Z*Magazine: 25-May-87 #53

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/16/93-10:11:36 AM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 25-May-87 #53
Date: Fri Jul 16 10:11:36 1993

            RON KOVACS
Xx Zmag May 25, 1987

    ST Transformer Approved

<*> CEBIT Part 2
    Concluding report from Antic

    80 Column Card (XEP80)

    GBA Basketball from Gamestar

<*> Publishers Page

Xx Zmag Top Story
  ....ST-Transformer Approved!!!....
MAGAZINE by permission.

By John Nagy

800-in-an-ST-Program WILL BE RELEASED
with ATARI's approval!

NEIL HARRIS, spokesman for ATARI, has
agreed (in a public message on the
GEnie ATARI SIG) to allow both USE
and DISTRIBUTION of the ATARI code
within Darek's emulator.  The
permission is contingent on Darek's
emulator, so that other programmers
may be able to add their efforts. 
Neil says the object of this move is
to increase the likelyhood of a truly
versatile, full-speed emulator.

As it stands now, the ST TRANSFORMER
uses largely custom routines modeled
after the ATARI ROM, with some code
grafted into the program at startup
by a port of the TRANSLATOR DISK (or,
in another version, they are already
within the emulator program).  That's
what ATARI had said that Darek could
not legally do.

April, two user groups showed Darek's
"ST TRANSFORMER" in operation.  The
author sent both the GENESEE ATARI
GROUP (G.A.G., Flint, Michigan) and
Huntingdon, Pennslyvania) copies of
the public domain emulator for
demonstration only.  Interest at both
tables was brisk despite the
uncomplete state of the program and
the current slowness of execution
(20%-40% "normal" speed depending, on
the program).  ATARI tried to ignore
the demos.

WACO members quizzed ATARI reps over
the actual status of the TRANSLATOR,
which was sent to all registered user
groups for free distribution.  Sandy
first said that it WAS NOT SENT and
remained ATARI'S property, then
admitted that she didn't know for
sure.  At issue was what restrictions
(if any) can now be put on the uses
of the disks after years of free

An intriguing facet of the conflict
appeared when a program called XLFIX,
available for sale in ANTIC
MAGAZINE's public domain library, was
found to work as well or better than
the original ATARI disk.  There are
several other translators and
operating systems available (both in
the public domain and commercially -
appears that ATARI would first have
to legally assert ownership and
control of ALL the "translators" in
order to get any legal claim against
Darek for using one or more of them
in his 800 emulator.

The dark prospects of long and
possibly unsuccessful legal action,
together with petition drives,
newsletter editorials, and comments
running in most major
telecommunication services and
magazines - all in support of the ST
TRANSFORMER - now seem to have gotten
through to ATARI.

In May, Neil Harris went on record
saying that if Darek would only put
his program source code in the public
domain for further development by
other programmers, then ATARI would
give their permission for use and
distribution of their operating

Darek Mihocka was unwilling to
release his source code as public
domain, for he would then have given
up any rights to his efforts. 
Fortunately, ATARI softened their
position, changing their demand to
simply the PUBLISHING of the code,
with the rights to his work remaining
with the author.

Darek had previously contacted
several other major ATARI-interest
magazines about the possibility of
their publishing the TRANSFORMER and
source code in copyrightable form,
but was turned down by each.  The
main reason was ATARI's vocal
objection to the project and its
legal questions.  However, Neil
stated in his May 15th messages that
ANY magazine would be satisfactory,
and that a formal proposal letter of
permission would be sent within days.
 Richard Frick of ATARI called to
confirm this on May 20.

Darek will have the consent needed
for any interested magazine to
publish and distribute the ATARI ROM
with the emulator, as well as any
parts of DOS and BASIC that may help.
 Availability time, publishing
timetable, and even which magazine
will offer the program can only be
guessed at.  It is clear that
wherever it is printed, ATARI wants
no restrictions on distribution
(i.e., ANTIC and its "no BBS" rule). 
Frick indicated that ATARI could
influence ANTIC on this issue for
this particular program if

All the flap hasn't slowed Darek's
progress on the continuously
developing project.  He added SOUND,
graphics to the already fairly
capable emulator.  The PLAYER-MISSLE
routines were completed and donated
by another sympathetic programmer. 
Speed improvements continue to be

Throughout the months of discussion
on the subject, Neil Harris and
company at ATARI kept asking "Why
would anyone want to use 8-bit
software on an ST?"...  Perhaps a
much better question is "WHY NOT?". 
WACO and other user groups WANT an
emulator to provide SOME kind of
link, however flawed, between the two
products of ATARI CORP.

Distribution of a successful emulator
disk by ST dealers might be all some
8-bit owners need to convince them
that it is time for a system upgrade-
or at least assure them that an
upgrade in hardware won't mean an
instant loss of 100% of the software
they have grown with for years.

Supplied by the CHAOS BBS (517)

For a more detailed report on this
story, Please read the June 1987
issue of Computer Shopper Page 142!]
Xx CEBIT 1987  Part 2

Let's start with new languages.
Although there are many already, even
more languages are offered for the
ST. Some people even say that there
is no other computer with more
different languages available --
languages not only for developers.

Again, HEIM-Verlag has something for
us.  It is a powerful version of
PROLOG that also supports GEM.  The
package consists of a compiler/
interpreter system with around 140
functions.  It is called SALIX-PROLOG
and costs around $120.

More sophisticated is MProlog by
Berlin-based Epsilon. MProlog is also
available on other computers like
VAX, Macintosh, IBM etc.  It costs
around $500 (?), and is designed for
professional use.

SMALLTALK-80 in its version 2.1,
which has been ported to the ST by a
group from Dortmund-university, is an
object-oriented language which means
that all is done by sending messages
betwwen objects.

Another language with an unusual
concept is FORTH.  LMI put out its
FORTH-83 compatible version for the
ST. This version is also compatible
with other LMI-Forths for other
computers. Alas, it does not support
GEM, but it at least supports the TOS

A language that becomes more and more
interesting for the hobbyist is
MODULA-2.  MEGAMAX is turning out its
version and probably will be a worthy
competitor against TDI.

Not only new languages were shown.
BASIC in new and more powerful
versions enjoys a glorious revival. 
Three different BASIC systems were

First there was GfA who showed
version 2.0 of their interpreter and
the almost final version 1.71 of
their compiler.  Frank Ostrowski, the
author of GfA-BASIC is now busy
writing a GfA-macro-assembler, lets
wait and see. GfA will be represented
in the US by MICHTRON.

The second BASIC shown was OMIKRON-
BASIC which comes on a plug-in board
for the ROM-port.  It is even faster
than GfA-BASIC in most functions, it
calculates up to 19 decimals,
supports matrices and a C-standard
GEM-interface.  It is MBASIC-
compatible and there only is one
problem.  By the time it was
published, most people had already
bought GfA-BASIC.

The third newcomer has another nice
feature.  True-BASIC is available for
ATARI, IBM, AMIGA and MAC and between
these it is fully portable.  Like
OMIKRON it offers matrices and it
supports the full new ANSI-standard. 
It also has a special library for 3-D


There were quite a few applications
presented, but most programs were
dedicated to the German market with
special attention to the German tax-
system and other uniquely German
necessities.  Among those that are
useful for any businessman was
LOGISTIX, an integrated software
-package which includes a
spreadsheet, database, timeplanner
and graphics.  The demonstration was
quite impressive, and the product
seems very capable, but I'm not an
expert in spreadsheets.

Another database was presented by
ATARI itself. ADIMENS-ST is fully
GEM-integrated (well almost),
extremly fast, powerful and a high-
quality product. To bad it still
lacks a programming language, which
for me as a developer is
indispensable.  ATARI said it is
underway, though, and should be
available by July.

A real goody was a piece of
integrated software which was
presented by a Yugoslavian firm.  Its
name is 'STEVE' and it is the most
flexible spreadsheet I've seen, yet. 
One can do everything and nothing
with it.  It can be used as a
spread-sheet naturally, a database,
text-editor, graphic editor and
mailing list facility.  It allows
user-definable function keys, two
keyboard-tables, several fonts,
abbreviations and dictionary in the
text-editor and more. The program
will retail in Germany for around DM
250, which is about $110, but that
was the maximum price.  I'm waiting
for this program!

Again, ATARI offered '1st Word Plus'.
This program cures most of the errors
and oddities of the original 1st Word
and adds some nice new features as
well. It is going to be really
difficult to make a choice between
1st Word Plus and BECKER-text since
both have nice features the
competitor does not have and as well
there are still wishes I have for


G-DATA, based in Dusseldorf, has been
known over here for its quality
utility software.  They have improved
some of their old programs and added
new ones including a program to make
a Hard disk capable of auto-booting
and several programs to make backups
of a hard disk which has some nice
features including data-compression,
and file size of more than disk size.

The most powerful tool for disk-
repair and editing is T.L.D.U.  by
FOCUS.  This firm has made disk-
monitors for years.  T.L.D.U is fully
programmable and the disk comes with
some example-macros which offer a
good way to learn the necessary
commands. The programming language is
very C-like. The current release does
not read or write some copy-protected
disks, but an update has been
promised for June. T.L.D.U.  also
includes a disassembler and an
extensive manual.

KUMA presented its late releases of


Finally there is some movement in the
German mailbox and telecommunication
community.  Some good programs were
at the show.  DELUXE-Term supports
GEM and is somewhat equal in comfort
to FLASH, but it is possible to use
1200/75 baud which is necessary for
BILDSCHIRMTEXT, the German version of
VIDEO-TEXT services.

Another program, again offered by
ATARI themselves, is 1st Terminal,
that is completely GEM-based in
conjunction with PROFIBOX, an
excellent mailbox program. It is even
possible to select from the PROFIBOX
menues using your mouse when
utilizing 1st Terminal.

Both programs, the box and the
terminal program have been written by
Brain-Works from Rosenheim in

Harm-Bastian (HABA), which resides in
Hamburg, has released its HABACAD-PL
layout program.  The program
addresses only professional
hardware-developers and the price of
DM3000 ($1200) seems rather hefty.
No GEM support, but powerful routing

On the lower end of the price scale
is STAD a drawing-program for 2-D and
3-D objects.  There are up to 15 2-D
pages and an extra 3-D part.  STAD
offers the usual and some extra
functions including sending/receiving
via the serial port.  The 3-D part is
object-oriented like in EASYDRAW, the
2-D part is not.  

However, it is possible to
interchange data between the parts,
thus allowing for a 2-D object-
library. STAD also includes animation
and 'realtime rotation'. STAD retails
for DM 179.-($90).


A program I could not classify, but
which I found a very appealing
possibility to learn is 'SKYPLOT

Just about anything that has to do
with astronomy is in this program.
Calculate eclipses, conjunctions,
trails of selected comets or planets
and stars. Two databases for the
stars, one with 610 and one with
15,383 stars are integrated. It is
possible to find out how the night
-sky above your house looks like, by
putting in your geographical
position.  This program has much more
possibilities.  It retails for DM
200,- ($100).

I know that many things were
described much too superficially, but
this report was intended to give you
an idea of what is happening in
ATARI's stronghold.  ATARI has sold
over 120,000 STs (all models) in
Germany alone. ATARI Germany has made
up for almost 30% of ATARI's sales in
Xx Hardware Review
   .....XEP80  80-Col. Board.....
Copyright 1987 Antic Publishing Inc.

     XEP80 (80-column card)
     Atari Corp.
     1196 Borregas Avenue
     Sunnyvale, CA 94086
     (408) 745-2000
     $79.95, 16K disk

It's here.  Arriving at Antic just as
we were about to go to press, the
long-promised XEP80 80-column box is
being manufactured at the Atari
Corp.'s Taiwan manufacturing center
and should be available in stores for
$79.95 by the time you read this.

The XEP80 displays 80 columns and 24
rows of readable text on your screen.
On monochrome monitors, this text is
razor-sharp.  It's also quite
readable on a color monitor, though
naturally the characters are smaller
than standard 40-column Atari text. 
Either way, the XEP80 is far superior
to any software-only commercial
products that produce an 80-column


According to John Skruch, Atari's
Associate Director for Software,
AtariWriter 80 -- a new 80-column
upgrade of the AtariWriter Plus word
processor -- was undergoing final
testing at deadline and should also
be in the stores when the XEP80
arrives in June 1987.

AtariWriter 80 and a new 80-column,
single-density version of Atari's
Silent Butler personal finance
program will be the first commercial
software that runs on the XEP80.
However, early prototype versions of
the XEP80 box were sent to major
publishers of 8-bit software -- such
as Batteries Included, Broderbund,
XLEnt and OSS -- with the expectation
that existing products will soon be
updated for 80 columns.

Inexpensive 80-column trade-up prices
for users of the existing AtariWriter
Plus and Silent Butler will be
offered by Atari, according to
Skruch.  But no prices for the
software have been set as of this


The XEP80 is about the size of a 1030
modem (5 3/8 x 9 1/4 x 1-3/8 inches)
and weighs in at two pounds.  It can
easily fit atop your disk drive.

The XEP80 connects to your Atari
through either joystick port 1 or 2. 
An XL/XE RCA-jack video cable carries
the signal from the back of the XEP80
to your monitor.  (Atari says the
XEP80 display will not be
satisfactory on a televison set.)

Keeping the system running is a small
9-volt power supply, the same power
unit used with the 2600 videogame
system and the still-awaited Atari
1200-baud moderm.  Note: The power
supply that came with our prototype
XEP80 tended to grow unusually hot.

The XEP80 also includes a parallel
printer port that uses the same
25-pin cable as the ST.  If you hold
down the [SELECT] key when you boot
your computer, the XEP80 will serve
only as a parallel printer interface
-- without turning on the 80-column


The disk that comes with the XEP80
contains the AUTORUN.SYS file which
installs the handler (which is only
about 200 bytes).  Commented
MAC/65-compatible source code for the
handler is also included.  Atari's
Lane Winner is credited as the main
designer of the XEP80 system.

The disk also features a number of
impressive demonstration programs
written in BASIC and assembly
language, as well as detailed
documentation and utility software
for inserting 80-column handler
rountines into your own programs.

The XEP80 handler introduces several
new commands to Atari BASIC. These
take the form of XIO statements
     - Invert the screen colors
       (default is white text on a
       black background).

     - Enable underlining.

     - Produce a blinking cursor.

     - Mix double-width or double-
       height text with standard-size

     - Mix blinking text (any width
       or height) with standard text.

     - Enable character-by-character
       horizontal scrolling with a
       POSITION statement and an XIO

The XEP80 is immediately compatible
with all software that supports E:
calls -- such as Atari BASIC
(versions A, B and C) and Atari DOS
2.5.  During our tests, the XEP80
didn't work with DOS 2.0.


Built into the XEP80 is 8K of static
RAM, which is used as a screen
storage buffer to operate the display
faster. The XEP80 has two complete
character sets built in, the standard
XL/XE special character set and
Atari's international character set.

The XEP80 can draw high-resolution
bit-mapped graphics covering as much
as half the screen.  However, the
80-column drawing routines are much
slower than standard 40-column
drawing.  It took five minutes to
draw and fill a golfball-sized circle
in Graphics 8.

Drawing isn't simple either.  The
PLOT and DRAWTO statements are not
supported and text windows are not
allowed.  If your program crashes in
the middle of one of these lengthy
and complicated bit-map operations,
the display remains in bit-mapped
mode.  You must reboot and start


If you're serious about an 80-column
display, the XEP80 won't disappoint
you.  The text is outstanding on
monochrome monitors and acceptably
readable on composite color monitors.
Beginning and intermediate BASIC
programmers will want to explore new
ways to use the XEP80's additional
XIO commands. Advanced BASIC and
assembly language programmers will
enjoy adapting the XEP80 handler to
their favorite business software,
word processor or telecommunications
Xx Software Review
    .....GBA BASKETBALL.....
GBA Basketball By:GAMESTAR $39.95
Reviewed by J.C. Cobb

GBA Basketball resembles ONE-ON-ONE
basketball for the eight-bit
machines, in as much as the play is
reatively the same, except that there
are two players per team instead of

The scoring is the same, with two and
three point goals, foul shots, and
fouls.  However, in GBA Basketball,
you have the option of setting your
offense or defense before the
beginning of each trip down court.
There are five diferant offensive
sets you can use, and four different

Before beginning play, you have a
chance to select different talents
for your player, and designate skill
levels for each of those talents. You
then select a teammate from a list of
ten GBA 'superstars'.  Try to pick a
superstar to compliment your player.
For example, if you set your player
to be a good inside player, then pick
a teammate who plays well on the
outside.  I have found that making
yourself an excellent inside player
works quite well.

Now you have several options. You may
opt to practice for a while; where
you have a choice of one or two
player practice, play 'around the
world or 'horse'.  If you are ready
for championship basketball, you may
move on to the real game. Either play
your team against another
individual's team, play your man and
another person's man against the
computer, play your team against the
computer in an exhibition game, or
play your team in league play.

League play is probably the best
aspect of this game.  You take your
team into a 32-team league, play five
games against the other teams in your
division, and if you win the
division, you go to the playoffs.
There are four divisions (North,
South, East, West), each harder than
the previous, and you may place your
team into any division you like.

The mechanics of GBA Basketball are
relatively simple, with all the
action coming from the standard
joystick and fire button.  Move the
stick to pick offensive and defensive
plays when prompted, then use the
stick to move your player and shoot. 
Holding down the button allows you to
shoot the basketball: tapping the
button allows you to pass the ball to
your teammate.
Xx Publishers Page
Due to late breaking stories this
past week, scheduled articles for
this issue have been rescheduled for
a future edition.

If you are a reader of Computer
Shopper, you will notice some
commentary about CompuServe, Zmag,
and myself. The article was based
upon actions which took place during
a few week period in March/April of
this year.

In a conversation with the Atari
CIS SIG SysOps over the last few
weeks, all of our problems have been
ironed out and hopefully any future
misunderstandings on my part or
others will be quickly resolved.

Look for more information in future
editions of Zmag.

The Data Library on CompuServe will
soon contain all issues of Zmag. I
am currently reformatting and 
producing the older editions into
40 column ascii editions. They will
be uploaded a few at a time. Look for
all of them shortly.

If your BBS carries Zmag, Please get
your name to us so that we can update
our Systems list. We will send this
list to CIS and GEnie and publish in 
a future edition.

With this issue we celebrate our 1st
year of publication. Thanks to 
everyone for the support over the
last year. Help us grow bigger in

Thanks for reading.
Zmagazine Issue #53
May 25, 1987  
(c)1987 Syndicate Services
Please Contribute!!

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