Author Topic: Project "8bit Stories": Diskmag-like collection of my retro-computer memories  (Read 4344 times)

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Offline mr_lou

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Hi all


I would like to present a project I've been working on for about 2 years now.

The working title is "RetroMag", but I think I'll call the project "8bit memories" instead when it's done, and the short description sounds like this:

It'll (hopefully) be a Discmag-like series, where each issue contains a lot of (true) stories told by one person. All stories will be memories from that persons life about various retro computers and/or consoles he/she remembers from his/her childhood.
For example, the day he/she got her Amstrad CPC464, or that summer vacation he/she visited a friend who introduced him/her to the Amiga. Or a story about how a certain game represents certain people and/or a certain time in his/her life.
That's the only requirement for each story: It has to be about some kind of retro machine, 8bit or 16bit.

I am making issue 1 myself, where I'm writing stories about the Phillips G7000 at my aunt and uncle's, the Game & Watch game Donkey Kong II I got one year for Christmas, the Amstrad CPC464 at my grandmother's, when I began exploring the BASIC language - and lots of other stories.

The collection of my stories will then become "8bit memories issue 1".

Future issues can be created by anyone who wishes to do so, and be about any retro machine(s) he/she wishes. If you find that interesting, and would like to share your stories with the world, then start writing your memories today!

Here are some guidelines:

In short: The stories should describe how you remember experiencing the machine(s) and the games back then.

One key difference between "8bit memories" and other retro-oriented writings, is that "8bit memories" is supposed to feel much more like a small book to the reader. So we're not talking reviews or any kind of technical aspects or analysis of machines or games either. It is meant to be stories that anyone can read. Describing the joy you experienced with a game, rather than describing how it's poor because it was coded with BASIC and didn't use a certain technique.

For the past 2 years I have been developing my own Discmag-like engine for issue 1 of "8bit memories", and authoring the stories at the same time. I still have a long way to go. I still have more than half the stories left to write, and port the engine for other platforms. I'm planning on having the engine available for JavaME enabled cellphones, Blu-ray players (just for fun), and an HTML5 web version for smartphones and tablets.
And then I need to create the background music... I'm nowhere near the finish line.

So this presentation is given to you very early in the process, and I'm doing this because:
I know how long it takes to write these stories. You will need to spend a lot of time writing, reading, re-phrasing, reading again, and so forth. If you have a daytime job and a family, you'll need at least a year writing these stories, because of all the other things that also need your attention.

I hope that everyone will like my engine, with its Discmag-like retro look. Because the plan is that I can then receive the text files from authors of future issues, and then compiles issues for the 3 platforms I'm targeting. That way authors don't have to have any coding skills.

And that's basically it.

Anyone interested in sharing their stories, please PM me with contact information, so I have somewhere to send the guidelines when they're ready.


Now to answer some questions I know will be asked:
Q: Why only have 1 author for each issue? Why not have many authors in each issue, so that the same author can also contribute to many issues?
A: I would very much like the writing style for each issue to be the same. Different writing styles (which is impossible to avoid when having multiple authors) is noisy. I'm not compromising on this.

Q: But it'll take much less time for people if they just have to write a single story, rather than a whole book.
A: That's absolutely true.

Q: This is an amazing idea! How about porting the engine to the Amstrad CPC? Or other retro platforms?
A: I'm thinking anyone who feels like porting the engine to other platforms, should do so. They'll need some guidelines from me of course, so that it looks somewhat the same as on the other platforms. You could have a preview of issue 1 when it's ready on a platform that you own, and then you can see how it looks and runs.

Q: How is it going to be distributed? Will you be making any money on it?
A: Well... I don't know of any way to make money on an HTML5 app, since it'll just be online somewhere. And I from experience that chances of earning money on JavaME apps are virtually none nowadays. So no, there are no plans on making any money on this. However, I will probably manually insert ads for e.g. my site IndieGameMusic.com and put something like "Sponsored by".

Q: Why not use one of the many online ad-systems?
A: There's a slight chance I'll do that, but at the moment I'm against it. Experience tells me that the developer earns very little, so the annoyingness the reader experience is simply not worth it for anyone. Also, one of my main wishes for 8bit memories is that it's runnable offline. Even the HTML5 version will be installable, and then runnable offline. So an online ad-system wouldn't do much good.

Q: Aren't you gonna make any money on this at all??
A: My primary drive has been to share my stories. I imagine some day my daughter will probably read them. And developing the engine is simply a sparetime hobby. Earning some money would of course be nice, but I just don't see how it's possible - and I do have some experience with the market since 2006. So I figure it's better to just manually insert some ads for my own (and yours?) private projects, like e.g. my site IndieGameMusic.com, or PirateDiamonds.com. I imagine each author probably has his own stuff he'd like to advertise for.

Q: Ok, I'm interested. I'll start writing right now! What issue will I be writing for?
A: Don't worry about it. Just start writing. What issue it'll be can always be decided later. Whoever is ready first will be the author of the next issue. And less important, since the issue number is probably only visible in the top graphics, and possibly a single text file.


Attached are some screenshots of the JavaME version running with the emulator Pstros.


Looking forward to hearing some feedback on this project in this thread now.
« Last Edit: 09:41, 30 December 15 by mr_lou »
Currently working on "8-bit Memoirs"; a diskmag-like collection of memoirs about the retro computers I experienced in my childhood.
Will be released as a freely downloadable Blu-ray ISO file, playable with software like PowerDVD and VLC. The ISO can be burned onto a real disc to play with real Blu-ray players (including PlayStation 3, Playstation 4 and XBox One).
Read more here.

Online Gryzor

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This does sound like a lovely project indeed; but the major hurdle is having all the stories from a single author - I really doubt you'll find any volunteers... :(

Offline mr_lou

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This does sound like a lovely project indeed; but the major hurdle is having all the stories from a single author - I really doubt you'll find any volunteers... :(
Well it's not really about finding volunteers. More like me offering a service to anyone who (like me) have a lot of stories they'd like to share.

Only text authors within the retro-computer/console community would be interested in this, so I know perfectly well that it's a small group of people.  :)

I've felt like writing my own stories for years, and now I'm finally doing it. I really want my stories to be preserved, and also available for e.g. my daughter many years from now. So the project is something I will do regardless of any feedback I might get.

I'm not looking for people to author future issues really. I'm merely presenting the project idea, so that anyone who would like to author an issue, knows that I can help. But we're talking a year from now or so. Currently I have enough to do with my own issue.  :)


This thread is not only about telling writers that I'm offering this service though. It is also meant as a simple presentation to readers of my own stories, i.e. issue 1, to get a vibe of whether anyone would be interested in reading my stories or not. And what people thought about wrapping the stories in a retro-styled diskmag-like look.
I can see that most people instead seemed to think that I was only looking for authors. That's what I get for trying to present two things in one thread I suppose.

But about eventual future issues: Back in October 2011, Badstarr created "Your Earliest Memory of the CPC?" thread here at CPCwiki. It showed me that a lot of people have stories to tell, but sadly don't remember them that well.
I bet a lot of us have a lot stories that would be interesting for the rest of us to read, if only people could remember them well, and were able to write them down in an easy-to-read way. But naturally we can't all be text authors. In my humble opinion, I happen to remember my own stories surprisingly well, and also believe I'm able to tell them in an interesting way. I hope I'm right.  :) Time will tell.
Currently working on "8-bit Memoirs"; a diskmag-like collection of memoirs about the retro computers I experienced in my childhood.
Will be released as a freely downloadable Blu-ray ISO file, playable with software like PowerDVD and VLC. The ISO can be burned onto a real disc to play with real Blu-ray players (including PlayStation 3, Playstation 4 and XBox One).
Read more here.

Online Gryzor

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Ah, I get it, thanks. Very interesting project, really looking forward to it!!

Offline mr_lou

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Well it'll be different, if nothing else.  :)

I'm eager to see how the Blu-ray version works out.
I think it'll be kinda like using a modern text-tv.

Users of various media centers, like e.g. PowerDVD, should be able to run the Blu-ray version.

I'm also thinking I'll make an ePub version, so that the stories can be distributed for the various existing e-book readers.

But one step at a time.  :)
Currently working on "8-bit Memoirs"; a diskmag-like collection of memoirs about the retro computers I experienced in my childhood.
Will be released as a freely downloadable Blu-ray ISO file, playable with software like PowerDVD and VLC. The ISO can be burned onto a real disc to play with real Blu-ray players (including PlayStation 3, Playstation 4 and XBox One).
Read more here.

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Project "8bit memories": Collections of our retro memories
« Reply #5 on: 08:35, 06 September 14 »
To anyone interested in this project, I can report that it's progressing nice and slow.

The engine for the blu-ray version is nearly complete, and so is the "old cellphone" version.
It's rather cool to see my little creation run on my TV from my Sony blu-ray player, and controlling it with the remote control.
I'll probably start looking into the web version soon.

Meanwhile I'm also slowly authoring the stories.
Anyone who thinks text authoring is a fast and easy thing, should try writing a story to get a taste of reality.  :)
It is a very time-demanding task.
(That is why you might as well get started now, if you wish to be the author of issue 2).

Since I grew up with the CPC, most of the stories in this little project, will of course be about the CPC.
Because of this, I'm wondering if there ought to be a version for the CPC too?
For now I'll just say that if there is a coder out there who'd like to make a CPC version, then it's fine by me. But you'll have to convert all the graphics yourself (or decide to not include the graphics), and parse the texts to fit the CPC etc.
I don't expect anyone to have the urge for this, but just want to let you know that it's open. Maybe someone already have an engine that could be used.

More updates later.
I'll also be asking for betatesters at some point, but more about that later too.
Currently working on "8-bit Memoirs"; a diskmag-like collection of memoirs about the retro computers I experienced in my childhood.
Will be released as a freely downloadable Blu-ray ISO file, playable with software like PowerDVD and VLC. The ISO can be burned onto a real disc to play with real Blu-ray players (including PlayStation 3, Playstation 4 and XBox One).
Read more here.

Offline mr_lou

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Well, this project is still being developed. Frequently interrupted by various daily-life stuff, like work and family, but definitely still being worked on.

At the moment, I'm looking to get my hands on a Harman/Kardon BDP10 blu-ray player, because I know my engine doesn't behave correctly on that player.
I've missed 2 eBay auctions because the price ended up to high.

There's a norwegian who's selling one for a good price at finn.no, but he won't ship to Denmark. If you happen to be from norway and would like to help me get it, look here:
Anyone from norway who wants to do me a favor?
Currently working on "8-bit Memoirs"; a diskmag-like collection of memoirs about the retro computers I experienced in my childhood.
Will be released as a freely downloadable Blu-ray ISO file, playable with software like PowerDVD and VLC. The ISO can be burned onto a real disc to play with real Blu-ray players (including PlayStation 3, Playstation 4 and XBox One).
Read more here.

Offline Bryce

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@Terje_Norway is the only active user here from Norway as far as I know.

Bryce.

Online Terje_Norway

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@Terje_Norway is the only active user here from Norway as far as I know.

Bryce.
Hi Bryce (and all others),


We are AFAIK three Norwegians on CPCWIKI.


Me, ivarf and kribjo.


And now back to the subject.


It shouldn't be that much of a problem getting hold of that Blu-Ray player for You mr_lou.
But what's so special about it. Isn't it just a ordinary Blu-Ray player ? ? ?


Anyway, if You want it I could try to get hold of it for You. Shipping to Denmark looks to be something around 417 NOK (about 50 EUR).


Looking forward to hearing from You mr_lou.


Yours

Terje Grind
NORWAY

Offline mr_lou

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Hey Terje!

Thanks for "reporting". :-)

Anyway, if You want it I could try to get hold of it for You. Shipping to Denmark looks to be something around 417 NOK (about 50 EUR).

417 NOK? Is that only from Norway to Denmark, or are you including the Norway to Norway shipment too?
Sounds a bit high considering how close we live, if it's only from Norway to Denmark. But maybe it's because of the sea?
Currently working on "8-bit Memoirs"; a diskmag-like collection of memoirs about the retro computers I experienced in my childhood.
Will be released as a freely downloadable Blu-ray ISO file, playable with software like PowerDVD and VLC. The ISO can be burned onto a real disc to play with real Blu-ray players (including PlayStation 3, Playstation 4 and XBox One).
Read more here.