Asteroids Fan Film

Posted on October 27, 2016

The folks at SottoZen put their 3D animation skills to fine use in this Asteroids action film!

Asteroids Online Gambling

Posted on August 13, 2016

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Atari and online gaming company Pariplay just announced the launch of their Asteroids instant-win game. It’s a “nine-symbol action scratch game,” meaning you shoot passing asteroids to reveal prize-winning gems.

Unlike the arcade version of Asteroids, where you have a 100% chance of eventually getting crushed or shot, in this version you’ll live, while losing 5.1% of your money over time.

Here’s the official press release.

Robot 3D Printers To Turn Asteroids Into Spaceships

Posted on April 18, 2016

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The company Made In Space, Inc. has received money from NASA to research their Project RAMA: Reconstituting Asteroids into Mechanical Automata.

They write, “The objective of this study is… to establish the concept feasibility of using the age-old technique of analog computers and mechanisms to convert entire asteroids into enormous autonomous mechanical spacecraft.”

In other words, they’ll use robot 3D printers to re-shape asteroids into mechanical spaceships, moving them into strategic orbits around the planet, or crashing them into bigger, Earth-threatening asteroids.

For a more thorough description of this, and other 2016 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program fund recipients, read “NASA’s Project RAMA Would Use Asteroids to Play Asteroids” at TheDrive.com.

And, here’s the Project RAMA description at nasa.gov.

Don Yeomans, Atari Asteroids’s 2015 Person of the Year

Posted on January 02, 2016

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As 2015 draws to a close, Atari Asteroids.net is pleased to name Don Yeomans as its first ever Person of the Year. Why? Because while some of us have been targeting vector-based asteroids, he’s been doing the real thing.

Yeomans joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1976, and managed the Near-Earth Object Program Office from its establishment almost 17 years ago until his retirement in January, 2015. They “coordinate NASA-sponsored efforts to detect, track and characterize potentially hazardous asteroids and comets that could approach the Earth.”

YeomansBookYeomans says: “When I began doing this, asteroids were considered little more than vermin of the solar system, irritants that occasionally got in the way of astronomers taking pictures of some distant galaxy. While times certainly have changed, two things about near-Earth objects remain the same. We need to find them before they find us and tell everybody about them as efficiently and as clearly as possible.”

Yeomans received the 2013 Carl Sagan Medal from the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for his work. Article here.

He also wrote Near Earth Objects: Finding Them Before They Find Us, which has all sorts of good information about types of asteroids and how we find them.

For a good visualization of all known asteroids, check out this animation by Scott Manley. And for more on NASA’s asteroid work, check out our posts tagged “NASA.”

Atari Announces New Game: Asteroids Outpost

Posted on February 19, 2015

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Atari has unveiled the Asteroids reboot that CEO Fred Chesnais and Senior Product Lead Peter Banks first mentioned last year, Asteroids: Outpost.

Instead of being an arcade-style shooter like the original, it’s a sandbox survival game with online gameplay, where you explore an open world and build up what you need to get by.

The tagline is “Welcome to the new Gold Rush.”

With the earth’s mines nearly spent, industrialists rely on the wealth of the heavens. Our solar system’s massive Asteroid Belt is a mother lode of resources… “The Belt” is the humanity’s newest frontier, as wild and untamed as any that man has faced.

Ambitious prospectors blast off with little more than an Outpost Module and a Mining Tool, to tear the hide off these asteroids and find their fortunes.

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Stephen Kleckner spoke with Atari’s Peter Banks for GameBeat. Banks says:

“Asteroids has a long and storied history… With the legacy of official versions and clones out in the world, you could almost call Asteroids a genre unto itself.

“That said, our goal with Asteroids: Outpost is really to expand the world of Asteroids beyond a single gameplay mechanic and explore the wider context of the game.

“The game is set on a massive asteroid, in our solar system’s asteroid belt, and part of the game is defending yourself and your base against deadly asteroid showers… Tied to this, a core gameplay mechanic is the construction and control of anti-asteroid defense systems to protect your outpost. This mechanic evokes classic gameplay without specifically reproducing it and fits comfortably within the larger context of the overall gameplay.”

Maybe Asteroids: Outpost will have a vector-based stick-figure mode?

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It is being developed for the PC platform only, by Salty Games, and will be distributed through Steam. They’ll make it available for Early Access, meaning players can give feedback during development. Right now, there’s a splash page on the game’s website, as well as a Facebook page and Twitter account. The Steam page for Asteroids: Outpost is here. More news coming soon.

Read the full Peter Banks interview at GamesBeat, here.

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Another Asteroid Buzzes Earth

Posted on January 24, 2015

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On January 26, 2015, asteroid 2004 BL86 will pass 3 lunar distances from Earth — not nearly as harrowing as when 2005 YU55 zipped past in 2011, but still close enough to excite scientists, who will study the asteroid with microwaves.

microwaveThe asteroid should be close enough to Earth for amateur astronomers to see it with small telescopes and large binoculars, and for professional astronomers to reheat leftovers on the asteroid surface.

Download an animation of the flyby, and read more about it at NASA JPL’s website.

Check out other real asteroid news on AtariAsteroids.net.

Recon: Tilt Classic Arcade & Ale House

Posted on July 24, 2014

7 Fayette Road
South Burlington, VT 05403 (map)
Phone: 802-383-8458
Website: http://tiltvt.com/

The brand new Tilt Classic Arcade and Ale House in South Burlington, VT is a boon for northern nerds during the long winters. It features two floors of games, with pinball upstairs and cabinet games downstairs, as well as locally-sourced food and a large beer list. There are game-related drink specials (like the “Hadouken” with Habanero infused Green Mountain Vodka cut with Rookie’s Ginger Beer), and a “Game of the Week” game meat menu special.

The Asteroids machine was out of order when we arrived, but was quickly repaired and set to free play to compensate for the downtime. Our party of course took advantage of the reset to get our names on the board! There was a good mix of old and new pinball machines (Gorgar, Addams Family and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, as well as AC/DC, Metallica and Lord of the Rings) and lots of classic arcade games such as Centipede, Pac-Man, Galaga and Mortal Kombat 2.

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Atari Documents Acquired by Museum

Posted on July 01, 2014

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Twenty-two palettes’ worth of documents from Atari’s heyday were recently acquired by the International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG), housed at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY.

The “Atari Coin-Op Divisions Collection, 1972-1999,” is a massive collection chronicling the development and production of virtually every Atari coin-operated game over that time period.

The material includes development binders and source code for Asteroids, beginning with developer Ed Logg’s handwritten notes on the control setup and sound effects.

The acquisition also includes Maze Invaders, a coin-op game which was assigned to Ed Logg and built in 1981, but never released.

For the full story of how ICHEG came by this mother lode, read Owen Good’s article at Polygon.com.

And for a brief history of Ed Logg and the birth of Asteroids, read this.

Asteroids Reproduced with Scratch

Posted on January 22, 2014

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Here’s a clone of Asteroids created with Scratch, a popular educational programming language. What’s great is that even if you’ve never written a line of code, you can look under the hood and see how a game like this is put together — and if you want, you can tinker with it yourself.

Side-note, Scratch was developed at MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarden Group. Also developed at MIT: Spacewar!. Read your history here.

Asteroids Controller with Raspberry Pi

Posted on December 27, 2013

In addition to running this website, your humble blog host likes to tinker.

This past summer I had access to a laser cutter, CNC router, and some creative technology experts in New York — so I decided to learn some new tools and make a desktop Atari Asteroids controller running an arcade machine emulator (MAME) on a tiny Raspberry Pi computer. All you need to provide is power in and audio/video out.

Read the full write-up on my personal site for a walkthrough of the fabrication, plus design files.

And for anyone looking to build an Asteroids control panel, here’s the image I traced from an original:

asteroids_controls.pdf (editable PDF)
asteroids_controls_cs3.ai (Illustrator file)

Asteroids Control Art