8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

When the other folders just won't do!

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misthalu
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8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:37 am

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8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!


8-bit Memoirs is intended to become a series of eBooks about how different authors experienced the computers and consoles back in the 8-bit era, written from the perspective of the kids we were at the time.

I'm proud to be able to present you with the first issue of 8-bit Memoirs, written by myself. :)

The computers and consoles I experienced back in the 8-bit era includes the Philips Videopac G7000, the Amstrad CPC and the Amiga. So the stories in issue #1 describes how I experienced (some of) the games on those systems, and how I experienced creating my own BASIC stuff on the Amstrad CPC.

My stories contain supplemental illustrations, screenshots and videos - and there's a 5-hour long playlist to accompany you while you're reading, consisting mainly of the Amstrad CPC and Amiga music I made back then, but also some tracks by various artists of IndieGameMusic.com


I have wrapped all the stories in a somewhat retrostyled diskmag-like GUI, because I've always found diskmags extremely cosy myself, and my biggest wish is that 8-bit Memoirs will give you the same nostalgic relaxation that diskmags has given me in the past. I also wanted to boost the retro-feeling while you're reading, and I think the diskmag-like GUI helps doing that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKadWBm9CQA


8-bit Memoirs is completely free!

Issue #1 is available as a 23 gb ISO file that you can download from www.8bitMemoirs.com
(If you don't want 23 gb taking up space on your harddisk, you can choose to put it on a USB stick instead).

You can play this ISO file on your PC with any software media player that supports BD-J. I strongly recommend Cyberlink PowerDVD for this. Otherwise VLC is your buddy. (Although VLC is still in its early stages of getting BD-J support, so it's not the best way to experience 8-bit Memoirs at the moment. Expect bugs!)

Other devices should also play the ISO file, either from harddisk or from a USB: Devices such as the Popcorn Hour, or Dune HD Smart D1. In the near future you can also expect various software media centers, such as Kodi, to be able to play it.


The recommended way of experiencing 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 is on a real Blu-ray player though. This includes the gaming consoles PlayStation 3 (and later) and Xbox One (and later).

But burning the ISO to a disc requires a Blu-ray burner, and not many people have one of those. You could buy one of course - they are exceptionally cheap nowadays - but that still only makes sense if you plan on using it for other things too.

If you don't want to buy a Blu-ray burner, but still prefers having a physical disc, then you can simply buy disc from me. It comes complete with printed label and cover for 17 Euro including shipping (regardless of your location). This disc can be bought from www.8bitMemoirs.com.


Thank you for your interest!

misthalu
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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:54 pm

I have been researching a bit, and have found a list of media players that should be able to play the ISO from harddisk and/or USB:

Egreat S5A / A1080
Dune HD Base 3.0
Dune HD Prime 3.0
Dune HD MAX
Dune HD Duo
Dune HD Smart D1
Dune HD Solo Lite
Dune HD Solo 4k
Dune HD Duo 4k
Netgear NTV550
Popcorn Hour A200 / A210
Popcorn Hour A300
Popcorn Hour C200
Popcorn Hour C300

So if you have yourself one of those devices, you should be able to enjoy 8-bit Memoirs on your TV from the sofa.
Just remember to switch the setting to "Full BD Menus" instead of "Simple BD Menu".

(Some devices may need latest firmware).

If you have success with media players not listed above, please let me know. I'm very curious!

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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by Antiriad2097 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:34 pm

Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to put it in a readily usable format in the first place? Seems like you've put a lot of work into this, only to minimise your audience at the final step. While I'm ok mucking about with isos, it is a bit of a faff and there are plenty here who just aren't that technically minded. Our esteemed editor himself readily admits to being a bit limited in this respect. If Darran is going to find this a bother, how many of the readers will too?

It wouldn't be so bad if this was in any way a standard for ebooks, but it isn't. I am slightly biased here of course, since I've never been a fan of custom UIs for this sort of thing, they just get in the way of content and inevitably soon make themselves obsolete.
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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Sat Dec 02, 2017 4:16 pm

Thank you for the feedback, Antiriad.
Antiriad2097 wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:34 pm
Wouldn't it be a lot easier just to put it in a readily usable format in the first place?
What is the problem with the format?

An ISO file is just a file. You play it with a media player just like you play any other media file.
It's of course true that not all media players support Blu-ray - but many do.

In the above post I listed hardware media players. Here is a list of software media players that should play it:

ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre
Corel WinDVD
Cyberlink PowerDVD
DVDFab Media Player
Leawo Blu-ray Player
MacGo Blu-ray Player
Nero Blu-ray Player
VideoLAN VLC

Now I agree of course that these players act differently, and some of them have bugs. This can be said about any eBook reader as well though. You can hardly blame the author for that - unless of course he didn't test his project enough and thus created a bad ePub3 file.

I couldn't have used a standard eBook format in this case, because of all the music and videos I wanted to include. Blu-ray was the only logical choice. It was literally made for content like this. I don't even think any eBook reader out there would handle a 23 gb ePub3 file. And most other eBook formats doesn't offer embedding of music and video.

I don't see how I'm minimizing my audience by selecting a format that can be played from harddisk and/or USB on all the hardware media players and software media players listed above.

I'm even offering to send a physical disc version by mail, for those who prefer to skip the download option, thus adding the following devices to the playback devices:
- Any standard Blu-ray Disc player, including the new UltraHD Blu-ray players
- PlayStation 3 and later
- Xbox One and later

If you really have an interest in a project like this, 17 Euro isn't too much to spend. So I really feel I'm giving my audience a lot of options here.


Diskmags has always had a custom UI, and I wanted 8-bit Memoirs to look like a diskmag. This is all in the spirit of retrocomputers, and the intention is to boost the nostalgia while reading of course.


A lot of thought went into this project. So when you write a post like this, I have to ask: What you would have preferred instead, specifically?

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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by Antiriad2097 » Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:21 pm

Can I read/watch it on my tablet? Not easily.

Now, not having seen the content, it's hard to offer an alternative, but the description does rather suggest it isn't anything that a standard web browser couldn't have coped with, opening up your viewership to anyone with a browser.

Whether a zip file, online web page or whatever, it seems to me less restrictive and fiddly than a BD iso. I say this as someone who did own a blu ray writer, but have long since left physical discs behind except for games.

It's fine, it's your product, I thank you for the effort and for sharing. It was just a comment since you yourself were expending effort to find half a dozen players that might work, with varying results.

You said yourself a lot of thought went into it, so it's a shame many people simply won't see it due to their own technical inability or desire not to have to install extra software etc. I fall into the latter category, since I don't have a proper PC these days, just a tablet with very limited storage options. I could take a punt on a physical disc to play on the PS3, but 17 quid on a complete unknown, this month, is a bit rich for my tastes.
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misthalu
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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:24 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:21 pm
Can I read/watch it on my tablet? Not easily.
No, there is currently no web-version available.
That was a very intentional choice though. Having made a lot of similar projects (though a lot smaller) in the past, all based on web technology, I have learned that anything web-based will simply not work 5-10 years later - unless they are constantly maintained. Web tech is simply way too much alive.
I do not have the time nor interest in constantly maintaining such a site. Once it's done, I want it to still work 50 years from now without me needing to do any kind of maintenance whatsoever.

Web just doesn't give me that. But Blu-ray does.

A Blu-ray ISO doesn't suddenly stop working. Same goes for an Amiga ADF file and a Commodore 64 D64 file etc. They are images that runs on "dead" platforms. They will run forever as long as there are players / emulators / readers for them.

So yes, you're right, everything could have been made as a web-site, but that's just not what I wanted. I'm ok with losing that part of the audience who refuse to check out the Blu-ray version. To be completely honest, they aren't really part of my audience. That's not meant to sound harsh. It's just that a big part of this project is exactly to return to the nostalgic feeling that diskmags used to give us - which is far away from a website. No website can ever give the same kind of cosy atmosphere that diskmags used to do. I miss diskmags.
Antiriad2097 wrote:
Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:21 pm
I could take a punt on a physical disc to play on the PS3, but 17 quid on a complete unknown, this month, is a bit rich for my tastes.
You could ask a friend to burn a copy for you then.

Or you could wait till Darran has reviewed it and choose to spend the 17 Euro if the review is good. :)


I'm not saying there'll never be other versions available. But it's definitely not a priority for me right now. Sorry.

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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:35 pm

I have added an option to buy a budget version now (7 Euro), meaning a plain Blu-ray disc without print and without a case. Just a plain disc with a white mat surface.

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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:13 am

To be fair, antiriad has a good point. A blu ray does seem a strange way to distribute an ebook. We've got no way of currently reading it because our macs don't have blu-ray players. I know it works on a PS4 etc, but I don't really want to read a PDF file on a tv.
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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:51 am

Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:13 am
A blu ray does seem a strange way to distribute an ebook.
Surely not if you consider that it contains 5 hours of music + 50 videos that supplement the stories?
It is for this reason the project takes up a whole 23 gb.
I don't think you can add videos and/or music in a PDF, but even if you could - who would download a 23 gb PDF?
Sure, a file that size can be downloaded in a mere 3 hours. And if that's what you prefer, then you do also have that option.
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:13 am
We've got no way of currently reading it because our macs don't have blu-ray players.
Blu-ray doesn't have to run from a disc. At www.8bitMemoirs.com you can simply download the ISO file and play it in any media player that supports full Blu-ray playback.
The recent nightly builds of VLC can do this (although VLC is still in its early stages of implementing full Blu-ray support, so expect bugs and missing features), and VLC runs on a ton of different platforms, including MacOS - even Apple TV too. On Windows the absolute ultimate software Blu-ray player is PowerDVD from Cyberlink. I don't know anything about Mac though, except that VLC is available.
So you can play the whole thing on your computer (and many others) from USB and/or harddisk if you want.

There's also a rather large list of hardware media players that'll play 8-bit Memoirs from USB and/or harddisk, like the Popcorn Hour devices and a lot of devices from Dune too. See the list at www.8bitMemoirs.com

In the near future software media centers like Kodi will also be able to handle it from USB/harddisk. (There are YouTube videos online already now that demonstrates this).
Darran@Retro Gamer wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:13 am
I know it works on a PS4 etc, but I don't really want to read a PDF file on a tv.
Isn't it great then, that you have so many (other) options available too? :wink:

8-bit Memoirs has intentionally been developed so that you can navigate it using a standard Blu-ray remote control, or your game console gamepad, or your PC keyboard, or even your PC mouse (as long as the player supports it, which VLC doesn't yet (but PowerDVD does)).


But listen, there's of course bound to be different preferences, and I'm fine with that. I'm not gonna try and convince anyone who doesn't like it, to like it.
I will of course reply posts from people who doesn't fully understand what 8-bit Memoirs is, and what options they have available to read it. But ultimately the project will appeal to those I made it for. If that's not you, then peace, and have a nice day. :)

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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by Darran@Retro Gamer » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:01 pm

Ah adding music etc makes more sense. I was under the impression it was a simple ebook. I missed the list stuff on the back.
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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:35 pm

Out of curiosity, how long do the videos run to? I'm curious if DVD would have suited, since the video quality doesn't need to be higher than standard def for retro games. Does the Blu Ray have it all scaled up to HD which is a tad redundant?
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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:47 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 12:35 pm
Out of curiosity, how long do the videos run to? I'm curious if DVD would have suited, since the video quality doesn't need to be higher than standard def for retro games. Does the Blu Ray have it all scaled up to HD which is a tad redundant?
The videos on the disc has a combined runtime of 9 hours.

They are scaled to HD and a filter has been applied to make it look more like a CRT screen, more specifically; the Amstrad CPC monitor. It's not a 100% match to the original look, but neither is a "clean" image.

The scaling was done with the X-RGB Mini Framemeister to make sure it's an exact 1:3 scale.

There are several reasons why this project couldn't be done as a DVD. You can't run Java apps on a DVD player, and the resolution is too small to create a CRT simulation. (To create a proper CRT simulation you'd actually need at least a 4k resolution, but I've managed to create an acceptable result with HD I think). And a DVD wouldn't be able to hold the amount of data this project contains.
Oh, and a DVD can only produce 50 frames pr. second in interlaced form, which is not what the computers outputted, afaik.

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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by Antiriad2097 » Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:51 pm

Ah, so you're using Java behind the scenes.

That does rather kill the argument that an HTML solution wouldn't have worked in 5-10 years. We have no end of problems getting old Java stuff to work in the office, some of our apps are Java based and new updates lock them out, and they aren't that old.

I wasn't thinking of putting it online, on a website. Just a DVD/Blu Ray data disc with HTML pages, inline video, background music etc as you've done on Blu Ray, except this way it would have been playable on more devices. You could easily do an old skool disk mag interface this way. It might even be what you've done.
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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by misthalu » Tue Dec 05, 2017 5:20 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:51 pm
Ah, so you're using Java behind the scenes.

That does rather kill the argument that an HTML solution wouldn't have worked in 5-10 years. We have no end of problems getting old Java stuff to work in the office, some of our apps are Java based and new updates lock them out, and they aren't that old.
There's a big difference between Java SE and Java ME.
Desktop Java is "alive" just like HTML is, which is exactly why you have such experience with "old" Java apps suddenly not working any more. The same is true about HTML creations.

Java ME in turn is "dead". The platform doesn't change. (If it did, then your Blu-ray movies would suddenly stop working).
So no, the fact that this has been created with JavaME does not kill the argument about HTML being useless.
Antiriad2097 wrote:
Tue Dec 05, 2017 4:51 pm
I wasn't thinking of putting it online, on a website. Just a DVD/Blu Ray data disc with HTML pages, inline video, background music etc as you've done on Blu Ray, except this way it would have been playable on more devices. You could easily do an old skool disk mag interface this way. It might even be what you've done.
I have made many such discs in the past; a CD with HTML and Javascript. That's exactly how I know it's a bad idea to use that approach. 5 years later the design will be all screwed up, and 10 years later it won't even run. If you want something that'll run far into the future, you pick a platform that doesn't change.

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Re: 8-bit Memoirs Issue #1 released!!!

Post by Antiriad2097 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 8:38 am

Downloaded iso. Installed Virtual Clone Drive. Mounted image. Fired up VLC. Won't play at all, just throws back an error.

Was able to play some video by directly selecting some files, but without any sensible menu or known structure, no idea what I'm watching. Can't find the text in the files yet to read those directly, I'm guessing they're just raw text files and not compressed (hopefully) so I can open them in Textpad or similar.
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