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What retro computer activity did you get up to today?

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade' started by adz, Jan 28, 2014.

  1. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    "Pareto Principle" is the answer there:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

    One of the big challenges of business is that you always have limited resources. Even at Microsoft's scale, they don't have infinity people, or more realistically infinity years to make things.

    The stockmarket demands growth, and demands that Microsoft as a publicly traded company put their efforts in to things that are increasing in yield. The Pareto Principle suggests that a lot of effort in companies is wasted on things that don't make profit, and conversely the things that make the most profit often take fewer people and resources. When something becomes large and complex, and doesn't help move a company forward, the incentives to maintain it dry up when other more profitable business comes along.

    If you've ever run a small business, you've probably witnessed this first hand. Every small business has good clients that generate high profit, and shitty clients that generate low profit. If you're earning more and more from the good ones, at some point you become quite tempted to let the shitty ones go. Yes, "money is money", but you could get rid of the bad ones and use that time to either find better clients, or do a thousand other important things small businesses never have the time to do (get your books sorted, do some marketing, hire a junior, etc).

    Big business is no different. If part of your business is standing still while another part is exploding, that's a challenge. Your good engineers won't want to work on the old/legacy Windows stuff, especially when so much of it is maintaining very old kludge so as not to upset governments and OCAUers alike when the start menu changes. Everyone wants to work on the cool/new stuff, mostly because it's cool and new, but also because it's generating several times the profit.

    And again, with the Pareto Principle in mind, you could take a HUGE volume of staff working on non-profitable things, and get them earning far more profit on newer technologies that are in higher demand. That's the balancing act of all business.

    I don't disagree here. However my only comment that "supporting old crap" is literally where Windows is now, especially with big clients like governments and the megacorps running their enterprise shitware. So why they don't go the whole hog and take modern Windows itself forwards while leaving old stuff in convenient VMs and containers for the customers who want it, I don't know. It seems like they could have their cake and eat it too, but don't.
     
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  2. Grant

    Grant Member

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    Don't forget Microsoft also has the Xbox brand that they've been flip-flopping around with in Windows for the past decade or two, so if they wanted to let you run old Win32 games in an easy VM they'd have that department to convince as well.
     
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  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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  4. DonutKing

    DonutKing Member

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    Awesome! I loved monster bash and played the shareware version to death.
    I think the 3rd episode is a bit weak but otherwise it's an awesome platformer especially for DOS.
     
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  5. CRTified

    CRTified Member

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    Monster Bash was an interesting one.

    One of the last popular PC games to come out with 16-colour EGA graphics. At the time it felt creaky in that respect, given that studios like id and Epic Megagames had been giving us shareware VGA for a full year by then, and commercial outfits were there too. The GOG HD version clearly thinks so too, as it's basically a graphical re-imagining in the spirit of what a VGA release might have looked like.

    With nostalgia it's easier to be fond of the original graphics, noting how far they pushed the EGA gamut, with attention to detail and background animation everywhere.

    But it was also a time when DOS game sound (and device support) was still inconsistent, or at least, just coming right. Monster Bash stood out in that way by being the first of Apogee's growing dynasty to wholeheartedly include Sound Blaster support in every sense - FM music and digital sound effects including basic voice samples. Crystal Caves, Duke Nukem, Commander Keen etc, Apogee's main stable until then had been all PC Speaker or FM.

    So where Monster Bash technically lagged in choice of graphics standard for 1993, it was pushing towards the front of the class sound-wise. An interesting combination.

    The gameplay itself was also not too bad, at all. With the usual understanding that most games of the time were each reinventing their own physics from first principles however the coder saw fit! I remember playing through the game a few times during the release years. The slingshot makes it, with the shooting angles and creative dynamics they bring.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2021
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  6. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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  7. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    Bit of an old article (originally posted December 25th last year) but a good read nevertheless. I must of missed it first time around but they reposted on Facebook today.

    The Hollywood-obsessed FMV games of the '90s were weird as hell

    https://www.pcgamer.com/the-hollywood-obsessed-fmv-games-of-the-90s-were-weird-as-hell/

    There were some real weird FMV games but I must of missed a lot of these as many of my experiences were good. There were other games such as Wing Commander IV and the Crusader games by Origin which I think made good use of FMV. Any others you can think of?

    Looking back games could get a bit disjointed as I think the videos could stand out too much especially when the gameplay/graphics weren't up to scratch, but it was still a fun time. My pre-adolescent eyes enjoyed the "realism" it brought to storytelling in games.
     
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  8. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    A whole article about FMV games, and no mention of Phantasmagoria?

    I've seen a few modern stabs at FMV. Most were kind of terrible, but "Her Story" was probably the most interesting. Plot features around you as a police detective fishing through video evidence of an arrested woman accused of murder, and you have to try to work out of she's guilty or not. The presentation worked well for the plot.
     
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  9. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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  10. CRTified

    CRTified Member

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    The FMV years, home of Mark Hamill's other trilogy.

    I was initially impressed when that stuff started showing up. I remember frothing to get at a friend's copy of Rebel Assault, despite it reviewing terribly. These days it's a style I mostly avoid.
     
  11. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

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    I would think so. Not all games were suitable to be completely FMV so some had to be injected it into the game by the way of cutscenes.

    I have a special DVD version of WC4 which came bundled with the Creative Dxr2 Encore DVD Kit. Basically it's a higher video quality version to take advantage of the larger capacity provided by the DVD format and was encoded to take advantage of the decoding features of the Creative Dxr2 card. I don't think I ever played the CD-ROM version to compare but it was very cool seeing DVD quality video with the game telling the storyline.

    Didn't realise just how long the video scenes were in WC4 as I just found on Youtube someone has pasted all the scenes together upscaled to 1080 into one big movie which goes for 2:49:59. :shock:

     
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  12. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    What about Red Alert/RA2? Good FMV's!
     
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  13. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    These weren't "FMV games" though, I don't think. There was a genre there where literally the entire game was FMV, not just the cut scenes between the action.
     
  14. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    Oh, right. My bad, was just remembering cool FMV sequences in games.

    What about "Silent Steel" then? I remember playing that with my Dad on an old family Aptiva.
     
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  15. gdjacobs

    gdjacobs Member

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    CD-i titles?

    Sherlock Holmes and Myst used FMV as an intrinsic part of storytelling which is why I think they qualify.
     
  16. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Haha that looks positively cheesy! Yes absolutely FMV gaming.

    I'm not familiar with the CD-i port of Must. A quick YouTube look suggests it has a couple of videos, but for the most part seems to maintain the pre-rendered still images look, and HyperCard presentation.

    Sherlock Holmes is definitely more FMV gaming. It saw a similar port to Sega CD / Mega CD, which had numerous FMV games such as Night Trap, Sewer Shark, the Make My Video series, etc.

    One of my favourite Twitch streamers, Macaw45, has recently been playing "Angel Devoid", and it looks wonderfully terrible:
    https://www.twitch.tv/macaw45/v/1188887113
     
  17. CRTified

    CRTified Member

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    Feels weird, man.

    wetandforget.jpg
     
  18. sammy_b0i

    sammy_b0i Laugh it up, fuzzball!

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    Had the same feeling putting MXM GPU's from laptops into an ultrasonic cleaner. Lol
     
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  19. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

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    Haha I remember a few years back some arcade collector in the US did a video of him cleaning out an arcade CRT.

    Discharged everything (main tube+flyback, all caps), then took the thing out to his driveway, sprayed it with "Simple Green" cleaner, and then hosed the whole thing off.

    Internet was IN AN OUTRAGE for weeks (in fact, people still talk about it today like it's some mortal sin). And yet that same guy still has a larger working collection than most people. Plus his collection is all sparkling clean, working and easy to work on because there's no dirt and grime causing shorts, temperature problems or grit getting into his soldering. :)

    But yeah, I'm with you. Submerging electronics always triggers the "I'm doing something terrible" voice in the back of your mind, even when you know it's safe. :)
     
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  20. mAJORD

    mAJORD Member

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    Well they've been washed already during manufacturing. Granted older 'retro' boards probably not in Aqueous solution (solvent based instead) , but newer stuff water based is the norm.

    yes, rise of No clean paste's means a lot don't get washed any more, but some do for appearance or other reasons. Point is washing PCBs is normal, and safe. Deminerilized water in both solution and rinse. Blow dry then bake under 100c . Can also submerse in Iso after to absorb the water, then just air dry . Lots of methods out there.

    Exceptions are if it contains things that wern't on there during original assembly and washing process - we used to have some peizo buzzers, and things are were 'no wash' or have stickers to seal the them, and had to be hand soldered after normal PCA assembly process. obviously need to strip heatsinks and any fans.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2021

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