Z*Magazine: 22-Jul-86

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/03/93-08:37:26 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 22-Jul-86
Date: Sat Jul  3 20:37:26 1993

    HOT Atari News and Reviews
Editor Clinton Smith  July 22,1986
Asst.Editor  Jim Dobleski
Publisher:Clinton Smith
Asst.Publishers:Jim Dobleski,Ron
Kovacs and The Wizard
Columnists:Clinton Smith and Rune
XxIn This Issue
*Chicagoland Atari Users' Group,July
19th meeting
*BBS Etiquette Part 2 by Gerry Feid
*Action Biker from Mastertronic-a
review by Clinton Smith
*7800 Corner-Robotron 2084
*Basically-Robot Loader and Disk
file input
*Zread 16 is here!
*Zmag Messages
*Zmag Update
*Zmag ? of the month
*Zmag Notes
XxClaug July 19th Meeting
 Due to the heat we were having last
week,the attendence at Saturday's
meeting was smaller than usual.Pete
had some business to attend to,so
Gerry Feid(writer of the Etiquette
article in this and last week's
issues)was in charge.
 First up,Illinois has two new laws
that have computer owners up in
arms.The shrink wrap law is a very
confusing law whose simplest
description is"Once you open a
software package it's yours,No
refunds,unless the manufacturer
states otherwise on the program's
packaging".(Editor's Note:I seem to
remember reading in a computer paper
,that is distributed by the public
library,that the shrink wrap law was
defeated.I'm going check up on
this situation and get back to you
with the correct info.)
 The second law is the one that
allows Ameritech Illinois Bell to
cancel the use of call-paks.Many
modem users depend on these to
make calls to and from the city and
without these,could be forced to
do without little things(like food)
in order to keep up with their
phone bills.Gerry is going to try
to get an Ameritech spokesman to
come to a meeting to explain why
they think our phone bills will
actually cost less without call
 Mark Racine,of Mars Merchandising,
demonstrated some new games for the
XL+XE computers from an English
company called MasterTronic.
MasterTronic has been selling their
Commodore programs over here,for
the last year,at a great price of
$10.Well,they've finally decided to
bring their Atari versions over
for the same $10 price tag.The games
are contained on so-called flippy
disks.A flippy disk has a version of
the game for the Atari on one side,
and the Commodore version on the
other side of the disk,this is good
in case you get tired of the game
you can always sell it to your
Commodore owning friend.Don't let
the $10 price fool you,these games
are quite good and feature some very
attractive graphics.
 The first game,Elektraglide,is
a 3-d sci-fi driving contest.You
are looking out the front window
of your vehicle as you drive down
the road to the next tunnel.Along
the way large 3-d geometrical
objects bounce down the road towards
you which you must avoid,and there
are also obstacles in the road that
you must drive around.The movement
of the road and the mountainous
background were quite similar to
Pole Position,while the gameplay
was reminiscent of the old Williams
laser arcade game,Star Rider.
 The second game,Kik Start,is a
sideview motorcycle stunt race.
After choosing which courses you
wish to race on(they all have names
of which my personal favorite was
shark bait)you must get your
motercycle through the courses
by doing the correct leaps at the
right speeds.One of it's nice
features is that you can race a
second person at the same time via
the bottom half of the split screen
.The third game,Action Biker,is
reviewed in full later this issue.
 The fourth game Mark demoed was
the terrific Hardball by Accolade
.This is the best baseball game
out presently for the Atari
computers.Hardball was reviewed
in the June 24th edition of Zmag.
 The 7800 that was running over
at the Mars Merchandising table
was attracting quite a few people
with it's great version of Pole
Position 2.If you would like to
get in touch with Mars concerning
the games or the 7800,here is
their address and phone number.

Mars Merchandising
15 W 615 Diversey
Elmhurst,Illinois 60126

Phone Number(312)530-0988
Tell them that Zmag sent you(Okay
,so they probably won't know what
Zmag is,but won't it be fun to
find out?)

Finally,next month is the Claug
Member's only picnic.So don't show up
at Triton on the 16th unless you plan
on having a very,very,small meeting
of your own.
Due to scheduling problems,the next
regular meeting won't be until the
4th Saturday of September(My,doesn't
the summer go by fast.).The standard
meeting will be down in the IronWood
room,while the St sig will be in the
Fireside lounge.
XxBBS Etiquette(part 2)by Gerry Feid
or, Some Do's and Don'ts of the
     Electronic World.
by Gerry Feid-Sysop, Blue Moon BBS

Part 2:
I don't know about many of the
other Sysops, but in the time Blue
Moon has been up, I have gotten at
least two or three requests every
month from people asking me to send
them a copy of my BBS program. I
have talked to people running AMIS,
Fast AMIS, Nitelite, BBCS, and
other, more obscure programs (that
are just as good), and all I have
talked to have the same problem.
There are quite a few I haven't
talked to, but they have probably
been asked, too. What it comes down
to is this. It takes a lot of work
to get a BBS up and running well.
It takes a bit of work to maintain
it. In many cases, the software
alone cost a lot of money, up to
about $100. To expect a Sysop to
put in many hours ironing out a
program, and then GIVE you a copy,
is in extremely poor taste.
Especially if you hide yourself
behind a handle when asking.
 It used to be the 'thing' to do
when you had a CB radio,but a BBS
is no place for a handle. One
reason, is because 99% of all the
trouble on a BBS is done by people
who logon using a handle.You don't
think those guys leaving their
girlfriend's phone numbers would
be dumb enough to use their real
names, do you? There sets the
problem. If a person doesn't use
their name, in many cases their
credibility takes a nosedive.After
all, how can you believe a person
who isn't honest enough to own up
to who they are? The only people
who I have seen try to steal my
BBS program from the outside,have
used handles.The ones who left the
'For a good time call...' messages
did also. One BBS had a caller who
insisted on trying to sell little
blue boxes on his board (which has
since closed down), and guess what
- he used a handle, too.Problems
like this are still going on,and
none of these people use their
names. So, remember - use a handle
if you want to, but look at the
company you are choosing to be
associated with. Handles don't do
any damage as long as the person
using it doesn't. A person who
can't own up to who they are,
unless known personally by the
Sysop, is ALWAYS suspect, because
real people don't cause trouble
when you know who they are. I
expect to get a LOT of negative
E-Mail from that one, too.
Probably all from people using
handles.....Enough negativism.
Running a BBS, and using others,
is a lot of fun. There is an
additional avenue to vent
difficulties, get help with
problems, help others with theirs,
meet a bunch of people, get free
software, give free software
(ah - if only more of you did),and
generally have a good time. Just
don't abuse the privilege afforded
to you by the Sysops. As I said
before, 98% of users don't (and
yes,that includes most of you who
don't know your own names).The
rules sre simple, and
straightforward:Watch what you do.
No foul language, even if you get
into an argument with someone.
Clean up your old messages after
yourselves. The Sysops have other
things to do than be everybody's
janitor.Use your own name. When
someone lets you into their house,
as Sysops do, they would like to
know who you are.Your refusal wears
out a welcome very fast.Upload as
well as download. Everybody takes
files, so share the wealth you have
gotten from other boards. Don't
forget to check the download file
to make sure you aren't uploading
something that is already there.
If you are going to post something
And remember - what it is worth to
you, may not be what it is worth,
so ask decent prices. Don't give
it away, but be realistic, too.
If you are thinking of buying
something advertised by a private
individual, see it first to verify
the condition. If the seller says
it is only a month or two old, ask
to see proof. It is very easy to
buy something, not use it for six
months, and then sell it as "Like
New", despite the fact it has been
sitting in a damp basement (far
from an ideal climate for computer
products).When you post a message,
use a password you can easily
remember, and then please remember
to call back and erase it when you
get an answer.Don't call and post a
message, then leave a message for
the Sysop, asking him to leave it
up for [x] weeks because you don't
call boards very often. If you
could call to ask the question, it
is YOUR responsibility to call back
within a reasonable amount of time
to look for the answer.Sorry to
take so much space, but I am just
venting a few grievences about the
abuse of the BBS's. These things
happen on all the boards I have
been on. Some more, some less.
The only people who can corect them
are those doing them, whether it be
intentional or not. The next time
you are on a message base, take a
look around. You will see messages
posted weeks ago, that have no
meaning anymore.Questions that have
been answered for weeks, and the
Sysop is leaving posted out of
courtesy to the caller who hasn't
bothered to call back to look for
an answer. I am as guilty as anyone,
but it is as much my responsibility
to clean up after myself, as it is
XxAction Biker from MasterTronic
 Combine the aspects of a driving
game and an action adventure and
you'll get Action Biker.A-Biker
is one of the first stateside
Atari releases from the English
company,MasterTronic.One of the
game's appealing features is it's
low price of $10.Selling a game
for a starting price of $10 means
either that the game is a loser or
the company skimped on the packaging
and the instructions.Well luckily
and also unluckily,Mastertronic
choose to shortchange on the
documentation.Luckily,because the
game is a good value for $10 and
unluckily,because you may not know
what to do unless you look at the
back of the package.Also,unless
you examine a very small sticker
on the front of the package you
won't even know that the Atari
version is on the disk.The company
is using it's old Commodore-only
packaging and the only indication
of the Atari version is the small
sticker.These problems aside,the
game is quite enjoyable.The object
of the game,is to drive around on
your motorcycle picking up 40
objects.These objects appear one
after another in the 3 quarters,
3-d, town you are driving in,as
glowing tombstones(that's what they
look like to me.)
The graphics of the town are quite
good,but it's nothing spectacular.
This is very good 3-d programming,
you can drive under,around,and
over the various obstacles of the
town.Sound effects are limited to
a song playing in the background
 and when you crash into any
obstacles the screen merely flashes
.The objects are located in various
areas of the town,thankfully the
company did provide a map that tells
you where the next object will be
appearing.With every object you
pick up,the location of the next
object becomes more difficult to
reach.Some of the later objects are
located on elevated construction
beams and what looks like a roller
coaster track,that can only be
reached by driving up ramps.
While some of the objects(like the
gloves)have no effect on you,others
like the gearbox and the large fuel
tank improves the ability of your
bike.The large tank let's you drive
for longer without having to refill
at the gas station.Since instructions
are slim in this game,I'll explain
how you use the gear box to get to
higher speeds(for those who don't
anything about gears or the like).
Pressing the joystick button will
put you in low gear,press forward
on the stick to accelerate,once at
top speed press the button to shift
into high gear,if you need to brake
or slow down,pull back on the stick.
This works exactly the same as the
Pole Position acceleration scheme.
 One thing that I liked about the
game is that you can take your time
in picking up the objects,or if you
want,you can just drive around on
your cycle without paying attention
to the object of the game.A sort of
Sunday drive in the country for the
computer gamer.
Aside from the limited sound effects
,this is a good effort from
MasterTronic.Let's hope that all
of their releases present,and
upcoming are as enjoyable as Action
Xx7800 Corner-Robotron 2084
 Williams Electronics had a knack
when it came to making wild and
crazy shoot em' ups.First,with
Defender,then with Stargate,and
finally with the white knuckle
action of Robotron 2084.Before we
get on to the review,for the
benefit of those unlucky souls who
never got a chance to play Robotron
either in the arcade,or at home on
the XL+XE or 5200 and those who
(heaven forbid)have forgotten about
it,here is a summary of the game.
 In the year 2084,man creates the
ultimate breed of robots...The
Robotrons!.These robots were so
intelligent that they didn't need
humans to think or act.Unfortunately
for us,they figure this out and
begin eliminating the human race
by death or by reprogramming.Only
a handful of clones of the last
human family remain.Due to a genetic
mistake,you cannot be programmed
into one of their slaves,so you
are chosen to save mankind.There
are 8 different types of Robotrons
you will be fighting.
1.The Grunts-These are the foot
soldiers of robotkind.They are
mindless assassins whose only
purpose is to bury you.These things
chase you like a rabid herd of
2.The Hulks-These big lumbering
robots' main purpose is to walk all
over the human clones and you,if
possible.Unfortunately they are
impervious to your laser and are
only slowed down by your shots.
3.Giant Brains-While the Grunts
and the Hulks are the muscle,these
guys are the minds behind the
slaughter.Their deadly cruise
missiles will follow you all over
the place unless you blow them away.
If a Brain catches a human,he
reprograms it into a mutant prog,
who quite simply wants to rip off
your face.
4.Spheroids and the Enforcers-
Spheroids are round robots who fly
around dropping embryos that become
Enforcers.The enforcers are the
assassin army of the Robotron.Don't
let a lot of these form,otherwise
you'll be in deep shaving cream
(something for you DR.Demento fans
out there.)
5.The Electrodes-While not having
the ability to move,these living
barriers can be a real deathtrap
when there are 50 Grunts on your
6.Quarks and Tanks-Quarks are square
robots who form the dreaded tanks.
While,one tank firing bounce bombs
is rather easy to deal with,heaven
help you when there are 20 of these
suckers lobbing their explosive
equivalents of soccer balls at you.

What could possibly make a sane
person want to step on the same
planet with this bunch?
Enter Man,Woman,and Child.How could
anyone stand to watch our fellow
human beings be pushed around by
this robotic scum?
Gameplay is in waves,with every 5th
wave being a brain wave.In the
brain wave,the screen is jammed with
human clones and brains.This can
be a real point bonanza if the brains
don't get you.Now for the review.
 I have to admit that when I first
plugged this one in,I was disappoint-
ed.One of the best arcade games Atari
made for the 5200 was Robotron,and
to be completeley honest that version
looked more like the arcade game.
In the 7800 version,the Grunts,Hulks,
and Tanks are a little bit larger and
a little less detailed.The humans and
the brains are the correst size
though.Also,some of the graphic
elements of the game,the warrior's
teleportation and the explosion of
a grunt have been simplified.One
thing that I thought was strange was
that the line border around the
screen is gone,I can understand
about the graphic effects but how
hard is it to draw a line border
around the screen? I do have to admit
that the graphics are good,taken on
their own merits and that the
object movement is much smoother and
less jerky then the 5200/XL+XE
versions.If arcade translations were
judged on looks alone,this game
would probably be considered okay
but not great.But,the thing that
saves 7800 Robotron from the depths
of mediocrity is it's great gameplay.
The action is very smooth and the
one thing that made Robotron such
a challenge in the arcades is present
.Alot of bad guys.While the 7800
Grunts don't look as much like the
ones in the arcade as the 5200
version did,there are a lot more of
them! As you get into the upper
levels,there are around 80 of these
suckers chasing after you.And
remember,you start off in the middle
of these guys,it's like being dropped
into a blender.Another nice thing
is that there is no flickering
anywhere! All of them are rock solid
,all of the time.This thing is so
fast that you really don't mind that
the Grunts have gained some weight.
 There are two ways that you can play
.One,move with the joystick and press
the fire buttton to shoot in the
direction that you are moving.
Imagine what it would be like trying
to play Robotron with the humanoid
from Berzerk and you'll have an idea
of how utterly useless this control
method is.Thankfully,the second way
is the same two stick control scheme
found in the arcade.For the 5200
version of this game,they included
a base that the joysticks fit into
,to give you the same steady two
fisted stick control that the arcade
game had.The left stick moves your
warrior,while the right stick shoots
your laser in the direction that
it's pointed,giving you the ability
to shoot at things you're running
away from.Unfortunately,they didn't
include a similar base for the
7800 controllers in this edition.
There are 4 possible solutions to
this problem.
1.Try to use both,without a base.
Very difficult.
2.If you have the base from the 5200
version,you can fit them in if you
stuff the bottom of the base with
some paper or something.Or,if you
have the XL+Xe version,you can just
use two VCS sticks in that base.
Unfortunately,I think that the
VCS sticks may break quite easily
considering the high octane fury of
this game.
3.Build your own base.A good project
for you to tackle.
4.Write Atari and beg them for a
7800 stick base.I don't know if this
will work or not,but a little
groveling never hurts.
 If you want a Robotron that looks
almost like the arcade game,I suggest
that you check out the computer
version.However,if you want a game
that plays exactly like Robotron or
if you want something that will give
you a real shoot'em up challenge,give
Robotron 2084 for the 7800 a shot.
P.S.The game won't be nearly as good
if your joysticks aren't in some kind
of a base.
XxBasically-Robot Loader
 In this,our third installment we're
going to load in the robot data that
we created with the Robot Maker.
To do this,we are going to use a
program called,aptly enough,Robot
Loader.After the listing I'll
explain how to use the program and
I'm going to explain how the disk
file input routine works.
To use the program without typing it
in,simply type ENTER"D:ZMAG0722.TXT"
while in BASIC.
15 DIM DDIR$(9),RLD$(15),LDIR$(10),RNO$(7),NAME$(40)
20 GRAPHICS 0:POKE 710,14:POKE 709,0
70 OPEN #2,4,0,"K:"
80 GET #2,DN
90 IF DN<49 OR DN>56 THEN GOTO 80
100 CLOSE #2
110 DDIR$="D1:R*.BOT":DDIR$(2,2)=CHR$(DN)
115 TRAP 70
120 CLOSE #1:OPEN #1,6,0,DDIR$
130 GRAPHICS 0:POKE 710,8:POKE 709,14
160 FOR RN=1 TO 1000
165 TRAP 200
170 INPUT #1,LDIR$
175 IF ASC(LDIR$(1,1))>32 THEN 200
230 RLD$="D1:R":RLD$(2,2)=CHR$(DN):RLD$(5)=RNO$:RLD$(LEN(RLD$)+1)=".BOT"
245 CLOSE #1
250 GRAPHICS 0:POKE 710,8:POKE 709,14
270 PRINT " "
330 PRINT " "
360 IF PEEK(53279)=6 THEN GOTO 20
370 GOTO 360

First,hit a number key from 1 to 8
,depending on what drive you have
the robot files that you created
with RobotMaker.The program will
list what robot code numbers are
on the disk and you will be asked
what robot you wish to load.Enter
just the number,not the "R" that
is in front of it.The program
will load in the data for that
robot and will show it to you.

Line 240 is the only thing that
is needed to load in the data.
1.IOCB number 1 is opened for
input(retrieving)to the robot data
2.Since the robot's name was
Printed to the file,to retrieve it
you must use the opposite command.
So you Input the name and put it in
the string NAME$.
3.Since the Speed,strength,weapon
skill,and agility variables were Put
to the file,the opposite command of
Get is used to retrieve them.As each
variable is retrieved is put into
it's respective variable name.Such as
4.The IOCB is closed since we have
retrieved all the data.

Next Week:The Robot wrap up featuring
how string manipulation is used in
both the maker and loader program.
XxZread 16 is here
Be sure to d/l Zread v.1.6 from
the Windy City or Runequest BBS'.The
instructions are built into the
program so all you have to know to
operate it,is contained in the
program.Please leave any comments
you might have about Zread16 to
me,Clinton Smith,on Windy City BBS.
XxZmag Messages
Board       :ZMAG MESG BASE
Message #   :339
Date & Time :07/15/86 21:00:42
Replies     :0
Subject     :ZMAG
To          :CLINTON SMITH (REC)
Sent by     :RON KOVACS

CLINTON, I have put the SB text on
hold until I get free time. My wife
is expecting in 7 weeks and things
are hectic here and at work.However,
I might have some interesting info
pertaining this subject very soon. I
have contracted a user from JACG to
do user group reporting and will sic
him on SB. About the UK. I have sent
3 disks overseas to three BBS 
Systems there, I have also succeeded
getting through to the UK but got a
busy signal the two times I got
through.I am still trying. I sent 4
recent issues of Chicago Zmag and 4
NJ Zmag.By the way, Have you been
getting response from the CompuServe
users?? Your issues have atleast 50+
downloads?? I have 2 issues of your
Zmag on the Source and soon making
tracks to Delphi.Also looking for
sites on People network or whatever
the name of it is. I have been busy
and have not forgotten about SB.
Don't worry I intend of delivering
something soon.I hope you understand
my circumstances at the present time.
I also have one more thing to pass
on. Since Cleveland is closer to you,
Please call the following number,
It was left to me by Anthony Ramos
the Author of Parrot, They seem to
be interested in Zmag. 1-216-441-3816
(Cleveland Atari Users) and
1-216-228-7335 (Lakewood Peekers).
Hopefully you can get them on your
list. If you are interested in
Zrock, I will continue to upload
issues. Let me know your thoughts.
Ok enuf fer now. You know now where
I am to date.Now, tell me what's
happening here? Any interesting
comments for NJ readers?
Continued success!! Take care, Ron
Kovacs-Syndicate BBS

Board       :ZMAG MESG BASE
Message #   :343
Date & Time :07/18/86 20:08:18
Replies     :0
Subject     :ZMAG
To          :CLINTON SMITH (REC)
Sent by     :RON KOVACS
Clint, Thanks for the nice words. I
am setting up some time soon with
the newest sysop on CompuServe, Mike
Shoenback.I will arrange time to
interview him and hopefully this
will go better than Scott!. I have
uploaded ZPRINT4.OBJ which is a
compiled version of ZPRINT3.BAS.
Load from DOS. I like this one and
can't wait for ZREAD16. I will
have to check it out. Due to the
problems I have been having with my
own BBS, BBCS lock-ups. My time has
really been taken up. I am going
to try and get through to UK this
weekend. X yer fingers. Also. We
have gotten thanks fer Zmag on CIS.
They like'm and want more issues.
Do you think you can get a local
user here to upload your issues to
CIS?? If so, Tell them to upload
all text in ASCII. This way CIS
Atari users can read it on-line.
Well that's all from the East for
 now. Take care!
               Ron Kovacs
               Zmag NJ
Ron,thank you for the national
/international Zmag report.If you
would like to pass Zmag to the
Cleveland boards please get in
contact with me on Windy City.
I'm very pleased with the good
reaction to Zmag on Compuserve,
and I'm especially excited about
the Zmag Online option.I think
that this is a good sign that
Zmag is starting to be taken
seriously in the Atari community
XxZmag Update
Chicago Zmag Boards
Windy City Atari-(312)775-2970
Enchanted Castle-(312)525-0688
Blue Moon-(312)457-2219
Skid Row-(312)439-5873
Software Plus-(312)520-1780
(In New Jersey)
East Coast Syndicate-(201)968-8148
If you have a question about Zmag
Windy City-Clinton Smith
Runequest-Jim Dobleski,Rune Master
Enchanted Castle-Clinton Smith,
Centari-Jim Dobleski
Blue Moon-Clinton Smith,Gerry Feid
Claug-Clinton Smith
M-Club 1,2,or 4-Jim Dobleski
Skid Row-Jim Dobleski
Software Plus-Jeff Williams
East Coast Syndicate-Ron Kovacs
Compuserve-Ron Kovacs,Tim Orosz
XxZmag Question of the Month
The question for the month of
July is Would you,the readers
,want there to be a condensed
weekly edition of Zmag?This
would be a more to the point
issue that would be put out
along with the standard issue.
Another possibility would be
a monthly edition that contains
the best articles and news
from the past month's weekly
editions.Let me know what you
think in the Zmag mesg bases.
XxZmag Notes
 Let me know what your favorite
p/d programs are for the top
10 public domain hit list.

Come on you ST readers out there.
I know you're out there.Let's see
some ST articles or columns.Once
the ST Zread is done there will be
a larger need for ST stuff.If you
have an idea for an article,column
,or review read next item.
 Do you have an idea for an
article,column,or review.
Let me or one of the people in
the UPDATE know about it.If it's
a good idea we'll work out the
easiest way for you to get the
article,review,or column to Zmag.
If you don't want to do the
column yourself,we'll try to find
someone who will.If you just have
a little interesting fact or a
suggestion just leave it in one
of the Zmag mesg.bases and I'll
put it in the Zmag mesg. section
of the next issue.
 Finally,be sure to support the
boards that carry Zmag.If it
weren't for them you wouldn't
be reading Zmag right now.
Zmag-a-zine          July 1,1986
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