Looking for a community of "old" guys (30+) playing FTB

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sgtAgrest

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Jul 29, 2019
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Hi guys! Old fart here - will join with pleasure.
I'm well beyond 30 but stopped to count about a decade ago so hard to tell how old exactly without making my day :)
 
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steve g

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Jul 29, 2019
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if you can remember:

the vic 20's and commodore pet's
the old pong game with paddle sticks from Sears
the days when computers booted into a BASIC prompt
'portable computer' was a massive 40lb box with a keyboard and small 6 inch mono orange/brown crt
pixels were defined in inches per pixel
the difference between pal and ntsc
8 inch floppy disks and washing machine 'hard drives'
you constantly oggled that amiga 2000 at the mall
the video ram address, and ports to program the old vga cards on the 86, 286, 386 intel machines
the 'internet' of the time was a bunch of people running 1200 baud modems (like, 1 kilobit in modern standards) with text based 'websites' that took over a minute to load just the content. and the ip address was a phone number.
every gaming console ever made. starting with the atari 2600, intellivision, vectrex and coleco vision.
8 track tapes

then yes. you are old. hi, im 41. ;)
 
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steve g

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Jul 29, 2019
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Oh 0xB800, how I miss thee.
I keep a PNG of the CGA font to use in projects where I need to make a console.
what i miss was the amazing stuff you could do if you knew all the hardware registers...like split screen, scrolling, even tweaking the mode so you could address more ram and have several pages of video up. was easy to make a really nice platform game with tiled graphics. nowadays opengl and directx handle that, but i did like the raw nature of programming the hardware yourself. kinda why i got into gameboy advance and playstation portable dev...lots of hardware hackiness abound with the little handheld consoles.
 

Saice

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Jul 29, 2019
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My first programing language was PET BASIC. Oh the days when you heard about a cool program and instead of downloading or getting a disc you got a huge print out and had to type it all in yourself.
 

FyberOptic

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Jul 29, 2019
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what i miss was the amazing stuff you could do if you knew all the hardware registers...like split screen, scrolling, even tweaking the mode so you could address more ram and have several pages of video up. was easy to make a really nice platform game with tiled graphics. nowadays opengl and directx handle that, but i did like the raw nature of programming the hardware yourself. kinda why i got into gameboy advance and playstation portable dev...lots of hardware hackiness abound with the little handheld consoles.
I feel the same. You could actually control your hardware back then, and the operating system was just there to help you, not get in the way. That's not to say that today's hardware isn't infinitely better, and significantly easier to develop for in various respects, but it still lacks that feel you get from interacting directly with a machine. I've played with game console development in the meantime as well, mostly NES/SNES/GB/GBA. Also hacked a piece of hardware called the Mailstation to run CP/M and Zork, since it had a Z80 in it.

You may already know the story, but it was experimenting with the EGA registers which resulted in John Carmack (of id fame) "inventing" side-scrolling on the PC. It started as a tech demo, then a PC clone of Super Mario Bros. 3 (which Nintendo turned down), and then finally into Commander Keen. To anyone into hardware-level development, particularly of older computers, I highly recommend reading about the development of some of these classic games/companies. "Masters of Doom" is a good book, about id Software's beginnings. I also recommend Jordan Mechner's book, "The Making of Prince of Persia," which is from his own personal journals when he was making the game. I believe he's also released one about Karateka's development now as well, which I look forward to reading.
 

Juanitierno

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Jul 29, 2019
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Hey! im 31 (almost 32) and I want to join the cool people!

My first computer was a commodore 64, and I had to go to position 84 on a repurposed tango casette to be able to play "Henry's house".

Also, I would like to play with people too, if I could get an invite. My IGN is just "juantierno".
 

steve g

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Jul 29, 2019
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You may already know the story, but it was experimenting with the EGA registers which resulted in John Carmack (of id fame) "inventing" side-scrolling on the PC. It started as a tech demo, then a PC clone of Super Mario Bros. 3 (which Nintendo turned down), and then finally into Commander Keen. To anyone into hardware-level development, particularly of older computers, I highly recommend reading about the development of some of these classic games/companies. "Masters of Doom" is a good book, about id Software's beginnings. I also recommend Jordan Mechner's book, "The Making of Prince of Persia," which is from his own personal journals when he was making the game. I believe he's also released one about Karateka's development now as well, which I look forward to reading.
heh. commander keen was the coolest damm game of the time. I played all of them, still do. they have a commander keen pack up on Steam if you feel up for some old memories. I was always a fan of Michael Abrash's books, Zen of Programming and Graphics Programming Black Book. He goes into heavy detail on the work he did with John Carmack when they worked on Quake, another fantastic game that I also still play ;). I followed Tim Sweeney for a while (founder of Epic Megagames), he wrote ZZT, an amazing text console based game that had its own tools to create your own adventures, a first that was WAY ahead of its time. look up that one, you might have played it one or 4 times ;)

If i can join the cool crowd on this server, my ign is steveg22
 

FyberOptic

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Jul 29, 2019
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heh. commander keen was the coolest damm game of the time. I played all of them, still do. they have a commander keen pack up on Steam if you feel up for some old memories. I was always a fan of Michael Abrash's books, Zen of Programming and Graphics Programming Black Book. He goes into heavy detail on the work he did with John Carmack when they worked on Quake, another fantastic game that I also still play ;). I followed Tim Sweeney for a while (founder of Epic Megagames), he wrote ZZT, an amazing text console based game that had its own tools to create your own adventures, a first that was WAY ahead of its time. look up that one, you might have played it one or 4 times ;)
I should point out that the Masters of Doom book covers all the way back to before the creation of id Software, so it definitely covers their early titles like Keen and Wolfenstein, but also farther back into like the Softdisk years, despite the book title. In fact, it's more of a biography of Carmack and Romero, starting with their childhoods. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I believe I had Zen of Assembly Language at some point, but not Graphics Programming Black Book. Sounds like it could be an interesting read, especially since it appears to be a free download! I've experimented in the past with making things like a simple Wolfenstein engine clone using traditional ray-tracing techniques, which obviously doesn't serve much purpose today other than seeing if I could do it. So I'm sure there's still interesting things I can pick up from an older book, which might even help in Minecraft modding (with the later chapters, at least).

And ZZT is a game I certainly remember, although I probably haven't played it in quite a long time. A friend and I used to make maps for it when we were in high school. They're probably still buried on 720K floppies I stashed away somewhere.
 

Hambeau

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Jul 24, 2013
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Yikes... Which CPU? I still do assember for PIC chips. But, the 1st machine code I programmed in was 6502 on an old Apple ][. I was still in high school programming that one.
Second job... Engineering Lab Tech in '77: We had a 6502 CPU with a Hex keypad and display, based on the Kim-1. I still have my Rockwell Aim65, also based on the Kim-1 provided in a company paid for training class from this era.

A few years later, working for Morrow Designs. Split octal keypad on a Z-80 system that until I started was used to enter "jp 01 00" to start the floppy interface and boot to CP/m 2.2. I was the first to use machine code to troubleshoot Ram cards (s-100) by first running "Ramtest" in CP/m to cherry pick the good boards, then retesting boards with failed areas by either reading or writing the first byte of the failed area and looping back to the first byte of my routine. This set up repeating patterns on all the address and data lines so I could check for shorts/opens or bad parts using the O'scope.

The job after that I worked in a retail shop using either an Imsai or North Star S-100 chassis (8080) to test other S-100 boards and align floppy disk drives, back when they cost about $1000 USD each.
 

Hambeau

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Jul 24, 2013
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if you can remember:

the vic 20's and commodore pet's
the old pong game with paddle sticks from Sears
the days when computers booted into a BASIC prompt
'portable computer' was a massive 40lb box with a keyboard and small 6 inch mono orange/brown crt
pixels were defined in inches per pixel
the difference between pal and ntsc
8 inch floppy disks and washing machine 'hard drives'
you constantly oggled that amiga 2000 at the mall
the video ram address, and ports to program the old vga cards on the 86, 286, 386 intel machines
the 'internet' of the time was a bunch of people running 1200 baud modems (like, 1 kilobit in modern standards) with text based 'websites' that took over a minute to load just the content. and the ip address was a phone number.
every gaming console ever made. starting with the atari 2600, intellivision, vectrex and coleco vision.
8 track tapes

then yes. you are old. hi, im 41. ;)
Strike game consoles from this list (I had a buddy with the Magnavox Pong from Sears, with color by taping acetate sheets over the screen and my parents had both the Intellivision and the Colecovision, not to mention the Coleco Adam one computer) and you've got a deal.

[edit] 55 here, if you couldn't read the Binary, Split Octal or Hex from a previous post.
 

steve g

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Jul 29, 2019
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I believe I had Zen of Assembly Language at some point, but not Graphics Programming Black Book. Sounds like it could be an interesting read, especially since it appears to be a free download! I've experimented in the past with making things like a simple Wolfenstein engine clone using traditional ray-tracing techniques, which obviously doesn't serve much purpose today other than seeing if I could do it. So I'm sure there's still interesting things I can pick up from an older book, which might even help in Minecraft modding (with the later chapters, at least).
there are quite a few good algorithms in that book. particularly the optimizations for rasterizing a texture mapped polygon in pure assembler, and some of the very slick techniques used in quake to get shadows and texture mapping to run in realtime. zbuffering, bsp trees was a hot topic too. lots of stuff on rasterizing lines, circles, polygons. still useful if you program on devices with very small constraints/cpu power.