Z*Magazine: 25-Apr-89 #154

From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/25/93-04:02:11 PM Z

From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG)
Subject: Z*Magazine: 25-Apr-89 #154
Date: Sat Sep 25 16:02:11 1993

[ATASCII graphics removed by aa700.]

          |  ROVAC ZMAGAZINE  |
          |    Issue  #154    |
          |  April 25, 1989   |
          |Copyright 1989, RII|

        |This week in ZMagazine|

         Editor's Monitor 
             Harold Brewer

         Atari in Panama 
             Carlos Hassan

    Rommel, Battles for Tobruk 
             Howard Bandow

 ICD's Current Software Versions 

          SuperDOS v5.0 
              Tom Curtner

   Z*Net Newswire 8-bit Edition 
             Harold Brewer

           |EDITOR'S MONITOR|

           |by Harold Brewer|

I apologize for the lateness of last
week's issue of ZMagazine.  It seems
the contents of one of the articles was
close to, if not actually, plagarizing
parts of the SpartaDOS X User's Manual.
Tom Harker of ICD gave his go ahead for
keeping the article in ZMagazine, but I
(and probably others) felt the removal
of said article was in everyone's best

With daytime temperatures here in the
Saint Louis area breaking record highs
(93 degrees today), I'm glad I have a
back-up computer (or two) just in case
of keyboard meltdown...

ZMagazine reporter John Nagy just
returned from the Anaheim World of
Atari show.  Look for 8-bit information
in next week's ZMagazine, and for
16-bit information in this week's

           |ATARI IN PANAMA|

           |by Carlos Hassan|

     Reprinted from Z*NET June 1989

Atari computers in Panama go back a
long time.  I was only eleven when I
first began playing with an ATARI 400
computer in 1981.  Back in those happy
times, we did not even have program
recorders.  Rather, all the programs
were available as cartridges, which the
local store was happy to provide at
over $50.00 each.  As soon as the
popularity of this machine spread,
cassetee program recorders and disk
drives were made available.

I bought my own ATARI computer, the 800
model, in 1982, after a year of going
over to my neighbor's house to "play
Atari".  My own computer cost $420.00.
I recall selling it years later for
$60.00, and I got a good deal.

At the time I did not know any English,
but I learned little by little, enough
to play around with the BASIC listings
in the user's manual.  Then I heard
there was this "fantastic" Atari club,
in what was formerly the Panama Canal
Zone.  I went to their meetings, and
was fascinated by the hardware and
software demonstrated there.  The only
catch was that everybody spoke English.
Their newsletter was in English.  Their
meeting was in English.

The club started out back in 1981 when
DOD personnel stationed in Panama
bought Atari computers and decided to
do something with them.  The club
started with only 12 members, but it
grew at a fantastic rate, having at a
time over 400 members.  There were so
many of them, that the club began
dropping memberships because their
Synfile records simply could not handle

PCACUG, or Panama Canal Atari Computer
Users' Group, soon established a
Bulletin Board system (1983), and had
been already delivering Pan*ATARI*News
for at least a year and a half.  The
club also started as an English-only
club, mainly because all members back
then were American citizens.  Little by
little, the number of Panamanian
members grew too.  Although most of the
volunteer jobs were carried out by
Americans, soon Panamanians took over
some of those.  It was just two years
ago that a Panamanian finally became
president of the club, and a completely
bilingual meeting was carried out.
Formerly, only a few articles here and
there would be included in Spanish in
our monthly newsletter, the
Pan*Atari*News.  With the help of
Mr. Juan Fagette, the club's Panamanian
population grew until now about 95% of
club members are Panamanians. The
meetings are still bilingual, and so is
our newsletter.  The reason behind this
is that we carry out exchanges with
newsletters all over the world, and
still have American members.  Praise
goes here to Mr. Anthony Mclean, our
last newsletter editor, who was always
making sure our newsletter had Spanish
coverage as well as English articles.

Last year, to my dismay, I was elected
president of the club.  How did I get
in there?  Well, maybe there weren't
many people attending that particular
election meeting!  One of my first
goals was making a monthly newsletter
going out to all the members, and
enhancing club participation, but then,
isn't that every president's goal?  We
began work on our newsletter,
Pan*Atari*News.  P*A*N is a 24 page
monthly job.  I began, like every other
newsletter editor (did I tell you that
I also am in charge of that?), to
reprint articles from other newsletters
and online sources.  We translated many
articles to Spanish, and put them
inside the newsletter, finally making
it a 50/50 bilingual newsletter.

But, as every other editor reading this
knows, soon we ran out of things to
print (or reprint!), and club
participation in writing articles is
almost non-existent.  Then I read a
press release concerning Z*Net.  Sooner
than I knew, Z*Net was delivering us
its fantastic 12 page insert which now
covers half the work we have to do!  As
a result of Z*Net's 16-bit coverage,
our 8-bit-only club is teaming the
newsletter effort with the local ST

Being in a bilingual country poses some
interesting pronunciation problems.
Did you ever give it any thought as to
how you would pronounce "disk drive" in
another language?  Or "diskette" or
"cursor" or "monitor"?  Half the time,
half the people don't know what the
other person is talking about!
Castillian grammar rules are somewhat
tougher than English's, and the Spanish
Dictionary is only revised every ten
years.  I guess it will be twenty to
thirty years before we find "cursor" as
an acceptable word in Spanish!

There is a large Atari 8-bit user base
here in our country, due to the
promotional effort of the company which
brought, and sold, thousands of Atari
computers to Panama.  The problem, as I
am sure has happened in the US and
other countries as well, is that the
company was not a computer store.  It
was an electronics store, happy to sell
computers as if they were just home
appliances (sound familiar?).  We are
making a big effort to get all those
8-bit users into our club.  Sometimes
they don't even know we exist, or think
we only speak English.

As this article is sent to Z*Net,
preparations are underway for our
second annual Atari Software Fair.  At
our Fair, probably a lot different than
the ones at the States, since we don't
have third party developers showing off
products, etc., we present the latest
8-bit software, both commercial and
Public Domain.  We invite computer
companies to bring generic computer
products that 8-bit users can buy, and
we also get a lot of new memberships.

Computing with the 8-bit Atari in
Panama has proven to be a lot of fun,
because they are computers that do
deliver power without the price!

If you would like any information about
our club, or start a newsletter
exchange, just write to us at:

    |        Apartado 5265        |
    |        Balboa, Ancon        |
    Panama, Republica de Panama


           |by Howard Bandow|

Miami Valley Atari Computer Enthusiasts

Rommel is a game for Atari 8-bit
computers.  Computer games aren't one
of my favorite aspects of personal
computing, even though I've collected a
fair number of games from computer 
magazines, and even written some simple
games to learn the application of some
computer programming techniques.  This
being the case, you might wonder how
I've come to write a review of a 
computer game.  The truth is, I won
this game in a raffle at an MVACE
meeting.  Having won it, I felt
obligated to play it enough to learn
what it was about; and having played
it, I decided to write a review to do
my part to help alleviate the recent
dearth of 8-bit articles in the

Other computer games I've seen tend to
fall in one of two categories.  The
first of these is arcade games,
characterized by colorful graphics,
music and other sounds, and action on
the part of the user employing hand/eye
coordination and a joystick or similar
input device to participate in the
game.  The other common type of game is
the text-based adventure game.  In this
type of game the computer displays the
narrative of an adventure on the
screen.  At intervals throughout the
story, the user executes choices by
entering commands, generally using a 

Rommel fits neither of these
categories.  Basically, it's a board 
based strategy game; a much more
complex version of games like Chinese
Checkers.  In fact, it's so complex
that the computer is needed to perform
the administrative chores of executing
moves and calculating the results of
play.  Rommel is based on a simulation
of the events surrounding four
different battles for Tobruk, a
fortress in northern Africa during
World War Two.  It comes on both sides
of a floppy disk; you can copy the back
side, which is used most.  The
gameboard is a map of the region 
surrounding Tobruk, which is divided
into hexagonal sectors.  Each sector
has a terrain, clear, rough, or
impassable, or a road or track.
Sectors may also contain objects such
as airfields, towns, or minefields.
About half the sectors don't enter the
play because they're either in the
ocean or they contain impassable

The game is played between Axis and Allied forces.  One side is a human
player who may play against either the
computer or another human.  Each side
begins with up to thirty military units
placed on the gameboard in locations
based on the historical circumstances
leading to the actual battles for
Tobruk.  There are four forms of a
strategic map which show the entire
play area, but play is executed on a
tactical map which shows a small area
in larger scale.  Each battle consists
of a specified number of moves, each
representing a day of battle. 

Play takes place in three stages for
each move.  First, each player gives
orders to each of its units.  Since
there are more than thirty types of
units, having different kinds and
amounts of strengths, and up to thirty
units for each side, this is a
lengthy process.

To give orders to a unit you first must
pick it up.  There are five types of
orders (advance, march, assault,
defend, and regroup).  After selecting
a mode, a movement order is issued for
the first three types of modes.  This
is done by moving the cursor to an
adjacent sector.  Each movement costs a
number of impulses depending on the
mode and the terrain of the sector
entered.  You can give orders to a unit
until its impulses are used up.  While
the computer is issuing orders, a
screen appears showing various steps
involved in calculating the orders to
be issued.  While the computer is
engaged in each step, a counter beside
that step is incremented.  This gives
useful clues to the player about
factors he should consider in selecting
his moves. 

The next stage is resolution.  In this
step the day's battles are played out
an impulse at a time.  Units'
capabilities to carry out orders are
effected by the movements of enemy
troops and the relative strengths of
the two sides' units. This stage can be
quite lengthy and the players aren't
involved, since the computer performs
all the calculations required to
resolve a move.  The player(s) can take
a break during this phase. 

Once the turn has been resolved, the
computer shows the players what has
happened on a strategic map.  The
events of the turn are displayed an
impulse at a time.  Moving units are
flashing and shown in white.  Units
suffering casualties flash in various 
colors.  New units entering battle
flash in green and units which are
eliminated flash in black.  The review
can be replayed.  When the review is
completed, the next turn begins. 

In addition to selecting which battle
is to be played, there are several
options which can be selected which
determine the complexity of play.
Supplies and air support can be added
to the game.  Fatigue and visibility of
enemy troops can be included to make
conditions more representative of real

I have several observations about this
game.  First, it's not something you
can sit down and quickly learn to play.
There are about sixty pages of
documentation, and you'll be referring
to the manual repeatedly for some time.
Second, it's not a quick game.  There
are long periods of time when the
player isn't involved and to play an
entire game can easily take an evening.
Third, it's not one of those action
filled, shoot 'em up, arcade-type games
that gets the adrenalin flowing.
However, for those looking for a game
requiring a lot of thought and willing
to devote the time needed to learn
complex rules, the game Rommel can be
an interesting experience.

     | Game Designers' Workshop  |
     |       P.O. Box 1646       |
     |Bloomington, IL  61702-1646|


 Courtesy of the ICD/OSS Bulletin Board

 "These are the current versions of
    ICD's 8-bit Atari products:

      Action!                 3.6
      Action! Runtime         1.4
      Action! Tool Kit        3
      BASIC XL                1.03
      BASIC XL Tool Kit       1.00
      BASIC XE                4.1
      BASIC XE Extensions     4.11
      FlashBack               2.3
      MAC/65                  1.01
      MAC/65 Tool Kit         1.00
      MIO                     1.1
      SpartaDOS Const. Set    3.2D
      SpartaDOS Tool Kit:
        CleanUp               1.4
        DiskRx                1.9
        DOSMenu               1.3
        MIOCFG                1.2
        ProKey                1.3
        RenDir                1.0
        SortDir               1.4
        VDelete               1.1
        Whereis               2.2
      SpartaDOS X             4.20

 "These are the current versions of
    ICD's ST Atari products.

      BBS Express! ST         1.30
      CleanUp ST              1.9
      ICDBOOT                 3.2
      ICDFMT                  2.32
      ICDTIME                 1.4
      IDCHECK                 1.00
      Personal Pascal         2.05
      RATEHD                  1.1
      Tape Backup             1.1
      TIMESET                 1.4

(Editor's note:  These current versions
     are to aid ICD software owners in
     determining the availability of an
     upgrade.  Owners who would like to
     know what changes have gone into
     a particular upgrade and the
     associated cost thereof need only
     call or write to ICD.

     Other software manufacturers are
     encouraged to contact ZMagazine
     for promulgation of their current
     software version numbers.)

          |        ICD       |
          | 1220 Rock Street |
          |Rockford, IL 61101|
          |  (815)968-2228   |
          |     (voice)      |
          |  (815)968-2229   |
          |     (modem)      |

            |SUPERDOS V5.0|

            |by Tom Curtner|

        An Option for the Eights
Miami Valley Atari Computer Enthusiasts

One of the great features available for
the Atari is the market of Disk
Operating Systems.  Most of us know how
DOS 2.x functions with our machine, and
the limitations it imposes upon us.
DOS 2.x is friendly, moderately fast,
and dependable.  However, is does lack
some of the refinements other DOSes
offer.  Though Atari did address some
of these options with DOS XE, they did
not bother to make it truly compatible.
This presents the regular DOS 2.x user
a problem:  stay with 2.x or go to
another DOS.

In 1988 a new DOS was introduced into
the U.S. (SUPERDOS v4.x) by Technical
Support, situated in Daly City,
California.  The program being marketed
was SUPERDOS by Paul Nicholls of
Australia.  Through BBS message bases
and the user group grapevine, we heard
good remarks for this DOS.

A major asset of SUPERDOS is the
ability to run on all Atari Eight-Bit
machines.  And with 64K or more, you
have the SDUP.SYS menu load
automatically (and resident).  If you
have less than 64K, you can set
SDUP.SYS to resident.  The SUPERDOS
disk has seven files on it:

    DOS.SYS   (77 S/D sectors)
   SDUP.SYS   (40)
    AUX.SYS   (38)
   SBAS.SYS   (03)
    DOC.SYS  (318)
  DOCv5.SYS   (47)

DOCv5.SYS describes the latest
revisions of version 5.0.  When you
boot SUPERDOS you have the option of
printing the documentation or going
directly to DOS.  Your best option is
to print the docs, read, and then

Once you have the docs printed, take
the "D" option to DOS and view the
menu.  At the top of your screen you
have the "Drive Status Line".  Drives
are numbered from 1 to 5+, with 5+
being the RAMdisk.  If you access 6,7,
or 8, DOS will refer to 5+, the
RAMdisk.  Since SUPERDOS is DOS
sensitive, the Drive Line will reflect
the current disk status, changing at
each access (single, double, etc.).  In
addition to the Drive Line, your border
will reflect the type of operation
which you are performing.  Red is for
WRITE, green for READ, and purple for

The SDUP.SYS menu for SUPERDOS reads
pretty much the same as DOS 2.x with
modifications.  DIRECTORY is very
lenient (D1:1 or 1 is allowed).
DIRECTORY also gives note if there is a
?FN.* = OPEN).  The spacebar or no 
designated drive number will show the
directory for "D1:".  When calling up
the directory in SUPERDOS your listing
is in double columns.  The screen will
scroll, so you will be able to view all
files listed.  CARTRIDGE will
enable/disable BASIC for the XL/XE 
machines.  The COPY option has been
enhanced and combines the 2.x 

Other options:  Bypass the verify
prompts before proceeding (*.*/N or
*.*/Y), and Copy from cassette.  DELETE
is the same as 2.x.  RENAME will rename
the first file only if two of the same
name have been saved.  LOCK and UNLOCK
same as 2.x.  WRITE DOS allows you
write both DOS.SYS and SDUP.SYS or just
DOS.SYS (make sure you WRITE DOS if you
make any changes with the AUX.SYS
menu).  FORMAT will do any density
(this includes the XF551 drive), plus 
skewed sectors.  DUP DISK will do disks
or sectors, and will copy the boot
sectors.  BIN SAVE takes HEX or DEC.
FILES.  And finally, VERIFY toggles
your write/verify to on/off.

The AUX.SYS menu offers special
options.  The # LIST DIRECTORY works
will activate any options you have
chosen for DOS (such as DRIVE BUFFERS
copies from DOS 3 to SUPERDOS.  WRITE 
SUPERBIN enables you to have a binary
loader on your disk (note:  while not
part of the AUX.SYS menu, the program
SUPERBAS will likewise make a BASIC
loader for your disk).  CONFIG.BLOCK 
displays disk drive configuration.
TRACE AND PATCH will trace bad sectors,
linking the good sectors.  XL/XE KEY
RATE has the selection from 1 (slow) to
4 (fast).  This is done in increments
of one.  FILE BUFFERS allows you to set
your file buffer number.  DRIVE BUFFERS
lets you designate the amount of drive
buffers.  RESIDENT SDUP gives you the
option of having SDUP resident at the 
bottom of memory, while non-resident
will reside on disk or under the
operating system, depending on your
machine.  EXIT TO SDUP executes that
command.  NOTE, with any change you
make in the AUX.SYS menu, you should
make your change permanent.

I tested SUPERDOS under many conditions.  First I discovered that 
the copy I had was in double density.
So with my 1050 (with US Doubler), I
formatted a disk in single density on
the 810.  Then using COPY, I
transferred the files from double 
density to single density.  No problem!
SUPERDOS did the job nicely.  In
addition, my sector count remained in
sectors, unlike DOS XE with its
Kilobyte count.  Copying on a single
drive from D/D to S/D and back to D/D
gave no problems either.  When you
copy, you have the option of
initializing in D/D,S/D,E/D, and
2 sided D/D (XF551).  I even tested the
duplication method by copying my
TextPro 3.2 initialized in SpartaDOS in
S/D.  I may not have been able to read
the directory properly, but it did copy
the disk!  More important, all the
files in 2.x and SpartaDOS I copied
during my test worked properly.  In
addition to the regular copy test, 
once again I subjected COPY MATE 4.3
and MyCopyR to the task of duplication.
Here again everything worked as

SUPERDOS appears to emulate 2.x quite
well.  I was able to read the D/D
SUPERDOS disk with SpartaDOS without
any problem.  This, unfortunately,
DOS XE could not address.  So if you
have SpartaDOS and someone hands you a
disk in SUPERDOS, you're in luck.  This
may not seem important to some, but
with the various DOS formats 
available, it's good to know what is

I don't have a modified XL so I won't
be able to tell you personally much
about the RAMdisk setup.  However,
according to the docs, SUPERDOS
supports most RAMdisks, and will set up
the largest RAMdisk possible.  In
addition, SUPERDOS will copy all files
with the *.RAM extension automatically
to the RAMdisk.  There's even a way in
which you can protect your RAMdisk from
a coldstart.

The speed of SUPERDOS during operations
is very good.  In working from D/D to
S/D, operations went smoothly.  The
only lag is when transferring from my
1050 (with US Doubler) to the 810.
Here, reads on the 1050 were fast, but
normal when writing to the 810.  I must
state, however, this is also true with
SpartaDOS.  There is help for this by
toggling VERIFY to OFF.  This gave a 
moderate increase in speed.  

The menus in SUPERDOS function well,
giving you clear instructions of what
to do.  By using the BREAK key, you
abort the current function.  This is an
asset if you have made a blunder (who,
me?), or change your mind at the last
nanosecond and wish to abort.  If you
load the AUX.SYS and don't take any of
the options available, any other key
response will take you back to SDUP.
Just remember!--SAVE all changes in
your configuration.  

Working with SUPERDOS is easy.  It's
fast, user friendly, and very
full-featured.  If you have any
familiarity with DOS 2.x, you'll speed
through with ease.  The compatibility
and enhancements of SUPERDOS are
worthwhile, and will answer most needs.
If you have the XF551 Drive, this could
be the DOS for you.


           |by Harold Brewer|

 Please complete the following
    sentence (or letter) for me:

    "Dear Atari,

    "I am a loyal 8-bit Atarian.  I
    don't WANT an Atari ST.  As a
    dedicated 8-bit Atari user, what I
    REALLY WANT is..."

    I am very interested in hearing
    your replies to this one.  I'd like
    to see just how many 8-bitters
    there are left out there.  Are we a
    dying breed, or a silent majority?
    Feel free to EMAIL or MAIL your
    replies to me.  I plan to log the
    comments and then formally present
    this data to Atari.  It may not do
    us any good at all, but it can't

          CompuServe:  76703,1077
          GEnie:       MAT.RAT
          Delphi:      MATRAT

    Or mail them to:

           Ratware Softworks
          32 S. Hartnett Ave.
          St. Louis, MO  63135

    Thanks, Mat*Rat

    (P.S. PASS IT ON...)

 CompuServe Offer:

    If you are NOT a CompuServe user
    and would like to see what you are
    missing, please respond to the
    following limited offer!

    Readers of ZMagazine can receive
    $15.00 of free online time by
    sending your name and address to:

     |      ROVAC ZMagazine      |
     |      4010 Ridgedale       |
     |Granite City, IL 62040-5741|
     |      Attn: CIS offer      |

    In turn, we will forward your info
    to CompuServe which will get a kit
    out to you ASAP.  Please note that
    this offer expires May 31, 1989 and
    can be cancelled at any time.

 ICD's Craig Thom tells me that both
    their 256K and 1Meg MIOs are in
    limited production.  Descriptions
    and retail prices remain the same
    as can be found in ICD's 1988 1989
    Product Catalog.  ZMag readers may
    be aware that the 1Meg MIO has been
    unavailable for several months due
    to high DRAM chip prices.

 |   Rovac Industries, Incorporated  |
 | P.O. Box 74, Middlesex, NJ 08846  |
 |          (201) 968-8148           |
 |Copyright 1989  All Rights Reserved|

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