Saturday, 15 October 2016

August 2016 Meeting Report

Hello and welcome to another fast'n'furious, action-packed MACE update!*** Apologies for the lack of recent contributions to the blog, we would have updated it more except that it's a chore and nobody ever reads it. There are some drafts floating around, however, that only require one last, thankless effort to get up on the blog, which hopefully you will see very soon!
Today, on this third Sunday of August, 2016, we had a good attendance in light of recent performance, with 5 members showing up for a chat, a cuppa, and a quick, incoherent ramble over topics as diverse as the ingredients of biscuits our grandmothers used to make, to the width of cardboard punch-cards used by Honeywell mainframe card readers in the 1960's. Such riotous goings-on would have been incomplete, of course, without a little dose of Atari.

With that laboured introduction finally over and done with, let us move onto some relevant topics. In today's meeting, amongst other things, we covered the following:
Douglas Little's excellent work in progress
  • Douglas Little / dml's 8-directional scrolling game prototyping engine, which incidentally has an impressive couple of splash screens in the introduction which use palette switching and dual-field techniques to display lots of colours on screen without using too much CPU. Direct download link (but check the atari-forum thread for latest version). We played this on a real STE and Atari SC1224 monitor, the results were particularly impressive to everybody present.
  • Continuing the theme of extra colours on screen, this time in the form of video, we had a quick look at the Sea Of Colour demo by Dead Hackers Society,
    A still from video loop in Sea Of Colour
    which amongst other things has an elegant and colourful video loop on the title screen. On our real STE and Atari monitor, again, the results were that much more satisfying to look at than on an emulator.
  • Elevated PC demo, which amazingly squeezes music and a fly-around of an icy, generated 3d landscape into a 4 kilobyte executable!
    Elevated - 4kb marvel
    The video on youtube uses approximately 5,000 times the space of the actual program to display the exact same content.
  • Another classic PC demo from all the way back in 2000 called Heaven Seven. It combines impressive visuals with a little introspection, and fits it all into 64 kilobytes! Again, at least 1000 times smaller than the youtube video of what it produces.
    Heaven Seven 64kb PC demo
  • A beautiful demo somewhat cryptically entitled Agenda Circling Forth. If you can't run the Windows executable, this demo deserves to be viewed in high quality video
    Agenda Circling Forth PC demo
  • And finally, lastly, but far from leastly, we took the time to have a bit of look at the web page of the Colombus Atari Computer Enthusiasts, who seem to be another Atari club still actively meeting every month in Ohio, USA, and with whom we compete grimly for relevance in the googles search results for very similar keywords! Judging by the photo's the demographic of the club is also very similar to ours (what's to be expected?!), we will endeavour to touch base with them in the near future.

***Product may not perform as advertised, results may vary, this is an indicative statement only on the potential quality of some versions of this product

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