Happy New Year To All, and To All a Good NGPC

csm_Trouble3_b566e5a916Hey guys. I figured that I should post something here to give you a small update on how things are going.

I don’t have anything real new to post about the NGPC project. I guess I have a bit of news on the other main project I’ve been working on.

The majority of my time lately has been spent working on a new iOS/Android game. Just recently, the guys I’m working with updated their website and released a bit of information to the public. I am taking that as permission to release the same information to you guys. 🙂

A fusion between a classic strategy battle game and a collectible card game.

Originally released on PC, The Trouble with Robots has been adapted for mobile devices – including a complete redesign of the in-game artwork. Summon a cast of fantasy creatures including centaurs, trolls, dwarves, and elves as they try to defend their homeland from the evil robot invasion. As you progress through the game levels more spells and creatures can be called upon as you gain stronger cards to aide you in battle.

Collect the most powerful cards and create the ultimate deck to dominate on the battlefield. Become a part of the simultaneously epic and hilarious tale as two opposing genres clash in all out war!

via http://artcastle.hk/index.php?id=17

This week, I am working on the Apple Game Center integration which will be responsible for publishing high scores and unlocking achievements. The game is something of a real-time collectible card game where you need to progress through the game to build up your library of cards to assist in your deck building. The action portion of the game is on a battlefield where your army of settlers and their allies take on the menacing robot invasion. The player’s role is to play well-times spells (using their hand of cards) to help their army defeat the opponent.

That’s what I’ve been up to. What have you been up to so far this year?

New Year’s Sale! – Neo Geo Pocket Color Flash Masta Bundles In Stock With Bonus

NeoPocket-ROM-Cartridge-Devkit-Plus-2-GBA-CartsOn a bit of a whim today, I decided to offer a little holiday cheer and try to bring some Neo Geo love to the season. We have been working on building a bunch of Flash Masta + Linkmasta bundles, and there are close to 20 that are ready to purchase. I can’t offer anything like a half price deal, but I just did the math on the sale price which comes out to be 12% off. And, people always ask how much it will cost to ship to them overseas, but I charge the same $10 shipping for everyone, so don’t worry about any additional shipping cost.

You can check it out at the normal purchase page which describes the NGPC bundle.
http://www.flashmasta.com/purchase/

UPDATE: The holidays (and this sale along with them) have come and gone.

I’m expecting this sale price to be available until about mid-January or until I run out of the current stock of bundles and parts. If you have been contemplating getting one of these bundles, I think now is the perfect time to get one.

I also want to mention that I have GBA cartridges still available. There has been a little more interest in these recently, but I still have plenty. As part of the New Year’s sale, if you are already purchasing a NGPC bundle, I will add 1 or 2 GBA cartridges to your order for just $6 each with no additional shipping cost (just the $10 for the bundle). That means that you can get the whole NGPC bundle (Flash Masta cartridge plus USB Linkmasta) plus two GBA carts for less than the normal cost of just the NGPC bundle.

The GBA carts work like this. You make your purchase, and then I will contact you via email (which I do with all purchases anyway). You reply to that email, and attach the GBA ROM file(s) you want me to put on your cartridges. It’s pretty simple. You just have to keep the files less than or equal to 128-megabits (which is the same as 16-megabytes), because the cartridges are only 128-megabit each. Don’t worry, I’m very willing to help you out with this process via email, so feel free to ask me questions there about what might work well or examples of other things people have had me put on their cartridges.

I have a little more information about the GBA carts here: http://www.freeplaytech.com/blank-gba-cartridges-gameboy-advance-flash-carts/

Please keep in mind that shipping may be slow during the holiday season, and my time may be sporadic coming up through this time. I pride myself in keeping good contact via email, so you will be informed how things are going. I just don’t want anyone to be surprised if they expect things to arrive before Christmas (which may already be too late unless you want to pay extra for some expedited shipping).

Have a Merry Christmas or a joyous ______ (for those of you that don’t celebrate Christmas) and a Happy New Year!

2 NGPC Flash Linker & Cartridge Bundles Available Now

j9smkpLately, I’ve been very busy coding on a new iOS/Android title. I was really hoping that it might be released before Christmas, but it looks like it will take more time than that to get out on the app stores. That is a little disappointing, but it’s for the best. I’m excited about the game, because I’m into collectible card gaming. You may have noticed that I like a game called Cardfighters’ Clash. Maybe you’ve heard of it. 🙂

So, the game I’m working is on something of a collectible card game. I hesitate a bit to call it a CCG or a TCG, but it definitely has aspects of card collecting and deck building. It’s not what you might think of as a traditional CCG title, but I think it will appeal to card gamers. I am hoping that it has enough of that to be exciting to even the hardcore trading card players while also having enough casual action to draw in crowds that may not even recognize its deckbuilding and collecting elements.

I really want to show you guys some video and/or screenshots, but I’m working with some other people that don’t want it shown until the artwork is complete. You know how first impressions are, so I guess you’ll just have to wait a bit longer. Maybe in a month, I can convince them to show off a bit.

In the title of this post, I mention that I have a couple NGPC bundles available. That is true. If you go to http://www.flashmasta.com/purchase/, I have 2 right now, but I’m waiting for some parts to make more. Lately, I’ve just been putting one or two bundles together for people that ask for them via email. It’s been tough making time to get multiples ready, so I’ve just been working on them when people specifically request them.

However, I am just ordering parts that should give me the ability to pump out 25-50 units. I’d really like to get ahead of the curve again, so maybe in a couple weeks I’ll be able to assemble a lot of bundles and put them up for sale.

Last, but definitely not least, I updated the Cardfighters’ Clash 2 English site with some info about a new patch. That’s what the graphic I posted above is from. If you’re into CFC2, you might want to check that out! It hadn’t been updated in forever.

New PCBs And Other Chatter

Things have been going pretty quickly here in the real world. I have 3 daughters that just started school on August 26th. They’ve been in school for 10 days now, and I think that they’ve been released early for 6 of them. I am really not used to that, and I don’t know if it’s more common here or if it’s rare and coincidental that we just moved here. At any rate, it’s been hot out, and I don’t think it’s hotter than I’m used to, but I guess most of the schools don’t have air conditioning. What does that have to do with Flashmasta.com? I don’t know. It’s just an illustration of my busy life.

I’m trying to lure my brother-in-law into this Flashmasta stuff. We’ve been talking, and he really wants to redesign my PCBs. So, we’ve started on that project, and it’s partially why I haven’t been making much for new carts and linkers lately. I do have some Linkmasta USB devices built and some cartridges that need some work still, but I am pretty low on PCBs. I haven’t reordered, because I have been expecting to rework the layout. So, I think that’s happening, and maybe I can reorder new Flash Masta cartridge PCBs in a week or so. I don’t think you, as an end user, will notice any improvements, but I am hoping that the redesign helps reduct the production time/effort.

The main thing I’ve been busy with lately (other than remodeling and normal family matters) is my mobile/tablet game. I have been putting a lot of time into this lately, and things are going well. Just yesterday I heard that some of the guys from the group I’m working with got to view a test build and are rather impressed with the state of the game. I can only hope that translates into gamers playing it once it comes out, but the limited few people that have seen it seem to think it’ll do well. I am not really ready to discuss specifics in a public forum, but I may be able to show a video of the game running on a private basis. If you’re really interested, leave a comment here and I may reply by email.

I don’t know if there’s any other big happenings over the last month. I guess I felt like it had been longer than that since my last post, but I guess it’s good that it’s been only a month. Please keep in touch. You know I like to interact with you all, so let me know what’s going on in your life/hobbies/etc.

And in case you wanted to know what the fox says (and hadn’t already seen the latest viral craze),

Getting Back Into The Swing Of Things

Hey people of the pocket! It’s been about a month since I last posted. I wish I’d be writing something here (or at one of my other sites) more frequently, but I’ve had plenty of other things going on in life.

As I mentioned before, I left my 15+ year employment to venture out on my own. We put our house for sale, as we had already purchased another in South Dakota. Last week, we closed on the house sale and made the final trip (with 3 trailers full) to our new house. Since arriving, there has been much to do to renovate and get things moved in. We still can’t really use the garage, as it’s full of boxes. We have no kitchen sink, and we only have countertops on about a third of the cabinets. We’re waiting for new countertops to arrive.

What does that have to do with FlashMasta.com you ask? Well, it means that I’m getting close to being back in the game. In fact, I had 2 Neo Pocket Flash Masta orders this week. I sent one out yesterday, and I plan to get the other ready in the next day or two.

As of right now, the bundles are sold out, but maybe that will change in a week or two. I would also really like to get back to working on my prototypes for like the WonderSwan and maybe Lynx.

Currently, I am working on my iPad/iPhone/Android game. The goal is to get it out by Christmas time. Right now, I am actually sitting in the library of my alma mater college campus. It’s pretty dead here in the summer, but it’s definitely very interesting to be back coding in this place.

Okay, so that’s a pretty non-technical update for you guys. I know I haven’t been writing a lot here, but I have been trying to post on Twitter more often. If anyone wants to chat on there, definitely hit me up.
http://twitter.com/freeplaytech

Happy Independence Day!

Adrians GBA CartsHere in the US, tomorrow is our independence day. I hope all of you are independent, so I wish you all a happy independence day.

It’s crazy to me that it has been 1 month since I posted last. It seems like just yesterday that I was leaving my job and moving toward my goal of being more independent, myself. These last weeks have been a whirlwind, and I don’t expect this storm to let up anytime soon. Here’s a quick update.

As far as NGPC stuff goes, I soldered up 10 NGPC Flash Carts. 3 of them worked right off the bat. I paired them with some Linkmasta units I had ready, and put them up for sale. They sold fairly quickly.

I also sent off 6 GBA flash carts to Adrian in Canada. He sent me a picture of ’em, and you should see that to the right. If you are interested in something like this, definitely get ahold of me. If you’ve missed it in the past, here’s a post about these. http://www.freeplaytech.com/blank-gba-cartridges-gameboy-advance-flash-carts/ I’ll definitely work with you if you want multiple carts.

The other 7 NGPC Flash Masta cartridges need some further testing and resoldering. Based on past experience, I would guess that maybe 3 or 4 of these will be pretty simple fixes. The others will have some sort of oddity to track down.

I still have some Linkmasta USB devices ready, but I’m not sure that I have 7, so I’ll have to check that out when I get some time.

As far as my “independent” work situation goes, it’s been working out well. I have been learning a lot about mobile game development, and I have a pretty clear plan for my game porting project. Even though the project is a 2D game, I expect to be implementing it using a 3D engine. The learning process here has been interesting, and I expect to get to some actual building in the coming month.

As far as my relocation to a new state goes, that’s progressing, too. Just a few days ago, we accepted an offer from someone to buy our house. They want a very quick sale, because they are selling their house and need somewhere to live. We have agreed to close on July 25th. Today there will be an inspection of our house, so I’m crossing my fingers that they don’t surprise me. The house is only 11 years old, though, so there shouldn’t be anything to find.

I really do want to keep conversing with all you guys, but it’s hard during this big live transition. Please keep in touch by commenting, emailing, or posting on the http://forum.freeplaytech.com/ forum. I’ll do my best to reply!

New Neo Geo Pocket Development Kit Bundles On The Way!

EDIT: At the end of the day (June 3), I now have 3 bundles available for purchase at http://www.flashmasta.com/purchase/. Just note that they may not ship immediately due to me being frequently out of town in the upcoming weeks.

First of all, I’ll give you guys a bit of an update on what’s been happening over the last couple weeks. There were some things that I had mentioned were in my plans for leaving my job and starting my self-run business/life. Here are a few items that have changed. I will write more about this sort of stuff at www.EdMandy.com.

NGPC Development CartridgesWe put our house for sale on the market. We have probably averaged around 1 showing per day over the last week and a half. I think that’s pretty good. We got one offer that was a low-ball deal from some sort of investment group. I think they have some automated system that sends out offers just to see if they get any interest. I don’t think they even looked at the house. Other than that, we’ve had some good feedback, but no real offers.

I started working on the iOS game. So far, my effort has been directed at getting it to compile on my Windows 7 laptop and then installing Windows 7 under VirtualBox on my Macbook. It has taken a significant effort to do these things well, but I feel like it’s working properly now. Oh, the game I’m working on already exists on Windows. I will be bringing it to iPad and iPhone.

This week, my 2 oldest daughters have their last day of school on Thursday. On Friday, we will drive to Wisconsin to attend a wedding. We should get back on Monday and then maybe leave for Rapid City the next day. It will be a lot of driving. I hope to get a good amount of work done even though I won’t be at home. This will be a good test of my location-independence. Again, if you’re interested in this stuff, EdMandy.com might have more info for you.

As far as the Neo Pocket Flash Masta project goes, I’ve been soldering all day today. Over the past months, a friend of mine had been doing a lot of the soldering for me. Since I left my job, I figure that it’s best for me to take over this task again. It’s a long process, but you can see a part of the hot plate soldering method I used. I’m sorry that I didn’t narrate the video, but you may find it interesting, anyway.

After that’s all done, I go over every part with a soldering iron under a magnifying glass. I find that it’s better to just do this, because the chances are VERY high that I’ll have to do it anyway. It’s easier to do them all at once than try to debug ’em one at a time and then go over the parts that “seem” like they need more work.

I just got done with the iron soldering, and now I will need to program each cartridge. Once that is done, I will need to test each cartridge. I’m hoping that over half work right away. 8/10 would be excellent. Then I have to try to debug and resolder the ones that don’t work.

Once all 10 work, then I’ll get to making Linkmasta USB devices to pair with the cartridges. If I wasn’t going out of town, I’d say I should have 10 bundles ready for purchase in a week or so. As it stands now, that MAY be doable, but it’s more likely to be 3 weeks just do to being gone.

I QUIT! (My Job)

Wow, I’ve eluded to big changes on the horizon of my personal life. Today I can finally talk about them. I’m guessing this will be the first of a series of posts, because I don’t really have time for really diving into the subject. I will be trying to keep you guys informed of developments here, but I am also starting a more personal site at www.EdMandy.com, but it might not even be quite up and running when you read this.

More posts can’t be a bad thing, though. I noticed that it’s almost been 2 months since my last post. Wow, time flies when you’re getting ready to buy a house, move to another state, and quit a job you’ve been at for 15 years.

So, yeah, yesterday I put in my resignation at the job I’ve worked for the past 15 years (PLUS 3 summer internships). It was very surreal. Of course, it will greatly impact my life, but it will also have an effect on my co-workers.

Again, I can’t really go too in depth today, but here are my basic plans:

  • Buy a house (DONE)
  • Move everything to the new house (HALF DONE)
  • Quit my job (I put in my 2 weeks yesterday)
  • Start working on an iPad/iPhone game (much more on this later)
  • Start some entrepreneurial ventures (like flashmasta.com)
  • Sell our current house (start selling in about a week from now)
  • Move the family (after school is complete on June 6th and our house is sold)

That seems like a simple list, but it’s a lot of work. That stuff has been my main focus recently, and I’m sorry that the Flash Masta project has suffered in the meantime. Once I am set up again in the new location, I will be able to focus on my projects (like this) a lot better. I really hope/expect this to be a positive move for this project and others (like the WonderSwan Flash Cart) I’ve started but haven’t had a chance to complete.

As always, please comment. I really like interacting with you guys. If you want to head over to http://www.edmandy.com/ and see more info about me there, please do. I hope to have that site more functional/informative in the coming weeks. Also, I’ve been using Twitter a lot more lately, so check me out @FreeplayTech. Thanks for the support over the years.

Soldering Linkmasta NGPC Sockets

There’s not a whole lot to say about this. Over the weekend, I was finishing up a bunch of Linkmasta USB devices for some Neo Geo Pocket Flash Masta bundles. I recorded some video of me soldering ’em. It’s like 30min of watching me solder and ramble on. I figured I should post it, so maybe someone will find it interesting in some way. 😀