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FrankoDragon interview

Silver Back

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When I intended on creating my own website, I wanted to do monthly homebrew developer spotlights. And I thought that Clark Otto Jr, FrankoDragon himself was a great place to start. Well the website is deep on the back burner as my career has become more demanding of late, but I'd hate for the content to go to waste. 

A little background on FrankoDragon, I would say that if the AtariAge developers like Bob (pacmanplus) and others are consider the "AAA" developers of the 7800 today, then Franko is one of the great "B" developers.  And I mean that in the best possible way. Remember how there was endless rows of movies at the rental stores, and all the theatre stuff was on the walls displayed with 10 plus copies. But once in a while you would wonder the rows and find a fantastic movie from a director and actors that you never heard of before. Those were B movies, and while they don't have the advertisement or budget of the big films, they can be gritty, real and fantastic despite their low budget status. 

Well that describes FrankoDragon; producing the games he wants to produce on his own and living the dream. If you haven't played his games then please track them down!  And if you like the roms then support him with a purchase or two!

But without further delay, here is what I got out of Clark:


Q: How did you get started making homebrew games for the Atari 7800?

There was a thread on AtariAge years ago about a former member whom lied about asking for donations because he wanted a Hello Kitty bike for his "daughter". But other members found out what his true colors were.  His avatar was TJ Hooker (Shatner) so there were a lot of hilarious posts of Shatner riding a Hello Kitty bike.  I thought about making a hack of a sample game with all that sillyness called Shatneroids using 7800Basic, a very brilliant program that makes it easy to code games instead of using confusing assembly language.



Q: Which of your games are you most proud of and why?


Draker Quest II was one of those games I never thought it would be nominated as third place from an independent homebrew YouTube channel for Best Atari 7800 game of the year.  It also used a password system that took some time to make but it worked pretty well.

Q: What are the challenges in programming for the 7800?

I was never good in algebra or any other kind of complicated mathematics.  I still sometimes don't understand what's going on with all those equations.  It does take a while to get the gist of something.  For instance, I was dumbfounded how bankswitching worked until something clicked and now it's pretty easy to understand. 

One thing I still need to perfect is how to use the AtariVox module to save and load progress for games such as adventure and RPG's without the need of passwords.   So far, it's still trial and error.


Q: Do you have any projects that your currently working on that your particularly excited about?

I have a few projects I have been working on, including one large project.  Some of the other projects have been on the back burner for a while.  But I'd like to get them going again when I have the time.



Q: I love the humor of your games. It seems like you get a lot of inspiration maybe from life or internet culture. Is that true?  or do you get your ideas some other way?

I've had someone from AtariAge give me ideas for crazy games such as a fat guy wanting burritos so you have to throw him a burrito while working in a warehouse avoiding all kinds of obstacles.  Other games can be attributed to memes such as Fat Axl aka Axl Rose when he complained to Google about deleting all the images of him being fat.



Q: How does somebody come up with a game like Roof Pooper?  It’s fantastic and so funny, and plays very well, but it feels like something you would joke about creating and maybe it would stop there.  What made you want to see it to the end?

Roof Pooper was a simpler version of another game titled, Muddy Heights without all the physics of turds falling from a roof.  It's a kind of a revenge game. If someone had a bad day, he could play Roof Pooper and poop on all the clueless pedestrians but not the cops.  There had to be some skill in the game otherwise it would get boring very quick.



Q:if you could make your dream game for the 7800 regardless of if it’s within the consoles limitations or not, what would you make?

I've heard about the game, Rikki & Vikki and how it really pushed the Atari 7800 capabilities to something nobody has ever seen before.  I would love to make some sort of game that uses the same capabilities as R&V.




Okay thanks for the games and thank you for your time. 


That ends the interview. I would've then provided reviews and overviews of a few of his games to round out the developer spotlight article.  Maybe even a preview if they have a WiP available.

But now I can ask all of you: what do you think I should ask a homebrew developer if I were to do this again?  Who should be featured?  What else could be included in a spotlight article?

Oh and a few of my favorite FrankoDragon games are Roof Pooper, Hearty Manslapper, The Adventures of Olli Troll (Gambler was also involved with this one), and Draker Quest 2. They won't be for everybody, but give those games a try. You might be surprised!

Thanks for reading guys and thanks Clark Otto for his time. 



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Terrific interview @Silver Back thank you for sharing!

1 hour ago, Silver Back said:

When I intended on creating my own website, I wanted to do monthly homebrew developer spotlights. And I thought that Clark Otto Jr, FrankoDragon himself was a great place to start. Well the website is deep on the back burner as my career has become more demanding of late, but I'd hate for the content to go to waste. 

I know @RickR recently made this suggestion to you, and I'm going to second it - You should strongly consider creating a Blog page here on Atari I/O. Your content has been outstanding. Posting to a Blog is hardly any different than a regular forums post, and just as easy. A Blog gives you your own branded space within Atari I/O that you can do whatever you want with. It's much easier than developing a website from scratch (believe me on that! 😰) you can export your Blog posts elsewhere via ATOM and RSS syndication, and you can have your own .com domain name and point it to your Blog if you'd like. We would love to see you have your own Blog space here that you can post to when you feel inspired.

There are lots of other Atari I/O Members with their own Blogs and creator spaces that would be happy to help get you started and offer tips and tricks for making your Blog incredible. Here are a few Blog pages from other active Atari I/O Members to check out as an example of what you can do:









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5 minutes ago, Silver Back said:

@Justin thank you! Luckily the weekend is here so hopefully I can dedicate some time to looking into and setting up a blog. I didn't realize that you could point your own urls, etc to them so I'll do some investigating and hopefully set something up. 

Let me know if you need help getting set up! We are all happy to help you out here! :nintendo_mario_1up:

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