Atari Explorer Online: 16-Jan-95 #0401From: Bruce D. Nelson (aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 01/19/95-08:58:55 AM Z
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From: aa789@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bruce D. Nelson) Subject: Atari Explorer Online: 16-Jan-95 #0401 Date: Thu Jan 19 08:58:55 1995 :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: Volume 4, Issue 1 ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE 16 January 1995 :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: :: :: ATARI .............. News, reviews, & solutions ............ ATARI :: :: EXPLORER ............ for the online Atari .......... EXPLORER :: :: ONLINE ................. Community .............. ONLINE :: :: :: :: Published and Copyright (c) 1993-1995 by Subspace Publishers :: :: All Rights Reserved :: :: """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: Publisher .................................... Michael Lindsay :: :: Editor ........................................... Travis Guy :: :: Assistant Editor GEnie......................... Ron Robinson :: :: Assistant Editor CompuServe................... Albert Dayes :: :: Assistant Editor Delphi.................. Andreas Barbiero :: :: Assistant Editor Internet................. Timothy Wilson :: :: Unabashed Atariophile ............... Michael R. Burkley :: :: Atari Artist ............................. Peter Donoso :: :: User Group Coordinator ................... Ron Whittam :: :: Jaguar Editor .................... Dimitri M. LaBarge :: :: Jaguar Editor ................... Christian Svensson :: :: UK Correspondent .............. Darren "Dooz" Bates :: :: :: :: Contributors: :: :: """"""""""""" :: :: Chuck Klimushyn, Eric Michard, Jeremy Reimer :: :: Mark Stephen Smith, Tim Steed, David A. Wright :: :: :: :: Telecommunicated to you via: :: :: """""""""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: GEnie: ST/JAGUAR RT Library 38 :: :: CompuServe: ATARIGAMING Library 10 :: :: Delphi: ATARI ADVANTAGE & WORLD OF VIDEO GAMES Libraries :: :: Fnet: AEO Conference, Node 319 :: :: AtariNet: AEO Conference, Node 51:1/10 :: :: :: :: Internet mailing address: email@example.com :: :: FTP recent AEO issues from: rahul.net:pub/wilsont/AEO :: :: Search gopherspace under "aeo" for back issues :: :: :: :: World Wide Web: http://www.dl.ac.uk/MISC/ATARI/atari.html :: :: http://www.bucknell.edu/~svensson :: :: :: :: Internet subscription service: firstname.lastname@example.org :: :: (Internet subscription requests ONLY!) :: :: :: :: AEO is also in file format on the Jaguar Mailing List :: :: :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Table of Contents * From the Editors .................................. Our Designer Edition. * Third Annual Reader's Survey ................. Your chance once again to tell us what you want. * Rare Gems ......................................... Quotes worth quoting. * John Mathieson ................. The designer of the Atari Jaguar on the history and inner workings of the cat. * Computer Civilisation .................. A different way to approach the computer corporate world. * Andrew Whittaker .................. The man who gave the Aliens the gift of intelligence chats with Sven about his new software company and Jaguar game plans. * Jaguar Tackboard ................ An even dozen NEW titles grace our new and expanded AEO Development List - Press Releases - BattleSphere - Cheats & Codes - CS Offers. * Surfing the Jagged Edge ............ WCES online reports - Jaguar to the Core - Behind Battlesphere - Developer highlights. * Cuppa with the Dooz .......... From the UK: Telegames' titles - gossip - Dooz' views on Sensi Soccer & Zool 2. * Iron Soldier ........................... War is fun in this 42-foot tall robot. C'mon EGM. Try to trash THIS top-notch title. * Kasumi Ninja ........................ Featuring digitized gore a'plenty, this Jaguar fighter pummels its way onto the video game stage. * Zool 2 ............................. Be-bopping action, and Travis' pick for "Best Jag music this side of Tempest 2000" mark this frantic Jag platform title. * Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales ........... "Cute kitty kiddie platformer seeks nimble dpad operator." * Stello 2.0 ............................. A review of the shareware title. * "From a Saved Backup" ...................... The Ease of Atari computing. * The Unabashed Atariophile ................... PD and Shareware files for _your_ Atari computer. * Developing News ................................ Atari Safari 1995 Dave Munsie Open Letter * Shutdown ............................ Around the world and up your block. --==--==--==--==-- ||| From the Editors ........... Atari Explorer Online: Jaguar Voyagers ||| Travis Guy / | \ GEnie: AEO.MAG Delphi: AEO_MAG Internet: email@example.com ------------------------------------------------------------------- Hello all, welcome to the first issue of AEO for 1995. Your window on events in the World Atari offers you special insight this go-around. We've been able to score two outstanding interviews. The first one up is a long chat I had over the past two days with Jaguar designer John Mathieson. There's plenty of insight provided into the development of the Jag, the place of the Panther in Jaguar history, a glimpse or two into some of the "hows" and "whys" of Jaguar, and a bit of background on the man himself. This interview is a MUST READ for all Jaguar owners and fans. Next up is a chat between Andrew Whittaker (designer of AvP), his new business partner, and AEO's Christian Svensson. Fresh off of AvP, Andrew has some interesting tales about design time, as well as a peek ahead at his next video game project. There's the usual AEO banter, four reviews of the pre-Christmas batch of Jag games, the Third Annual Readers' Survey, a funny look at Civilization as computer wars, and we welcome our new UK Jaguar columnist. Atari has lots of surprises in store for Jaguar owners, and for those who will be new Jaguar owners in 1995. Join us in the electronic pages of AEO throughout the year as we chronicle Atari's return. I've a few more surprises of my own that I hope to be able to dole out as we go along. Next issue, reviews of Cannon Fodder and Pinball Fantasies, and who knows what else. Have =you= played Atari today? --==--==--==--==-- ||| The Third Annual AEO Readers' Survey ||| By: AEO Magazine / | \ GEnie: AEO.MAG Delphi: AEO_MAG ------------------------------------------------------------------- It's an issue later than normal, but it's once again time for you to tell us, the editors of AEO, what you want us to focus on. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey. When you're finished, EMail the survey to us at one of the addresses shown at the end of the survey. Please do not respond to the survey in any Bulletin Board/newsgroup/public area, as other users wouldn't want to spend online dollars reading 99% of the same text over and over again. The rules are simple: Every response must come from an _active_ user name/user number. Don't vote more than once, and feel free to take as much space on the essay portion of the survey as you need! -8<- -8<- -8<- Clip here and mail -8<- -8<- -8<- I. Please mark where you generally receive your copy of AEO from: A. GEnie B. CIS C. Delphi D. Internet EMail subscriber E. WWW (please specify address found at) F. FTP (please specify address found at) G. Internet (other - please specify) H. AtariNet I. FNet J. Other (please specify) II. Please mark the type(s) of file compression your system supports: A. ARC B. LZH (LHARC) C. ZIP D. Other (please specify) ______________ III. In each of the topics listed below, indicate on a scale of 0 to 5, your interest. 5 equals "I am facinated by this. I would read every issue of AEO to find articles on this." 4 equals "This interests me. I would read a few articles on this." 3 equals "I have no real interest in this subject, but I don't dislike it. I may or may not read any articles on this." 2 equals "This bores me. I would only read an article on this if I had nothing else to do." 1 equals "Total boredom and annoyance. I would avoid this and any magazine that carried articles on it." 0 equals "What are you talking about?" Topic Your Rating (0-5) """"" """" """""" """"" News from Atari (Press Releases, Interviews) ------------------ News from TOS Developers (Press Releases, Interviews) --------- News from Atari User Shows ------------------------------------ News from Atari-attended Trade Shows -------------------------- Computer Industry (non-Atari) News ---------------------------- Online News (Recaps of the major Online Atari Nets) ----------- Online Conference Reprints ------------------------------------ Jaguar Material (reviews, news) ------------------------------- Lynx Material (reviews, news) --------------------------------- Portfolio Material (reviews, news) ---------------------------- Editorial ----------------------------------------------------- Atari Computer Product Reviews -------------------------------- "Build-it-Yourself" Hardware Articles ------------------------- IV. Many readers get AEO for Jaguar/Lynx coverage and don't care for Atari computer coverage. Then again, many readers get AEO strictly for its Atari computer coverage, and don't care about video games. Please indicate, through a percentage breakdown, how you would balance the two types of coverage. ____% Atari computer coverage ____% Atari gaming coverage The two percentages have to add up to 100% in order for the input to be considered valid. V. This is the essay portion of the survey. Please answer the following questions. A. What did you like _most_ about AEO in 1994? Be as chatty as you like: B. What did you like _least_ about AEO in 1994? Again, be as chatty as you like: C. Please complete the following sentence. "In the next year, I would like to see AEO cover...." -8<- -8<- -8<- Clip here and mail -8<- -8<- -8<- Thanks for your input into Atari Explorer Online. Please EMail your responses to AEO.MAG on GEnie or to <firstname.lastname@example.org> via Internet. This survey will be valid for three weeks (until February 7, 1995). At that time, the results will be tabulated and posted in the next available issue of AEO. --==--==--==--==-- ||| Rare Gems ||| Compiled by: David A. Wright / | \ Internet: email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------------------- The following are the "Rare Gems (sm)" selections for December 11 to 17, 1994. "Rare Gems" is a service mark (sm) of Rare Breed Noninc. and David Alan Wright. (Internet: CENTAUR@HARTFORD.COM) Compilation copyright 1994 by same. All Wright's rights reserved. Each weekly collection may be distributed freely as long as this notice is retained. No other format may be distributed without further authorization. All quotes covered by "fair use" of copyright law. Don't run with scissors. --:Dave The difference between a dog and a fox? About ten drinks. --Unknown Gay females spying: Lesbionage. --Uknown (and lucky he is) People who fly into a rage seldom make a smooth landing. --Unknown The art of acting consists of keeping people from coughing. --Sir Ralph Richardson There is only one good substitute for the endearments of a sister, and that is the endearments of some other fellow's sister. --Josh Billings When a man fell into his anecdotage it was a sign for him to withdraw from the world. --Benjamin Disraeli Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals, "love" them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more. --Edwin Way Teale === The following are the "Rare Gems (sm)" selections for December 18 to 24, 1994. "Rare Gems" is a service mark (sm) of Rare Breed Noninc. and David Alan Wright. (Internet: CENTAUR@HARTFORD.COM) Compilation copyright 1994 by same. All Wright's rights reserved. Each weekly collection may be distributed freely as long as this notice is retained. No other format may be distributed without further authorization. All quotes covered by "fair use" of copyright law. --:Dave This just in... Federal authorities have averted another attempt by an unauthorized aircraft to land at the White House. The incident occurred early Christmas morning, while the First Family slept. While details are sketchy, it appears the pilot may have been in some distress, as the roof of the plane was missing, and the lowered landing gear appeared to be stuck. He still had control of the craft, however, and was ordered away from the White House. He veered off and authorities lost track. They say that that was unfortunate, as they wish to investigate the matter further. They are concerned about the large number of boxes seen in the plane, which may have been explosives, and they want to bring animal cruelty charges against the pilot, who had inexplicably tied several deer to poles mounted in the front of the plane, perhaps in protest of game and wildlife regulations. The President was not awakened during the incident, and when informed of it in the morning, he was understandably upset. He has ordered staff to awaken him if any other such events happen at night, and to review their security procedures so that certain measures he outlined could be implemented. The measures include allowing the pilot to land, deposit the suspicious packages, and leave unhindered. White House security is extremely opposed to the measures, but the President is insistant. Political analysts speculate that the President may be thinking of crisis control procedures that recommend complying with an assailant to avoid exacerbating a dangerous situation. See, what'd I tell ya? He spots our new chimney, some kind of primal urge compels him to go down, and, -presto-... We have Christmas dinner. --Cannibal, "Non Sequitur" strip by Wiley Miller All our decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last. --Marcel Proust I need some duck tape. My duck has a quack in it. --Unknown I could not, at any age, be content to take my place in a corner by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. --Eleanor Roosevelt Be wiser than other people if you can but do not tell them so. --Lord Chesterfield Had the Greeks held novelty in such disdain as we, what work of ancient date would now exist? --Horace They are not all saints who use holy water. --English proverb === The following are the "Rare Gems (sm)" selections for December 25 to 31, 1994. "Rare Gems" is a service mark (sm) of Rare Breed Noninc. and David Alan Wright. (Internet: CENTAUR@HARTFORD.COM) Compilation copyright 1995 by same. All Wright's rights reserved. Each weekly collection may be distributed freely as long as this notice is retained. No other format may be distributed without further authorization. All quotes covered by "fair use" of copyright law. Now serving number 95. --:Dave What did -you- answer when you very first died and that angel asked you if you preferred smoking or non-smoking? --Man in Hell to another, "Bizarro" cartoon by Dan Piraro It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so. --"Meditations in an Emergency" by Frank O'Hara Yield to all and you will soon have nothing to yield. --"The Man and His Two Wives" by Aesop I will never do an Evil Twin Story. (Yes, you will.) No, I won't. (Yes, you will.) No, I won't. (I've got chocolate.) No, I - what? --J. Michael Straczynski Darkness reigns at the foot of the lighthouse. -- Japanese Proverb The man who can smile when things go wrong has thought of someone else he can blame it on. --Robert Bloch I do not know what I may appear to the world. But, to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than the ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me. --Sir Isaac Newton === The following are the "Rare Gems (sm)" selections for January 1 to 7, 1995. "Rare Gems" is a service mark (sm) of Rare Breed Noninc. and David Alan Wright. (Internet: CENTAUR@HARTFORD.COM) Compilation copyright 1995 by same. All Wright's rights reserved. Each weekly collection may be distributed freely as long as this notice is retained. No other format may be distributed without further authorization. All quotes covered by "fair use" of copyright law. Available in moist air-- er, most areas. --:Dave No man can sit down and withhold his hands from the warfare against wrong and get peace from his acquiescence. --Woodrow Wilson Mixed reaction: Having your boss breathe in helium before saying, "You're fired." --"Wizard of Id" strip by Johnny Hart and Brant Parker The task of an educator should be to irrigate the desert not clear the forest. --Unknown If I reach for the moon and miss, I will still be among the stars. --Unknown For real sponge cake, borrow all the ingredients. --Unknown If you want a place in the sun, you have to expect a few blisters. --Loretta Young Lean too much upon the approval of people, and it becomes a bed of thorns. --Tehyi Hsieh --==--==--==--==-- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- --==--==-- GEnie Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- -- -- -- 1. Set your communications software for half duplex (local echo) -- -- at 300, 1200, or 2400 baud. -- -- -- -- 2. Dial toll free: 1-800-638-8369 (or in Canada, 1-800-387-8330). -- -- Upon connection, enter HHH. -- -- -- -- 3. At the U# prompt, enter XTX99436,GENIE then press <Return>. -- -- -- -- 4. Have a major credit card ready. In the U.S., you may also use -- -- your checking account number. -- -- -- -- For more information in the United States or Canada, call 1-800- -- -- 638-9636 or write: GEnie, c/o GE Information Services, P.O. Box -- -- 6403, Rockville, MD 20850-1785. -- -- -- -- --==--==-- Atari's Official Online Resource! --==--==-- -- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- --==--==--==--==-- ||| A Weekend with the Jaguar's Dad ||| Interview by: Travis Guy / | \ GEnie: AEO.MAG Delphi: AEO_MAG ---------------------------------------------------------------- Known world-wide as the "father of the Jaguar", John Mathieson is seen by many as Atari's 35 year old savior. Born and raised in Scotland, Mathieson obtained his education at Fettes in Edinburgh, then at Cambridge University. He currently holds a master's degree in engineering and in computer science, as well as the title of Vice-President of Advanced Technology at Atari Corp. Over this past weekend, I was able to participate in a special treat. AEO was given permission to conduct an interview with Mr. Mathieson, who graciously gave up some of his free time to answer all questions. (Finishing up I might add, during the San Francisco/Dallas NFC Championship game on Sunday, his first viewing of an American football game.)  AEO: What were your interests/hobbies while growing up? John Mathieson: Electricity generally, and stereo systems. I owned and ran my own mobile disco system while a student. I still have parts of it, but it doesn't run so well on 110V!  AEO: <Grin> You're an engineer, can't you design a converter? John Mathieson: I just hate compatibility problems!  To whom did you look up to as a child? I can't put my finger on anyone in particular. I always wanted to become a millionaire before I was 30 (now put back to 40).  Are you a video gamer? What's your favorite game? Well, sort of. I spent a lot of time on Sinclair Spectrum games, Manic Miner being my favourite. In recent years I have enjoyed Doom and Cybermorph particularly.  How did you get into the silicon industry? When I left university, I was offered a job by Clive Sinclair, at Sinclair Research. At that time Sinclair was about to launch the Spectrum (a very cheap Z80 based home computer), which dominated the UK home computer industry for a few years in the early 80s. My first job was to sit and write BASIC programs to find bugs in the BASIC interpreter - and this led into writing the demo program used at the launch, and doing technical support to the marketing and PR people. >From there I moved into doing real engineering.  What other past hardware design projects have you been involved in? At Sinclair, I did a lot of cost reduction work on the Spectrum, and then moved into peripheral design work on the QL (an early 68000 based machine). I was lead hardware engineer on a project called Pandora, which was a portable machine based on the Spectrum architecture, and which used the Sinclair flat CRT plus some optics as a display. It was never manufactured.  How did you come to work for Atari? Sinclair folded in 1986, and the name was bought by Amstrad. With two other colleagues, Martin Brennan and Ben Cheese, I started a company called Flare to design a revolutionary games computer (from an idea that floated around in Sinclair called Loki), which we dubbed Flare One. This had a fast Z80, plus a decent video controller, a Blitter, and a simple DSP. We targeted the Amiga, and this system was designed to be faster and a lot cheaper. We funded this doing design consultancy work. The Flare One system never made it as a games machine - we sold a lot of chip-sets to a company who made video quiz machines for UK pubs; and we also licensed it to a Welsh company who intended to sell it as a games machine called the Konix Multi System. This never happened, sadly. (Jeff Minter actually wrote a game for it!) Having done Flare One, we knew how we would do it better next time, using a few year's advance of technology, plus all the experience we gained. We also realised that we needed the backing of a larger company to fund the development. At this point, Martin Brennan was doing the design work on the main Panther chip as a piece of consultancy for Atari, so we presented our ideas to Atari in late 1989. We set up a new company called Flare 2, which Atari owned 80% of, and set out to design Jaguar. At this point, Ben Cheese left us (he went on to design the Nintendo Super FX chip), so Martin Brennan and myself were the design team. Martin designed the Jaguar video system (which is loosely based on Panther), and the memory controller. I designed the RISC processors and Blitter. In late 1993, having finished Jaguar, Martin decided to move on to something else, so I proposed to Atari (on the morning after the Jaguar launch), that I move to the USA to continue work on Jaguar technology. I moved here in January 1994.  Did you have anything to do with the design of the Panther? Martin was employed as a contractor by Atari in late 1989 to work on Panther. He made a lot of improvements to the concept, which already existed when he started. We (Flare) took it through to working developers systems.  Do you know what prompted the jumping from the Panther to the Jaguar project? I think it became clear to Atari that Jaguar would be launched one to two years after Panther, and this made no commercial sense. Jaguar was well advanced in design at the point Panther was cancelled, and it was clear that it would be a far, far better machine.  Is there any Panther hardware in existence? <grin> I think there is still a pile of developers systems in the office. Make us an offer. <bigger grin>  Can you tell us a little bit more about Martin, and about any of your other colleagues that assisted in the design/development of Jaguar? Martin, like me, is a Scot and a Cambridge graduate. Most of the best engineers in the world are Scottish. (Beam me up....) Martin and I did all the work on the chip-set, but honorable mentions should also go to Richard Miller at Atari who was our engineering contact (who is also ex-Sinclair (and has now left Atari)), and Tim Dunn who worked at Flare and is now in Sunnyvale at Atari (and is also ex-Sinclair), who did a lot of the PCB development work, and the design of the developers systems around the Jaguar core.  Are you currently involved in the design, planning, consulting or overseeing of Jaguar peripherals? I am involved in the planning, but that is all.  What do you presently do for Atari? I am Vice-President of Advanced Technology. I run a group whose primary responsibility is the Jaguar ASICs. We do support and cost-reduction of the existing chips, plus the development of future versions.  For those readers who aren't engineers (like me), what is an ASIC, and why does it sound so terribly important? It would be perfectly possible to put together a machine with the performance of Jaguar using chips picked out from the catalogs of the major chip vendors. Unfortunately, doing it that way would give a retail price of a thousand dollars or more. What I do is work out the leanest, most efficient way of doing the functions we need, and then design the chip-set to do it. By making the hardware do just what is needed for games, and no more, there are a lot of cost savings to be made. We then put this design into custom chips called ASICs (application specific integrated circuits, if you really want to know), and it is the two Jaguar ASICs (Tom and Jerry) that make it so special. Having done these, they then become unimportant, and the games become everything.  How long did it take to develop the Jaguar? Three years from start to being production ready.  Was there a single guiding principle behind the design of the Jaguar? Our main aim was to guess what technology would be practical when Jaguar was in production (chip sizes, DRAM architecture, speeds, and so on), and to leap-frog the rest of the world. Compare Panther which was more of a "me-too" response to the SNES and Genesis. We took the leap to 64-bit DRAM, and very large ASICs and package pin-counts. We also set out to make it cheap and very fast!  What was the first "breakthrough" in the Jaguar design process? The main one was realising that designing our own RISC processors made sense. By integrating all the video animation logic - RISC processor, Blitter, and Object Processor - in one chip, performance could be higher and cost lower. The CRY colour scheme Jaguar uses, which allows smooth shading of 16-bit pixels, was also a useful discovery.  <Laugh> I would guess that your CRY scheme is now patented by Atari! Yes. As you know from the Sega deal, Atari has a strong portfolio of patents, and Jaguar has added to that. (Sega paid Atari $90M because the Genesis infringes some key Atari patents.)  All other companies are now on official notice.... <grin> What was the most difficult obstacle to overcome in the Jaguar design process? I think we underestimated the problems that would arise because we were pushing the technology envelope. The first Jaguar silicon, which was effectively beta test hardware, proved much harder to lay out and get working in simulation than we expected. We believe at the time that it was the largest ASIC, apart from test chips, that the major Japanese silicon vendor we were working with had ever done.  The 68000 aside, how were the chips decided upon? How were Tom and Jerry arrived at? It's basically a simple division into a video chip and an audio chip. The names were arbitrary.  What was the reasoning behind using the Motorola 68000 in the Jaguar? Was it a "last minute" decision? We had no strong feelings about an external CPU in the early days of the Jaguar design. Atari were keen to use a 68K family device, and we looked closely at various members. We did actually build a couple of 68030 versions of the early beta developers systems, and for a while were going to use a 68020. However, this turned out too expensive. We also considered the possibility of no CPU at all. I always felt it was important to have some normal processor, to give developers a warm feeling when they start. The 68K is inexpensive and does that job well. I maintain that it's only there to read the joysticks. (Although Leonard Tramiel now recommends that developers do that with the GPU too!)  What do you say to those outsiders who insist on calling the Jag's 68000, "The CPU of the machine?" Call it what you like. It may be the CPU in the sense that it's the centre of operation, and boot-straps the machine, and starts everything else going; however, it is not the centre of Jaguar's power. The centre of Jaguar's wonderful abilities come from the two RISC processors for graphics and sound, and the two 64-bit animation co-processors, the Blitter and Object Processor. The 68000 is like a manager who does no real work, but tells everybody else what to do.  Here's a fresh question for you, I'm sure. <grin> Is Jaguar really a 64-bit machine? Jaguar has a 64-bit memory interface to get a high bandwidth out of cheap DRAM. We achieve over 100 Mbytes/second, which is very respectable, and gives the system its speed and flexibility. Where the system needs to be 64-bit then it is 64-bit, so the Object Processor, which takes data from DRAM and builds the display is 64-bit; and the blitter, which does all the 3D rendering, screen clearing, and pixel shuffling, is 64-bit. Where the system does not need to be 64-bit, it isn't. There is no point in a 64-bit address space in a games console! 3D calculations and audio processing do not generally use 64-bit numbers, so there would be no advantage to 64-bit processors for this. Jaguar has the data shifting power of a 64-bit system, which is what matters for games, so can reasonably be considered a 64-bit system. But that doesn't mean it has to be 64-bit throughout.  What was the rationale for the "small" caches on the RISC chips? Well in chip area they are not small at all, but huge.  I guess it'd depend on how a programmer approaches it, wouldn't it? People who are used to writing tight code don't have any troubles, while coders who are used to letting compilers "do the hard part" for them see the RISC caches as tiny. The most vocal criticism of the Jaguar architecture I have heard is from John Carmack, who wrote Doom. A lot of his points are well made; but he brought his game from an architecture with lots of central processing power, and dreadful graphics rendering speed (the PC). Doom was therefore a difficult port; as Jaguar presents both a very different programming model and a much more balanced system. I don't think many good games writers let compilers do the hard part - they increasingly let them do the easy bits, but I believe most developers still hand code the important stuff. Getting the best performance out of Jaguar is not simple - and programmers complain about it. But almost all of the developers I spoke to expect to get much better performance out of their second generation games, as they are now up the learning curve.  What about the Jaguar's hardware are you most proud of? The RISC processor design.  Can you elaborate, or would that give too much away? Well, without giving anything away, the performance worked out better than I had hoped for. A lot of the early design decisions turned out to be right in ways that may not have been clear at the time. There was no single moment of invention, they just slowly evolved into something that I am pleased with. Of course, it's not perfect.  You've already indicated that a custom-designed RISC processor would be better suited in a fast video game console than a processor taken "Off the shelf." Knowing Tom and Jerry as intimately as you do, can you offer us a general comparison between them, and the RISCs used by other consoles? (ARM-60, SH-2.) The ARM has a code size problem, as it uses 32-bit instruction words, compared to our 16 bits. It's quite an old design now, and it does not achieve the same performance we do at the same clock speed. The SH-2 I know less about, but it appears to be slower at multiplication, which is the key to 3D maths and audio synthesis. I know Sega changed both the 32X and Saturn from one to two SH-2s to get better performance. (The rumour is this happened after they saw Jaguar.)  Is there anything about Jaguar that you would change if you could hop into a time machine and go back? Well, I would of course have to fix all the bugs, and do it in half the time as there would be two of me!  How paternalistic are your feelings towards Jaguar? Do you see it as a design, or as something more? It's like a child which has grown up and left home. For three years it was ours alone; but at the Jaguar launch in New York I suddenly realised that it was no longer mine. It was quite a surprising feeling at the time, but now it's just a design. Now, all I see are the day-to-day problems - the production glitches, developers' problems and so on.  You feel that Jaguar is the most powerful "video game" machine on any market? In the U.S. today, certainly. World-wide, the Saturn and PlayStation are serious opposition. But in terms of entry price, Jaguar offers much more bang-per-buck than those machines.  How hard would it be to turn Jaguar into a full-fledged computer? Would such a task be feasible? It would be possible. There was a proposal within Atari before the Jaguar launch to do a computer version as well, although it never came to anything. If it looked like the market was going to go that way, then Jaguar would make a very nice computer system. It can drive a VGA monitor with the right software, and just needs a keyboard and a storage device. However, I think the PC has that market sewn up, and Atari has no plans to do a Jaguar computer.  Atari has announced plans for the Jag II in their 1993 financial statements. Do you have any input or information you can share concerning the development of this new platform? Will it be marketed as "Jaguar II"? Jaguar 2 is currently in development, and that is my main responsibility. I cannot discuss technical aspects of it, and I don't think anyone knows what to call it yet. I spoke to a lot of developers regarding where they saw the shortcomings of the current hardware. As a result of this, and our own experience, I set out with main design aims of better polygon performance, better texture map performance, better audio, and compatibility. You will have to wait and see how well we do with these aims.  Fair enough. We're waiting to see. Jaguar 2 aside, where do you see the video gaming industry going, in terms of hardware, in the next few years? It is a technology led industry, so you should look to SGI workstations, and state-of-the-art arcade machines, to see what will be console priced in a few years. It is interesting the way 3DO, Sony and Sega all think there is a market at $400. I believe that the real volume remains at a much lower price than that.  "The lower, the better." Right? <grin> Absolutely. I think if you look at Nintendo's public statements on the Ultra 64 (no CD drive, simple fast architecture), you will see they think the same. The really high sellers, the old Atari games consoles, the NES, SNES and Genesis are all around the hundred dollar mark.  Not a hardware question, but do you think that future video game consoles will rely on operating systems? No, not really. There may be some movement to standard libraries, but I believe that the best performance will always be had by going straight at the hardware.  Ever since the late 70's, video game hardware have followed, and sometimes led home computer hardware in terms of innovation and performance. CD-ROMs for storage, and parallel processors for computational ability are the current rage. While many companies are seeking to increase the amount of data that can be stored on CD-ROM, and others are working to develop faster processors, what do you see as the next leap in innovation in video gaming hardware? Realism and interactivity are what makes these machines exciting. Realism is what we pushed for in Jaguar, by allowing 3D games. I wonder if VR headsets will be the next leap....  Full color or monochromatic? I wonder as well. We will see. The Jaguar headset we are working on with Virtuality should be a lot of fun.  One final question; at the end of your day, how does it make you feel to know that there are so many people around the world who enjoy your design - both users, and developers? It's a good feeling. Having been in this industry for 14 years, this is the first product I have designed to make it into six figure volumes. (And here's hoping for eight figures! (Tens of millions for the non-mathematical.)) But as I said earlier, the baby has left home, and my work on it is over. I think more about Jaguars 2 and 3.  On behalf of my readers, I wish to thank you Mr. Mathieson, both for spending this time with us, and for all of the hard work you've put in on Jaguar. We wish you and your creations the best! --==--==--==--==-- ||| Computer systems as opponents in the game Civilization 1.0 ||| An extremely silly commentary by: Jeremy Reimer / | \ Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org ---------------------------------------------------------------- //// This text is Copyright 1994 by Jeremy Reimer, and may not be //// reprinted in whole or in part without the consent of the author. You would think that computers and their respective operating systems, software and versions of Wing Commander would be interesting enough that they could stand on their own, without comparison to all sorts of other things. Why then is it that people are -constantly- trying to compare their favourite beige box to a brand of car, or an airline or train service, television set, dining experience or vacation spot? It is quite obvious to those of us with more than two brain cells to rub together that such discussions are superficial and bogus. The only valid comparison that can be made is quite obviously that between computers and the artificial players in Sid Meier's Civilization, the best game that isn't Wing Commander that was ever made. (Emperor level, random world, 7 opponents, of course! Those of you who have scored over 300 percent without cheating on version 5, please stop lying to us.) Anyway, after a couple of drinks, it all becomes clear: the number of cities an enemy civilization posesses is equal to its marketshare. The amount of trade can compare to software support, and cash can indicate the financial stability of the company. The differing levels of computer technology (pre-emptive multitasking, document linking and embedding, grape-flavoured bananas) correlate rather nicely to the various levels of technology in Civilization in a rather elaborate and highly interesting manner which I cannot discuss as I have run out of space in this document. So without further ado, let's establish once and for all which computers compare to which civilizations, and then let a thousand flamewars bloom. //// The PC, running DOS and Windows - Americans Obviously the Americans. Expansionistic and arrogant, yet militarily weak, they have run over 70% of the planet. They are highly advanced in some technological levels but extremely low on others (especially things like literacy) Lowest levels of contentment of all the platforms, frequent unrest, riots and food shortages, but they keep forming new cities all the time (which any good Civ player knows is one sure-fire way of always keeping one step ahead of your competitors) Threatens to take over the entire planet but doesn't have the military power to do so. Microsoft maintains that the fully debugged, 32-bit starship to Alpha Centauri will be "included in the next version of Windows, due in six months". However they have been saying this for years now and have only just finished building the first power module. //// The PC, running OS/2 - Egyptians Due to a civil war between IBM and Microsoft, the PC empire split between Windows and OS/2 several years back. The Egyptians enjoy better standards of living and better, if monolithic and by some standards rather old fashioned, technology. Every once in a while one of the American cities will admire the prosperity of Thebes and defect, although there are still very few cities, military defenses are poor and trade almost non-existant. Microsoft says that Thebes is irrelevant and in any case they'd better not get any ideas as the Americans are (as usual) itching to run them over with cannons. //// The Macintosh - Russians The only civilization more arrogant than the Americans, Stalinist Russia owns most of the planet that the Americans don't, and are constantly waging wars and sending in diplomats to sabotage the enemy with lawsuits. In typical Russian fashion, they claim to have invented every technology before anyone else (remember Russia's claim that they invented baseball?) but most of them conveniently forget that ever since the suits came in and took over the company (Communist revolution) that the Macintosh's technological growth curve has been far behind everyone else, even the Americans. Their trade levels are far below the Americans but better than the Egyptians. Every time a new technology is discovered (e.g., PowerPC) they promptly announce to the world that now they have this new power they are about to destroy everyone else, but their defiant words are rarely backed up in the real world. Microsoft has just recently discovered a way to increase their trade and cashflow and also destroy the Russians from within: they have sent two diplomats carrying Excel 5.0 and Word 6.0 accelerated for Power Macintosh, the Trojan Horses of software. //// Unix - Mongolians Barbaric and arrogant, all they ever do is attack. They have no idea what trade is or how money works. Years ago in the days of chariots and catapults they had better technology than anyone on the planet, but failed to conquer more than a small, barren piece of land despite all predictions that they would take over everything. They have a few cities that are well-fortified and almost impervious to attack. They could have been a greater force if only their ranks weren't riddled with internal power conflicts. Still, they have a few good technologies that help them survive any attack. Microsoft continues to tell the world that the Mongolians are irrelevant, but fails to mention the fact that their diplomats have already stolen their best technological secrets for their own sordid uses. //// NeXTstep - French The greatest snobs in the world, they have the highest levels of technology on the entire planet but only own one city, and most people haven't even heard of them. Continue to be amazed that everyone in the entire world doesn't simply lay down their arms and join the French. They used to be the Germans (back in the days of black hardware) but then the Barbarians took over their city and they were reincarnated as the French, now running on Intel boxes. They keep trying to steal other cities by using diplomats (NeXTstep on HP, Suns, PowerPC, etc) but they never have enough money and nobody can ever decide which city they should try and buy out next. Their capital (Paris) is one of the most beautiful, advanced and elegant cities in the world, but it is just one city, and is rather poorly defended and has almost zero trade. Microsoft believes firmly that the French do not exist, and most of the rest of the world reluctantly agrees with them. //// Amiga - in limbo (sacked by Barbarians - used to be Babylonians) They are of course the Babylonians because all Amiga users ever do is talk about Babylon 5. They conveniently forget that just before Barbarians sacked Nineveh they were $200 million in debt and most of their key technologies had already been stolen by foreign diplomats, everyone had stopped trading with them and they were down to one city with a population of 1, and all their scientists had left. Nevertheless most Babylonians feel that any day now they will be reincarnated as the Zulus and go running all over the planet taking over everybody, forgetting of course that in the meantime the other civilizations have caught up and surpassed their once superior technologies. Of course as in Civilization, if they wait too much longer (after 1 AD) then there will be no hope of revival as another Civ. //// Atarians - non-existant (got bought out by Americans) They used to be the Greeks but had to sell all their cities for lack of money. //// Acorns - English (what else?) This civilization does nothing but sit on a tiny island and complain that nobody knows about them. Which is true to some extent. Unlike the historical English these English never had an empire, and have almost no trade and no military potential. Well that is definitely the last word on that! Stay tuned for an in-depth review of why computers are really like breakfast cereals, coming in some other lifetime. --==--==--==--==-- ||| From Golgotha to... Orlando ||| Interview By: Christian Svensson / | \ GEnie: EXPLORER.5 Internet: email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------------------- The darkness of the metallic halls seemingly encroach further (as if that were physically possible), and your feelings of claustrophobia increase. Engine hissing and the distant screaming of aliens fill the corridors, giving yourself and all others present goosebumps. Suddenly, you react to the surprise clawing attack of an Alien - its attack cry as it jumps out at you, making your heart skip as you let loose with both shotgun and invectives. To whom do we owe this genuinely Giegeresque experience? Why, the people on the Alien vs. Predator development team at Rebellion and Atari of course. One of the key members of this team was Andrew Whittaker, whom I have recently had the pleasure of spending some time on the phone with. Much has happened to Andrew professionally since work on AvP initially began. Andrew got into the computer field working as a member of the Grafgold development team at Hossent Computers, then moved to the USB software company, then on to Commodore Computers doing hardware development. Finally, he wound up at Rebellion. Andrew started at Rebellion as one of the two programmers for AvP and was responsible for all the artificial intelligence (which took six months alone to develop) and much of the 3D engine used in the game. During the course of the project, Andrew left Rebellion in order to join the ranks of Atari's in-house programming staff. In my conversation with Andrew, I learned several interesting tidbits that others might like to know about the development of AvP.  There can be over 3500 creatures in the game.  Before all of the objects and creatures were placed,the 3D engine was running at about 50-60 frames per second. Due to the tracking and AI of all of these creatures (not all at once mind you) the engine slowed down to its present pace. Andrew was willing to sacrifice speed for more realistic (and devious) AI.  Some people complained about the "cohabitation" of Aliens and Predators in the same room (or some other unbelievable combination). Well, Andrew had the AI so realistic, that in the Marine scenario, the Predators went around the levels killing most of the Aliens until they themselves were killed by the Marine - thus making that game considerably more easy.  The ever present delays were due to the changing development systems. Because they started development before the kits were finalized, Rebellion would receive a "revised" development system on almost a weekly basis. This forced them to backtrack and redo certain parts of their earlier code from time to time. A few short months after Andrew left to join Atari, Atari UK made the somewhat surprising decision that they would no longer perform development in-house, but instead would contract the work out to third party developers. While this decision may be a wise move for Atari, it left little reason for in-house programmers like Andrew to stay on there. //// Stalking One's Prey Andrew's next move was to post what would become a "career changing" (if not life changing) message to rec.games.video.atari asking if there were any Jag developers with programmer openings. With AvP as a huge success on the Jag, Andrew had numerous job and project offers. In the midst of all of these was a reply from Jon Taylor, an Orlando based computer engineer. Jon's career has taken him from Adventure International (creators of the "Scott Adams Graphics Adventure" series) eventually to Visionix Software (where he was doing low level device driver, graphics and sound development). Jon proposed a multinational development company, Springer Spaniel Software, a concept that Andrew found very appealing. The concept started moving towards reality in October 94 when Andrew and Jon began searching for members to fill out the ranks of the teams on both sides of the Atlantic. Only four weeks ago, a meeting was called in Orlando, Florida amongst 20 potential team members, Jon, and Andrew. It was from these 20 people, the English and American team members were selected. These people were artists, programmers, musicians, business personnel and other specialists. //// Going in for the Kill The business operations for Springer (distribution, legal operations, publishing, etc.) will be handled in England and New York (where they are in the process of setting up an office.) Meanwhile Andrew will be leading the development team which will be split between Orlando and England. The wonders of the Internet will allow the development teams to communicate and share information continuously. The development team's first project is what Andrew has defined as "a revolutionary, fantasy role-playing game" for the PC on CD ROM. It is slated to ship in the first quarter of 1996 and ports for the Atari Jaguar (Jon emphasized that he is a BIG Atari fan), Sony PSX and Sega Saturn are slated to follow in the second and third quarters of 96. Andrew has emphasized the importance of artificial intelligence, character interaction and superlative graphics. The projects name is presently "Artemis" but Jon and Andy wanted to emphasize that this titles shouldn't even be considered a working title yet. Right now, Andrew is leaning towards an orthogonal, overhead view RPG, but the gaming concept is still open to other (and multiple) interpretations. Furthermore, Andrew and Jon are negotiating with an unnamed fantasy author concerning the writing of a novella (which may or may not be part of a series) to bundle with the game, thereby developing the plot and description of the world in which it is set. In closing, Jon and Andrew wanted to express that development will be starting in earnest and with Andrew leading the development team, the future is looking rosy for their first project. --==--==--==--==-- ||| Jaguar Tackboard ||| Confirmed information about Atari's Jaguar / | \ Compiled from online and official sources ---------------------------------------------------------------- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Independent Association of Jaguar Developers =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The IAJD (Independent Association of Jaguar Developers) has started accepting members on GEnie. The IAJD is a private group where confidential discussions can be freely held. (Category 64 of the ST RoundTable is the IAJD meeting place.) Consequently, membership in the IAJD is limited to Jaguar developers who are registered with Atari Corp. To apply for membership, send EMail to ENTRY$ on GEnie (or <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you're not on GEnie). Regular EMail correspondence with the IAJD should be sent to IAJD$ (again, or <email@example.com> if you're not on GEnie). =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Internet Jaguar Mailing List =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Anyone with Internet EMail access can join the discussions on the Jaguar mailing list. To "subscribe" to the list, send an EMail to the following address: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Leave the subject line blank. In the body of the EMail, include this line: subscribe jaguar-l FirstName LastName (Where "FirstName" is your first name and "LastName" is your last name.) To send mail to be read on the Jaguar list, address your letter to: <email@example.com>. It will go to the list server and be sent to the over 250 readers of the list. IMPORTANT: If your mail server charges you by the character or by the letter, please be aware that the Jaguar list can generate dozens, and up to a hundred EMails in a day. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Jaguar FAQ =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Robert Jung <firstname.lastname@example.org> maintains the Jaguar FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file, an updated list of Jaguar specs and facts. The Jaguar FAQ is posted to rec.games.video.atari on Usenet around the first of every month, and can also be found via FTP, address: ftp.netcom.com, in Andy Eddy's /pub/vidgames/faqs directory. E=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// AEO Development List 2.01 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Editor: The following list of game titles has been confirmed to the best of AEO's ability as of January 13, 1995. Entries in the "S"tatus column reflect any "e"rrors, "u"pdates, "n"ew titles, or "?"uestionable listings since the last AEO list. Entries in the "M"edia column reflect whether the title is "C"D-ROM or "H"ardware. (Blank entries are assumed to be cartridge software.) ETA dates are dates that have been provided by the developer. AMMV. I have updated the basic format of the list since the Version 1.xx series. Version 2.xx of the AEO Development List has titles divided into three categories. First are titles in development, listed alphabetically, followed by unnamed titles, with currently released titles comprising the third section. I hope you will find this to be an easier to use list. //// Titles in Development S M Title ETA Company Publisher """ """"" """ """"""" """"""""" AirCars Q1/95 MidNite MidNite Arena Football League Q1/95 V Real Productions V Real n C Artemis Mid96 Springer Spaniel Springer C BIOS Fear - All Systems Go n C Baldy Q2/95 Atari Atari n Batman Forever Q3/95 Atari Atari ? C BattleChess ? Interplay C Battlemorph Q1/95 Attention to Detail Atari Battlesphere Q2/95 4Play Battlewheels 1995 Beyond Games Beyond Games C Blue Lightning Q1/95 Attention to Detail Atari C Brett Hull Hockey Q2/95 Atari Burn Out Q2/95 Virtual Xperience Atari Cannon Fodder PRODU Virgin Interactive C. West u Casino Royale 4/95 Telegames Telegames H Cat Box PRODU Black Cat Design n C CD League Bowling Q2/95 V-Real Productions Center Court Tennis ? Zeppelin Games C Chaos Agenda - Atari Atari Charles Barkley Basketball Q2/95 Atari Commando ? Microids n Conan ? u C Creature Shock Q2/95 Argonaut Software Virgin 'Dactyl Joust Q1/95 High Voltage Atari Defender 2000 H2/95 LlamaSoft Atari C Demolition Man Q1/95 Virgin Interactive Atari Dino Dudes 2 ? Imagitec Design Atari Double Dragon V Q1/95 Williams Enter. Williams C Dragon's Lair Q1/95 ReadySoft ReadySoft Droppings ? Delta Music Systems Dungeon Depths ? MidNite ? Evidence ? Microids F1 Racer - Domark Group Ltd. u Fight For Life Q1/95 Atari Atari Flashback 2/95 Tiertex Ltd. U.S. Gold C Freelancer 2120 - Imagitec Design Atari Galactic Gladiators ? Photosurrealism ? Gunship 2000 ? Microprose Hammerhead Q2/95 Rebellion Software Atari u Hardball 3 7/95 Atari Atari C Highlander Q1/95 Atari Atari C Highlander II - Atari Atari C Highlander III - Atari Atari u Horrorscope Q2/95 V-Real Productions u C Hosenose and Booger ? All Systems Go Hover Hunter Q2/95 Hyper Image Hyper Image Hover Strike Q1/95 Atari Atari Hyper Force - Visual Impact Indiana Jags - Virtual Xperience u International Sensible Soccer 2/95 Williams Brothers Telegames C Jack Nicholas Cyber Golf Q2/95 Hand Made Software Atari n James Pond 3 Q2/95 Telegames ? Kick Off 3 ? Anco Software Ltd. Legions of the Undead Q2/95 Rebellion Software Atari ? Lester the Unlikely ? DTMC C Lobo 1995 Ocean Software Ltd. Mad Dog McCree ? American Laser Games ? Mountain Sports ? DTMC H MPEG - Atari Atari Nanoterror ? Delta Music Systems Nerves of Steel ? Rainmaker Software ? C Neurodancer ? PIXIS Interactive n Phear Q1/95 H2O Design Corp. Atari Pinball Fantasies 2/95 21st Century C-West n Pitfall II: The Mayan Adventure 12/95 Activision u Power Drive Rally 5/95 Rage Software Time-Warner n Powerslide 1995 Telegames u C Primal Rage Q4/95 Time-Warner Rainbow Warrior ? 3D Games u RayMan 6/95 UBI Soft UBI Soft C Redemption Q2/95 Atari Atari C Return to Zork ? Activision Rise of the Robots - Time-Warner u C Robinson's Requiem H2/95 Silmarils Atari Ruiner Q2/95 High Voltage Atari u Soccer Kid Q1/95 Krisalis Software Ocean n C Soul Star Q2/95 Atari C Space Ace Q2/95 ReadySoft ReadySoft u Space War 2000 Q2/95 Atari Super Off-Road ? Telegames u Supercross 3D 6/95 Atari Syndicate Q1/95 Bullfrog Ocean n C Thea Realm Fighters Q3/95 High Voltage Atari Theme Park Q1/95 Bullfrog Ocean Tiny Toons Adventures Q2/95 Atari u Troy Aikman NFL Football 2/95 Telegames Williams Ultimate Brain Games 3/95 Telegames Ultra Vortex 1/95 Beyond Games Beyond Games ? Valus Force ? JVC u C Varuna's Forces 4/95 Accent Media n C Vid Grid Q1/95 Atari Atari H Video Jukebox ? All Systems Go Virtual Warriors ? Rainmaker Software n Virtuoso 1995 Telegames Waterworld - Ocean Software Ltd. White Men Can't Jump Q1/95 High Voltage Trimark n Wild Cup Soccer 1995 Telegames u World Class Cricket 4/95 Telegames ? World Cup ? Anco Software Ltd. Zzyorxx II - Virtual Xperience //// Unnamed Titles in Development S M Title ETA Company Publisher """ """"" """ """"""" """"""""" H Jaguar / PC card ? Sigma Designs Sigma 3D shooter ? iThink Football - Atari H IR controller station - All Systems Go Miniature Golf ? DTMC RPG ? Level 7 Software Racing - Gremlin Graphics Soccer - UBI Soft UBI Soft n Wayne Gretzky Hockey title Q4/95 Time-Warner Time-Warner //// Current Releases AEO M Title Rated Company Publisher " """"" """"""" """"""" """"""""" Alien vs. Predator 9 Rebellion Atari Brutal Sports Football 7 Millenium/Teque Telegames Bubsy 6 Imagitec Design Atari Checkered Flag 5 Rebellion Atari Club Drive 7 Atari Atari Cybermorph 7 Attention to Detail Atari Doom 9 id Software Atari Dragon 7 Virgin Interactive Atari Evolution Dino-Dudes 6 Imagitec Design Atari Iron Soldier 10 Eclipse Atari Kasumi Ninja 8 Hand Made Software Atari Raiden 6 Imagitec Design Atari Tempest 2000 10 LlamaSoft Atari Trevor McFur...Crescent Galaxy 3 Atari Atari Wolfenstein 3D 8 id Software Atari Val d'Isere Skiing... 5 Virtual Studio Atari Zool 2 7 Gremlin Graphics Atari Pts Stars AEO Ratings """ """"" """"""""""" 10 ***** GAMING NIRVANA!!! - You have left reality behind... for good. 9 ****+ Unbelieveable GAME!! - Your family notices you're often absent. 8 **** Fantastic Game!! - You can't get enough playtime in on this. 7 ***+ Great Game! - Something to show off to friends or 3DOers. 6 *** Good game - You find yourself playing this from time to time. 5 **+ Ho-hum - If there's nothing else to do, you play this. 4 ** Waste of time - Better to play this than play in traffic. 3 *+ Sucks - Playing in traffic sounds like more fun. 2 * Sucks Badly - You'd rather face an IRS audit than play this. 1 + Forget it - ... but you can't; it's so badly done, it haunts you. 0 - Burn it - Disallow programmer from ever writing games again. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Atari & Jaguar-related Press Releases =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Jag Snags Big Titles for 1995 Coming attractions for Atari Jaguar SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Jan. 6, 1995 - Batman Forever, Thea Realm Fighters and Primal Rage top the list of coming attractions for the 64-bit Atari Jaguar Interactive Multimedia system in 1995. "The focus at Atari for 1995 is great software and lots of it," said Sam Tramiel, CEO of Atari Corporation. "We are working with over 200 developers to bring a wide variety of new games to the 64-bit Atari Jaguar in 1995. The powerful Jaguar technology can handle popular arcade games like Primal Rage or provide the speed and graphics necessary for brand new games like Batman Forever and Thea Realm Fighters." Batman Forever, based on the much-anticipated Warner Bros. movie scheduled for release this summer, pits the caped crusader and his sidekick Robin against Gotham City villains Two-Face and the Riddler. The Atari Jaguar Batman Forever game will incorporate the movie's characters and feature the films newly-designed costumes and high-tech equipment. Market research demonstrates that over 90% of the U.S. population is familiar with the Batman character, so there will be wide appeal for the game. Batman Forever is scheduled for delivery to stores late in the 3rd quarter. Thea Realm Fighters combines the latest digital motion capture technology and nationally known martial arts fighters, including several used for both Mortal Kombat games, to create a super-realistic fighting game. Among the well-known martial artists used for the game are:  Ho Sung Pak, who played Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat I & II, is a member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame and winner of the Grand Slam of Martial Arts in 1991, and served as technical advisor for choreography.  Phillip Ahn, MD, is a 4th degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Dr. Ahn played Shang Tsung in Mortal Kombat II.  Katalin Zamiar played Kitana, Mileena and Jade in Mortal Kombat II. Katalin is a black belt in Okinawan style Karate.  Daniel Pesina, who played Johnny Cage and the ninjas in Mortal Kombat I & II, is a nationally ranked martial artist in forms and weapons. There are a total of 25-plus characters to compete against in Thea Realm Fighters, including twelve main characters and twelve other special characters. The characters can compete in four different modes and with more than 30 different backgrounds, creating a wide variety of combat situations and scenarios. The release of Thea Realm Fighters is planned for the 3rd quarter. Primal Rage pits seven different prehistoric creatures - each with its own unique fighting style - against each other in a battle for world domination. This one or two player game was a huge hit in the video arcade market last year. Time Warner Interactive plans to ship a compact disc version of Primal Rage in the 4th quarter. Atari Corporation markets interactive multimedia entertainment systems, including Jaguar, the world's first and only 64-bit game system, and the only video game system manufactured in the United States. Atari is headquartered at 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, California 94089. ### CONTACT: Atari Corporation Ron Beltramo 408/745-8852 Edelman Public Relations David Harrah 415/968-4033 //// Jaguar Sports Titles Sports titles coming from Atari SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Jan. 6, 1995 - Baseball for 1995 may be uncertain and the National Hockey League still is not playing, but there will be sports galore on the 64-bit Atari Jaguar this spring and summer. Atari Corporation today announced that a number of new sports titles will be released in the first half of 1995. "We're going for the gold with sports-oriented games at Atari this year," said Sam Tramiel, CEO of Atari Corporation. "Atari Jaguar owners will play hockey with Brett Hull, golf with Jack Nicklaus, basketball with Charles Barkley and all the baseball they want." Sports games currently under development include: Charles Barkley-Shut Up and Jam takes an in-your-face, over-the-top approach to America's favorite indoor sport. Players will encounter some of the baddest b-ball players on the streets as they try to rule the game's 2 on 2 streetball tournament. Charles Barkley-Shut Up and Jam is expected by the end of the second quarter. Brett Hull Hockey features super-realistic, digitized graphics and a real-time 3-D hockey rink. Available on CD, Brett Hull Hockey will provide the most realistic hockey video game simulation ever. Look for Brett Hull Hockey to arrive in stores by the end of June. Hardball Baseball will provide a graphically and statistically true-to-life simulation of real baseball. Players will have the added option of customizing teams and scheduling themselves for one game, a playoff series or an entire season. Special software builds players' statistics as games are played making Hardball Baseball even more realistic. Atari plans to ship Hardball Baseball before the 1995 All-Star game, if there is one this year. Jack Nicklaus Cyber Golf, a CD title, is a photo-realistic golf game for the Jaguar that utilizes over 9,000 images of Murfield Village Golf Course. This course is the first that Jack Nicklaus created and is the site of the annual Memorial Tournament. Well-known sports presenter David Livingston acts as a virtual commentator to teach the first-time player how to play the game or provide comments and suggestions for the more experienced players. Up to a foursome can play Jack Nicklaus Cyber Golf, and the CD is expected to ship late this spring. Additional sport titles scheduled for the first half of 1995 include Troy Aikman NFL Football (Williams Entertainment), White Men Can't Jump (TriMark), CD League Bowling (V Real) and Sensible Soccer (Telegames). Atari Corporation markets interactive multimedia entertainment systems, including Jaguar, the world's first and only 64-bit game system, and the only video game system manufactured in the United States. Atari is headquartered at 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, California 94089. ### CONTACT: Atari Corporation Ron Beltramo 408/745-8852 Edelman Public Relations David Harrah 415/968-4033 //// Upcoming Jaguar Peripherals Atari to expand Jaguar peripherals SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Jan. 6, 1995 - New peripherals in 1995 are a key part of the system expansion plans for the 64-bit Jaguar Interactive Multimedia system, Atari Corporation today announced. "Since Jaguar has already made the leap to 64-bit technology, we can focus on providing even more value to consumers by expanding the system with new and innovative peripherals," said Sam Tramiel, CEO of Atari Corporation. "By the end of the year, players will link multiple systems, play each other over the phone and venture into new virtual reality environments with their Jaguar systems." Networking Jaguar systems through use of the Jag Link cable enables the playing of network compatible Jaguar games on different systems up to 100 feet away from each other. The Jag Link cable system can support at least two simultaneous game players at once, depending on the software. The system uses standard RJ11 phone line cable to link two Jaguar interactive game systems and implements reliable differential pair technology. The Jag Link cable is expected to be available for sale in the second quarter of 1995 at a suggested retail price of $29.99. The Jaguar Voice/Data Communicator allows players to link to each other over the phone. The new technology, developed with Phylon Communications, Inc., leaders in the fax/modem/voice technology field, not only permits two players to play against each other using the phone connection, but to speak with each other by using a headset. By utilizing a "call waiting" feature, users can also pause a game to answer a phone call. The Jaguar Voice/Data Communicator comes complete with a stereo headset and is expected to be available by the third quarter 1995 at a suggested retail price of less than $150. Also planned for 1995 delivery is Atari's virtual reality headset, now under development with Virtuality Group plc, the leader in virtual reality technology and arcade games. The two companies officially joined forces in October to create the world's first immersive virtual reality games for the home market. The virtual reality headset should be available to consumers by Christmas 1995 with a targeted price of less than $200. Atari Corporation markets interactive multimedia entertainment systems, including Jaguar, the world's first and only 64-bit game system, and the only video game system manufactured in the United States. Atari is headquartered at 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, California 94089. ### CONTACT: Atari Corporation Ron Beltramo 408/745-8852 Edelman Public Relations David Harrah 415/968-4033 //// Jag CD to Debut at $149.99 Atari debuts CD player for Jaguar at $149.99 SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Jan. 6, 1995 - Prepare to shift your Jaguar into overdrive. Atari Corporation Friday announced that its new compact disc multimedia peripheral will be available in the first quarter, priced at an amazingly affordable $149.99, including a CD game. The CD player, which plugs into the top of the 64-bit Atari Jaguar Interactive Multimedia System, plays CD-based Jaguar video games and standard audio compact discs. The Jaguar CD player provides 790 megabytes of raw data storage to allow for the incorporation of many complex digitized images, full-motion video sequences and loads of CD-quality audio soundtracks into Jaguar games. The powerful double speed Jaguar CD player incorporates incredibly fast access speed for smoother game play and its massive data capacity provides better graphical detail, expanded plot lines and more characters, which all add up to more immersive and challenging games. The first titles available for the Jaguar CD player include: Battlemorph, Blue Lightning, Highlander, Demolition Man and Creature Shock, with many more to come. Atari's new CD Multimedia player includes the Virtual Light Machine (VLM), which creates and displays light patterns on the video screen in response to music played through the system. The result is a stunning light show. There are 81 different pattern settings available on the VLM. The VLM is built into the Jaguar CD Multimedia player. "We want the Atari Jaguar to be the best value in the gaming market, as well as, the most advanced system technologically," said Sam Tramiel, CEO of Atari Corporation. "With the new Jaguar CD Multimedia player, Jaguar owners will be able to play incredible CD-based videogames, listen to audio discs and watch the VLM. This combination of the most advanced technology, great software and affordable pricing is what sets Jaguar apart from the competition." Atari Corporation markets interactive multimedia entertainment systems, including Jaguar, the world's first and only 64-bit game system, and the only video game system manufactured in the United States. Atari is headquartered at 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, Calif. 94089. ### CONTACT: Atari Corporation Ron Beltramo 408/745-8852 Edelman Public Relations David Harrah 415/968-4033 //// 1995 Jaguar titles Atari announces winning line-up of Jaguar titles for first half of 1995 SUNNYVALE, Calif. - Jan. 6, 1995 - By this summer, fans of the first and only 64-bit game system in the world will have more than 50 games to choose from, including dozens of brand new Jaguar game titles. "Alien vs. Predator, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Kasumi Ninja, Iron Soldier and Tempest 2000 were the top-rated Jaguar titles for 1994," said Sam Tramiel, president and CEO of Atari Corporation. "In the first half of 1995, we expect many hit titles, including Fight for Life, Space War 2000, Hover Strike, Ultra Vortex and Rayman. These and other titles will substantially increase the Jaguar library." Below are descriptions of these upcoming hits: Fight for Life: This 3-D fighting game, produced and published by Atari, is set in hell, with each character striving for the ultimate prize: the chance to gain redemption and live again. Players choose one fighter from among eight different characters. They then battle the remaining characters one-by-one and proceed to the final showdown with the end boss. As they defeat each opponent, players can select up to two of each character's five special moves, in effect creating their own truly unique fighting character. (Do the math: The possibilities are endless.) To create 3-D animation of unsurpassed fluidity and realism, the production team used state-of-the-art motion capture technology that incorporated the movements of live martial arts experts performing nearly 200 different moves. Artists then exploited the Jaguar's 64-bit system to create stunning 3-D graphics that bring the characters to life. According to Edge Magazine (December 1994), "The skyline background looks impressive and the moves are well-animated." "Atari's Fight for Life puts a floating camera around the 3-D fighting. Jaguar owners will soon have a 3-D fighting game to call their own," remarked a reviewer at GamePro (January 1995). Space War 2000: In their intergalactic jousts, space knights vie for old-fashioned glory, honor, fame and fortune. As they emerge victorious from each battle, they procure such weapons as laser shots, missiles, shields and cloaking devices. This first-person perspective 3-D adventure, produced by Atari, is fun for single players and spectacular as a two-player game. "First-person gaming is reaching a new high, and Space War 2000 is positioning to be a contender in that wild and crowded race," stated a reviewer at EGM2 (January 1995). Hover Strike: The mission: To lead the rebels in an attempt to vanquish the formidable Space Pirates from the planet. The weapon: A high speed hover tank armed with rapid fire cannons, powerful missiles, on board radar and protective shields. This game, published by Atari, uses the Jaguar's 64-bit technology to deliver an action-packed, fully texture-mapped, first-person perspective 3-D battle. Ken Williams of Electronic Gaming Monthly says, "The first-person perspective serves this game well, adding a new dimension to the genre." Ultra Vortex: In this game, produced by Beyond Games, players test their fighting skills in a nether world tournament. They can choose among eight valiant fighters from different dimensions before the final battle with the evil entity. Amazing sounds and graphics inspired a game reviewer from Electronic Gaming Monthly to write, "Ultra Vortex will make some people stop and turn their heads." Rayman: Ten-year old Jimmy creates a stunning imaginary kingdom called "Hereitscool" in his computer and transforms himself into Rayman, a fantasy hero who combats the forces of evil to save his friends. Here's what DieHard GameFan had to say about this winning title from UBI Soft: "Absolutely brilliant looking. The control is perfect and the artwork is phenomenal." Atari Corporation markets interactive multimedia entertainment systems, including Jaguar, the world's first and only 64-bit system, and the only video game system manufactured in the United States. Atari is headquartered at 1196 Borregas Avenue, Sunnyvale, California 94089. ### CONTACT: Atari Corporation Ron Beltramo 408/745-8852 Edelman Public Relations David Harrah 415/968-4033 //// Springer Software Formed January 5, 1995 Visionix (USA) and Mr. Andrew Whittaker (UK) have announced the immediate creation of a new joint-venture company, Springer Spaniel Software (SpringerSoft). SpringerSoft has already started the design and development of a revolutionary new video game, under the project-name "Artemis, which will be released for IBM and compatible PC systems in the first quarter of 1996. Versions of the game for the Atari Jaguar, Sony PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and other high-performance, CD-ROM systems are tentatively planned for second and third quarters of 1996. Andrew Whittaker will be leading the development of the new game. Mr. Whittaker is a UK based game developer with over 15 years of experience. Recently released games developed by Mr. Whittaker include the smash-hit "Alien Vs. Predator" for the Atari Jaguar, a game which has been rated as "Most wanted of the 1994 holiday sales season" by both US and UK video game publications. Mr. Whittaker's other recent releases include "Dark Seed" and "Ashes of Empire". Visionix is a US based software development house that specializes in video game, multimedia, graphics imaging, and operating system design and development. Visionix employees previously worked on the best-selling "Scott Adams Graphics Adventure" series for Adventure International/Scott Adams, Inc. Carol Street, the Vice-President of Production at Springer Spaniel, commented that "SpringerSoft has been formed to take advantage of the skills of both UK and US based graphics, sound, design, and development specialties. Our games will be distributed worldwide, including the domestic, European, Asian, Australian and South African markets." SpringerSoft will have offices in Orlando, FL, USA; the United Kingdom; and New York, NY, USA. For further information, please contact Jon R. Taylor at (407)-648-0364 (USA) or via email to email@example.com Springer Spaniel Software 1240 Golfview Street Orlando, FL USA 32804 email: firstname.lastname@example.org =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Battle Sphere Description =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 1/13/95 Text Copyright (c) 1994, 1995 4Play. All Rights Reserved. 800 years in the future, the 7 dominant races of the galaxy are at war. Stealing a plot idea from an ancient Star Trek episode, they have agreed to confine their hostilities to Sector 51, a spherical sector of space formerly used by the Earth government to secretly test new weapons and starships. Each race has sent its best soldiers and military hardware to participate in a tournament of space battles in this Battle Sphere. The race that wins the tournament will be given control of the galaxy. //// The Races The Oppressors resemble the human race's concept of demons and it is believed that Earth legends of demons were caused by the arrival of an Oppressor strike force that was somehow destroyed soon after it reached the planet. They once controlled 80% of the known galaxy but have been slowly losing their hold as they encounter one disaster after another. The Oppressors will do anything to regain their former hold on the galaxy. The Se'Bab were an all-female slave race of the Oppressors until the sudden arrival of the Telchines 50 years ago weakened their hold leading to a brutal rebellion and double blow to the Oppressors which destroyed half of their empire. The Se'Bab were bred for beauty and obedience. This has translated into extreme xenophobia towards all other races and extremely aggressive, almost suicidal battle tactics. The Se'Bab bare one breast at all times in defiance of male power. The Telchines appeared 50 years ago and are presumed to originate from a neighboring galaxy. Their advanced craft brutally vaporized a section of the Oppressor's empire which indirectly triggered the rebellion that freed the Se'Bab from their Oppressor masters. The Telchines do everything in threes and are obsessed with the 5 Platonic solids. Their ships have threefold symmetry. No one has ever seen a Telchine and lived. They appear to be transforming space around their Empire. The Slith are lizard-like beings whose ships seem to be alive. They also have the greatest repair capacity of any race. Never leave one of their ships for dead, it isn't. They are rumored to devour their prisoners after interrogation. Their capitol ships resemble giant writhing snakes and lizards, and can reproduce if sufficient resources are supplied. Their weapons are tailored to achieving the paralysis and capture of other ships for this purpose rather than simply destroying them. The Smg'Heed are the last surviving descendants of the human race, mostly wiped out by a scourge of retroviruses and accumulated debt from placing their entire GPP into developing absurdly powerful weapons. As a result, their ships are based on modified 20th century technology, have lousy maneuverability, but do incredible damage if they manage to hit anything. Watch out for their self-destruct systems! The other races decided to include them in the tournament mostly on the fear that they'd activate one of their many budget-busting Doomsday Devices had they not done so. The Ocatanut are a feline race that follow the Slith wherever they go. An uneasy alliance exists between them, but it has been suspended for the sake of the tournament. There is the general belief that there will be some form of power-sharing between them if either race wins the tournament. The Ocatanut focus on stealth and speed to overcome their enemies. Frequently, they will then share their kills with the Slith. The Thunderbirds are the sworn enemies of the Ocatanut and the Slith. They are hawklike predators who blend speed and firepower in their ships. They are fixated on coup-like behavior and they tend to make a great show of any kill, making sure their victim knows who it was who has beaten them. It is believed that the Se'Bab and the Thunderbirds have been sharing technology. //// Gameplay Battle Sphere is everything we (Doug Engel and Scott Le Grand) have wished for in space battle games, but haven't seen since the industry seems intent on continually cloning Wing Commander in one form or another. We personally cut our teeth on Star Raiders and consider it to be the best Space Battle game ever done. (TIE Fighter is our favorite Wing Commander clone that fixes the problems with Wing Commander.) Accordingly, Battle Sphere has the play mechanics of Star Raiders with 16 bit colors, and graphics along the lines of TIE Fighter. There are 4 play modes: 1. Arena: 1-8 player Street Fighter II in Space. Players select any ship they desire and head into a variety of arenas where the object is to kill every other player (or every other player on the opposing team) for points which can be utilized to improve the functionality of their ships. The resulting ship can be saved for future use. This is also similar to a space-based version of Sega's Wing Wars I suppose. 2. Gauntlet: Single player or multiplayer cooperative 3D Missile Command. The players are given 6 starbases to defend against waves of incoming enemy fighters, bombers, capitol ships and strange things until all starbases are destroyed. Periodically, a destroyed starbase will be replaced. 3. Alone Against the Empires: A single or multiplayer cooperative game similar to Star Raiders. The Battle Sphere is broken up into 64 or so spherical sectors. Some of those sectors, close to the center, contain starbases. The outer sectors contain armadas of enemy ships, enemy starbases, and random strange things (all depending on the skill level). Play proceeds as the enemy ships head for the center of the Battle Sphere in order to destroy the starbases. Enemy reinforcements will arrive at the edge of the Battle Sphere as long as there are enemy starbases. Play continues until 1) All friendly starbases have been destroyed (you lose) or 2) All enemy forces have been eliminated (you win). 4. Network: 2-8 player Netrek meets TIE Fighter. Two alien races at a time are placed in the Battle Sphere with a number of starbases and capitol ships. The object of the game is to destroy all of enemy capitol ships and starbases before an adjustable time limit runs out. Failing this, the team that caused the most damage against its enemy wins. This proceeds until all alien races have fought in the Battle Sphere and the winning race is granted control of the galaxy. //// Miscellaneous Current framerate is 25-30 fps although we can get it down to 1 fps if we stack 10 massive starbases on top of one another and get up close and personal, gee we must suck, eh? Anyone who played our demo at the WCES will testify that we're pretty smooth, even better than TIE Fighter on a 486 at this point. It is important to note that our polygon engine is not running at full capacity yet. We have intentionally left certain optimizations (like reduced detail models) out at this point so that and speed decreases caused by adding A.I. and such can be gained back with these techniques. Besides, we're probably just really too lazy to do it right, huh? All of our ships are gouraud shaded, many don't even look like polygon models. Texture mapping is being used sparingly to provide detail on top of the gouraud shading, a technique we're calling "Decal- Mapping(tm)". Look for more and more of it as the game progresses. Anyone who complains because it's not fully texture-mapped has incredibly bad taste. See who can count the most homages to other computer games and SF movies and series.... The winner is a total nerd, worse than we are probably.... The one thing we absolutely despise about Wing Commander is the huge cockpits with the cute joystick which leaves an absolutely tiny viewing area. Our cockpit designs are minimal and we are placing most tactical information in HUDs. This way, if one turns off the cockpit view, no important information is lost. At least they finally fixed this in WC3! Progress Report: All background engines are finished, as is the flight engine, we are currently working on explosions to top Iron Soldier's. Projected release is 2Q '95. The long haul continues. //// 4Play Douglas Engel: Networking code, Sound and music engine, cool intro, artwork, ship design, game design, sound effects. Tom Harker: All that annoying CEO business dude stuff, the CatBox, game critic. Scott Le Grand: Graphics and game programming, polygon engine, game design, sound effects. Stephanie Wukovitz: Music, game critic. Acknowledgments: This game was not designed in a vacuum. Many people have provided hints and ideas as well as denounced certain of our ideas as plain stupid. Here's an incomplete list, sure to grow: Ralph Barbagiallo: For fixing an absolutely horrible-sounding MOD. Jer Horwitz: For not being afraid to speak his mind about our ideas. Allen C. Huffman: The GOD of Cool Samples. Tim Wilson: The man behind our configurable radar scheme. Various competitive system fanatics: Keep it up, your stuff's hilarious! After all, we all know that the JAG SUX! Star Raiders, Doom, TIE Fighter, and Iron Soldier: Our 4 strongest inspirational computer games =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// New Cheats and Codes =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Iron Soldier: All Levels and Weapons  On the "Options" screen, press "3" "7" "6" "6" "8" "2" "4" and "2" in sequence. Once you enter in the key sequence, you can then go to "Load Game" and all levels and waepons will be selectable. //// Iron Soldier: INSANE Difficulty  On the "Options" screen, press "6" "8" "4" and "2" in sequence to enable a new difficulty level named "INSANE". (It is.) Once you enter in the key sequence, the screen border will flash for a moment and until you reset the Iron Soldier cart's memory (not your Jaguar), you may then pick INSANE level whenever you desire. //// Bubsy Level Codes Level Passcode 2 392652 3 458227 4 958936 5 739294 6 184792 7 812615 8 781367 9 126712 10 236721 11 673167 12 792323 13 672328 14 782389 15 672345 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Offers from Atari Customer Service =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Iron Soldier Posters Atari Corporation will soon be taking delivery of a cinema-quality Iron Soldier promotional poster. For those who don't know about Iron Soldier, the phenomenal new 64-bit Jaguar game due to arrive in stores as early as this week, you are in for possibly the most incredible game of 1994. As the pilot of a mammoth robot, you have been assigned one of many challenging missions... sometimes to protect and often to destroy. Look down at your feet as you walk, but not too long, there are virtually real helicopters, tanks and convoys out to get you within the crowded cities and open countryside. Mr. Greg LaBrec was so highly praised for his work on the Alien Vs. Predator Poster that he has been inspired to produce an awesome poster for Iron Soldier. The poster looks just like a poster you would see at a theater and is intended for retail store windows and promotions. If you want one of these great Iron Soldier posters, I'll send you one FREE if you prepay Atari's minimum shipping and handling charge of $4.95. That covers the tube, postage and the raw costs to get it out the door. All you have to do is request your copy at any time beginning right now through January 2nd. The more you onliners want the more I'll go crazy trying to catch up when I get back from vacation! Here's how to request an Iron Soldier poster (or an Alien Vs. Predator poster)... Send $4.95 ($6.95 U.S. funds for Canada) in the EXACT amount. Payment may be received in Money order, check, MasterCard or Visa. Please remember to include mailing name and address, online address and daytime phone number. REQUESTS BY EMAIL with CREDIT CARD: email@example.com -or- firstname.lastname@example.org REQUESTS BY BBS with CREDIT CARD: private SysOp mail on CATscan @ 209/239-1552 REQUESTS BY FAX with CREDIT CARD: 408/745-2088 REQUESTS BY MAIL: (checks payable to Atari) Drive Don Crazy Iron Soldier Poster Sellout P.O. Box 61657 Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1657 (offer good while quantities last and limited to North American mailing addresses only.) Note that the posters will be delivered to Atari one per tube. I cannot double up posters. Everyone can request as many tubes they like at $4.95 S&H per tube, but please do not request for more than one per mailing tube. Don't forget these other items too..... Tempest 2000: The Soundtrack 12 outstanding tracks from the hit video game. The cost is $12.99 plus $3.50 shipping and handling. (The shipping and handling is reduced from Atari's normal $4.95 for a limited time.) That's a total of $16.49 ($17.56 in California) ($18.49 in Canada). Software Preview VHS Video It features over 30 professional video captures PLUS Atari's recent television commercials. The price is $8.95 plus $4.95 S&H or a total of $13.90 ($14.64 in California) ($15.90 in Canada). Alien Vs. Predator posters There is one FREE for each shipping and handling fee of $4.95 ($6.95 in Canada). You can help a LOT by passing this offer electronically to another Forum, Roundtable or BBS or make a hard copy and give to friends. Thanks! //// Tempest 2000 Audio CD The Tempest 2000 Audio CD is due in at Atari Corp. very soon! Sixty minutes of pulse-pounding techno-rave music, this marks Atari's first ever video game soundtrack. To help get everyone in the holiday mood, Don Thomas at Atari Customer Service has another special online offer. Send in your pre-order now, and Don will guarantee you'll get your copy out of the first run. What the heck, you'll even save on shipping.  Song List 1. Thermal Resolution 3:59 2. Mind's Eye 4:52 3. T2K 5:23 4. Ease Yourself 7:52 5. Tracking Depth 5:04 6. Constructive Demolition 4:05 7. Future Tense 5:54 8. Digital Terror 5:07 9. Hyper Prism 4:26 10. Glide Control 5:12 11. Ultra Yak 4:00 12. 2000 Dub 7:31  How Much? The Tempest 2000 Audio CD is priced at $12.99, and if you order now, $3.50 for shipping and handling. (California residents, add the 8.25% state sales tax.) That comes to a total of $16.49. ($17.56 in CA.) Mastercard, Visa and money orders accepted. (Checks and money orders should be made payable to Atari Corporation) Note: This is a special pre-order! The CDs are not in, but are expected to arrive within two weeks. Please allow 14 days from the receipt of your order before shipping. Note #2: If you don't mind waiting an extra day or so for your CD to go out the door, ask Don really nicely if he can get John Skrutch and/or James Grunke to personally autograph your CD.  Where To? To order, US Mail your order to: Thomas' Terrific Tempest Tunes Deal Atari Corporation P.O. Box 61657 Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1657 OR contact Don via the Internet on GEnie at: email@example.com OR via the Internet on Compuserve at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR via private E-Mail (to the SysOp) on: CATscan BBS ........ 209-239-1552 OR fax your request to: Atari Customer Service Fax ..... 408-745-2088 The CD is produced by AtariMusic; a division of Atari Corporation. The executive producer is Mr. John Skruch. The director of audio is Mr. James Grunke. //// New Dealer Demo Video Atari has a brand new VHS preview tape and it's better than ever! Over 30 Jaguar titles have been captured on video tape and just in time for the Holidays. This tape has been meticulously produced under the direction of Mr. Greg LaBrec using state-of-the-art direct-to-tape equipment and techniques. The action sequences selected were provided by the game producers or the guidance of the third party developers. Okay, okay... forget the hype... it's a darn cool tape and it has a cool plastic box and label too. This new edition updates the previously released software preview videos with exciting captures to show off last minute changes to games that are now in production. There are incredible sequences featuring action games such as Iron Soldier and high-resolution fantasy games such as Rayman by ubi Soft. Although this tape has been developed primarily for the use of Jaguar retailers, I have twisted marketings arm and they (actually he) has finally allowed me to sell copies to our faithful online Jaguar fans. I told him how everyone wants to see what has been taking so long. I mentioned that gamers want a good preview of things they are being asked to spend $50 to $70 on. I assured him people want an update of what has been going on in the past few months since CES. Now he's convinced and I have to sell more than three tapes fast or he'll never believe me again. <g> Want more info? Here's the video menu... Approx. Tape Pos. SEGMENT AVAIL. IN STORES =========================================================== :20 TEACHER SPOT :49 Doom EARLY DECEMBER 2:34 Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story LATE NOVEMBER 4:00 Checkered Flag EARLY DECEMBER 5:45 Iron Soldier MID DECEMBER 7:42 Zool 2 LATE DECEMBER 8:57 Kasumi Ninja LATE DECEMBER 10:25 Club Drive LATE NOVEMBER 11:56 ALIEN VS. PREDATOR SPOT 12:27 Alien Vs. Predator AVAILABLE NOW 15:34 Ultra Vortex (Beyond Games) DECEMBER 17:06 Val D'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding EARLY DECEMBER 18:49 Bubsy LATE DECEMBER 20:05 Double Dragon V (Williams) DECEMBER 21:30 Flashback (US Gold) DECEMBER 22:49 Brutal Sports Football (Telegames) DECEMBER 23:50 Sensible Soccer (Telegames) 25:03 TEMPEST 2000 SPOT 25:34 Tempest 2000 AVAILABLE NOW 26:58 Wolfenstein 3d AVAILABLE NOW 28:06 Cybermorph AVAILABLE NOW 29:20 Raiden AVAILABLE NOW 30:32 Evolution: Dino Dudes AVAILABLE NOW 31:35 Trevor McFur in the Crescent Galaxy AVAILABLE NOW 32:50 Syndicate (Ocean) DECEMBER 33:47 Theme Park (Ocean) DECEMBER 34:35 Air Cars (Midnight) DECEMBER 35:39 Troy Aikman NFL Football (Williams) DECEMBER 36:34 Cannon Fodder (Virgin) DECEMBER 37:43 Dragon's Lair (Readysoft) 38:31 Hover Strike 39:20 Fight For Life 40:00 Burn Out 40:43 Rayman (ubi Soft) DECEMBER 41:52 VLM (Virtual Light Machine) DECEMBER Okay, okay... here's the deal. The cost is $8.95 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. That's a total of $13.90 ($14.64 in California) ($15.90 in Canada). Mastercard, Visa and money orders accepted (Checks and money orders should be made payable to Atari Corporation. NOT IN MY NAME! <g>. I can ship to any location in North America including U.S. and Canada. To order, send your order to: Atari Corporation P.O. Box 61657 Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1657 OR contact me via Internet or on GEnie: email@example.com OR contact me via Internet or on Compuserve: firstname.lastname@example.org OR send me private E-Mail (to the SysOp) on: CATscan BBS ........ 209-239-1552 or fax your request to: Atari Customer Service Fax ..... 408-745-2088 Because Atari has a committment to fulfill dealer orders first, please allow up to 14 business days after your order is received before we ship. Shipping will be via UPS Ground to all North American addresses. Personally, I'm going to have my tape signed by Greg LaBrec. If you want him to sign your copy, let me know and I'll see if I can catch him in a good mood for you! <g> I also have Alien Vs. Predator posters remaining. There is one for each shipping and handling fee of $4.95 ($6.95 in Canada). These are cinema-size posters and I've already heard back from gamers who have had theirs laminated, mounted and framed. By the way, you can help a LOT even if you don't want to order the tape or request a poster by passing this offer electronically to another Forum, Roundtable or BBS or make a hard copy and give to friends. Thanks! --Don Thomas Atari Corporation --==--==--==--==-- ||| Surfing the Jagged Edge ||| By: Dimitri Mark LaBarge / | \ GEnie: AEO.6 CIS: 71501,3353 AOL: dimitril ----------------------------------------------------------------- Well, it's been a little while and a total computer disaster since my last column, so it's a hearty welcome back for the Atariphiles out there. We're just coming out of an interesting holiday season, with units selling well and morale good at Atari HQ. Also helping to relieve post-holiday hangovers was Atari's huge WCES display, with over 40 kiosks displaying a variety of new titles, some of which we'll discuss just ahead. Atari was noted for having some a terrific turnout of third-party developers actually present to discuss their wares, much more pleasant that seemed to shroud other displays (most noticeably, the aptly-named Fortress Sega). To top things off, Atari won Innovation awards for both AvP and Iron Soldier. But enough of that, let's dive into the cat tidbits. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// WCES Rumors and Perspectives =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Well, by far the most impressive information mentioned to the browsing, interested WCES-goers was the mention of an imminent Jaguar core system - a standard unit, but with no enclosed game... for the groundbreaking price of $199! This is indeed a magical number - suddenly the 64-bit powerhouse in in direct competition with the swiftly dilapidating units from our friends at Sega and Nintendo, and only slightly more pricey than the vaunted 32X add-on. This pricing strategy has a number of advantages: First, the possibilities for networked play are tremendous. Say you want to buy a second Jag for networking Doom, or AirCars, or UltraVortex, but you don't want that extra copy of Cybermorph... that problem is solved with just a core unit. Another advantage is if you're primarily interested in JagCD games. Suddenly, you have a $199 core unit, and at $149, an astonishingly priced CD-ROM add-on (which, it was confirmed at WCES, will have have an unspecified pack-in besides Jeff Minter's amazing built-in Virtual Light Machine). Do the Math - even without discounts, you've got a full CD-ROM unit with a game for $350. This kind of news should be a tonic for the Jaguar.... [Editor: Atari have received lots of feedback from retailers, resellers and distributors at WCES on this topic, and I understand that the bean-counters in Sunnyvale have been told to, "Burn the midnight oil" on this.] =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Online Atari WCES Reports =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= AEO didn't have anyone present at WCES as a reporter, although Bob Brodie did keep Travis up to date with late night calls and FedEx packages. AEO was able to get permission from two video game dealers to reprint excepts from their online WCES reports however. //// Joe Catedula, Tronix Multimedia & CIS VIDGAMES SysOp Atari had a pretty large setup - with Jaguar systems everywhere you turned. On a large screen, the sleek CD attachment was showing off the built in VLM (Virtual Light Machine). I finally got to see a very close-to-finished version of Rayman (if not finished already). The game is stunning, especially with an RPG display. It was nice to see other segments of the game, as opposed to the usual jungle shots we've all been seeing in mags and videos for the last 6 months. Blue Lightning for Jaguar CD is really shaping up, and the 3D routine looks much better than it did at previous showings. A new company was showing a very impressive 3D space combat game called HOVER HUNTER - with stunning landscapes (like Comanche on the PC), and very smooth action. HOVER HUNTER will support up to 8 players with the CATBOX (come on - get this gizmo out already!). Getting back to Jaguar CD for a moment, a new game (from out of the blue) called VARUNA'S FORCES was going through various stages of its demo (work in progress). This looks like a 3D, FMV style shooter with awesome graphics (something like NovaStorm). Other Jaguar carts that were showing were: PHEAR; a 3D abstract puzzle game, F1-RACER; a very decent racing game with GOOD CONTROL, Pinball Fantasies; looks like all other versions with a tad more color, SPACEWAR 2000C; a one/two player space shooter with nicely bit-mapped ships, RAGE RALLY; a sharp-looking, top-down racing game, HOVERSTRIKE, a 3D tank game (originally planned as Battlezone 2000 I believe), BURNOUT; an ultra-smooth, high-speed motorcycle racing game for one/two players (split screen), FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE; Atari's answer to Virtua Fighters - though still early in production, and a fighting game in the style of Streets of Rage/Golden Axe tentatively called Conan or something like that. I spoke with one of the Tramiels about the release of the Jaguar CD, and he said quote "When enough CD games are available, we'll release it - although we could have released it just so folks can fiddle with the excellent VLM". Speaking of the VLM, it is really hypnotic. I own both a 3DO and Jaguar, and I do like the visuals for audio CD playback on the Jaguar (hey, whatever Jeff Minter does is gold in my book). I also saw a lengthy demo (well, as far as you can take it) of BATTLE SPHERE which looks like an interesting multi-player (or single) space shooter. The objects are detailed and smooth - I believe using textured polygons. Whatever it was - they had almost rounded corners, instead of rough triangles. Battle Sphere is yet another game that will support the Catbox. Moving on to ULTRA VORTEX, I must say - it's still a bit rough here and there- but I truly like it much better than Kasumi Ninja (although I didn't mind Kasumi). The sound is a lot better (especially the sadistic announcer), and the characters are more interesting. Ultra Vortex grabbed the most attention out of all the other Jaguar games in the booth. //// Marty Chinn, from Video Source. While most companies had stayed in the same area, Atari had moved to a bigger location, in the main building along with Nintendo and Sega. They also had a mediocre showing. Fight For Life wasn't that impressive. In fact as far as polygons went it didn't look to have too many more than FX Fighter. However it was smooth and fast in execution. I didn't get a chance to play it but will check it out tomorrow. The Jaguar CD is expected to be out in late February/early March for a retail of 149.99. They expect 5 titles to be out at the release with over 10 by the end of the year. There will be a pack in though. The first five titles are expected to be Blue Lightning, Battlemoprh. Highlander, Demolition Man, and Creature Shock. Virtual Light Machine will be built in. Other periphials have been announced in the press kit. Jag Link cable will allow you to link games up to a 100 feet of each other. It's expected to be released second quarter of 95 at a retail price of 29.99. The voice modem allows you to talk to your friend while playing the game, but will also allow you to pause the game and use call waiting if you get a call in the middle of the game. Its expected to be out by fall of 95 for less than 150. Virtuality Group and Atari are still working on the VR headset due out by Christmas for under 200. Rayman was quite fun. It was awkard in controlling at first but should easily be a hit for the Jaguar. Unfortunately there will be a 32X release at the same time of the Jaguar release. Air Cars looked to be the worse game made for the Jaguar. Battle Sphere looked very impressive. The shading on the polygon based ships were beautiful. It moved nice and smooth and in many ways reminded me of a well done Wing Commander type game. Hover Hunter by Hyper Image is looking great. They currently have it at 13 fps and it moves really smooth. The whole landscape is textured mapped with real time shading and when completed it will have all the realistic phsyics of real life. That looked to be one of the better games of the show for the Jaguar. Varuna's Force was very early and all that was shown was FMV but the video was excellent and the actor was one of the best actors that I've seen in a game. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// A Hot Game Hovers Near =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Shown for the first time at WCES was a astonishing new game called Hover Hunter, and it's said to be utterly stunning. While details of this game are still a bit sketchy, this one has already become the Iron Soldier of the show because of the amazing, ultra-realistic Comanche-like landscapes. For those of you who are into Comanche: Maximum Overkill's beautiful Voxel Space landscapes, you know you're in for a treat - for those of you not so lucky to know what I'm talking about, you will be in for a more than pleasant treat. The Jaguar seems to be building a repertoire of independent, brilliant programmers to create games like Tempest 2000, Iron Soldier, and now this wonder. Any system would be lucky to have just one of these assets. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// An Eclipsed Future =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Well, our German friends at Eclipse took the time to leave us a Christmas treat on the Net - the announcement that not only is Iron Soldier 2 for next Christmas, but we can look forward to several other undisclosed titles from them as well. I'm happy to report that these developers are extremely committed to the Jag, which adds a continuing note of optimism to the ever-expanding Jag library. To sate the curiosity of some of you who might be wondering exactly how long it takes to produce a hot game for the Jag, here are some statistics straight from Eclipse: Some info about Iron Soldier: frame-rate: 25 frames (PAL-Jaguars), 30 frames (NTSC-Jaguars) megabits: 16 megabits (2 MB) musics: 12 megabits (1,5 MB) compressed down to 4 megabits (0,5 MB!!) months to develop Iron Soldier: 10 [went to] production: 31.10.1994 (2 weeks later than planned by Atari) =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// The Jag Gains an Accent =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= One of the more interesting showings at WCES was the debut of a new game called Varuna's Forces, described by some as similar to Novastorm. The terrific guys from Accent, who are developing the game, have been kind enough to lend us some preliminary details of the game: A little about our game. It is an action/strategy game where you command a team of 4 soldiers on various missions. You can control them from a commanders map screen or "jump into" each character AvP style when they need help. All of that is supported by FMV movies and CD quality dialogue. Look for more info on this CD game, which is due for completion in March, in a future column - as well as an inside look at these new developers. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Atari's New Pad =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Joypad, that is. Yes, in response to our numerous requests for an additional controller, Atari is now soliciting suggestions for a brand new controller unit. Laury Scott at Atari has mentioned that they are currently leaning towards a 6-button controller, somewhat similar to the one available from Sega. (An interesting technical note is that the additional 3 buttons may simply come from the 1-2-3 on the keypad, for as much compatibility with current games as possible.) However, no decisions on the unit have been made. But thanks to Atari for being responsive on this issue of importance to a lot of users. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Battlesphere Under Construction =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Well, thanks to our friends at development house 4-Play, Atariphiles on GEnie have had an almost unprecedented opportunity to interact and influence directly the development of a Jaguar video game. As a companion to the lengthy description of Battlesphere provided by Doug Engel (found elsewhere in this issue), we thought we'd take you a little bit into the creative process behind this ambitious game. The perspectives start right after AEO uploads 4-Plays Targa screenshots and BattleSphere has a very good WCES showing... A couple of people had commented about the minimalist designs of the cockpits, versus what will eventually be in the Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) of the various ships. Scott LeGrand (Oppressor) explains the design intentions: There will be more info in the cockpits: some idiot lights and indicators in the cockpit proper and a HUD for everything else... In addition, the targeting indicator around the designated target will have a small shield strength bar under it... We are going for maximal viewing area. I H A T E Wing Commander's cockpits... Doug Engel (Thunderbird) added: And the gunsights will be 'aimable' by a 'gunner' on controller #2! Also commented on were the beautiful new starfields, designed to give that cinematic quality you only get from big budget space epics. If you're looking at the static TARGAS you're missing this thing in motion. If you're recalling what you saw at ToadFest, forget it! Scott re-wrote the starfield renderer and it's got stars galore. With the framerate increase of pure RISC, it's really hot. Noted especially were some of the startling background objects, perhaps the best ever seen in this type of game. Doug Engel: The ones we have in there currently are hand-painted by yours truly and then reduced in size to their game dimensions and anti-aliased. I think they look hot. Some of the nebulas I am especially proud of because they look just like photos of real galaxies/nebulas. The ringed planet is also cool. One particularly interesting area of debate came up when a WCES-goer made this unique suggestion: ...someone at WCES suggested that we should make our stars 'twinkle'. The scientific reasons for why stars only twinkle' inside an atmosphere were quickly pointed out. Yet, that didn't deter the participants of that discussion, and options were thrown about for a way to accomodate this effect. Everything from a user-configurable keypad combination to turn on a twinkle effect to very thick shields were suggested; in the end, though, it looked as if that option wouldn't be included. But this discussion led to interesting comments on the finite resources of any gaming system: Unfortunately, as I described earlier, most of the 'neato' effects people are suggesting are simply not possible due to the fact that there's a finite amount of power in any system. There are also hardware limitations to worry about too. While we'd love to look exactly like Babylon 5, we have to live with what's physically possible to do. Rest assured, we will have creative effects for these things. Just don't go expecting the results to mimic Star Trek or anything. One person I talked to wanted me to make the shields look like the shield effect in the movie Dune, later used by the Borg... where the shield appears as a glass-like barrier. If we could do it, we would... but those effects were generated by sophisticated image rendering programs on powerful computers over the course of hours/days. No way to do that stuff in real-time. Don't worry.. we WILL have cool effects. Just not the ones _everyone_ wants us to do because they saw it in a movie/etc. However, Doug Engel pointed out that other highly sophisticated effects such as texture-mapping will indeed be present in the game, although it wasn't seen much at WCES: Like I said before... some of our objects are competely Texture-Mapped. I just didn't have time to fly around looking for specific objects at the time. We were prepping for WCES, it was late-late at night, and I needed to put together some screens to hand out at WCES... For what it's worth, that night while I was doing that, Scott was in L.A. linking in the decal maps for the remaining races. Some ships (the Telchines) in particular came out utterly awesome. Once the squadron insignias are in place, our ships will look insanely cool... far superior to any Texture-Mapped game. You guys _do_ realize that certain popular arcade car race games use gouraud shading and phong shading to achieve that metallic effect and then have the detail mapped over it... (sound familiar). To finish this continuing discussion, a reflective note on exactly what makes 4-Play unique and why they hope it will make their games something unique: There's a _lot_ of aesthetic considerations to bear in mind when writing a game engine. A lot of planning and 'art' must go into the design of a game engine. That's why the programmer must be in touch with the artists and/or must be an artist himself. That's why Scott and I work so well together. I know art and I know code. I understand what the limitations of the hardware/software and know how to exploit the hardware to make my art look it's best, and create effects that are original. Scott knows code and has many years experience with 3D engines. We communicate daily, and we are both striving for perfection. We experiment and go back-and-forth with our discoveries and how to exploit them to be original. Remember... we come from the days when you _had_ to do something nobody else thought of in order to make your game look 'cool'. Atari 800 games are what we cut our teeth on. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// And Next Time =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= More Jag info, more on games, more on the JagCD. And a special welcome to new VP of Software Development, Jon Correll, whom we expect some very good things from. That's the dish for this ish! --==--==--==--==-- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- --==--==-- CompuServe Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- -- -- -- To sign up for CompuServe service, call (voice call) (800) 848-8199. -- -- Ask for operator #198. You will be sent a $15.00 value CIS membership -- -- kit for free. -- -- -- -- --==--==-- CompuServe Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- --==--==--==--==-- ||| Cuppa with the Dooz ||| By: Darren Bates / | \ Internet: email@example.com ---------------------------------------------------------------- Hi there all you Atari freaks in the US of A. My name's Dooz and I will be attempting to keep you lot updated on what Atari is up to here in the UK. Like many of you out there, I got my Jaguar on day one and I have been carefully scrutinizing each and every game that has been released so far, (my favorite being Iron Soldier obviously). Let me tell you now, Atari is VERY busy with an army of British programming teams, trying to bring you the best games for your Jag. Teams such as Rebellion (AvP, Legions of the Undead, Hammerhead), Bullfrog (Syndicate, Theme Park), Sensible Software (Cannon Fodder, Sensible Soccer) and up to 100 other groups are beavering away with the Jag games of the future. One of the most prolific companies over here that deals with Atari is one we have probably all heard of, TELEGAMES. These people are the ones that brought us the enjoyable and violent Brutal Sports Football. Not only do they produce their own games, they are one of the biggest Atari publishers as well. Telegames have no less than EIGHT games in the pipeline that they are making or publishing, so lets have a look at what they are.....  Number One is Sensible Soccer - International Edition. A full view of this will follow later on so go and have a look there. This is a Feb 95 release.  Number Two is for all you budding strategists out there - Ultimate Brain games. Now don't get put off yet, not only does this cart include versions of Chess, Backgammon and Checkers, it does them in style too. I have only seen the chess part of the game and can tell you it surprised me! The programmers have come up with a beautiful 3D chess game with thousands of colours and wonderfully detailed chess pieces. Not only that but the game will have plenty of functional sound FX and even a multi-level chess game to tax your brain that little bit more. Also, the two player option makes this one a bit more interesting than its title. Look for this in March 95.  Number three is Casino Royale, anyone who has seen the Star Trek - TNG episode titled "The Royale" will know what this game is about. Gambling galore with games such as Roulette, Bridge, Poker and Blackjack all with impressive presentation and 24-bit backgrounds and tables, (sounds boring though doesn't it?). I'm afraid Data, Worf and Riker are not in it either. This will appear in April 95.  Game number four is another not-too-impressive title - World Class Cricket. This action packed title (not!) will have plenty of options, slick presentation, save and replay modes so you can see your favorite six-hit over and over. The game may have some neat graphical touches such as zooming camera angles that pan round the pitch and follow the ball. This is another April release. For some odd reason, an American, Travis, has expressed interest in this game.  Now this is more like it! Number five is Wild Cup Soccer. The pseudo-sequel to Brutal Sports Football. Anyone who liked BSF will LOVE this one. In my opinion it is greatly improved over its predecessor, the side view of BSF has been replaced by a FIFA soccer-type view which gives the game a bit more depth. The scrolling has been improved tenfold and is now smooth as a baby's bottom. The game is pretty much the same as before though, forget about the goals and just kill everyone instead, ace! Teams of eleven players will compete to win, anyway they can. Winning means money and money means more weapons and more weapons means more carnage! Yet again, the two player game is the best and will keep you maiming for hours.  Games six and seven are rumored to be possible JagCD candidates. Powerslide and Virtuoso are two totally different games which can make good use of the memory capacity of the CD. Powerslide is a realistic off-road driving game where you can drive wherever you want, as fast as you want, and as reckless as you want, as long as you get to the finish before the other chaps. This is also being done for the 3DslOw so it will be interesting to see how the two versions will compare. Virtuoso is a Doom-type shoot-em-up with a difference. The view is from behind your character who is a well-hard heavy metal dude with a shotgun. The game has fully rendered enemies and nice texture mapped corridors and overall is an eye pleasing game. The character you control has the added bonus of being able to put his back against the wall to avoid oncoming fire and shoot while hiding!  Last but not least is James Pond III - Operation Starfish. If you have just seen Zool 2 you will have some idea of what this game is like. Bright colors, great music and the kiddies will love it. I don't. Sure it will be improved over the Genesis version and it will have redesigned levels, but I want a bit more than this. That's all from Telegames for now, fifty percent of their games may be worth a look, especially Virtuoso. Thanks to Telegames for all the info for this article. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Rumour City =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Ok, it's time for gossip time. It has been suggested that a new Jaguar specific mag is about to hit the UK. "Jaguar Advanced Gaming" started off as a free supplement on our local GamesWorld magazine. The small supplement was very successful and has caused the makers to think of producing a full-blown mag, (when a few more games are around). How about that? A JAG-MAG! Also it has been rumored that Atari UK is planning a special bundle which consists of 2 Jaguars, 2 Doom carts and a link up lead. Excellent! This bundle is likely to sell for around 400 UK pounds (approximately 615 dollars), but if it was to officially come to the US as well it would probably sell for about 500 dollars. This is a big move by Atari and is quite welcome as it gives us the option to not get Cybermorph! =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Dooz' Views =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Sensible Soccer Sensible Soccer will be Sensible Software's second title on the Jag after the excellent blast, Cannon Fodder. Ok, so you look at and say, "Is this a Jag game?" Do not worry, this game is more than just meets the eye, it has that all-important ingredient we Brits call Gameplay. This has been widely praised as the best soccer game ever, and the Jag version is just as good. Here we have over 50 international teams to choose from, stats and names for each individual player, kit design mode to create you own personal team, seasonal weather, and the all-important replay mode which captures your best goals so you can watch them over and over, (and rub your mate's nose in it as well!). The two player game is great as always, and it is most satisfying being able to curve the ball from outside the box, around two defenders and into the net. Admittedly, it is difficult to curve the ball with the Jaguar's pad, but with practice you'll get used to it, and the simplistic graphics are not what you expect from a 64-bit game. However, it is ultra smooth, fast, furious and the screaming and cheering crowds make it more than worthwhile. Overall ----- 83% ----- A superbly playable game but has not got that Jaguar wow factor. //// Zool 2 Gremlin Graphics are highly thought of over here in the UK. Creators of classics such as Supercars and Lotus Turbo Challenge, Zool was a departure from their driving games in an attempt to dominate the Amiga platform sector. This Jaguar version is improved over the computer and 16-bit versions. The colors are crisper and even more colorful, the scrolling is very smooth and the music is some of the best heard on the Jaguar so far. I have to emphasize the music as it is the best part of the game, ranging from sweet boppin' tunes to all out rave, it remains consistently excellent and makes this game acceptable rather that mediocre. The game itself is a bit below par though, its the normal run and jump affair, (although it is faster than a blue hedgehog on steroids), and the colors are a bit hard on the eye after a while. The word psychedelic comes to mind as the graphics are just a bit too hectic for my liking. The kids will probably love it. The game is very difficult later on as well, while your moving and jumping around so fast its hard to keep your eyes on all the enemies hidden amongst all those colors. I must admit I was reaching for the "off" button on many occasions. Overall ----- 75% ----- Great sounds, mediocre gameplay and basically just not good enough. Ok, that's all from the UK for now, see ya next time! About the Author """""""""""""""" My name's Darren, better known as Dooz (don't ask, my brothers called me it for years). I am a 22 year old Atari fan and have been for many years, and have decided to follow the progress of the Jaguar since its release in 1993. The release of this marvelous piece of hardware had me intrigued from day one so I had to get one. AEO Magazine have given me the opportunity to exploit my interest in Atari and have some fun in doing so, besides, it's nice to have some recognition in the States! I like to keep up to date on the games scene which is why I buy just about every games mag under the sun, (works out quite expensive actually considering I get 12 different mags per month) and I also enjoy the discussions and arguments we have on the Internet. I am also a keen martial artist (Tae-kwon-do red belt) and am an avid Next Generation Trekkie. I hope to be able to keep you Atari fans happy by updating you on the latest Europe Jag info, wish me luck! --==--==--==--==-- ||| Iron Soldier ||| By: Chuck Klimushyn / | \ GEnie: L.FULGENZI CIS: 74064,1466 ---------------------------------------------------------------- "...Cybermorph is one heck of an engrossing pack-in and a great preview of things to come for Atari's new gaming console. Looking at the game as it runs on my television I can't help but sense the ending of the 16-bit era for home video games is near. Let's wish Atari well in making the Next Level of gaming theirs." It was almost exactly a year ago that I wrote this to close my strategy guide on Cybermorph for AEO. As we begin 1995, Atari's Jaguar has passed it's one year anniversary, the 16-bit era is still ending, and the Jag has entered into its second year of release. Traditionally, this has always been an important landmark with a video-game system. The programers are assumed to have gained enough familiarity with the new hardware to present competent titles that accurately represent what the system is capable of doing. Games that were a bit rough around the edges are forgivable with a console's first wave of titles. Similar efforts are judged harshly if they continue to appear in a unit's second year of release. In many ways Iron Soldier is the second wave successor to the Jaguar's first title, Cybermorph. (Perhaps even more than Cybermorph's scheduled sequel, Battlemorph.) Battlemorph is a CD based title and the increased storage capacity makes comparisons to the original cart game difficult. It's time to see if Iron Soldier stands up to the expectations required of a next wave Cybermorph successor. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Nuts and Bolts =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Iron Soldier takes place in the future, adopting a familiar Cyberpunk theme where Industry has conquered government in the form of the Iron Fist Corporation (IFC). IFC has turned into a typically oppressive totalitarian regime and has bred the usual rag-time resistance to challenge them. That's where you come in. The innovatively named Resistance has managed to steal the prototype of a new weapon, the Iron Soldier: a 42 foot robot that makes tanks of today look like soap-box derby race cars. You're elected to pilot the Iron Soldier (IS) through 16 varied and progressively difficult missions culminating in a strike at the very heart of IFC's territories. //// Missions and Game Play There are three difficulty settings: easy, medium, and hard. I didn't notice much difference between easy and medium, but hard was a definite step up in the frustration level. Enemies appear to do more damage and are tougher to kill. Choppers and light tanks I often ignored in the lower two settings. I was seeking these same units out and stomping with a vengeance at the highest level of difficulty. Pillboxes for which I previously wouldn't bother to switch from a medium range gatling gun were now treated to long ranged attacks from my rail cannon or rockets. This feature along with the varied mission should provide excellent replay value. The game presents the missions in 4 blocks of 4 missions each. You can save after completing a block in the first 3 groups and thankfully after every mission in the last block. Within the first 3 blocks you have the freedom to complete the missions in any order. This is noteworthy since some tasks are much easier to complete after gaining a new weapon available in the latter missions of the block. In the last set of missions you are fully armed and must complete the scenarios sequentially. The missions are extremely wide ranging. They vary from from simple search-and-destroy tasks, to hunting enemy IS's, attacking fortresses, escorting truck convoys, territory protection, and more. During these missions a wide assortment of IFC's armed forces will be thrown at you. You'll have to cope with attacks from the ground, air, and even from sea! To deal with these attacks you'll gain progressively stronger weapons obtained through the various scenarios. You'll demolish buildings to find extra ammo and packages to repair your war machine. You'll develop and try different strategies to meet a mission's objectives. I found several missions that were my favorites and I replayed them numerous times to find the most efficient ways to victory. My all-time favorite was "Best Defense." It takes place at night. You must guard a research building from attack by land and airborne forces while dodging units hell-bent on your destruction. The night time battle visuals and accompanying music were captivating! //// Armament One of Cybermorph's strength was the wide variety of weapons at your disposal. This allowed you to match your own talents and preferences with the weapons to meet the task at hand in many different ways. Iron Soldier expands in this worthy tradition with a much wider range of offensive and defensive capabilities. Your IS contains 2 shoulder mounts for weapons, 2 waist mounts, plus one hand held mount. Some weapons may only be mounted at a particular area, such as on the shoulders. Into these mounts you will eventually be able to choose from the following items: a. Standard Manipulator - essentially your fist that packs the punch of brass-knuckles of the first magnitude. b. Cassy Assault Rife - Your first projectile weapon. It's a 75 mm semiautomatic hand held rifle. Remember your pistol in DOOM? It's about as effective.... c. Parker Chain Cutter - Another hand held item. One big buzz-saw that's much better than your fist for demolishing buildings and indispensable for up-close-and-personal fighting with an enemy IS. d. Badger Hand Grenades - Short ranged, oil drum sized grenades that provide the game's biggest bang, but aiming them takes serious practice. Try shooting for the first click on your radar scope. They mount at the waist. e. Rachels Gatling Gun - A six-barrel 40mm gatling gun that will make short work of light tanks, helos, and pillboxes at up to medium range. Your standard "active" weapon. Can be mounted on hips or shoulders. f. Wolfpack Rocket Launcher - Less of a punch than grenades but much easier to aim and a far longer range. A must for taking out heavy tanks quickly. Shoulder or hip mounted. g. Charlotte Rail Cannon - Now we're talking... a 120 mm armor piercing shoulder mounted gun. Slow firing, but the quickest way to stop the A-10 clones and smashing things from a distance. Pretty good for wrecking an enemy IS too. h. Slate Heavy Shield - Shoulder mounted device that halves incoming damage when active. Not a bad choice in latter missions when the air attacks get really nasty, but taking it means one less weapon can be carried. i. Sable Cruise Missile - The best eye-candy in the game. You get to fly one of these shoulder mounted babies in a stunning chase-plane view around the battle field till you hit something or you run out of fuel. The problem is, they're only as strong as a grenade and reloads are scarce. Still, skillful use in the game's last scenario can take away some of that mission's pain. j. Radar Screen - More of a game feature than a weapons item, but still a very important part of your defense. Enemies are tracked 360 degrees around you. Air units are red, land based nasties are yellow, and enemy IS units are blue. Missiles, grenades, and bombs are white. The screen is extremely helpful with dodging bombing runs by the attack planes and missile salvos from an enemy IS. Picking the right weapons to complete each mission is one of the most appealing aspects of the game. Are you expecting to engage in long range or close-in fighting? Are you sharp enough with the gatling gun to skip taking along the heavy slate shielding for extra defense? Grenades or rockets, how's your aim? Heck, take both! Iron Soldier goes beyond Cybermorph in allowing flexibility in selection and deployment of your armament. Perfect, and in complete accord of what's expected of a second generation title! My only disappointment was the inability to mount weapons on both hands, which is standard with most other mech-type simulations. Instead, the handheld weapons requires the use of both mechanical arms to operate. //// Opposition All these wonderful toys that go boom would be for naught if there weren't interesting and challenging things to shoot at. Iron Soldier does not disappoint. It has a wide variety of enemies, each with different strengths and weaknesses. Each has its own pattern of attempting to make your life miserable. There are two forms of tanks, light and heavy. Light tanks are pesky little things that are tempting to ignore, but will inflict a surprisingly high amount of damage if they draw an extended bead on you. Luckily, you can stomp 'em like ants <g>. Heavy tanks are much nastier. They pack a strong punch, are fast in tracking you, and are too large to be stomped. Heavy tanks require a steady steam of rockets to dispatch. Air borne attacks come in three varieties of "G's". A "Glaive" helicopter that is as tempting to ignore as a light tank. The "Greave" V.T.O.L. is far more worthy of your attention. If these jump jets get close they'll circle around your head, just beyond your gun sight and quickly drop a large quantity of very damaging bombs. The "Gantlet" Attack Plane is an A-10 clone bent on your destruction with even more bombs than the V.T.O.L.s. It's very thick skinned and requires extended gatling gun bursts to take out. Luckily, a single well placed shot from a rail cannon will send it to earth in a spectacular shower of pieces. There are two pillboxes: one armed with two missiles - "Javelin" Rocket Launcher, and another with fixed heavy machine guns - "Heaume" Gun Turret. Each will do a steady stream of damage if not dealt with. They're best destroyed at long range with rockets or the rail cannon. "Behemoth" Frigates are one of the surprise bonuses in the game. They're actually large ships that you have to contend with on several missions. Armed with cannons and rockets, it's risky to get too close. To make matters worst, they can speedily put to sea, out of range of many of your weapons. Not a good thing when your mission objectives call for their destruction. Enemy Iron Soldiers complete the roster of opponents. They progress in toughness through the missions. They can target you at long range with unlimited cannons or rockets. At close range their fists can inflict heavy damage on you. Grenades, rockets, and cruise missiles help you for distance attacks. At close range, it becomes a riotous rock-'em- sock-'em-robots affair as you dodge in with your fist or chainsaw to inflict damage and dance out of range before the enemy IS can respond in kind! The AI of these enemies is one of Iron Soldier's real strengths. Target a light tank for stomping and it starts running for the hills. Draw a bead on a helo and it'll climb and bank trying to get above the range of your gunsight. The V.T.O.L.'s will cagily circle around your head, just temptingly away from your gunsight, while they pound your IS into spare parts. The enemy ISes are the only disappointing loafers in the bunch. At long range they have an inexplicable habit of walking away from you after drawing devastating aim on your IS. At close range they are thrown into confusion, walking in random directions trying to gain distance to use ranged weapons, and responding far too slowly with their punch against close range attacks of your fist or chainsaw. Iron Soldier easily surpasses Cybermorph in the quality of its opponents. They are far more complex in design and movement patterns than those in Cybermorph. The helos and attack planes give the appearance of startlingly realistic flight, all at a frame that is silky smooth. The quality screams of a true next generation title, and meets the expectations of the "64-bit" promise of the Jaguar. I would have liked to see more combat with enemy IS units, but I'm nit-picking. //// Control At first control and movement of your IS may seem lumbering. Pressing the joypad left or right results in painfully slow movement in the respective direction. Pressing the joypad up or down allows you to change the angle of your view to in a skyward direction. You can actually look down at your iron boots as you stomp luckless tanks and small houses <g>. Pressing A plus up/down on the joypad increases or decreases your speed. (It's possible to move in reverse at up to about a third of your best forward speed.) The B button fires your active weapon. This is selected through a sharp, full color number-pad overlay for the robot's waist and shoulder mounts, or the options button for handheld weapons. Thankfully using the C button in combination with the joypad will increase the speed of your IS's rotation. This is still barely enough to keep pace with fast circling air borne pests. An undocumented feature is to press the C and A button in combination with the joypad. This results in satisfyingly fast targeting. It takes some time to accurately use the C/A/joypad together, plus press the B button to fire, but it makes the progressively harder air attacks in the latter missions much more manageable! The game provides an advanced control option that allows you to set a course and then have your turret free to rotate approximately 180 degrees. An interesting option to use if you're sure of your path. I tended to avoid making much use of the feature and preferred to generally zig-zag to help avoid air attacks. There's a couple of undocumented control features included. Pressing "Pause", and then "1" or "3" will single-step through gameplay. Pressing "8" during a game appears to display the current mission stats. The increased complexity of Iron Soldier is more difficult than using the simple pin-point accurate controls of Cybermorph. Given the increased realism of a viewpoint that allows varying degrees of elevation or recession, however, I found it to be a more than even trade off. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Presentation and Impact =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= So, all the essentials for a good sim. are here: lots of toys to shoot, fun targets, and decent control. The basics are only a start, though, and it's up to the graphics and audio aspects of the game to present a virtual world that impacts the gamer to the point of suspending their disbelief enough to become lost in this alternate reality. Cybermorph provided enough in each category to have gamers jumping for joy with its virtual playground. Does Iron Soldier, a year later, improve on the illusion? //// Graphics The battle areas of Iron Soldier are comprised of different cities in the future. Buildings range from towering skyscrapers to squat fuel tanks, and small houses. Gone is the sparse, angular look of Cybermorph's universe. It's now replaced by rounded Power Plants, circular smoke stacks, curving exhaust vents, and sweeping bridges. Skyscrapers now have numerous windows and shapes. Texture mapping now accents several of the buildings and objects on the landscape. The environment still definitely has a shaded polygon look, but has been refined and is extremely eye-pleasing. The over-used triangular shaped enemies of Cybermorph have been replaced by realistically shaped helicopters, planes, and tanks. The helos have softly rounded underbellies that look great as they fly directly over your head. The graceful wings of the A-10 clone are both captivating and unnerving as the plane completes a gentle bank and begins to initiate an attack run towards you. Again, texture mapping is used to accent several of these opponents, most notably with the helos and tanks. Missions take place both during the day and night with appropriate lighting changes. Seeing missiles streak from partially illuminated helos at night is especially good looking. Explosions are varied. The best are the airborne enemies that disintegrate into dozens of different pieces that will rain about you if you're close enough. Buildings are a bit more tame as they blow up into perfectly square blocks. Light tanks explode humorously, with gears bouncing. The game has strong backgrounds of varying skyfalls, mountains, and city images. The storm clouds of the night missions are especially haunting. Gone are the bland colors from the backgrounds in Cybermorph. Finally, the visuals give a great sense of walking in a two-legged tank. The objects on screen rise and fall in proportion to your speed. Unfortunately this effect is lost when moving in a direction devoid of on screen items or moving away from a city toward the background mountains and skyfalls. An acceptable concession to ROM space for a cartridge game. In all respects, Iron Soldier clearly surpasses the first generation graphics of Cybermorph. //// Audio The music and sound effects are the most disappointing aspect of Iron Soldier. This is particularly troublesome because they're both pretty good. Ok, let me explain. The game allows you to select having music in the game, but at the cost of losing some important sound effects. Mostly these are the distance cued sounds of approaching helicopters and tanks. Unfortunately, these sounds effects don't appear directionally cued. If you wish to have these important audio hints in the game, you must sacrifice the music. This is too bad since the six in-game tunes are the best music I've heard for the Jag since Tempest 2000. Even though they're in mono, the music come across very well. The tracks range from strong driving numbers that would fit in a Miami Vice episode to a rather eerie treat that accompanies the night action missions. The other sounds such as the explosions, firing guns, and launching missiles are well done and present with or without music. It is troublesome to me that Jag games appear to have such difficulty integrating audio. I'm not a game developer so I can't accurately state where the problem lies. I'm a consumer. I know the competition can and does provide both quality music and sound effects in their games. At this point in the Jaguar's development it should, too. Apparently audio hasn't shown the growth that graphics have since Cybermorph was released. It does rate higher than Cybermorph though with the inclusion of in-game music and more sound effects. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Conclusion =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Those of you who have followed my posts under the handle of [Chas] in the Video Games Roundtable on GEnie know that at best over the last year I've been ambivalent about the Jaguar. At times I've bordered on on bashing Atari. My unit generally sat in my closet except for a week or so of enjoyable use every quarter as the 1994 games trickled out. I have trouble liking systems that get new titles released once every three months, no matter how impressive the specs. Iron Soldier has renewed the initial excitement and promise I felt upon originally playing Cybermorph. It surpasses the game in every aspect to which I've made comparisons. If Atari can deliver more of these second generation titles at a healthy pace it truly can become a serious competitor. Happy New Year Atari! You're off to a fine start, keep 'em coming! =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Final Ratings =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Title: Iron Soldier JagNet: No Design: Eclipse Players: 1 Published by: Atari Corp. Available: Now MSRP: $59.95 Age Rating: K-A (Kids to Adult, 6+) Here's the summary ratings: "*" is a whole "+" is a half 5 stars maximum Control: ***+ Lumbering, until you become accustomed to using the A, B, C buttons and joypad simultaneously. Satisfying afterward. Gameplay: ***** Absolutely the best mech-sim available on a console. (I've played them all.) You =will= feel like you're in a 42 foot bipedal tank!! Graphics: ****+ Improves upon Cybermorph with rounded and curved objects, accented with texture mapping. A fantastic frame rate. Only a fully-textured map game would have scored higher. Sound: **+ Good music or good sound effects, you can only pick one. Yeah, I'm being harsh, but amateur hour is over.... Overall: ***** Yep. Five Stars. Dedicated Mechheads will buy the Jaguar to play this game when the word gets out, it's that good! It's so fun it negates my audio concerns for now What they mean: ***** Stunning! Time to give away my Sega 32X! **** Sweet! Atari wasn't kidding about that 64-bit stuff! *** Fine by me, but I bet EGM will majorly rag on it.... ** Whadda ya mean, "Do the math?" * Let's see if it doubles as a cutting board! --==--==--==--==-- ||| Kasumi Ninja ||| By: Eric Michard / | \ GEnie: E.MICHARD ---------------------------------------------------------------- For many generations, rumors have persisted of a small, well-hidden island known as Kasumi, which has produced the world's most renowned ninjas. With the help of the Preeminent Celestials, the island is kept shrouded in secrecy. An impenetrable wall of mist surrounds the island, making it undetectable to modern technology. Those who find the island uninvited, are never heard from again. All your life you have trained hard in body and spirit at the only home you have known: the Dragon Cloud Temple on Kasumi Island. At the temple you are trained by the Elders, a group of three wise and powerful Ninjas. This group of Elders consists of Hiei, who embodies the lighter aspects of human nature; Kaioh, who embodies the aspect of indifference; and Gyaku, who embodies the darker side of human nature. This balance of good and evil is what keeps the portal to the netherworld closed. Using the blackest magic, Gyaku eliminated the other two Elders, throwing the cosmic forces out of alignment. When this happened, the gate to the demon world was blown open and Gyaku became possessed by the most powerful demon in the netherworld. With this power, Gyaku could destroy the Earth! Your fate has been preordained by the Celestials to fulfill a great and terrible prophecy. You were told of this by the Elders when you were very young, and throughout your life you wondered what it meant. Now you are sure it is your destiny to defeat Gyaku, close the gate to the netherworld and restore balance to the universe. The Celestials cannot help you directly, but they have blessed you with the power of absorbing other's abilities. To gain these abilities, you must defeat a variety of champions representing the best fighters in the world. They have been chosen by the Celestials to aid you in your quest. Only through persistence and perseverance, will you have a chance to challenge Gyaku. ...so starts Kasumi Ninja, Atari's first foray into the lucrative and cut-throat market full of endless sequels and violence, the tournament fighting game genre. Kasumi Ninja is a tournament fighting game quite similar to the popular Mortal Kombat series. It offers one-player story mode and two-player versus mode. Story mode requires you to start out with either of two ninjas, and proceed to defeat the remaining six fighters before you are allowed to take on the evil Gyaku and close the portal to the netherworld. Each character has its own set of special moves and at least one extra bloody "Death move" which can be performed after you have beaten your opponent 2 out of 3 matches. After defeating a character, you are allowed to fight as that character in any further matches. Two player versus mode enables two players to fight it out with any two of the eight main characters. You fight for 2 out of 3 rounds, and then are allowed to select a rematch, choose new characters and combat zone, or exit back to the main options screen. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// The Cast of Characters =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The game contains eight main characters. They come in a wide variety of fighters from around the globe. Each has their own style of fighting and a "Combat Zone" specific to their origins. //// Habaki and Senzo: The twin Ninjas Orange and green-clad ninjas, both have the same special moves and the same abilities. They differ only in their color and their "Death moves". At the beginning of the one-player story mode, you are required to choose from these two only. They are both relatively quick and versatile, with a good range of moves. //// Chagi: The Kickboxer "Five time world kickboxing champion, has never lost a professional bout." Chagi has a large number of kicking moves, and seems to be slightly quicker than the ninjas. //// Alaric: King of the Goths Alaric is quite a bit larger than Chagi and the Ninjas, and as such moves a bit slower and doesn't get quite as much height in his jumps. He does, however, have a few very nasty special moves and is one of the tougher opponents to beat in one-player mode. Alaric likes to play with fireworks. Looks sort of like the late John Belushi, before he died. //// Thundra: The Amazon Queen Dressed in a skimpy bathing suit type of outfit, Thundra is quick and her long legs give her a wider range in which to make contact on her different moves. She has an odd flying leap attack, which is also used for her "Death move." //// Pakawa: The Comanche Chief Another larger fighter, Pakawa is probably the most powerful. He moves a little slower, but does some wicked damage with his thrown knives, thunderous stomps and hair-raising "Death move." //// Danja: The Urban Vigilante Another scantily clad female, Danja is also very athletic and quick. Her special weapons include exploding bolas. //// Angus MacGreggor: The Scottish Brawler A red-headed and bearded Scotsman wearing a kilt, Angus is a slow-moving brawler with a couple of interesting moves. The manual claims that his anger at running out of brawling opponents "grew inside of him like a fire consuming his soul". He has a very odd way of releasing that fire in one of his special moves. //// Lord Gyaku: Evil possessed Ninja The Demon-possessed Ninja you must defeat to close the portal to the Netherworld. In his first incarnation he looks exactly like the other two ninjas, only dressed in black. He also performs some very surprising special moves, both defensive and offensive. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Options and Settings =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Mode Select Screen On starting up the game, after the title screen, your first options screen is the Mode Select Screen. Here you can choose between One Player Story Mode and Two Player Versus Mode, set the difficulty level from 4 choices: Easy, Normal, Hard and Ninja God, and access a secondary Game Options screen. //// Game Options Screen Here is another spot to set difficulty level, and this is where you can set the Gore Level, turn on the Parental Lock, enter the code for the Parental Lock, set the game Time Limit, toggle "Story Text" on or off, and show the game credits. //// Gore Level Settings Due to parental concerns about the violence and gore in these types of fighting games, as well as recent Senate hearings and the industry adoption of game ratings and parental warning labels on the packaging, Atari has included a Gore Level setting as well as a Parental Lock feature to prevent those tender young eyes from seeing the gruesome Death moves. The Gore Level Settings include:  None: No blood whatsoever. Makes it tricky to tell when your hits do damage. You have to keep an eye on the sword indicators at the top of the screen, which fill with blood as each respective fighter takes damage.  Combat: Connecting hits produce blood which flies from your opponent, but it disappears before collecting on the ground.  Disturbing: Blood now pools on the floor, and sword indicators also drip blood when you or your opponent take a hit.  Gore Fest: All the blood of the Disturbing setting, plus the extreme violence of the various death moves are now available. For a complete list of all of the Death Moves and special moves, see the moves list included later in this review. //// Parental Lock Turning on the Parental Lock requires the entry of a 6 digit password, and eliminates the "Gore Fest" gore level setting, so the Death Moves are unavailable. The other 3 gore codes are still included, so you, or the children you are locking out, can still play the game with the dripping and pooling blood. Don't forget the passcode, or your cartridge will be permanently locked out. =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Graphics =-=-=-=-=-=-= Kasumi Ninja views like your basic 2D tournament fighting game. The fights are shown from a side view, with a sword indicator at the top of the screen for each player along with the character's name and a mark for each round won in that particular combat zone. The fighters are composed of digitized graphics of actual costumed actors. The Jaguar's large palette of colors is used, as well as a lot of frames of character animation. Each character has a wide range of kicks, punches, roundhouse kicks, flying kicks and punches, and several special moves like fireballs, teleports, combo moves and grabs, throws, headbutts and lunges. All are nicely animated. There is enough animation so that you can see the whole range of motion in a kick or other move, unlike some other popular fighting games I've seen where you just see the first and last frame of a movement, with nothing in between. The shadows cast by players actually match the various moves and jumps, unlike some other fighting games where you get just a little circle under the fighter. The Death Moves show a diverse number of physical atrocities, with animated and very bloody decapitations, chopping in half of bodies, scalping, head-pulping leaps, exploding corpses, and several other brutal endings. All of these, of course, are accompanied by buckets of blood, fractured bone and pulpy grey matter. The Death moves are definitely not for the faint of heart. The backgrounds in Kasumi Ninja are thought by some to be its most outstanding feature. They are beautifully rendered in full color with multiple layers of parallax scrolling to lend it an almost 3D effect. In the floors alone I have counted at least 5 layers of separate parallax scrolling, giving it an illusion of depth and perspective as you move forward or back across the combat zone. The pools of blood on the floor closer to the bottom of the screen move slightly faster than those in the "deeper" layers. Add to this about 10 more layers of foreground and background parallax scrolling in 8 to 10 different "Combat Zones". There are no cheering spectators like in other fighting games, but I always thought that was kind of a stupid feature, myself. Kasumi Ninja contains animated torches and campfires, a horse in Pakawa's combat zone, and even a fully animated silhouette of the Loch Ness monster in Angus' combat zone, among others. In the final round against the demon, the setting is in Hell complete with flying gargoyles, pits of fire and dismembered corpses hanging from gallows. You start off the game in the character selection area, which is a 3D DOOM-like octagonal room with statues of the various available characters you can play as, and then challenge to a fight after you've chosen your own character. It's a little jerky and has no relation to the actual game, but a nice touch nonetheless. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Sound & Music =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Each Combat Zone has its own background music, which almost fits the type of geography shown in that zone, such as the bagpipes in Angus' zone. The overall quality of the music is merely average. I usually keep the music turned way down. The sound effects show a bit more variety, with digitized grunts, screams, explosions and various other bloody sound effects. Each player has a distinctive "hai!" or "ha!" sound that he or she yells at almost every offensive move which tends to get a bit repetitive. The announcer's voice is a badly accented, sometimes barely understandable Japanese voice which is actually sort of laughable. It took me some time to realize that the announcer was saying "show no mercy" when it came time to attempt a death move. It's so garbled that everyone who heard it thought it was some other language. The sound quality of the digital sampling, however, is quite good and there is no evidence of the normal clipping and low-fidelity sound which is normally found in the 16-bit fighting games. =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Control =-=-=-=-=-=-= Prior to Kasumi Ninja, I was most definitely =not= a fan of this genre of video games, so I won't attempt to compare the control in Kasumi Ninja to any of the popular competitor's games like Super Street Fighter II Championship Tournament Edition (what is its latest incarnation, anyway?), or Mortal Kombat II. What little I did experience of those titles turned me away from the whole genre. The special attacks were virtually impossible for me to pull off, or even remember. I quickly lost patience with them and had no desire to play any of them. In KN, I have had no problem whatsoever in discovering and reproducing the whole range of special and death moves. The basic control consists of the Dpad for moving left/right, jumping in either direction, blocking and crouching. The A button is used mainly for the various punches, B is used primarily for the different kicking moves. The C button is held down during the special moves and death moves. Like other fighting games, the obvious combinations result in flying kicks, floor sweeps, roundhouse kicks and punches and many more. With a little practice I was able to discover a large number of special moves like teleports, thrown knives and explosives, fireballs, and all of the other moves detailed later. I encourage new players to refrain from using the lists of moves provided here, as discovering them for yourself is a lot more fun than reading them off a list. If you just want to see them all quickly and have no patience, then by all means go right ahead. The death moves are pretty funny, in a sickly violent way. The character response is certainly quick enough for me, although the increased animation frames in some of the moves make for what sometimes seems like slow response, since it takes a certain amount of time to animate some of the more elaborate motions. I've played versions of SFII that were just way TOO fast, with moves that were more of a slideshow than a fluidly animated punch or kick. This may make for quicker response, but seriously detracts from the look and feel of the game, in my opinion. =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Gameplay =-=-=-=-=-=-= The main emphasis here is on the violence. In all respects, Kasumi Ninja is a good solid fighting game with excellent graphics, digitised sound, unbelievable backgrounds and a lot of bloody, violent martial arts moves and various ways to murder your opponent. To those of you who object to this type of senselessly violent, gratuitously bloody video game, if you won't let your kids play Mortal Kombat, Kasumi Ninja is extremely bloody and viciously violent at times, probably worse than the Mortal Kombat series. Even with the Parental Lock on, all but the highest Gore Levels are still available, you can't lock out ALL of the blood. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// In Summary =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Take away the graphic violence and "death moves", and the game seems to lose something. It's still just a basic 2D tournament fighting game and once you beat it, it's still just a fighting game with a limited number of characters and combat zones, and you've beaten them all. (Although Travis understands that not everything in the game has been discovered by 'Net players yet.) 2 player fights against an equally skilled friend are a lot of fun, and no doubt where a lot of these games' appeal lies, but in Kasumi Ninja, no handicap feature is included for those both-hands-tied-behind-your-back fights against a novice player. I vowed I wouldn't buy a fighting game until it could rival an arcade fighting game, and KN is the closest I've seen yet on a home console. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Final Ratings =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Title: Kasumi Ninja Networkable: No Programmed by: Handmade Software Players: 1 - 2 Published by: Atari Available: Now MSRP: $59.95(US) Age Rating: MA (Mature/Adult 17+) Here's the summary ratings: "*" is a whole "+" is a half 5 stars maximum Control: **** A large number of easy to perform moves for each character. Gameplay: ***+ A lot of fun to learn and discover the different special attacks and view the brutally violent death moves, especially against a friend. Graphics: ****+ Full color animated backgrounds, 10 different digitised fighters, and a lot of blood and gore make for some very impressive arcade graphics. Sound: ***+ Average music and good quality sound samples, though sometimes repetitive. Some excellent thundering sound effects make up for the music. Overall: **** Kasumi Ninja is an excellent arcade quality (and arcade violent) tournament fighting game that should appeal to most fans of fighting games. Ratings Key """"""""""" ***** "Hai-keeba!" --MST3K **** "Finish Him!" --MK I *** "All right, we'll call it a draw." --Monty Python and the Holy Grail ** "POW! SPLAT!" --Batman * "It's Morphin' Time!" --MMPR [Kasumi Ninja Special Moves] (All moves are functional, though subject to further refinement) (C + means HOLD C while doing the following...) Thundra (Amazon Queen) """"""" C + dwn, up - Teleport to opposite side C + fwd-fwd-fwd when close-in - Grab + punch combo C + bk,fwd-fwd - Flying line attack A + bk when close-in - Throw opponent [*] Death Move: C + fwd/up diagonal 3 times from a distance Angus (Scottish Brawler) """"" C + bk to fwd upper half-circle - Fireball C + dwn, fwd when medium-close - Head butt C + dwn, up when close-in - Throw forward onto head A + bk when close-in - Throw over back [*] Death Move: C + fwd,bk,dn when close-in Pakawa (Native American) """""" C + bk to fwd lower half-circle - Throw knife C + fwd-fwd-fwd - Grab head & head butt C + bk,up,up - Thunder stomp B + bk when close-in - Throw over head [*] Death Move : C +fwd to bk lower half circle, twice Chagi (Kickboxer) """"" C + bk, fwd-fwd - Fireball C + bk, up - Forward kick-jump C + fwd,fwd,B - Triple knee-punch A + bk when close-in - Throw over head [*] Death Move : C + bk,fwd,bk, hold fwd/dn diagonal + A Alaric (Goth) """""" C + bk to fwd lower half-circle - Slide attack C + dwn to up back half-circle - Throw explosives C + fwd/up diagonal - 2-handed fist attack [*] Death Move : C + bk,fwd,bk, hold fwd/dn diagonal +B Senzo (Green Ninja) """"" C + up-up - Teleport to opposite side C + bk-bk, fwd-fwd - double round-kick attack C + bk to fwd lower half-circle - Fireball A + bk when close-in - Throw opponent over head [*] Death Move: C + up,dn Habaki (Orange Ninja) """""" C + up-up - Teleport to opposite side C + bk-bk, fwd-fwd - double round-kick attack C + bk to fwd lower half-circle - Fireball A + bk when close-in - Throw opponent over head [*] Death Move: C + dn to up back half-circle Danja (Urban Female) """"" C + dwn, up-up - Teleport C + bk-bk-bk, fwd - Throw explosive bolo A + back when close-in - Throw over head [*] Death Move: C + bk/up diagonal 3 times I've left off the descriptions to leave some remnants of a surprise for the player. Thanks to GEnie Jaguar RT posts and some Usenet posts for the Death Moves. The rest I discovered the first 2 days or so with the game. --==--==--==--==-- ||| Zool 2 ||| By: Tim Steed / | \ GEnie: T.STEED1 AOL: OTR TimS ---------------------------------------------------------------- The Nth Dimension is under attack, and it's up to you to save it from the invading forces of Krool! Krool has sent his evil, morphing henchman, Mental Block, to seize power. Only you, playing as either Zool, master ninja, or his lovely and daring sidekick Zooz, can prevent the ultimate destruction. Along the way, you may even receive help from Zoon, the intergalactic wonder-dog. But in the end, the continued existence of the Nth Dimension rests upon YOUR shoulders. As the manual to this game states, "Hold on to your senses, and set your controls on Maximum Weirdness. Strange things are going on!" =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Overview =-=-=-=-=-=-= A lot of Jaguar owners have been waiting patiently for a good platform-game. They look at Sonic on the Genesis, Mario and Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, and they say, "Hey, I'd like one of those!". Well, here you have it. Along with Bubsy, another recent Jaguar release, Zool 2 helps to fill the platform-game void for the Jag, at least until Rayman comes out. The theory remains the same: collect a bunch of items by moving over them, avoid/kill bad guys, and make it to the end of the level as quickly as possible. =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// The Game =-=-=-=-=-=-= The game loads up with a nice full-screen animation of Zool. After a few seconds, it goes to the title screen. If you wait even a few more seconds, the game kicks into demo-mode. High scores are flashed next, title screen, demo-mode, etc. The demo-mode might be worth watching, as you get glimpses of later levels in the game. Pressing "Option" brings up the options screen (surprise!). You can turn "Inertia" on or off. Inertia effects your character's forward movement. With inertia On, your forward movement continues for a few inches even after you stop pressing forward on the joypad. With inertia Off, you character stops immediately after releasing the joypad. Next on the options screen is difficulty setting. This can be set to easy, normal, or hard. With easy, you get eight lives, and must collect most of the items on each level. With normal, you get six lives, plus you must collect all items on each level, plus some that are hidden! On hard, you get only four lives, must collect all items on each level, plus some hidden ones, and you must also kill a lot of bad guys. Whew! After difficulty, you can set number of players, one or two. It is possible to play two players with a single joypad, also, with each player swapping off when it's their turn. Lastly, there is a Configure option, where you can set which buttons are used to Fire, Jump, and use special items. Set these however you wish with the usual A, B and C buttons. After all options are selected, you then press start to begin play. A large screen confronts you, asking you which character you wish to play, Zool or Zooz. This is important, as each of them has their own special move. Play then begins, and you are confronted with bad guys right from the outset. The controls take a little getting used to, but they're not any more complicated than other platform games on other systems. Pressing Up on the dpad lets you climb walls or jump vertically (as does the A button), Up/Right or Up/Left lets you jump to the right or left, Right or Left runs to the right or left, Down/Right and Down/Left lets you slide right or left, and Down lets you crouch or climb down walls. The B button is the fire button (with default settings). Pressing B fires bullets in whatever direction you are facing. Holding down the B button and running into a wall initiates a height-scaling backflip, which propells you higher into the air than a normal jump. When hanging on a column, holding down the B button will let you crawl left or right. As I mentioned earlier, Zool and Zooz have their own move. While in mid-air, pressing the B button initiates a spinning power-jump. This jump is used to break through false ceilings (Zool) or false floors (Zooz). Along with these moves comes the standard in-game options. Pressing pause will pause the game, and while paused you can use the A button to change music volume, or the B button to change FX volume. The main playing screen is laid out simply and effectively. In the upper left hand corner you have your score. To the right of your score is your current health indicator, shown with red ovals. Whenever you get hit by a bad guy, you lose one of these. When they are gone, you lose a life. To the right of your health indicator is the high score. Moving to the bottom left corner of the screen, you have an indicator showing you how many items you have picked up. This can be misleading at first, as each item you pick up may not count as a "full" item, meaning you will have to pick up more than one item to move the indicator up a full point. In the lower middle section of the screen you have the time remaining on the current level you are playing. The LI in the lower right hand corner represents how many lives you have left, depending on what difficulty level you started the game with. During the game, you can find various power-ups. Some of the various items you can find are:  Restart Points - Small red posts that flash green when you pass them, thereby activating them. If you die after you pass one of these, you will restart the level from the last one of these that you activated.  Bonus Hearts - After you defeat certain enemies, little red hearts with wings will begin floating up to the ceiling. Grabbing one of these before it gets out of reach restores health by one point.  Bomb - This device follows you until you decide to use it. Pressing C ignites it, killing all visible enemies on the screen.  Twozool - Splits up your ninja for double the action.  Shield - makes your character invincible for a short time.  Time Bonus - adds precious seconds back onto your time-clock.  One-Up - Pretty self-explanatory, a free, additional life!  Super Shot - Press C after picking this baby up, and you launch a swirling missile of destruction that will take care of the most ferocious opponents.  Chupa Chups - Restores your ninja to full health!  Zoon - Collect three of these, and when you finish your current level, you'll access a bonus level that Zoon the wonderdog will help you with! =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Graphics =-=-=-=-=-=-= Though the foregrounds are quite colorful and sharp, the backgrounds should have been done by the folks who did Kasumi Ninja. The backgrounds really remind me of some Atari 2600 games I used to play, mostly only three colors and very dull. Still, you don't play the game IN the background, right? Objects in the foreground are colorful and quite clear, even with a normal TV hook-up. A lot of objects are shaded, giving a subtle 3-D effect, with lots of little areas that seem to reflect light. Zool and Zooz themselves are quite nice, with details like eyes and glints of light on their heads and shoes clearly visible. Movements are standard fare, nothing real spectacular. When either ninja shoots, a small, white dot races off towards the target. The speed of your characters is amazingly fast. I didn't realize how fast this game moved until my wife loaded up her old favorite, Sonic. Sonic seemed to be moving through molasses after playing Zool for awhile! Even with lots of moving objects on-screen, I noticed no appreciable slow-down. (Though I've heard some players have noticed some.) Trust me, there's ALWAYS lots of moving objects on-screen! Control is excellent, very precise and responsive, especially with Inertia turned off. You need it, though, as even on "Easy," there are lots of bad guys to shoot, dodge, and run away from. High reflexes are a must with this game. =-=-=-=-=-= //// Sound =-=-=-=-=-= The initial boot-up music is pretty cool, and definitely a bit on the wacky side. My wife called it "cute," and it's the kind of music that makes you want to laugh. Music during game-play is good, but nothing earth-shattering. A fast-paced tune helps you on your way, which is catchy and feels appropriate for the task at hand. (Travis says he feels Zool's music gives it an edge over Bubsy, but you know the odd things he comes up with.... :) Sound effects are above average. When a bad guy hits you, you hear a sound like a spoon hitting a frying pan. Other sound effects are quite good, too, like when you jump and power-spin, you hear a "whooshing" noise, and when you do the ninja backflip, you hear a high-pitched ninja shout. Pretty much anything you do is accompanied by some sort of sound-effect. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Conclusion =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Zool 2 is a fun, challenging type of game for people who really like the platform-game genre. Fast-paced action, and lots of bad-guys makes this one of THE most challenging platformers I have ever played. Even on Easy setting, I wondered if they had by chance gotten Easy and Hard mixed up during programming! :) Overall, if you LOVE platform-type games, definitely give this one a try. Zool 2 is a good candidate to hold us over until some stunning platformers arrive in the future (like Rayman!). Also, if you have played and liked Bubsy for the Jaguar, and thought he was too slow or easy, give this one a try. Zool's NOT slow! And Zool's NOT easy! However, if you HATE Sonic, Mario, and games like them, stay away from this one altogether. There are more games that are available which will appeal to you. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Final Ratings =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Title: Zool 2 JagNet: No Design: Gremlin Players: 1 - 2 Published by: Atari Corp. Available: Now Price: $59.95 Age Rating: K-A (Kids to Adult, 6+) Here's the Summary ratings: "*" is a whole "+" is a half 5 stars maximum Control : ****+ A very small learning curve, but once you are past that, it's smooth sailing. Fast. Responsive. Configurable, too! Gameplay : *** Everything you'd want in a platform game, maybe a bit too fast and difficult for younger folk, but since I ain't young, mabye not. :) Graphics : *** They are good, but not ground-breaking. Nice foreground visuals, very plain and generic backgrounds. Sound : *** Sound FX are slightly above average, with the music being catchy and atmospheric for a platform game. Overall : ***+ A decent platformer which compares quite nicely to Sonic, Mario or other games of their ilk. If you only want something that will stun you, though, better to wait for Rayman. Ratings Key """"""""""" ***** Almost Rayman-esque! Donkey Kong who? **** Pass the magic-mushroom tea! *** That Sonic's a slowpoke! ** You mean, if you jump on them, they die? * My, that Mario Brothers 1 looks interesting. About the Author """""""""""""""" Tim has owned one type of Atari machine or another for over 14 years, starting with the 2600 (which he still owns). He's been the president of an Atari User's Group, he used to run an Atari BBS, and now he sells Atari Jaguars at work (Babbage's). In his spare time, when AVP has scared him too much or when he finishes a few missions on Iron Soldier, Tim frequents AOL, GEnie, and CompuServe. He also enjoys miniatures games, and role-playing. Tim's patient and forgiving wife, Jill, also works to support his various gaming addictions. (She also is waiting for Rayman, too!) Tim's favorite games of all time include Adventure (Atari 2600), MULE (Atari 8-bit), Starglider (Atari ST), Ultima Underworld (IBM PC), and AVP (Atari Jaguar), though Rayman will undoubtedly join that elite list. :) Tim owns a 486DX2/66, SNES, Sega Genesis, 3DO, Atari 2600/7800/ST/Jaguar. After trying for several years to write reviews, articles, short-stories, etc, Tim was finally able to beg Travis to look at a review. That's how you are reading this now. --==--==--==--==-- ||| Bubsy in Fractured Furry Tales ||| By: Dimitri Mark LaBarge / | \ GEnie: AEO.6 CIS: 71501,3353 AOL: dimitril ---------------------------------------------------------------- You know, it's funny - a year ago, I wouldn't have wanted to get near a cat. They just seemed to be totally alien to my personality. Then I moved to Nashville with a house full of cats, and suddenly I found myself kin with the little beasts. Maybe that explains why I've found this new version of Bubsy to be such a blast. Or maybe it's just a whole-heartedly fun game with that most rare of qualities in an age of "Pick-and-Flick" adventures - undeniable charm. =-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Starters =-=-=-=-=-=-= The game opens with a standard title screen and a perky title song; from there you can access the Options screen, which lets you pick the number of players (a nice option is allowing you to select 2 players with either 1 or 2 joypads), enter passcodes, set your controls and so forth. From there, you can enter the game at any time. The game itself consists of fifteen very long levels, broken up into five motifs of three chapters each. Each motif features a takeoff on a different fairy tale - the game designers have chosen to lovingly warp Alice in Wonderland, Jack and the Beanstalk, Arabian Nights, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Hansel & Gretel (with such pun-laden titles as Alice Doesn't Live Around Here Anymore). Unlike other platformers, where your actions are almost always the same, the motifs do tend to affect gameplay. For instance, navigating the cup stairways and mushrooms in the Alice in Wonderland scenario tends to be a much different challenge than climbing the ascending beanstalk in the Jack and the Beanstalk levels, or wobbling around in a bubble in the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea sequence. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Control Yourself =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Bubsy has three basic controls, which prove quite effective: Look, High Jump and Jump/Glide. Using the Look command lets you take a brief glance in any direction, which can be helpful in spotting a lingering enemy (very necessary for getting the drop on Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dummer, a bigger Menace-2-Society than you might expect). High Jump give you a nice, long jump, whereas Jump/Glide gives you a brief popup in the air. Using the controls in concert propels you a long way towards completing the game - running and jumping only will cause a very premature death... remember, you're a cat, not an Italian plumber. For instance, jumping on your enemies to bop them out of existence is a bit of a trick proposition - but using your high jump, and then activating the jump/glide button will give you a short, easily controlled flight to your adversary's doom. This is even more effective when combined with a run - simply a matter of holding down the directional pad either left or right. Using this, you can achieve glides of fairly startling distances. I find the control very well designed, and the joypad is greatly suited to this sort of game. //// Bag o'Goodies Bubsy has a few tools to help him on his journey - a T-shirt to add an extra Bubsy to your count. You start out with a generous ten Bubsys, but in fine cat tradtion, you get that many lives because you NEED them. Level markers are placed at strategic locations, letting you start from that position should you die prematurely. Another T-shirt will give you invincibility for a short time, and you can open crates with random contents (my favorite is one that explodes with bananas, making the surface you're on very slippery if you start to run). A password is provided upon the completion of each individual level, which is a godsend. Last but not least is a transporter device, which can take you through a shortcut within levels. You'll have to look carefully to find the needed switches to open up important areas in the game. //// The Blue (Green, and Red) Meanies The enemies are a varied lot, and while there are certain generic enemies that seem to show up with unwelcome frequency between the motifs (there are psychotic wasps that are a bit too difficult and random to handle - you have to jump and glide into them - they're even worse when they start flying in packs on later levels), on the whole, the enemies are well chosen and sweetly animated for each level. Playing cards, Cheshire Cats and White Rabbits can be found in the first three levels, whereas thugs such as harem guards and stabbing sharks patrol later levels (and don't even ask me about the hamster in the submarine). Bosses such as the Mad Hatter also show up for an added challenge at the end of each motif. A lot of thought was put into bringing these characters to life - for instance, the Ali Baba-style harem guard lunges at you almost immediately to split you in half, but if you jump and glide down upon him, he's too dumb to look up. In the best Chuck Jones style, he starts looking left, right, and at his feet until doom descends upon him. Bubsy is as well-animated as the rest, especially when he gets tired of waiting for you to move and knocks on the television screen for your attention... The only complaint I have in this area is that there's not enough variety between levels. While the first level in each motif is filled with these imaginative enemies and character designs, they generally don't change after the first level featuring them, leading to an unfortunate monotony. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Levelling With You =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The game levels... well, they are long. Long. Oh boy, looooooong. While they're well-thought out, and definitely keep the game a challenge for longer than you'd expect, after you've died a bunch of times you start to wonder if you've hit upon way too much of a good thing. This may be a by-product of the same affliction as the enemies - wonderful artifacts of invention are extremely pleasing in the first level of the motif, but when they don't really change or add anything new in the second or third rounds of that fantasy scenario, then some of the fun tends to drain out. Perhaps this game was designed too well, because the good stuff is so well designed that it's a letdown when you don't get more of it. However, the challenges that are there are nicely developed. My favorite have been the mushroom patches, some of which just seem to go up forever. The game takes into account the curved surfaces of the mushrooms, and gives you a struggle to balance yourself to the top of the 'shroom (and smaller ones are harder still!). Slippery rocks work the same way, and it's a good (if maddening) touch. You'll need your jumping and gliding skills to get across some of the wide, wide lakes - remember, cats HATE water! - as well as avoiding fatal falls down hollow wells. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// A Graphic Analysis =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The graphics and animation, as mentioned before, are by far the best aspect of the game. Lovely parallax scrolling enhances the gorgeous, stylized fantasy backdrops while your enemies pass by in fluidly animated style. There's a fine spirit of Warner Bros. working here, and is what lends the game its charm. If Bubsy slams into a wall, not only does he conk out with birds floating above him, but he starts swiping at the birds; grumpy-looking cactii look at you suspiciously then charge you. The color selections are well chosen, and the graphics are by far the crispest of any of the Bubsy versions. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Sounding Off =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The only truly weak spot in the game is its sound and music. It's not that they're if low quality - they're not. In fact, they definitely impress on first listen - each level opens with a nice sample of Bubsy saying some smartalec remark. It's the listens after that when they start to grate. Now, the bips and bops of Bubsy collecting point coins and leaping on enemies are inoffensive and nothing special, but nothing distracting either. Unfortunately, that's the best that can be said. Again, we wind up with the problem of repetition dimishing the game a bit. While I like the speech sample that opens the level, it doesn't vary except between motifs. The same is true of the music. While these two items are of good quality, it makes the whole game suffer when you have to go through them again everytime you die. This is the one area of the game that needed a great more improvement. This wouldn't have been such a big drag if you could just turn it off - and with the music, you can. But you still have to listen to that sample every time you start over, and you do tend to start thinking of more pleasant things to do than going through that again - like shoving bamboo shoots underneath Bubsy's nails. In the end, don't make any more of it than it actually is. Bubsy is an all-around fun game, with some absolutely wonderful elements compromised slightly by repetition; but in this reviewer's opinion, the platformer of choice for the Jag, and a perfectly priced Darn Good Time (TM). =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Final Ratings =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Title: Bubsy in Fractured Price: $49.95(US) Fairy Tales JagNet: No Programmed: Imagitic Design Players: 1-2 Publisher: Atari Age Rating: K-A (Kids to Adult 6+) Le Summary du ratings: "*" is a whole "+" is a half 5 stars maximum Control: *** Easy to play, but jumping and gliding takes some practice. Gameplay: *** Addicting and fun, but too much of the same thing dulls excitement. Graphics: ***+ Terrific and imaginative. Half a point off for repetition, though. Sound: *+ I don't think so. Headphones with Peter Gabriel or Zamfir required. Overall: *** Not a must buy, but a clever, funny platformer. Dimitri's Keys to Ratings ***** A gaming miracle; search the New Testament for references. **** PCs run screaming at the sight of this. *** Verified to be more fun than tractor pulls. ** Causes the same reaction as hearing, "Can I have a kidney?" * Jesse Helms. Televangelists. McRibs. Burn, baby, burn.... --==--==--==--==-- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- -- --==--==-- Delphi Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- -- -- -- To enroll as a Delphi subscriber, modem call 1-800-365-4636. Press -- -- [Return] until you see "Password:", then type IP26 [Return] -- -- -- -- Answer all of the questions, and you'll be cleared for Delphi -- -- access in a few days. If you have questions about Delphi services, -- -- give a voice call to Delphi Member Services at 1-800-544-4005. -- -- -- -- --==--==-- Delphi Sign-Up Information --==--==-- -- --------------------------------------------------------------------------- --==--==--==--==-- ||| Stello 2 ||| TOS Review by: Mark Stephen Smith / | \ Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------- Stello 2 is the latest version of the Othello program by Claus J. Pedersen. It contains several improvements over it's earlier incarnation. The program utilises a GEM interface and is well constructed. The program is shareware and as such has a few options missing from the unregistered version. The game is in no way crippled and is still very playable without the complete set of options. This review is based upon the complete registered version as kindly donated by Claus. Using GEM it manages to maintain high compatibilty across Atari platforms and this review is based on it's use on both my ST and Falcon. //// Some Background. As I said earlier the game Stello is based upon the game Othello. The game Othello is an old board game set on an eight by eight grid. The pieces consist of two types of counter, black and white. The game is two player with one player choosing white and the other taking black. At the start of the game the board is set out with four counters in a square in the middle of the board, two white and two black, with similar colours set at diagonals. Movement is in any direction and the players take turns. Movement however is only possible by placing a new counter of your colour on the other side of an opponent's, making all your opponents counters between your first and last counter into your own colour. If it is not possible to place your counter within a straight line in any direction across your opponents from any of your counters then you can not move, and have to miss that turn. The player with the most counters on the board when the board is full is the winner. If the number is equal it is a draw. Stello runs in any resolution with at least 640 pixels across and will use up to 16 colours. The board is presented in a window which doesn't take up much desktop space, using higher resolutions just gives you more space but doesn't increase the size of the board which is fixed. The board can be moved around by dragging the window and is represented as a series of lines forming a grid and circles in either black or white for the counters. To improve the appearance it is possible to load a background picture into the board. Several are provided and can be chosen in 2, 4 and 16 colours. It is also possible to add chess like notation at the sides of the board to work out the position for moves. There are several options available from the menu bar at the top of the screen. Using these options you are able to save and load your game (there are some pre-saved games for you to try). You can choose to play against the computer, a human opponent, or even watch while the computer plays itself. The computer plays a very strong game and as such you have several options to help adjust the computer's strength. You can set the maximum time the computer has to make a single move, the maximum time the computer has to think in the entire game, and the number of consecutive moves the computer will think ahead. Other options allow you to keep a log of all moves made via a table or a visual representation on a second board. These are very nice features. You can also force the computer to move, swap sides during a game, go back a move, ask for the best move available to you and set up the board for a particular set of positions. The program is both GDOS and MultiTos compatible and works well with both of these. The program is very stable and in the several hours I played with it I never encountered a single error. There are also facilities to print the record of moves. All this leads to just about all the features you could ask for in a version of Othello for a computer. Several of the menubar options are also supported with keystroke equivalents. Help is also provided with the aid of Hypertext, full documentation is in this format and all the options are described using Hypertext. //// Conclusion Visually, the program is tidy and with background graphics the display would have to be considered a little better than functional. However for this type of game this is more than good enough. Sound is non-existent, but again this game does not need any sound. Gamewise this plays a very good game of Othello, and when I say this I mean very good! This can be one of the program's weakest points however when playing the computer. Even with the moves ahead set to one, and the time to think set to a minimum you'll still if a novice need a lot of practice to beat the computer. I have managed to beat it a few times on the odd occasion but you do have to concentrate on the possible outcomes of every move available to you. Most fun can be derived in two player mode, and this is where I found the game more entertaining, battling against a human opponent. Other than to see how the computer thinks and for a demo of the game, computer versus computer serves little purpose and isn't very entertaining. The option to save is good if you are taking your time and battling it out against the computer on a harder level. The game was designed to play the strongest game it could and this is the only problem with the current version. There is no adjustable level of skill as such for the computer, or no beginner level. //// Overall If your looking for a game of Othello you could do a lot worse than to look at Stello v2, although a little hard, in two player it can be fun. I'd recommend this and look out for the future versions. Rating 83% //// Future As I write this the finishing touches should have been done to the next version. The next version makes all options available from the keyboard and will have levels of difficulty introduced making it easier for the novice. Keep an eye out for this available at various FTP sites. --==--==--==--==-- ||| "From a saved backup...." ||| By: Ron Whittam / | \ GEnie: EXPLORER.4 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Keep it going. In this column I hope to foster communication and support for 8-bit and ST computer owners... presenting a positive and directive approach. This will help to strengthen the users group base and encourage the executive element. If you have a question you would like me to answer, or a topic you would like to see covered; send me an Email! I am sick and tired of people telling me the Atari ST is a dead computer. The PC-XT is dead, the PC-AT is close to its demise, even the PC-386 is showing signs of age. With the speed and power of the PC-486 and PC-Pentium (not to mention the PowerPC) developers are leaving these dinosaurs behind. NOT SO WITH THE ATARI ST! Atari developers are still producing new Atari software that runs very well on the Atari 1040ST c. 1985. While I have added a hard drive (20MB) and a memory expansion board (4MB), my Atari ST is doing fine. I still use the orginal Atari mouse. I got a cordless mouse, but after changing the batteries once too often (I use it a lot), I came back to the original... it just feels right. Its a good computer. And it is ALIVE and WELL. I have a few friends that have computers. Most of them have Atari computers (because I met them at the Atari Boise Users Group). A few have other computers. I often get into discussions about computers. I get a lot of interesting answers when I ask what they DO with their computers. The Atari owners tend to use it daily. I get the response "I rarely turn it off." On the other hand those owning other computers usually scratch their heads and then list the programs they own (often with pride). They don't actually use any of them, except one or two. They write letters, or teach their kids typing. They have an encylopedia on a CD-ROM that they have not used since the day the set up the CD-ROM. Granted, there are a lot of computer owners (of other computers) that really do use them for more then just writing letters or playing games. Some of us (including myself) use them in our jobs. But using the computer in the home isn't done the way the TV advertisements would have us believe. For example two of my friends are in a similar line of work. They are sub-contractors. One is a plumber and the other is an electrician. The plumber has a PC-compatable and the electrician has an Atari ST. Neither have computer aptitude. Both are mechanical and handy with hardware tools. Both bid projects and bill for services. Both have a list of clients and suppliers. Both work long hours. And both bought a computer to help them do their business better. The plumber created a bid sheet in a Lotus Works spreadsheet. Very impressive spreadsheet. But when I last checked, it was easier to use a pencil, paper, and a calculator. He has Intuit's Quicken for his finances. But the last I checked, his wife was using it for her household checking account. On the other hand, the electrician is using CARDFILE for keeping track of his accounts, K-spread for doing bid sheets, and ProText for writing letters, (not sure what he uses for billing). He also uses an Atari finance program to keep track of his expenses. He has Warp9 and a host of utilities. He also uses a Computer Aided Design (CAD) program to design wiring layouts for his projects. Based on these examples, I learned that the Atari is not just easier to learn and use; it is less expensive to operate. The supporting hardware and operating system cost a lot less then other computers, and the application software is reasonably priced for the average person. The recent developments of SCSI connections via the DMA port or parallel port allow the Atari ST to use CD-ROMs, tape drives, large hard drives, and other SCSI devices. The Atari also leaped into the multi-tasking arena with NeoDesk 4 and Geneva by Gribnif. These products provide a 3-D user interface with mutlitasking in a windowed environment. Other similar products are surfacing from Europe, like the Magix desktop and others. Amazingly, these products run on an Atari ST. As you anticipate the future of Atari, look at the top-flight developers. Programs are being developed that get the job done. A recent advertisement on TV made the statement that there were only two types of computer choices. Not so. The Atari is THE computer choice of many of us. We arn't just die-hards, we know when we have a good thing and we use it. My MICRON Pentium 90MHz PCI computer in most every way is superior and more innovative (in 1994) then my Atari 1040ST of 1984, but I still gravitate to the ease of use and solid productivity of my Atari. It seems that I continue to hear comments, here and there, from other users that the Atari ST is still a good computer. Here is a letter I received recently from the Internet: Hello, I got your address from the AEO magazine. I am the owner of an Atari 1040ST for the second time. The first time was when it was new and just introduced to the market years ago. A couple of years later I sold it for $300 after paying over $1000 for it new and bought a 386 IBM clone which led to my current fully loaded 486-66 multimedia PC. I had to get the ST though for 2 reasons; 1. Nostalgia & 2. It was only $50. I cleaned it up and it looks new and, after replacing the mouse, works like new. [Note: I took the liberty to delete portions of this letter. Kevin also asked for some information and a newsletter to be sent to him. I will be responding to him via the Internet, as well as, sending him an ABUG Newsletter. Any user groups in the San Diego area? Please drop me a note and I will put you in contact with Kevin. - RBW]. Thank you. Kevin Stiles Another strong point the Atari computer has going for it is the Atari owners and, predominately, the user group. There have been many efforts over the years to bring user groups together. There are small and large associations of user groups across the nation. One way to keep in touch with other groups is through sharing newsletters. I would like to discuss both of these areas in AEO during 1995. If your user group is connected to another by some loose or close tie, please drop me Email (see methods below). Also, if your user group exchanges newsletters (or would like to), send me your exchange address in an Email message. I will publish it in a future issue of AEO. 1. Send info on newsletter exchange. 2. Send info on "Atari" BBS phone numbers. 3. Send info on Atari Users Group addresses and meeting times. "An empty Email box is an empty Email box." -ANON Until next time. . . Ron Whittam is a Customer Support Specialist for a small software firm in Boise, Idaho; and the President of the Atari Boise Users Group. He can be contacted on GEnie (EXPLORER.4), on the Internet at <email@example.com>, or on ApC BBS (208-362-1790). --==--==--==--==-- ||| The Unabashed Atariophile ||| By: Michael R. Burkley / | \ Delphi: MRBURKLEY GEnie: M.BURKLEY1 ---------------------------------------------------------------- This is surely going to be my shortest Unabashed Atariophile article to date. I have been incredibly busy with church work and vacation (driving 1506 miles in six days and visiting family in four different States drove me to another state - exhaustion!). I've been spending a lot of time online, but a lot of it visiting people and downloading files rather than writing descriptions. I'm sure you know all about being busy. Time seems to be the item we all have in the shortest supply. That being so, I'll quit my introduction and get on with the file descriptions!  15EAGLES is a color TIFF (.TIF) picture created from a color-scanned photo of 2 F-15E Strike Eagles. They are in close formation with weapons visible. Not compressed because of no size savings! Delphi.  15EOUTLN is a set of five .IMG line art drawings of the F-15E fighter jet (one being the F-15 logo). Scanned at 300 dpi using TouchUp from MyGraph. Very nicely done. Delphi.  AMTERM43 is the Amateur radio packet terminal program by Alan Lennon of Northern Ireland (dated Jan 2, 1993). This terminal program for HAM radio/Atari ST--TT users is full-featured and well documented. When used with the MSTe/TT it uses the Modem 1 port. It requires at least one meg of RAM. This version adds the ability to automatically pickout call signs and addresses from your messages and store them in a database for future use. The program allows you to auto-forward files, do YAPP up/down file transfering, HF/VHF, and more. It hasn't been tested on a Falcon. Delphi.  ASN_EDIT by Dirk Sabiwalsky is v.1.0 of his program which will allow you to edit GDOS ASSIGN.SYS files - automatically! It will create the ASSIGN.SYS file, check for font ID conflicts, display the fonts so you can see them, and more. It will work with all GDOS fonts and you can use it to add them to your SpeedoGDOS setup. Docs in German with a not very useful English "translation." Delphi.  BASA2GFA by Myeck Waters (dated Aug. 24, 1994) is a GFA Basic v.3 program (in .GFA form) which will help you translate PC BASICA programs from the PC world into GFA v.3. Output is in the form of a text file that is loaded into GFA using the MERGE function. This will not produce a completed translation but will greatly shorten the time needed to do it. Delphi.  BLEND is a file containing two .TIF format pictures created using the new Blend Module for Calamus SL. A text file telling about the module is also included. The Blend Module is a tool for creating raster graphic areas with gradient fill patterns. Choose between two types of blends; linear and circular. Within each type of blend there are a number of user-definable options for creating various styles of blends. Delphi.  BRAHMS01 is "Variations on a Theme" by Paganini: Johannes Brahms, Book 1, OP 35. This is a piano solo arranged by Damon Atkinson. Delphi.  BRAHMS02 is a MIDI file compiled by Damon Atkinson. This file is from the second book of variations on a theme by Paganini, from Johannes Brahms. To listen to this you will need a sequencer that accepts standard MIDI files and a MIDI compatable tone generator of some sort (maybe a piano-like one? <g>). An interesting doc file included. Delphi.  CLAV2R1 is CLA Logic v.2.0 release 1 (beta4) by Craig Graham and Peter Brooks-Johnson (dated Dec. 5, 1993). CLA Logic is a Logic Circuit Design & Simulation software that is intended as a tool to enable fast prototyping of digital circuits. The design part of the package (perhaps a bad description, as design & simulation are completely integrated) supports the standard set of logic gates (american style). The integrated simulation section of the program can be accessed at any time and provides interactive use of the circuit, with Logic scope analysis, "live" indicator bulbs, active logic probes, etc. The whole enviroment is graphical, using icons & windows to produce & simulate the design. GDOS or SpeedoGDOS required for printing. At least 640x400 (ST High or better), two meg of RAM, a double sided (but only if you can format 850K disks) or hard drive required. Shareware. ST--Falcon, MultiTOS and Geneva compatible. Delphi.  DATACHRI by Ron Stein is a short story entitled, "Data's First Christmas." I thought this was a very interesting story about Data's investigations into "The Christmas Spirit." Data while wondering just how one goes about getting this spirit learns that "it is more blessed to give than to receive." I really liked it! Delphi.  DMJFNTS2 is a set of twelve smooth and sharp fonts by Damien M. Jones (the author of View II, SoundLab, and much more). Versions for Warp 9 and NVDI are included, color and mono screens. He uses them all the time. You might like them too! Delphi.  ESSCD63 is ESS-Code v.6.3, the MIME-Encoding/Decoding, UUE/UUDecoding utility (and BTOA, and SHIP files, too) by Michel Forget of Electric Storm Software (the programmer of MasterBrowse, an excellent desktop text SHOW replacement and general file viewer - see MB49BIN). This file (dated Nov. 11, 1994) will allow you to quickly (very) and easily (it uses GEM with keyboard shortcuts to everything and more) convert binary files to ASCII text files or return ASCII text files to their original binary state (you can also run it as a TOS program by itself or in conjunction with an archive shell). This version support the MIME conversion method which is rapidly replacing all other conversion methods. ESS-Code can now handle MIME-Encode/MIME-Decode requests from the operating system, or when ESS-Code is called as an installed application. This will allow you to both send and receive binary files (non-text files) through the InterNET using the most compatible methods! It includes an expanded command line interface for those of you who like such things, and the manual can now be read online. Compatible with TOS 1.0 through Falcon and MultiTOS (Geneva, too), with online help (through ST Guide), and much more. The author has put a lot of work into this program. Color or mono up to any Falcon resolution. Shareware (register this and you get an optimized and personalized version of this program, free registered versions of MasterBrowse and his other shareware programs and $5 in coupon discounts from Suzy B's Software!). Delphi.  FARMER DUNK is two very interesting (and difficult) files which give you a word puzzle and its solution in PageStream format. It is called the "Farmer Dunk" puzzle, and you have to find out the age of Farmer Dunk's mother-in-law using a series of clues in the puzzle. There are some hints for solving it (along with the complete solution), but you will still have to warm up your engineering, math, and logic skills (unless you want to cheat and read the solution!). This is a challenge! Put into PageStream format by Barry Poston. Delphi.  GHOSTLNK is a program which allows your ST--Falcon to read and write to any drive on an IBM PC (but not the other way around). Unfortunately it doesn't allow you to run your programs from the IBM hard drive (next version!). It requires a NULL modem cable from your ST to the PC. It works! Delphi.  HAM_LOG by Wendell Hanson (W7JIR) is a HAM radio log book for the ST--TT (maybe Falcon?). If you are a HAM radio operator you can record all your ongoing discoveries with this program. I don't know enough about HAM radio to tell you more. It works with my TOS 1.62 and Geneva Color system (I haven't checked it with mono, but it looks like it should work in that as well). Docs included. Delphi.  MB49BIN is MasterBrowse v.4.9 by Michel Forget of Electric Storm Software (dated January 1, 1995). Master Browse is an EXCELLENT program which completely replaces the desktop's SHOW routine for any ST--Falcon. It will allow you to search, mark blocks of text (a new easier way to do this in v.4.5), cut and paste using the Atari Clipboard, print out your selected text(s) in a multiplicity of ways, and piles more features (in part the docs are so extensive simply because there are so many features! If you want a text file viewer to do something, this probably already has that feature!). MasterBrowse can be configured to call an alternate viewer for special types of files, such as pictures or sound files. It is _Fast_ and smooth, and can take full advantage of GDOS/SpeedoGDOS, the features of MultiTOS, MultiGEM, Mag!X, and Geneva, as well as the alternative desktops such as NeoDesk, TeraDesk, and Gemini. Another nice feature is that MB supports Peter Seitz' View Protocol, which allows other programs to instruct MB to display a file instead of using their own default viewers. A REALLY nice feature new in this version is that MB will emulate the TOS 1.4 Item Selector for all of you TOS 1.0 and 1.2 users out there. Keyboard (he deleted the user configurable feature in this version, but it will be coming back in the future) or mouse controlled. Online help (using the ST-Guide .ACC). It has an easy-to-use installation program. Shareware ($15). SUPPORT SHAREWARE AUTHORS! (If you register this program you get a $5 credit from Suzy B's Software). Color or mono. This will work on floppy or hard drive systems. Delphi.  MINT112B, MINT112D, and MINT112S are the binary (program), nocumentation (really just for the programmer, not much in it helped me), and the source files for MiNT v.1.12 from Eric R. Smith (released Nov. 17, 1994). If you have MultiTOS you can just pop the MINTNP.PRG into your AUTO folder and you're set. If you use MiNT with MultiTOS you will be able to multitask several GEM programs. Without MultiTOS MiNT will allow you to run one GEM program and several TOS/TTP programs. This version is not officially supported by anyone, according to the author, but is you are presently using MiNT or MultiTOS I would recommend that you get this, as I've heard that it's much improved over previous versions. Delphi.  MORSEMAG is MorseMagic! v.1.81 by Steve P. Reed (dated 1988). This program is really two programs in one package. First, there is a handy Morse practice utility which allows you to control the letters (numbers, punctuation) you wish to practice, the speed of practice, the tone of the code, the interval between characters, and much more. Secondly, there is a unique Morse code tutorial that teaches you Morse code, in 21 modules. Excellent docs included. Color or mono. This is the best Morse Code program I've seen. It helps you along in such small steps (the size of which are really configurable by you) that you want to keep learning because you keep succeeding! Shareware. ST--STE and Geneva compatible (at least). Just recently uploaded to Delphi.  M_READ25 is Mountain Reader II v.2.5 (MRII) by Anthony Watson (dated Nov. 27, 1994). The author continues to improve his work, again! MR II is a message reader for the Atari which allows you to use both QWK and Bluewave message formats. This allows you to call up any BBS which supports either of those formats, download all the messages which you have previously indicated you desire. That saves a lot of time and money for you right there, but there's more. MRII allows you to _answer_ all of those messages offline, composing them "just so" and then uploading them all as a packet which the BBS then distributes appropriately. Now that saves A LOT of time and money! It features a 3-D interface, an internal editor with clipboard support (or use your favorite external editor), a hypertext help system, offline conference configuration, user lockouts, full bulletin support with ANSI emulation, offline file requests, and much more. This demo version is only limited in that you cannot save your configuration files. Docs and online help included. Shareware. Requires at least one meg of RAM (two is better). Floppy or hard drive (Hard Drive is MUCH better!). ST--Falcon and Geneva/MultiTOS/Speedo GDOS compatible. Any res greater than ST Low. The author provides excellent and active support of his shareware. Contact him with a problem and he will fix it! Delphi.  MUTT02 by Wally is a Warp 9 8x16 font for monochrome displays especially designed for readability and use. Using this will give you fine and yet distinct letters on screen. Delphi.  PGP261ST is "Pretty Good Privacy" version release 2.6.1 by Phil Zimmermann (dated mid 1994). This is basically a bug fix of version 2.6. PGP, short for Pretty Good Privacy, is a public key encryption package; with it, you can secure messages and data files you transmit against unauthorized reading and digitally sign them so that people receiving them can be sure they come from you. The keying is very secure and efficient. Excellent docs which explore both the theory and practice of public encryption. I would recommend this file just for them. English, French, and Spanish help files are included (all docs are in English). Unfortunately, due to an extremely stupid law by the United States Government this program cannot be sent (legally) outside of the US by anyone within the country. Of course, you can get it anywhere outside of the US (it's on the Internet, which is accessed world-wide), but if you aren't within the US, don't bother ordering this file because we can't send it to you. Dumb! I really doubt our national security is in danger! And the funny thing about this is that the ST--Falcon compatible version of this program was compiled by a German (Harald Denker) in Germany and then imported into the US. It's still illegal to export it! Delphi.  PCXF30 is a press release for Darek Mihocka's PC Xformer v.2.5. This is his Atari 800XL Emulator for MS-DOS Compatible PCs. His PC Xformer v.3.0 is the Atari 130XE Emulator For MS-DOS Compatible PCs. He used to have a ST version of Xformer, but he has forbidden anyone (PD distributors or otherwise - he's even pulled it off of GEnie according to a letter to me) to distribute it (though that hasn't stopped it from circulating, alas). He says (in a letter to me), "ST Xformer is dead. Kill it. Bury it." He doesn't want ANY of his Quick Utilities shareware programs distributed anymore, either. That's too bad, because they're nice programs! I wish he would just release them as freeware, but.... Anyway, PC Xformer v.2.5 and 3.0 are excellent commercial products!  PRIV8_IS is a Type 1 MIDI file of the song "Private Eyes" by Hall and Oates. It was sequenced on a Falcon030 using EditTrack Platinum. Delphi.  PSSLIB2 is PSSLIB v.2.0 for the Yamaha Patch Editor/Librarian for the Yamaha Portasound Series 480/680 FM Synthesizer by Mike Silverstein (dated May 7, 1994). This fully functional E/L is GEM based and is very easy to use. It now features keyboard and mouse control, support for the Custom Drummer, import/export of SYSEX files and messages, and more. It include LHA v.1.3 by Roger Burrows (docs and everything) for compressing the patches you create. This used to be a limited Shareware demo, but the author has now released the fully-working (and enhanced) version to us all! ST/STe and Falcon compatible (maybe TT, too). Color or mono. Full (interesting) docs included. Delphi.  RSVE_E1 is RSVE by Harun Scheutzow (the author of HSMODA4). RSVE (dated July 4, 1994) makes it possible to use higher line speeds than 19200 Baud over the serial port Modem1. The supported baud rates are 38400, 57600, and 115200 (though these last two are not recommended for unaccelerated ST's). This file comes with complete English and German docs detailing (with .IMG files) the procedures for the PCB layout and FAL (Gate Array Logic) programming for this system. Shareware. Delphi.  SPEEDOM2 is Speed-o-meter v.2 by Erin Matthew Monaco (dated 1994). This is "The multitasker's speed gauge" and it allows you to accurately judge the effects of the variety of programs you run on your system. This version has been improved for greater compatibility with other programs and a number of other "tweaks." It will run in a single-tasking mode (just see how much moving your mouse around slows up your bare system!) or with Geneva or MultiTOS. By playing around with this the author has found a number of ways of speeding up his system by quick and easy means (I'll let you read the docs to find out about them!). Shareware. ST--Falcon compatible. Erin has also written a lot of other programs, Blitzschnesll v.1.47 being the first to come to mind (BLITZ147). Delphi.  SSAM108 is SuperSam, the Superb Sample Editor, v.1.08 by Daniel Hastings (dated 2nd half of 1994). This save disabled Shareware sample editor for the Falcon030 allows you to digitally store sounds on disk (in a slew of different formats), and edit them in a variety of ways including reversing them to play them backwards, cutting and pasting, combining multiple sounds and many more functions. I counted at least 30 features before I quit! Geneva and MultiTOS compatible, this looks to be an excellent program! Registration brings a key for the complete program (this demo version also limits D2D to files of 800K or less). Superb docs included (I guess it goes along with the name!). Delphi.  STALK303 is the mid-Dec. 1994 patch program from Gribnif Software which will update the original (and unmodified) disk of STalker v.3.02 to v.3.03. A newer patch program which will take your v.3.03 STalker to v.3.04, is now out I understand, but I think you still need this patch before you use that. I use STalker all the time online (and I'm online a lot!). I think this upgrade it great! A lot of minor changes and bug fixes are included. For Delphi users a great benefit is that now Z-Modem downloads may be restarted after an interruption. Get this if you have STalker v.3.02 (there is a free patch program for v.3.00 to 3.01 upgrades and you can upgrade versions previous to that directly from Gribnif). Delphi.  STENO210 is a patch program from Gribnif Software which will update your original and unmodified STeno v.2.00 disk to STeno v. 2.10 (dated mid-December, 1994). A newer patch which will take your STeno v.2.10 to v.2.11 is now out, I understand (though I haven't gotten it). You will still need this patch in order to use that new one (I think). I use STeno all the time and I'm glad for this update. There are lots of added features to this new version of STeno, making a great program even better. If you have STeno 2.00, get this! If you have a previous version of STeno you really need to upgrade! Contact Gribnif in that case. Delphi.  STBALL16 is v.1.6 of STarBall by Dave Oldcorn. This is perhaps the best pinball game I have ever seen! I recommend it to you highly. The play area is three screens high (with three sets of flippers), and there's a lot of action, surprize bonuses, and much more! The scene is in outer space and as you play the pinball game you are forming a starfighter (by hitting all the objects about, gaining points, and in general, surviving!). The controls really work (meaning you can control the direction of the ball by skillful use of the paddles). The graphics and sound are excellent. If you have a Falcon, the game is even better, as it will allow you to play .MOD files in the background and display 50 frames per sec for ultra smooth operation (you can also get the 50 fps with an accelerated ST - great!). There are three levels of play with three amazing bonus levels and one "amazing secret barking mad bonus screen." This version fixes the bug when running from a Hard drive (on some machines), you can save your scores, and more. ST (even a 512K machine)-Falcon compatible. Docs included. Get this! Shareware. An excellent sound file for this game for STE, TT, and Falcon users may be found in STARBLFX. Delphi.  STARBLFX is a new set of sounds for STarball (dated Sept. 11, 1994), that great space pinball game by Dave Oldcorn (see STBALL16). To use these sounds you must has an STE, TT or Falcon. The samples are 12.5kHz and 6.25kHz, some of them are terrible, most of them are average, a couple are brilliant. They are a definite addition to this shareware game. Delphi.  SVKP0_1 is Sircware VK Pro by Chris Brookes (dated July 24, 1994). This virus killer program (freeware for the nonce) recognises 61 bootsector viruses, several different Link viruses -and- repairs Link virus infected programs. The author has promised updates (he has great plans) but only if you contact him and comment about the program (unrecognized boot sectors gratefully received). Docs (with an interesting file name!) included. Delphi. Gee, maybe this wasn't such a small "Unabashed Atariophile" article after all! Take care! All of these files can be found on one or more of the following on-line services: Delphi (MRBURKLEY), GEnie (M.BURKLEY1) The CodeHead BBS (818) 980-6763), Toad Computers BBS (410-544-6999), and at Toad Hall, now the official BBS of the Boston Computer Society (617-567-8642) (as Michael R. Burkley). Drop me a line! Michael lives in Niagara Falls, NY. He is a former Polyurethane Research Chemist and is presently the pastor of the Niagara Presbyterian Church. --==--==--==--==-- ||| Developing news! ||| Items of interest from TOS platform developers and supporters / | \ ------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------------------------------------------------------------- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// ATARI SAFARI '95 Feb 18, 1995 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The fifth annual ATARI SAFARI '95 will be held in HOUSTON at the Ramada Hotel on February 18, 1995. The show is sponsored by HACE. Hours are 10:00 AM til 6:00 PM. Admission: $4.00 ($1.00 for kids under 12 yrs of age) Sales Tables: $20.00 Houston ATARI SAFARI'95 The Ramada Hotel is at 7787 Katy Freeway. (Interstate 10) between Antoine and Silber.Everyone is invited to the 5th annual Atari Safari. This will be the largest gathering of Atari Users in Texas and surrounding states. Primarily a vendor show, vendors will include Binary Sounds, COMPO, ChroMagic Software Innovations, Clear Thinking, DMJ Software, It's All Relative, Oregon Research Associates, Systems For Tomorrow, TOAD Computers, and Trace Technologies in addition to local individual's tables. There will also be Atari User Groups with demos and PD/Shareware software sales. Free 8-bit or ST software with registration. And hourly door prizes! ATARI SAFARI '95. Additional information or table reservations (by 2/10/95): HACE BBS (713) 458-9923 George Iken (713) 493-0122 Bill Kithas (713) 855-0815 HACE, PO Box 820335 Houston, TX 77282-0335 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// An Open Letter =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= To: John Stewart President of MajicSoft 348 Meredith Square Columbia, SC 29223 (Last known home address) (803) 788-8177 (MajicSoft phone number) Micro Computer Depot 714 Bultman Drive Colony Square Sumter, SC 29150 (Last known work address) (803) 775-5165 (Last known work phone number) From your affiant: Dave Munsie 5601 Ammons Haltom City, TX 76117 (817) 485-9293 This is a notice from your affiant to MajicSoft to clear up any misunderstanding about property ownership of software experiences designed by your affiant. As of June 16th, 1994 the contract between your affiant and MajicSoft was dissolved due to the fact that when your affiant moved to South Carolina to continue further development with MajicSoft and soon after due to a lack of sufficient financial earnings, MajicSoft ceased any and all compensation to affiant what so ever resulting in severe duress, eventually leading to your affiant (and family) being served an eviction notice from the county of Richland, State of South Carolina, Civil Case# H004859-940741. As a result of this notice affiant has taken the time to remove any questionable software experiences designed by affiant that may fall under ownership of MajicSoft PRIOR to June 16th, 1994 from two public file transfer services; GEnie, Delphi. The software experiences designed by affiant in question are: ST Invaders Kid_GP Frogger Kid_Kong Evader Dark Pearl Best of Dave Munsie Volume 1 (Only because it has the above games in it) Dev_Shell Any software experiences COMPLETED by your affiant AFTER the date stated herein of June 16th, 1994 was and is the property of your affiant. Any information to the contrary must be recieved by your affiant within 30 days of this notice. To: Any and all Atari related vendors, users. Re: MajicSoft distribution rights of software designed by Dave Munsie From: Dave Munsie 5601 Ammons Haltom City, TX 76117 (817) 485-9293 The following software is the 100% sole property of MajicSoft. I have no legal ownership of the following software. M.A.G.E. (MajicSoft Arcade Graphics Engine) M.A.G.E. Arcade Hits Volume I (And all programs included thereof) Dev_Shell Any and all questions relating to these programs should be addressed to: MajicSoft 348 Meredith Square Columbia, SC 29223 (803) 788-8177 Attn: John Stewart, President of MajicSoft. --==--==--==--==-- ||| ||| Shutdown ........................... Power off, EXIT, BYE, Logoff / | \ ----------------------------------------------------------------- We welcome feedback from all of our readers; feedback both positive and negative. Whatever you think of our efforts, we sincerely would like to know. Our EMail addresses are sprinkled throughout each issue - with the new Internet gateway into GEnie, you can reach us through the Internet also. Append "@genie.geis.com" to any of our GEnie addresses. Until the next issue of AEO, I remain, Your Editor Travis Guy Internet: firstname.lastname@example.org --==--==--==--==-- (This issue printed on recycled photons) --==--==--==--==-- DNFTEC --==--==--==--==-- No Inflation Necessary --==--==--==--==-- "Damnit Reggie!" Sweet As Sugar --==--==--==--==-- Atari Explorer Online Magazine is a (we try) bi-weekly publication covering the entire Atari community. Reprint permission is granted, unless otherwise noted at the beginning of the article, to registered Atari user groups and not for profit publications under the following terms only: articles must remain unedited and include the issue number and author at the top of each article reprinted. Other reprints granted upon approval of request. Send requests to <email@example.com>. Opinions presented herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff, or of the publishers. All material herein is believed accurate at the time of publishing. --==--==--==--==-- Atari, ST, Mega ST, STE, Mega STE, TT030, Atari Falcon030, TOS, MultiTOS, NewDesk, BLiTTER, Atari Lynx, ComLynx, Atari Jaguar, Atari Portfolio, and the Atari Fuji Symbol are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Atari Corporation. All other trademarks and identifying marks mentioned in this issue belong to their respective owners. --==--==--==--==-- Atari Explorer Online Magazine "Your Source for Atari News" Copyright (c) 1993-1995, Subspace Publishers * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: A E O ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: Volume 4 - Issue 1 ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE 16 January 1995 :: ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
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