Archive for the ‘Retro History’ Category

(German) Zeitzeugnis Realtime Artikel – Inter Meeting 1994

May 15, 2010

Hello guys, this is a realtime article we did at a Inter meeting at Lucky’s place. Iit should give the readers, a short insight what they have missed in the nineties 🙂 The meeting took place at the 22th and 23th of Mai 1994, so exact 16 years ago.

Sonntag 22. Mai 1994

15:42

Ankunft bei Luckys Bude. Nachdem wir erst einmal eine Stunde gebraucht haben um unsere Böcke aufzubauen, haben wir uns erst einmal die ganzen Demos angetan (34 Megabyte, es lebe die 105SyQuest).

17:12

PC-ler im Anmarsch. Nach Cycedelic Knockout, Weltschmerz (Scheiß  Zeitabfrage) und Autowaschen verboten angeschaut haben, wollte er die Demos mitnehmen. Leider, leider, leider hat er aber nur ein PC. Tja so ist das Leben (des Brian).

18:44

Pizza Time.     Mjamph, jam, jam, jam, Grumpf, schlörf, Gromfph, jam ,jam,

Mjamph, rulps, Grompf, …………….

21:46

Hallo Leute, Samurai auf den Tasten, ich will euch mal ein Gefühl von mir erklären. Ein Gefühl von ungeahnter, abgründiger, verabscheuender Wut. Es ist einfach herrlich. Da sitz man nun, hat ein paar Stunden lang an einem Bild rumgepaintet, sich wirklich mühe gegeben,….. und dann, ja dannnn, ist der Saft, dieser unheimlich tolle Saft des Lebens für dein Compi, Brutal und ohne Vorahnung aus der Wand gerissen.

SCHEEEEEEEIIIIIßßßßßEEEEEEEEE

(Lucky hier. Sorry, war echt keine Absicht!!! Aber warum ist es bei dir so beschissen dunkel, dass man die Steckdose nicht sieht???)

23:24

Oh Mann, die Drei Dosen Red Bull waren mal wieder dringend nötig. Wenn es ganz schlimm wird haben wir ja noch Flying Horse. Das Zeug soll 4x mehr Taurin als RedBull haben.

23:35

Die neue Version unseres Hellplasmas ist fast Fertig. Texte können nun eingestanzt werden und werden auch richtig ausgeblendet.

Montag 23. Mai 1994

0:48

YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH, unsere Hellplasma Routine ist endgültig fertig geworden. Es müssen jetzt nur noch die Greetings eingegeben werden.

2:59

Hunger!!! Shit, über Pfingsten sind alle Geschäfte geschlossen. Naja, zum Glück hat Lucky ja noch 3 Scheiben Lääberkääze. Bislle fettisch wars scho aber mapfe geht hald vor.

Ach ja unseres Hellplasma läuft übrigens auch Perfekt mit unserer Harddisk-Recording Routine zusammen.

3:31

Müdigkeit?!?!?!?!?      NNNEEEEEEIIIIINNNNNN       wofür gibt es den Flying Horse. Wenn einer von euch gedacht hat das Red Bull dich Wach macht, Hahahahaha   Flyighorse ist der totale überflieger. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeehaaaaa.

3:51

Fängt grade an zu Regnen. Nur der Regen wäre ja nett schlimm, aber die Blitze?

Nein mein kleiner Falke Du brauchst keine Angst zuhaben das Du Stirbst, Nein brauchst Du WIRKLICH nicht zuhaben. (Schwitz, Schwitz).

3:58

Hat da jemand Schlafen gesagt?

4:26

Nachdem Lucky mir freundlicherweise mein Logo gekillt hat, bin ich nun mit der zweiten Version fertig geworden. Wartet auf den Line-Vector Part in unserer Demo. Nicht nur das das Logo, wie ich finde, ganz gut geworden ist, sondern die Objekte selber sind tierisch Fett.

4:30

Es hat wieder aufgehört zu Regnen.

4:44

Pater Michaels Falcon ist soeben ins Nirivana entschwunden.

Aaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah

4:46

Luckys preemptives Demo Betriebssystem ist fast fertig. Wieso fast? Nun, die Harddisk-Recording Routine läuft nun zwar im VBL aber die anderen Teile wollen nicht.

4:50

Fehler entdeckt.

4:55

Zum X-ten mal hören wir uns die VERY CD von den Pet Shop Boys an.

Noch ein Schluck Flying Horse und schon geht’s mir widder guuuud. HoHoHoHo

5:46

Die zweite “Flying Horse” Dose wurde soeben von LUCKY geköpft! Die eiskalte Flüssigkeit rinnt ihm die Kehle hinunter und versucht ihn am Leben zu erhalten.

5:49

Zweiter Schluck – mal sehen wie lange es wirkt! :-}

6:04

Samurai is back. Mann, wir haben noch nicht einmal bemerkt wie die Sonne auf ging. Oh shit mir fällt gerade auf das mein Falcon schon seit 4 Stunden läuft ohne etwas zu tun. Ciao bis nachher.

6:33

Samurai ist im Reich der Träume.

6:34

Pater Michael bereitet sich auch vor ein wenig zu relaxen.

6:45

(Lucky) GESCHAFFT!!!!! Meine Multitasking-HD-Replay-Routine läuft! ENDLICH können wir HD-Musik im Hintergrund von Demos laufen lassen!!!!

8.32

(Lucky) Snief. Der Player läuft doch noch nicht so 100%. Wieder viel Arbeit. Die Zeitscheiben müssen einfach noch zu groß sein und beim Laden von anderen Programmen stört er auch noch!

So eine SCHEISSE!                 😦

Michael will jetzt auch noch einen Konverter von Stereo- in Mono-Samples schreiben. Nur damit er nicht Musicom 2 laden muß!!!! Das ist doch WAHHHHNSINNN!!! Aber bitte, wenn er meint…

8.36

Michael schreibt immer noch an seinem Konverter. (Neu aufnehmen ist doch schneller!)

8.37

Das dauert!

8.38

Michael ist immer noch nicht fertig. Und ich habe derweil nichts zu tun. Und was macht man da als gestresster, arbeitssüchtiger Coder? Falsch! Nicht einen neuen Effekt! Nicht so lange man nicht weiß, ob der aktuelle läuft! Aber man kann sich ja im Texte schreiben üben. (Fingertraining…)

8.52

Ich glaub’ jetzt schreib’ ich den Konverter selber…

9:11

Ohhhhh, Dröhnung. Samurai back. Bin grade aufgestanden. Ich habe zwar nicht lange Geschlafen aber dafür tief. Ich sehe jetzt grade dem Lucky seine Multitasking-Routine mit unserem Wolfenstein3D und Hellplasma laufen. Jetzt müssen wir noch mit dem Typ vom Tonstudio reden das er uns ein Tecnotrack auflegt, und dann geht’s los.

9:27

Lucky hat gewonnen. Pater Michael Sampled seine Platte doch noch voll bis zum umfallen. Nix Converter, hehehehe.

9:36

Delirium. Lucky hat grade die letzte Flying Horse auf EX gekippt.

9:39

Lucky dreht durch. Jetzt will er schon unser Demo als Prozess im Hintergrund von TOS/GEM laufen lassen.

9:42

Nachdem unser Multi-Demo-System läuft wollten wir das natürlich Norman Kowalewski nicht vorenthalten. Die Telefonauskunft in den Staaten sind alle viel Freundlicher als hier in Germany. Das hat sich aber geändert als wir ihr gesagt haben wen und vor allem wo wir ihn suchen.

Hehehehe. Norman war ehrlich gesagt nicht sonderlich begeistert als wir ihn um ca. 1 Uhr Morgens aus dem Bett geschmissen haben. Aber als er schon Wach war hat er uns auch ANGEDEUTET, nichts gesagt, das der neue Atari wohl ende dieses Jahres auf dem Markt erscheinen wird. Und das Geile daran ist das die Kiste mit JaguarChips, nein nicht CioChips, arbeitet und knapp unter der Leistung einer SGI Indy mit 120Mhz liegen wird zu einem Preis von ca. $2499. Die Architektur beruht auf den ABAQ von Atari. So, jetzt aber noch ein öffentlicher Aufruf an alle. Die Telecom hat sich über unseren Anruf nach Kalifornien gefreut. Wir sind auf ca. 75 DM gekommen. Also wer will darf und sollte uns zumindest mal 5 DM zukommen lassen. Briefmarken reichen uns vollkommen. Danke.

10:27

No Carrier

10:34

Pater Michaels Headake Effekt ist so gut wie fertig.

10:37

Mist ich bekommen Tierischen Hunger. Aber in diesem Kaff gibt es ja keinen McDoof oder Würger King.

11:14

Geil, MTos & MinT sind gar nicht so schlecht wie ich immer dachte. Unsere Demo läuft auch in einem GEM Fester das man frei positionieren kann und das alles im Mint Kernel. Wir müssten zwar den VSync() Aufruf patchen, aber es läuft.

11:23

Der PMMU Speicherschutz läuft endlich!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

11:41

Einen neuen Fehler entdeckt und beseitigt. Wir müssen uns mal mit Eric Smith unterhalten.

12:10

Yeah, enddlich gibbes was zu Mampfe. Wir fahren jetzt nämlich zu McMurder.

13:13

Meine Fresse nach dem uns der Notarzt die Mägen leer gepumpt hat geht’s mir wieder gut. Gott sei Dank lebe ich noch.

13:29

Jo, wir ziehen uns grade die ganzen alten Videos von der 680XX Convention und der Fried Bits 2 rein. Boa Eh, sind das alles Geile Demos. (WARUM, hallo Agent T).

14:50

Der Wind_Update() wird nun von Mint richtig ausgeführt. Die Demo mach schon ein echt tollen Eindruck. Filled-Vectors mit 3Vbl’s in einem GEM Fenster muss man erst einmal machen.

14:53

Bei 3 Tasks geht er in 4Vbls.

16:05

Unsere Deltapack-Routine macht Riesen fortschritte. Lucky und Pater Michael streiten sich welche Methode besser zum Packen ist.

16:11

Lucky ist auf’m Klo.

16:30

Keiner sagt was.

16:31

Immer noch nichts.

16:32

16:33

Nein, nein.

16:34

Immer noch schweigen.

16:35

16:36

16:37

Pater Michael Summt vor sich her.

16:38

Schweigen.

16:39

Pater Singt!!!

16:40

Er ist soeben ganzzzzzzz aus versehen aus dem Fenster gefallen.

17:40

wir sind einfach zu erschöpft um noch irgendetwas zu tun. Halt doch, Schlafen können wir noch hervorragend.

18:33

Lucky on the keys: Ich bin am Ende. Tödlich aber äußerst produktiv dieses Wochenende. Tja, was Norman jetzt von uns denkt?

Ich bin ja jetzt schon gespannt, was als Antwort zu unserer Mail an Eric herauskommt. Ob er unser neues gepachte Mint Kernel-Version, die endlich auch Demotauglich ist, übernehmen wird? Währe doch der totale Wahnsinn! Wo wir doch vorhin noch “Autowaschen Verboten” bis zum Morphing zum Laufen bekommen haben. (Photon: Wieso hast du da den Blitter so exzessiv benutzt? Der hat den Timer A durcheinander gebracht und den braucht Mint doch unbedingt für sein Multitasking!!!)

Tipp an alle Multi TOS Freaks: “Warum” und “Omega Grotesque” vertragen sich überhaupt nicht unter Mint (Auch nicht mit Inters’ PepperMint-Kernel)! Schade…

Signing off…

…Pater Michael

…Lucky of ST

…Samurai

IMPORTANT: THE INDEPENDENT RULES!

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT: THE INDEPENDENT SILL RULES!

THE MOST IMPORTANT: THE INDEPENDENT WILL RULE FOREVER!!!!!!

…The CrapTalkers…

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A brief history of the ST.

December 28, 2009

The Atari ST was unveiled to the public In January 1985 at the CES in Las Vegas. To see what the ST was though, we need to go one year back, to the ousting of Jack Tramiel from the company he founded, Commodore. We’ll skip the intrigue that surrounds that event and we’ll just say that Jack didn’t go alone, but also brought with him the engineer behind the 64, Shiraj Shivji.

When Jack lost his position at Commodore, he founded a company called Tramiel Technologies and Shiraj Shivji started working on a new 16-bit machine. How far the development had gone is at this moment unknown. What we know for a fact was that, as per the Atari Historical Society’s documents [1] and as dadhacker describes in his blog [2], he bought Atari with the dream to make this new computer that would bring the 16-bit revolution in power but without the price. That computer would eventually become the ST, we all know and love, but since the details are sketchy to say the least, Low Res decided to boldly go to the one person that knows more about Atari than Atari ever knew for itself.


The original 520 ST*

Curt Vendel is the man that created the Atari museum, founded Legacy engineering [3] and got the new Atari reinterested in their legacy with the Flashback 1 and 2 consoles. If there is one person respected and admired by all Atari fans, regardless of their favourite poison that would be him. We are therefore honoured that he agreed to answer a few questions.

Low Res: We’ve read the descriptions of dadhacker, who worked in TOS development but from those we can’t tell if the Tramiels had come to Atari with just an idea of a computer or if its development had already reached a good level. Rumour has it that it was the Amiga deal and Lorraine that actually forced Atari’s hand in both the ST’s design and the rush to the market. Are those two rumours true and if so to which extend?

Curt Vendel: Those rumors are completely false. Tramiel setup shop in May of 1984 in some office space in California where Shiraz went to work on his design for a new low cost computer (Codenamed – “RBP” for Rock Bottom Price). The Tramiels knew nothing about the existing contract between Warner owned Atari Inc and Amiga Corp, this relationship had been on going since late 1983 and Atari and Amiga went into contract in late Feb 1984 and paid Amiga an upfront advance of $500,000 towards the development of the Amiga chipset. Amiga would then receive $3mill from a stock buy by Atari when Amiga delivered the chipset to Atari at the end of June 1984.

Low Res: When was the Atari ST sent to the production lines?

Curt Vendel: “RBP” was in design and development within Atari from July 1984 through its showing at the 1985 Winter CES were it was shown to the public. Through the spring of 1985 the custom chips were being finalized and initial runs of the chips were made in May & June. Atari User Groups and Developers received small quantities of sample units in June 1985. Full production began in July through August 1985 and Retailers began to see shipments in late September 1985.

To speed up time to market, the “TOS” (The Operating System, or Tramiel Operating System) was initially delivered on diskettes as the new OS rom chips were not masked and ready in time for production release.

Low Res: You’ve written in the Atari Age forum that the ST was to be fitted with the AMY chip but instead it got the YM 2149. Were there any other corners cut in a bid to rush to the market? Was the ST supposed to have more such as hardware scrolling, sprites etc?

Curt Vendel: I wouldn’t called them “cutting corners” it was more of a strategic decision. AMY was and even today, still is a very remarkable audio chip design. However it still had bugs in its designs and time was running out to get it ironed out and then integrated into the ST design, so it was moved to be put into an XE series computer – however it would never make it into that computer design either. “SHIFTER” and “GLUE” were pretty much unchanged in their features and designs from what Shiraz envisioned them to what came out, so with that and from engineering notes and internal emails, it doesn’t appear that graphics features were cut back on in the initial design.

Low Res: The ST was marketed as a rival to the Macintosh, and truth be told it was a better machine. The result proved the Tramiels right since only the “business machines” survived, but what was the rationale behind it?

C.V. : Everything became a casualty of the X86 Win/PC machines. Once Windows 3.1 came out, it began to spell the doom for most computer platforms that were not X86/Windows. Even Apple in the 1990’s nearly went under and came close to stepping out of the PC business. The ST’s however had a simple design with intelligent features like a PC compatible disk drive design, color graphics, decent sound and built in ports for all basic needs from a computer user. Its ASCI port was actually SCSI done slightly better as devices self-assigned ID’s to themselves. Overall the ST was a good machine.

LR:The ST case design is.. interesting. Somebody thought to put the joystick ports underneath the keyboard. What were they thinking?

C.V.: I was never a fan of the Gray cased ST/XE look. It was so foreign to what Atari products looked like and should look like. Cost wise- doing an all in one case may be good, but visually I found it ugly. These are my own personal opinions of course. Yes the positioning of the joystick/mouse ports was a poor/clumsy choice, but given that most space around the sides was already occupied, there wasn’t much choice. I gained a lot more respect for the ST’s when the Mega ST line of “pizza box” styled systems and hard drives. It was an attractive look. Most importantly – a detachable keyboard that everyone wanted and expected in a computer by that time. Of course then the design went back to the 1040ST styled case again. The Mega Ste and TT030 were unusual looking systems, they had a unique look to them. I did like the fact that the TT030 came in an off-white appearance, it was much more pleasant looking then the dull gray color.

LR: Any other interesting insight we forgot to ask?

C.V: I think you asked some good questions.

TOS, The Operating System or Tramiel Operating System as it has been nicknamed was developed in a very short time on an Apple Lisa and in the offices of Digital Research. Anyone with any OS experience from Atari was sent there, they were given the x86 source code and the giant hack that is TOS became a reality. The descriptions of working there are an interesting read. Go to dadhacker’s blog and read them.

Atari actively marketed the Atari ST as a Mac beater and an IBM undertaker but unfortunately that didn’t really take off. The war would be with the Amiga. Atari had the fame of a home computer maker, at least in the United States and so had Commodore.

Ads like this:

would do little to change the climate and the first battle with the Amiga would be on the TV set of a show called computer chronicles[5]. The war that included various schoolyard battles, angry magazine writing campaigns and other favourite childhood memories was started then and ended… well it pretty much goes oon various internet forums where grown men (and women) can be kids again and behave like such ;).

Links


1. Atari Museum
2. Dad hacker blog
3. Legacy engineering
4. Atari ST vs Amiga

*ST image compliments of the Atari museum.

20 years ago (no political correctness under the tree)

December 28, 2009

Most of us know that close before a new year starts, there is this Christian party called Xmas, and all over the land people talk about peace and harmony, so this time I will have a look in some mags, what I find about this topic.

The One (UK) January 1990

The first two pages are an advertisement for “Operation Thunderbolt” The advertisement tell us:

  • “Blockbuster follow-up to last Christmas’s No.1 Hit .. Operation Wolf ..”
  • Now with twice the action, twice the fun, twice the challenge

Year, a great start. I never understand why war games were marketed as “funny”. Well I’m sure that a lot of pupils who let their parents bought them the games are at the moment in Afghanistan or somewhere else and maybe now they have their fun (I’m cruel, I know) Would be a good idea to send the advertisement guys down there as well I think.

The remarkable reviews this issue were:

  • X-Out

I have to play that game, it has a good reputation.

  • Black Tiger

I bought a copy of the game at the Xzentrix. It looks nice and the controls are also good. A good jump and run game.

  • Chase HQ

I played that a lot in the past, a good racing game I think. The special I remember was the split of the course.

Top 5 Atari ST

  1. Hard Drivin
  2. Powe Drift
  3. Laser Squad
  4. Pro Tennis Tour
  5. Strider

ASM (Germany) December 1989

What a contrast 🙂 On page 2 there are game cards (for what were they good?) And the first one is Rainbow Warrior, a game about Greenpeace. Political correct 🙂

The remarkablest reviews were:

  • Chambers of Shaolin

The first game I remember that use the bottom border. The training session was always more fun than the game itself

  • Shufflepuck Cafe

Still a great game. A unique concept among the ST games. You could say pong on speed. Well air hockey is the right expelantion.

  • Continental Circus

Enjoyed this game a lot in the STOT round last year. A racer with some unique stuff. It’s a tuff game.

  • A picture of everybody’s darling Jeff Minter

He wanted to do a game for the Koenix console. Both never entered the shops. Sad.

  • Rings of Medusa

I never played it, even that I own a original box, but it has a good reputation

  • North & South

A milestone in games history. Ok it’s war so it’s not political correct, but I played it like hell, and who does not remember when he let 3 horsed die in the river because they missed the bridge. Also unforgetable: the traitor 🙂

Top 5 Atari ST:

  1. Kult
  2. Xenon 2
  3. Summer Edition
  4. Super Hang On
  5. Populous

Also interesting, inside the magazine there was a Michael Jackson “Moonwalker” poster, maybe this is valuable these days

In the press

August 30, 2009

Some informations from other publications, worth to spread around.

Lotek 64 [1]
Beside the great articles in this great Fanzine, I saw an interesting article [2] about a project called KEEP. They got a lot of euros from the European Union to create a platform to be able to save old digital data (like games, games and … games 🙂 from being lost. Interesting.

What was of interest some 20 years ago. An not very objective view of some old computer magazines

ST Computer #3/89 (Germany) [3]

One topic is the question which Basic to use on the ST. Yes, at that time, when we were bored fighting the amigians and always have to answer the question, if the ST could scroll or not, it was pure fun, to fight in the small group of atarians, which Basic was better. Omikron or GFA a question that will always be part of the Atari spirit I think.

Another article covers Revolver. This application let you divide the ST in 8 parts, and each of them could work separately, if it’s loaded. The question behind these kind of programmes was: “Do I really need multitasking” or “What the hell is multitasking”. Well in the end, even today, I never heard a lot about using multitasking on the ST. Even under mint, when it was finally available, it was to slow compared to the PC standing next to the ST on the desktop already.

Also covered in the mag, was an article about a Sinclair QL Emulator. Yes we loved this machine, it was one of the few machines that was even more unsuccessful than the machines Atari produced after the ST. But to be honest today, I say, that the QL is a very sexy machine, but I never heard much about the OS or programmes for it.

ST Format #2 (UK) [4]

On the cover there was a demo of Blood Money. An all time great, and we enjoyed playing this game in the STOT #2/7.

In the magazine there is a interview with Sam Tramiel who wants to fight Nintendo. A funny guy our Sam 🙂

In the games section the important releases were:

  • Blood Money
  • Kick Off 2 !! Yes really it is 20 years ago the best footie game every was released
  • Quarz. We should play Quarz in a STOT. I’m sure it’s one of the forgotten gems.

ASM #9/89 (Germany)

In the readers letter section, it was interesting to read, that already in 89 people discuss if games should be political correct or not. When I see advertisements for ego shooter and war games today, I see that this discussion was not successful in the last 20 years.

The most important reviews were:

  • Silkworm:

A great shooter at that time. We played the game in STOT #1/13

  • Forgotten Worlds:

The games failed in one of the pools for the best capcom game. I bought the game back in the days, and was satisfied with it, even that I would say today, nothing special.

  • Stormlord (Hewson)

Can’t remember this one, the graphics looks nice, have to give it a try.

  • Rick Dangerous

This review is legendary. The tester does not like the game at all, and while worldwide people got crazy playing the game, in the ASM it butchered. Also the sequel got bad grades, but we all played the game.

  • Super Scramble Simulator

I always wanted to play the game. Also have to give it a try.

  • RVF Honda

A great bike racing game. Still a very playable game with a very good AI.

  • Kult

I never understand the game, but I know that it is a good one. Maybe I find somebody who explains it to me.

Top Ten ST:

  1. Populous
  2. Ballistix
  3. Dragon Ninja

Links

  1. Lotek 64
  2. Article about Keep
  3. ST Computer archive
  4. ST Format archive