Second Batch of Twenty Questions (Sept.04,1993)

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 02/19/94-09:30:12 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Second Batch of Twenty Questions (Sept.04,1993)
Date: Sat Feb 19 21:30:12 1994

 :: Volume 2 - Issue 15      ATARI EXPLORER ONLINE      4 September 1993 ::

 |||   The Second Batch of Twenty Questions to Atari
 |||   Courtesy: The Atari Forums on CompuServe
/ | \  ----------------------------------------------------------------


Please accept my apologies for this taking so long to get to you.
I've been incredibly busy here at Atari, and there is so much to do in
so little time.   I've taken the liberty of combining a few of the
questions together since I felt they were best handled by a single

Q: We have heard that LlamaZap for the Falcon is finally finished, and
the code has been sent to Atari US for duplication and packaging.  How
soon will LlamaZap be on sale in the US and Europe?

>From Bob Brodie:
Llamazap is still in our software testing group, it has not been
approved for released yet.  I've been contacted by a UK based magazine
that tells me that they have spoken to the programmer.  They state
that the programmer indicated that he's finished with the program.
Our policies require it to go through an extensive software testing
program here before it will be released.

In the US, our plans are to bundle at least a couple of the games for
the Falcon030 with the new controller pad.  Llamazap is a leading
candidate to be sold in that fashion.  I would expect to see it in the
fall.  Pricing on the controllers isn't 100% firm right now, but I
would look for it to be in the $20-30 range.

Q: When the Falcon was first announced, there were comments indicating
that a DSP modem was possible.  Is this still being worked on by

>From Bob Brodie:
Yes it is.  There have been a few problems in getting this product
implemented, especially at the price/performance point that we want it
to be done at.  We're working closely with a third party developer to
make this happen.  I'm confident that it WILL be done, it's just a
question of when.

Q: MultiTOS is reported to be fairly slow on the Falcon.  Is Atari
working on faster code?  Is the slowness due to slow video routines
that something like Warp 9 could cure?

>From Bob Brodie:
I've heard all kinds of opinions about how fast (or slow) MultiTOS is.
It's my impression that people reactions depend on what they've used
before.  If they had any experience with a Multitasking OS before,
they probably recognize it to be pretty efficient.  If they
haven't...they might not be impressed at all.

Certainly we're very interested in seeing updates to MultiTOS.  But
it's only been shipping for a short period of time, so I don't believe
it's realistic to expect an update this soon.  Perhaps later this

Re Warp 9, well...yes and no.  Warp 9 will improve the screen re-draws
speed, but there is always another sacrifice: compatibility.  This
isn't a slam against Warp 9, I use it on one of the systems in my
office here at Atari. The VDI is designed to be what it is, a VIRTUAL
interface that should work in ANY rez.  Warp 9 doesn't work in any
rez, which is why it gets upgraded every time we release a new

>From Bill Rehbock:
I use NVDI on my Falcon030 daily.  It works great with MultiTOS, and
I'm very happy.  But, I can hardly wait to be able to use Warp 9!

Q: What is the practical number of channels of Direct-to-disk
recording and playback that the Falcon can support with an SCSI-2
drive?  I've been hearing that SCSI-2, as fast as it is, isn't fast
enough for the full eight channels supported by the Falcon.  Also,
what's the highest channel count using an IDE drive?

>From James Grunke:
The Falcon030 SCSI-2 hardware does have the bandwidth to support 8
channels of digital audio at 50Khz.  We have done a proof of concept
here but it is not easy to move that much data, the software must be
well written.  As well, limitations would include the access speed of
the external drive.   Applications using SCSI-2 on the Falcon030
handle digital audio in the following ways:

Available now in Europe with US release pending, Digitape from Trade
iT uses eight tracks, two for record with the remaining six for
simultaneous playback, this should work on IDE as well as SCSI-2

Available soon, the Steinberg Cubase Audio/Yamaha CBX-D5 system will
use the SCSI-2 port for its 4 track system.  I understand that you can
link two 'D-5's to achieve 8 tracks total.  Cubase Audio for Falcon
(available later this fall) specs show that 4 tracks are used for
record/playback along with 4 voices of sample playback.

Available now, D2D 4TFX uses 4 tracks via SCSI-2 or IDE drives.

Please contact developers directly for more information.

Q: With current technology, about how many true color video frames per
second should the Falcon be capable of handling in a video playback
application?  Is this faster than what Windows video can do these

>From Bill Rehbock:
There are a lot of variables that have an impact on the answer to your
question.  It will depend on the exact rez that you are in, and if
sound is included.  At 320x200, 60 frames per second on a Falcon is
very doable.  Movies do 30 frames per second (with sound), most
animated cartoons are running at 12 frames per second, so you can see
that we're pretty competitive.

Re the comparison versus Windows, again, there are too many variables
to tell what kind of perfomance to expect. It would depend which
Windows application you were comparing it to, and what kind of
hardware Windows was running under.  For example,  the Intel Smart
Video Recorder playback rate is approximately 20-30 frames per
seconds.  The price on the card alone is $549 (street price), and
requires a 25 Mhz 486SX, and includes Intel's Indio video compression

Q: Now that the Falcon is shipping worldwide, what are the best
selling, Falcon specific (or Falcon enhanced) applications (the top 3
or 4 please)? (And if the top three are all MIDI apps, whats the best
selling non-Midi app)

>From Bill Rehbock:
We don't require our developers to report there sales to us, so they
don't.  But MusiCOMM appears to be doing well, as is True Paint,  and
Atari Works <shameless plug>.  We really like Phoenix Render, but I
don't think it's selling to well.  On the game side, Ishar is selling
well, and Transarctica looks terrific.

Q: At the most recent shareholders meeting, Sam Tramiel commented that
although the Falcon030 was not selling as well as anticipated, Atari
is nonetheless committed to staying in the computer market and that
there will be additional Falcon models.  Can you please tell us about
some of the models under consideration?

>From Bob Brodie:
Sorry, it is not our policy to discuss unannounced products.  I am
happy to confirm for you that as we stated when we announced the Atari
Falcon030, there is a new family of computers being produced by Atari.
The Falcon030 is the first of that family of computers.  I've seen
prototypes of future machines, and I believe that you'll be pleased
with the results.

Q: In the last question and answer session it was stated that Atari
plans to tell everyone about the Falcon030 but not until their is
enough product to meet the demand.  The Jaguar right now is already in
very hot demand and Atari definitely needs to make sure they can meet
it, how does Atari plan to do that as customers who can't get the
product might be turned off and move to another platform?

>From Bob Brodie:
First of all, it's important to note that we plan to ship initially
only to New York and San Francisco markets with the initial shipments
of the Jaguar.  We don't plan on being able to supply ANY of the
demand outside of those areas.  We're already getting calls from
potential dealers outside of that area, and we tell them we won't sell
to them until next year.

One of the ways that we will make sure that people will not get turned
off is by the extensive coverage that we will have in the magazines.
We've already seen some write ups by the Jaguar in a few of the gaming
magazines, and we continue to work very closely with some of the
biggest mags in the field to ensure their coverage.  I've personally
spoken to a number of the editors and writers that have seen video
tape footage of the Jaguar.  Universally, they are thrilled, and very
excited about the Jaguar.  They want review units _NOW_!  And that I'm
certain what that really means is that they want to play the machine,
not just write about it!!

We're being very up front about our sales plans for the Jaguar.
People will either have to order it from either New York or San
Francisco based stores, or wait for the product to be available in
their area.  The level of excitement in the game media is very high,
and I'm sure that will splash over into the public as well.

Q: Finally, When will Atari make public the names of 3rd party
companies for the Jaguar?

>From Bob Brodie:
I expect to make some press releases later this month on the Jaguar,
but I'm not sure exactly when we'll make that one.  Certainly within
the next 90 days.

Q: According to rumors, the Jaguar game machine has some very significant
technological capabilities.  Is there a public target date for it yet?

>From Bob Brodie:
The Jaguar definitely has some very significant technological
capabilities...that's a fact, not a rumor!!

The unit will be available for sale in the fall season in New York and
San Francisco.

Q: If the recently announced numbers of the Atari/IBM deal are to be
taken at face value, the $500 million figure equates to 2.5 million
units at a retail price of $200.  How long is the contract with IBM to
last?  Who will be able to sell the Jaguar (just current Atari

>From Bob Brodie:  The contract with IBM is for 30 months.

Obviously, we're looking toward high volume retail outlets, but
neither do we want to exclude our dealers that sell our computer
products.  At this point, I think it's reasonable to assume that the
dealers will be able to purchase the Jaguar through distributors.

Q: The press releases about the new Jaguar relationship with IBM state
that IBM will be responsible for building and 'distributing' the
Jaguar? Exactly what is meant by 'distributing?'  Does this mean
people will be able to order it from IBM, too?  Or will IBM simply
ship the completed units to whomever Atari tell them to?

>From Bob Brodie:
Distributing them means that IBM will warehouse and ship the products
for us.  The orders will still come to Atari, and then we will notify
IBM whom to ship the product to.  IBM will not be selling the Jaguar.

Q: Will there be a Jaguar version of LlamaZap?

>From Bob Brodie:
We would prefer not to discuss any titles other than what we've
released in our press releases at this time, sorry.

Q: I have gotten conflicting reports concerning the TT030 going back
into production. If it's true, will it be available to the public?
I've been trying to buy one, but nobody has any.

>From Bob Brodie:  Yes, it will be available again.

Try calling Winners Circle in Berkley, CA.    Their phone number is
510-845-4814.  I happen to know that they have a new unit in stock as
of today (8/14/93), as well as a used unit.

Q: I was a beta tester for the World Clock program for the Portfolio.
The testing was finished about a year ago but I haven't seen it
announced to the public yet.  Whats the status of this program? Atari
Corp has not announced any new software or peripherals for the
Portfolio for a long time.  There have been a few rumors but nothing
concrete about a Portfolio II model.  Is the Portfolio dead?

>From Bob Brodie:
At this point in time, we are devoting almost all of our energies
toward the Jaguar.  All Portfolio projects are on hold.

Q: We were told a few months ago that ATARI EXPLORER magazine was "under
review" and that an announcement about its continuing status would be
made "shortly."  When (if ever) can we expect the next issue?

>From Bob Brodie:
At the time we made that statement, we were in negoiations to have
Atari Explorer produced as an out of house publication.  Negotiations
to have Atari Explorer Magazine restarted as an out of house
publication have broken down.  While Atari still believes in the
magazine, it is not profitable at this time, and we cannot afford to
publish it at a loss.  However, we are very optimistic that with the
success of the Jaguar, we will be able to renew publishing Explorer

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