costs, and then finally have to spend more $$$ to have shells.
i know this because I did it for the CreatiVision console Multicart. and the shell made the final cost raise by around 30%!
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Rik
Site Admin


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, if you want to go the full injection-molded route you could be looking at a few grand just to get started... But there's other ways to make the shell... You can have it CNC'd out of plastic materials (look at the portable Atari 2600s, Nintendos, etc that people like Ben Heckendorn make)
http://benheck.com/all-game-projects

You can also fairly easily make a resin mold or a vacu-form system to custom-make shells...

They may not always look as pretty as mass-produced ones, but it's definitely an alternative. Cartridges are trickier because they have to be a specific shape (at least on one end), but I've still made resin molds of a couple of different cartridge cases and it usually works fairly well (the biggest problem is air bubbles...)

Another alternative would be to design the game to fit into some cheap, readily available existing game (or case)... that could even eliminate some of the design of buttons and circuit boards for the buttons/controllers...

Just trying to think of different alternatives....

Rik
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geoanas
Coleco Pac Man


Joined: 29 Jun 2008
Last Visit: 08 Aug 2016
Posts: 32
Location: Greece

PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...and this is a link for a nice inerview with MADrigal himself Very Happy

http://www.iamretro.gr/an-interview-with-luca-antignano-aka-madrigal-2/

I invite you all to enjoy our little chat, we had recently on Skype !...
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