Z*Magazine: 25-May-87 #53From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/16/93-10:11:36 AM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 25-May-87 #53 Date: Fri Jul 16 10:11:36 1993 _____________________________________ ZMAGAZINE ^^^ "MEMORIAL DAY 1987" ISSUE #53 HOT ATARI NEWS AND REVIEWS _____________________________________ PUBLISHER/EDITOR RON KOVACS _____________________________________ ASST PUBLISHER: KEN KIRCHNER (KHK) REVIEWS: ERIC PLENT _____________________________________ Xx Zmag May 25, 1987 <*> TOP STORY ST Transformer Approved <*> CEBIT Part 2 Concluding report from Antic Online. <*> HARDWARE REVIEW 80 Column Card (XEP80) <*> SOFTWARE REVIEW GBA Basketball from Gamestar <*> Publishers Page _____________________________________ Xx Zmag Top Story ....ST-Transformer Approved!!!.... _____________________________________ Reprinted From MICHIGAN ATARI MAGAZINE by permission. By John Nagy DAREK MIHOCKA's ATARI 800-in-an-ST-Program WILL BE RELEASED with ATARI's approval! NEIL HARRIS, spokesman for ATARI, has agreed (in a public message on the GEnie ATARI SIG) to allow both USE and DISTRIBUTION of the ATARI code within Darek's emulator. The permission is contingent on Darek's PUBLISHING the SOURCE CODE for his emulator, so that other programmers may be able to add their efforts. Neil says the object of this move is to increase the likelyhood of a truly versatile, full-speed emulator. As it stands now, the ST TRANSFORMER uses largely custom routines modeled after the ATARI ROM, with some code grafted into the program at startup by a port of the TRANSLATOR DISK (or, in another version, they are already within the emulator program). That's what ATARI had said that Darek could not legally do. At the BUFFALO ATARIFEST in late April, two user groups showed Darek's "ST TRANSFORMER" in operation. The author sent both the GENESEE ATARI GROUP (G.A.G., Flint, Michigan) and the WESTMORELAND ATARI COMPUTER ORGANIZATION (W.A.C.O., North Huntingdon, Pennslyvania) copies of the public domain emulator for demonstration only. Interest at both tables was brisk despite the uncomplete state of the program and the current slowness of execution (20%-40% "normal" speed depending, on the program). ATARI tried to ignore the demos. WACO members quizzed ATARI reps over the actual status of the TRANSLATOR, which was sent to all registered user groups for free distribution. Sandy first said that it WAS NOT SENT and remained ATARI'S property, then admitted that she didn't know for sure. At issue was what restrictions (if any) can now be put on the uses of the disks after years of free distribution. An intriguing facet of the conflict appeared when a program called XLFIX, available for sale in ANTIC MAGAZINE's public domain library, was found to work as well or better than the original ATARI disk. There are several other translators and operating systems available (both in the public domain and commercially - BOSSXL, NEWELL OSN, etc.). It appears that ATARI would first have to legally assert ownership and control of ALL the "translators" in order to get any legal claim against Darek for using one or more of them in his 800 emulator. The dark prospects of long and possibly unsuccessful legal action, together with petition drives, newsletter editorials, and comments running in most major telecommunication services and magazines - all in support of the ST TRANSFORMER - now seem to have gotten through to ATARI. In May, Neil Harris went on record saying that if Darek would only put his program source code in the public domain for further development by other programmers, then ATARI would give their permission for use and distribution of their operating system. Darek Mihocka was unwilling to release his source code as public domain, for he would then have given up any rights to his efforts. Fortunately, ATARI softened their position, changing their demand to simply the PUBLISHING of the code, with the rights to his work remaining with the author. Darek had previously contacted several other major ATARI-interest magazines about the possibility of their publishing the TRANSFORMER and source code in copyrightable form, but was turned down by each. The main reason was ATARI's vocal objection to the project and its legal questions. However, Neil stated in his May 15th messages that ANY magazine would be satisfactory, and that a formal proposal letter of permission would be sent within days. Richard Frick of ATARI called to confirm this on May 20. Darek will have the consent needed for any interested magazine to publish and distribute the ATARI ROM with the emulator, as well as any parts of DOS and BASIC that may help. Availability time, publishing timetable, and even which magazine will offer the program can only be guessed at. It is clear that wherever it is printed, ATARI wants no restrictions on distribution (i.e., ANTIC and its "no BBS" rule). Frick indicated that ATARI could influence ANTIC on this issue for this particular program if neccessary. All the flap hasn't slowed Darek's progress on the continuously developing project. He added SOUND, GTIA graphics, DOS MENUS, JOYSTICK CONTROL, and yes, PLAYER-MISSLE graphics to the already fairly capable emulator. The PLAYER-MISSLE routines were completed and donated by another sympathetic programmer. Speed improvements continue to be made. Throughout the months of discussion on the subject, Neil Harris and company at ATARI kept asking "Why would anyone want to use 8-bit software on an ST?"... Perhaps a much better question is "WHY NOT?". WACO and other user groups WANT an emulator to provide SOME kind of link, however flawed, between the two products of ATARI CORP. Distribution of a successful emulator disk by ST dealers might be all some 8-bit owners need to convince them that it is time for a system upgrade- or at least assure them that an upgrade in hardware won't mean an instant loss of 100% of the software they have grown with for years. Supplied by the CHAOS BBS (517) 371-1106 [Ed.] For a more detailed report on this story, Please read the June 1987 issue of Computer Shopper Page 142!] _____________________________________ Xx CEBIT 1987 Part 2 ...ANTIC PUBLISHING INC., COPYRIGHT 1987. REPRINTED BY PERMISSION. _____________________________________ PART 2 BY CHRISTIAN SCHMITZ-MOORMANN Let's start with new languages. Although there are many already, even more languages are offered for the ST. Some people even say that there is no other computer with more different languages available -- languages not only for developers. Again, HEIM-Verlag has something for us. It is a powerful version of PROLOG that also supports GEM. The package consists of a compiler/ interpreter system with around 140 functions. It is called SALIX-PROLOG and costs around $120. More sophisticated is MProlog by Berlin-based Epsilon. MProlog is also available on other computers like VAX, Macintosh, IBM etc. It costs around $500 (?), and is designed for professional use. SMALLTALK-80 in its version 2.1, which has been ported to the ST by a group from Dortmund-university, is an object-oriented language which means that all is done by sending messages betwwen objects. Another language with an unusual concept is FORTH. LMI put out its FORTH-83 compatible version for the ST. This version is also compatible with other LMI-Forths for other computers. Alas, it does not support GEM, but it at least supports the TOS functions. A language that becomes more and more interesting for the hobbyist is MODULA-2. MEGAMAX is turning out its version and probably will be a worthy competitor against TDI. Not only new languages were shown. BASIC in new and more powerful versions enjoys a glorious revival. Three different BASIC systems were shown. First there was GfA who showed version 2.0 of their interpreter and the almost final version 1.71 of their compiler. Frank Ostrowski, the author of GfA-BASIC is now busy writing a GfA-macro-assembler, lets wait and see. GfA will be represented in the US by MICHTRON. The second BASIC shown was OMIKRON- BASIC which comes on a plug-in board for the ROM-port. It is even faster than GfA-BASIC in most functions, it calculates up to 19 decimals, supports matrices and a C-standard GEM-interface. It is MBASIC- compatible and there only is one problem. By the time it was published, most people had already bought GfA-BASIC. The third newcomer has another nice feature. True-BASIC is available for ATARI, IBM, AMIGA and MAC and between these it is fully portable. Like OMIKRON it offers matrices and it supports the full new ANSI-standard. It also has a special library for 3-D graphics. BUSINESS... There were quite a few applications presented, but most programs were dedicated to the German market with special attention to the German tax- system and other uniquely German necessities. Among those that are useful for any businessman was LOGISTIX, an integrated software -package which includes a spreadsheet, database, timeplanner and graphics. The demonstration was quite impressive, and the product seems very capable, but I'm not an expert in spreadsheets. Another database was presented by ATARI itself. ADIMENS-ST is fully GEM-integrated (well almost), extremly fast, powerful and a high- quality product. To bad it still lacks a programming language, which for me as a developer is indispensable. ATARI said it is underway, though, and should be available by July. A real goody was a piece of integrated software which was presented by a Yugoslavian firm. Its name is 'STEVE' and it is the most flexible spreadsheet I've seen, yet. One can do everything and nothing with it. It can be used as a spread-sheet naturally, a database, text-editor, graphic editor and mailing list facility. It allows user-definable function keys, two keyboard-tables, several fonts, abbreviations and dictionary in the text-editor and more. The program will retail in Germany for around DM 250, which is about $110, but that was the maximum price. I'm waiting for this program! Again, ATARI offered '1st Word Plus'. This program cures most of the errors and oddities of the original 1st Word and adds some nice new features as well. It is going to be really difficult to make a choice between 1st Word Plus and BECKER-text since both have nice features the competitor does not have and as well there are still wishes I have for both. TOOLS G-DATA, based in Dusseldorf, has been known over here for its quality utility software. They have improved some of their old programs and added new ones including a program to make a Hard disk capable of auto-booting and several programs to make backups of a hard disk which has some nice features including data-compression, and file size of more than disk size. The most powerful tool for disk- repair and editing is T.L.D.U. by FOCUS. This firm has made disk- monitors for years. T.L.D.U is fully programmable and the disk comes with some example-macros which offer a good way to learn the necessary commands. The programming language is very C-like. The current release does not read or write some copy-protected disks, but an update has been promised for June. T.L.D.U. also includes a disassembler and an extensive manual. KUMA presented its late releases of K- SWITCH and K-RESOURCE. TELECOMMUNICATIONS Finally there is some movement in the German mailbox and telecommunication community. Some good programs were at the show. DELUXE-Term supports GEM and is somewhat equal in comfort to FLASH, but it is possible to use 1200/75 baud which is necessary for BILDSCHIRMTEXT, the German version of VIDEO-TEXT services. Another program, again offered by ATARI themselves, is 1st Terminal, that is completely GEM-based in conjunction with PROFIBOX, an excellent mailbox program. It is even possible to select from the PROFIBOX menues using your mouse when utilizing 1st Terminal. Both programs, the box and the terminal program have been written by Brain-Works from Rosenheim in Bavaria. Harm-Bastian (HABA), which resides in Hamburg, has released its HABACAD-PL layout program. The program addresses only professional hardware-developers and the price of DM3000 ($1200) seems rather hefty. No GEM support, but powerful routing routines. On the lower end of the price scale is STAD a drawing-program for 2-D and 3-D objects. There are up to 15 2-D pages and an extra 3-D part. STAD offers the usual and some extra functions including sending/receiving via the serial port. The 3-D part is object-oriented like in EASYDRAW, the 2-D part is not. However, it is possible to interchange data between the parts, thus allowing for a 2-D object- library. STAD also includes animation and 'realtime rotation'. STAD retails for DM 179.-($90). FINISHING UP A program I could not classify, but which I found a very appealing possibility to learn is 'SKYPLOT plus'. Just about anything that has to do with astronomy is in this program. Calculate eclipses, conjunctions, trails of selected comets or planets and stars. Two databases for the stars, one with 610 and one with 15,383 stars are integrated. It is possible to find out how the night -sky above your house looks like, by putting in your geographical position. This program has much more possibilities. It retails for DM 200,- ($100). I know that many things were described much too superficially, but this report was intended to give you an idea of what is happening in ATARI's stronghold. ATARI has sold over 120,000 STs (all models) in Germany alone. ATARI Germany has made up for almost 30% of ATARI's sales in 1986. _____________________________________ Xx Hardware Review .....XEP80 80-Col. Board..... _____________________________________ Copyright 1987 Antic Publishing Inc. XEP80 (80-column card) Atari Corp. 1196 Borregas Avenue Sunnyvale, CA 94086 (408) 745-2000 $79.95, 16K disk It's here. Arriving at Antic just as we were about to go to press, the long-promised XEP80 80-column box is being manufactured at the Atari Corp.'s Taiwan manufacturing center and should be available in stores for $79.95 by the time you read this. The XEP80 displays 80 columns and 24 rows of readable text on your screen. On monochrome monitors, this text is razor-sharp. It's also quite readable on a color monitor, though naturally the characters are smaller than standard 40-column Atari text. Either way, the XEP80 is far superior to any software-only commercial products that produce an 80-column display. COMPATIBLE SOFTWARE According to John Skruch, Atari's Associate Director for Software, AtariWriter 80 -- a new 80-column upgrade of the AtariWriter Plus word processor -- was undergoing final testing at deadline and should also be in the stores when the XEP80 arrives in June 1987. AtariWriter 80 and a new 80-column, single-density version of Atari's Silent Butler personal finance program will be the first commercial software that runs on the XEP80. However, early prototype versions of the XEP80 box were sent to major publishers of 8-bit software -- such as Batteries Included, Broderbund, XLEnt and OSS -- with the expectation that existing products will soon be updated for 80 columns. Inexpensive 80-column trade-up prices for users of the existing AtariWriter Plus and Silent Butler will be offered by Atari, according to Skruch. But no prices for the software have been set as of this writing. USING XEP80 The XEP80 is about the size of a 1030 modem (5 3/8 x 9 1/4 x 1-3/8 inches) and weighs in at two pounds. It can easily fit atop your disk drive. The XEP80 connects to your Atari through either joystick port 1 or 2. An XL/XE RCA-jack video cable carries the signal from the back of the XEP80 to your monitor. (Atari says the XEP80 display will not be satisfactory on a televison set.) Keeping the system running is a small 9-volt power supply, the same power unit used with the 2600 videogame system and the still-awaited Atari 1200-baud moderm. Note: The power supply that came with our prototype XEP80 tended to grow unusually hot. The XEP80 also includes a parallel printer port that uses the same 25-pin cable as the ST. If you hold down the [SELECT] key when you boot your computer, the XEP80 will serve only as a parallel printer interface -- without turning on the 80-column display. UTILITIES AND DEMOS The disk that comes with the XEP80 contains the AUTORUN.SYS file which installs the handler (which is only about 200 bytes). Commented MAC/65-compatible source code for the handler is also included. Atari's Lane Winner is credited as the main designer of the XEP80 system. The disk also features a number of impressive demonstration programs written in BASIC and assembly language, as well as detailed documentation and utility software for inserting 80-column handler rountines into your own programs. The XEP80 handler introduces several new commands to Atari BASIC. These take the form of XIO statements which: - Invert the screen colors (default is white text on a black background). - Enable underlining. - Produce a blinking cursor. - Mix double-width or double- height text with standard-size text. - Mix blinking text (any width or height) with standard text. - Enable character-by-character horizontal scrolling with a POSITION statement and an XIO statement. The XEP80 is immediately compatible with all software that supports E: calls -- such as Atari BASIC (versions A, B and C) and Atari DOS 2.5. During our tests, the XEP80 didn't work with DOS 2.0. GRAPHICS Built into the XEP80 is 8K of static RAM, which is used as a screen storage buffer to operate the display faster. The XEP80 has two complete character sets built in, the standard XL/XE special character set and Atari's international character set. The XEP80 can draw high-resolution bit-mapped graphics covering as much as half the screen. However, the 80-column drawing routines are much slower than standard 40-column drawing. It took five minutes to draw and fill a golfball-sized circle in Graphics 8. Drawing isn't simple either. The PLOT and DRAWTO statements are not supported and text windows are not allowed. If your program crashes in the middle of one of these lengthy and complicated bit-map operations, the display remains in bit-mapped mode. You must reboot and start again. SUMMARY If you're serious about an 80-column display, the XEP80 won't disappoint you. The text is outstanding on monochrome monitors and acceptably readable on composite color monitors. Beginning and intermediate BASIC programmers will want to explore new ways to use the XEP80's additional XIO commands. Advanced BASIC and assembly language programmers will enjoy adapting the XEP80 handler to their favorite business software, word processor or telecommunications program. _____________________________________ Xx Software Review .....GBA BASKETBALL..... _____________________________________ GBA Basketball By:GAMESTAR $39.95 Reviewed by J.C. Cobb GBA Basketball resembles ONE-ON-ONE basketball for the eight-bit machines, in as much as the play is reatively the same, except that there are two players per team instead of one. The scoring is the same, with two and three point goals, foul shots, and fouls. However, in GBA Basketball, you have the option of setting your offense or defense before the beginning of each trip down court. There are five diferant offensive sets you can use, and four different defenses. Before beginning play, you have a chance to select different talents for your player, and designate skill levels for each of those talents. You then select a teammate from a list of ten GBA 'superstars'. Try to pick a superstar to compliment your player. For example, if you set your player to be a good inside player, then pick a teammate who plays well on the outside. I have found that making yourself an excellent inside player works quite well. Now you have several options. You may opt to practice for a while; where you have a choice of one or two player practice, play 'around the world or 'horse'. If you are ready for championship basketball, you may move on to the real game. Either play your team against another individual's team, play your man and another person's man against the computer, play your team against the computer in an exhibition game, or play your team in league play. League play is probably the best aspect of this game. You take your team into a 32-team league, play five games against the other teams in your division, and if you win the division, you go to the playoffs. There are four divisions (North, South, East, West), each harder than the previous, and you may place your team into any division you like. The mechanics of GBA Basketball are relatively simple, with all the action coming from the standard joystick and fire button. Move the stick to pick offensive and defensive plays when prompted, then use the stick to move your player and shoot. Holding down the button allows you to shoot the basketball: tapping the button allows you to pass the ball to your teammate. _____________________________________ Xx Publishers Page _____________________________________ Due to late breaking stories this past week, scheduled articles for this issue have been rescheduled for a future edition. If you are a reader of Computer Shopper, you will notice some commentary about CompuServe, Zmag, and myself. The article was based upon actions which took place during a few week period in March/April of this year. In a conversation with the Atari CIS SIG SysOps over the last few weeks, all of our problems have been ironed out and hopefully any future misunderstandings on my part or others will be quickly resolved. Look for more information in future editions of Zmag. The Data Library on CompuServe will soon contain all issues of Zmag. I am currently reformatting and producing the older editions into 40 column ascii editions. They will be uploaded a few at a time. Look for all of them shortly. If your BBS carries Zmag, Please get your name to us so that we can update our Systems list. We will send this list to CIS and GEnie and publish in a future edition. With this issue we celebrate our 1st year of publication. Thanks to everyone for the support over the last year. Help us grow bigger in 1987/88. Thanks for reading. _____________________________________ Zmagazine Issue #53 May 25, 1987 (c)1987 Syndicate Services Please Contribute!! _____________________________________
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