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23Mar/140

Applesoft BASIC JavaScript Emulator: My First Game (from 1979)

apple2firstgame

I found this emulator the other day : Applesoft BASIC in JavaScript   last week while at GDC, and it got me thinking about the first games I wrote on my friend Eric's Apple II back in the 70's .  I was 9 years old when I first touched the keyboard of an Apple II and wrote my first program.  The power I felt while touching that keyboard was indescribable.   I went directly to the library and checked out a couple book about programming in BASIC, wrote programs in notebooks, and then begged Eric to let me try them out.

As the years passed, I never had access to the programs that Eric, my brother, and I typed into the Apple II.  They are locked on disks that Eric still owns, 1000's of miles away.  However I do recall one of  the very  first (if not the first) real "games" we wrote together.  It was a "Guess The Number" game.    After building elaborate ASCII rockets with "PRINT" commands for days, Eric's dad (A computer engineer at Hughes Aircraft)  taught us about about "IF-THEN" and "GOTO" statements and then we went to town.

Because I have not seen the game in 35 years, I rewrote it using the emulator.   My favorite discovery was the "FLASH" command.   I had forgotten about it, but when I saw it in the reference guide, it sent me back decades.  It was a  magical command to me when I was 9 years old.  It seemed like, with "FLASH", I could create a real "reward" for winning the game. Finding the roots of my love for computers, programming, and making games does not take an extensive search.  It's pretty much right here in these 20-odd lines of code.

10 HOME
20 INVERSE
30 PRINT "NUMBER GUESS"
40 NORMAL
50 MAGICNUMBER% = INT(RND(1)*100)+1
60 LET TURNS% = 0
70 PRINT "I'M THINKING OF A NUMBER (1-100)"
80 INPUT "GUESS:" ; NUMBER%
90 TURNS% = TURNS% + 1
100 IF NUMBER% == MAGICNUMBER% THEN GOTO 170 
110 IF NUMBER% > MAGICNUMBER% THEN GOTO 130
120 IF NUMBER% < MAGICNUMBER% THEN GOTO 150
130 PRINT "<<LOWER" 140 GOTO 80 150 PRINT "HIGHER>>"
160 GOTO 80
170 FLASH
180 PRINT "YOU WIN!"
190 NORMAL
200 PRINT "YOU DID IT IN " ; TURNS% ; " TURNS"
210 PRINT "HIT KEY TO PLAY AGAIN"
220 GET K$
230 GOTO 10

-Steve Fulton

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18Mar/142

Final Mochi Comments and Flash Game License

Jeff Fulton (8bitjeff)

In about 2005 I started this blog with help from 8bitsteve purely to experiment with game development and design. Many of the older posts are gone or missing after many transitions between various blogging software, but many still exist.  When I first started to make a few indie Flash games there was no real way to make any money off of them other than sell a license to a large gaming portal.   Mochi Media changed all of that. They allowed any game to be ad sponsored and the make at least a small amount per 1000 game plays. Other companies joined the fray, and large portals (Kongregate, King, etc) swooped in and started to sponsor and or put their own ads in games to help developers make some cash from their games.

Luckily, we were never in it for the money, just for experimentation with technology to help write a couple books, one on Flash: The Essential Guide To Flash Games and one on the HTML5 Canvas.  The earnings from those books far out weighted the ad revenue we received from games a good 20 to 1 ratio.  But, to some developers, who were working on games to make a living,  much more ad revenue could be made.

flash_game_license

flash_game_license

The great news is, Flash Game License, which  was one of the first companies to offer similar and extended services that Mochi offered, are still around.  Not just still around, but thriving and expanding because they have embraced HTML5 games FGL offers a wide range of services all for the indie developer, including a $200 bonus for any HTML5 game they decide to publish.   It's a great service and should be considered for all of the older or new Flash games you have hanging around, (in Mochi or waiting to go into Mochi) or newer HTML 5 games you may have or want to create.  Bedroom coders rise again!

I might even start up again and make some HTML5 games that use their services.  That would be pretty fun.  Until then, RIP Mochi and hello to new frontiers.

 

17Mar/140

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!! Play our old Flash Game Mission Leprechaun

Happy St Patrick's Day!!!

In honor of this day (and my Scotch Irish roots) plus the demise of Mochi (where this game was initially published), I present to everyone who is NOT on mobile, a game I created about 7 years ago (with my sister Mari and Steve Fulton helping with level graphics and level design respectively). It's in Flash, so you can't play it on a mobile device unless you have an Android device with the Flash player (and a keyboard). Your mission on each level to to rescue the trapped Leprechaun. There's more to it and LOT's of power-ups and strategy. It is essentially a Pacman like game with much more going on. I think this one got up to about 2.5 Million plays before I stopped looking or counting. It's fun though, and difficult. Read the instructions to get the full gist of it. The song at the beginning is an original by me (no singing, so don't cringe before you play).

Mission Leprechaun

Mission Leprechaun

Play on Mind Jolt.

 

15Mar/140

Goodbye and Thanks Mochi Media

On March 14th Mochiland, the blog that has been the mouthpiece for Machi Media since 2006, announced that the array of Mochi Media services for Flash game developers will go offline on March 31st.  Josh Larson wrote a logn detailed message to describe the situtation. Here is the most important part of it:

"It saddens me to make this announcement today–our parent company Shanda has decided to dissolve the Mochi Media business. The last day that Mochi Media services will be available is March 31, 2014."

Developers and publishers who use the service should read the blog post so they can find out what to do with their content, and what they need to do to get their final payments from Mochi Media.

As a long-time Flash developer myself, I know full-well the flack Flash got in the traditional game community, some of it deserved, and some of it not.  However, no one can deny that the Mochi set of services, from Mochibot (basic stats), through Mochi Ads, Analytics, High Scores, Game fund coins, content hosting, distribution, etc. were game changers.   Mochi's self-publishing model for indie game developers was the template for the current mobile games industry.    The Mochi set of services gave 1000's of bedroom and semi-professional game developers their first taste at the joys and pitfalls of what the indie game industry would become in 2014.   In that way, long before iTunes and Google Play,  Mochi services acted as a breeding ground for game talent where almost anyone could get an idea published at their discretion. The ones who had thick skins, and were not discouraged by low eCPM rates, kept making games until they were good enough to ply their skills elsewhere.

It's not a mystery as to why Mochi Media has to close its' doors.  Most "Flash" game developers I knew from the halcyon days of Mochi services (2006-2010) have moved on to make games in  HTML5, Unity, and Corona for platforms like Android, iOS and  Steam.   Some of them were lured out of their bedrooms to work on Facebook games for giant companies, and then moved onto jobs in the traditional games and media industries.  Others just kept making games on their own.  Almost all of them are still working in the games industry today.

It's sad that Mochi could not find a way to extend to mobile and HTML5 gaming themselves,  Their inability to change with the times is a lesson for pioneers of new platforms.  Maybe if they did not sell out to Shanda so quickly, maybe if they did not rely on a single technology for their APIs, they could have survived and thrived.

Maybe, or maybe not.

However, for myself, Mochi Media meant freedom. It meant I could finally break out and make the games I wanted to make, and publish them when I wanted to publish them: who cares if they were not good enough, or the types of games people wanted to play?  I could experiment with little consequence, iterate, and try again.  Mochi let me do that. For me, Mochi Media were the DIY disruptors of the the game industry.

They were my indie "label".

They were my punk rock.

And I will never forget them.

-Steve Fulton

12Mar/140

Celebrate the Web’s 25th Anniversary with O’Reilly – 50% off all Web Dev e-books

So you have been waiting to get your hot little hands on a new bo0k to compete in the emerging market for web and HTML5 (for mobile and web). O'Reilly makes it easier today with 50% all e-books related to web development in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the web. Keep your skills up to date, or just have some fun late night Kindle reading on the Canvas and CSS3. Put doown that 50 Shades of Grey and pick up 50 ways to make a new web site to replace that stodgy old thing you call a "web presence" form 2008 or before.

RT @OReillyMedia Deal/Day: Celebrate the Web's 25th Birthday + Save 50% on All Web Development Ebooks + Videos #web25

HTML5 Canvas 2nd Edition

HTML5 Canvas 2nd Edition

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1Mar/140

Pennywise – Word From The Wise 33 1/3 7 inch Ep – Old Shit From My Attic

By Jeff Fulton (8bitjeff)

Penny Wise - Word From The Wise 33 1/3 7 inch Ep - Old Shit From My Attic.

pennywise_word_front

pennywise_word_front

I remember picking this seminal, LA South Bay Suburb Punk Rock disc at the old Go Boy record store on PCH and Ave F.  This vinyl, 7 inch 33 1/3 (as opposed to the usual 45 RP 7"inch) was a power house of Descendents / LA Punk (but also original sounding) inspired greatness during a sea of hair metal and late 80's alternative, post punk whiny KROQness.   The original 500 copies were released in 1989 and have a green logo on the front. My version, while purchased that same year, is one of the later pressings.

 

pennywise_word_back

pennywise_word_back

The disc is double sided and includes 5 outstanding tracks.

Side 1 Final Chapters
Side 1 Covers
Side 2 Depression
Side 2 No Way Out
Side 2 Gone

The inside includes  a fold out lyric sheet plus original pirate artwork.

 

pennywise_word_inside1

pennywise_word_inside1

pennywise_word_inside2

pennywise_word_inside2

 

This disc was released on a CD with Wild Card tracks in 1995.
Here is the Amazon link. The Mp3's are reasonable, but the CD is very collectible and not easy to obtain.

Here are images of the two disc sides:

penny_word_disc_side1

penny_word_disc_side1

penny_word_disc_side2

penny_word_disc_side2

The tracks from this can be easily heard on Spotify where the band will get a few pennies from every million listens.  That's the sad state of the music industry today.

 

13Feb/141

To Coin A phrase: “Flappy Birded”

Phrase: Flappy Birded (Verb)
Definition: Used when a the internet-at-large destroys an honest and earnest individual because said person had the audacity to become successful. Usually occurs when said person is not already famous  or is not deemed to be "legitimate" or "worthy" of success, and or when the product they have produced is deemed to be not "of consequence."  This can happen most often  when the requirements to become "legitimate",  "worthy"  and "of consequence" are arbitrary or not clearly defined.
Usage: "That forum just flappy birded a guy on youtube with 20,000,000 views of his video of a cat walking on a piano"
See Also: Jealousy, Envy, Cult of Personality

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3Feb/140

Compile Me Baby! Dedicated to the 2005-2010 Indie Flash Game Underground!

Compile Me Baby! Dedicated to the 2005-2010 Indie Flash Game Underground!

To all those that were through through the Mochi and Flash Game License Years.

WE salute you.

6Dec/130

Big Drill Car / Chemical People Yellow Vinyl Cheap Trick / Kiss Cover 45 RPM (all the crap in my attic)

By Jeff Fulton

Big Drill Car / Chemical People Yellow Vinyl Cheap Trick / Kiss Cover 45 RPM (all the crap in my attic)

Back in college (1988 - 1993) we followed the local Los Angeles bands ALL, Big Drill Car, and the Chemical People as they played all over the LA area. They always put on great shows and it was like a little punk rock Renaissance in the midst of hair metal before Nirvana changed the music landscape forever.

This disc was purchased at the old Go Boy Records on Ave F in Redondo at PCH.  We spent many waking hours a Zed Records in Long Beach and Go boy, looking for gems like this.  Released in 1991 on Cruz records, this 45 contains The Chemical People covering Getway by Kiss and Big Drill Car covering Surrender by Cheap Trick.

yellow_vinyl_cruz_chemical_people_getaway_cover

yellow_vinyl_cruz_chemical_people_getaway_cover

 

yellow_vinyl_cruz_big_drill_car_surrender_cover

yellow_vinyl_cruz_big_drill_car_surrender_cover

yellow_vinyl_cruz_chemical_people_getaway_45

yellow_vinyl_cruz_chemical_people_getaway_45

 

yellow_vinyl_cruz_big_drill_car_surrender_45

yellow_vinyl_cruz_big_drill_car_surrender_45

 

I can't find an existing version of the Chemical People song, but it is well done and sounds like this:

4Dec/135

Torrents are killing the technical book industry.

Torrents are killing the technical book industry and making it really difficult for me to provide a decent holiday season for my family.  I know times are tough all over, but the number of stolen copies of our three books compared to the numbers sold is almost 1000 to 1.

A simple web search will find both The Essential Guide to Flash Games and The HTML5 Canvas First and Second Editions (as well all every other technical book released in the last 20 years)  in 100's of Torrent files.

That's awesome for anyone who wants to learn these languages for free, but REALLY sucks for the authors(and publishers). Let me give you a brief lesson in the economics in being an author of a second edition of a book.

You get no advance payment and you need to write at least 50% new content, while revising EVERY page of the first edition.  You release the book and hope that sales will pay for the 500-1000 hours or so hours it took to write, re-write, and test this content on multiple platforms.  After that, you get royalties on the 10% of all sales. It is as simple as that.  But, when no one is buying your book because they can get it for free, those 1000 hours turn into no money for the authors or the relatively tiny book publishers  that you are trying (or not trying)  the "screw" by obtaining and using intellectual property for free.

We have a great book company, O'Reilly, that should NOT be screwed out of anything.  We also have no incentive to write any more books if we are not going to make a dime by writing them.

So, here is my proposal. If you have Torrented ANY of our books - The Essential Guide To Flash Games, The HTML5 Canvas or the HTML5 Canvas 2nd Edition, and have found them useful, we ask that you donate to the cause of helping give us incentive write a 3rd edition. It won't happen with the current royalty stream. In less than a year, royalties have dried up beyond belief.

You can donate via PayPal by sending $2.00 (10% of the discounted $20,00 e-book price) or any amount you want to info[at]8bitrocket.com Paypal address.

No questions asked. We appreciate your honesty. Also, we understand that some people truly cannot afford books. That's OK.  For those who can afford to donate and are using our hard work, please give donating some serious thought.

Thanks,

Jeff Fulton

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