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Welcome to the Netrogames Page.

After this next carriage return until the sidebar is the letter I sent to both the patent office and to Panasonic 3DO To be exact, I left the letter up as is. Most of it explains the way Netrogames work, and a little explains how it could be profitable. It was meant to be inside jargon. Netrogames news in sidebar.

Patent text: (US 62/177,195)

Netrogames Concept Document

Gamer Pages Concept Document starts here .

by Brian Ciesicki

I have found on a survey taken by a retro-gaming magazine that during the Dreamcast/PS2 era, 20% of gamers actively game on a system no longer supported by the original manufacturer. The number has probably increased since then since modern games less resemble classic games and more resemble interactive movies, and there’s a larger universe of classic games to choose from since then.

Why do 80% of the gamers quit playing classic games? There are probably 2 reasons. If it’s a one-player game, they’d either defeated it thoroughly or got to a point where they are stuck. But the bigger reason is the multi-player game mode. Chances are one person is way better than their neighbors, and there’s just not enough neighbors willing to play an old 2 player game, because if they are new to it, they’ll be at a disadvantage.

My solution addresses 2-or-more player games. My theory is if you can’t recruit fair opposition near your house, recruit opposition form afar using the network.

There is one major problem holding most of these games back from being networked. The main is cost. Using the current internet based system, you have to make a new version of the game, usually made for a new system, and reprogrammed for the new system. And every game has to be programmed differently. But if I find a way to universally make those games online without writing individual code, it would make it much cheaper to turn these games online, which makes more games online, which makes retrogaming more appealing.

The reason why network gaming is the way it is is ping time. Most games run at 60 frames per second. That is 16 milliseconds per frame. Ideally, if you wish to make a live joystick stream fit under the gun so that there’s no ambiguity in your moves and that of your opponent, it has to fit in under a half frame, or 8 ms.

The problem is that if I do a ping time test between Seville, Ohio (my home) and Massillon, OH, the nearest pinging site, I get ping times of around 50-60 ms.

The distance between Seville and Massillon is about 58 km. (the reason why I express this in km is evident later) If this is a straight-line transmission it travels at 1 km/ms or 1000 km/s. Butt here is a dirty little secret about both phone networks and TCP/IP. It does travel faster than 1 km/ms net speed, the problem is that it takes such a roundabout path that the net speed of 2 places within 58 km is around 1 km/ms. I don’t know how to do this on a Macintosh, but if one were to do a ping trace test and research where the IP numbers are from, you’ll see it bounces in random ways, and usually not the same way twice.

Therefore the current way to deal with network traffic is to assume you’re going to have 100-200 ms of ping time, have an artificial intelligence anticipate your moves on an opponent’s computer and vice versa, while being in the blind about what each other are doing, using artificial intelligence to anticipate opponent’s moves, then finally, 5 more more frames later, get the actual data, then if the internal computer “predicts” it wrong, then instantly rewind, correct and fast forward the tape, compensating for the new data, and adjusting the opponent data every frame. That’s why Microsoft boasted Xbox calculates every piece of shrapnel. The more data you actually have, the easier it is to have a more accurate correction and new prediction model. That’s why most video games after the Dreamcast require 1 Mb/s or faster, even though controller data can fit under 33 kb/s.

Is 1 km/ms the fastest data speed possible? It might be faster if you can travel as fast as light in a straight line. Light speed is 300,000 km/s or 300 km/ms. The trickiest part is getting data to travel to the right person in a straight line.

There is a technology which, when use in talk can connect 2 or more people in as close to a straight line as possible in as close to the speed of light as possible. It’s Sprint Direct Connect. Once you take 30 seconds to establish a clear bandwidth path between parties, it has tested ping times of 1 ms per 200-300 km of distance. That’s a speed of 200-300 km/ms or 200,000-300,000 km/s, 66% to 100% of light speed. Radio waves on cell phone towers are basically invisible light signals being sent to each other. The fact that it can be as slow as 200,000 km/s is because the towers have to redirect the light according to the curvature of the Earth, and for processing the signals.

The main reason why the “standard” network is so pingy is because each part of the network is owned by a different carrier and they each have different relationships with each other. If you’re a Comcast Customer in one part of the nation, playing against a Comcast customer in another, there’s no guarantee that the whole network in between is Comcast 100% from beginning to end. If one cable company has a problem moving through another cable company’s territory, they’ll route more traffic through more friendly territory. Hence the roundabout.

Besides that, phones are designed to withstand the nuclear bomb so that if a signals goes from Washington to Los Angeles, if Kansas City is nuked, the signal doesn’t die there. That assuredness of connection comes at a cost of 100-200 ms, which is not noticeable in voice, (human reaction time, for something you can reasonably anticipate is 100-200 ms, like if you know to watch the ruler drop to catch it. but don’t have any idea of when.) but in data can mean the difference between virtual life and death.

But Sprint guarantees their low ping as long as the signal is a direct connect signal, which means both people have to be members of Sprint. This means that Sprint is the only communications company handing the Direct Connect call from start to finish. And it uses a direct line (or at least as direct of a line as the placement of the cell towers allow, which is much more efficient to have one tower every 5 km apart than wiring switches every 50 m.) communications and doesn’t need to beg cities to lay down cable to get their signal across. It is a true one-company private network. If you were to ping test from a Sprint cell phone to an internet pinging site, the ping times are usually worse, but you have to find the nearest uncongested “onramp” to the internet, then it traverses the internet, just like pure internet traffic in its high ping ways. But a Sprint-to-Sprint Direct Data connect will give great low ping times.

The reason why I believe Sprint is the best fit is because they are the most dedicated to Push-to-Talk. Verizon and AT&T only offer it part of the time, and T-Mobile never offers it. All the other cellular networks piggyback off one of the other 4. They have the network in place to do this as a regular feature, so they would be the most compatible to our needs.

Currently Sprint says their push to talk can only do talk. So I am thinking using a Bluetooth headset with a 3.5 mm plug in plugged into a dial-up modem and transmitting squelches over DC. I understand the fastest I can go is 33 kb/s or 33 b/ms, but for the Atari 2600, 5200, 7800, (maybe the Jaguar), Intellivision, Colecovision, Neo Geo, Master System, and Genesis (all of whose copyright holders said if I can demonstrate this technology working, they’ll let me use their systems) every game would fit under 33 b/ms. You have 8 ms to transmit your data, that’s 264 bits/half frame. The 2 most complex control schemes of those are the Colecovision Super Action controllers with a 16-way joystick (8 bits) a 4 bit roller (8 speeds 2 directions) 4 buttons and 12 keypad buttons make 28 bits x 2 players makes 56 bits which fits under 1 cycle, and the 8 Controllers in 6-button mode (12 bits per controller) for the Sega Genesis is is 96 bits per cycle. The most complex is probably your own 3DO with maybe a 4-analog stick game (2 8-bit axes, plus 11 digital buttons per player or 27 bits/player or 108 bits/cycle) or a 10-player, 11-bit game (P,X,L,R,A,B,C,N,S,E,W) on a 3DO for 110 bits/cycle.

But if this succeeds, Sprint should be fairly easily able to ramp up the speed of the network to 500 kb/s (3G speeds at low ping) or 5 Mb/s (basic 4G with low ping times.) and most advanced systems can be used as speeds increase. But the important thing is that the network is low ping. And then we can get systems like the Saturn, the Dreamcast, and any game using more complex controllers.

There might be one problem with using all 8 ms to transmit and receive. If it takes 4 ms to compete a 3DO signal, that cuts the range in half, because you’ve only got 4 light millisecond range one way to receive a complete signal. That’s why we need to show this work with more simple system so we don’t go into the bit crunch deadline. If it takes 1 ms to transmit a signal normally would have a 7.0 light ms range, and you cut it in tenth by transmitting 10 times as much data, then you have 7.9 ms range. Not that much of a big deal with 2 player games, but when you add more players (Genesis, Saturn, 3DO) you’ll run into trouble. If it takes 4 ms to transmit complete data, like a 3DO, then you only have a 4.0 light ms range. But a 10x 3G+low ping will give you 7.6 ms range, because the whole signal is transmitted in 0.4 ms not 4 ms. But it is still the same speed, 200-300 km/ms, just more data is shipped in bits/ms.

However the fault of the system is that, without using traditional techniques of compensating for high ping used in traditional online gaming, which means programming each game individually, you’ll have an out-of-the-box range of 1600 km assuming Sprint is 66% efficient compared to light. But if this succeeds, maybe companies will make net code. Netrogames is still preferred because there’s less prediction needed to be done because your looking closer to the present, maybe one frame back instead of 10 and predicting one frame ahead, not 10. This will present less “popouts” and less extreme “popouts” that are an inevitable part of predictive algorithm online gaming, like shooting at ghosts in online play.

How does one make money off the games? I heard that most people are not replacing their 2600 cartridges with Xbox Game Room ROMs, and they added a new feature of “back to back online” meaning you both compete against the computer with the same random seed, but your scores are compared at the end. The only reason Wii Shop is making money is because some of those Original NES cartridges are more collectable in physical form, and rare to find physical. Over 90% of the people who buy these things are people who a) remember the system, b) don’t care about collectibility, and c) missed a particular when it came out the first time, or d) have kids and want to share it with them.

Here’s how I propose the Netrogames funding system works. We sell the machines at cost. System owners hold the license to download versions of this console, some of which goes to the Netrogames company, which you’ll have a stake in at the root if you fund. If the system owner owns the game outright, they could offer it for “free” (part of the bundle). Third parties and partnership games (like Williams 2600 ROMs for the 2600 made by Atari, but based on a third party license) of the original systems can offer their licensed games for whatever ratio they agreed to back in the original days. They are encouraged to offer them for free.

Why? Just like the original Broadcast TV model, you offer shows for free and place commercials in front of them. But these will be more watched than TV commercials in the days of Tivo because whereas TV watchers blip through the commercials because it’s pre-taped, head-to-head games must be played live, and it takes 30 seconds to connect to your opponents anyway, might as well use this time to make the product cheaper by making more money on ads and less on ROM sales and Equipment sales.

You can’t pretape a game, play it live, and have a coherent game in a pre-taped mode. The ROM could be pre-loaded, or net-loaded, but the actual playing is live. More commercials will be sat through on a gaming session than a TV or Movie setting.

Also the emulation starts once you connect to one set of opponents on one game. Change games, the emulator restarts, new ad. Change opponents, the emulator restarts, new ad.

I think more people will pay for a Netrogames device if the service and extra ROMs were free, and/or original cartridges from back in the day could be played so any games in rights limbo can be played.

And to prove the power of this concept, the prototype will use back-in-the-day original cartridge (or CD with 3DO) ROMs, showing that there is nothing special in the game, that the work is done in the system and connection. Of course I talked to Atari and they were wary of using original cartridges with their Neo-2600 because they made no licensing money off third party 2600 games, they might want some licensing action now, so Atari can negotiate with the partners and third parties about sharing ad revenue. But Sega freely lets you use Genesis cartridges with their new Genesis from At Games. Different companies will have different policies about whether to allow third party cartridges, but because the ads are shown for free ROMs (meaning not from a cartridge, which means you need permission for that ROM to be distributed and share ad revenue) and connecting online, the only way you don’t have to watch an ad is to play a single player game you already own. Of course commercial revenue will have indeterminate revenues for games with no negotiations, which means cartridges without ROM negotiations will be pooled in a pot for un-negotiated rights holders, and split by game whenever an agreement is made.

Finally if this works, imagine getting the rights to network NES, SNES, N64, Game Cube, Wii, PS1, PS2, and Original Xbox games, as well as 360, One, Wii U, PS3 and PS4 games once the rights to those games vanish.

I’m not sure if portables will work with this theory or not. It’d be interesting to try.

The secret is you build a modern version of an old machine that connects to a Power source, either original or new controllers, a cellular phone with Sprint Direct Connect, an optional second internet connection that isn’t necessarily low-ping for speech and downloads, a hookup to a TV, and if the company allows it, a cartridge/CD slot. This can work either as an independent system, or can connect to a PS4, Xbox 1, or Wii U, and the computing power can come from there, or the computing power can come from the iOS, Windows Phone, and/or Android cell phone, if Direct Connect communications doesn’t drain the CPU too much.

Whether or not you want emulation or original chipset depends on the price of replicating old chip sets and how tricky emulators are to getting non-standard things working well. If emulators mess up more popular games that would bring in more income to make up for the custom chips to make a 100% accurate system, use the original chips. If the few games that don’t work well emulation are fewer and less revenue generating, then by all means use the emulator.

A couple notes about the video. First it should have the original Video system style it could do, whether it be RF, Composite, S-Video, Component, as well putting in a low ping converter from those signals to HDMI for 2 reasons. The first is so you can hook it up to a CRT TV to play Light Gun Games, and the second is because this device needs a 4x3 HDMI stretch compensator for TVs like the Playstation 3D Monitor, the most popular single model of gaming TV, which stretches a 4x3 to 16x9, without an option to squish back to 4x3 on HDMI, so the TV converter needs that option built in. And it needs to be less than 1 frame video ping time or less for accurate gaming using the HDMI port. The conversions need to be low-ping and more true to the originals at the expense of higher quality pictures. If you want better graphics on an old game, get a new game. Movie watchers want a pretty picture, gamers want accurate feel and play.

Gamer Pages

Finally, the biggest question to be asked. How do you find opponents to play 40-year-old 2600 games when it’s hard to find ANY opponent for one-month-old Arcade games/Minis on Xbox / Playstation? I’ve got a social system that will encourage more “game gourmets” willing to sample many titles as opposed to hunker down on one title, but will let you spend your time efficiently hunkering down on one game and finding an opponent when one is there on a more obscure game. This idea should be considered separately from Netrogames.

Most people won’t want to wait more than 5 minutes for an opponent they really have a yen of playing. Once they wait for 10 minutes and find no opponent, chances are, unless they schedule a time with a friend, they’ll never play it online again, and for quite a few titles, that usually happens in a week.

My inkling is most people are willing to play a more obscure title if they KNOW they can find someone online willing to play them. So the solution is to let people find each other by common game and time to play.

Just like when you need to fix a drain, you search the entry, “plumbers” in the Yellow Pages, and call a plumber who is eager to do business with you, you can “call” an opponent who is willing to play when paged.

It’s a 3 step process, on each of your systems you own, 360, One, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, 3DS, Wii U, iOS, Windows Phone, Android, PC, and Mac, you load an app, and fill out the form. It searches your hard drive for game saves, purchase permissions,and achievements on games, and compiles a list of games you own. Then you either check or X all and manually change the rest to the other. Then you give it your gamertag, AND your cellular texting number, and all that information gets held in a database.

Also on your database, you establish a base line of number of minutes you’ll get to respond to texts, which can be set by individual games, so a fighting game can be 3 minutes and a first person shooter 30 minutes. Then you text OK when you’re ready to send a Play OK notice, or NO if you decline.

Once you’re in the database, sometimes you’ll be paged when someone wants to play any game you said you’re willing to play.

If you want to play one particular game now, you load the app ON THE SYSTEM THE GAME IS FOR (this is to keep straight licensing issues), type page people, and pick your game, and number of opponents. Then it randomly searches opponents who said they a) wanted to play that game now, and b) are on call and pages so many people. It reaches them by paging them a text on the cell phone. They’ll page back. Then if someone wants to play, you’ll cell a text page on your cell phone. Then the 2 of you meet in the regular game waiting room, and play.

This has many advantages, if you’re on call, you can wait in thousands of game waiting rooms without missing a page from any one of them. Second, you could play the same game against a computer, play a different game on the same system, a different system, or even be off the gaming grid, and as long as you say you can answer a page in a reasonable time, you can accept pages. Third, it’s anonymous, you get a message from a cell number like “GAMEPAGE” or 42637243 that routes all text messages.

How do you make money off of this? Two ways. First, When you page someone, you have to wait for a response anyway, so why not watch a commercial while you wait, instead of paying for the service? Second, want to get paged more often? Here’s how:

Everyone get one raffle ticket per game title for as long as they are good with the service. At his point, everyone has an equal chance to be paged. But for $1 per game title per month pre ticket, you’ll get an extra entry in the draw. The more tickets you have, the more likely you’ll be picked for that particular game for a month. You can any combination of games titles, raffle tickets, months, and multiples.

The one thing that must happen to prevent people form being annoyed is to Program a bedtime, program a wake-up time, during which time you’ll receive no texts, and a OPEN and CLOSED text you can send in case you’re away from your home consoles. You will receive no texts when closed.

But if you don’t answer too many texts, or say no to too many, you lose your free entries for a month.

Other things can be done, like having passive friends stored on you hard drive, and transferring between your active friends (Friends you want to keep and monitor and be monitored by 24/7/52) and passive friends (the ones you meet when you play one particular game and don’t care about them any other way when not playing) You can do things like search see if what games have the most active and passive friends and request to friend them, (it will be cross referenced with your passive list, so you know if you met them before.) This will get over 100-friend limits, which is usually imposed due to bandwidth limits. but you hard drive stores about 1 kb per name. 1 Meg can store 1000 names.

Remember, you can use this second idea of Gamer Pages without using Netrogames, but Netrogames needs Gamer Pages to work well.