Z*Magazine: 9-May-89 #156From: Atari SIG (xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 09/25/93-04:06:58 PM Z
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 16-May-89 #157"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 2-May-89 #155"
- Return to Index: Sort by: [ date ] [ author ] [ thread ] [ subject ]
From: xx004@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Atari SIG) Subject: Z*Magazine: 9-May-89 #156 Date: Sat Sep 25 16:06:58 1993 ================================================================================ | ROVAC ZMAGAZINE | | Issue #156 | | May 9, 1989 | |Copyright 1989, RII| ================================================================================ |This week in ZMagazine| Publisher's Desk Ron Kovacs Ratty's Rap Matthew Ratcliff CompuServe New 8-bit Files The "Freedom Stick" Tom Guelker Microcheck 130XE 1988 Eric "Gus" Augustus Z*NET Newswire 8-bit Edition Harold Brewer ================================================================================ |PUBLISHER'S DESK| ================================================================================ |by Ron Kovacs| Hello again! It has been awhile since I have had the chance to sit down and write for ZMAGAZINE. Since Harold has taken over the duties of ZMAG, I have not had to get involved with the daily duties. I have to once again thank him for the EXCELLENT job he has done. This month, ZMAGAZINE starts our 4th year of weekly online publishing. I think I can safely say we are the oldest weekly online magazine and we will be around for some time to come. ZMAGAZINE has been the pool where ST-REPORT, ST*ZMAGAZINE, AMY-REPORT, Z-ROCK, and ZNET all originated. Three of the above publications went through short runs and one is under the control of another person. However, we remain devoted to 8-bit news and reviews with ZMAGAZINE and thank everyone for reading week after week. If you are new to ZMAG, take note of the issue number you are reading. There are issues that go back to MAY 1986. We have covered just about everything that has happened in the Atari field either directly or by contributions by our readers. We have made mistakes, but most of all, we have enjoyed producing the publication. Your feedback is very important to me personally and to the rest of the staff. Harold has the responsibility to provide issues that will be of interest to you. He can only perform the function best with your assistance. If you see something we should cover, let us know! If you have a review or something to share with the rest of the community, send it in! As we begin our 4th year, I have a suggestion and need your assistance. If you are intending of using your 8-bit machine, you have to let your feelings be known to the people developing for it. You can make the difference by voicing your opinion. Take a few minutes out and write your thoughts down about Atari and the 8-bit. Think about the Atari developers out there and let's start providing feedback. Send us your comments and they will appear here. We can also combine all the responses and send them off to all the developers. Is your 8-bit dead? If not, then now is the time to act. Don't let words kill off something that is alive and living well. We can make a difference. Let's have some fun and see what we can do together to provoke conversation controversy, and spotlight on this computer. Again, thanks to our long time supporters and all the new ones! ================================================================================ |RATTY'S RAP| ================================================================================ |by Matthew Ratcliff| Reprinted from MAY 1989 Z*Net The 8-bit Ataris are very much alive and well in the eyes of Atari, Chicago. Yes, I said Chicago. On my NATO day celebration (McDonnell Douglas employees get NATO day off, don't you?) I took a 45 minute shuttle flight to Midway Airport in Chicago. I then traveled to Lombard, Illinois, about 1/2 hour's drive from Chicago. The limo (hey, on a vacation day you have to travel in STYLE) dropped me off at about 9:30 AM after a (thankfully) uneventful flight. This trip was arranged several months in advance with Larry Seigel, Vice President of Software Development. Larry and Craig Erickson, Executive Producer of Software Development, spent most of the day with me explaining their operation, previewing some upcoming software, and allowing me some time with the rest of their talented crew. Larry has a background in pin ball machines and coin-op video games. He and Jack Tramiel arranged to open up this software development office last June. There wasn't enough room at Sunnyvale for this operation, so it was decided it would be more cost effective to set up the new offices in Chicago. Larry has enjoyed a certain amount of autonomy generally not afforded those who work at the Sunnyvale offices. This environment seems to be conducive to productivity, minimal turn over rate (something that is mind boggling at the Atari Sunnyvale location), and just plain fun. Larry convinced the Tramiels that software sells hardware, not the reverse. Most of the kids playing games have no technical expertise. They don't care if Atari has the best hardware. It doesn't sell a single unit. What the kids want (ages 6 to 16--the primary market for Sega, Nintendo, and Atari game-capable hardware) are the machines that play the hottest video games which are currently the rage in the coin-op realm. Atari, because of the Tramiels' Commodore background, have historically looked at the game business from the computer point of view. This audience typically owns a computer for doing work at home (about once every 6 months), managing the finances ("right honey"), and playing an occasional game (99% of the time). This audience consists mostly of yuppies (ages 21-35) and more technically oriented teens (ages 17-20) who are into programming. This group is more interested in the strategy and simulation games, where the younger crowd finds this junk incredibly boring. Atari has made the near fatal mistake of "sitting back" and watching what happens to the game market (where they lost their shirts, before the Tramiels took over) to see what would happen. The Tramiels weren't ready to invest in that fickle, financially dangerous market of video games. In the meantime, Nintendo did a small test market of their machine in New York and, shortly thereafter, took the rest of the U.S. by storm. Now Atari is saddled with the burden of playing catch up, and it is Larry Seigel's team that is working hard to establish Atari as the video game king it once was. Actually, Atari would be content with a "strong second", since there are simply too many Nintendo units already out there. It takes about a year to take a game from conceptual design to market. Atari Software Development in Chicago will be a year old this June, so expect some exciting things at the summer CES in Chicago. Craig Erickson has a strong background in video gaming, including some of the hottest titles ever released for the Macintosh. He has a "Twilight Zone" twist to his mentality that is a strong driving force behind some of the newest games under development. Atari will say "we need a combat game, Nintendo has 'Jackal' and 'Commando'; we need something like that". However, Craig will insist that, while providing a commando-style game, it must be unique, with a twist that will set them apart and make the kids really WANT THIS GAME. In Atari's Viet Nam battle style game, after you shoot some guy in battle fatigues he will mutate into some pretty gruesome aliens. I saw the animations and artwork for the ST and 7800 versions. This scene will over-exaggerate the violent component of this game, to the point of being funny. This offbeat twist will certainly make it stand out from the crowd. How about a "golf game" somebody says. "Sure", says Larry and company, "like maybe Ninja Golf, you have to kick the stuffing out of someone before you get to play your hole". I saw the early alpha version of this software and it looks very promising. Don't you HATE waiting for your hole because the folks on the course in front of you are the SLOWEST people in the world? Well, take your frustrations out on them vicariously through a rousing game of Ninja Golf! What about a "karate game" someone else says. Craig, a practitioner of Quan Moo Chan, says "certainly, how about Rat Kung Fu? All the fighting characters are RATS, not some pixelated Bruce Lee imitation!" I saw the art work for this under development by Bob Nagel, graphic artist; one of the newest members of the group. The concept is hilarious. I can hardly wait to play this game! Craig is working hard to develop more realism in the animations (by digitizing his Quan Moo Chan moves with a video camera, editing them into character form on an ST, and then using this for reference as a game's art work is developed), and add more of a Saturday afternoon cartoon flavor to them. His goals are lofty, but the realities of ROM and RAM space of the machines are limited. I think the end results will be impressive, and refreshingly new. Stay tuned to your favorite Atari magazine. I will be developing several more detailed reports of this trip, and the software Larry Seigel's team has under construction. Virtually all of these titles and more are in the works are for the ST, XEGS (and XL and XE computers), 7800 and 2600 systems. Where is the application software, you ask? That's not Larry's problem. The charter of Atari Software Development, Chicago, is to produce the hot new games for all of Atari products that people will WANT for their home machines. (Yes, there is even talk about porting some of the hot sellers over to the Nintendo and Sega machines.) From my visit it is obvious that Atari fully intends to support the XEGS and related computers, the ST, and the 7800/2600 systems for several years to come. As the new games make it to market, Atari will reevaluate their video game strategies under the guidance of Larry Seigel and Craig Erickson. These guys have some pretty sharp ideas! Mat*Rat, (c) 1989, Ratware Softworks ================================================================================ |COMPUSERVE NEW 8-BIT FILES| ================================================================================ Courtesy of CompuServe's Atari 8-bit Announcements |May 1 thru May 8| LIB 0 (General): [76704,41] Don LeBow EDIT.TXT 03-May-89 13135 An introduction to EDIT ... the default text editor on CompuServe. [71450,1050] Lawrence Estep BCKMGS.TXT 02-May-89 2688 This is the 05/01/89 edition of the Atari magazine back issues listing from the Atari Scene! BBS (502) 456-4292. LIB 1 (Games): [73137,3172] Larry Emery ARCITY.ARC/binary 08-May-89 10624 This AR City article appeared in the Jan/Feb '89 issue of CURRENT NOTES (122 N. Johnson Rd., Sterling, VA 22170, (703) 450-4761). [73137,3172] Larry Emery ARCITY.TXT/binary 08-May-89 21632 This is the un-compressed version of ARCITY.ARC. Enjoy! LIB 3 (System Utilities): [72257,207] Ray Jennings RUN.ARC/binary 07-May-89 896 RUN.ARC is designed to emulate the DOSXL RUN command for SDX users. [73537,3573] Richard Mier MIOQUP.ARC/binary 06-May-89 7424 Upgrade a 256K MIO to 1 Meg using 1Meg DRAMs. [72347,1643] Ed Sabo TKSTK2.ARC/binary 04-May-89 13952 TRACK STACK 2.0: For Dos 2.0 and 2.5. Easily transfer Machine Language programs to the TRACK STACK disk. [72750,2237] Scott Armitage JSTC.COM/binary 01-May-89 896 JSTC.DOC/binary 01-May-89 2048 Relocatable memory resident joystick 'mouse' type driver. LIB 4 (Graphics/RLE/PICs): [71450,1050] Lawrence Estep COLRAD.TXT 01-May-89 4280 This file explains how you can view the Color Radar images that are online on CompuServe LIB 5 (Application pgms): [71511,2713] Gordon Granec FINCAL.ARC/binary 03-May-89 10753 INVESTMENT AND LOAN CALCULATIONS IN MACHINE LANGUAGE. LIB 6 (Sounds & Music): [71641,1650] Mark Vail VERDIR.ARC/binary 06-May-89 7680 The opening of the Dies irae from the Requiem of Giuseppe Verdi for the Antic Music Processor. [72337,1407] Michael Rothstein WAYITI.AMP/binary 06-May-89 6678 "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby in AMP format. LIB 9 (BBS Programs/Info): [72750,115] Tony Hursh FFIND.ARC/binary 07-May-89 63360 FileFinder is a system of Programs for BBS Express! Professional that create a keyword searchable database of all download files. [71450,1050] Lawrence Estep BBSREP.TXT 02-May-89 5888 This is the 05/01/89 Atari Scene! Local BBS Report listing boards in the 502 and 812 area codes in the Louisville,Ky. area. [71450,1050] Lawrence Estep LDBBS.TXT 02-May-89 10368 This is the 05/01/89 Atari Scene! Long-Distance BBS Report. ================================================================================ |THE "FREEDOM STICK"| ================================================================================ |by Tom Guelker| The "Freedom Stick" (hereafter called "The Stick") is a joystick which is manufactured by Acemore of China and distributed by Camerica. A 90-day warranty is included. The main unit requires 4 AA batteries (which are not included). The Stick can be connected to several different game machines and computers. I was only able to test it on the Atari 8-bit, but the manufacturer claims it will also work with the Nintendo, Sega, and Commodore. Two different adapter cables are supplied which connect to the wireless receiver. One of the main features of this joystick is the fact that it is not attached to your system with a cable. It uses infrared light to transmit the joystick functions to the base unit (just like your TV/VCR remote control). Camerica claims the range of the infrared is about 18 feet, but that distance is dependent upon the room that The Stick is used in. Carpeting and sunlight reduce the effective range appreciably. It is not necessary to point The Stick directly at the receiver, as the infrared radiation bounces off walls. Upon opening the box, you will find The Stick unit, which measures about 8" by 6.5", the receiver, two adapter cables, and 4 suction cups to allow temporary mounting of The Stick to a non-porous surface. On the main housing, there is a joystick in the upper left corner. There are also two fire buttons on the middle right, marked A and B. For the Atari, the A button does nothing. The B button is the fire button. Other buttons are a Start button and Select button, which are only for the Nintendo. There is also an auto-fire function switch which, if enabled, allows continuous firing by holding the fire button down. The pulses are spaced about every .2 seconds. Some games cannot utilize this rapid fire feature, therefore a switch is included to disable it. Another switch on the upper right is the players switch. If two people wish to play a game, it is not necessary to have two Sticks. Moving the switch to "1" will allow both players to use the same stick, provided the game allows alternate play (not a "combat" style of play). If the two players wish to have their own Stick, it is not necessary to purchase another Stick "system". Only the main stick need be purchased, as the receiver can handle two Sticks. Since the receiver and connecting cables are not required for the second Stick, I would assume the price would be lower. I played several games using The Stick. The feel of the joystick was very stiff and required excessive force to gain the desired output. The odd location of the fire button made it necessary to hold the stick with the left hand and push the fire button with the right. Being left-handed, this did not seem odd, but since the majority of joystick users are right-handed, this might be awkward. The response of The Stick was very sluggish. My scores were much lower since I had to force the stick in the direction I wanted it to go. Click-type microswitches are used, and the spring-center mechanism is very stiff. It appears The Stick was made for the Nintendo, and then the manufacturer discovered that it could be adapted for other systems as well by adding a new connecting cable. The list price of The Stick is about $69.95 which is a very high price for a joystick considering Atari computer owners cannot use all of the functions. Overall, I would rate this stick a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10. I suggest a "test drive" before purchasing it. ================================================================================ |MICROCHECK 130XE 1988| ================================================================================ |by Eric "Gus" Augustus| Miami Valley Atari Computer Enthusiasts MONEY MANAGEMENT FOR THE 8-BIT ATARI This is one of those application programs for helping you do one of those chores that is reluctantly done every month--balance the checkbook. If you're like me, it's usually put off until you get several bank statements or maybe one of those maligned O.D. notices. Then it's a 4-hour marathon using advanced math techniques to get your checkbook to agree with the bank. Thank goodness for money management programs like MicroCheck written by Clayton Walnum, which appeared in the February and March 1985 issues of Analog. D. R. Johnson later updated MicroCheck for use with a RAMdisk to eliminate having to swap disks whenever you switched functions. Later on, Greg Kopchak (of ACE St. Louis) added a function to keep track of your monthly budget and keep a yearly summary of your finances for up to eleven different expense categories. The latest update included functions like check writing, check reporting (so you can do a comparison with your written check register), and reporting of outstanding checks. I started keeping my checking account on MicroCheck in May 1986. Since then my balance has come out almost to the penny every month. It's so easy and straight forward to use that I never even had to read the documentation. To begin using MicroCheck, boot the disk with BASIC enabled. Select the UTILITIES module, insert a blank disk, and select New Disk to create a data disk. You'll be asked for your name and address, starting balance, and the year. After your data disk has been created you're ready to enter your checks. When you select the Enter Checks module you'll be asked for the month. A blank check with your name and address will be presented to you. At the bottom of the screen you'll see your current balance. Press return to enter your checks. You'll be prompted for the day, check number, payee, amount, and a memo. After entering the information, you'll be given a chance to edit any field for mistakes. If it's okay, hit return and your balance is updated, and you're ready to enter more checks. MicroCheck has four different types of check numbers. The first is a 4-digit number corresponding to your written check number, and is incremented each time you start a new check. The second type uses DEP for deposits, so the amount you enter is added to your balance instead of subtracted. The third type is AUTO. This type allows you to enter transactions that occur regularly every month, and will be automatically deducted from your account every time you start a new month. The last type is 0000 and is used for making corrections to your balance or for electronic teller transactions. Once you've recorded all your transactions for the month and received your bank statement, it's a snap to balance your account. Select the Balancing Your Account module. You'll be asked for the ending balance and month. After the data is loaded you'll be presented with a list of all checks entered for that month. Go through your list of checks and press the asterisk '*' key for each check that matches your statement. When you've finished, MicroCheck will search for all returns, outstanding checks, and deposits then calculate your ending balance. A summary of the totals will be presented and if the ending balances match you'll be given a short melody. If they don't match you'll get a beep and given a chance to try again. In either case you can get a printout of all outstanding checks and deposits, which is great for helping locate discrepancies if your account didn't balance. Another function MicroCheck provides is the ability to search for a check or group of checks. Search criteria can be any of the data fields, such as the check number, payee, amount, date, memo or combinations of any or all of them. Any checks matching the search criteria are displayed, or printed if you selected that option, along with the number found and the total of their amounts. MicroCheck is a powerful money management program that rivals any commercial counterpart. With the added updates and RAMdisk support, MicroCheck should satisfy the needs of most people. For those of you who do not have an Atari 130XE or an XL with a memory upgrade you'll have to use an older version that hasn't been modified to use a RAMdisk, or modify it yourself. This simply involves changing the BASIC code to use D1 instead of D8 and using a different AUTORUN.SYS to load the MicroCheck menu module. Good luck and may all your checkbooks balance. ================================================================================ |Z*NET NEWSWIRE 8-BIT EDITION| ================================================================================ |by Harold Brewer| In order to reprint the following message from the GEnie Atari 8-bit Bulletin Board authored by Alan Reeve and dated 4/24/89, I must include this statement: Copyright 1989 Atari Corporation, GEnie, and the Atari Roundtables. See signup information in this magazine. May be reprinted only with this notice and signup information included. To sign up for GEnie service, call (with modem) 800-638-8369. Upon connection type HHH (RETURN after that). Wait for the U#= prompt. Type XJM11877,GEnie and hit RETURN. The system will prompt you for your information. "HI, "Well I just got back from a successful World of Atari Show in Anaheim, CA where we demonstrated our Diamond GOS cartridge at the show. I was pleased with the response we got from the 8-bit community and it sounds as if Atari has a sincere interest in supporting the 8-bit community with Diamond. "I also feel that it is appropriate to say that we are severing ties with Shelly Merrill at this point for several reasons, and that I hope he honors his business obligations to the Atari community. I do know that I have been working with him since early August of 1988 and have not received a penny from him, and that he has done many things without my approval. "Lastly, we have completed shipment of all orders of Diamond and Diamond Paint at this time, and are near completion of Diamond Write which will be a complete word processor that allows for different styles of text to be used such as in MacWrite. I fully expect to have Diamond Write shipping in 2-3 weeks or at the very latest the end of May (as I get out of school for the summer on May 8). "Once again, I would like to thank the Atari community for the warm reception we received at the show (especially being as we were the ONLY exhibitor supporting ONLY the 8-bit with no ST software). I have enjoyed creating Diamond as much as the community has enjoyed using it, and I do believe that the Atari 8-bit will survive with Diamond. I also feel that now I am in full charge of EVERY aspect of Diamond that there will be less confusion. It has been difficult for us over these past few months of development. "Thank You, A. Reeve While perusing the new uploads on both CompuServe and GEnie, a text file caught my eye. This file is entitled: "256K MIO Upgraded to 1MEG. using 1 MEG DRAMs" and is by Rich Mier from SPACE-St. Paul, MN. "Wow", said I. I wouldn't mind doing a bit of soldering on my 256K MIO if the price was right, even though this article wholeheartedly suggests ICD to be the best place to do this upgrade. This DIY price would seem to be under $200, which is $100 less than the current upgrade fee which ICD charges ($300 according to Craig at ICD). But before I started calling for the lowest DRAM chip prices, one paragraph in this text file caused me to shudder. Mr. Mier states the v1.1 PROM chip found in 1Meg MIOs (the chip containing all the MIO's built-in software) is not copyrighted. "Hummm...", said I. "This doesn't sound right." Mr. Mier continued to write that this PROM is necessary for the 1MEG upgrade, and that if the reader doesn't have the chip, he should "copy a friend's ROM". A quick call to ICD resulted in two tidbits of information: 1) this v1.1 PROM chip cannot be purchased from ICD and 2) this v1.1 PROM chip is, in fact, copyrighted. (Thanks for the information, Craig.) So as far as I can ascertain, the only legal way this upgrade can be done is to salvage a v1.1 PROM from an existing 1Meg MIO. I can only hope that Mr. Mier's future hardware upgrades are not so dependent upon such a limited resource like the v1.1 1Meg MIO PROM. John Nagy, ZMagazine contributor and writer extraordinare, tells me that by his count, 40 column ATASCII ZMagazine downloads are "up" on GEnie by 25% and ZMag is now regularly the most accessed file for Atari 8-bits. One reason for this may be the inclusion of the full range of ATASCII characters which ZMag readers asked for in the last ZMag Readers' Survey. John said it nicely when he mentioned the current ZMagazine having "...the dressed-up look when viewed on the machine it is written for...". With close to 5 Megabytes of ZMagazines published, the Atari community has quite a nice resource available for the asking. Last week's ST-ZMagazine (#19) contains a plethora of information for the Atari ST, and a not-so-limited amount for our 8-bits. I have reprinted ST-ZMag #19's Table of Contents here. Articles which may be particularly suited for 8-bit readers (my opinion only) have had their "flag" inserted in inverse I urge all those who like to keep up with the 8-bit world to take the time to read not only this ST-ZMag, but all that have been published (over one Megabyte of information). ST-ZMagazine #19 (*) Editors Desk by Ron Kovacs (*) ZMag Exclusive by John Nagy (Sig Hartmann Speaks at Anaheim World of Atari Show) (*) ZNet Newswire (BBS Operator Arrested, Epson releases new printer) (*) Ratty's Rap by Matthew Ratcliff (Reprint from May 1989 ZNet) (*) Hardware Review by Allen Lindsey (Review of the First Stop Computer $149.00 DS Drive) (*) Communications Protocols Part 4 (Look for the special offering from Hayes in this article) (*) Hardware Projects by Mark Sloatman (MultiSync and Audio projects) (*) Public Domain Shelf by Alice Amore (Latest look at recent PD releases) (*) FAX Directory -Press Release- (*) ZAP Shot -Press Release- (*) Spectre Hints and More by WK Whitton (Spectre and more..plus special info on Atari Promos) (*) Guest Commentary by WK Whitton (*) SysLaw Conference Transcripts (*) Pagestream Update | Rovac Industries, Incorporated | CompuServe: 71777,2140 GEnie: ZMAGAZINE Source: BDG793 ZMagazine Headquarters BBSes: Centurian BBS--(314)621-5046 (618)451-0165 Chaos BBS--(517)371-1106 Shadow Haven--(916)962-2566 Stairway to Heaven--(216)784-0574 The Pub--(716)826-5733 ================================================================================ | Rovac Industries, Incorporated | | P.O. Box 74, Middlesex, NJ 08846 | | (201) 968-8148 | | Copyright 1989 All Rights Reserved | | Issue #156 May 9, 1989 | ================================================================================
- Next message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 16-May-89 #157"
- Previous message by date: Atari SIG: "Z*Magazine: 2-May-89 #155"
----------------------------------------- Return to message index