Z*Magazine: 22-Jul-86From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 07/03/93-08:37:26 PM Z
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From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 22-Jul-86 Date: Sat Jul 3 20:37:26 1993 _____________________^^^___________ Zmag/A\zine 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 Master 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 paks. 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 BULLETIN BOARD ETIQUETTE 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 for sale, DON'T MISREPRESENT IT ! 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 yours. 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 Biker. 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 cattle. 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 tail. 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. 10 REM ROBOT LOADER 15 DIM DDIR$(9),RLD$(15),LDIR$(10),RNO$(7),NAME$(40) 20 GRAPHICS 0:POKE 710,14:POKE 709,0 30 PRINT "THE LR539 ROBOT RETRIEVAL SYSTEM" 40 POSITION 12,1:PRINT "WELCOMES YOU" 50 POSITION 1,2:PRINT "WHAT STORAGE VAULT(DISK)DO YOU WISH ME" 60 POSITION 8,3:PRINT "TO SCAN FOR YOU(1-8)" 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 709,14 140 POSITION 1,0:PRINT "STORAGE VAULT ";CHR$(DN);" CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING" 150 PRINT "ROBOT CODE NUMBERS" 160 FOR RN=1 TO 1000 165 TRAP 200 170 INPUT #1,LDIR$ 175 IF ASC(LDIR$(1,1))>32 THEN 200 180 PRINT LDIR$ 190 NEXT RN 200 CLOSE #1:PRINT "ENTER THE NUMBER THAT FOLLOWS THE R" 210 PRINT "TO LOAD IN THE ROBOT" 220 INPUT RNO$ 230 RLD$="D1:R":RLD$(2,2)=CHR$(DN):RLD$(5)=RNO$:RLD$(LEN(RLD$)+1)=".BOT" 240 OPEN #1,4,0,RLD$:INPUT #1,NAME$:GET #1,SPD:GET #1,STR:GET #1,SKL:GET #1,AGL 245 CLOSE #1 250 GRAPHICS 0:POKE 710,8:POKE 709,14 260 PRINT "ROBOT ";RNO$;" DATA" 270 PRINT " " 280 PRINT "ROBOT NAME:";NAME$(10) 290 PRINT "SPEED:";SPD 300 PRINT "STRENGTH:";STR 310 PRINT "WEAPON SKILL:";SKL 320 PRINT "AGILITY:";AGL 330 PRINT " " 340 PRINT "THANK YOU FOR USING THE LR539" 350 PRINT "PRESS START TO LOAD IN NEW ROBOT" 360 IF PEEK(53279)=6 THEN GOTO 20 370 GOTO 360 First,hit a number key from 1 to 8 ,depending on what drive you have the robot files that you created with RobotMaker.The program will list what robot code numbers are on the disk and you will be asked what robot you wish to load.Enter just the number,not the "R" that is in front of it.The program will load in the data for that robot and will show it to you. Line 240 is the only thing that is needed to load in the data. 1.IOCB number 1 is opened for input(retrieving)to the robot data file. 2.Since the robot's name was Printed to the file,to retrieve it you must use the opposite command. So you Input the name and put it in the string NAME$. 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 Speed=Spd,Strength=Str 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 Runequest-(312)430-4234 Enchanted Castle-(312)525-0688 Centari-(312)668-0984 Blue Moon-(312)457-2219 CL.A.U.G.-(312)889-1240 Skid Row-(312)439-5873 M-Club1-(312)730-1846 M-Club2-(312)349-8686 M-Club4-(312)458-8260 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, Wizard 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 Please Contribute ----------------------------------
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