Jaguar Explorer Online Vol1 #1 03-27-97From: Fred Horvat (aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 04/24/97-07:37:00 AM Z
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From: aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Fred Horvat) Subject: Jaguar Explorer Online Vol1 #1 03-27-97 Date: Thu Apr 24 07:37:00 1997 :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: Volume 1, Issue 1 JAGUAR EXPLORER ONLINE March 27, 1997 :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: :: :: JAGUAR .............. News, reviews, & solutions ............ JAGUAR :: :: EXPLORER ........... for the online Jaguar .......... EXPLORER :: :: ONLINE ................. Community .............. ONLINE :: :: :: :: Published and Copyright (c) 1997 by White Space Publishers :: :: All Rights Reserved :: :: """""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: Publisher Emeritus Plus ................... Michael Lindsay :: :: Publisher Emeritus .............................. Travis Guy :: :: Editor/Publisher ............................ Clay Halliwell :: :: WWW Spinner .................................. Frans Keylard :: :: Genie Uploader ............................. Clay Halliwell :: :: CompuServe Uploader ....................... Richard Turner :: :: America Online Uploader .................... Lonnie Smith :: :: :: :: Contributors: :: :: (voluntary and otherwise) :: :: """"""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: Doug Engel, Wes Powell, Don Thomas, Jeff Minter, :: :: Mark Santora :: :: :: :: Telecommunicated to you via: :: :: """""""""""""""""""""""""""" :: :: GEnie: ST/JAGUAR RT Library 38 :: :: AOL: VIDEO GAMES FORUM Hints, Tips and Tricks II Library :: :: CompuServe: ATARIGAMING Library 10, VIDGAME Library 15 :: :: :: :: World Wide Web: http://www.ior.com/~fkeylard/aeo.htm :: :: http://www.mcc.ac.uk/~dlms/atari.html :: :: :: :: E-Mail Request address: AEO-by-EMailemail@example.com :: :: :: :: >>> To subscribe to JEO, send a message to the request :: :: >>> address, with the following line (no subject): :: :: >>> :: :: >>> subscribe aeo-by-email :: :: >>> :: :: >>> and your address will be added to the list. To :: :: >>> unsubscribe from JEO, send the following: :: :: >>> :: :: >>> unsubscribe aeo-by-email :: :: >>> :: :: >>> to the same request address, making sure you send :: :: >>> it from the same address you subscribed from. :: :: :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: Table of Contents * From the Editor ......................................... JEO: AEO Reborn? * Where Was I At? ............................................. It's Travis! * Jaguar Tackboard ........ Web Message Boards - Atari Times - JEO's Jaguar Development List - Mail Order Directory - Catnips - PRs - WTR - Jaguar Underground. * Jag-Fest '97 ......................................... Jaguar Users Unite. * Llatest from Llamaland .................................. The Yak is Back. * BattleSphere Updates .................................... How it's Coming. * BattleSphere Playtester Update ......................... How it's Playing. * Baldies Review ........................................... Down With Hair! * Breakout 2000 Review ............................. Breakout, 64-bit Style. * Towers II Review ........................................ Jag's First RPG. * Did You Hear Anyone Say "Goodbye"? ........... Don Thomas Eulogizes Atari. * Martin Brownlow Interview ................. The programmer of MC3D speaks. * Vince Valenti Interviews ............... The programmer of Towers II begs. * Matthew Gosling Interview ........... The programmer of Zero 5 rolls over. * Atari Jaguar Cheats and Codes FAQ ................ Cheats for all seasons. * Shutdown ............................. Around the world and up your block. --==--==--==--==-- || From the Editor .............. Jaguar Explorer Online: AEO Reborn? || By: Clay Halliwell \__// firstname.lastname@example.org ------------------------------------------------------------------ The last issue of Atari Explorer Online was Volume 4, Issue 9, published in January of '96... over a year ago! Since then, enough has happened to fill at least three or four AEOs, but unfortunately Travis Guy, the chief driving force behind AEO, was finally forced to retire AEO in favor of other, more real-world concerns. Then one day in early February, I'm browsing an old issue of AEO, and I realize that such a vast quantity of Jaguar news has accumulated, that putting out a new issue of AEO would be practically trivial. Trouble is, I can't just take over AEO... there's far too much baggage and infrastructure attached to it. Solution: Create a sort-of-but-not-really new publication, which I've dubbed "Jaguar Explorer Online". No ST/Mega/TT news, no Lynx news, no industry news. Just 100% pure Jaguar news. You may notice a lot of very old "news" in this issue... these items were included simply because AEO has always served as a sort of "time capsule" of Atari news, with each issue capturing and preserving events of note. So while something like Don Thomas' "Did You Hear Anyone Say Goodbye?" may be 11 months old, it's too significant a document to allow to slip, forgotten, into the cracks of the Internet. But it's not all old news! What's the state of the Jaguar these days? For a supposedly dead system ("I don't want to go on the cart!"), the cat is showing a lot of life... Breakout 2000 and Towers II have just been released, we've got at least four more excellent games coming from Telegames, we've got Jag-Fest '97 ramping up, we've got the Jaguar Underground hacking away on their Jaguar Servers, and 4Play continues to push BattleSphere closer to reality. Long live the Jag! --==--==--==--==-- || Where Was I At? || By: Travis Guy \__// email@example.com ------------------------------------------------------------------ When last we met, Atari was one of the oldest video games names still in business, Windows 95 was the shining new hope of computer operating systems, and I was single... ensconced in beautiful Northwest Florida. Some things change. Jaguar software was trickling out, Windows 95 users were dealing with aggravating bugs, and the FU Gators football team had never been able to call itself "the best team in the land." Some things stay the same. It's a pleasure to know that a year after Atari died, the flame - although nowhere near as bright as it once was - is still held high by a few. Terry Grantham and his crew at Telegames have stepped in to fulfill the wants of a small band of Jaguar owners with new titles. Tom, Doug, Scott and Steph of 4Play are fighting the bugs carved in silicon to bring us BattleSphere. Clay Halliwell has graciously offered to carry the mantle of Atari Online News Resource. (Speaking of such, I would like to thank once again, the two men that assisted AEO the most during my tenure as Editor; the two men who tried to keep the good news flowing: Bob Brodie and Don Thomas.) If it's not a labor for money, it must be a labor of love. That I can honor. Speaking of love, Clay asked me to dash off a missive that would explain what happened to Atari Explorer Online... The back injury I mentioned in my last editorial put me out of action for several months early last year. During that time, a sweet angel named Geri appeared, and once I had began to mend, I took her as my bride. Atari's death throes seemed too distant to relate as we literally loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly ("Penske" and "Silicon Valley" actually, but they don't read as well). I had to lay my Atari aside and join the "real" world. It was not an easy task, rather, one which simply had to be done. I will always look back on my many years using Atari computers and games with a sense of family and joy. Making no allusions to the recent political season here, Atari represented one of the first bridges - steps - between the world as it was before digital entertainment, and the world we are hurtling towards. Atari brought the digital revolution home. Helped give it a face. Revolutionized the world. But revolutions are nothing more than a change in the status quo. Once the change takes effect - or doesn't - the revolution is over. And so it goes. To commemorate Atari's preeminence in the arena of digital entertainment, I created an image ["FUJIFISH.GIF" --Ed.] that should be attached in this archive, and which should be treated as public domain. I think the image itself needs no explanation. Wear it, share it, improve upon it, toss it into the bit bin. But remember the fun we all shared. Have you played Atari today?... --==--==--==--==-- || Jaguar Tackboard || Confirmed information about Atari's Jaguar \__// Compiled from online and official sources ----------------------------------------------------------------- =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Atari Times Jaguar Newsletter =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Greg "Fruitman" George <firstname.lastname@example.org> publishes a Jaguar- specific newsletter called The Atari Times. The newsletter is FREE, but cash donations are greatly appreciated. To subscribe, write to: Greg George 1531 Stevens Loop Rd. Babson Park, FL 33827 Also, an online version is available at: <http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Arcade/8341> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Web Message Boards =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Anyone with web browsing capability can join in on the discussions on two web-based Jaguar message boards out there on the net. Note that, due to the rapid message turnover and instant-update nature of these boards, they have a tendency to burn through topics in a matter of days instead of weeks (or hours instead of days). Just point your browser to: Jaguar Interactive <http://www.magicalfox.com/ken/postit.cgi> or... Toad Computer's JagTalk <http://www.ataricentral.com/wwwboard/jagtalk.html> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Internet Jaguar Mailing List =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Anyone with Internet e-mail access can join the discussions on the Jaguar mailing list. To "subscribe" to the list, send an e-mail to the following address: <email@example.com> With the following as the body message: subscribe jaguar FirstName LastName (Where "FirstName" is your real first name and "LastName" is your real last name.) You should then soon receive the subscription information. Since the list moved, digesting is no longer available. The actual list address is: <firstname.lastname@example.org>. All mail will go to the list server and be sent to the dozens of readers of the list. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Atari Underground Mailing List =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Anyone with Internet e-mail access can request to be added to the Atari Underground mailing list. This is a moderated mailing list maintained by Matt "MHz" B., generating periodic messages describing current events of interest to Atari Jaguar owners. To subscribe to the list, send an e-mail request to <MHz@earthlink.net>. Please do not confuse the Atari Underground mailing list with the Jaguar Underground hackers (more on them below). =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Jaguar FAQ =-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Robert Jung <email@example.com> still maintains the Jaguar FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) file, an updated list of Jaguar specs and facts. The Jaguar FAQ is posted to rec.games.video.atari on Usenet around the first of every month, and can also be found via FTP, address: ftp.netcom.com, in Andy Eddy's /pub/vidgames/faqs directory. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Jaguar Cheats and Codes =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Clay Halliwell <firstname.lastname@example.org> maintains the Atari Jaguar Game Cheats and Codes FAQ. It's available by e-mail request, from Andy Eddy's FTP site (see above), or from Jaguar Interactive <http://www.magicalfox.com/ken/postit.cgi>. Lonnie "The Mage" Smith <email@example.com> maintains the Concise Compendium of Frequently Asked Codes, Moves, and Cheats (FACMAC). It's available via FTP from <users.aol.com:/TheMage1/jaguar>, or from <http://users.aol.com/TheMage1/jaguar/jagcodes.txt> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Independent Association of Jaguar Developers =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The IAJD (Independent Association of Jaguar Developers) is still accepting members on GEnie. The IAJD is a private group where confidential discussions can be freely held. (Category 64 of the ST RoundTable is the IAJD meeting place.) Consequently, membership in the IAJD is limited to Jaguar developers who are registered with JTS Corp. To apply for membership, send e-mail to ENTRY$ on GEnie (or <firstname.lastname@example.org> if you're not on GEnie). Regular e- mail correspondence with the IAJD should be sent to IAJD$ (again, or <email@example.com> if you're not on GEnie). =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// JEO Development List 1.00 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The following list of game titles has been confirmed to the best of JEO's ability as of March 10, 1997. Entries in the "S"tatus column reflect any "e"rrors, "u"pdates, "n"ew titles, titles that are in "P"roduction, or "?"uestionable listings since the last AEO list. Entries in the "M"edia column reflect whether the title is "C"D-ROM (blank entries are assumed to be cartridge software). "NEW" indicates titles released since the last (and I do mean "last") issue of AEO. ETA dates are dates that have been provided by the developer or publisher. //// Titles in Development or Limbo S M Title ETA Developer Publisher " " """"" """ """"""""" """"""""" ? Air Cars ? Midnite ? Arena Football ? V-Real Productions u Battlesphere 1997 4Play 4Play ? Brett Hull Hockey ? Ringler Studios ? C Brett Hull Hockey CD ? Ringler Studios ? Charles Barkley Basketball ? Ringler Studios ? C Commander Blood ? ? Deathwatch ? Data Design ? C Highlander II ? Lore Design Ltd. ? Hyper Force ? C-West P C Iron Soldier 2 3/97 Eclipse Telegames ? C Magic Carpet ? Bullfrog ? C Robinson's Requiem ? Silmarils ? Skyhammer ? Rebellion ? C Soulstar ? Core Design Ltd. ? Space War 2000 ? Atari ? C Varuna's Forces ? Accent Media P C World Tour Racing (was F1 Racing) 3/97 Telegames P Worms 5/97 Team 17 Telegames P Zero 5 4/97 Caspian Software Telegames //// Current Software Releases (revised ratings) M Title Rated Developer Publisher " """"" """"" """"""""" """"""""" Alien vs. Predator 9 Rebellion Atari Atari Karts 6 Miracle Design Atari Attack of the Mutant Penguins 6 Sunrise Games Ltd. Atari C Baldies 6 Creative Edge Atari C Battlemorph 10 Attention to Detail Atari C Blue Lightning 6 Attention to Detail Atari C BrainDead 13 5 NEW ReadySoft ReadySoft Breakout 2000 7 NEW MP Games Telegames Brutal Sports Football 6 Millennium/Teque Telegames Bubsy 5 Imagitec Design Atari Cannon Fodder 8 Virgin Interactive C-West Checkered Flag 4 Rebellion Atari Club Drive 5 Atari Atari Crescent Galaxy 3 Atari Atari Cybermorph 7 Attention to Detail Atari Defender 2000 8 NEW Llamasoft Atari Doom 8 id Software Atari Double Dragon V 4 Williams Enter. Williams C Dragon's Lair 5 ReadySoft ReadySoft Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story 6 Virgin Interactive Atari Evolution: Dino Dudes 6 Imagitec Design Atari Fever Pitch Soccer 6 U.S. Gold Atari Fight For Life 6 NEW Atari Atari Flashback 7 Tiertex Ltd. U.S. Gold Flip Out! 6 Gorilla Systems Atari C Highlander I 8 Lore Design Ltd. Atari Hover Strike 5 Atari Atari C Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands 7 Atari Atari Iron Soldier 9 Eclipse Atari I-War 4 Imagitec Design Atari Kasumi Ninja 5 Hand Made Software Atari Missile Command 3D 8 Virtuality Atari C Myst 9 Atari Atari NBA Jam: Tournament Edition 9 NEW High Voltage Atari Pinball Fantasies 6 Spider Soft C-West Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure 8 Imagitec Design Atari Power Drive Rally 7 Rage Software Time-Warner C Primal Rage 7 Probe Time-Warner Raiden 6 Imagitec Design Atari Rayman 10 UBI Soft UBI Soft Ruiner 6 High Voltage Atari Sensible Soccer 6 Williams Brothers Telegames C Space Ace 3 NEW ReadySoft ReadySoft Super Burnout 7 Shen Atari Supercross 3D 5 Tiertex Ltd. Atari Syndicate 7 Bullfrog Ocean Tempest 2000 10 Llamasoft Atari Theme Park 6 Bullfrog Ocean Towers II 7 NEW JV Enterprises Telegames Troy Aikman NFL Football 6 Telegames Williams Ultra Vortek 8 Beyond Games Atari Val d'Isere Skiing/Snowboarding 7 Virtual Studio Atari C Vid Grid 6 High Voltage Atari C VLM 9 Llamasoft Atari White Men Can't Jump 6 High Voltage Atari Wolfenstein 3D 7 id Software Atari Zool 2 7 Gremlin Graphics Atari Zoop 6 NEW Viacom Atari //// Current Hardware Releases Item Manufacturer """"" """""""""""" Jaguar 64 Atari Jaguar 64 CD-ROM Drive Atari 3-button Controller Atari 6-button ProController Atari Team Tap Atari Jag-Link Atari Memory Track Atari CatBox Black Cat Design Lap Cat/Lap Cat Pro Ben Aein Jaguar Server Roine Stenberg (Istari Software) Pts Stars JEO Ratings """ """"" """"""""""" 10 ***** THE ULTIMATE - Flawless, beautiful, deviously addictive. 9 ****+ EXCELLENT - Something to throw in the face of N64-heads. 8 **** SMEGGIN' GREAT - Something to kick on the shoes of N64-heads. 7 ***+ DARN GOOD - Plays as good as it looks. 6 *** DECENT - Plays better than it looks (or vice versa). 5 **+ TIME KILLER - If there's nothing else to do, you play this. 4 ** INEPT - The programmer's first Jag game? 3 *+ INCOMPETENT - The programmer's first game ever? 2 * UNPUBLISHABLE - Heaven help us! 1 + INCONCEIVABLE BAD - ...but someone conceived it. Too bad. 0 - EXECRABLE - This is an April Fool's joke, right? //// The Short Term Schedule Here's the Jaguar software schedule for the next few months. Please bear in mind that these dates represent everyone's best assumptions. March: Iron Soldier 2 World Tour Racing April: Zero 5 May: Worms =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// JEO Mail Order Directory 1.00 =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The following list of vendors carrying Jaguar software/hardware has been confirmed to the best of JEO's ability as of March 10, 1997. //// Best Electronics Mail 2021 The Alameda, Suite 290 San Jose, CA 95126-1127 Voice 408-243-6950 //// Bits of Fun Mail PO Box 12345 San Luis Obispo, CA Phone 800-FUN-JAGS Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://www.cwest.com/atari> //// BRE Software Mail 352 W. Bedford Ave., Suite 104 Fresno, CA 93711 Voice 209-432-2684 Fax 209-432-2599 FaxBak 209-432-2644 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://www.cybergate.com/~bre> //// Buy-Rite Video Games Voice 919-850-9473 Fax 919-872-7561 Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://www.buyrite1.com> //// Demand Systems Voice 805-482-7900 Orders 800-593-0059 Fax 805-484-3745 805-987-1998 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://www2.demand-sys.com/demand> //// Electronics Boutique Voice 800-800-5166 Orders 800-800-0032 Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://www.ebworld.com> //// Flashback Video Games Mail 2284 Kresge Drive Amherst, OH 44001 Voice 216-960-1622 Fax 216-960-1663 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://www.sunmarkinc.com/products/flashback> //// GameMasters Mail 14393 E. 14th Street, Suite 208 San Leandro, CA 94577 Voice 510-483-4263 Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://www.game-masters.com> //// Game Pedler Voice 801-273-0787 (ask for Internet Sales) Fax 801-273-1357 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://www.gamepedler.com> //// Games To Go Mail 7632 Lyndale Avenue So. Richfield, MN 55423 Voice 612-798-5879 Fax 612-869-5925 Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> (orders) <email@example.com> (info) Web <http://www.gamestogo.com> //// Hardysoft Mail 24 Lawnside Drive Lawrenceville, NJ 08648 Orders 609-883-1083 Fax 609-538-8674 Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/hardysoft> //// STeve's Computer Technologies Mail 405 Main Street Woodland, CA 95695 Voice 916-661-3328 Fax 916-661-1201 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://woodland.net/wdm/steves> //// Telegames Mail P.O. Box 901 Lancaster, Texas 75146 Voice 972-228-0690 Orders 972-224-7200 Fax 972-228-0693 Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://www.telegames.com> //// TigerDirect Inc. Mail 8700 West Flagler Street, 4th Floor Miami, FL 33174-2428 Voice 305-229-1119 Orders 800-879-1597 305-228-5200 (international customers) Fax 305-228-3400 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://www.tigerdirect.com/todays_special_012197.htm> //// Toad Computers, Inc. Mail 570 Ritchie Highway Severna Park, MD 21146-2925 Voice 410-544-6943 Orders 800-448-8623 BBS 410-544-6999 Fax 410-544-1329 FaxBak 410-544-0098 Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://www.ataricentral.com> //// United Game Source Mail 210 Ring Ave Unit 104 Palm Bay, FL 32907 Voice 407-726-6867 Orders 800-564-1458 Fax 407-726-6903 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://members.aol.com/unitedgame/index.htm> //// Video Game Advantage Mail 6861 Anthony Lane Parma Heights, OH 44130 Orders 216-843-8815 (24-hr answering machine) Email <firstname.lastname@example.org> <email@example.com> <firstname.lastname@example.org> Web <http://www.io.com/~vga2000> //// Video Game Liquidators Mail 4058 Tujunga Ave, #B Studio City, CA 91604 Orders 818-505-1666 (9am-5pm PST) 888-944-4263 (toll free) Fax 818-505-1686 Email <email@example.com> Web <http://www.vglq.com> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Press Releases =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Atari Announces JTS Merger ATARI, JTS TO MERGE OPERATIONS SUNNYVALE, Calif. Feb. 13, 1996 Atari Corporation and JTS Corporation today agreed to merge the two companies. Atari is the pioneer in multimedia video entertainment and JTS is a manufacturer of computer disk drives. "This merger puts us in a great position to capitalize on a very experienced management team and a rapidly growing disk drive market. JTS is using innovative technology, particularly in the 3" disk drive market, and we are excited about its prospects," said Jack Tramiel, chairman of Atari. "Our partnership gives us the ability to expand our capabilities and pursue new opportunities," said Tom Mitchell, president and chief executive officer of JTS. "Dataquest has predicted that 115 million disk drive units will be shipped worldwide in 1996, and it is a great time for us to be participating in this market," said Mitchell. Terms of the Agreement Under the terms of the agreement, the new corporation will operate under the name of JTS Corporation and the officers of JTS will become the officers of the merged company. The Atari entertainment business and the JTS disk drive business will operate as separate divisions of the new merged company. Atari has extended a bridge loan to JTS in the amount of $25,000,000. In the event that the merger is not consummated, the bridge loan will be convertible into shares of JTS Series A Preferred Stock at the option of Atari or JTS and subject to certain conditions. As a result of the transaction, Atari stockholders will hold approximately 60% of the outstanding shares of the new company following the merger. The transaction is structured to qualify as a tax-free reorganization and will be accounted for as a purchase. The board of directors of Atari and JTS have approved the definitive agreement. The merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory approvals and other conditions to closing. The parties anticipate the transaction will close toward the end of the second calendar quarter of 1996. JTS Management Team JTS was formed in 1994 by Jugi Tandon, the company's current chairman of the board. Tandon is well-known in the computer storage industry for his ability to develop innovative products for the marketplace. Tandon will remain chairman of the board of the new company. Tom Mitchell was a cofounder of Seagate Technology and president and chief operations officer of both Seagate and Conner Peripherals. Mitchell brings unparalleled industry and operational experience in the high-volume disk drive market. He is a pioneer in disk drive manufacturing in Singapore, Thailand, China and India. About Atari Corporation For more than twenty years, Atari has provided consumers with high-quality, value-priced entertainment. Atari markets Jaguar, the only American-made, advanced 64-bit entertainment system and licenses and markets software in the multi-platform, multimedia market. Atari is located in Sunnyvale, California. About JTS Corporation Founded in 1994, JTS Corporation develops and manufactures hard disk drives for the computer industry. JTS has recently introduced its new 3" Nordic product for the portable computer market. Headquartered in San Jose, California, with manufacturing facilities in Madras, India, JTS employs 1,300 people worldwide. The above statements regarding the disk drive industry and JTS' prospects are forward looking statements and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Among the factors that would cause actual results to differ materially are the following: business conditions and growth in the portable computer industry and in the general economy; competitive factors, including pricing pressures; availability of components from third parties; risks associated with manufacturing of products in India or other overseas jurisdictions and risks associated with JTS' ability to ramp its manufacturing operations, including cost and yield issues. //// Atari Announces JTS Merger Again ATARI CORPORATION AND JTS CORPORATION TO MERGE On February 13, 1996, Atari Corporation and JTS Corporation announced plans to merge the two companies. JTS is a manufacturer of personal computer hard disk drives. Under the terms of the agreement, the new corporation will operate under the name of JTS Corporation and the officers of JTS will become the officers of the merged company. The Atari entertainment business and the JTS disk drive business will operate as separate divisions of the new merged company. In connection with the merger Atari has extended a bridge loan to JTS in the amount of $25 million. In the event that the merger is not consummated, the bridge loan may be convertible into shares of JTS Series A Preferred Stock at the option of Atari or JTS and subject to certain conditions. As a result of the transaction, Atari stockholders will hold approximately 60% of the outstanding shares of the new company following the merger. The transaction is structured to qualify as a tax-free reorganization and will be accounted for as a purchase. The boards of directors of Atari and JTS have approved the definitive merger agreement. The merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory approvals and other conditions to closing. It is anticipated that the transaction will close toward the end of the second calendar quarter of 1996. Atari has been in the video game business for over twenty years. Today, Atari markets Jaguar, the only American made, advanced 64-bit entertainment system and licenses its intellectual property to third parties. Atari is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. //// Telegames Announces New Releases In the past few months, Telegames has either released, or announced their intention to release, SIX new Jaguar games. While they haven't put out any actual press releases, these are the descriptions from their web page <http://www.telegames.com>. TOWERS II: PLIGHT OF THE STARGAZER, is the first genuine RPG to be released for Jaguar. Become one of four different characters as you are immersed within the strange happenings in the mystical land of Lamini. You must uncover the secrets as you explore Daggan's castle. Many before you have tried, but none have returned. First-person perspective, full screen smooth scrolling, talk to others, collect 100's of items, refer to maps, encounter 100's of creatures, experience challenges in combat, magic, and spell casting. Hours of challenge with appropriate save and restore feature. Available NOW. BREAKOUT 2000 is a 3-D version of the arcade classic. Designed for one or two players, this reflex tester will challenge any skill level. The object of the game is still the same; accumulate as many points as possible by breaking Bricks with Balls. That's where the similarity ends. There are a total of ten different Phases to survive, each consisting of five playfields. Each playfield is more difficult to clear than the one before it, and each Phase adds even more difficulty. As you progress through the game you'll encounter bricks that you have to hit more than once to break, and even some bricks can't be broken at all. Also includes Classic Breakout for the nostalgic player. Available NOW. IRON SOLDIER 2 (CD) is the knockout sequel available on CD for Jaguar. Pilot your 42 foot tall mech robot through 20 new missions against the evil Penta forces. Dramatically enhanced 3-D graphics create a virtual battlefield with war waged in all 360 degrees. Outfit your mech with combinations of 12 weapons systems and begin your fight against the multitudes of enemy weapons. With full motion video, driving soundtrack, and realistic SFX, all available in stereo or surround sound, this product must be purchased by any true gamer. Available March 7th. [delayed, see below --Ed.] WORLD TOUR RACING (CD) is the first Grand Prix style racing game for Jaguar. Select your racer, customize its features, and set off to conquer the international racing world. With a super-high frame rate, this game really puts you in the driver's seat. Split screen, head-to-head competition in two player mode. A multitude of features makes each race a new experience! Available March 28th. ZERO 5 is a futuristic space shooter set in a 3-D, 360 degree playfield. The year is 2044 and the battle for Earth has begun. On the far reaches of the galaxy, a massive invasion force is assembling. Scanners at DEFCON have alerted you to the alien threat. The Earth's best pilots are dispatched in their BAMBAM cruisers to engage the enemy. Multiple weapons, driving soundtrack, non-stop combat, multiple power-ups, and 15 extended missions contribute to a shooter's game with real depth. Available April. WORMS is the hit product that is available on most other next-gen systems. Designed for one to four players, this game combines the best elements from the very best games ever created. The game requires great thought, strategy and elements of sheer outrageous fortune within an almost infinite range of playing possibilities. Teams take it in turn to bombard the enemy with whatever weapon they feel is likely to reap the most reward. Each battle has a time period and once this is over a period of extra time may be played where all remaining worms are reduced to 1 unit of energy and the slightest hit will render them out of the game. The last team remaining wins the game. Available May. //// IS2... The Wait Continues IRON SOLDIER II DELAYED The projected release date of Iron Soldier 2 (CD) for Jaguar has been delayed due to a CD replication problem. Although Atari's "officially" licensed replicator has had the gold masters of IS2 since February 20th, they have been unable to create problem free glass masters that are required for mass production. Their problems are partly related to the sophisticated security encryption on the Jag CDs. Engineers have been working furiously since the masters were delivered to fully resolve the problems. We will update our web site as more info becomes available. Please do not send individual e-mail inquiries asking about the status. [Editor's Addendum: In response to an inquiry regarding whether the IS2 delay would push back the release of subsequent titles, Telegames had this to say: "We will try to maintain release date separations, so probably yes." Bummer.] //// Electronics Boutique to Carry Telegames Titles Again, this isn't an official press release, but was posted to several online sources. Check out <http://www.ebworld.com/news/articles/jaguar.html> for this offer. ELECTRONICS BOUTIQUE WANTS YOUR HELP!! Hello everyone... My name is Wes Pederson and I am the Web page creator for the EB WORLD web page at Electronics Boutique. We have responded to your requests for us to carry the new JAGUAR games by TELEGAMES. We have decided to try it one more time and see how it works. We will not be offering these games in the stores to start with but we will be offering them through our mail order department as a test. If this test works, we will look into carrying them in the stores as well. Here is how it will work... We will test it with IRON SOLDIER 2 by offering it through our mail order department at a price of $59.99 and when you call and tell them that you heard about it from the EB WEB PAGE <http://www.ebworld.com>, you will get an additional $10.00 Gift Voucher upon the delivery of your new game that you can use towards your next purchase at EB. (Store or Mail order) To place your Pre-Order call 1-800-800-0032 We pride ourselves in listening to you the customer and what you want... So here is your chance to make a difference... Let's here from you folks... If this test goes well, we will look at offering the rest of the TELEGAMES titles for the JAGUAR... Wes Pederson <firstname.lastname@example.org> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// CatNips Epilog =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= 08/14/96 - by Don Thomas You may like to know that I have submitted my resignation to Atari and have determined that Thursday, August 15 will be my final day. I have been at Atari since November 1989. I helped launch the Portfolio, which enjoyed tremendous success early in its life cycle. Later, I took on the role as a specialist and helped represent Portfolio technology at specialty trade shows, key account presentations and in exclusive development scenarios. More recently, I have streamlined an effective customer service department pursuant to the resources afforded by corporate direction. During much of this time, I have made every effort to be accessible and active on CompuServe as well as GEnie, Prodigy, our Web Site and a BBS I sustained privately in my home. Prior to Atari, I worked at Federated Electronics stores and was known within the organization for my prejudice for Atari brand computers and games. Much of my software library was provided to Federated as samples and the software buyer asked me to test the latest titles. I purchased my first Atari product in the early 80's. The 2600 was financed on my first Visa Card from a Video Concept store in Dallas, Texas. I was so impressed with the technology that I taught myself programming and developed a newspaper delivery game to present to my employer, the Dallas Times Herald, long before Paperboy ever hit the coin-op arcades. Only the crash of the video game industry in the mid 80's kept me from entering the industry during those years. My first computer was the TI99/4a and, later, the Commodore 64. But it wasn't until I opened an Atari 400 box in my apartment that I developed a passion and soon found myself hoarding every cool thing I could find. From Scott Adam's adventures to my MPP1000c modem and Rana disk drives, I was virtually possessed. After the Tramiels took over Atari, I bought into their 16-bit computer line hook, line and sinker... and never regretted a single moment. When the Tramiels acquired Federated in the late 80's, I thought I died and went to heaven. For the first time, I met the likes of Neil Harris and Mr. Jack Tramiel himself. During the day, I helped expand Atari exposure in Atari's new chain of electronic stores. At night I honed my programming skills into a line of software I called Artisan Software. I successfully, released a know, Atari has just completed a merger with JTS; a reputable supplier of hard disk drive technologies. The terms of the merger relegates Atari as a division of JTS and no longer is Atari an independent corporate entity. Shares of stock are now traded under the symbol JTS. Atari's staff as of next week will consist effectively of 4 people, all of which are among the most proud and honorable I have ever known. On behalf of Atari, past and present, thank you to everyone who supported us. Atari will always be an institution in our hearts remembering the evolution of Pong, Asteroids, Star Raiders, Major Havoc, Millipede and many more. Look for Atari's afterlife in licensed titles for other systems. I have every intention to continue frequenting the Atari support areas and you will no doubt find me popping up in a PSX forum near you! I'll look forward to seeing you there. -- Don Thomas @ Atari =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Hark the Herald Angels SCREAM =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= by Don Thomas Hark the Herald Angels SCREAM no one hears the words they sing for 'neath the boughs of ever green 'midst the wraps of red and sheen tied with bows of satin white there's sorrow cradled that slumber night. There were parcels large and some petite there was one quite long and another smelled sweet there were tags for Mom and sometimes Lover some marked Mike, Michael or Brother others did say simply Sister or Susan and some of the ones were for Dad or for Rueben. Now all the paper is crumbled and torn not one gift is left still adorned some bows are saved for another year most are battered and tattered, we fear and all the while; during joyful festivity no VCS, no 8-bit, no Antic, no ST. In years gone by; not all long ago Mount Fuji stood tall; its pride aglow it inspired and nurtured millions of souls it marketed great things and set all the rules there were games and computers and printers and mice there were joysticks and modems and drives that were nice. Yet lo in the present there's no present to be that's wrapped with the factor of fn fromAtari this year Jack The Santa; J.T.S. to be quite sure took funds once marked for gamers so pure and with disk drives that ship pairs at a time there's no money for gamers, not hardly a dime. Yet Christmas is perfect to remember the past the Tempests, the Asteroids, the game names that last and no one demands to know where they have gone the silence just deafens as new systems move on and through all, we shall treasure that precious green tree next year when J.T.S. absorbs the tree industry. --Donald A. Thomas, Jr. (email@example.com) believing that the tremendous success of the today's systems has meaningful roots that should not be forgotten. (c) Christmas, 1996 Please freely reprint or resend with author's credit. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// World Tour Racing Author Speaks? =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= The following messages were posted to the Jaguar Interactive message board, by someone claiming to be the programmer of World Tour Racing (formerly known as F-1 Racing... coming in March from Telegames!). We have no proof that this individual is indeed who he claims to be, but he certainly sounds like he knows what he's talking about. //// World Tour Racing - Info 1/28/97 Hello Jaguar users, With luck World Tour Racing will be released in March by Telegames. The game was originally completed 12 months ago, but the release vanished with the demise of Atari. Information about the product is quite scarce, so I would like to clarify a few things. The game IS polygon based, the project was originally conceived as Virtua Racing on the Jag, but as the project progressed that look became dated and we received pressure to include heavy texture mapping. The game does contain some texture mapping, but also includes lots of tricks involving scaled sprites and bitmaps to make the screen look detailed and interesting, without anywhere near the same speed hit. It's not 30fps but it is a lot faster than Chequered Flag. World Tour Racing was in development for almost 2 years whilst I worked at a company in Greenwich London. Since than I've moved on and now work at another company, but I'm currently helping to resolve a few technical issues so that the game can be published. I had to fire up a dev-kit for the first time in almost a year a few weeks ago to supply the screen shots which are now on the Telegames web site. I'm grateful to Telegames for releasing the game, as I and the rest of the team that worked on it were proud of the product and how well it played and looked when it was finished. The fact that it didn't go onto the shelves was a bit of a kick in the teeth. Regards The Programmer. //// World Tour Racing - More Info 1/29/97 Hello again. Some answers to some direct questions :-) The game has 16 tracks, 12 of which are based on real F1 tracks from around the world, and 4 fantasy tracks which we made up (I wanted pyramids in the game and Egypt doesn't have any racing tracks, so what the heck). It has 10 cars in each race, at one point the game had as few as 6, it was part of the process of tweaking the game play so that you were always racing against someone. 10 cars worked well in the final product. The fact that you never really raced against anyone in CF was probably the worst thing about the game. The Jaglink is not supported, 2 player mode is via a split screen. What resolution does it run at? Erm... most of them. This would probably take me quite a while to answer, due to a technique I used to maintain acceptable frame rates at all times. Instead I'll just point out that Doom is the lowest resolution game on the Jag, only 160 horizontal pixels, and I'm higher than that at all times. The music was produced by the same musician who did the music for that French skiing game that I can never remember the name of [Val d'Isere Skiing and Snowboarding --Ed.]. It's CD audio throughout and I was very happy with it, but you'll have to decide for yourself. I think I remember the adverts that some of you have been referring to. The early mock up pictures of the racing game [Checkered Flag] had nothing at all to do with WTR, it didn't exist back than. The company where I developed the game was producing Brutal Sports Football at the time (the programmer who converted that game wrote the first level of Die Hard Trilogy on the Playstation afterwards). Well done whoever it was that said that the in cockpit camera seems slightly higher than the drivers head, it is, by about 20cm. Very few people noticed in testing and it does make quite a big difference to the game's playability. You can set the camera to lots of different positions, you can even race via the TV cameras if you really want to. World Tour Racing was not a Domark project, and as a publisher I don't think they ever released any Jaguar software. As a side note, I now work for Eidos Interactive which owns Domark Software. BTW, during my time as a developer I did have access to some of the Jag 2 papers, I think by now my NDA is pretty much dead, anyone interested? Regards The Programmer Sorry, I'd rather not give my e-mail directly, but I'm checking this site on an irregular basis, so if you want to leave me a message post it up here. //// World Tour Racing - Jag 2 Info 1/29/97 I'm about to disappear as it's the end of my working day, but as there seems to be quite a high level of interest I'll clarify what I said about the Jag 2 in my last message. I don't have any physical Jag 2 papers, I don't think anyone does except the ex-employees of Atari, as the project was confidential, but I did get to see some of them. Atari started releasing details to some developers around the middle of '95, with the intention of holding a developers conference in the Autumn. The conference never happened and the project died later that year. Depending on how much I can remember (it was over a year ago) I'll try to post some information up about the machine tomorrow. But I will say this, at the time it didn't look that great compared to what was looming and Atari must have been aware of that. Now for a few more answers :-) Yes, the tracks do have tunnels and dips and bridges, it doesn't wildly undulate, which is mostly due to the nature of the real world tracks and the type of racing. The computer cars do race against one another and have quite complicated AI. The car AI was originally developed on another machine before the Jaguar project began, so it was adjusted, refined and playtested over a considerable length of time. Yes the game does vary the resolution. It doesn't quite do it on-the-fly in the sense that it changes whilst you're racing around a track, but it does change from section to section and track to track. It even changes res when the game is paused, if things are flying pst at high speed you can get away with lower res as the eye doesn't notice that sort of detail, speed is all important in a racing game. I did at one point experiment with an engine that changed the base res on a frame by frame basis, but that makes simple things like screen overlays stupidly complicated. The car is highly configurable, there is a workshop during qualifying which you can jump into at any time and adjust all the usual stuff. It has a fairly complicated vector force model driving the physics of the car, with a set of interpreter blocks put in to make it a fun game to play. Sliding is an important part of the game, simply because most testers found it a lot of fun. I'm not sure what the Blitter "trick" is that your refer to, but it does blit via CLUT & GPU memory, and uses many, many other techniques (half of which I've now forgotten). Bye for now The Programmer =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Jaguar Underground Forges Ahead =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= "THE UNDERGROUND" [This article originally appeared in Gamepen's Gamewire <http://www.gamepen.com>. Reprinted with permission.] In the wake of the Atari Jaguar's commercial death, it seems that the Atari community is going to pick up where the corporation left off. Certain dedicated members of the community are in the process of making history. A group of game designers and programmers that calls itself The Underground is working on the idea of shareware for the Jaguar. The movement is currently in a learning state: all the coders figuring out the tricks of assembly on the Jaguar. The group is also requesting rights from various corporations to program certain titles. If successful, this would be the first major shareware movement on a console, and it could very well change the face of the video game industry. Recently GameWire was able to get in touch with some members of The Underground to find out how this project is developing: "The final form of the shareware has not yet been determined. Most of this is in its infancy. If only (Atari) realized how many people would write games for them from this underground, the Jag may still be formidable. Fact is the Jag can do all those nice tricks the PSX can and better, with more color. We simply want to put out games for a system that we all love and realize a great potential for." "Just so everyone understands who reads this, we in no way intend to violate anybody or their copyrights, Atari included. If (they) had half a market brain, they would bring back the Consumer Program Exchange where home hackers produced a lot of the 8 bit computer software." The Underground has mentioned a few titles and it seems some of Atari's broken promises of 'classics' may be fulfilled through this. (Games by) Bally, Stern, and other classics are all possibilities, pending approval, of course, from their respective companies. Overall, the shareware movement is alive and well on the Jaguar. The game descriptions that have been shared with us thus far sound extraordinary. We wish the best of luck to The Underground and will continue to cover this development as it progresses, so stay tuned to GameWire for exclusive interviews and coverage. In the meantime, if you have any comments, questions, or concerns about The Underground, please email GameWire's Senior Web Editor, Brian C Bessemer (<firstname.lastname@example.org>). Messages will be forwarded to The Underground and we will attempt to answer all concerns, if not personally, then in future updates. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// New AvP Code Discovered =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Thanks to Adam Ryder for unearthing this heretofore unknown Alien vs Predator code. This code displays a few lines of debug info on your HUD. Debug Info: Hold Pause. Press Option. Press 1+3. Release Pause. Press Option. Shotgun blast confirms. "dec(nn,nn)" is your map grid coordinates. "hex(nnnn,nnnn)" is your precise coordinates (in hexadecimal). "1(nn)" is the current level. --==--==--==--==-- || || Jag-Fest '97 \__// The Atari Jaguar's Woodstock? ----------------------------------------------------------------- Several Jaguar enthusiasts (mostly on Jaguar Interactive) are organizing a little get-together called "Jag-Fest '97". It started out as a party to celebrate the release of BattleSphere andAtari employee) and Terry Grantham of Telegames. They are not attending for sure, but it is an exciting possibility. Jeff Grimshaw has sent out a request for feedback on who's planning to attend. Here it is: "PLEASE SUBMIT A POSTCARD Send a Postcard Today! Attention all Jag-Fest '97 party goers! It has proven to be somewhat difficult for me to secure a place for our meeting. To help remedy this, I ask that you send some information to me via SNAIL MAIL! Hardcopy information I can keep and file and be happy about, electronic I can lose when my next HD crash occurs... My big problem is that I know we all would like to go and have a good time, but I don't know how many of you will be needing a place to stay. I don't really know how much you are expecting to spend, what you plan to bring (if anything), if you plan to show up early or would like to stay late and help clean up. I don't know if you want to donate anything, be it ideas, food, luck, posters, artwork, whatever. Remember, a big undecorated room is ugly to look at. Besides, you'll become rich and famous like me (ever heard of me before this event? :-Q ) when we credit you for your contributions. As of now, this is the information I will need: First and Last Name: (so I know who you are) Age: (I hate to ask... but there are curfew laws and hotel regulations we must take into account. If you are way too young and coming alone, we'll try to pair you up with someone, but your parents will be convinced all internet geeks are axe murders, anyway..) Mailing Address: (in case I need to mail you for whatever reason) Daytime/Evening phone numbers: (In case I need to contact you regarding hotel/motel rooms/pricing etc. The hotel will also need this if they need to contact you in case of reservation problems.) E-mail Address: (so I can e-mail you with updates) Who is Coming With You? (Wouldn't it be great if I requested a bunch of single rooms and your group of 12 drinking buddies come along with the intention of all staying in the same room? This will allow me to have a fair idea of how large of a room we each need. Prices will vary accordingly due to room size.) What can you bring? (Tell me if you are bringing something. I don't care if it's a thank-you card. Acceptable items are listed on Chad's page.) Are you willing to send a deposit on your room, if need be? (I will try not to handle the money and have it go straight to the hotel if this comes to light, but I can't promise) Who can we contact in case of an emergency? (If you suddenly die, we can't throw you away) Finally, what comments/suggestions do you have? (There's still so much to do, there's still time for one person to make a difference!) e-mail me this information. But if you must, my email address is: Gorgonzola@earthlink.net Please use the same format as listed above, and title the message "Jag Fest Applicant Information" All people who register with me will be getting e-mail shortly thereafter. I will try to keep everyone posted in a timely manner as to current events and developments. If you would like to send me artwork/posters/etc, please forewarn me, so that I will be sure to check the PO Box more often. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The PO Box's address, incidentally, is: Jeff Grimshaw PO BOX 958542 Hoffman Estates, IL 60195-8542 Thank you for your support! I look forward to meeting you all and publicly losing most of the contests... No one said I was a good gamer, I just like to play..." //// Where Can I Get More Information? Every Friday evening, 11:00 PM EST, there is a lengthy Jag-Fest meeting for everyone to attend. It's located at JPFN. To go directly to the chat, go to <http://www.frontiernet.net/~bwdaly/chat.html>. Be warned though, some have encountered technical problems and haven't been able to enter chat. If this happens, then please e-mail us (or probably Kevin) for the latest scoop on what went on. Of course, you can always check out the home page for all the info, too. Check out these home pages for further info: Jag-Fest '97 Home Page: <http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/4062/> Jag-Fest Info Page: <http://freenet.buffalo.edu/~bl478/> Maintained by Kevin Manne (email@example.com) Atari Video Club: <http://www.angelfire.com/ia/AtariVideoClub/AVC.html> --==--==--==--==-- || Llatest from Llamaland || By: Jeff "Yak" Minter \__// firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------- [All of the following postings are taken from Jeff Minter's web page, Yak's Zoo <http://www.magicnet.net/~yak/zoo.html>. Check it out, and see what else Jeff has yakked up lately.] //// 22 Jun 1996 Well, I have been getting on with The Project Of Which I Cannot Speak, having fun doing that... went to an excellent party not too long ago... enjoying the onset of California summer and driving around in the Red Ship... installed Linux on my PC... (amazingly enough, someone has converted the old C64 game Thrust to Linux! I was most impressed!)... unfortunately I can't say a lot about what is really turning me on at the moment, but soon... real soon... I promise :-). I've introduced a new section, dedicated to my favourite tech toys, and added a bit of new stuff here and there in the existing sections. I know there are a few snapped links around, I'll do me best to fix them and add new ones RSN. Sorry I have been a bit inactive Webwise of llate, I have just been a lazy git, iz all. And not being able to speak of my passion makes it a bit harder to get enthusiastic about maintaining my stuff. That *will* change. Soon. Watch the skies. Imagine a world without pixels :-). //// 14 July 1996 Just done a major overhaul of the Llamasoft Titles by System page - adding links to scans of the original cover artwork of the games where available, plus a few words about each of the games. I will add more as I get hold of more of the cover art, but some of that stuff is quite hard to find now! //// 20 Oct 1996 (Wipeout XL is due to release tomorrow!!) I've been away for a while, took a short trip back to the UK... yes the new project is still proceeding OK, no I can't say a lot about it yet - at least no more than I said in the October 'WIRED' Atari piece. Soon... in the meantime, I have updated a couple of areas and added a piece about my recent trip, including some nice pi can be sure; but that period is coming to an end. Expect interesting things to read about at the start of '97. Next year is going to be a Time of Much Coding and Many Miracles. As soon as I can, I shall also start up my "Wallpaper of the Week" section, where you will be able to download psychedelic stills for your Windoze wallpaper from some of the outrageous graphics naughtiness that I have been getting up to. Be warned that you will need 24-bit colour to view them at their best. I tend to be worst-case for anything less. :-) Also, also... been playing a few new games (see In The Slot)... and got a couple of new emulators and finally uploaded my game packs for download from the Emu page, and I've also updated a coupla other areas on the website... Apart from coding and messing with my computers I haven't really been up to much recently. I've been in semi-hermetic mode, lurking in my lair communing with exotic constructs and occasionally breaking off to consume stimulants both chemical and digital. (Coffee and Robotron will get ya wired as f*ck). In particular, I have been firing up the Williams Arcade Classics on the PSX and refining my skills at Robotron, in anticipation of the imminent release of "Robotron X" on that system. Oh, Tempest is now apparently out on the PS and Saturn... I still haven't seen it as nobody at either Interplay or what remains of Atari has seen fit to send me a copy to have a look at, which is kinda weird, considering that it is my game after all. However initial reaction in the newsgroups and in review is good, and there is no reason why the conversion shouldn't be as cool as the original - maybe more so, with some cool new FX on the PS version. One of these days maybe I will even get to see it. I've been coding up a lot of HTML too... but nothing you are gonna see :-)... tech examples for the coders who are to follow me down the Path to Great Glory that is our current project. However it won't be long until I am comfortably enthroned in my Virgin Premium Economy, definitely no smoking seat, within a large metal tube hurtling at unthinkable velocity and altitude above a large body of water,glugging down one gin and tonic after another and mak won't want to do anything except gaze at your screens drooling on the carpet and... interfacing... we are talking serious habit-forming 100% class A pure video narcotics here. Algorithmic ecstasy. A full-frontal digital lobotomy. heh heh heh..... //// 15 Dec 1996 Well, I was supposed to be tidying up my house prior to my going back to the UK for the hols (yippee!), but instead I found myself seated firmly on my arse in front of the Playstation and N64 all weekend. Go to In the Slot if you wanna hear the whole sorry story. My arse is totally numb from all the videogaming I have been doing... Hey, I did tidy up at least the living room today, in between games. I nearly blew up my Hoover! There I was, Hoovering away, when suddenly I could smell... you know... that smell. Burning electrical stuff. Never a good odour to encounter as it usually bodes ill. I switched off the Hoover, and sure enough, there were wisps of smoke coming out of the ventilation slots! Now, I know my carpet was dirty. I have about as much sense of domesticity as a billy-goat, as anyone who has ever had to use the bogs at my gaff will attest. I rarely Hoover. So there was plenty of dirt on my carpet - I didn't have so much dust-bunnies as dust-cows. Big ones, wandering around and mooing loudly. However, even I would have been amazed that there could be enough dirt to actually blow up my Hoover. As it turns out, all that was wrong was that I had forgotten to switch mode on the Hoover from "low pile" to "high pile" before I attempted to suck my living-room carpet. Now that's an easy oversight to make, and I reckon there should have been some failsafe device in the Hoover to actually cut out the motor before it started to burn up. Bloody silly piece of design that there isn't. Luckily I stopped my Hoover before actual flames ensued, but it was a close call. Poxy dumb mechanical devices - I hate 'em. I look forward to the day when I can buy some nano dust that I can scatter on my carpet and which will eat my dirt, using it as raw material to reproduce themselves, evolving vast nano civilizations in the interstices of my shagpile whilst simultaneously keeping it spotlessly clean. Hehe... Oh well, tomorroeview, complete with moany bits and comments, on my reviews page. (To be honest, I am probably being a bit extra-hard on the game, but, well, if anyone has the right to be an opinionated git about the game, it's me. And, of course, the Great Originator Dave Theurer - but since he has left the games biz, I feel like I have kinda inherited Tempest - I care about it deeply, and I want to nurture and protect it, keep it safe from harm... and watch it grow. I don't think I've finished with Tempest yet. Oh my no, not at all... (hehe)... "Project X" is entering a very exciting phase, and we're all buzzed about how things are going at work. Yes, there will be announcements; no, I don't know yet when they will be, but it should be fairly soon. Keep an eye on the Area 51 section of my homepage, because if I let anything slip, that's where it's going to be slipping. Oh yes - and one other thing I have decided about this year: Exodus. Apart from that... I had a very nice break over the Xmas hols, went back to the sceptred isle as per usual, got to hang out with my mates, go to Wales, drink lots of beer and eat plenty curry. In fact on the last day, I went out for curry with my mates, and the curry house offered me one of the mythical, off-the-menu "stealth curries" which they consider to be too dangerous and won't even admit they exist until you have a proven record of wolfing down the hottest Vindaloos. I had a dark, ominous, seething chicken curry that made my eyes water and my tongue throb. A curry that burns like fire and, amazingly enough, even looks exactly the same both going in and coming out. I also went to see my mate Dave Lightsynth up in Bristol, and had one of those proper British nights out that I really miss since I've been here. You know the sort of thing - down the road for a most excellent Vindaloo at the Sheesh Mahal, then lots of lager, further stimulation, and conversation until N o'clock in the morning... Dave's gaff is an interesting place to get smashed in - full of boxes marked VPL and bits of Polhemus trackers, hardware and computers everywhere, even parts of the furniture made out of bits of old computers. Dave is an excellent guy to have inebriated conversations with. This is a guy who has interfaced the Jaguar VLM to a Theremin, for Ghu's sake. Me and Dave and Ian Lightsynth used to have regular such sessions at my old gaff in Wales, so it was most excellent to do so again - it's been a couple of years. Oh well - maybe soon the Welsh sessions will be starting again... Not that I don't get to have occasional good nights out over here - in fact the other night I met up with some ex-Atarians I hadn't seen for a while and we had a most pleasant evening indeed, consuming a degree of fermented beverages of varying ilks and talking about this and that and the Old Days Back At Atari. There was this guy there I didn't really know, kinda a FOAF, ya grok [Errm... no? --Ed.], and although he was a nice enough guy for sure, well, you know that funny feeling you get when you know someone who's apparently sane but belongs to some cult, or is a Scientologist? Well... this guy was a heretic... I can barely bring myself to say it, but he... he... He didn't like Roger Waters. Yes, yes, I know, that's shocking, and the very words look ugly upon the page of your Web browser, but it's true. I tell you, I knew something was up when the conversation happened to veer in the direction of Their Exalted Pinknesses, and he suddenly said something extraordinary: he said that he thought that Pink Floyd were losing their touch when they released The Wall. He thought The Wall "wasn't that great". Yeah right! And that Eugene Jarvis chap was totally missing his stride when he wrote Robotron. And that Shigeru Miyamoto, he's crap, he is, and Mario 64 sucks! Now that was scary, being in the same room as someone who actually thought The Wall was crap... but, shock piled on horror, the heretic went on to make the following bizarre allegations: - The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking is, apparently, crap! (yeah right! And the Curry Gardens serves rotten Vindaloo and it never rains in Wales!) - Radio KAOS is "poppy!" (yeah right! Regular Spice Girl, that Roger Waters is! Yeah! KAOS was *so* mainstream!) - Amused to Death only has one decent song on it! (yeah right! And the only good game on the PlayStation is "Viewpoint"! And that Dave Gilmour, he only knows one chord!) Naturally, I was somewhat taken aback to find out that apparently my Deity has been creating all this crap, poppy music for years and silly me's been enjoying it and thinking it's good! Damn, I hope nobody pops up to tell me that all Eugene Jarvis's games are crap, and I just didn't notice - that would really spoil my day. Amazingly enough, when pressed, the individual in question revealed that he had arrived at his deep, insightful opinion of Pros and Cons after just the one listening! Silly me, and I thought that there was such a wealth of detail in that album that it took me quite a few listenings before I began to get the most out of it... Well, after hearing such talk, in mixed compaI was halfway through writing some stuff for the website, when I had a pre-emptive curry interrupt that caused me to leap into the Red Ship and tool down to Monterey and India's Clay Oven, where I had an extra extra hot chicken Vindaloo, garlic naan, two spicy pappadoms (the best spicy pappadoms I have found in the US so far, actually) and a couple of bottles of Flying Horsie beer (according to the little tag you get on each bottle, Flying Horsie is "the champagne of beers", and each bottle is brewed "for you, the connoiseur. When you're sure the occasion deserves it, serve Flying Horsie Royal Lager Beer. Then sit back and drink deeply". Well, a good curry always deserves lager, so I did indeed sit back and drink deeply - in between shovelling forkfuls of steaming Vindaloo into my face, that is :-). Speaking of curry and lager, I am totally overjoyed that Red Dwarf series 7 is out at long last, and being broadcast back in the UK. Thanks to a co- operative mum over there and a multi-standard VCR over here, I am receiving regular tapes of the new episodes, to my unmitigated delight. I was howling with mirth within the first five minutes of Episode One when Lister is devastated to find out that a spacetime anomaly has wiped out the ship's entire supplies of curry and lager ("Life without curry? That's like Laurel without Hardy... or the Lone Ranger without... umm... that Indian bloke!"). Life without curry would indeed be a terrible thing to contemplate. Maybe I should marry a nice Indian girl who would be willing to cook me Vindaloo every night. I can just see my Personals ad now: "Shaggy, goaty-smelling coder seeks Indian female for spicy culinary relationship, possibly marriage. Looks unimportant, age unimportant, but please send photo of curry..." Hehe... so what else is up? Well, I'm off skiing next week, oh delight, sliding down mountains with long things on my hooves, one of my favourite activities! I'll be strapping on my Salomon ski-boots and getting into my very appropriately-named Mountain Goat ski-suit, although not in that order, 'coz that would be well awkward :-). Finally got around to trimming off some of the dead parts of my website, and gathered my links and downloads into one place; and I have decided to release Llamatron and Revenge as freeware. Coding continues well on the new Thang - I expect to twiddle with Area 51 [the section of Yak's page, not the game -- Ed.] a bit more tomorrow and quite possibly upload a couple of new images, so watch the skies! //// 15 March 1997 Saturday night again - seems to be the timezone when I am most relaxed and can re-enter the real world long enough to actually communicate with humans :-)... here I sit listening to a nice techno compil that I laid down onto minidisk a few months ago, and quaffing a not insignificant amount of Gin and Tonic. G&T is my inflight drink of choice, you see, and when I am feeling a little homesick, well, if I can't jump on a plane and fly right back to Flossie, well, at least I can do the gin part, and imagine the rest. Things are hotting up a bit in the world of Project X, and I've had precious little time to be human recently... I have n things to do right now, and when I'm not doing those, I am thinking about the n+1 things that I also need to do, but which are of a lower priority from the original n... and there are several layers of X-based priorities before you even begin to get down to normal human things like feeding yourself or going out or being sociable. As a result of this I am afraid I have fallen down somewhat on my comm duties, and I have a huge backlog of email that I just cannot hope to shift. I apologize, and don't mean to seem rude if I don't answer your email immediately, if at all. I always appreciate hearing from people who know of me and my work, particularly when people write out of the blue just to thank me for wearing out their joystick hand over the years - it always cheers me up when I get such a communication. But these days I am knocking off work quite late most nights, and all I'm fit for at the end of the day is a quick beer and then bed, and I can't really face answering a ton of email. I'm sorry, I don't mean to be rude. Merlin eats me, iz all. And I love it, and the results will be well worth it, you wait and see. You will know extreme bliss when I caress your quivering neurons with my nootropic algorithmic digital-narcotic wares. And that day is getting inexorably closer. There is much excitement amongst the Project X team. I've basically been in trogloditic mode, and will probably remain so for the next month or two - I have a long-weekend break arranged for the end of May, when I shall be going to an extremely good party; I'm kinda using that to aim for and to justify not really having a life beyond X at the moment. And after that, of course, there's my return to Flossie, planned for later in the year, to which I look forward with inordinate relish. It gives me deep joy to know that before the year is out I shall be reunited with my Ungulate of Choice.t of hard work for all of us on the X team, and will continue to be so for the next few months... but if I could tell you the specs right here and now, you'd understand exactly why it's gonna be so worth it. For you, it's gonna mean a gaming and lightsynth experience unlike anything you've ever seen before. N64 included. For me, it's gonna mean being back in Wales, working on stuff that I am passionately enthusiastic about, on unbelievable hardware that I would never have imagined in my wildest dreams (at least the wild dreams pertaining to hardware, rather than beasties) a few years ago, living not far from a decent pub, and in close proximity to a variety of pleasantly aromatic furry beasties. Well worth working for, I reckon. Trogloditic mode isn't particularly human, but it gets stuff done :-) --==--==--==--==-- || BattleSphere Updates || By: Doug "Thunderbird" Engel \__// email@example.com ----------------------------------------------------------------- [All of the following are public postings to Usenet by Doug Engel, BattleSphere Chief Engineer.] //// BattleSphere(tm) Mini-Update(R) 4/17/96 Greetings Sports Fans! Welcome to the latest installment of BattleSphere(tm) Update(r). Once again, we are slaving around-the-clock in our efforts to create the greatest console game ever designed on any system known to mankind. Since the last update, the following breakthroughs have been accomplished: 1) A super-nasty and annoying bug in the targeting system was exterminated. Changing targets with the selection keys no longer glitches on occasion. It's working fine now. 2) A bug in the sound manager was squashed, so now the sound locations in the universe are accurately calculated, so their relative volumes are now properly computed. This had caused some annoying miscues in the sounds. 3) Speaking of sounds, the new samples which we added recently have been described as, "Sounds like a world war". Great. That's what we wanted! Our sound is officially chock full of "64-bitty" goodness! 4) All of the versions of all of the Starbase objects have been created. A major task has been completed. There are bases for each different race. Each base has a unique shape and style, making them all race-specific. 5) The Starbase code has been completed, which includes the ability to target, shoot, damage, and eventually destroy a Starbase. The HUD icon for a base was added, so they can be spotted on the HUD and targeted. It looks great. 6) The universe was expanded (Scott playing God again) because the large bases would not grow small enough in the distance before wrapping around the universe. 7) We were not 100% happy with the way the Starbase destruction sequence appeared once it was first completed. We felt that a Starbase should have a distinctive looking termination effect. Inspired by the effects from the recent space-battle on Babylon 5 (which blows away any and all current versions of Star Trek), we came up with a last-minute revamp of the Starbase destruction. Now, a Starbase that dies does so in a much more spectacular fashion. It's last-minute inspiration like this which makes game development so enjoyable, and makes BattleSphere(tm)'s development process superior to the rigidly defined processes of other developers. 8) The "Gauntlet" play-mode is being honed to perfection. It's a lot of fun and has an "arcade" feel to it. The enemy AI is really wickedly evil, and few players will get very far against the ever improving enemy pilots. Protecting a group of Starbases in a sector has never been this much fun before... 9) Expect a preview from none other than Travis "El Travvy" Guy, from Atari Explorer Online within a few days. Travis is going to be playing a recent beta test version of this game. 10) BattleSphere(tm) R00LZ! Until next time, Happy BattleSphere(tm)ing! Thunderbird //// BattleSphere(tm) Update(R) #032396: That's right! With tonight's code modifications, you too will experience the amazing technological innovation of 4-times the Nonvolatile Memory Capacity of any Jaguar Game Cartridge ever produced!!! We felt that limiting our high-score tables to only a handful of names was one of the few legitimate complaints with the -awesome- Defender 2000, so we embarked on an effort to quadruple the storage capacity of the NV memory. The effort has succeeded. Now we have the ability to store complete high-score tables _and_ detailed ship statistics. Another record-shattering advancement from 4Play! This BattleSphere(tm) Update(R) brought to you by: Thunderbird //// BattleSphere(tm) Update(R) 9/9/96 Greetings, everyone!!! Welcome to the latest installment of the BattleSphere(tm) Update... The three latest additions to our masterpiece are as follows: 1) The "Warp Effect" is incorporated. This is a cool wavy wormhole that appears in the spot where a ship exits from hyperspace. If you see one of these things you can pepper it with gunfire and the ship will materialize right in your hail of fire! Boom!!! It works!!! And it looks really cool!!! I have to make a sound effect for it though... 2) "Free-For-All" play mode has been added. This mode pits you up against 15 other ships in an all-out battle to reach a selectable number of points. You will re-generate after getting killed after a 5 second delay, with a 1 kill penalty. The first player to reach the goal is the victor! This is something like "DeathMatch" in Doom, except that we have the additional features: a) When killed you re-generate with your targeting computer locked on the ship that killed you, so you can get "REVENGE(tm)" on him! b) Your targeting computer displays a bar-graph indicator under each ship target indicator indicating their score. A ship with a large indicator has more kills than one with a short one. This way you can concentrate fire on the guy that's winning, and cut his score back! Free-For-All mode is complete, except for the pre-game setup screen which allows the number of kills to be specified and the ship classes allowed in each game. Free-For-All works in both 1-player and Networked modes and it's a real blast to play!!! With 16 ships in constant battle and an infinite supply of lives, things get pretty hairy! There's never a dull moment here!!! 3) Check out the All-New and Vastly Improved "BattleSphere(tm) Homepage(R)". Just point your browsers at <http://www.best.com/~sebab> and select the Videogames / BattleSphere icon. We even have a feedback form so you can submit your info so we know who to e- mail when we release!!!! And we have e-mail links to all of your favorite 4Play members!!! Let us know what you all think!!! Thunderbird Strap yourselves in. This flight is gonna suck, and we don't serve peanuts! //// BattleSphere(tm) Update(R) 12/28/96 Hey there BattleSpherePhanatics(tm)! The wait is drawing to a close. Gauntlet Play Mode is now in play testing, and I must say that it RULES!!! Never before have I met such a challenging shooter game in my life! (Well... maybe Tempest 2000). But it's great!!! The levels start off pretty easy for me (I'm an expert) but the enemy gets smarter and stronger as you go. Some levels require a great deal of strategy as you're outnumbered and outgunned. Careful planning of when and where to use your special weapons is crucial. The level bosses are particularly fun and challenging, and really make the time fly by. Finding the weakness in these guys is going to be a real challenge! It took me 90 minutes to get through one particular level and I know the Achilles heel already (heh heh heh) you guys are gonna love this. Watch out now that the enemy AI is programmed to use special weapons on you. Some of you complained a while back that some of our special weapons were not particularly useful, right? Well, you'll be singing a different tune when you discover how "INeffective" they are when the enemy is using them on you (don't cry to me). At any rate... if you finish all 100 levels of Gauntlet, you will indeed be a supreme BattleSphere champion. In other news, our nifty new introduction which tells the story of the game is completed, which really spiffs up our Attract Mode. There's even some cool easter-eggs in that sucker. There's a couple of other things new too, but I can't tell anyone about them ;-) Let's just say we have another "first" for Jaguar games! Thunderbird //// BattleSphere(tm) (Awesome) Update(R) 02/03/97 Greetings BattleSpherical BattlePhanatics! It's time once again to give you all the nitty-gritty on the most eagerly anticipated videogame in all of videogame history! You guessed it... we're talking about BattleSphere(tm) from 4Play!!! (That should really annoy Martian, huh?) More amazing superhuman effort has brought about dramatic changes to the world of BattleSphere(tm). As we approach the end of available ROM space, more and more additional features are being added and play is being tweaked to perfection. The actual changes made include but are not limited to: 1) The graphical extravaganza introduction has been completed. The number- crunching graphics are indeed impressive. The nasty bug in the hardware which caused this mode to occasionally lock up was circumvented. 2) The mega-awesome new "Mystery" levels have been added to Gauntlet (I hate the term "Boss"). Several unusual new entities have been added to make things a little more interesting for the player trying to complete all 100 levels! Animated 3D ships RULE!!! 3) Gauntlet Networking is nearly finished. This allows 2 consoles to be connected to play a cooperative version of Gauntlet... it may be the only way some of you get to see the nifty later levels (heh heh heh). 4) Cockpit radars have been aesthetically improved for a more high-tech look. 5) Another incredibly realistic explosion has been added. 6) Several all-new sound effects have been added. 7) Steph is pleased to announce that all non-in-game music has been increased to 8 or 10 track stereo sound, thanks to an all-new music player expertly coded by TBird. (Limited bandwidth forces in-game tunes to remain 4-track). 8) A nasty hardware bug killing BattleSphere(tm) mode was eliminated. It didn't show up until testing. 9) BattleSphere(tm) Play mode is finished. This mode is a show-stopping, strategy-invoking, white-knuckle blast! Conquering the bases of the enemy team is challenging and fun... and the more players you bring to the Battle Sphere, the more fun it gets. Forget about mindless "Deathmatching" (Which you can play too in "Free-For-All" mode)... BattleSphere(tm) mode's vastly more elegant play mechanics create a networked play environment that's light- years ahead of the simplistic kill-or-be-killed doldrums everyone's so weary of. The object of the mode is to capture the enemy team's bases using special energy weapons... but you need to accumulate kills to be able to upgrade your ship to be able to carry these weapons. Once you upgrade your ship, you can dock with your bases and load up on special weapons. But watch out! If you get destroyed, you have to start over again. Once you have sufficient weapons to conquer a base, and you get through the enemy fighters defending it, you can lay into it and take it over. Once the base is yours, you can go after the next. Be careful though because the enemy may not want you taking over their base and may take their own base down with a last- ditch bombing run, if it looks like you're about to conquer it! Of course the number of bases, number of players, and method of victory (conquest or destruction of enemy bases) is completely configurable... for hours and hours of networked play fun. By itself this play-mode is an entire game. Remember... this mode is for 2-8 consoles only (no 1-player version). 10) Coding is progressing on the final play-mode (Alone Against the Empires), which is the Star-Raiders-ish mode. An all-new galactic map is being designed as well as the enemy AI required to seek and destroy bases in multiple warp sectors. This mode will be super cool. With the multiple play-modes available and the variety of them, it's a lot like getting 4 or 5 different high-quality games all for the price of one! Imagine getting a game and 4 of its sequels all at one time! That's what BattleSphere(tm) is all about. As always... BattleSphere(tm) continues to improve daily. Until next time.... Thunderbird //// BattleSphere(tm) Collector's Edition 03/02/97 Anyone who is interested in having their very own customized and personalized "Collector's Edition" of BattleSphere(tm), please go to our web-site and leave us Feedback mentioning your interest in this sort of item. Also, please mention how many we should limit the number of them too, and how much you would pay for one: <http://www.best.com/~sebab/dvidgames/dsphere/sphere.shtml> You have to realize that these would have to be "hand made" and individually encrypted, etc. It will be labor intensive, so the fewer of them we make the easier it will be, but they will probably cost more for us to make. If we're going to do this, we need feedback to judge how many of them we can make. We are CONSIDERING doing this sometime after we finish the current game and we see how sales are. At the very least, we'd have the owner's name displayed on the title screen or a special dedication screen. We'd probably have a serial number on there too to authenticate the rareness, and we'd sign the cart or something. Thanks. Thunderbird [Editor's Addendum: 4Play has just made available a 30-second "commercial" for BattleSphere. It's a bit... odd, and it's their first effort with their new video capture card, but is darn good considering. Snag it at: <http://www.best.com/~sebab/dvidgames/dsphere/amovies/web.avi>] --==--==--==--==-- || BattleSphere Playtester's Update || By: Mark "Stingray" Santora \__// firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------- [Be sure to check Mark Santora's BattleSphere Playester's home page at <http://home.earthlink.net/~santora/index.html> for updates. World Tour Racing preview coming soon!] =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// The January/February 1997 Report =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// The Plot In the future, an intergalactic war is about to break out. Eight different races were set to fight until they controlled the galaxy. But in a brief moment of intelligence, the races agreed to save the galaxy from being ravaged by war. They did this by placing their best pilots in an enclosed area of space to fight until one remained. Which ever race that was, would rule the galaxy. Here lies the plot for Battlesphere. //// Commentary Well gamers, the wait is almost over! That's right, with a full force programming blitz over the past few months, Battlesphere is a hell of a lot closer to getting finished. Let me tell you, the gang at 4Play have managed to really pump up the action. But more on that later. At this writing, there are about 7 more concepts to be put into the game. Also, work on the Gauntlet mode is complete. //// Gameplay As I said above, the Gauntlet mode is pretty much done, aside from some minor tweaking. That said, most of this report is going to focus on that. Gauntlet mode starts off with a simple yet effective screen asking for which level you wish to start on, what type of ship, and difficulty level. There are 99 levels in this portion of the game. They start off pretty easily, sending a ship or two into your sector and they go after your starbases. But as you get higher up in the levels, you start running into Squadrons. That's right, out of one "jumpgate" area, three or more ships will appear. They each have their own vortex, but you get the point. The best way to describe what this looks like is from a movie(a movie reference from me?). Remember at the end of Return of the Jedi all the squadrons of Tie Fighters heading for the Millenium Falcon? That's what you will see, minus the Death Star. Hey, these guys don't want to get sued! Now, a quick fighting tip for Battlesphere: Whatever you do, Don't Fly Straight At An Enemy Squadron! This is a good tactic for anywhere in the game, but when you are facing the squadrons, they will kick your ass in a real serious way. Speaking of enemies, they have taken another step towards consistently flogging you. They now use their special weapons, i.e. missiles. A nice little sound accompanies each missile as it moves towards your ship, sort of like sonar. The missiles can be shot down, you just have to find them first. For all you science fiction fans out there, also look for nods towards the past in Gauntlet mode. One level is inhabited by beings from a planet in our solar system. Nak! Nak! Nak! If you don't get it now, you might once you play it - level 48. Speaking of the radar, the gang has added a bit of depth to it by layering in a few things. I can't really describe it, but it looks nice and gives you a bit more eye candy. It looks polished. Also in Gauntlet, you get the Boss Ships. Put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. They are extremely difficult and make you wish for those squadrons of Capitol Ships. //// Graphics The graphics are still sharp and look better than half the crap that is 100% texture mapped. Sure, texture mapping is nice, but usually I find that it bores me and interferes with the gameplay. Let's face it, a nice looking game with bad gameplay is TFX2000. And a bad looking game with bad gameplay is Battlecruiser 3000. //// Sound Effects Well, we've got thenew sound effect for the incoming missiles, but nothing that I've noticed aside from that. Of course, Scott will pull me aside later and give me a whuppin' for that comment. //// Networking It appears that the eight-player networking in Gauntlet is finally solid. No new bugs have creeped up, at least none that Scott has told me about. Link up with your friends, and get rocked! //// Music Stephanie has been diligently working on new/different tunes for the game. The ones she has shared with me, and what's in the game, are most excellent. Take the energy of the Tempest 2000 music, give it more of a John Williams tone, and put it in Battlesphere. Now you know what to expect. Steph has a few MODs of the tunes on her web page, check them out. //// Alone Against the Empires It has finally started. Here comes what unofficially can be called, Star Raiders 2000. This is the game loyal computer users have been waiting for since the original hit in 1982. Really folks, this is the game to beat. Scott's got some time to finish this one, hopefully I will have more to tell you about it once I get a Flashrom of it. //// Secrets I can't tell you the easter eggs, but I'm trying to keep track over here and my last count put the number of easter eggs around 15. I'm sure there are more. This doesn't count the hidden race which everyone knows about. These are the funky things. Things you don't expect. That's why they're so much fun. --==--==--==--==-- || Review: Baldies || By: Clay "Macabre Kiwi" Halliwell \__// email@example.com -------------------------------------------------------------- So you say, you want to be a god? You've watched jealously as your PC- owning friends have simulated cities, founded entire civilizations, and ruled benevolently over a worshipful populous. How many times have you glared at your Jaguar and wished you could take command of a group larger than those four little guys in Cannon Fodder? Well, now you can. Baldies is here for the Jaguar CD. So slap on that halo, grab a thunderbolt, and step on up to the throne! //// The Bald and the Beautiful Upon loading, in what has to be one of the more unusual intros I've seen, Baldies goes straight into a long claymation video with no dialogue and very little connection to the actual game. The CinePak video here is some of the worst I've seen on the Jaguar, and on top of that the animation itself is very crude. Once at the main menu, you can start a new game, enter a level password, or load a saved game from a Memory Track cartridge. Baldies supports a single save slot on the task to perform, and each also has a power bar that is depleted as they perform their tasks. Baldies can either be wandering around outside or placed inside buildings.  Workers (red): The default Baldy type. Inside, they produce more Workers (amusingly depicted by a Baldy jumping up and down on a bed). Outside, they build up the red power bar. The red power bar is depleted by digging holes and laying down strips of land.  Builders (blue): Inside, they repair and maintain buildings. Outside, they build up the blue power bar and build new buildings.  Soldiers (green): Inside, they build up the green power bar and defend buildings from invasion. Outside, they pummel, shoot, and lob grenades at the Hairies.  Scientists (white): Inside, they construct weapons for use against the Hairies. Outside, they build up the white power bar. You can switch Baldies between types as much as you like, whether they're inside or outside. Generally Baldies who are outside will wander around aimlessly, stopping only to pick a flower or take a nap in the shade of a tree. I've also spotted suspicious yellow patches on the ground in the Ice stages, but haven't actually caught anyone in the act yet. There are no territorial boundaries in Baldies, so be careful that your guys don't wander onto enemy soil! //// Let There Be Condos While some levels start with a building ready for you to use, most of the time you'll have to build your own. Simply plant a flag anywhere on the map, and all your Builder Baldies will converge on it, eventually causing a basic hut to appear. Then you can fill it with Builders and choose what kind of building you'd like it to expand into. The type of building you create has a direct impact on what it's optimized for. Building proceeds along the following decision path: Hut -+- House --- Large House -+- Larger House -+- Largest House | | | | +- Nursery +- Heliport | +- Fort ---- Large Fort | +- Laboratory  Houses: Have the highest Baldy capacity, and are good all-around production centers.  Nursery: Best for producing more Baldies.  Forts: Best for military production.  Laboratory: Best for churning out inventions, and required to access certain inventions.  Heliport: Must have one of these to access the helicopter invention. If you don't allot enough Baldies to building then your building won't expand to the next size. Even if you don't want your building to get any bigger, you still have to assign a certain number of Baldies in each building to performing maintenance, otherwise it will fall into a state of disrepair (at which point all production going on inside stops), and eventually disintegrate. If the number of Baldies inside exceeds the maximum capacity of a given building (usually due to Baldy breeding), the extraneous Baldy is kicked out the door. If you abandon a building it will eventually fall down, but don't be surprised if your computer-controlled opponent starts dropping Hairies inside and takes it for his own. As you build more buildings, you also gain new abilities. At three buildings you gain the ability to dig up and create terrain, and at four buildings you can make your Baldies fly. To use this ability, you select an area of Baldies to be affected, then click where you want them to go. This is good for moving large numbers of Baldies across the map quickly. //// Implements of Destruction You have two main means of wiping out the opposing Hairies-- Soldier Baldies and inventions. To use your Soldiers, just set your inside Baldies to military production and send in the troops! Target selection is accomplished via a shield icon which you pick up and drop wherever you like. Soldiers will home in on this, but will also lob grenades at any enemy buildings they pass on the way. Shooting and using grenades will quickly consume the green power bar, so be sure you have lots of Baldies back home supporting the cause. Soldiers with an empty power bar will be reduced to just knocking the Hairies down (which only stuns them). Inventions are where the real fun is... theoretically anyway. With your Scientist Baldies, you can create gizmos such as poppers, mines, bear traps, cannons, springs, and almost a dozen other items. You can increase the fertility of your Baldies, decrease the fertility of your enemies, rain down boulders and goldfish, cause earthquakes, zap your enemies at will, and bring about Armageddon! Poppers, mines, et al, fall into the general "trap" category, which I try to avoid using. They're good for taking out wandering Hairies, but can't get at the ones inside buildings. For that you need to send in your troops, which can also be killed by all the traps you've laid. So for the most part you end up either not using traps, or finishing off the enemy by building a helicopter and bombing them back to the stone age. Most of the really good inventions aren't available until you work your way through the basic inventions. You can also gain new inventions by picking up objects and dropping them in a Laboratory building. One of the most useful of these is the Stink Bomb, which you gain by dropping a skunk in a laboratory. Using the Stink Bomb on any building will cause about five of the inhabitants to come running out (and right into any traps you've laid...). By the way, the Exploding Cow is truly awesome. It does require a lot of Hairies to set off though. And some of the inventions (balloon, angel cloud) I have yet to figure out. //// Sights and Sounds Graphics are pretty much what we've come to expect from Euro software... very tiny, and very detailed. I was definitely glad to be running S-Video while playing this game. The animation is decent enough, but the scrolling is embarrassingly coarse. Where the graphics really fall short is in the various inventions. Half the fun of a game like this is meting out death and destruction upon your enemies, yet the lack of graphic payoff here severely undermines that pleasure. For instance, the first time I used the cluster bomb invention, I expected to see a fusillade of missiles falling from the air, fireballs, craters, and flying bodies. Instead, a small cluster of Hairies simply cried "Eek!", burst into little pixelly flames, and fell down. Very, very, VERY lame. All of the high-power inventions are like this, leaving you with little more than a strategic satisfaction at having used them. Sound effects are similarly underpowered. What's there is okay (your Baldies protest with a "Hey!" when you pick them up), but when you're dealing with a game where you can only see a small part of the action at a time, audio cues become extremely important. Baldies simply doesn't have enough sound effects. //// Conclusion Baldies is essentially "Populous Lite". It tries to convey the impression of great variety of gameplay, but this is mostly a sham. All five sets of levels (green, ice, desert, circus, hell), while graphically different, play exactly the same. All the traps perform the same function. With few exceptions, the variations in terrain have very little effect on gameplay. As for the game itself, at times it feels more like a level editor than a complete game. By giving the player the ability to redraw the terrain, drop Baldies wherever you like, and change Baldy types at a whim, you don't get much sense of having a virtual world to work within. The interface is clumsy as well. I won't go into the details, but there are about a dozen little things that they didn't get quite right about it. Well, I'll list one. The game treats the entire screen as your window on the Baldies world, and then overlays your menu bars on top of that. So, if you're at one of the far edges of the world and want to pick up something that happens to be underneath a menu... you can't. Overall, I enjoyed Baldies for quite a while before its weaknesses started to get to me. There is a mild appeal to building up your little civilizations and clobbering the Hairies, but the uninspired AI and long waits for buildings and power bars to come up to strength guarantee tedium in the long term. A two-player mode would have made this game exponentially more entertaining, but is sadly absent. In the end, it's a technically mediocre product that simply lacks the depth and polish of the games it attempts to imitate. If you have WWW access, be sure to check out <http://www.baldies.com>. //// Final Ratings Title: Baldies JagNet: No Design: Creative Edge Players: 1 Published by: Atari Media: JagCD Retail: $59.99 Availablity: Now A Summary of Ratings: "*" is a whole "+" is a half 5 stars Maximum Graphics - *** Choppy scrolling, teeny-tiny character design. Audio - **+ Tinny music and too few sound effects. Control - *** Imprecise object selection and placement. Objects sometimes unreachable under menu bars. Gameplay - *** Shallow and repetitive. Not much real variety to the weapons. No 2-player option. Overall - *** A pleasant waste of time. Occasional crashes. Key to Clay's Ratings (leaders of men) ***** - Julius Caesar **** - Winston Churchill *** - Jimmy Carter ** - George Steinbrenner * - Leonard Tramiel --==--==--==--==-- || Review: Breakout 2000 || By: Wes Powell \__// firstname.lastname@example.org -------------------------------------------------------------- Breakout 2000... a game that's been due out for, 'ahem'... too long. The third in the series of 2000 [fourth, if you count MC3D --Ed.] games, B2K doesn't disappoint. T2K and D2K were fairly similar, with their distinctive styles. B2K may not be as good as they are, but it's definitely a 2K game with a new flavor. //// Blast from the Past You're greeted by a polished title screen and a dull and repetitive tune. >From the menu screen, you have great control over the way the game will be played. You can choose between Breakout Classic and Breakout 2000. In 2K, you can choose from three difficulty settings and three paddle speeds. You can choose to play solo, against the computer (that, I might add, has superb artificial intelligence) or against a human opponent. As in the other 2K's, you can take a dose of nostalgia by going back and playing the original version of the game. In B2K, they didn't do a good job on the classic mode. There are only two levels... but, I can't say that I'd want more. I'd rather that they put the effort into the NEW version, and let the diehards of old pick up an older Atari system and jam to the clsic. B2K's object is simple: destroy the bricks on the playfield. It's not as easy as it seems though, especially with new stuff thrown into the mix. B2K's gameplay is anything but predictable. The levels designs are very well planned to give you a run for your balls. There are robots that can help or hurt you. Some shoot down much-needed power-ups. Others try to make a mess of your paddle. There are bricks that take multiple hits to destroy, and some that are unbreakable. Ball speed, angle, and rotation are very important. If you're gonna get anywhere, you've got to get good at aiming the ball by judging the angles. In two-player modes, you'll be faced with even more obstacles. If you clear out a section of your bricks, your ball will hit a ramp at the back of the playfield and hit the opponent's bricks. Unfortunately, you may be handling two balls at one time. If you miss your ball, you lose a ball. If you miss the opponents ball, you lose 1,000 points (a hefty chunk). Watch your balls closely. To keep the game from being repetitive, they were smart, and threw in some great new stuff. Complete five levels, and you'll be treated to an intermission of either a 3D Pong round, or a target round. 3D Pong is awesome! I had never thought about a 3D Pong, but here it is, and it's intense. You'll face your friend or a computer foe. With every hit, the balls moves faster... and keeping track of two balls moving at blinding speeds isn't easy. The target round is a test of your lightning shooting skills. You're equipped with lightning, and you'll be awarded points for destroying the target bricks in the least amount of shots. Very cool bonus rounds indeed. The mechanics of the ball are excellent. Angles and stuff are precise and very realistic. Scaling of the ball is also great... almost flawless. The ball floats above the ground and has an appropriate shadow. It looks very shiny, and spins in different directions. When you hit the ball left or right, it'll spin respectively. The robots that you'll be faced with are animated very well. They look almost like SGI with the exception of some rough edges. They move around well, and they scale smoothly too. They'll throw down some nifty power-ups, or some sucky power-downs. Get the breakthrough ball to sweep the levels clean. Bag a bigger paddle or an extra ball. Paddle boosters like lightning charges and ball attract. Beware, there is an opposite to every power-up. //// Graphics The graphic package is nice, but it's not going to blow you away. In the game, there are different space-like backdrops which are nice and colorful. There is a molasses-speed star field in the back as well... very choppy, but your mind will definitely be on other things. The bricks that make up the levels are fairly basic, but look shiny nonetheless... the 3D look that is created is mighty cool. Your paddle is transparent... and that's a nice plus. It also recoils when you hit the ball. The sight of your ball traveling up and down the ramp is outstanding. When the bricks become multi-stacked, that's when you'll realize that this really looks awesome. //// Sound The music and effects bundle is also done well. The SFX are basic stuff. Some seem to be pulled right off of the 2600 or something (not sure on that). Other sound effects have a newer and cooler sound, fortunately. There's not much to complain about... some of the effects are very nice, and others are average. On the music side, what we have heard in the other 2Ks isn't matched here. It doesn't seem that they fine-tuned the music the way that Imagitec did. Although, the music does a great job of suiting the game. It's always upbeat, and offers a lot of variety in the way of beats and rhythms. You'll get a new track each five levels. Some of the tunes are remixes of others with new fill ins and beats, but they are varied enough that you won't mind at all. I find myself tapping my toes to these tunes... I really enjoy 'em. //// Overall The control is dead on. With speed configurations, you should be able to play the way you want to. There's not much more to say-- it's perfect in this category. If you've seen a screenshot, or watched a Quicktime of this game, and weren't impressed, believe me... it has to be PLAYED to be believed. The action is intense, and that makes for great fun-factor. Multi-player options are also very cool and add much to the replay value. Great game for any library. //// Final Ratings Title: Breakout 2000 JagNet: No Design: MP Games Players: 2 Published by: Telegames Media: 2 megabyte cart Retail: $59.95 Availablity: Now A Summary of Ratings: "*" is a whole "+" is a half 5 stars Maximum Graphics - **** At first they look basic, but in the later levels, you'll respect the excellent 3D look that is created. Audio - **** The tunes are great, and the sound effects are more good than bad. Control - ***** A great game for beginners with its simple control setup. Nice and easy to use. Gameplay - ****+ It's awesome. Multi-player increases the replay value dramatically, and solo is great fun too. Don't judge this game on pics alone... play it. Overall - **** A game that will appeal to all types of gamers with its simple controls. In the later levels it gets pretty intense, a la T2K and D2K. Key to Wes' Ratings (an audiophile state of mind) ***** - Mini-CD **** - CD *** - Cassette ** - 8-Track * - Rocks =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Author's Bio =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= I'm Wes Powell. I'm 16, have brown hair, blue eyes, and I stand about 6 foot. I'm one of the biggest Jaguar freaks ever, and I run the Jagu-Dome web site <http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Park/4106/jagu-dome.html>. My talents include, but are not limited to: Jaguar <g>, kicking peoples' butts at Jaguar <g>, playing piano or keyboard, artwork, and HTML code. --==--==--==--==-- || Review: Towers II || By: Clay "Macabre Kiwi" Halliwell \__// email@example.com -------------------------------------------------------------- After years of waiting, false starts, canceled agreements, and last-minute deals, the Jaguar finally has its first (and only) true RPG... Towers II: Plight of the Stargazer. //// Enter the Daggan Like the original Towers (released for the Falcon), Towers II is set on the island of Lamini, where your merry band of adventurers is still shipwrecked after an unfortunate run-in with some pointy rocks. As the nicely presented intro relates, the titular stargazer is a wizard by the name of Daggan. Seems he's been acting strangely of late... ranting and raving, blowing things up at his castle, and exhuming the corpses of dead mystics. Everyone who goes to find out what's up never returns, up to and including all of Lamini's knights and high council members. Oh my. It's at this point that the sheriff resorts to you. In exchange for entering Daggan's towers and apprehending him, he offers you a keep of your very own (a keep to keep?) and as much treasure as you can grab inside the tower. Being poor and bored, you of course accept. //// Tower Power Towers II is a single-player, single-character, first-person RPG. The game environment is very Alien vs Predator-ish (but with lower ceilings). The entire game takes place within Daggan's tower. There are 11 floors, which you can move between freely via stairs, teleporters, and the occasional hole in the floor. There are two types of game saves you can perform-- a complete save to RAM (unfortunately lost when you power down your Jag), and a partial save to the cartridge. This partial save includes only the bare essentials... your inventory, stats, position, groups of monsters killed, and major objectives completed. Before you start, you select and roll your character. There are four characters to choose between:  Merton, the wizard. Physically weak, but a magical powerhouse.  Tasler, the boy. Reasonably strong, the decent magic.  Andros, the circus performer. Similar to Tasler.  Gerand, the fighter. Strong as a blue ox, but little magical talent. The character selection you make determines the range of the stats you roll for that character. The stats are:  STR - Strength  INT - Intelligence  WIS - Wisdom  DEX - Dexterity  CON - Constitution Fortunately, you can immediately re-roll a character if you don't like the numbers that come up. The character selection you make has a real outcome on how you play the game. For instance, Gerand can only cast a handful of the available spells, and Merton is too frail to wear any armor. Once you've created a character, you're placed on the ground floor of Daggan's tower with only the clothes on your back (why do videogame adventurers never bring weapons with them?). The user interface is relatively simple. Pressing the joypad moves and turns you in the usual way. Your character has rather a lot of inertia... if you've stopped and press forward, it takes a full second to start moving. This can be extremely annoying (and fatal) when trying to weave around monsters in combat. The game uses every available button but one on the joypad. You can't change button assignments, but the layout is optimized for use with a ProController. Pressing the shoulder buttons lets you sidestep, and the most commonly used keypad functions are mapped to the X/Y/Z buttons. Unfortunately there is no keypad overlay included. The game runs full-screen, with health and mana bars at the top and a compass in the upper-right. Your currently-selected weapon bobs, Doom-style, at the bottom of the screen. A press of a button bring up additional overlays-- a spell canvas on the right, which gradually fills with icons as you find spell scrolls, an inventory on the left, and miscellaneous text displays in the lower center. The drag-and-drop inventory management system clearly shows its roots in the Falcon... to pick up items you go into inventory mode, click on an onscreen object, and drop it into any available inventory slot. You start with only four inventory slots (forget about collecting every bit of treasure you find), but this can be increased by finding bags and backpacks. Equipping is done by moving inventory items into boxes overlaid on a small human figure. The mouse-based functions of Towers II can be somewhat of a hassle. Your cursor moves much too rapidly, forcing you to tap-tap-tap the d-pad to position the cursor where you want it. You even have to go into inventory mode to open doors (yep... stop and click on the door). Your health is whittled away by enemy attacks, and can be regained only by sleeping or drinking a healing potion. Sleeping is implemented rather oddly in Towers II. To go to sleep, just punch the Sleep button... anytime... even in the middle of a fight. Weird. Health is regained at a fixed rate, so the more powerful you become, the longer you have to sleep to fully heal. You can only sleep when you're not hungry, so be sure to carry some food with you at all times. Happily, "summon food" is one of the first spells you find. There is an excellent automap feature, which maintains a full map of every level as you explore, and you can view the map of any level at any time. Naturally there's no way to fit these maps on the cart EEPROM during game saves, but the game makes a valiant effort to reconstruct your map by looking at the monsters you've killed and the goals you've achieved. //// All Out of Bubble Gum There's a satisfying variety of destructive implements in Towers II. Attack from afar with arrows, wands, and spells, or get in your opponents' face with swords, clubs, maces... even a broom! You also have the ability to throw knives (or apples, very small rocks, whatever...) but the mode-switching required to do this makes it practically useless in a fight. To select a weapon, you go into inventory mode and drop the weapon on the character's right hand. If you've found a shield, you can drop that on the left hand. After attacking, if you continue to hold the button down your character will raise his shield, blocking or reducing damage from enemy counterattacks. There's a minor bug in this system, as you have to actually fire before raising your shield,vP or Wolfenstein, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Instead of a ray- casting engine, Towers II builds its dungeon walls and floors out of texture- mapped polygons, resulting in a rather herky-jerky appearance as you move through the maze. Furthermore, the clipping horizon is only about four squares in front of you, and bitmap objects near this horizon distort strangely. There are holes in the ceilings and floors in some parts of the tower, and instead of simply texture-mapping a "hole" graphic, they're rendered as actual 3D holes (albeit square holes). It's pretty neat-looking. Enemies are a bit lo-rez, but there are 20 of them, they're animated, and you can view them from any angle... not too shabby for a 2meg cart! //// Sound The music in Towers II is excellent... very moody and medieval, with lots of deep gonging bells and whistling wind sounds. There are three songs total... one for the title sequence, one for the endgame, and one that plays during the game. The ingame song takes a long time to repeat, which is good because you'll be listening to it for literally hours on end. The sound effects are decent... not particularly engaging, but sufficient... a generic collections of oofs and thuds. You can hear your footsteps as you walk around, and the footsteps of approaching enemies as well. Since the sound effects are in stereo, this is very nice. //// Overall Essentially, Towers II tries to merge the Doom style of gameplay with a role- playing game, all within the limits of a 2meg cart. The result is a game that doesn't especially excel at either genre. Also the ending is on the disappointing side, a.com ----------------------------------------------------------------- 10/4/96 It's odd to imagine an institution which was as big and as powerful as Atari once was, to have been shut down in recent days. The real amazement for me is that it was all accomplished without a measurable flinch from within or outside the gaming industry. I can understand that gamers wanted to push Pong out the door early in the timeline. I can appreciate that the classics such as Missile Command and Asteroids do not push 32-bit and 64-bit systems to any technological limits. I know all these things intellectually, but the heart cannot face the truth that the rld and the corporate machine known as Atari could not find an amicable way to coexist. On Tuesday, July 30, 1996, Atari Corporation took each and every share of its company (ATC), wrapped them all in a tight bundle and presented them to JTS Corporation; a maker and distributor of hard disk drives. On Wednesday, the shares were traded under the symbol of JTS. Within a few weeks, the remaining staff of Atari that were not dismissed or did not resign, moved to JTS' headquarters in San Jose, California. The three people were assigned to different areas of the building and all that really remains of the Atari namesake is a Santa Clara warehouse full of unsold Jaguar and Lynx products. It was only as long ago as mid '95 that Atari executives and staff believed things were finally taking a better turn. Wal-Mart had agreed to place Jaguar game systems in 400 of their Superstores across the country. Largely based on this promise of new hope and the opportunities that open when such deals are made, Atari invested heavily in the product and mechanisms required to serve the Wal-Mart chain. But the philosophical beliefs of the Atari decision makers that great products never need advertising or promotions, put the Wal- Mart deal straight into a tailspin. With money tied up in the product on shelves as well as the costs to distribute them to get there, not much was left to saturate any marketplace with advertising. While parents rushed into stores to get their kids Saturns or PlayStations, the few that picked up the Jaguar were chastised by disappointed children on Christmas day. In an effort to salvage the pending Wal-Mart situation, desperate attempts to run infomercials across the country were activated. The programs were professionally produced by experts in the infomercial industry and designed to permit Atari to run slightly different offers in different markets. In spite of the relatively low cost of running infomercials, the cost to produce them and support them is very high. The results were disappointing. Of the few thousand people who actually placed orders, many of them returned their purchases after the Holidays. The kids wanted what they saw on TV during the day! They wanted what their friends had! They wanted what the magazines were raving about! In early 1996, Wal-Mart began returning all remaining inventory of Jaguar products. After reversing an "advertising allowance" Atari was obligated to accept, the net benefit Atari realized was an overflowing warehouse of inventory in semi-crushed boxes and with firmly affixed price and security tags. Unable to find a retailer willing to help distribute the numbers required to stay afloat, Atari virtually discontinued operations and traded any remaining cash to JTS in exchange for a graceful way to exit the industry's back door. Now that JTS has "absorbed" Atari, it really doesn't know what to do with the bulk of machines Atari hoped to sell. It's difficult to liquidate them. Even at liquidation prices, consumers expect a minimal level of support which JTS has no means to offer. The hundreds of calls they receive from consumers that track them down each week are answered to the best ability of one person. Inquiries with regard to licensing Atari classic favorites for other applications such as handheld games are handled by Mr. John Skruch who was with Atari for over 13 years. In spite of Nintendo's claim that their newest game system is the first 64-bit game system on the market, Atari Corporation actually introduced the first 64-bit system just before Christmas in 1993. Since Atari couldn't afford to launch the system nationwide, the system was introduced in the New York and San Francisco markets first. Beating the 32-bit systems to the punch (Saturn/PlayStation), Atari enjoyed moderate success with the Jaguar system and managed to lure shallow promises from third-party companies to support the system. Unfortunately, programmers grossly underestimated the time required to develop 64-bit games. The jump from 8-bit and 16-bit was wider than anticipated. In addition, Atari was already spread thin monetarily, but were required to finance almost every title that was in development. After the initial launch, it took Atari almost a year before an assortment of games began to hit store shelves. Even then, having missed the '94 Holiday Season, many of the planned titles were de-accelerated to minimize problems caused by rushing things too fast. Consumers were not happy and retailers were equally dismayed. The few ads that Atari was able to place in magazines were often stating incorrect release dates because that information changed almost every day although magazines deadline their issues up to 120 days in advance. It was in 1983 that Warner Communications handed Jack Tramiel the reins of Atari. By this time, Atari was often categorized as a household name, but few households wanted to spend much money on new software and the systems were lasting forever. No one needed to buy new ones. That, combined with Warner's obscene spending, amounted to a *daily loss* of over $2 million. Atari was physically spread all over the Silicon Valley with personnel and equipment in literally 80 separate buildings; not considering international offices and manufacturing facilities. Mr. Tramiel took only the home consumer branch of Atari and forced Warner to deal with the arcade division separately. Within a few years, Jack took the company public, introduced an innovative new line of affordable 16-bit computers and released the 7800 video game system. To accomplish these miracles for Atari, Jack implemented his "business is war" policies. While people who publicly quoted his statement often felt that policy meant being extremely aggressive in the marketplace, the meaning actually had closer ties to Tramiel's experience as a concentration camp survivor. Of the 80 buildings in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Milpitas, almost every one of them were amputated from Atari's body ically, international magazines were touting ample supplies. Those in the know within the U.S. became dismayed. The remainder never knew Atari was slowly abandoning the value of Atari's name recognition as it became easier and easier to forget, some assuming Atari had long filed for bankruptcy. On a technical level, Atari 16-bit computers were designed beyond their time. For less than $1,000, consumers could enjoy "multimedia" before the phrase was ever really widely used. The icon-based working environment preceded Windows' popularity, although the essential attributes of the two environments were very similar. MIDI was built-in and became an instant hit in the high-end music industry. Tasks were activated and manipulated with a mouse and the system accepted industry standard peripherals such as printers, modems and diskettes. With all the genius that went into the technology of the machines, very little of equivalent genius went into the promoting and marketing of the machines. Mr. Tramiel was the founder of Commodore Business Machines. When he introduced the PET computer in 1977, Jack discovered he didn't have to call a single publication. Instead they all flocked to his door demanding an opportunity to see the product. News magazines. Science Journals. Business newsletters. Newspaper reporters. They were all there with microphone, camera and pen in hand. And they kept coming back. Adding a switch, announcing a new 4K application or signing a new retailer were all big stories the press wanted to handle. Today, a new video game announcement may generate a request from any of the dozens of gaming magazines for a press release, but a lot of costly work has to be done to assure fair or better coverage. Editorial people are literally swamped with technical news. Samples are mailed regularly to their attention. Faxes fly in through the phone lines and e-mail jams up their hard drives. It takes a lot to grab their attention. While Atari retained hopes to be successful with the Jaguar, Atari's marketing people were fighting established standards in the industry with severe handicaps. Since cartridges (the Jaguar was/is primarily a cartridge- based system) were so expensive, editorial people were required to return them before new ones would be sent. Editorial people like to assign review projects. So finding cartridges they sent out was not always easy to do. Additionally, reviewers often love their work because they get to keep what they write about. Regardless, the few magazines willing to cover Atari products were more often turned away because of a lack of programmable cartridges or any number of other indecisive barriers. In-store signs and posters were sometimes created, but many retail chains charge premiums to manufacturers that want to display them. Some direct mail campaigns were implemented, but Atari often could not afford to keep those things being advertised on schedule. Therefore, the advertisements were published and distributed, but the product was not available. Clearly, Jack's experience with the world beating a path to the door of a company making a better mousetrap no longer applied. The world had revolved a few times beneath him and he never noticed. The tactics used to successfully sell Commodore computers were simply antiquated notions from the past. Meanwhile, Sony launches the PlayStation with over $500 million in marketing funds. Today, the PlayStation is considered the most successful next- generation gaming machine throughout the world. Sony bought the market. Tramiel's Atari never learned how to do that. Actually, they never could afford it anyway. After the 1990's got underway, Europe as well as the rest of the world, discovered that IBM-compatible computers were becoming more powerful and more affordable. The world always did want computers at home just like in the office and companies like Dell and Gateway exemplified the industry's trend toward home-based office computers. As a result, companies like Commodore, Atari and NeXT couldn't compete any longer. While the dedicated user base of each of them felt abandoned by these companies having to leave the computer market, the inevitable prevailed. Commodore jumped ship, Next changed business goals completely and Atari invested what they had left in the Jaguar game system. Even today, Apple is kicking and screaming. As good as Apple was at creating a huge niche for themselves, they focused more heavily on education. When kids grow up and get jobs, they want business machines. IBM was always the business standard. When one examines the history of Atari, an appreciation can grow for how many businesses and people were a part of the game over the years. Chuck E. Cheese Pizza was started by Atari's founder, Mr. Nolan Bushnell. Apple Computer was born in a garage by ex-Atari employees. Activision was founded by ace Atari programmers. The list goes on and on. But for some pathetic reason Atari's final days came and went with no tribute, no fanfare and no dignified farewells. Why? Where did all the talent go? Where are all the archives? Where are the vaults? Where are the unpublished games and where are the originals of those that were? Why has no company stepped forward to adopt the remaining attributes Atari has to offer? Where are the creditors? What has happened to all the properties and sites? Where are the databases, warranty cards, promotional items, notes on meetings, unanswered mail? Who owns P.O. Box 61657? Who goes to work in Atari's old offices? Where do consumers have their systems fixed? Who is publishing new games? Who still sells Atari products? Why are there still a lot of people talking about Atari on-line? I'm an ex-Atari employee and proud to have been. I'm still an Atari devotee and proud to be. To me, these are questions which all deserve an answer, but who will ask them? The best people to ask these questions are those who have exposure to the public. If you believe Atari left us without saying goodbye, contact Dateline at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you REALLY believe, then send this article to 10 of your friends in e-mail. AND if YOU REALLY, REALLY believe, mail a few to newspapers or other news programs. A letter in your own words would be great! I'd spend money for a thorough retrospect on Atari. Wouldn't you? Wouldn't it at least be nice to say "Goodbye"? -- Don Thomas email@example.com 209/239-3898 --==--==--==--==-- || Martin Brownlow || Interview by: Clay Halliwell \__// firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------- This interview with Martin Brownlow (programmer of Missile Command 3D) was assembled from several e-mail exchanges between Martin and myself. [JEO] What other games have you written? [Martin Brownlow] I wrote a few shareware and PD games on the Atari ST - Grav, Grav 2, Gems, Chaos, Abombinaball, [Tanx] - and whilst at Virtuality I wrote two VR coinops - Virtuality Boxing and Buggy Ball (don't blame me for the frame rate on those - I wasn't allowed to touch the 3D engine!), and helped do the Sega NetMerc VR coin-op. I'm currently working at Shiny and finishing off MDK. [JEO] What home console games have you done? [MB] This (MC3D) was my first home game to be published. [JEO] How long did it take to write MC3D from start to final version? [MB] Six months. [JEO] When I saw preview footage of MC3D I was a bit skeptical about what you'd done to Missile Command... it seemed like substituting point-and-shoot lasers for missiles ripped the entire heart out of Missile Command. [MB] I was pretty skeptical myself when told to do a VR Missile Command (I was kinda hoping for Marble Madness VR!), but when I finally resigned myself to doing it, I think I came up with a pretty good game design (VR version). [JEO] Isn't it kind of short? [MB] Too short? Doesn't it take about half an hour of constant blasting to beat it? [JEO] Well, Tempest 2000 has dozens of levels and takes a long time to beat. [MB] The only problem with T2K is that it gets boring after about 20 waves - you know nothing really special is going to happen, that it's just going to be the same. MCVR was designed to draw the player into the VR. Hence the fact that nothing attacks from below until stage 3. It was all ramped around the user getting better with the headset (which of course never came out). [JEO] Are there any scraps of VR headset code left in the cart? [MB] Yeah. If you can get your hands on a prototype headset (unlikely) with the right ROM in it that transmits the correct keycode (even more unlikely) then you can play using the headset in both VR and 3D modes. If a headset is attached then you get some extra options in the options menus and the keypad functions differently (left and right will move between bases rather than 1 and 3, since the D-pad is easier to use when you can't see). [JEO] Who designed the "MISSILE COMMAND 3D" variation? [MB] This game was totally Atari's design, and was written in about 2 weeks (including tweaking to get it how Atari wanted). Please don't talk to me about this section - it's a sore point. Atari at one point wanted to drop the 6 months of work on the VR game in favor of making the cartridge 100% MC3D, which just sits in a spare couple of K off in one corner of the cartridge! [JEO] What are all the missile powerups in "MC3D"? The highest I've seen is Fireball Missiles. [MB] I honestly have no idea I think that fireball missiles are the best (don't they make a horizontal line of explosions?). As I said before, I didn't really care for this game, since it wasn't designed very well. I believe that a lot of people have complained that the game won't actually let them die. [JEO] Would you say that MC3D came out well in spite of Atari? [MB] Yeah, although I still think the 3D game sucks. [JEO] The "classic" Missile Command was a major disappointment. I'd rather play a 99% perfect Missile Command than fool around with polygon models of TV sets and Lynxes. [MB] I would have preferred this, too, but Atari gave me absolutely zero support, no screenshots, no arcade machine, no copies of near perfect conversions, just a design doc for the Microsoft Arcade version, which went more into wave structure than screen resolution and appearance. [JEO] Why are powerups only identified the FIRST time you pick up one of each type? Sometimes it's impossible to see what you've picked up through all the explosions. [MB] Blame the producer, and Atari. Atari wanted no text, the producer compromised and made me change it from every time to just once. [JEO] Did Atari give a reason for this bonehead idea? And was there a Tramiel involved? [MB] So you heard stories about the big bad Leonard, too... they're all true! [JEO] I've heard that the level select cheat originally had no "9" in it, that you added it to hide the cheat from Atari when they demanded you take it out. Any idea why Atari wanted it out? [MB] I have no idea. They just said take it out. [JEO] Were the city domes and tunnels originally transparencies? [MB] No, they were always stippled. Transparency is almost impossible to do at any speed on the Jag without limiting yourself. [JEO] What does "SWIRV" stand for, if anything? [MB] Erm... actually, the producer came in one day near to the end of the project (the first two levels were almost totally finished and I was just putting the last 1/3rd of the last level together) and said that he wanted to add a new missile type that was like a MIRV but targeted your bases. When I asked for a name for it (for the missile ID screen in the intro) he said to call it the SWIRV, but I believe I called it UNKNOWN and moved the name SWIRV to the one that swerves out of your sights. So SWIRV doesn't actually stand for anything, but is a corruption of "swerve". [JEO] In the VR mode, are missiles really useful against anything besides the bosses? [MB] With practice you can use them to detonate multiple ships or missiles, or pick powerups up, and this was the original idea, but it's kind of flogging a dead horse... there's no point when the lasers do a perfectly adequate job against all the smaller enemies. I wish it were otherwise, but there was really no obvious way to keep the game missile based when moving into immersive 3D. [JEO] Why wasn't there the standard "city count" between MC VR waves? [MB] The wave summary was kind of a last second thing. There was no room in RAM to decompress a sample, and no time to do it. [JEO] Does the game decompress all three wave bosses into RAM at the beginningse I have is to say that there were 10 bosses to do (originally 9 but I decided to surprise you at the end when the artist came up with a new boss (I wanted to keep the little robots boss!)), and it kinda gets hard to think of new things to do with them. [JEO] Do you have names for the bosses? [MB] Nope. [JEO] Did you program the Virtuality arcade MCVR? How does it differ from the Jag version? [MB] No, Simon Fox did that, but it was based heavily on the Jag game. The differences are that it is a lot more arcade oriented - a lot faster, the waves designed for high response headset input, the players go around the arena in gun platforms that go around a circular runner. [JEO] Does MC3D use much 68000 code? [MB] The spinny logos are on the 68K, the vertical blank interrupt and the in-game decompression, but mainly the 68K is pointing at a STOP instruction. [JEO] Is the Jaguar a pain to program? [MB] Yes. You only have 4K of memory in the GPU, so you need to page code in and out of this, and there's a horrible Blitter bug that caught me out - when you start a blit off, it takes 3 cycles for the busy flag to be set, so you have to wait for 3 cycles before you can test to see if the blit has done. This is not documented anywhere, and Atari wouldn't even recognize it as a bug or agree to put it in future documentation. It caused me so many problems - jumping into code that hadn't been blitted yet is not a good idea! [JEO] Do you have any idea why MC3D crashes on some Jags? [MB] No, it's never crashed on our development machines, and it got right past Atari's testers... so I can only presume that Atari's testers didn't test it on every model of Jag. [JEO] Did Virtuality have any other Jag games started or in mind? [MB] They were doing Exorex - a mech game, and Zone Hunter - originally an explore 'em up, but got changed into a Doom style game (and it's a real travesty that you never got to see my Jag Doom engine - it FLEW!) but they stopped all that ages ago. [JEO] Do you own a Jag? And if so, what's you favorite game? [MB] Yeah, I own two (one of which is sitting back in England). I really liked AvP and sort of liked T2K, so I think I'd have to say AvP (apart from MC3D, of course!). [JEO] The frame rate is good, but a bit on the slow side. What happened? [MB] Blame Atari... "Oh, and texture this, texture that, texture the other." "But textures are at least 8x slower than flat shaded" says I. "Actually," says Atari, "they're at least 22x slower, but we want them anyway". You saw how the motorcycle game (Supercross 3D --Ed.) game came out - really slow - that's because they gave in to Atari and textured everything, which the Jag just can't handle. [JEO] Why are the lasers only solid white triangles? [MB] That's the frame rate issue. [JEO] Which name do you like better: Missile Command 3D or Missile Command 2000? [MB] Actually I liked Missile Command VR (and if Atari had made me change the name around once more, then they would have been firebombed). As it was, there's still a mistake in the final game - the high scores for the 3D section are actually called PLUS HIGH SCORES, from when that section was Missile Command Plus - how I ever let that game become the title game is beyond me. --==--==--==--==-- || Vince Valenti || Interviews by: Wes Powell and Clay Halliwell \__// email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org ----------------------------------------------------------------- Anyone who's had the pleasure of corresponding with JV Games' Vince Valenti (programmer of Towers II) knows that he's a pleasant and remarkably talkative fellow. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that we have not one, but TWO interviews with Vince. Enjoy. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= //// Wes Powell's Vince Valenti Interview =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= [JEO] Hey Vince, first of all I want to thank you for your time and effort on this interview. Thank you. Let's begin. [Vince Valenti] Thanks for doing the interview. :) [JEO] First of all, can you tell us a bit about the Towers II team? [VV] JV Enterprises began with two people, Jag (Jaeger) and myself. When we were developing Towers II we decided that we could not handle the work load, so we found Eric Richardson, our music writer, and John Easton, who helped design the monsters and characters. I, of course, did the programming, and Jag did the designing, map creation, and puzzles in the game. [JEO] How long has this game been in the works? [VV] We first developed this game for the Atari Falcon. It took us about 9 months to develop and create. We then started porting the game to the Jaguar, made tons of visual improvements, and that took us about 6 months to do. [JEO] What will be the cart size on the game? [VV] The game will fit in a 2 meg cartridge. The Falcon game was about 4 megs. The Jaguar version w/added textures and size of some graphics two more. We were able to squeeze it into a 2 meg cartridge. [JEO] Tell us a little about the game's plot and storyline. [VV] The story is a continuation from Towers I on the Atari ST & PCIt's about a group of men, who were sailing to battle. Along the way, they were shipwrecked on a little island. In an attempt to repair the ship and continue on their way, they took up odd jobs to pay for the repairs. Towers II starts when the sheriff calls the characters in for a job. One of the lords, who owns a tower, has been on a rampage and no one has heard from him. The sheriff asks one of e in the game? [VV] There is not any gore in the game. There are some blood spots, drops of blood flying out of the monsters. Other than that, it's pretty timid. :) [JEO] Now that we've discussed some of the gameplay elements, let's talk about some technical stuff. What is the resolution on the game? Colors? Speed? Any special effects? [VV] The game runs at a resolution of 320x200 with 65,000 colors, in-game music and stereo sound effects at 41.4Khz. The speed is between AvP and Doom. [JEO] In your opinion, how long would it take the average gamer to complete this game? [VV] Wow, that is a tough one to answer! I'd say it takes ME about 15 hours to play from start to finish. There is a lot of stuff to do and get, and things to fight, that even if you know what to do, it can take some time. :) [JEO] A lot of people have talked about developers taking their games from the Jag and publishing them on other platforms. Will this be an Atari exclusive? [VV] Towers II should be available on the PC as well. BTW, We tested the port on a 50Mhz 486DX in 65K colors and the Jaguar version still runs faster. [JEO] What are your future plans? [VV] Right now, I am trying to close up our projects, so that Jag and I can start designing our new game. [JEO] Vince, I want to thank you again for taking your time to do this interview for the Jagu-Dome. I wish you and the crew good luck on whatever the future holds for you. Towers II should breathe some new life into the Jaguar community. We thank you for that. Cheers! [VV] Thanks for your time. I can't wait to see Towers II finally reache dungeon, your fighting style will most likely be hand to hand or close range. However, when you play the wizard, he can not pick up half of the armor, and can't hit well. But he will be able to use all the spells you can find. So chances are you will not be fighting closely. Also, certain areas of the game are easier or harder for the different heroes. [JEO] Are there any hidden player stats, like reputation or alignment? [VV] No, there is no reputation or alignment. All the stats are shown. Depending on what character you choose will determine the max of your stats, and how much you increase per level. [JEO] Are there awesome magical weapons of mass destruction? :) [VV] Sphere of Annihilation, and Hammer of Titans. I like the Fire and Ice storm. If you have a few creatures following you in a row, these spells continue through and damage each of them (and you too, if you're in the path). Also several weapons/spells only affect/do extra damage to certain creatures. [JEO] Is there any environmental interaction? [VV] Secret doors, falling through cracked marble floors, creating a temporary wall with the spell create wall, freeing the Sword from the Boulder... [JEO] Are there environmental hazards? [VV] Yes, teleports, triggers, pits, etc... [JEO] How many different wall textures are there? [VV] There are three groups of wall textures. There are approximately 30 different bitmap images for the walls and doors. Approximately 7 more bitmaps for the floor and ceilings. [JEO] Are the torch textures on the walls animated? [VV] Yes they are. [JEO] Are there environmental sound effects or in-game music? [VV] There is music playing throughout the game. And loads of sound effects. Doors opening and closing, your footsteps, other monster's footsteps, etc... [JEO] How many graphically unique creatures are in the game? [VV] There are 20 unique character graphics in the game. [JEO] How many frames of "walking" animation do most creatures have? [VV] They have 3, moving in 8 directions, and an attack graphic. The graphics vary in size, but human types are approximately 45x60. We increased the size of the bitmaps to allow more detail within each monster than the normal 32x48 type character found in most RPGs that smooth scroll. [JEO] How were the creature graphics created? [VV] The characters were drawn by an artist. Then I took the drawings and modeled a character in a 3D rendering package. I created several rotation animations where in between frames the character would rotate 45 degrees, giving you 8 directions. [JEO] What's the color depth of the creature and wall texture bitmaps? [VV] Everything is stored and rendered in 16 bit color depths. [JEO] Does each creature have its own unique sound effect? [VV] No not each of them, but many of them do. Some have heavy footsteps, some light, some are silent, some fly... [JEO] Does each creature have its own unique behavior? [VV] All behavior is set by a group of conditions. Speed, morale, mood, etc... Example, if you hit someone enough, they might run based on their morale, some won't run at all. [JEO] Are creatures activated by seeing the player, or just proximity? [VV] They have to see you to become aggressive, which means you can sneak up behind them. [JEO] Do non-activated creatures sit still or roam? [VV] It depends on the character. Some stand guard at their post until disturbed, some wander around, and some are friendly. [JEO] Does the player character (and/or creatures) have any projectile attacks? [VV] Yes, several of them do, and they stay arms reach away from you and pelt you with magic attacks. You have to move up to them to hit them. [JEO] Can creatures hurt each other with stray shots? [VV] Yes, they can; just like you can hurt yourself with yours. [JEO] Can creature corpses be moved or affected in any way? [VV] No they cannot be moved. But you can search them for stuff. [JEO] Is the graphics engine strictly Wolfenstein 3D-ish (but with textured floors and ceilings)? [VV] There are also textured pits in the floor and ceiling, reaching to the next levels. [JEO] How far out does the graphics engine render walls/creatures? [VV] We could have rendered as far as we wanted, however to keep the speed up we limited the view in the distance, somewhat like Dungeon Master does, although not as short. Right before the graphic appears it begins a fade in, or depth cue, so no, nothing seems to pop-up like Cybermorph or the like. [JEO] Are there any dynamic lighting effects (flickering lights, etc...)? [VV] There are flickering candles, and depth cueing. However, no dynamic lighting like Phong or something. [JEO] What's the best/worst/average frame rate? [VV] Approximately 12FPS. In between the speed of AvP and Doom for the Jaguar. There are a couple of slow downs but, they are very minor, and only in a couple of areas. [JEO] Is there a "run" button? [VV] No "run" button per se. But you do move pretty quickly through the tower. Unless you are hungry or something. [JEO] How big is the save-game EEPROM? [VV] The EEPROM is 128 bytes. As long as the Jaguar is on, you get two full saves to RAM. Once you turn off the Jaguar and turn it back on again, then the cartridge save will reconstruct the save game from EEPROM. All inventory and stats, locked and unlocked doors, full and empty wands and quivers, groups of dead monsters, and automap reconstruction, fit into the EEPROM. Don't ask me how I fit it all, I still don't know. [JEO] Are there any cool cheats? [VV] Of course. We had to hide something. :) [JEO] How long are you going to wait before releasing the cheat codes? [VV] We have not decided yet. [JEO] Does the ending suck? :) [VV] The ending is short, but not cheezy. Our music writer even wrote a unique song for the end of the game (sounds like the song to the end of a movie). [JEO] Are there multiple possible endings? [VV] No, there is only one ending. [JEO] Must you complete every puzzle to win the game? [VV] No, There are several blockades that have two solutions or more, so you only have to solve/find one of them. [JEO] If Towers II does well, and Telegames is still interested, do you see yourself porting any more games to the Jaguar? [VV] I would not mind porting another game to the Jaguar if Telegames is still interested. Vince Valenti JV Games PO Box 97455 Las Vegas, NV 89193 (702) 734-9689 (702) 433-3973 Fax <jvenit about the game's story? [MG] There are aliens. You shoot them. The general storyline is that you've got a load of aliens attacking Earth (mold-breaking concept, I know), and Earth sets up Defcon (Defense Control), a network of defense craft around the Earth. All the alien activity comes from sector 0-5, hence the name. I think that's roughly it, I had nothing to do with the STe/Falcon version, and we chucked in a cut-down storyline for the Jag version fairly late in the project. [JEO] There's been a big discussion about whether or not this game is on rails... from the vid-clip I saw of the game, it looked close. Can you clear this up? [MG] Sort of. Basically, there are 3 completely different styles of game in there. Your mothership is called a HitPak, and it holds a small fighter called a BamBam (stands for Break-Away Mode). Sometimes you are in a gun turret in the HitPak craft, other times you go into break-away mode and control the BamBam craft. The three game types are: (1) BamBam Space Dogfight (2) HitPak Gunner Sequence (3) BamBam Trench Sequence I'll go through the 3 in turn. (1) BamBam Space Dogfight In this mode, you're flying in outer space - you aren't actually GOING anywhere as such, so there is no exploration involved. Aliens attack on pre- set patterns (Atari was touting it as a "Virtual Galaxians" which is a pretty good definition). You have complete freedom of rotation with your ship, you can point anywhere you want (flying "out" of the screen if you want). Example: If you see a load of aliens to your left, and you rotate so you are pointing right at them, you won't actually fly through them, just closer. If you rotate so you point to the right, you won't completely escape from them, you'll just move a bit further away (they are always tracking you, and trying to keep up with you). When they shoot at you, they hardly EVER miss, so you have to shoot the incoming fire. This is made quite easy because when one of your "bullets" collides with an alien bullet, the alien bullet explodes but yours keeps going, so you can easily take out a whole stream of alien bullets with just one or two of your own. Collision detection between bullets is tweaked HEAVILY in the player's favor so you don't have to be perfectly accurate, you just have to shoot in roughly the right direction. We went for this style of play because we found that most 3D polygon shooters (such as Cybermorph) were based on exploration, and you have to sort of wander round for ages trying to find some action. That sort of game is fine, but we wanted to do something where all the action comes to you, a more intense blast. Basically we wanted to create the same sort of frantic blasting action you had in games like Gradius and R-Type, but in 3D. BTW, this mode also has an "intelligent" camera, which moves slightly depending on which way you're pointing, and zooms in/out depending on the action. For example, if an alien appears somewhere where it can't be seen (e.g. "out" of the screen behind the camera), then the camera will zoom out until the alien is visible. The player can then see the alien, rotate around to point "out" of the screen at it and blow it away. (2) HitPak Gunner Sequence In this mode, you are in a mothership (a HitPak) which is constantly drifting forwards through space, with aliens attacking on pre-set paths. You, the player, are situated in a gun turret on the underside of the ship. Moving the d-pad will move your sights on the screen, but when you reach the far left or right side of the screen, contnd that side of the ship more, even if it means taking a bit of damage on the right-hand side. As in BamBam mode, you shoot incoming fire from aliens. (3) BamBam Trench Sequence This mode crops up three times during the game, and is a bit like a cross between Tempest 2000 and the bonus stage on Sonic 2! It's completely on rails, a texture-mapped trench/tunnel flies at you, (you're supposed to be strafing along the top of a huge mothership - this is straight out of Star Wars) and you use left/right to rotate around the walls. There are some walls which you have to shoot through, some are invincible and must be dodged around (you can tell these because of how they look, and the metal "clang" noise they make when one of your bullets hits them). Somewhere in the trench you will come across the reactor core which you must blow up quickly, as colliding with it = instant death (no matter how much shield strength you have). This section is put in as a bit of eye candy, and to give the player something a bit different, which is why we didn't use it too much. [JEO] Is this game single- or two-player? [MG] One only. We originally planned to put in a 2-player mode but time didn't allow. [JEO] Is the ProController supported? [MG] We were going to, but it became obvious that the Jag was dying, we didn't think there was any WAY that the 6-button pad would ever come out, and we just didn't have time for it. [JEO] Can you select different ships? [MG] No, that's all fixed. [JEO] Can you tell us something about the different weapons? [MG] In BamBam mode, killing a complete wave of aliens without missing any gives a powerup globe. You have to point towards it to fly into it. The player can choose whether they want to take it as a weapon powerup, a shield powerup, or a score bonus. Powering up your weapons makes your bullets start to get faster and do more damage, then they start to get bigger, and eventually you get to fire four shots of super-powered bullets (instead of two shots of weak small bullets). You also have three smart-lazers. This is like a smart-bomb, and you are invincible when you activate it. It makes a blue stream of bullets (a bit like a bolt of lighting) fly out from your ship and automatically lock on to all the enemies that are active. Its power is spread amongst the aliens, so using it when there are eight aliens out there will do less damage per alien than if there was only one out there. It automaticO] What resolution does the game run in. What color depth? [MG] 256 colors. Most of the polygons are flat-shaded, so running in 8-bit color gives a blitting speed around twice as fast as 16-bit. [JEO] Can you tell us how fast the frame rate is? [MG] It's usually around 30 FPS. The display is triple buffered, so it can simulate any frame rate - if we're running just below 30 FPS we don't have to drop to 20, it can do 29. The frame rate is limited to a maximum of 30 FPS on NTSC, otherwise slowdown would be too noticeable. On the PAL version, we allow it to run at 50FPS but not for two consecutive frames, so the max limit is around 35 FPS on PAL. It needs this, as the engine stretches all polygons vertically to keep the aspect ratio the same as NTSC, and 25 FPS is just slightly too jerky. The polygon performance is around 20,000 per second if I remember correctly. That's when it's around 10% textured, and with 8-channel sound over the top (this affects performance). We used a very fast Z-sorting algorithm. We found that Z-buffering is really really slow; although Atari said Z-buffering was the fastest way of doing it, unfortunately that's complete crap. Z-sorting does mean there's a few polygon glitches, but at least it's not running at 5 FPS =). [JEO] Are there any special effects in the game? i.e. light sourcing, animated textures, etc. [MG] There is no lightsourcing. Some people thought there was gouraud shading, but this is not even possible in 256 colors, the effect comes from the high polygon count in BamBam mode, with subtle color changes between polygons. [JEO] How did you pull off those explosions? How were they made? They seem to be somewhat pixelshatter. [MG] The Blitter can scale a bitmap out by spreading out the pixels - it's quite a straightforward thing for the Blitter to do, I actually had the idea before I saw T2K, then I was really pissed off that it had already been done! The main reasons why we used particle explosions were: (1) Speed. It doesn't matter how big or small you scale the bitmap, the speed is only affected by the size of the source image (in our case 32x32 pixels), so you can spread the pixels out really wide for a huge explosion without slowing down. (2) Gameplay. Because of the way that the camera can sort of zoom out (when in BamBam mode) when your ship is surrounded by aliens, what often happens is that you shoot "out" of the screen at aliens that lie between your ship and the camera. If we put a huge solid explosion there when you took out one of these aliens, it would completely obstruct the screen and you wouldn't be able to see what the hell you were doing. So basically it allows you to still see what you're doing, as you can see through the explosions. In T2K, it scaled up static images (like the "2000" thing and the "Excellent" text), but what I did was to scale up an animated image. The explosions use something like 20 frames of animation, so you have an animated explosion being particle-exploded at the same time. It's a nice effect. In BamBam mode, when you take out an alien, it actually triggers about 4 or 5 particle explosions on the same spot, but with slight differences in the scaling speed, so each pixel in the explosion appears to have a "trail" of about 4 other pixels. (Wes says that sounds awesome) [JEO] What kinds of improvements were made over the Falcon game? [MG] It's a completely different game! It shares the title, parts of the storyline, and a few graphics (such as the 8x8 font!), but in general it's a different game. I wasn't even allowed to see the STe/Falcon version when I first started at Caspian, in case I got the wrong idea about what was wanted for the Jag version! [JEO] How much time was spent on the project? [MG] It started towards the end of January '95. We delivered the beta to Atari towards the end of February '96. We then spent about a month waiting to be paid for the beta, fixing a few small bugs, and trying to tie up a publishing deal with a giant publisher (I can't say who) for a Playstation version of Zero 5. This deal fell through because the publisher was already handling too many projects - we could probably have done it if we'd waited for a few months, but Caspian just couldn't afford to stay afloat for that long. [JEO] How difficult is it to program a Jaguar game? Compared to other systems? [MG] It's really nice. I came from an Amiga demo coding background, so I went straight from Amiga to Jaguar and I was just completely blown away by the hardware. It's just like an Amiga that's miles better at EVERYTHING. The only thing that caused headaches for me was the GPU bug that stops it from running out of main RAM, so you have to keep splitting code into 4K segments - that is a real pain, but it's necessary if you want your code to perform well. [JEO] What's this I'm hearing about you guys not getting paid for this game? Did you guys get paid salaries for working there? [MG] All the people involved in the project were paid by Caspian software, we all got our salaries. When I say we didn't get paid, I mean that Caspian software was not paid money owed by Atari for the development. There was a milestone due when Atari received the beta version, and they didn't pay it. All of a sudden, they decided that they didn't like aspects of the game that had been in there since day one, and unless we completely change everything they won't accept it as a beta version. They kept us hanging on for a month, coming back to us with utterly ridiculous "bugs" (there was a very very small number of genuine bugs, but most of them were just Atari being stupid), and in the end, the company couldn't carry on, and was "put to sleep". I was laid off, and both me and Chris got new jobs. A couple of months ago, however, I got internet access at work, and nearly had a heart attack when I saw people on rec.games.video.atari talking about Zero 5 being published by Telegames. We thought that someone must have just spread some bullsh*t rumor, but the Telegames website suggested otherwise. We had absolutely NO idea that this had happened, we were not consulted at all, and we are still not getting paid for it (Caspian still exists, it never went into receivership). Atari still maintains that it was not a beta, and sold it to Telegames on the understanding that it was an unfinished product. This doesn't stop Atari from getting a royalty on sales of the "unfinished product", but that royalty is so embarrassingly low that if they're that f*cking desperate then they're welcome to it as far as I'm concerned. There are legal reasons (that I can't go into) as to why Caspian is not suing the ass off Atari/Telegames. Hopefully you can see why the tone of my Usenet post came across as a bit angry, you have to understand that I spent a year working flat out (the latter half of which was working around 12 hours a day, 6-7 days a week) on a game that never came out, and that is now being published and cashed in on without any of the people who created it being consulted in any way. It's Atari that are the scum here, I don't think that Telegames knew the situation, they just bought the rights off Atari. The money doesn't really bother me, it's the principle - but hey who gives a sh*t, I got my break into the games industry, Atari is welcome to their $1.50 per cart (oops...). --==--==--==--==-- || Atari Jaguar Cheats and Codes || FAQ by: Clay Halliwell \__// email@example.com ----------------------------------------------------------------- The following are excerpts from the Atari Jaguar Cheats and Codes FAQ, covering only the entries for the more recent Jaguar releases (or new cheats for old games). If you'd like the complete copy of the FAQ (20+ pages!), see the sources listed below. Atari Jaguar Game Cheats and Codes -------------------------------------------------- Compiled by Clay Halliwell (aka Earl C. Halliwell) Last updated February 3, 1997 As seen in the "Atari Jaguar Official Gamer's Guide", by Zach Meston and J. Douglas Arnold. Additions/corrections to: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com The latest version of this file can be snagged from: Andy Eddy's ftp site ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/vi/vidgames/faqs Jaguar Interactive http://www.magicalfox.com/ken/postit.cgi (follow the link at the top) CODES WANTED The following codes are known to exist and WANTED: Kasumi Ninja "Play as Demon Gyaku" and "Reset Parental Lockout" codes (bug Ted Tahquechi (firstname.lastname@example.org) for these), Double Dragon V "Play as Shadow Master" code, Baldies hidden/bonus levels, Super Burnout "Move to the Head of the Pack" cheat, and Towers II cheats. ATARI KARTS Skip to Miracle Race: The Beginner Challenge Miracle Race must be playable. Start this race, then reset (* + #) at any time. Start a new game and select any of the higher Challenges. The Miracle Race will still be highlighted and can be played. Spinout Bug: On any California Highway track, pause the game while driving through a puddle of water, then unpause. You will be spinning at a speed proportional to how fast you were going when you paused. You can speed up the spin by stepping on the gas while spinning. BALDIES Level Codes: Green Ice Circus Desert Hell # 1 (none) #21 26481912 #41 99799799 #61 69556532 #81 99589435 # 2 69317691 #22 37736169 #42 71394421 #62 92826938 #82 26997667 # 3 32585431 #23 29329995 #43 37118763 #63 38293232 #83 72143164 # 4 53199313 #24 25849779 #44 51776684 #64 92729513 #84 25454616 # 5 95568176 #25 44694221 #45 99584621 #65 23835728 #85 99162722 # 6 14799741 #26 25259781 #46 96193782 #66 46365977 #86 15969299 # 7 99112932 #27 26827251 #47 55992751 #67 42127597 #87 22789619 # 8 25579427 #28 37495714 #48 75326691 #68 59744212 #88 19783692 # 9 94554648 #29 25899273 #49 36296862 #69 66652545 #89 32927721 #10 95555366 #30 25141462 #50 17228223 #70 92969395 #90 19892933 #11 95532656 #31 98435959 #51 75478824 #71 22169481 #91 99997799 #12 22938689 #32 69667792 #52 67788234 #72 93671736 #92 17214394 #13 89232323 #33 24164317 #53 13324585 #73 52999329 #93 33677118 #14 22513979 #34 55616442 #54 35133199 #74 92757849 #94 45816776 #15 33728582 #35 96722219 #55 69751568 #75 14242694 #95 19296584 #16 66977534 #36 56299991 #56 11447799 #76 12857259 #96 29867193 #17 22597714 #37 28619972 #57 29399112 #77 12562827 #97 15557992 #18 94212475 #38 98692371 #58 72254579 #78 43177495 #98 17956326 #19 65545266 #39 22721793 #59 89446554 #79 32752899 #99 23668296 #20 26395999 #40 99933281 #60 69653555 #80 22654141 #100 31272228 BATTLEMORPH Cluster Codes: All codes entered as new player name. You will be given all weapons and magazines you would have earned up to that point (including secret weapons). Note that on the load-game screen it will say "Zephyr Cluster" even after successfully entering a code. Zephyr (none) Carmine ATDC2 Ferial ATDC3 Pan Alma ATDC4 Straussen ATDC5 Pyroxine ATDC6 Cygnus ATDC7 Pernish ATDC8 Quake: Destroy most of the trees (at least 400, of 476 trees total) on all the worlds of the first cluster. Comedy Mode: Enter "A NAME" as new player name. Sound confirms. Changes Skylar's voice, cockpit graphics, and between-level FMV. Extra Ships: If the last two digits of your score are "99" on completion of a world, you are awarded two extra ships. Bonus Points: If the last two digits of your score are "42" on completion of a world, you are awarded 99,958 bonus points ("Hitchhiker's Guide bonus"). BLUE LIGHTNING Comedy Mode: At the option screen, hold 0+1+2+4+5+6+7+9. Sound confirms. Changes voices. BREAKOUT 2000 Enter all cheats after bricks are formed, but before any balls are launched. 99 Balls 1+3+5 Skip Level 1+6+7 Skip Phase 1+5+7 Super Ball 7+8+9+1 Plasma Cannon 7+8+9+2 Attract Ball 7+8+9+3 Catch On 7+8+9+4 DEFENDER 2000 Cheat Codes: All codes entered on high score entry screen (any play mode). Codes remain enabled until the cartridge EEPROM is cleared. Plazma Pong NOLAN ("Perfect" confirms) Plazma Pong is added to the list of available games. Flossie Defender OVINE ("Baaa" confirms) Play Flossie Defender by pressing any button to choose a Defender Plus game, then pressing "A" to start. Level Skip BEEST ("Baaa" confirms) Defender 2000 only. Anytime during play, press "3" to skip a level, "6" to go to the warp screen. Huge Bonus: In Defender 2000, catch a falling humanoid as the wave is ending. FIGHT FOR LIFE Passwords: Demo Mode (default) JAGUARTIME All Special Moves IWANTPOWER Play Junior vs Junior GIVEMEPOWn (Morph as Junior: C+U,L,D) FLIP OUT! Cheat Codes: Enter during game, before play starts. Sound confirms. Finish Match 7,7,9,8,8,9,# Programmer's Heads 1,4,2,8,3,7,2,2 (must be a level with three "cheerleader" aliens) Enter on map screen. Sound confirms. Access All Levels 7,7,9,8,8,9,9 HIGHLANDER: LAST OF THE MACLEODS Temple of the Chicken God: The Temple is hidden in the canyon, behind the large tall rock with the sniper on top. Chicken God/Teleportal: To gain the Chicken God and activate the Teleportal, place a flower in the vase in the Temple of the Chicken God. MISSILE COMMAND 3D Stage Select: Virtual mode only. Enter anytime during play. Stage 1 Pause, 1+9+C+Pause Stage 2 Pause, 2+9+C+Pause Stage 3 Pause, 3+9+C+Pause Ending Pause, 4+9+C+Pause MYST Atari Headquarters: Set the machine in the planetarium to May 22, 1970 6:30am (birthday of programmer who did the Jag Myst conversion). The front view of the library will be replaced by a picture of Atari's former HQ. Look up to see the Myst crew on the balcony. All Places of Protection Open: B B B B C C B B A B 5 5 8 7 2 7 0 0 1 7 B A B C B A A A B C # 6 5 6 3 0 3 7 5 7 All Red/Blue Pages and White Page Collected: A C A A B C C B C B 5 1 5 4 # # 7 0 7 5 A A B B B C C B B A 3 4 2 2 3 # 2 6 7 * PITFALL: THE MAYAN ADVENTURE Play 2600 Pitfall: At the main menu, move the cursor to "Info". Press C 26 times, Down. PRIMAL RAGE Cheat Menu: At the "jungle" title screen, before the logo appears, type Left, Left, Right, Right, Left, Left, Right, Right. Alternate Character Colors: Type at the character select screen. Original Recipe B Alternate A+B Weird #1 C+B Weird #2 Option+B TOWERS II Cheat Codes: Enter any time while paused. God Mode & Full Map 3+7, 1+9 Screen Position C+Up/Down Screen Height C+Left/Right NOTE: Towers II ships with the screen height set slightly larger than the "neutral" setting. To correct this, start a game, bring up the character stats, then gradually decrease the height until there are no doubled lines in the text. Secret Room: In the Test of Magic area, stand on the purple carpet flanked by two candles, and use the Levitation spell. VID GRID Instant Unscramble: Anytime during play, press 4+7+8+B. VIRTUAL LIGHT MACHINE Spectrum and Triggers Edit Mode: On a blank VLM screen (no menus or status bars displayed), hold * + 0 + 1 + 3. Effects Edit Mode: Enable Spectrum and Triggers Edit mode. With the cursor on the first entry, press Up then Down, eight times. Press C to exit menus with no designated exit button. External Input Mode: Close lid without a CD in the drive. Hold A + * + #. NOTE: This "code" may be a bug, because the read head will continually attempt to seek the surface of the CD once you've entered it. This could possibly shorten the lifespan of your Jag CD. --==--==--==--==-- || || Shutdown ....................... Power off, * + #, EOL, Game Over \__// ----------------------------------------------------------------- Well, there it is... JEO #1. I hope you liked it and found it informative. Will there be a JEO #2? That depends. As you probably noticed, much of the information in this issue is rather old... just drifting on the internet waiting to be collected. A second issue would require much more work, much more digging, and probably end up a good deal shorter anyway. I welcome all feedback on this matter. Buzzword Index: HTTP 42 occurrences Texture 20 occurrences Bug 13 occurrences Polygon 10 occurrences Network 7 occurrences Until the next issue of JEO, I remain, Your Editor Clay Halliwell <email@example.com> --==--==--==--==-- (This issue printed on recycled photons) --==--==--==--==-- DNFTEC --==--==--==--==-- Pull the String! --==--==--==--==-- Keep Circulating the Tapes --==--==--==--==-- Jaguar Explorer Online Magazine is a bi-centennial publication covering the Atari Jaguar community. Reprint permission is granted, unless otherwise noted at the beginning of the article, to registered Atari user groups and not for profit publications under the following terms only: articles must remain unedited and include the issue number and author at the top of each article reprinted. Other reprints granted upon approval of request. Send requests to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. No issue of Jaguar Explorer Online Magazine may be included on any commercial media, nor uploaded or transmitted to any commercial online service, in whole or in part, by any agent or means, without the expressed consent or permission from the Editor or Publisher of Jaguar Explorer Online Magazine. Opinions presented herein are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff, or of the publishers. All material herein is believed accurate at the time of publishing. --==--==--==--==-- Atari, 400/800, XL/XE, 2600, ST, Mega ST, STe, Mega STe, Atari Falcon030, Blitter, Atari Lynx, ComLynx, Atari Panther, Atari Jaguar, Pong, and the Atari Fuji Symbol are all trademarks or registered trademarks of JTS Corporation. All other trademarks and identifying marks mentioned in this issue belong to their respective owners. --==--==--==--==-- Jaguar Explorer Online Magazine "Your Source for Jaguar News" Copyright (c) 1997, White Space Publishers ****** ** ** ** ** **** :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: J E O ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: :: Volume 1, Issue 1 JAGUAR EXPLORER ONLINE March 27, 1997 :: :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::: -- Novell DOS 7.0 and IBM OS/2 user Fred Horvat Atari TT030 / MagiC 5.0 + Ease 4.0 Free-Net Atari Portfolio Sigop Atari Classic/LYNX/Jaguar gamer
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