Frenzy Notebook

Oct 1980 - Jan 1991

al9000.png1975 vintage photo of a9k at PLATO Terminal from Ted Nelson's Dream Machines/Computer Lib
ideas1.jpegMy first brainstorm of ideas for Frenzy to go beyond Berzerk. I must have added the check marks a lot later to indicate what I implemented. The subway room - a car load of robots would come in a train car and all disgorge from 2 doors. I figured it could either be like shooting fish in a barrel or crossfire death for the player.
ideas2.jpegNotes from Thanksgiving Eve with new ideas. This is a large file because some of the pencil writing was unreadable with a lesser DPI scan. Robot Hunters was a good idea but time ran out of a lot of great ideas.
ramalloc.jpegRAM was so small recursion was out. Everything had to be carefully planned and mapped out.
datastructs.jpegFirst pass on data structures. I wanted to do it differently from Berzerk to try to get more bolts and robots on the screen.
featurelist.jpeg I used to make up "Al's chinese menus" lists with two columns in front of each task:
  • a "rewards" number - how much the visual/play changed (what could be seen)
  • a "hardness" number - how difficult it was to program.
I would implement one hard thing and big reward then repeat. That way one high visual but low difficulty item for boss and one low visual appeal but hard to program item would get DONE. That way the boss always felt good about progress and I felt good hard parts were getting done.
schedule.jpegAnother feature idea list
bearish.jpegMay 26,1981: I noted the total units sold vs final sales (slightly less due to returns and defects). Ed told me the the Wall Street Journal was bearish on Video Games during that phone call. I remember it was Doom and Gloom in management.
We know management always deserves the big bucks for their foresight! There has been no interest in video games out there since 1981 RIGHT? Games don't make more $$$ than Hollywood, RIGHT? Trust your broker and WSJ and all managers to tell you the future!
19810809.jpegAug 9th 1981 @ 1547: My lawyer tells me that Stern has defaulted and contract is dead. I was working on a C compiler for Z80's at the time.