Z*Magazine: 25-Apr-89 #154From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 25-Apr-89 #154 Date: Sat Sep 25 16:02:11 1993 [ATASCII graphics removed by aa700.] | ROVAC ZMAGAZINE | | Issue #154 | | April 25, 1989 | |Copyright 1989, RII| |This week in ZMagazine| Editor's Monitor Harold Brewer Atari in Panama Carlos Hassan Rommel, Battles for Tobruk Howard Bandow ICD's Current Software Versions SuperDOS v5.0 Tom Curtner Z*Net Newswire 8-bit Edition Harold Brewer |EDITOR'S MONITOR| |by Harold Brewer| I apologize for the lateness of last week's issue of ZMagazine. It seems the contents of one of the articles was close to, if not actually, plagarizing parts of the SpartaDOS X User's Manual. Tom Harker of ICD gave his go ahead for keeping the article in ZMagazine, but I (and probably others) felt the removal of said article was in everyone's best interest. With daytime temperatures here in the Saint Louis area breaking record highs (93 degrees today), I'm glad I have a back-up computer (or two) just in case of keyboard meltdown... ZMagazine reporter John Nagy just returned from the Anaheim World of Atari show. Look for 8-bit information in next week's ZMagazine, and for 16-bit information in this week's ST-ZMagazine. |ATARI IN PANAMA| |by Carlos Hassan| Reprinted from Z*NET June 1989 Atari computers in Panama go back a long time. I was only eleven when I first began playing with an ATARI 400 computer in 1981. Back in those happy times, we did not even have program recorders. Rather, all the programs were available as cartridges, which the local store was happy to provide at over $50.00 each. As soon as the popularity of this machine spread, cassetee program recorders and disk drives were made available. I bought my own ATARI computer, the 800 model, in 1982, after a year of going over to my neighbor's house to "play Atari". My own computer cost $420.00. I recall selling it years later for $60.00, and I got a good deal. At the time I did not know any English, but I learned little by little, enough to play around with the BASIC listings in the user's manual. Then I heard there was this "fantastic" Atari club, in what was formerly the Panama Canal Zone. I went to their meetings, and was fascinated by the hardware and software demonstrated there. The only catch was that everybody spoke English. Their newsletter was in English. Their meeting was in English. The club started out back in 1981 when DOD personnel stationed in Panama bought Atari computers and decided to do something with them. The club started with only 12 members, but it grew at a fantastic rate, having at a time over 400 members. There were so many of them, that the club began dropping memberships because their Synfile records simply could not handle them! PCACUG, or Panama Canal Atari Computer Users' Group, soon established a Bulletin Board system (1983), and had been already delivering Pan*ATARI*News for at least a year and a half. The club also started as an English-only club, mainly because all members back then were American citizens. Little by little, the number of Panamanian members grew too. Although most of the volunteer jobs were carried out by Americans, soon Panamanians took over some of those. It was just two years ago that a Panamanian finally became president of the club, and a completely bilingual meeting was carried out. Formerly, only a few articles here and there would be included in Spanish in our monthly newsletter, the Pan*Atari*News. With the help of Mr. Juan Fagette, the club's Panamanian population grew until now about 95% of club members are Panamanians. The meetings are still bilingual, and so is our newsletter. The reason behind this is that we carry out exchanges with newsletters all over the world, and still have American members. Praise goes here to Mr. Anthony Mclean, our last newsletter editor, who was always making sure our newsletter had Spanish coverage as well as English articles. Last year, to my dismay, I was elected president of the club. How did I get in there? Well, maybe there weren't many people attending that particular election meeting! One of my first goals was making a monthly newsletter going out to all the members, and enhancing club participation, but then, isn't that every president's goal? We began work on our newsletter, Pan*Atari*News. P*A*N is a 24 page monthly job. I began, like every other newsletter editor (did I tell you that I also am in charge of that?), to reprint articles from other newsletters and online sources. We translated many articles to Spanish, and put them inside the newsletter, finally making it a 50/50 bilingual newsletter. But, as every other editor reading this knows, soon we ran out of things to print (or reprint!), and club participation in writing articles is almost non-existent. Then I read a press release concerning Z*Net. Sooner than I knew, Z*Net was delivering us its fantastic 12 page insert which now covers half the work we have to do! As a result of Z*Net's 16-bit coverage, our 8-bit-only club is teaming the newsletter effort with the local ST club. Being in a bilingual country poses some interesting pronunciation problems. Did you ever give it any thought as to how you would pronounce "disk drive" in another language? Or "diskette" or "cursor" or "monitor"? Half the time, half the people don't know what the other person is talking about! Castillian grammar rules are somewhat tougher than English's, and the Spanish Dictionary is only revised every ten years. I guess it will be twenty to thirty years before we find "cursor" as an acceptable word in Spanish! There is a large Atari 8-bit user base here in our country, due to the promotional effort of the company which brought, and sold, thousands of Atari computers to Panama. The problem, as I am sure has happened in the US and other countries as well, is that the company was not a computer store. It was an electronics store, happy to sell computers as if they were just home appliances (sound familiar?). We are making a big effort to get all those 8-bit users into our club. Sometimes they don't even know we exist, or think we only speak English. As this article is sent to Z*Net, preparations are underway for our second annual Atari Software Fair. At our Fair, probably a lot different than the ones at the States, since we don't have third party developers showing off products, etc., we present the latest 8-bit software, both commercial and Public Domain. We invite computer companies to bring generic computer products that 8-bit users can buy, and we also get a lot of new memberships. Computing with the 8-bit Atari in Panama has proven to be a lot of fun, because they are computers that do deliver power without the price! If you would like any information about our club, or start a newsletter exchange, just write to us at: PCACUG | Apartado 5265 | | Balboa, Ancon | Panama, Republica de Panama |ROMMEL, BATTLES FOR TOBRUK| |by Howard Bandow| Miami Valley Atari Computer Enthusiasts Rommel is a game for Atari 8-bit computers. Computer games aren't one of my favorite aspects of personal computing, even though I've collected a fair number of games from computer magazines, and even written some simple games to learn the application of some computer programming techniques. This being the case, you might wonder how I've come to write a review of a computer game. The truth is, I won this game in a raffle at an MVACE meeting. Having won it, I felt obligated to play it enough to learn what it was about; and having played it, I decided to write a review to do my part to help alleviate the recent dearth of 8-bit articles in the newsletter. Other computer games I've seen tend to fall in one of two categories. The first of these is arcade games, characterized by colorful graphics, music and other sounds, and action on the part of the user employing hand/eye coordination and a joystick or similar input device to participate in the game. The other common type of game is the text-based adventure game. In this type of game the computer displays the narrative of an adventure on the screen. At intervals throughout the story, the user executes choices by entering commands, generally using a keyboard. Rommel fits neither of these categories. Basically, it's a board based strategy game; a much more complex version of games like Chinese Checkers. In fact, it's so complex that the computer is needed to perform the administrative chores of executing moves and calculating the results of play. Rommel is based on a simulation of the events surrounding four different battles for Tobruk, a fortress in northern Africa during World War Two. It comes on both sides of a floppy disk; you can copy the back side, which is used most. The gameboard is a map of the region surrounding Tobruk, which is divided into hexagonal sectors. Each sector has a terrain, clear, rough, or impassable, or a road or track. Sectors may also contain objects such as airfields, towns, or minefields. About half the sectors don't enter the play because they're either in the ocean or they contain impassable terrain. The game is played between Axis and Allied forces. One side is a human player who may play against either the computer or another human. Each side begins with up to thirty military units placed on the gameboard in locations based on the historical circumstances leading to the actual battles for Tobruk. There are four forms of a strategic map which show the entire play area, but play is executed on a tactical map which shows a small area in larger scale. Each battle consists of a specified number of moves, each representing a day of battle. Play takes place in three stages for each move. First, each player gives orders to each of its units. Since there are more than thirty types of units, having different kinds and amounts of strengths, and up to thirty units for each side, this is a lengthy process. To give orders to a unit you first must pick it up. There are five types of orders (advance, march, assault, defend, and regroup). After selecting a mode, a movement order is issued for the first three types of modes. This is done by moving the cursor to an adjacent sector. Each movement costs a number of impulses depending on the mode and the terrain of the sector entered. You can give orders to a unit until its impulses are used up. While the computer is issuing orders, a screen appears showing various steps involved in calculating the orders to be issued. While the computer is engaged in each step, a counter beside that step is incremented. This gives useful clues to the player about factors he should consider in selecting his moves. The next stage is resolution. In this step the day's battles are played out an impulse at a time. Units' capabilities to carry out orders are effected by the movements of enemy troops and the relative strengths of the two sides' units. This stage can be quite lengthy and the players aren't involved, since the computer performs all the calculations required to resolve a move. The player(s) can take a break during this phase. Once the turn has been resolved, the computer shows the players what has happened on a strategic map. The events of the turn are displayed an impulse at a time. Moving units are flashing and shown in white. Units suffering casualties flash in various colors. New units entering battle flash in green and units which are eliminated flash in black. The review can be replayed. When the review is completed, the next turn begins. In addition to selecting which battle is to be played, there are several options which can be selected which determine the complexity of play. Supplies and air support can be added to the game. Fatigue and visibility of enemy troops can be included to make conditions more representative of real battles. I have several observations about this game. First, it's not something you can sit down and quickly learn to play. There are about sixty pages of documentation, and you'll be referring to the manual repeatedly for some time. Second, it's not a quick game. There are long periods of time when the player isn't involved and to play an entire game can easily take an evening. Third, it's not one of those action filled, shoot 'em up, arcade-type games that gets the adrenalin flowing. However, for those looking for a game requiring a lot of thought and willing to devote the time needed to learn complex rules, the game Rommel can be an interesting experience. | Game Designers' Workshop | | P.O. Box 1646 | |Bloomington, IL 61702-1646| |ICD'S CURRENT SOFTWARE VERSIONS| Courtesy of the ICD/OSS Bulletin Board "These are the current versions of ICD's 8-bit Atari products: Action! 3.6 Action! Runtime 1.4 Action! Tool Kit 3 BASIC XL 1.03 BASIC XL Tool Kit 1.00 BASIC XE 4.1 BASIC XE Extensions 4.11 FlashBack 2.3 MAC/65 1.01 MAC/65 Tool Kit 1.00 MIO 1.1 SpartaDOS Const. Set 3.2D SpartaDOS Tool Kit: CleanUp 1.4 DiskRx 1.9 DOSMenu 1.3 MIOCFG 1.2 ProKey 1.3 RenDir 1.0 SortDir 1.4 VDelete 1.1 Whereis 2.2 SpartaDOS X 4.20 "These are the current versions of ICD's ST Atari products. BBS Express! ST 1.30 CleanUp ST 1.9 ICDBOOT 3.2 ICDFMT 2.32 ICDTIME 1.4 IDCHECK 1.00 Personal Pascal 2.05 RATEHD 1.1 Tape Backup 1.1 TIMESET 1.4 (Editor's note: These current versions are to aid ICD software owners in determining the availability of an upgrade. Owners who would like to know what changes have gone into a particular upgrade and the associated cost thereof need only call or write to ICD. Other software manufacturers are encouraged to contact ZMagazine for promulgation of their current software version numbers.) | ICD | | 1220 Rock Street | |Rockford, IL 61101| | (815)968-2228 | | (voice) | | (815)968-2229 | | (modem) | |SUPERDOS V5.0| |by Tom Curtner| An Option for the Eights Miami Valley Atari Computer Enthusiasts One of the great features available for the Atari is the market of Disk Operating Systems. Most of us know how DOS 2.x functions with our machine, and the limitations it imposes upon us. DOS 2.x is friendly, moderately fast, and dependable. However, is does lack some of the refinements other DOSes offer. Though Atari did address some of these options with DOS XE, they did not bother to make it truly compatible. This presents the regular DOS 2.x user a problem: stay with 2.x or go to another DOS. In 1988 a new DOS was introduced into the U.S. (SUPERDOS v4.x) by Technical Support, situated in Daly City, California. The program being marketed was SUPERDOS by Paul Nicholls of Australia. Through BBS message bases and the user group grapevine, we heard good remarks for this DOS. A major asset of SUPERDOS is the ability to run on all Atari Eight-Bit machines. And with 64K or more, you have the SDUP.SYS menu load automatically (and resident). If you have less than 64K, you can set SDUP.SYS to resident. The SUPERDOS disk has seven files on it: DOS.SYS (77 S/D sectors) SDUP.SYS (40) AUX.SYS (38) SBAS.SYS (03) DOC.SYS (318) AUTORUN.SYS (49) and DOCv5.SYS (47) DOCv5.SYS describes the latest revisions of version 5.0. When you boot SUPERDOS you have the option of printing the documentation or going directly to DOS. Your best option is to print the docs, read, and then experiment. Once you have the docs printed, take the "D" option to DOS and view the menu. At the top of your screen you have the "Drive Status Line". Drives are numbered from 1 to 5+, with 5+ being the RAMdisk. If you access 6,7, or 8, DOS will refer to 5+, the RAMdisk. Since SUPERDOS is DOS sensitive, the Drive Line will reflect the current disk status, changing at each access (single, double, etc.). In addition to the Drive Line, your border will reflect the type of operation which you are performing. Red is for WRITE, green for READ, and purple for INITIALIZE/FORMAT. The SDUP.SYS menu for SUPERDOS reads pretty much the same as DOS 2.x with modifications. DIRECTORY is very lenient (D1:1 or 1 is allowed). DIRECTORY also gives note if there is a DELETED or OPEN file (-FN.* = DELETED, ?FN.* = OPEN). The spacebar or no designated drive number will show the directory for "D1:". When calling up the directory in SUPERDOS your listing is in double columns. The screen will scroll, so you will be able to view all files listed. CARTRIDGE will enable/disable BASIC for the XL/XE machines. The COPY option has been enhanced and combines the 2.x COPY/DUPLICATE functions. Other options: Bypass the verify prompts before proceeding (*.*/N or *.*/Y), and Copy from cassette. DELETE is the same as 2.x. RENAME will rename the first file only if two of the same name have been saved. LOCK and UNLOCK same as 2.x. WRITE DOS allows you write both DOS.SYS and SDUP.SYS or just DOS.SYS (make sure you WRITE DOS if you make any changes with the AUX.SYS menu). FORMAT will do any density (this includes the XF551 drive), plus skewed sectors. DUP DISK will do disks or sectors, and will copy the boot sectors. BIN SAVE takes HEX or DEC. RESTORE recovers DELETED/DAMAGED/OPEN FILES. And finally, VERIFY toggles your write/verify to on/off. The AUX.SYS menu offers special options. The # LIST DIRECTORY works like the SDUP.SYS menu. INITIALIZE DOS will activate any options you have chosen for DOS (such as DRIVE BUFFERS or FILE BUFFERS). COPY FROM DOS 3 copies from DOS 3 to SUPERDOS. WRITE SUPERBIN enables you to have a binary loader on your disk (note: while not part of the AUX.SYS menu, the program SUPERBAS will likewise make a BASIC loader for your disk). CONFIG.BLOCK displays disk drive configuration. TRACE AND PATCH will trace bad sectors, linking the good sectors. XL/XE KEY RATE has the selection from 1 (slow) to 4 (fast). This is done in increments of one. FILE BUFFERS allows you to set your file buffer number. DRIVE BUFFERS lets you designate the amount of drive buffers. RESIDENT SDUP gives you the option of having SDUP resident at the bottom of memory, while non-resident will reside on disk or under the operating system, depending on your machine. EXIT TO SDUP executes that command. NOTE, with any change you make in the AUX.SYS menu, you should INITIALIZE DOS, and then WRITE DOS to make your change permanent. I tested SUPERDOS under many conditions. First I discovered that the copy I had was in double density. So with my 1050 (with US Doubler), I formatted a disk in single density on the 810. Then using COPY, I transferred the files from double density to single density. No problem! SUPERDOS did the job nicely. In addition, my sector count remained in sectors, unlike DOS XE with its Kilobyte count. Copying on a single drive from D/D to S/D and back to D/D gave no problems either. When you copy, you have the option of initializing in D/D,S/D,E/D, and 2 sided D/D (XF551). I even tested the duplication method by copying my TextPro 3.2 initialized in SpartaDOS in S/D. I may not have been able to read the directory properly, but it did copy the disk! More important, all the files in 2.x and SpartaDOS I copied during my test worked properly. In addition to the regular copy test, once again I subjected COPY MATE 4.3 and MyCopyR to the task of duplication. Here again everything worked as desired. SUPERDOS appears to emulate 2.x quite well. I was able to read the D/D SUPERDOS disk with SpartaDOS without any problem. This, unfortunately, DOS XE could not address. So if you have SpartaDOS and someone hands you a disk in SUPERDOS, you're in luck. This may not seem important to some, but with the various DOS formats available, it's good to know what is compatable. I don't have a modified XL so I won't be able to tell you personally much about the RAMdisk setup. However, according to the docs, SUPERDOS supports most RAMdisks, and will set up the largest RAMdisk possible. In addition, SUPERDOS will copy all files with the *.RAM extension automatically to the RAMdisk. There's even a way in which you can protect your RAMdisk from a coldstart. The speed of SUPERDOS during operations is very good. In working from D/D to S/D, operations went smoothly. The only lag is when transferring from my 1050 (with US Doubler) to the 810. Here, reads on the 1050 were fast, but normal when writing to the 810. I must state, however, this is also true with SpartaDOS. There is help for this by toggling VERIFY to OFF. This gave a moderate increase in speed. The menus in SUPERDOS function well, giving you clear instructions of what to do. By using the BREAK key, you abort the current function. This is an asset if you have made a blunder (who, me?), or change your mind at the last nanosecond and wish to abort. If you load the AUX.SYS and don't take any of the options available, any other key response will take you back to SDUP. Just remember!--SAVE all changes in your configuration. Working with SUPERDOS is easy. It's fast, user friendly, and very full-featured. If you have any familiarity with DOS 2.x, you'll speed through with ease. The compatibility and enhancements of SUPERDOS are worthwhile, and will answer most needs. If you have the XF551 Drive, this could be the DOS for you. |Z*NET NEWSWIRE 8-BIT EDITION| |by Harold Brewer| Please complete the following sentence (or letter) for me: "Dear Atari, "I am a loyal 8-bit Atarian. I don't WANT an Atari ST. As a dedicated 8-bit Atari user, what I REALLY WANT is..." I am very interested in hearing your replies to this one. I'd like to see just how many 8-bitters there are left out there. Are we a dying breed, or a silent majority? Feel free to EMAIL or MAIL your replies to me. I plan to log the comments and then formally present this data to Atari. It may not do us any good at all, but it can't hurt. CompuServe: 76703,1077 GEnie: MAT.RAT Delphi: MATRAT Or mail them to: Ratware Softworks 32 S. Hartnett Ave. St. Louis, MO 63135 Thanks, Mat*Rat (P.S. PASS IT ON...) CompuServe Offer: If you are NOT a CompuServe user and would like to see what you are missing, please respond to the following limited offer! Readers of ZMagazine can receive $15.00 of free online time by sending your name and address to: | ROVAC ZMagazine | | 4010 Ridgedale | |Granite City, IL 62040-5741| | Attn: CIS offer | In turn, we will forward your info to CompuServe which will get a kit out to you ASAP. Please note that this offer expires May 31, 1989 and can be cancelled at any time. ICD's Craig Thom tells me that both their 256K and 1Meg MIOs are in limited production. Descriptions and retail prices remain the same as can be found in ICD's 1988 1989 Product Catalog. ZMag readers may be aware that the 1Meg MIO has been unavailable for several months due to high DRAM chip prices. | Rovac Industries, Incorporated | | P.O. Box 74, Middlesex, NJ 08846 | | (201) 968-8148 | |Copyright 1989 All Rights Reserved| CompuServe: 71777,2140 GEnie: ZMAGAZINE Source: BDG793 ZMagazine Headquarters BBSes: Centurian BBS--(314)621-5046 (618)451-0165 Chaos BBS--(517)371-1106 Shadow Haven--(916)962-2566 Stairway to Heaven--(216)784-0574 The Pub--(716)826-5733
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