Friday, 21 October 2011

Issue 13 of Atari User magazine is out!

Yesterday saw the release of issue number 13 of Atari User magazine. The cover indulges the seemingly traditional theme of scantily clad, CGI-rendered women for this publication... but one shouldn't judge a book by its cover, as they say!
Cover of the latest issue of Playb... I mean, Atari User

As well as the other features promoted on said cover as shown to the left, this issue includes BASIC programming tutorials for the XL/XE, recent activity in the Atari Homebrew scene, ST arcade conversions, and reviews of both old games and new - namely, Atari's Facebook RPG "Dungeons and Dragons: Heroes of Neverwinter"

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Job Opportunities at Atari!

Ever fantasize about working at Atari back in the pioneering, halcyon days of the 1970's and 1980's? Working on exciting new games and pulling that market share back from Nintendo, Sega, and Commodore? Marching into Jack Tramiel's office and telling him he's RUINING THIS COMPANY!!? Well it's too late to do any of that! However if you would like to actually work for Atari (fo reals!) they are currently advertising a number of positions, ranging from mobile phone game development to marketing.

Job opportunities at Atari as of November 2011

If you don't believe me (would I lie?), go over and check it out for yourself!

I'd be the keeping this a secret and applying for the development jobs myself, but I never got past "hello world" with the Flash, iOS, and Android development kits I downloaded long ago!

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Vaguely Relevant Happenings Of The Last 30 Days

ST Offline Tournament Number 4 has finished! The fifth season will start in early 2012, but in the meantime there won't be any games on our agenda (at least for STOT purposes!). Discussion on the games selection list for 2012 here.
Andrew was able to represent MACE in the last round playing Son Shu Shi
Andrew showing them how it's done in Son Shu Shi!

The Atari Flashback 3 went on sale in KMart at the beginning of October. Unlike Flashback 2, the hardware of which was the original 2600 circuitry shrunk down and implemented on one chip, the Flashback 3 console runs an emulation engine on an Arm processor. This makes the hardware virtually impossible to hack and modify, and hence adding a cartridge port to play original 2600 games (as was frequently done with the Flashback 2) is not possible. However, the Flashback 3 retains its 9 pin joystick ports and the ability to use any original Atari compatible joystick. Perhaps we can sell the MACE stockpile of joysticks after all!
The Atari Flashback 3 went on sale on Australian KMart stores at the beginning of the month

Atari scener Grey, who you may know if you visit such sites as DHS made a recent appearance on Polish TV along with his Atari collection. It's all in Polish but you get the idea!

You would probably have had to be living under a rock (or on holidays!) to not have heard the sad news of the passing of Steve Jobs last week. Less difficult it would have been, perhaps, to miss the news that the equally influential Dennis Ritchie, co-creator of C, Unix, and the famous "K&R" had also left us.

Meanwhile over at Sony security woes with the Playstation network continued, with a number of users accounts being compromised. This is seen by many in the industry as continued retaliation by Anonymous for numerous previous incidents of corporate heavy-handedness

Finally, I should mention that Andrew and myself had a great time at Monty's last Sunday! We managed to solve Monty's Falcon issues, and expect a spate of Falcon creativity from Monty in the near future ;-)

Starwars Theme on 3.5" Floppy

The tune we well know. It's epic resonations saturated the steamy, clingy air of countless cinema's worldwide in the late 1970's; from those first renditions its faint echo's reverberated into loungerooms in the 1980's and 90's, tones laden with the shifting pitch imbued by dirty VHS player heads and 8th generation pirate copies of rented videos. Now, in 2011, it is sung by a new voice - the humble 3.5 inch floppy drive!

Whilst we here at MACE would never suggest that this shows the ST actually possessed a secret, better-quality tone generator than the YM2149 so frequently utilised (but I think I just did!), we do wonder if the two could perhaps have complemented each other better in a bid to rival the (regrettably) superior sound abilities of the Commodore Amiga.

With that thought, I shall leave you with some more examples of the genre as follows: Phantom of the Floppera, Imperial March (Solo), and Fur Elise on an HP scanner.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Roundup of September 18th meeting

Thanks to Andrew for getting onsite early to open up as usual, and for sending out this communique which wraps up the last get-together, and puts a few things on the agenda for the next! Looks like I missed an interesting meeting!

In summary, it looks like we had a new piece of Atari hardware turn up; There was some more ST Offline Tournament activity with Ork and Son Shu Shi; Monty invited to host us (and show off his new magical music production den, I hope!) before the next meeting. Hopefully we can figure out what to do with his Falcon monitor requirements at the same time; and finally, courtesy of Roger we had a tinker with some Nintendo hardware and games.

Over to Andrew for the details!

Thanks Tom! Just to wrap up from our September meeting, I wanted to let everyone know that Reinhold and I had difficulty finding space in the cupboard for the Atari STE computer that Graham brought in, so it went back to my space. I intend to bring it back next time we meet at 479 Warrigal Road, Moorabbin as I have confirmed it is working, unfortunately this is more than I can say for the third party mouse that was with it, I have a feeling that when they do the quality testing at that same factory in Taiwan, those that pass get branded Atari those that don't get re-branded and shipped to Australia. There is a small switch on the bottom that is marked with Atari/Amiga and I made sure that was set on Atari, I figure it is there so that when it doesn't work instead of taking it back to the store, you'll give it to a friend with an Amiga.

In regard to the ST Online Tournament (STOT) hosted by I went to post a score for the game Ork yesterday and realised that the cut-off was Saturday and they have moved on. For the next 3 weeks you can submit your scores for the game Son Shu Shi. A shame really as I discovered by accident that one of copy-protection question codes is actually eight zeroes and managed to get it to work after 2 goes at the meeting, just a fluke really. Quite a nice little platform romper. If you're planning to have a play around with it on one of the ST emulators I suggest you take a memory snapshot after completing the code to save yourself from frustration as I haven't been able to get it after 2 goes since.

Also the plan for the 9th of October, 2011 is to meet at Monty's Place. It would be handy if someone can bring along their technical expertise as I understand Monty has been trying without success to run an Atari Falcon computer through a flat-screen. The 'it's not working part' may have something to do with the Falcon only supplying a 60 Hz refresh rate, is this correct or have we both missed something. Perhaps if we can get a working Falcon to Moorabbin at some stage we can try running it through the overhead projector and see if that may offer some sort of solution. Along a similar vein if we are going to link 2 Atari computers together through MIDI cables I suspect we'll need another color monitor on hand.

And finally Roger has kindly offered to do the shopping for anyone who is wanting what looks like a battery powered Nintendo N64 controller that plays what appears to be a stack of NES games, what was the exact number again Roger? Roger has informed us they cost $4.95 if they're available and as demonstrated at the meeting they plug directly into a standard Video In socket such as found on most video equipment. Also we're informed that the little unit comes with a 2nd controller, a 'light' gun (like in the old days of Duck Hunt) and a 110 V power pack. Some of the timeless classic games to be found included Galaga, Bubble-Bobble and Space ET. So if you weren't at the meeting and are wanting one then let Roger know.

Kind regards,


Monday, 12 September 2011

Earliest ever 3d film uncovered?

Robby Ingebretsen from over at Nerds Plus Art blogged a fascinating piece back in February about possibly the first 3D rendered film to have ever been made.
The animations were made in 1972, and the rendering was done directly to film. The main man behind the work was Edwin Catmull, founder of Pixar

Roberts father, Robert Snr, had kept an original film copy of the animation, which Robert has recently discovered, digitised, and brought to the attention of Pixar and Edwin Catmull.

The quality of the animation is surprisingly good, going beyond simple wireframe graphics and into filled and shaded techniques - even 3d morphing in the opening credits - the mathematics of all for which the team pioneered and developed as the film was made.

The original video, plus behind the scenes work can be seen on Robby's blog entry.

ST Offline Tournament Rnd 17 - Ork

This round of the ST Offline Tournament features Ork, by Psygnosis (1992) and will be played at the next meeting!
Score submissions and round discussion to be found over at if you want to play along from home.

I must be frank (with a lower case 'f') and confess I haven't yet figured out how to get a working copy of the game! The Atarimania download (like all Atarimania downloads) is of an original, uncracked image of the disk. Therefore, you need the game manual to answer the copy-protection questions!
The D-Bug version does not appear to work! I've tried it in Steem and Hatari, with Tos 1.02, Tos 2.06, and EmuTOS!

Oh well, here's a screeshot! (from the Amiga version)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Next meeting Sunday 21st Aug 2011

Just a reminder that the next MACE meeting will be held this Sunday, the 21st of August at 479 Warrigal Rd, Moorabin. For further location details, see the About Us tab at the top of the page.

The game being played for the ST Offline Tournament this month is Commando. Download and score submission details here
This is what Commando looks like when you die!

Atari ST2 coming in 2011!

"Intel Core2 Quad 1066MHZ, 8GB Ram, Geforce 460"... and so on, or so reads the promo for an apparent new release from Atari in 2011, the Atari ST2.

The Atari ST2, coming to a store near you in 2011! Or is it?

But alas for Atari Enthusiasts galaxy wide the advertisement is a fake, and the glowing Atari-branded machine depicted nonexistent outside of the mind and virtual reality of German 3D artist Sven Dännart.
The painstakingly modelled and rendered images were created using Lightwave10.

We here at MACE, while very impressed with the concept, artistic vision, and execution, do not think it's anything we couldn't knock out with an Atari 520ST, a text editor, a copy of Persistence of Vision (POV) and 24,000 hours of rendering time. Back in the old days.

~~UPDATE April 2014~~
Alas it looks like the source for this post where the artist discussed this project are now gone. I can't find it in an internet archive either. All I can offer you are the following original images I found on my hard drive from when I posted this article a few years ago:

Saturday, 16 July 2011

First Post

Welcome to the blog of Melbourne Atari Computer Enthusiasts, or MACE! This is our first entry, so we shall start off with the basics.
MACE meet on the third Sunday of each Month at 479 Warrigal Rd, Moorabbin for general Atari chit-chat and caper. Meetings generally start at 10:00am and go into the late afternoon.

We have a collection of Atari hardware, software (including boxed games and our old PD library), and books onsite. Our focus is on the 16/32bit home computers such as the Atari ST, TT, and Falcon, but we can also talk consoles, 8bit Atari, and even Commodore without prejudice!

Our meetings are very informal and generally take place with biscuits and cups of tea in hand! All visitors are welcome.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map