MEGA MAGAZINE ISSUE #1
Release date: 18 September 1991
Contributors: Frankenstein (The Netherlands)
Exterminator (The Netherlands)
Prizm (The Netherlands)
1. Welcome to Mega Magazine
2. Help me!
3. Side two of MegaZine
4. Mega Metal Mania
5. Hints, tips and vegetable soup
6. Masking non maskables
7. The hoax
8. LZW compression theory
9. Bad luck
10. The ST-65 assembler
11. The TOP part 1 demo review
12. The TOP part 2 demo review
13. The TOP part 3 demo review
14. The story of the High-Tech Team!
15. 3D Vector graphics
16. The Legend's speaking?
17. The technology of the Lynx
18. Lynx news
19. Lynx tips and hints
20. Lynx game reviews
21. Adventures of HTT in Poland #1
22. Platinum: Rest in pieces
23. Advise office: Frankenstein!
24. M.A.I.L. Bag
25. Contacts and stuff
26. MegaZine inquiry
27. The greetinx
Contributors: Frankenstein (The Netherlands)
Exterminator (The Netherlands)
64 boulderdash screens (BCK)
WARNING: This magazine can contain language which may be
unsuitable for young people. Don't blame us!!
NOTE: Most articles are written by people who usualy don't
write or speak English. This means that the articles can
contain some spelling errors and other mistakes. If you
really bother then write us what we do wrong so we can learn
from our mistakes.
Mega Magazine Free-Ware note:
This disk (or disk image) may be distributed for free as
long it's not changed in any way.
No part of this publication may be reproduced without the
prior written permission of the publisher.
Mega Magazine is an independent publication and has no
connection with Atari. Free-Ware distribution is handled by
Reactions and contributions to future issues can be send to:
Welcome to MEGAZINE!
It's about a year ago when I decided to set up a new disk magazine for the ATARI 8-bit computer someday....
Now it's finally started and I just have to wait if it's going to be a success or not.
I know there are many other disk magazines and this magazine is not meant to be their competitor.
I only want this magazine to be international and full of information from ATARI 8-bit freaks all over the world!
Don't be shy and write something for the next issue!
The magazine menu, viewer and all the small routines are written in assembler. First I used ATMAS, but soon the source became too big so I converted it to ST-65. The final source file is more than 40KB big!
Every issue of MEGAZINE will contain a piece of music. This first issue I used a tune from the TOP PART THREE! I invite all you musicians to make a MEGA tune for the next issue. It may be a self made tune, a well known tune, a tune converted from another computer or whatever....
Send us your tunes! The best tune (used on the next issue) will be rewarded with a free copy and a surprise!
Mega Magazine is NOT public domain and it will only stay alive if there are enough copies sold. So, if you got an illegal copy of this magazine, don't be a lamer and get yourself a legal copy!
This first issue is NOT copy protected, but the following issues will all be protected against all copiers.
WARNING: This magazine can contain language which may be unsuitable for young people. Don't blame us!!
NOTE: Most articles are written by people from Holland and can therefore contain some spelling errors and other mistakes. If you really bother then write us what we do wrong so we can learn from our mistakes.
MEGA MAC MANUAL
Well, you managed to read this article, so you'll probably know how to select one!
If you just wanna read the articles you can use the funpoke or the cursor keys UP and DOWN (without the CONTROL key) to choose an article. Notice that you can go down to the bottom of the screen so the list of articles will scroll upwards. Press FIRE or the RETURN key to load/unpack the article.
This viewer works the same way. If you wanna return to the menu you can press FIRE or RETURN again. Notice that the last selected article will remain in memory. So if you now go back to the menu and immediately select this article again, it doesn't have to load/unpack.
To scroll one page you can use the cursor keys LEFT and RIGHT (without the CONTROL key) or the funstick LEFT/RIGHT.
After a while the music can get on your nerves, so simply use the START key to switch it on and off. If you're deaf, you can find the music status at the bottom of the screen.
To print an article, just press the OPTION key once when you're in the menu. At the bottom of the screen you will see PRINTER: ON. If you now activate an article the system will display a small options screen. Here you can select the sort of paper you use (11 inch, 12 inch or single sheets). The left margin is always 10 and the right margin is set to 75. If you get problems with printing the articles or if you like to see more options, just drop me a line.
Ofcourse the printer can turned ON and OFF as often you like. So if you want to print all the articles, select "PRINTER: ON" by pressing OPTION and activate the articles one by one.
Because of compatibility reasons I don't support any kind of printer control codes. The files on disk can NOT be loaded with a wordprocessor because all text files are packed. This is the reason why this magazine can hold such a huge amount of text!
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE DISK!
This time you can find a whole collection of screens for BOULDERDASH CONSTRUCTION KIT (BCK) on side two! Indeed, you need BCK to load and play these files. If you don't have BCK, go and get it somewhere! It's one of the best games for the ATARI 8-bit computer.
Sixtyfour (a full directory) playable screens made by the most crazy HTT members; The Exterminator and Frankenstein!
If you like the screens than let us know and we'll put another collection on the next issue. If you've got other nice things for side two, like demo source codes, utilities or something like that, please send it to:
Here's the complete directory. Many names are Dutch words so print this article and you won't forget the names!
WALL STONES WAIT
BLOW HIJKAN PLAAG
DANGER LOOKOUT DESTROY
KUDDE EXPLOSIE DROPIT
GRAVE WALK TAKE
WATER KLUIS MAD
FIND ALL HELP
CHAOS RIJK SNEL
LEUK VLIEG DWAAL
TRAP FLAT KANS
MUUR SCHUUR SANDER
REGEN DENK SUPER
ROBERT HOKWEG STRAAT
BENDE BRAND KOKER
SNEEUW ZEVALLU NETNIET
HEBBUS DIAMANTU OPSCHITU
HOUOP TRAPPED OEHELPMU
POEPOE DONDERU SIMPEL
VUURWERK KRENTEN KRENTEN2
KASTEEL ZOZO ANTENNES
VAST MUURVAST BLOWAWAY
MEGA METAL MANIA
Yo, my dear headbangers!!
This is the first edition of this fantastic disk magazine, so it also means that this is the first part of this Mega Metal section. But let me first explain to you why I brought up the idea to begin a section like this one. Because anything is possible in this magazine (and I mean ANYTHING), I thought that it would be a nice thing to support all you heavy metal fanzines whom are cryin' for some little attention just to let you know that you guys still exist! (YEAH!!) It also is a very fascinating subject. So now you know why I started this section.
Well then, next I will explain to you what sort of articles I will discuss, now and in the not too distant future. I will discuss EVERYTHING what happens in BIG Metal land. I'll take a look at the latest compact discs (when I've received them), concerts, hot gossips, etc. etc.
The items will be unlimited. Prepare yourselfs!! Right, heat up the engine....
By the way, my name's Johan (So if you want to ask me something just call my name). Well let's see.... what has happened in the last minutes..... Sorry guys, NOTHING. Well then, what has happened in the past few years...... Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla (sigh) bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.........just jokin' (har har). Now let's get REAL serious.....
First let me take a look at the compact discs I've received in the last weeks.
First in line is MORBID ANGEL. These great fellows have produced a new CD which they gave the name "BLESSED ARE THE SICK". All you existing MORBID ANGEL (M.A.) fans should know that this is the second CD since "ALTARS OF MADNESS". That CD was a stonker! (at least, in my opinion). I can't say nothing more than that this CD is even better! (YES!!) The CD features 13 tracks of high quality death metal. The speed of the drums and guitars are just as swift as the first CD, but now they play a lot more musical. Also the voice of the vocalist is a lot more brutal and heavier than he ever produced before! Tracks like "Brainstorm" and "Thy kingdom come" really boast some high speed and technically superior drums. Yes, keyboards and synthesizers are getting much more often used by heavy metal bands. And M.A. is no exception. Just listen to the track "Doomsday celebration" and you'll know what I'm talking about. It really sounds excellent! There's also a track included which features an acoustic guitar solo composed by Richard Brunelle. OUTSTANDING. Miss this CD (or LP/MC) and you'll miss the experience of a lifetime.
MEGA METAL RATING: 9.5
So, what's next? Mmmm, let's see..... Ah, here it is, SEPULTURA. Who doesn't know the existence of this superb, Brazilian, speed metal band? I think most of you freaks know them (no, not personally!). This is their fourth CD called "ARISE". Maybe some of you know the name of their debut album (?). Yes (No), it's called "MORBID VISIONS". And after that came...... well..... right (wrong) again! That was "SCHIZOPHRENIA". And their third album is called..... right (wrong) again!! You're really good (keep trying)! Ofcourse that is "BENEATH THE REMAINS". Anyhow, this CD exists of 9 tracks which are of fab speed metal quality. Most bands slow down as years pass (why I do not know), and I personally think that is a big shame, because you get used to a band in a while and then they suddenly change their way of playing! Rather confusing, don't you think so? But I'm happy to say that Sepultura doesn't act that way. They still play the same way that we're addicted to. Great! As Morbid Angel does, Sepultura use keyboards too. A couple of tracks on the CD include an intro which was produced with the use of a keyboard. But it really sounds good! So don't be disappointed! (If you hate keyboards and synthesizers, that is) Something I've noticed while I was listening to the CD is that they now play a lot more musical. But then again, bands get more experienced as years flow by. The guitar solos sound much more energetic. But the drummer must be praised too. They way he hits the bass drums, at such a high speed and precision, is extremely good! So, what's the verdict? This CD shouldn't be missed. If you miss out on this, you'll miss one of the finest speed metal CDs any band has EVER produced! BUY NOW!!
MEGA METAL RATING: 9
Well, that's it for this edition. This was the only thing I could do for you this time. I haven't heard any hot gossips nor any good (or bad) news. I hate to tell you this, but it's time to quit.
Next time (when you tune in again, I hope) I'll hope to bring you some exciting news, IF something hot happens in Big Metal Land. I also hope that I can present you the new album of METALLICA next time! Keep watching this section.....
THE MEGA MIGHTY GAME TIPS!
Welcome game dudes! We've been trough all our magazines to find all these tips. They all are fully tested by our very famous (and notorious) game freak "The Exterminator". We can do another MEGA tips article in the next issue, but that's only possible with your help! So, if you know some tips for us which ofcourse didn't appear in this issue, please send them to:
We also need game maps! Please send maps as a 62 sector mono picture (graphics mode 8).
The best tips will be rewarded with a copy of the latest MEGA MAGAZINE! (next issue).
Good luck and ENJOY!
BASIL THE GREAT MOUSE:
You need to collect the following objects: Level 1 - dagger, gun, cigar, flowers and key. Level 2 - bone, hat, card, tooth, and fruit. Level 3 - letters, padlock, candle, cigar and flowers.
BEER BELLY BURT'S BREW BIZ:
If you're in the swimming pool in the production area you should swim at the bottom to avoid the fish.
Don't bomb your own hangar because the game will crash! (lousy bug).
BOUNTY BOB STRIKES BACK:
To watch Yukon Yohan you should fill the highscore table. After playing once more the lowest score will be kicked out of the screen by Yukon Yohan himself!
Special codes are: 5, 6, 40 (to fill the high score table), 49, 69, 100 (for a bald bob), 666, 818, 1000, 2049, 782, 6861.
Secret warps: Level 1 - get the flower pot, press 1 and start. Level 2 - Kill all mutants, get paint roller, press 3 and start. Level 3 - get goblet, press 4 and start. Level 5 - get coffee pot, press 8 and start. Level 10 - get pitch fork, press 5 and start. Level 13 - get goblet, press 4 and start. Level 16 - Get pie, set suction tube 1 to left, press 9 and start.
In level 22 you can enter the cannon. If Bob's hat falls down press "F", move Bob and press "F" again. Now it's possible to select any level you want to start with.
There also is a build-in cheat mode! Set special code to 61800, hold down "F" key and press OPTION. If you now start the game you've got the following option keys:
"F" - Float mode on/off
"Q" - Increase level
"A" - Decrease level
"B" - Back to original position
"Z" - Zap! reset screen
BREATH OF THE DRAGON:
Press 1 - 6 at the title screen to start at level 1 - 6!
Hold down the fire button and press start. Now you'll be invisible.
Passwords are HID, BIG and DIA.
DONKEY KONG JUNIOR:
Press start, hold down the SHIFT key and type BOOGA. Now press "K" to be immortal and "S" to skip levels.
F-15 STRIKE EAGLE:
If you're out of fuel just hold down the afterburner key to keep in the air.
Don't enter a name and enter the following account number: 31222646. You'll get $999900!
Type "FRANK" followed by the password "FANDA" to get extra lives.
Logon = AUSTRALIA.
Security check 1 = MAGMA LTD
Security check 2 = AX-0310479
Security check 3 = HYDRAULIC
Security check 4 = AUSTRALIA
HARD HAT MACK:
Press 1, 2 or 3 and you'll start at screen 1, 2 or 3.
Type CPM at the title screen to get infinite lives.
Hold down "X" and a number from 1 to 4 to change speed. 1 is slow, 4 is fast.
When you hear the start beep pull the stick to the left to start at full speed.
Press "B" at the title screen and you'll never die.
MERCENARY - ESCAPE FROM TARG:
At location 64997, altitude 08-08 there's a Palyar Colony craft. On the ground floor you can find a key.
Damaged buildings can be rebuild by firing at the remains while holding the anti time bomb.
The metal detector shows who owns a particular building by displaying a colour in the message window. Green is a palyar building, blue is a mechanoid building and red means that it has no owner.
While playing type:
2137826861 where means the spacebar ofcourse. Then you can press SHIFT and 0 to 9. 1 = Level 1, 9 = Level 9 and 0 = Level 10.
Press CONTROL - C to start at level 5. Also try CONTROL - Z.
Type CPM at the title screen and you'll be immortal.
Right at the start climb to the top of the rope, hold down SELECT and pull the stick down. You'll now enter a different room.
While playing type "Fanda" for level 5, "Frank" for level 10, "Norbi" for level 15 or "Zoom" for level 20.
ONE MAN AND HIS DROID:
Passwords for level 2 to 20 are: 2.Bubble, 3.Atari, 4.Finders, 5.Genetic, 6.Zapped, 7.Megasonic, 8.Timewarp, 9.Ectoplasm, 10.Gorgeous, 11.Seaside, 12.Gizmo, 13.King Kong, 14.Hologram, 15.Curry Rice, 16.Coffee, 17.Cassette, 18.Telescope, 19.Computer, 20.Edacraeda.
Password = SYNISTOPS
RESCUE ON FRACTALUS:
To keep aliens out of your ship let the pilot first bang on the door before you open the airlock. Beware that aliens don't bang on doors but bang on your window instead! If you finally get an alien on your window quickly turn the systems on to electricute the bastard! In early levels approaching aliens can be recognized by their green head. Only in higher levels the aliens sometimes look like pilots!
If an alien somehow managed to get on board of the ship you should shut the airlock and turn on the boosters. If you're lucky you'll fly to the mothership and the alien will die in space (how sad).
SCROLLS OF ABADON:
Use a joystick in port 2 and type POW to move creatures.
SPY VS SPY II:
Stay right to win the fight!
STAR RAIDERS II:
You can get energy by traveling to the sun. But don't stay at the sun too long!!
After loosening your last life hold the pause keys down (Shift + P) and move the stick down. If you now get killed you'll have 100 lives (although the display indicates 00).
Here are the names of the transporters: Triad, Kernx, Whole, Minim, Salco, Cosec, Artic, Quark, Argon, Delta, Crash, Z.A.P., Penta, Atari and Secon.
If Suzy says "I stay" you should raise $25 and you'll probably win.
Use the spacebar to switch between two fire modes.
Watch out for flashing spaceships. Only shoot at it once and it will change. Now touch it for more fire power.
Code = IAMTHEHUNGRYDUDE
MASKING NOT MASKABLES!
Or, how to use the NMI!
The ATARI 8-bit computer has a quite good designed ROM package which makes using DLI's and VBI's very easy. As you know there are several vectors which can be changed so they'll point to your own routine. For example $200 and $201 is the lo/hi pointer to a DLI routine. Watch diz:
$200,$201 : DLI vector
$222,$223 : VBI immediate
$224,$225 : VBI deferred
This are just some of the most used vectors. There are also some timer vectors which counters are updated by the ROM routines.
Then there are some routines which can be used to set these pointers. Many guys use $E45C to initialize the VBI vectors. In fact that's the best way to do it! If you directly store values in the $222...$225 addresses, it could cause trouble! This is probably the problem in the BIG demo, the digi sample menu. If you didn't noticed there is a bug in that screen, mostly while selecting the 'Heavy guitar' sample the computer will lock up!
So always use that $E45C routine! (U2 LOD!)
Well, were was I? Oh yes, this was the easy part. You know, the part were everybody thinks 'What a craptalk, I already know that!'.
Did you ever switched off the OS of your 8-bitter? You probably started with a routine which copied ROM into RAM, switched off the ROM and copied the RAM (which was ROM!) back, but this time under ROM! With other words; copies the ROM under ROM (where it's RAM) and use this RAM as the ROM package! (WHAT?) After that you can (for example) load a new font directly into $E000.
But why copy the ROM!? We don't need to have stored the temporary colours into their hardware addresses and we also don't need a cassette or printer handler! So we just leave the RAM underneath ROM empty? Yes! That's possible! Only if you don't use the NMI and IRQ. For example if you wanna play samples. Be sure you always switch off the IRQ and NMI first! This is done by clearing $D20E (IRQ enable) and $D40E (NMI enable). So this way you've got 14K RAM extra to store your samples (Note: $D000...$D7FF is always ROM).
All these lame tricks are very old and you probably know them already right? But if you want that extra 14K RAM but still need to use VBI's and DLI's!? Yeah, there we are.... then we should enable the NMI again. Wait! How can we use the NMI when the NMI routines aren't available? Just make our own NMI routines ofcourse you jerk! Oh shut up you clothless sheep! Hmm, I think my brain is getting double sided again.. please wait.. (scratch scratch, waggle waggle)..
Yeah, I'm back again. Are you readers still there?
Let's explain something about the NMI now (finally). But first here are the greetinx.. greetinx to: WFMH, OUR 5OFT..
(just a bad joke)
The NMI vector is located at $FFFA, $FFFB (lo/hi), so this vector must point to our own shitty routine. Do that after you switch off your ROM (you know, putting $FE in $D301), but be sure you've cleared the NMI enable ($D40E) and the IRQ enable ($D20E) first!
If the NMI vector is set you can turn the NMI enable back on again ($C0 in $D40E?).
Before I go on I should tell you that DLI and VBI vectors doesn't really exist for the computer hardware. They are just invented by the maker of the 8-bit OS (Operating Shit).
If you don't use DLI's in your screen than it's easy. Always store everything you use on the stack (I mean Accu, X and Y). If you only use the accumulator you just have to do a PHA as first instruction of your NMI and a PLA as the last. The very last instruction is ofcourse an RTI because you must return from the interrupt (hence the name haha). But this isn't all you have to do! You should always clear the NMI status ($D40F). This is easy. Let me show you a short program:
NMI STA NMIST ($D40F)
> your VBI routine <
When using DLI's and VBI's you have to check the NMI status because you wanna know if it was a DLI or a VBI which was generated by the NMI. So here's a example of a DLI/VBI NMI:
NMI BIT $D40F
DLI > your DLI routine <
VBI > your VBI routine <
That's all! If you don't understand any of this you can always read 'Mapping the ATARI' and look at the NMI vector yourself! You will see that the NMI will normally point to a routine in ROM where it generates a VBI or a DLI depending on $D40F!
Also keep in mind that you have to do everything yourself if you use your own NMI, so always use the hardware addresses instead of the shadow registers! Hardware addresses who not going to changed during the program can be initialized. For example, if you always use a black screen you just put a zero in $D018 at the beginning of the program and that's all!
People with a ROM switch can simply test if a program uses ROM or RAM by switching between the operating systems while the program is still running. If it locks up then they use ROM. Otherwise you can even remove the OS ROM chips while the program keeps running. However I never tried this.
The reset vector is located at $FFFC, $FFFD (lo/hi), but it seems that the reset button can not be trapped by changing this vector. If reset is pressed, the computer generates a chip reset and I think that's why it's impossible to really trap the reset button. I'm talking about trapping reset in a way that pressing reset won't even result in a flickering on the screen. A few times I got into the situation that my computer locked up and pressing reset was like pressing any of the other console keys. So, if anybody knows how to 'really' trap reset then contact me! (write to MEGA magazine)
THE HOAX CORNER!
The most brutal and dirty jokes
This text contains language
that is not suitable for
persons under 18!! People under
that age should ask permission
from their parents, or must
return to the main menu!
Why did we create this section (good question!)? Eh, we don't know.... We think it's a sort of a habit. A magazine like this one should contain such a lousy section. We also think it was a good idea to make something like this, 'cause it's the only way to make this magazine a little more attractive!
But before I start to talk nonsense, let's begin with this crap......
How can a cow catch a rabbit? It hides itself behind a tree and imitates the sound of a carrot!
It's invisible from the outside and grey from the inside. What is this? An eliphant in a plastic bag!
Do you know the joke about the toilet? Well, I don't, because the door was locked!
What's the difference between a death bird? His left leg is broken!
A monkey sits at the bar and orders a beer. An observer asks the barkeeper: "Is this normal?". The barkeeper looks at the man and answers: "No, normally he orders a coke!".
A man sits in a plane totally naked looking through a window. A woman just wants to sit down besides him when she discovers that he isn't wearing any clothes. So she starts to scream: "Help, help there's a pervert sitting in this chair". In a couple of seconds a stewardess enters the man and asks him why he isn't wearing any clothes. The man looks at the stewardess and answers: "Well, the sign over there says: "NO SMOKING!".
Two zeros are walking in the street when they suddenly see an eight walking on the other side of the street. The zeros look at eachother and one of them says: "They've got guts!"
There's a new TV program, called "WANNA BET". You can send in your bet and if you win, you will get a price. So one day a guy sent in a bet, it said: "Get me 20 young girls, blindfold me and I will caress their pussies with my tongue and tell you who it is!". The producer was amazed. That man should be in our program, he thought. So he asked the man to come to the studio where the recordings take place. On the first rehearsal there where 20 good looking girls, all naked. After a while the blindfolded man caressed all the girls with his tongue. The producer asked the man who the girls where and the man answered "Hell, I don't know, but they all had great pussies!".
Which sperm is the best, sperm of a married man or sperm of a single man? Easy..... a single man ofcourse, because that's hand made!
Two man were walking in a park. After a while one of them says: "He, let me walk in the middle"
Did you hear the last news? A chopper had crashed in the middle of a graveyard. They already found 562 dead bodies..
And now a good one. A man is taking a walk and because he likes young girls he wants to take some lollipops with him to attract young girls. But what a disaster, he hasn't got any lollipops! However, he has got an idea. He paints his dick with red paint so they won't see any difference. So, he meets a young girl and asks: "He, Do you wanna have a lollypop?". So the girl answers: "Haha, I've been sucking and fucking for years, but I've never seen such a funny dick!".
What's the difference between a red and a yellow door? They're both red, except the yellow one!
If you've got some jokes for us please send them to:
LZW DATA COMPRESSION
Written by: WosFilm (Sweden)
-"OH NO!!" I hear all of you cry out. -"It's that maniac WosFilm from Sweden writing a lot of crap again!" But no, be calm! This is serious stuff!
I don't know which techniques all of you use when compressing data, but here is a rather good one called LZW (Lempel- Ziv- Welch) which is best used to compress text, screens etc. (highly redundant stuff...). I haven't made any programs, because right now I haven't got the time (and I'm not a very good coder anyway...) but hopefully I might get a chance to see what you folks can make out of it.
The algorithm is actually very simple: LZW compression replaces strings of characters with single codes. It does not do any analysis of the incoming characters. Instead, it just adds every new string of characters it sees to a table of strings. Compression occurs when a single code is output replacing the string of characters. Many other techniques use this method too, but they have to save the stringtable along with the compressed code, when the LZW stringtable automatically builds up when compressing as well as when decompressing.
One of the problems when using this algorithm on an 8-bit computer is that the code generated when compressing, must have more bits in it than a single character, since codes 0-255 are by default assigned to the standard character set. The remaining codes are assigned to strings as the algorithm proceeds. E.g. when running with 12-bit codes, 0-255 refer to individual bytes and 256-4095 refer to strings from the table.
Here are the compress and decompress algorithms in a form everybody ought to understand:
STRING=get input byte
WHILE there are still input bytes DO
CHAR=get input byte
IF STRING+CHAR is in the table THEN
output the code for STRING
add STRING+CHAR to the table
END of IF
END of WHILE
output the code for STRING
WHILE there are still input bytes DO
IF NEWCODE is not in the table THEN
STRING=get string for OLDCODE
STRING=get string for NEWCODE
END of IF
CHAR=first character in STRING
add OLDCODE+CHAR to the table
END of WHILE
A sample string (/WED/WE/WEE/WEB/WET) is used to demonstrate the algorithms:
Input string: /WED/WE/WEE/WEB/WET
CHAR Code String
input output table
--------- --------- ---------
/ W / 256=/W
E W 257=WE
D E 258=ED
/ D 259=D/
W E 256 260=/WE
/ E 261=E/
W E E 260 262=/WEE
/ W 261 263=E/W
E B 257 264=WEB
/ B 265=B/
W E T 260 266=/WET
If you step through the start of the algorithm for this string, you can see that in the first pass through the loop the system performs a check to see if the string /W is in the table. Since it doesn't find the string, it outputs the code for / and adds the string /W to the table. After the system reads in the third character, E, the second string code, WE, is added to the table, and the code for W is output. This process continues until, in the second word, the characters /W are read in , matching the string number 256. In this case, the system outputs code 256, and adds a 3-character string, /WE, to the table. And so it continues. As you can see the table fills up rapidly, and that's another problem with this technique (unless you have a 130XE maybe...).
Step through the uncompressing process below to see how the string table is built up to be an exact duplicate of the table in the compressing process.
Input codes: / W E D 256 E 260 261 257 B 260 T
NEW OLD STR. CH. STRING
CODE CODE OUTP. TABLE
------ ---- ----- ---- -------
/ / /
W / W W 256=/W
E W E E 257=WE
D E D D 258=ED
256 D /W / 259=D/
E 256 E E 260=/WE
260 E /WE / 261=E/
261 260 E/ E 262=/WEE
257 261 WE W 263=E/W
B 257 B B 264=WEB
260 B /WE / 265=B/
T 260 T T 266=/WET
Results of LZW compression:
Shown by the examples the LZW technique works best when confronted with data streams that have any type of repeated strings. Because of this, it does extremely well when compressing text (compression levels of at least 50%) or highly redundant database files (as best about 10% of the original size!). Other data files, like programs, obviously varies a lot. The technique does not well when compressing very large files, since there is a fixed number of strings in the table (4096 strings for 12-bit codes etc.), and when all strings are filled the compressing ratio begins to degrade if the later section of the file has other characteristics than the section for the string table. One way of solving this can be to keep track of the compression ratio, and after a certain amount of degradation the table is flushed and gets rebuilt from scratch. Another method is to monitor how frequently the strings are used, and erase those strings that are rarely used.
So the main problem with LZW compression is the management of the string table; searching through the table..., it fills up quickly..., it has not a fixed size, although there is a fixed number of strings, since the size depends on the sum of all strings, and the individual strings differ in size... But I'm sure some of you can get around these problems, and I hope you do because this technique seems to be very efficient although the algorithms are extremely simple. If any of you manages to make something out of this, I'd be glad to know...
* WosFilm *
(examples taken from Dr.Dobb's Journal, October 1989)
Not very long ago I received a letter with a very strange message. According to the letter the original came from a priest or something and I should copy this letter twenty times and send each copy to people who I wanted to wish good luck! The original should be destroyed and I would get a surprise within four days! There were also some stories about people who didn't believed the whole shit and died after a few days or just had bad luck. Also people who did send the twenty copies, won money or something.
If you're still reading this article you're as curious as me or you've also got the same letter (maybe from me?).
Here's the whole story. I received the letter on the same day when I just wanted to go on holiday (see other article). I was in a hurry because I had to pack up my shit and leave (?). Anyway, since I wouldn't like to have bad luck on my holiday (I never like bad luck), I decided to do exactly what was written in the letter. Yes! I was crazy enough to send twenty people a copy of this shit. I'm sorry guys! Well, till now I didn't had any GOOD LUCK at all! In fact, I even had bad luck sometimes! I also didn't receive the surprise yet! What a pity. Was it all for nothing? Hmm, I guess so. But maybe it was my own fault? I simply hoped it would work but I didn't really believed it. Maybe that was the problem. Who knows? If you've also received such a letter, I'll advise you to flush it down the toilet!
Another fact is that after I send the twenty letters, I received another two copies. So if I really believed it I should have send another fourty copies. BAD LUCK for the people who send them, GOOD LUCK for the mail company....
DFMA (don't fool me again!)
THE ST 6502 ASSEMBLER!
The ST 6502 assembler (ST-65) is a powerfull assembler to create executable ATARI 8-bit files from a source code. The assembler runs on the ATARI ST(E), so source listings should be made on this machine. The original program and modifications were done by Alexander Stauffenberg. Testing and support by Freddy Offenga.
Programming on the ST(E) is very comfortable because you can edit source in 80 columns and the source can be very big (100KB is nothing!).
Ofcourse you need some kind of link to connect the ATARI 8-bit and the ATARI ST(E). If you don't have two left hands, you can make such link yourself. The circuit diagram is included on the disk in the package and the communication software is also included on the disk. The complete package contains:
- The ST-65 assembler
- The assembler shell
- A public domain text editor
- XL-ST link software
- A small macro library
- A source example
- The manual (on disk)
- The manual (on paper)
To give you an good indication of this assembler, I've included the ST-65 manual in this article. You can order ST-65 directly from us. The price of this package is $30 (U.S. dollar) including packing and shipping.
You can make cheques payable to Mega Magazine. Send it to:
THE ST-65 ASSEMBLER
With the ST-65 assembler you can assemble hundreds of kilobytes source code into executable code for the ATARI XL/XE (8-bit). Herefore you need to have an ATARI 8-bit computer, an ATARI ST(E), some kind of link to connect both computers and the ST-65 assembler disk.
The assembler shell:
The shell is the interface between the required programs you need to create executable code from a source code.
Shows the copyright and possible accesories.
- Work file [D]: Select the work source file
- Paths [P]: Indicate where the shell can find the
assembler, editor and additional programs.
- Save work [S]: Saves all the adjustments (A_SHELL.INF).
- Quit [Q]: Back to the desktop.
- Assembler [A]: Execute the ST-65 assembler.
- Editor [E]: Execute the editor.
- Options [O]: Select the assembler options.
- Execute [G]: Execute any file (it will ask which one).
- ....... : Execute program 1
- ....... : Execute program 2
A choices can be activated by using the mouse or by pressing ALTERNATE together with the correct character.
If you execute the assembler, a window will appear were you can make several adjustments (explained later). If you don't enter a path for 'output', 'list' or 'symbol', the these files will be directed to the same directory as where the source file is located. If you use an editor which allows more than one file in the command line (e.g. Tempus), it will load both source and error file.
Executing the assembler without the shell:
Syntax: ASS_6502 [OPTIONS] [SOURCE FILE] [OBJECT FILE]
The parameters should be separated with spaces!
Options always begin with a "-" sign. You can use more options at the same time as long as they're seperated with spaces. The following options are allowed:
-B : JMP statements are changed into BRA statements
wherever it's possible.
-C : 65C02 instructions are possible.
-E : List include files also.
-H : The output assembled code will be in "hexstring". The
first four characters indicate the start address
(Low/High), the next four indicate the end address
(Low/High). Then follows the code in ASCII. Binary
code has the extension ".65" while ASCII files have
the extension ".H65".
If the output is set to binary or to hex, a forward
ORG fills the memory from the end pointer to the next
(forward) ORG. Backward ORG commands are not allowed
in these modes.
-I : Use this option if you want to get intel HEX files!
-Z : Switch off zero page adr.
-X : Object code will be in XL/XE format. It will generate a file with the same format as a normal "COM" file. RUN or INIT addresses can be included directly into the source by using ORG $02E0 (RUN) or ORG $02E2 (INIT).
-F=FILE : Errors will be put in "FILE".
-L=FILE : Output listing will be put in "FILE".
-S=FILE : Output symbols will be put in "FILE".
The object filename is build from the source filename with the extension ".65" or ".H65" (hexstring).
All options included in the source code have priority.
SOURCE CODE FORMAT:
The source can be made by any ASCII wordprocessor. Symbols always start at the first position. All other fields can begin at any position as long as they're seperated by spaces or TABs. Ofcourse using the TAB key is recommended because this will result in a much better readable source.
Symbols should always start with a character. After that characters, numbers and "_" are possible. Small characters and capitals are both possible, but beware of the fact that they're handled as different symbols. So "LABEL" is not the same as "label"!
All mnemonics of the 65xx processors are possible. Also mnemonics can be written in small characters or capitals and they're handled the same way (Lda = LDA).
Registers like "A", "X" and "Y" can also be written as "a", "x" and "y". Hexadecimals may be small characters or capitals ($ff = $FF).
Numbers in operants can be decimal, hexadecimal or binary. "$" indicates hexadecimal, "%" indicates binary.
A number or symbol followed by ".H" or ".h" results in the high byte of that number or symbol (number DIV 256).
A number or symbol followed by ".L" or ".l" results in the low byte of that number or symbol (number MOD 256).
Within an operant can be a calculation. +, -, * and / are allowed. The calculation will always be calculated from left to right and the priority can not be changed. Brackets are also not possible. Avoid difficult calculations.
Remarks are in the fourth field or begin with ";".
If needed the assembler can generate a listing from the source code. The format of that listing is:
nnnn xxxx yy yy yy label mne operant
nnnn - line number
xxxx - address
yy - code
label - label (if used)
mne - mnemonic
operant - operant
The assembler can also generate a list of all the symbols used in the source code. Just the first 10 characters of the symbol are generated. The symbols are generated in order of appearance.
EQU (Label EQU expression)
Label can now be used instead of expression.
Example: TEST EQU $1000 ; TEST equals $1000
ORG ( ORG expression)
Initialize the start address of the code. There can not be a label in front of an "ORG". The expression may not contain forward references.
BND ( BND expression)
The expression should be a number which is a power of two, like 1,2,4,8,16 upto 2^15 (32768). Normally you would use the ORG command to locate a new pointer, but the BND command will simply calculate the first usable boundary and perform an ORG at this address. For example:
BND $0400 ; next 1K boundary
FONT DATA FONT.FNT ; include font data
DFB, DFA, DFW:
DFx (Label DFx expr. <,expr.>)
Define constants in memory.
DFW is used to define words (high,low order)
DFA is used to define words (low,high order)
DFB is used to define bytes (expr. MOD 256) or characters. Characters must be between '' (like 'example'). There are also some options:
DFB 'normal ascii'
DFB.I 'invers ascii'
DFB.A 'screen code'
DFB.AI 'invers screen code'
Screen code is the specific ATARI 8-bit code which is directly usable as screen memory without any translation.
RES (Label RES expression)
Fills "expression" bytes with $FF.
INCLUDE (Label INCLUDE filename)
Inserts a choosen source file. This way you can directly add small routines to the main source listing.
DATA (Label DATA filename)
Inserts a choosen data file directly into the object code. Data files will be inserted literal!
OUTPUT ( OUTPUT filename)
Select the output filename (object code).
LIST ( LIST filename)
Select the output filename of the listing.
Use LIST con: to display the listing on screen.
Use LIST prn: to print the listing.
SYMBOL ( SYMBOL filename)
Select the output filename of the symbol list.
Again just the first 10 characters of a symbol are generated. Also use "con:" and "prn:" to display or print the symbol list (see LIST).
OPTION ( OPTION opt <,opt....>)
Select options. You can activate or disable all the described options (like Z, B, C, L, E, H and X).
To activate an option, use opt+ (example Z+)
To disable an option, use opt- (example Z-)
FAIL ( FAIL <'message'>)
Generates an error. This can be useful for macros. For more information take a look at the macro library.
IFC expr.1 equation expr.2
IFC..ENDC allowes conditional assembly of a code section. If expr.1 equation expr.2 is true then the piece of source code between IFC and ENDC is going to be assembled. Otherwise it will skip that section. An IFC..ENDC can be within other IFC..ENDCs.
Expr.1 and expr.2 may not include forward references.
Equations: =, #, < and > (# means NOT EQUAL).
MACRO..ENDM is used to define a macro. 'Name' may not be a mnemonic or directive. Macros can include further macros. The macro should be defined before using. Labels are not allowed within a macro, but structure blocks are.
Parameters can be used within a macro by \n. There are a maximum of 10 parameters possible (\0..\9). Parameters may only be in the operand field. \n will be replaced by parameter n in the text.
NARG or narg can be used to count the number of arguments (parameters).
The macro will be called if the name is in the mnemonic field. The parameters are in the operand field. Calculations and strings are legal parameters.
With MEXIT you can exit the macro premature.
Structure blocks allow structured programming. It should not be compared with conditional assembly. Structure blocks may not exceed 128 bytes (same as a branch) except for DO..LOOP.
IF..ENDIF - condition.
Lable_0 continue program.
IF..ELSE..ENDIF - condition.
Label_1 continue program
DO..LOOP - Endless loop
REPEAT..UNTIL - Conditional loop
BEGIN..WHILE..WEND - Conditional Loop
Label_0 continue program
As 'cond' (condition) are allowed: EQ, NE, CS, CC, PL, MI, VC, VS. The output code will contain branches with the opposite of the condition.
the program pointer can be called by using @.
For example: ORG 1234 ; ORG 1234
JMP @ ; JMP 1234
If the 65c02 mode is active, the assembler defines a symbol CMOS. You can check this symbol like this:
;specific 65c02 code
It will assemble the specific 65c02 code if CMOS is defined. The opposite is also possible:
;normal 65c02 code
(C)1991 MEGA MAGAZINE!
THE TOP DEMOS!
The famous demo crew WORLD FEDERATION OF MAD HACKERS (WFMH) from Poland made some very amazing demos which they called THE TOP. Because lack of time they didn't made one big TOP but a serie of three parts instead (which are big!).
The first part is about 44KB big and contains four screens. The first thing that appears on screen is the text "Count with me" followed by a counter which counts from 80 to 0. So this is probably the WFMH packer (done by MAGNUS I think). Then we are welcomed by an intro text which explains some things about the demo (Polish and English).
After pressing the space bar the first screen appears. There are some colour tubes, joystick controlable dots f/x, a waving WFMH logo and a very impressive scroller (nice font!). The tune of this screen originally came from the game 'Panther'.
For the second screen we had to press SHIFT. This is probably done because the demo runs without the O.S. and therefore can't use the keyboard handler. The second screen is really cool! It's only a scroller, but not a normal one. This one occupies the whole screen and the font is beautiful. It also bounces in different waves and has different speeds. The tune they used for this screen is from 'Mountain bike simulator' (from Zeppelin games).
The third screen is called "Future of spectrum". The head of some kind of misplaced freak bounces into the screen. It then transforms into a skull and this skull says the magic word (sampled) "MUSIC PLEASE!". So music starts and on the bottom of the screen appears a moving drawing of the word "FUTURE". There's also a cute scroller with different speeds in the middle of the screen. Unfortunately this scroller is written in Polish, so I don't understand a shit of it! Finally there's a scroller which scrolls out of the eye of the skull (written in English). This screen was coded by XL-Soft, graphics by Megamix and Polonus, music by J.M.Musicfreak and the sample was done by The Exterminator (they ripped it from our BIG demo!). We don't mind....
The fourth and last screen was done by MAGNUS and this one is great! I only don't understand why it was released separately before the release of the TOP part one.. Anyway, it contains a bunch of different vector drawings. I think this demo is the first demo with vector graphics in it. On the bottom of the screen you can watch a few logo pictures. The tune behind this screen is from 'JW DARTS' (again from Zeppelin) also used in the main screen of the BIG demo (HTT).
In general THE TOP #1 is very good compared to all other ATARI 8-bit demos. The quality of the graphics and the originality are good lessons for other demo programmers.
THE TOP PART TWO
This part is about 53 KB big and also contains four screens (like part one). The demo boots with a cute intro text (nicely packed).
The actual demo starts again with a text screen which explains some things about the demo (written in Polish and English again). They let us know that the demos we're about to see are "lame" (we'll see).
We hit the spacebar (gently!).
After the meanwhile famous "Count with me" message we're blown away by a very funny and good remixed sample. Nice drums, a yell and even a "Burp" fly trough the speaker!
We remember the SHIFT key, so we press it.... And there's that "Count with me" message again! wait.. wait.. At the bottom of the screen appears a colourful but not easy readable scroller. After they've explained that we can expect many scrollers the screen starts to fill with scrollers! No, not ordinary scrollers but scrollers with a small sine wave. I can't exactly figure out how it's done.. it's great! There are 23 of these scrollers and they also have different brightnesses. One of the scrollers contains the Polish sentence "Polak Holender dwa bratanki". We were told it means that Poland and Holland are two friends. Thanx guys, we really feel honored! By the way, this screen was done by MAGNUS (who else).
The musix used for this screen is from the game "Pro Biker".
To start the second screen we have to press SHIFT again. This one is called "Amazing stories" and was done by XL-SOFT. It looks nice but it's not very special. At the top of the screen are the letters WFMH waving in a strange way and a sprite in the form of a funny head bouncing in front of it. Beneath it is a scroller twisted around two colour tubes. It's very similar to the coil f/x in the main menu of the BIG demo (HTT, yeah!). Fortunately the text for this almost-not-readable scroller isn't very long but there's a longer one at the bottom of the screen. The font for this scroller was done by MAGNUS and it's quite reasonable. The text is about girls and parties. It's fun to read because of the faulty English (even more faulty than this article).
There are three tunes from the game "Milkrace" included in this demo which can be selected by pressing the console keys.
Another press on the SHIFT key and we get the third screen. It's called "3Mhz demo" and was also done by XL-SOFT. Five tunes from Tomasz Liebich are included and can be activated by pressing keys 1 to 5 for the left channel or 1 to 5 while holding down the SHIFT key for the right channel. Stereo? Well, not really.. you need two 8-bit computers for the stereo effect. One playing the left channel and the other one for the right channel. Anyway, try it yourself!
At the top of the screen there is a sine waving XL-SOFT logo. On the bottom are four small scrollers all with a different speed and on the left and right is the text "3Mhz demo" vertical displayed in sprites. In a scroller he claims that he found instructions to get the main clock running at 3Mhz and you can look at address $BC40 (start of screen memory) for information. Haha, nice try XL-SOFT, but you don't fool me! Enough about this screen.. Let's press RETURN.
Now you'll get the fourth and last screen of the TOP #2. This one knocked me from my chair. There's a nice and colourful picture of a spaceship and a planet. Little space ships (sprites) fly in front of it. I was puzzled when I saw the picture. They use ANTIC text mode 4 to get five colours on one scanline and with help of display list interrupts it looks as if there are much more colours on one scanline. Really amazing stuff guys!
At the bottom there's a very good looking scroller which gets a little bit hard to read after a while because it's waving horizontal and vertical at the same time. The font was designed by Hi-man of Quartet and the musix was ripped from ABBUCs magazine #20. I wonder where the picture came from.
In the scroller he mentions the WFMH will probably get a new member who owns an Amiga and we get the advice to buy an Amiga too.... If you want a reaction on this advise you should change the intro text of the BIG demo and boot it!!
Final conclusion: the screens in this part aren't "lame". They're just good enough.
OK! that's all for part two.
THE TOP PART THREE
The third part is probably the last part of the amazing TOP demos. Several members of WFMH bought an AMIGA and won't be able to do anything for the ATARI 8-bit anymore (sigh..). Anyway, this part requires one diskside. Yes! It's a bootdisk! If you look at the directory and you're a lamer, you can see that the parts in the directory are just ordinary files (hue?).
The demo starts with the loadscreen. On screen you can see the initials WFMH drawed in high resolution (probably a font in graphics zero). A counter decreases when the program is loading and when a part is loaded it will depack and run it. This screen is shown between the different parts of the demo.
The first screen immediately gives an impression of the demo in general. Reasonable graphics and a nice tune. There are three VU meters in the form of a line which deforms at three places (three channels music). Beneath this line there's a typical WFMH scroller (big and quite nice). Above the line appears a logo of WFMH which turns in a very nice and strange way. Although this is the first screen, I wouldn't call this the intro because it's very good compared with the next part....
A press on SHIFT and the second part is loading/depacking. Quickly close your eyes!! This screen is really awful, lame, shitty, quickly made and one big piece of trash! It's a shame that they included this one because it's no good for the the average rating. Graphics were done by SPLE'Y and coding by MAGNUS (feeling well?). Skip this one fast.
The third screen is not one of the best, but still nice. It displays four vertical rotating scrollers with different speeds and bars flashing on the rythm of the music. The graphics and sound are average.
WHAT? Is this still the same demo? Another lame screen? Yes, it's unfortunately true. This fourth screen only contains a bouncing logo of BRAIN SOFT (the guy who was responsible for this shit), a Polish scroller (normal graphics 7) and a vertical English scroller in a player (sprite) with some awful irritating colours in it. The most shitty part of this demo is that you must first move the joystick to start all the lame effects. You can move the vertical scroller by using the joystick! (Wow! the guy knows how to poke a new horizontal position for a player. Incredible!). SKIP!
Finally, we've reached the fifth screen (Pfew!).... This part takes a long time to load/depack. First you get an info screen which prepares you for the shock. If you happen to have more than 64K (130XE for example) than you're lucky to see the complete animation. Otherwise it won't be very smooth. Although the info screen tells you to press OPTION, you should press SHIFT instead (a little bug?). This screen was done by MAGNUS and it shows an animated dancing girl (dancing on the music of DRACONUS) which was converted from the AMIGA. It's depacking at the same time when the demo runs. Beneath the dancing girl there's a great scroller and beside her there's a vertical scroller which goes under the horizontal one. This part is very good.
The sixth part was done by THORGAL. Personally I like this part very much. The music is very good too (who made it?). There's a picture of the words VIDEO WORM at the bottom half of the screen. At the bottom of the screen is a high-res scroller which is scrolling up and down. Five smiling heads role on top of this scroller. It's very hard to explain this effect, but it's very nice. Above this amazing scroller you can see a worm crawling through a landscape. Watch the cute animation of the worm!
Yes, there are some more screens in the TOP part three. Let's continue this review.
Before part seven we get a text screen containing the 'swap' address of WFMH. Nice fade in!
Then part seven.. This is another screen from THORGAL/XL-SOFT. There a 3-D scrolling landscape with a car, a bouncing logo, a wavy scroller (in Polish) and at the bottom another scroller (English). The logo (word) 'ATARI' fades away and a second logo (word) 'TRASH' appears, then 'ATARI' appears again and so on.. Eh, nice guys, but why 'TRASH'? Do you mean ATARI is trash? Oh no! I get it, it should have been 'ATARI' and 'AMIGA', but you forgot the name of that other computer. Hmmm, the wavy scroller is nice indeed! Some different waveforms make it look much nicer. The music is really fantastic. Enough talk about this part.
Part eight! This one includes another waving and flipping logo, 'XLS' and 'THORGAL'. In the middle of the screen there's a WFMH logo with a vertical scroller on each side. In front of the logo is a very nice effect with software sprites in the form of falling characters, cool! It looks as if these characters bounce on some sort of mirror, the effect is very good and original. Underneath that fake mirror is scroller with a reasonably nice font. It's a big font that's for sure, but I don't find it very special. At least you don't have to read this scroller, because it's full of craptalk from a spoiled boy named DUDDIE. Musix is good as in all parts of the TOP #3.
Whoaa.. finally we reach part number nine. This one starts with a waving scroller including the best font I've ever seen on the ATARI 8-bit! After a while this scroller get stuck at the bottom of the screen. The rest of the screen is black.. for a short while.. and then there's the great unlimited sprite FX! Wow, you have to see this. You can press OPTION to restart the effect and START or SELECT to get another waveform. I can't honestly describe this effect, because I already knew how it was done. In fact I planned to do something like that myself! Bad luck for me....
The last part (part ten!) is only an upwards scrolling colourful text containing the whole list of members of WFMH and all the greetinx. Together with the nice music makes this part a good conclusion of this third 'TOP' class demo.
The Story of The High-Tech Team
Original by: SolarSystems and
Extended by: Frankenstein
It was the summer of 1988. Three fanatic Atari freaks, who had met at a local Atari club, decided to found their own team. They had lotsa idea's and wanted to become as famous as e.g. Steve Zipp. So, they tried to cope with all the problems you meet when you want to program some really good stuff, and life went on..
And, on a meeting at the local club, they met another freak, who called himself SolarSystems. That was in the same period as the other guys of the HTT started working on ideas of the BIG demo, which in those days still would have been programmed in plain ATARI BASIC (har!).
When the group got more and more confident with the phenomena "machine language", they dropped the idea of programming the demo in BASIC, and started working in Mnemonics. Frankenstein programmed in the monitor of SuperMon, while the DDT-crew used MAC-65 and SolarSystems did his job in the HS 6502 monitor, so that was non-compatibility in the highest form and to get things easier interchangeable, the HTT started working in ATMAS II. Although this is said to be an assembler for little babies, (that's the opinion of Ulf Petersen and those other aambei rooiers), we think Peter Finzel did a great job, making a fast and user-friendly assembler. (But memory IS a lack of the assembler. Atmas should e.g. be able to use the extra RAM banks for a reasonable amount of memory. $25.- for the guy who can make such an adjustment to Atmas II.)
But we won't get carried away from the subject. When the HTT finished their BIG ATARI 8-BIT DEMO on 90-9-10, they sent 16 copies of their demo to some foreign magazines and user groups. But never did they expect to receive a letter from the English Atari magazine, PAGE 6 (new ATARI user), in which they told the HTT that they wanted to sell their demo because it was too good for Public Domain.... From that day, the HTT was a BIG name in the ATARI 8 bit scene, not only in the Netherlands and the UK, but also in Germany, Australia, the US of America, and ofcourse Poland.
So, famous and quite fanatic they asked Steve Zipp to join the gang, 'coz he was just a one-man-gang. In the month's after the release of the dec '89/jan '90 issue of Page 6 magazine, where their BIG demo was heavily promoted, the mail pile increased considerably. The members didn't fully realize what was happening to them. After a while the HTT consisted of six people, SolarSystems, The DDT-crew, Frankenstein, The Exterminator (the guys who created the BIG demo), Steve Zipp and a guy called StormTrooper.
Well, this is what DDT-CREW and SOLARSYSTEMS wrote quite a long time ago.
And now the story continues....
The HTT became very large and maybe even too large. The main problem was that most of the members were programmers. There wasn't a graphics man or a musician. So, they started looking for a graphics artist. I remember the first phone call with him. I was talking to Stormtrooper (he had to know a lot because he recently joined our team) and he told me he knew somebody who could draw very well. And so I was talking to Prizm (the artist)..
F: So, you can draw?
F: Can ya send me some pics?
F: Ok! I'll write back.
P: Great! See ya!
He sounded very exciting. Later I found out that he found it exciting to talk with a member of the HTT and his dream was to draw pictures for us (really!). Anyway, I got some 2D pictures from him by mail. Not bad, but a little flat! Then I spoke the magic formula "Try to draw like DRACONUS and ZYBEX tho Prizm!". And so it happened. A few weeks later I got another package from him.... Aaahh! It worked! The pictures were amazing!
Time passed by, pictures were shown to all other HTT members. Was it right to get another member? Was the HTT getting to BIG? Did they really need an artist?..
After many discussions, insults and angry faces, they finally decided to let Prizm get into their team. And it was no mistake!!
But it didn't went smoothly. Members abused other members and they accused eachother of being lazy. In fact that wasn't very strange because most guys had to go to school and had little time for the HTT. And when one guy finally had time, the others didn't! Meetings were incomplete. They talked about kicking people out of the team or simply liquidate the whole High-Tech Team.
This was all too much for our poor fellow Stormtrooper and he decided to leave the team. He's now member of a not-so-famous team called "The Corporation".
And now at this very moment it's finally getting better with the HTT. The summer holiday is about to begin and the members awake from their wintersleep.
3-D VECTOR GRAPHIX
Another article by WosFilm!
Let's start the article by defining what a vector is: a vector is a physical or mathematical measure with both size and direction. Eg. a force acting upon an object must be described with a vector since you have to know how strong it is (how many Newton) and the way it is headed (the angle related to a fixed axis). A length is not a vector, while a line is, ie. there are both 2D and 3D vectors.
In this article I won't go into why the formulas look like they do, but with some knowledge about trigonometry you'll probably understand it. Also most of the formulas are my own inventions, so don't be confused if you've seen others looking different from mine. I've avoided to use complicated arithmetics and stuck to simple things like add and multiply since such things are easier to do in machine code than things like square roots... To handle the SIN and COS functions in assembler you just make a nice table (otherwise you could always calculate it with formulas like this: sin x = x/1!-x^3/3!+x^5/5!-x^7/7!... :-> ).
As you all know we live in a three dimensional world with width (the x-axis), height (y-axis), and depth (z-axis). There is no such thing as a two dimensional object. Pictures are 2D, but then pictures aren't objects. Thus you may believe that everything has a dimensional value of 1 2 or 3, but a fractal picture has a dimension greater than 2 but lesser than 3 (I've heard that the coastline of Norway has a dimensional value of about 2.63 ...), but that's beside the point! :-)
Mainly, there are two types of 3D animation of an object: either you move an "eye" in a "world" of objects (as seen in Mercenary by Novagen), or you spin objects around a fixed point (as shown by MSL in the TOP demo or in OUR 5OFT's STOP gamo. PAGE 6 published a VERY good program called 3-D Animator in issue 30 Nov/Dec -87.). When rotating an object, you move the actual points that make out the object, but when you move the "eye" (a "walkabout"), you only change the angle to the object related to the current position of the eye.
Building an object
An object is built by defining a number of points in a three dimensional space, and with each point define to which points a line (the vector) will be drawn. Using this vector technique will make all objects transparent. Eg. a pyramid could have four points pn(x,y,z) like this:
p0=(0,10,0) p1=(-10,-5,-5) p2 (10,-5,-5) p3=(0,-5,10)
where the x-values increases to the right, the y-values increases upwards and the z-values increases farther away from the eye. This will make p0 to the top of the pyramid and the rest of the points make out the the base. The links in this case could be from p0 to p1 and p2 (a line will be drawn from p0 to p1 and from p0 to p2), p1 to p2 and p3, p2 to p3, p3 to p0.
Ok, that wasn't too hard to understand, was it? But how do we plot a 3D object onto a 2D screen (well, actually a 1D screen...)? I'll explain that later on.
Rotating the object
Ok, now we've defined our object, but let's say we want to spin it around the x-axis of the point (0,0,0).
When rotating an object you move each point separately and use these formulas:
Rotating around the x-axis:
z2 = (z1-z0)*cos bx - (y1-y0)*sin bx +z0
y2 = (y1-y0)*cos bx + (z1-z0)*sin bx +y0
around the y-axis:
x2 = (x1-x0)*cos by - (z1-z0)*sin by +x0
z2 = (z1-z0)*cos by + (x1-x0)*sin by +z0
and around the z-axis:
x2 = (x1-x0)*cos bz - (y1-y0)*sin bz +x0
y2 = (y1-y0)*cos bz + (x1-x0)*sin bz +y0
where (x0,y0,z0) is the rotation center point, (x1,y1,z1) is the point that will be rotated, (x2,y2,z2) is the new point after rotation, and bx, by and bz is the angle the point will be rotated around the x-, y-, and z-axis respectively.
So in our case with the pyramid, a rotation of 40 degrees around the x-axis of point (0,0,0) would look something like this (rounding off the results to integers):
p0: z2=(0-0)*cos40 - (10-0)*sin40 + 0 = -6
y2=(10-0)*cos40 + (0-0)*sin40 + 0 = 8
p1: z2=(-5-0)*cos40 - (-5-0)*sin40 + 0 = -1
y2=(-5-0)*cos40 + (-5-0)*sin40 + 0 = -7
p2(y,z)=p1(y,z) => p2: z2=-1
p3: z2=(10-0)*cos40 - (-5-0)*sin40 + 0 = 11
y2=(-5-0)*cos40 + (10-0)*sin40 + 0 = 3
Getting it so far? Good! But let's say we want to spin it 30 degrees around the y-axis of the same point at the same time...
Just use the formulas for the y-axis, but use the newly calculated z2 value for each point as z1. So, when rotating around more than one axis, always use the latest calculated x2, y2 or z2 value as x1,y1 or z1 in the next formula you use. A positive angle means anti-clockwise movement, while a negative means clockwise.
Of course, you shouldn't round off the values between calculations. I did it only to avoid writing a lot of decimals (lazy, eh?).
Perspective and projection
When you have your points where you want them, it's time to add perspective, so that points far away seems to be far away, and project it onto the screen. And now you have to decide where the "eye" should be placed in the coordinate system. You must also declare how far it is from the eye to the "horizon", where objects only will look like a little dot (very far away...). When you transfer your 3D object to the 2D screen, you use these formulas:
xpic = (x-xe)*(1-sin(c*(z-ze)))
ypic = (y-ye)*(1-sin(c*(z-ze)))
where x,y and z are the coordinates of the point to plot or draw to (those we calculated above), (xe,ye,ze) is the position of the eye, (xpic,ypic) is the resulting position in a 2D coordinate system (note that xpic and ypic can be negative, so they have to be adjusted for the Atari screen) and c is a constant = 90/d where d is the distance to the horizon (the "90" here means 90 degrees, so if you're using radians change the "90" to Pi/2).
If we'd give the eye the position (0,0,-20) and put the horizon 35 units away (max z-value = 15), our pyramid would be relatively far away and look rather small, so a distance of about 100 would be better in this case. Now we're looking straight at the pyramid (xe=0 and ye=0), but if we'd lower the eye to (0,-20,-20), the pyramid would be above the eye and we'd see more of the base. If we'd then move the eye to (20,-20,-20), the pyramid would be on our left side. This is the way of doing walkabouts; you just move the eye and recalculate the 2D picture. But remember that if a point has a lesser z-value than the eye, it is "behind" you and shouldn't be seen, and these formulas won't handle this (instead the point would be z-ze units in front of the eye. Think of the sin x graph and you'll understand...), so you have to check the z-values each time. The same counts for z-values greater than ze+d, they shouldn't be seen.
When adjusting the xpic and ypic coordinates to get the eye in the middle of the screen, you must have in mind that the y-axis increases upwards, so a PLOT for a normal Graphics 8+16 screen would look like this:
PLOT 160+xpic,96-ypic if you want the eye at the screen position (160,96).
That's all there is to it! Study my example program (below) to see it in reality. It's NOT designed to produce a good-looking animation, since BASIC is MUCH too slow for realtime vector graphix (or almost any smooth animation...), but to be informative. It doesn't do any walkabouts, but that's so easy, I don't think I have to demonstrate it...
Of course this isn't very easy to do in assembler. The biggest problem I've come up with is that you got to have an incredibly fast DRAW routine (the one of the ROM isn't very much to scream about...) to get a smooth animation (if you're not lazy and save the screen between each picture, but then you couldn't do any walkabouts or change the rotation speed or anything, not to mention - MEMORY!...). Also, dealing with BCDs might be somewhat complicated, but at least there's no realtime dividing!
Good luck, and happy coding!
* WosFilm *
10 REM ***********************
11 REM ** REALTIME **
12 REM ** 3D VECTOR GRAPHIX **
13 REM ** **
14 REM ** a demonstration **
15 REM ** by **
16 REM ** WosFilm **
17 REM ***********************
19 DIM OBJECT(3,4)
20 DIM XPIC(3),YPIC(3)
21 FOR I=0 TO 3
22 FOR J=0 TO 4
23 READ Q:OBJECT(I,J)=Q
24 NEXT J
25 NEXT I
26 REM X,Y,Z,LINK1,LINK2
27 REM -----------------
28 DATA 0,20,0,1,2
29 DATA -20,-10,-10,3,2
30 DATA 20,-10,-10,3,3
31 DATA 0,-10,20,0,0
32 REM SETUP EYE POSITION
33 REM ROTATION SPEED AND
34 REM ROTATION POINT.
35 REM DECLARE C VALUE
36 REM ------------------
40 DEG :REM SWITCH TO DEGREES
41 REM CALC. NEW COORDINATES
42 REM FOR EACH OF THE 4 POINTS
43 REM ------------------------
44 FOR I=0 TO 3
49 REM ROTATE AROUND X-AXIS
50 REM --------------------
55 REM ROTATE AROUND Y-AXIS
56 REM --------------------
61 REM ROTATE AROUND Z-AXIS
62 REM --------------------
66 REM TRANSFER 3D POINTS
67 REM TO 2D POINTS AND
68 REM ADJUST COORDINATES
69 REM ------------------
73 NEXT I
74 GRAPHICS 8+16:COLOR 1
75 REM NOTE THAT THE Z-VALUES
76 REM ARE NOT CHECKED!
77 REM ----------------------
78 FOR I=0 TO 3
79 FOR J=3 TO 4
80 PLOT XPIC(I),YPIC(I)
82 DRAWTO XPIC(Q),YPIC(Q)
83 NEXT J
84 NEXT I
86 IF BX>=360 THEN BX=BX-360
88 IF BY>=360 THEN BY=BY-360
90 IF BZ>=360 THEN BZ=BZ-360
91 GOTO 44
THE LEGEND'S SPEAKING.....
Hello, my fellow atarians. I'm here to discuss all kinds of things with you that interest me (and maybe will also interest you). First, let me explain to you who I really am. The Legend. I come from another galaxy, many light-years away from earth. The name of the planet where I lived, was called the Legendary planet. Alas, my planet was destroyed by the slaves of the evil dictator Opossum whom lives in the bathroom on the planet ratz. Since then, there was no place left for me to live. However, on one day I spotted a little ball on my radar systems. I could not identify it. I was curious and wanted to find out if there was some form of life on that planet. So I took my jet-pack and travelled to it. It took some time, but after a while I approached the planet and landed savely. I picked up a little bit of sand and put it in my computer. It told me that this planet had the name Earth. Together with my computer I learned a lot about Earth. The most interesting thing I discovered was that the people on this planet had computers too. But they were a lot different than the computers I used. Those people used them mostly for entertainment. I also learned that they had computers like the Commodore, Atari, Spectrum, Amstrad and Acorn. Ofcourse I now know which computer is bad or which computer is good. The only thing I can say is that they all are pretty dull in compromise with the computers I used. However, your "computer world" is much more fascinating. I use computers only to make life more easier, while you use them for your hobby.
The Amigas, STs and STEs are doing very well, as are the 64s, Amstrads and Spectrums. So I have no reason to be concerned about them. What does concern me is the Atari 8-bit. And that is the subject I want to discuss with you this time. I have studied a lot about it and I came to the conclusion that this wonderful machine is about to die. Sniff, sniff......
Some of you people see things too positive. You think that this machine is still alive and kicking. WRONG. If you look at the 64 for instance, you see that software houses are still producing a lot of software for this machine. Although there are few existing software houses left, they aren't producing software for this beautiful machine anymore. This is a FACT. Well then, let's look at the magazines that are covering the atari 8-bit. Well, I discovered that there are mags left like Page 6, Pokey and the Abbuc magazine. But if you look at other computers you will notice (like I did) that they have lots more of magazines covering that particular computer. And nowadays everybody seems to be upgrading their hobby by adding a 16-bit computer and sometimes even selling their previous computer! This makes the chance of the atari 8-bit leaving the computer scene even bigger. Atari said a couple of months ago that they were about to cease the support of one of their best machines, the atari 8-bit. In my opinion, the things I mentioned are not so positive at all. So I conclude that our machine (I haven't got one, but it's my number one of the list!) is fading like a flower (yes I love roxette very much). So who wants to go for a joyride? Don't count on me. I don't want you to get the intention to sell your atari, but I think you should be saving your money for another computer i.e. a 16-bit. But best of all if you're a big games fanatic you should consider buying a console (16-bit ofcourse) like a Mega-drive for instance. But I'll talk to you about consoles in the next edition of this magazine. I hope you have learned a lot (or at least a bit) of this story. So the last thing I would like to say is:
DON'T BELIEVE OTHER STORIES,
THIS IS THE TRUTH,
FOR I AM THE LEGEND.
See ya, next time.
Until then brave warrior of ras(*).
P.S.: * = or whatever.
THE ATARI LYNX
A few months ago I bought a really cool piece of hardware "The LYNX". I've been collecting information about this machine and I would like to tell you about it.
First let me tell you what a LYNX is. If you already know you can skip this part.
The LYNX is a handheld game machine which was developed at Epyx Inc. It took them over two years to create it. One of them, Dave Needle, is the designer of the original ATARI 800 chip set and he directed the design of the main chips (Mikey and Suzy) of the LYNX.
The other guy, Graig Nelson, is responsible for the rest of the machine. Their main objective was to create a machine for which programmers would love to write software for. Believe me, I myself would really enjoy writing software for it if I got the chance (Well ATARI or EPYX, how about it?).
The machine consists of:
- LCD colour display
- Slot for a game card
- Build in speaker
- Connection for headphone
- Connection for multi player
- Connection for power adaptor
- Batterie hole
- Four fire buttons
- Volume button
- Brightness button
- On and off switch (really!)
- Three option buttons
So the outside looks nice, but how about the inside? The inside of the LYNX is really impressive! The main chips of the LYNX are called 'Mikey' and 'Suzy'. They both are custom chips. 'Mikey' incorporates a 65C02 processor (the CPU), the LYNX' sound system, video DMA drivers for the LCD display, the system timers, the interrupt controller and the UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver and Transmitter) which is responsible for the communication of the LYNX (The LYNX can be connected to the LYNX of your friend or somebody).
The processor is almost the same as the XL/XE (6502). The 65C02 has some more instructions such as PLY (pull Y) or PHX (push X). This processor can also handle 64K RAM just like the XL/XE. By the way, the LYNX really has 64K RAM free for programs! One KB ($FC00 - $FFFF) contains the hardware registers, but this area can be made usable RAM by changing a bit in the memory-map control register (just like switching between ROM and RAM on the XL/XE). There's also a zero page and the stack is also located at $0100 (page one). Most of the zero page addresses are unused!
The sound of the LYNX (part of the Mikey chip) provides four independent sound channels in full stereo. Simple tone/noise generation is performed by "shift register feedback" just like the POKEY chip (XL/XE). The system can produce tones from a low of 100Hz to well above the range of human hearing. Volume control registers can have 127 possible states which is ideal for high quality digitized sound and voice synthesis.
To communicate with other LYNXes there is a standard UART chip (Universal Asynchronous Receiver and Transmitter, nice to impress your friends with). This system is called COMLYNX! It runs a bi-directional serial communication over a 3 wire cable (+5V, Ground and Data). The network can send and receive data at varying rates of speed, from 300.5 baud to 62.5 Kbaud (which is about 7K/second). Messages are send in 11-bit words, containing a start bit, eight data bits, a parity bit and a stop bit. The LYNX is obliged to listen to the line and transmit data only when the line is silent. This can cause data collision, which makes the use of parity, overflow and other checks necessary.
However, the developers kit contains two macro modules (done by Steve Landrum) so the programmer doesn't need to know too much of the low-level aspects of the communications.
The first module is needed for handshaking among the connected LYNXes. The second module is needed for the actual communication. With help of a set I/O buffers the programmer can communicate simply by reading from and writing into these buffers.
A LYNX game card acts like a diskdrive. Each card has its own directory which can contain up to 256 files. When the system is started Mikey's bootstrap ROM will initialize communication with the game card, reads the init. file (at file block zero) and start it. Some sort of AUTORUN.SYS I guess. Files can simply be loaded from the card to RAM with help of Mikey's ROM (512 bytes).
There have been many rumors about the memory space of a game card. I wrote ATARI about this and they told me a card could contain 8Mb. I think this should be read as 8 Megabit (which is 1 Megabyte), but still ATARI EXPLORER reports that a card can contain 256KB (Kilobyte) and this sounds more reliable to me. But who cares! 256KB is gigantic, two full sides of a medium density disk!
The second custom chip of the LYNX (Suzy) consists of some sort of high-speed blitter and a math coprocessor. It has some nice sprite drawing and scaling functions and sprites can be stretched or tilted. It can also perform highly intelligent decoding of compressed sprite data on the fly! (Wow, a build in decompressor, that's cool!).
Sprites are actually stored as "Sprite control blocks" which contains all the information about the sprite (priority, compression, location etc.)
Suzy can scale sprites from 1/256th of the defined size to 256 times defined size. This is great for zoom in and out and for 3D displays. And for example, one single pixel can be stretched into a line or a complete color field!
Sprites are placed in a virtual screen map (called "the world"), which may be up to 65536 units high by 65536 units wide. The physical screen acts as a window on this "world" map, and may be scrolled across it simply by changing its start location (jeez!).
There's a special collision buffer into which Suzy writes the highest priority of the overlaped sprites. On the LYNX sprites can be moving foreground objects but also entire screen backgrounds. Sprite control blocks can be generated automaticly by the paint program which is part of the developers kit.
The LYNX has a relocatable screen memory but it should always start at an even numbered address. This is because Mickey's screen start address register is 15 bits wide. One screen uses 8160 bytes of memory. A screen is 102 scanlines and each line uses 80 bytes. Each nibble (called a triad) is used to select on of the 16 colours of the chosen palette so there are 160 (80*2) triads on each line. A triad consists of three LCD elements; a red one, a green one and a blue one (RGB?) It should be possible to light each element within a triad so you can get some sort of 'high resolution' screen (102 lines of 480 pixels).
Suzy can do more! One other nice feature is the hardware multiply and divide system. The main processor (65C02) hasn't got directly usable multiply and divide instructions so this is a big help. A flag shows the processor if the system has generated the result or not. This makes it possible to let the system calculate numbers while the 65C02 is busy with other things (this is what I call multitasking!). The system can handle a 16-bit by 16-bit multiply producing a 32-bit result or a 32-bit by 16-bit divide producing a 32-bit result (bit boring?).
For serious programmers there is a complete developers kit available to create your own LYNX games. You can buy such kit directly from ATARI for the price of $5000! (no joke!). The main piece of the kit is a parallel interfaced module that embodies the electronics of a LYNX and debugging tools. This controlable LYNX is called the Howard board (Howdy). And now guess which computer is used for developing.... an Amiga! (with 3Mb HD). Why the hell don't they use a MEGA STE? Well, everybody can make mistakes ofcourse. Anyway, with this computer the programmer can write code for the LYNX, assemble it using the supplied cross assembler, then send it directly to Howdy to run it.
Howdy contains also a system to check the three internal buses. It is supported on the master computer by debugger (Handy Bug) that can memorize 148K of program activity.
Handy Bug understands the data structures normally used in LYNX programming and can be taught to understand the developer's own data structures and symbols. It's capable of displaying and altering Howdy memory in these symbolic terms. Handy Bug also contains a disassembler, and permits single stepping, traced execution, and the installation of conditional and unconditional breakpoints in a wide variety of contexts.
The kit also contains some utilities like a converter to convert .IFF files into LYNX sprites and a sound editor.
There are also several extensive macro libraries and numerous, fully documented example programs that can me modified and included in production code.
Developers receive a manual with system information (about 3 1/2 inch thick) and the guarantee of frequent updates.
Are you still reading this? You can go now and buy yourself a LYNX! It's really MEGA COOL! Also if you got some extra money you can buy a developers kit for me, so I can make a few LYNX games and demos (?). I would love to see a sinewave scroller on the LYNX....
I want to thank the ATARI EXPLORER technical staff for publishing the article about the inside of the LYNX. In fact I used many things literal, because I didn't want to spread changed (maybe false) info!
- Frankenstein -
Hello, my dear Lynx freaks! What has happened the past few weeks on the Lynx? Well, it's a long story....
First of all the software. After it's slow start in terms of software support, the lynx is now getting a big library of games. Atari corporation is making a lot of deals with several software houses like US GOLD and TENGEN. Atari have also shelved their "Panther" console just before in went into production. Instead of that, they have announced a lot of new Lynx titles. Hurray!! Since US GOLD is one of the biggest software houses, a lot of nice things could happen on your faithful Lynx!! Yes, things finally hot up!
I've seen the first pictures from the game "STRIDER II" and I can't say nothing more than that it's awesome!! The graphics are unbelieve compared with previous Lynx game cards. The game is about 50% completed, so it will be in the shop by the time you read this.
I've also seen a lot pictures of other new games too. Some of the titles are: "STUNRUNNER", "NINJA GAIDEN CRYSTALIS" (that's Shadow Warriors on the Amiga & st), "XYBOTS", "VINDICATORS" and "CYBERBALL" to name just a few. All look superb! They should be out by the time you read this at the usual game card price. What surprises me, is that the games aren't only boring shoot 'em ups! The Lynx has got all sorts of games, like sports, adventures, fantasy games, arcade games and strategy games. Choice enough! And a lot of them use the comlynx facility, which is utterly fantastic. Bye, bye Gameboy (by the way, is the gameboy only suitable for boys? Why didn't they call it the Gamegirl and painted it pink?!).
Atari hope to have SIXTY (yes, 60!) games in the shops, but when, they didn't tell. It's the first time that Atari is supporting a machine so well. It's a big shame that they didn't give they Atari 8-bit such support!
Beside the fabulous Lynx, there's also a Lynx II in the pipeline. It will be sold at the same price as the "normal" Lynx. There is no information about it yet, but it will be smaller. I hope it will have a sort of an adaptor, so that you can connect it to a t.v. That would be real nice! (and that it doesn't swallow the batteries so quickly!)
There also are a lot of Lynx goodies like an adaptor which replaces your ac adaptor included with the Lynx which you can plug into a car lighter socket, so you can play in your car without the need of batteries! There's also a bag in which you can carry your Lynx and a couple of your favorite game cards. Real useful!
As you can see, the Lynx is finally making it's way to the top, leaving the Gameboy and the Gamegear in it's shadow. In my opinion, Atari have done a great job. The secret of the success is because of the massive support and the drop-down of the price tag!
till next time,
LYNX TIPS SECTION
Welcome to the first edition of this great Lynx section where you can get some important information about the growing software library of this utterly superb machine. I thought that it would be a great idea to create a section like this, because the Lynx is selling like hot cakes, thus means that all you proud owners are probably crying for some useful tips.
I hope I can bring you a bunch of good tips each edition of this megazine. Only problem is, we (I and my friends) must buy the games ourselves and since we're not swimming in our money, it may occur that we can't afford to buy all the games that are available. Then there is another problem, some games are not worth buying, because they are too dull. In that case, you'll probably won't get any tips about those games. Sorry for that.
Anyway, let's look at the tips for this edition of the Mega Magazine (MEGAzine). Here we go......
When you pick up the comlink, You'll get an alien infest indicator displayed at the top of the screen next to the location indicator. Useful, eh?
If you collect the jetpack, you'll be able to fly in every room. Now, what you got to do is this. Use your jetpack and fly as high as you can, then fly to a door and position yourself so that you can just fly through them. Aim your gun at the ground and fly through every room shooting at the ground. Now, you can blast those nasty aliens to pieces easily, including Festor! But watch out for the Tentacles which are still able to catch your legs and even your head!
If you're about to enter a room which is full of aliens, go to the room next to it (hopefully it's empty) and throw a couple of bombs in the room that is full of aliens. Hopefully for you it will destroy all the aliens that are inside that room, making it easy for you to pass that room without being tortured to death.
To destroy the end-of-level monster on level 23, shoot him in is his head, as this is his vulnerable spot, but do it fast before the time runs out!
If you're about to select a warrior, choose Lundru as your fighter, because he's got powershots, which are very destructive!
Here are all the codes for the levels you must conquer:
Level One : AAAA
Level Two : PLAN
Level Three: ALFA
Level Four : BELL
Level Five : NINE
Level Six : LOCK
Level Seven: HAND
Level Eight: FLEA
Level Nine : LIFE
THE GATES OF ZENDOCON
There a hidden level in this game, in which you can collect all the extra weapons which are available. To enter it, do this. Enter "TRYX" as the level code, then as soon as you get flying, move down and right to go through the floor (do it fast, to avoid crashing). Once you're down there, dodge the obstacles an go through the gate to collect all the weapons.
So, that's it for this time. I hope to bring you tips about GAUNTLET 3, PAPERBOY and NINJA GAIDEN next time, as well as tips for other games. Keep watching this section.
Millions of years ago, a peaceful wizard dislodged the evil foes to the underworld, freeing the land of the people of good. They lived in peace as the years passed. Suddenly the spell that the wizard had cast, lost it's magic. Thus, giving the evil foes the opportunity to return to the land of the people of good and rule over them. Just before the wizard died, he predicted that some day a hero would be born that could save the people of the good from these evil foes. The hero would be known by a birthmark - the mark of the wizard. On a certain day, the hero was born. His name was Rygar.
In this game you play the role of that hero. With your magic weapon you must clear all the twenty-three levels of the evil foes so the people of good can return to their land. During your quest you can find extra magic objects, which include: An object which gives you double (bonus) points, the star weapon, which gives you the power to shoot in the air, the sun weapon, which gives Rygar the ability to shoot further and more precise and finally tiger power which gives Rygar the power to destroy the foes by jumping on them. You can also collect magic chests which the wizard left behind. These include: blue shields, stars, red orbs and more. If you get these you get extra points. When you start the game you get three lives. Each time you make contact with the enemy you lose a life. However, if you jump on their head or body they will freeze, making it easier for you to destroy them. You must complete a level within hundred seconds, if you want to stay alive, that is!
I've played Rygar in the arcades a few years ago and I'm happy to say that it's exactly the same as its counterpart! Rygar is very easy to control and he's very well animated, as are the evil nasties. The graphics are extremely good. The screen scrolls in two and three layer parallax and is drawn in beautiful colors. The music is only average for a Lynx, but the sound effects make up for this.
If you're looking for an addictive game with a lot of action, with superb gameplay, which will give you many hours of playing enjoyment and offers excellent graphics, then Rygar is the one to go for!
Graphics : 85%
Sound : 70%
Overall : 85%
A team of space mechanics were sent to fix the planet's vital space stations, when they suddenly sent a signal for help. Everyone thought that they probably had run out of air supplies or maybe the temperature control systems had failed, thus bringing them in a feeble state or even worse, to death. Until one day, a capsule returned, flown by only one man. He was severly wounded, nearly dead. According to his story, aliens from another planet had overrun the space stations and adjusted themselves to the present temperature, so that they could live there. They multiply themselves by leaving pods, which eventually will grow from a critter to a highly dangerous, gory, snotterpillar! The man nearly finished his story when he began to gasp for air. Just before he died he spoke the word "XENOS" - the name everybody feared off. The people who came to live on the planet after the gruesome death of the mechanics, had build a sophisticated system with which they could defend themselves from the Xenos. Alas, men could not defend themselves from these evil nasties any longer. The xenos attacked them in masses. Now the space stations are overrun and the job is in your hands, by yourself or with friends you're able to clear all the space stations and rescueing the planet from destruction.
In this game you may choose your hero out of a variety of characters (eight to be precise) and you'll get two-thousand of health units. If your health meter reaches zero, you loose a life. If you play a single game you get four lives, however if this game is played with two or more players, you can continue the game until all eight characters are used. You must battle your way through twenty-three space stations. Some of these even include elevators which allow you to move from one level to the next. You'll also get a weapon. You first start off with a phaser gun which is not so powerful, however, during your mission you can find other, more powerful, weapons like a destructive poofer gun (looks like anti-insects spray to me). You can also find bombs which are very useful to destroy those evil rollerbabies (they've got a very tough shell), but they also work very well in rooms where are a lot of aliens. A lot of hardware is also strewn around the stations. You can collect these to earn some bonus points. Some of the hardware items are very useful, like the comlink device which gives you an alien detection meter. Very useful. There's a variety of nasty aliens on board of the space stations, varying from weak, frustrating 'till very dangerous, like the evil Festor which drains your health units by looking deep into your very eyes!! On level twenty-three the mother-Festor awaits. Destroy her and your mission is accomplished!
The control of the characters is very good indeed. They're all well animated and detailed. The screen scrolls very smooth, but the backgrounds could have looked better, though. The sound fx are great, but the music is minimal. Just a little bit of drums on the title screen and a little ditty playing while you're playing. Coming to the most important factor of the game, the playability. I'm glad to tell you that it all feels slick and responsive. The game is hard to beat in a single game so it will keep you busy for weeks (maybe months?), but it could be possible that if you play the game with friends it'll be a bit easier (maybe too easy). If you're looking for a challenging shoot 'em up and that will keep you busy for a while, look NO further, buy Xenophobe!
Graphics : 70%
Sound : 75%
Overall : 80%
GATES OF ZENDOCON
Evil creatures of your old enemy, called "the evil spider Zendocon", captured you. Zendocon has ordered its droids to transport you to the first alien base of the fifty-one interconnected universes and to give you a starship. The aim of the game is to battle your way through all the universes and then confrontate with the evil spider Zendocon himself. If you succeed to kill him, your a free man! You will also find allies during your trip. If you have the chance to free them, they will follow you and help you fight against the evil hordes of Zendocon.
You begin the game with five lives. You can be hit three times before you loose a ship. The first ship destroys your shield. The second hit destroys your laser weapon and the third, and final, hit destroys your ship! So, beware!
Once at the base, you must go right, out of the screen. Then your quest begins. The screen scrolls in all eight directions, except that you can't go to the left. If you succeed to reach the end of a universe, you must enter a gate. If you fly through it, you've completed the level and you start on the second base. The names of the bases are displayed at the bottom of the screen. So if you loose all your ships, thus where the game ends, you can input the name of the base on the title screen of the game and start where you left off. In some universes their are multiple gates which lead to other universes. If you got hit, you can repair your ship at the next base you'll encounter. To repair it, you must land on a particular platform. The allies you will encounter include: The flying eyeball - It hovers around your ship and shoots fireballs horizontally, Death arising - shoots a laser beam straight up, The Sonic dart - emits deadly sonar waves and there are more. Don't forget that your allies can also be hit by enemy fire. Now, put on your helmet and shoot 'em up!
This is the first horizontal shoot 'em up for the Atari Lynx and I'm happy to say that it's very good indeed! Yeah, what can I say about the grafix? The screen scrolls very nice, though it may be a little bit slow and a teeny weeny jerky, but it doesn't spoil the fun at all!! Coming to the sound department, this game offers a couple of soundtracks which are pretty average. Sound fx are good enough to make the lot somewhat atmospherical. The game offers some pretty decent gameplay too. The responsiveness of the space ship is very good indeed. So, if you're looking for a decent space-alien blaster you're in for a real treat. One problem however, due to the password system, the game can be completed in just a few hours. So, try before you buy!
Graphics : 80%
Sound : 70%
Overall : 65%
ADVENTURES OF HTT IN POLAND #1
Once upon a time there were three Dutch ATARI 8-bit freaks named Yeb, Andre and Freddy (better known as SolarSystems, The Exterminator and Frankenstein). One guy (Yeb) wrote with some coders in Poland named OUR-5OFT! The real names of the members of this team are Paul, Tom and Paul (Yes! also three guys!). One day the crazy Dutch fellows decided to visit their friends in good old Poland.
And here the story begins....
DAY: Friday, TIME: 15:00
We are waiting in Leeuwarden for the train. I just mailed 20 letters (see BAD LUCK article). We have to be in Hengelo before 20:00 because that's the time when the bus leaves to Poland. Anyway, after a long trip in the Dutch train we arrive in Hengelo. Much too early.. 18:00, so we have to wait two whole hours at this fucking lousy and really boring railway station. Fortunately Andre brought his taperecorder with him so we terrorize the station by playing a tape of CARNIVORE at not a very decent volume. People who got out of the train were welcomed with warm greetings from CARNIVORE like 'And if you don't like it here then pack up your shit and leave!' and 'I wanna eat you'.
Where the hell is that bus from 'Vliegende Hollander'. They supposed to be here. Hmm, maybe this bus, let's ask: 'He tho pretty woman, are tho going to Poland?'.. Pretty woman: 'Yez, buz who are you guz?' (She's probably Polish because her Dutch was terrible). So, we tell her the whole story that we were waiting for a bus from 'Vliegende Hollander' and we only saw this bus. So she answers 'Aha, thatz very good pozzible becauz thoze guyz don't care about their travellerz and when their buz is full they simply drive to Poland without you'....
What!! What a jerks! What..
(Woman) 'Calm down, you can still travel with uz, our name iz PERFECT travelz so that meanz we do...' Yezz yes, save me the promotions. How much?
Well, it was a little more expensive to travel with this bus from PERFECT, but at least we were on our way to:
Maybe it's nice to know that I wrote our experiences in Dutch, in a very short form, on paper, so I could make this article when we were back. The original telegram style Dutch story is about seven pages and I'm now at the third line of the first page!! So, if I continue my story like this, the final article will be about 150K (the total amount of text on one issue of Mega Magazine!).
It was a long trip and we didn't had much sleep. In the bus they showed the movie "Gone with the wind". It wasn't only a lousy film, but they had also translated it into Polish! It sounded like this: zcezinazi nami scsez csschresi zsena bzsceeceniza....
The next day, after eating many snacks and drinking a lot of coke, we reached 'Poznan' (you can locate a Polish word if there's a 'z' in it!). Yeb exchanged some western money into a bunch of Polish zlotties (what did I tell ya!).
Then we were on our way to Warsaw (the place were we would meet OUR-5OFT!). Just 300 kilometers driving....
At Warsaw. We had to find a certain hotel 'Dom Chlopa' (probably not Polish). After a long walk, carrying our MEGA heavy bags, we finally found it. Now we wear our sunglasses and I (the most crazy guy who is writing this crap) put my ATARI bag in sight!
He! Look over there! Are they OUR-5OFT? No, it can't be.. there are two guys and one older man. We have to find three boys. They're heading this way! Yes! I recognize one!
The next minute we're talking to Tom (Tomek), Paul (Pawel) and Tom's father. At this very moment we can understand about 10% of their English talk. It's very strange to hear a mix between English and Polish. Something like: 'Celloz, Hoz arez chou zozay' (it means 'Hello, how are you today').
So we walk the streets buying sunglasses, exchanging money, drinking coke, talking mixed English. Tom's father left us and the guys invite us to go to the 'black computer market'. No! not a market for black people.... We couldn't believe it; selling of ATARI 8-bit computers, illegal software, data tapes etc. in the open air! Every weekend! We really were in the ATARI 8-bit paradise. We bought some empty disks and left. We were too tired, the bags were too heavy and the weather was too hot.
On our way to 'Pultusk' we talked a lot (about vector graphics and stuff like that) and already got used to the mix of English and Polish.
Whoaa.. this article is getting a little boring, just like my scrollers, but you have to read it so I don't care!!
In Pultusk we drive to the flat (the place were we have to stay this holiday). It's rather small car and it belongs to Tom's father, but Tom is driving it! Ahhh, he's a very careless driver and he's driving much too fast! Oh no! look out for that truck! Slow down! STOP!! ....
Is this the dramatic end of The High-Tech Team and Our-5Oft? Did they hit that truck? Is this really happening? Read about it in the next part.
Oh no! what's diz? Another rumor about the PLATINUM demo from the High-Tech Team? No, unfortunately not. The PLATINUM project is really resting in pieces. Although the making of the demo was going well the last couple of months, we decided to quit the project.
Some people who have no idea of how much time it cost us just to organize, design, program and debug everything, went too far by asking about it over and over again.
Well, IT'S NOT FINISHED!
And it will never be finished, because we all have better things to do.
We're very sorry for those people who were patient and understanding. We really wanted to make something better than our BIG demo, and we know that it's possible. Don't forget that the making of the BIG demo took us almost a year and it still is one of the best demos for the ATARI 8-bit! In fact we've never seen any demo which is exclusive as our BIG demo. This may sound selfish, but it's a fact that it didn't stimulate us to improve something, because it would be an improvement of our own work 'The BIG demo'. That's one thing. The other thing is that we didn't had much time and it would therefore take ages to finish such a huge project. It's true that we've announced our demo a few times and it was meant to clear things up a little, just to let people know we were working on it. Still there were people (also from our own team!) who said things like: 'When is it ready?', 'Is it finished before Christmas?', 'Can you send me a copy?', 'Isn't it time to release it?' and 'Shouldn't it be ready one year ago?'. All these questions went on our nerves! We made demos for fun, in our spare time! Not to please people or to earn money with it!
So, does this mean that 'The High-Tech Team' is dead? Ofcourse not! You can expect small demos, utilities and several other nice programs. Don't wait for it! Try to make something yourself instead. There are still much programs missing from the ATARI 8-bit collection. And if you aren't good at programming, there are many other things you can do. Think about drawing pictures, composing music or developing new hardware gadgets. What about collecting ATARI 8-bit magazines and putting it in a database so that people can get information about any subject in a flash!
As you see there are many things to be done for our good old ATARI 8-bitter. Let's stick the heads together!
The High-Tech Team.
ADVISE OFFICE: FRANKENSTEIN!
Doctor Frankenstein speaking..
Good evening my fellows. Please enter my office and I'll see what I can do for you....
This office is meant to be a place where people can talk about everything they always wanted to, but never got the chance to do so!
Let me introduce you to our staff; Ernie (the genius), Suzy (for all your sex problems), Dr. Dick Face (He can only help if you're more crazy then him) and Dr. Frankenstein (The leader of this fantastic team!).
Because this is the first issue, there aren't any patients yet, so we'll just examine ourselves (the staff). Who will go first? You Ernie?
Ernie: Well sir it's quite an honour that you've chosen me, but why not examine Suzy first? It would be a great pleasure for me to examine her body.
Suzy: In that case, I suggest we'll examine you first Ernie. It seems you've got a quite serious sex problem.
Ernie: Yes, that is correct! And I think you can help me with this problem. It's getting quite hot in here.. Let's start with a little kiss?
Suzy: On my ASS!
Suzy: Oh you pervert! Let me go! I thought you were such a genius? I disgust you!
Frankenstein: Ernie! Let the poor girl go (she's mine after this meeting). Suzy, you say who we examine OK?
Suzy: Thanx doc, I think we should examine Dick.
Ernie: I won't say a word.
Dick (Face): What! Examine me! Holy cow no! Why me? I'm not sick or something. And on the other hand I'm not here!
Stein: What do you mean?
Stein: Speak to me! Are you crazy again? Do you think you're a ghost again? Oh fine, just what we needed. Ernie, get the Ghostbusters suit.
Ernie: Right away! (hehe, I like to wear the Ghostbusters suit, it's so fun!). He Dick! I'll call Ghostbusters!!
Dick: Noo!! Please! I'll be the patient, examine me! I don't feel like a ghost anymore.
Stein: Good. Well, let's do a physical test first. Listen carefully Dick.. What do get if you add 1 to 1?
Dick: Another one ofcourse.
Stein: Very good. And what's the result of 234 multiplied by Monday afternoon?
Dick: Eh.. September?
Stein: Right! (He's not as crazy as I thought).
Ernie: Excuse me, but this is not a physical test. This are just some silly calculations.
Stein: We'll discuss that later. Let's continue....
Dick: Ernie is right. I'm leaving! This is boring.
Ernie: Yeah, come on Dick! Let's go. I'll buy you a drink okey? (With his money haha).
Stein: But... eh.. wait..
BANG! (they slammed the door).
Suzy: Well, it's just you and me I guess.
Stein: Yep, do you want to examine me or shall we do it like we always do it.
Yes, it seems that examining eachother wasn't such a good idea. I hope we'll get some letters for the following issue so we can talk about your problem. Don't be shy. Just explain us your problem and we'll give you a serious answer. Till then!
Send your problems to:
(Featuring the MALE)
Welcome to this very first edition of the M.A.I.L. bag section. There is really not a lot to explain 'cause everybody knows what a mailbag is, don't we? But, for number one imbeciles I'll give you a short explanation. You have the chance to write in a letter to me to the address printed below. If I'm in a good mood I will read your letters and maybe I'll print some of them. IF you're lucky! So get hold of your ballpoints (or pencils, whatever), and write in a letter NOW, if you dare!
The address to write the letter to is:
So let us now look at the very first letters that are made up by some of our friends. Ofcourse we have warned them that they had the chance of getting a real rude answer.
The first letter.....
What are you really? Or who? Maybe Dr. Who? I am a 20 year old guy and I own a Game boy and I would like to ask some things about it, maybe YOU can answer them.
First, which hand held computer is better: a Game boy or a Lynx?
Second, Which one has more colors?
And finally, what IS your real name???
(Placed anonymously on request)
MALE: You know the answer yourself, moron, because you've bought a Gameboy. Unfortunately, you made the wrong decision. The gameboy has more colors if you place your foot on the LCD screen, that is. My REAL name? I won't tell you 'cause you didn't tell me your name in the first place. NEXT!
How are you doin' lately? I wrote this letter because the editor of this mag had asked me to. So, here you are. Since I'm writing this letter I may as well ask you some questions (don't we all?). 1. Do you like spinach? 2. Can you refuse to eat it if your mom orders you to? 3. Do you like answering letters? 4. Is the Super Famicom from Nintendo any good? 5. And what about the Mega drive from Sega? 6. Which is better? 7. Is this also your lucky number? Keep up the good work, 'cause I read a couple of sections and they are pretty good! Bye, bye.
Jack van der maas, Katwijk
MALE: How I'm doin' lately? Frustration's the key. 1. Yes 2. Seldom 3. It depends 4. Yes 5. Too 6. Both 7. No, 96. Hint: Stop writing letters.
Whats up? Do you like wath your doing? I think its really some fun, yes. Do you think soo not? Wel, i do. The edetor has askd mine to write some letter. Soo I'd did as you can see. Your magazin is good laughin i find. But one thing bothers me soo. You have to less sections. I hope you will have many much more text files next editon. So i can red many longer and have plenty great laughings. I will byu every next issu of this magezine. keep up the good work! Bye.
Fons wilgen, Tiel
MALE: Yes, very many i like this all I am doin. Your wright about that the fact the magazines real great. So you think that this magazine maybe soo real great then your maybe right. Yes, our magazine can be very laughin sometimes don't (i.e. if you write in). Thanks oh soo very many much for liking so much our mag, you sleezy slimeball.
Well, that is all for this month. Maybe there will be more letters next month and I'll hope they'll include letters from you! So write in quick. Don't forget you can get a very rude answer, 'cause that's what this's all about! For the fun! Hope you'll respond.
(Very special thanks to:
CONTACTS AND STUFF!
This section is meant for people who want to get in touch with eachother. Also user groups, BBS systems etc. can get their name here.
How? Just contact us!
Here we go....
Definitely the most crazy 8-bit disk magazine on earth!
QuickBBS Leeuwarden, HOLLAND
24 hours on line
(not between 3.00 and 3.30)
300,1200,1200/75,2400 and up!
(V21, V22, V22bis, V23, V32, V32bis, V42, V42bis, HST 9600, HST 14400 and MNP 1-5).
Dial: 058 - 153849
(If you don't live in Holland then don't forget to adjust this number!)
NOTE: Here's also 'the' MEGA MAGAZINE area, where you can leave all your messages, articles and other goodies.
PAGE 6 'New Atari User'
P.O. Box 54
The magazine for the Dedicated Atari User. 'New Atari User' is published bi-monthly and written in English!!
The one and only Dutch ATARI 8-bit foundation supporting ATARI 8-bit users in every way and releasing a disk magazine every month! Completely written in Dutch ofcourse.
c/o T. Geuther
O-4073 Halle (Saale)
A monthly disk magazine for ATARI 8-bit freaks. This magazine is written in German.
Well, that's all for now....
To get a clear indication of what you readers want, I've made a little inquiry. You can print this inquiry, answer it and send it to MEGAZINE or you can put the answers in a message and place it on BBS Leeuwarden in the MEGAZINE area. Read the 'contacts and stuff' article for the complete address and phone number.
1. How did you get MEGAZINE?
2. In which country do you live?
3. Which computer(s) do you own?
4. Did you like MEGAZINE? (why/ why not).
5. Which article did you like most? (why)
6. Which article(s) did you dislike? (why?)
7. What about....
(please fill one of the three circles).
The menu program O bad O nice O great!
The view program O bad O nice O great!
The print options O bad O nice O great!
The graphics O bad O nice O great!
8. What do you wish to see on side two of the next issue?
(please fill one or more circles).
O More boulderdash screens
O Source code of demos
O Source code of utilities
O Something else namely .............
If you've got more remarks or suggestions regarding MEGAZINE, you can now write it down: .............
The greetinx go to....
The High-Tech Team, The Missing Link, Stormtrooper, The Gatekeeper, BeKo, The Predator, Big Mac Man, Ed, ElWe, Sangit Parvat, Ghostrider, SyZyGy, The Amazing Marcel, Jack Spijkerman.
The Top Crew, Mr. Bond, Peter Sabath, Benji, The German Chaotics, RAM and Freddy Krueger.
The Burton Bandit, Page 6, Excel.
Gromor Systems, Psycho.
World Federation of Mad Hackers, Our-5oft.
Pfew, I've probably forgot somebody so please don't be angry if your name wasn't in this list....
Greetinx to everybody too!
See you next issue!!