Reader Profiles: Markus Binder
In 1985 I got my first
home computer, the Commodore 64. I read the instructions
how to use this machine carefully but didn't really
know what I was doing. It took some time until I understood
I was coding in Basic.
In 1988 I bought my first
Atari, a 1040 STF. This was a great machine, but the
original ST Basic was terrible to use. I got a cheap
copy of GFA Basic later at an Atari show and this went
very well. It took me a long time again to learn how
things worked. In the meantime, the new Omikron Basic
became the official Atari Basic which was sold with
In December 1992 I wrote
my first complete ST game. A friend of mine, Michael
Friedl (called "Mr. Panic") and I thought
about making a strategy game, something like a sci-fi-chess.
Michael was ill in December, so he had some time to
design 36 very nice space ships for the game. The STE
was born, and we made use of the extended color palette
and the hardware scrolling via BigScreen2. Now, "Enemy
War" was finished as our first game!
In 1993 I decided to
write something very different. A blocky game should
come out, and I had a look on a old classic game where
I had a lot of fun with in the past: Boulder Dash! Once
again the extended color palette of my 1040 STE was
used to get the nice colorful graphics onto the Atari
SC1224 color screen. I made about 60 levels for it,
each accessible with a special level code. Michael didn't
do very much to this game, but his game testing was
very helpful for me to fix all the little bugs which
were lurking in memory...
In 1993 I bought my Falcon030.
I was really impressed by its graphics capabilities.
This made me think about writing a more colorful Boulder
Dash clone, called "Boulder Smash Falcon".
Because of the use of Screenblaster I was able to use
a strange screen format: 432 x 432 pixels with Falcon
True Color. All graphics were rendered with RayStart
3.0 on my Falcon. This game was released in 1995, but
I had to do some work for better sound effects. I still
used terrible soundchip tunes, and it sometimes was
a good idea to turn off the speakers...
1995 was the year of
another blocky game, Q-Blue. The graphics used almost
16 colors and the sound effects never worked correctly.
However, I made this game in only one week in my holiday!
In 1998 I got help from
Bjšrn Vortisch (Crown of Creation 3D). He told me how
to use the Falcon XBIOS sound routines for playing sample
sounds. This made me think about writing a sequel to
Enemywar, "Enemywar II". I took the old grey
spaceships and made them much more colorful. Apex Media
was a great piece of software for doing this work. One
of the best painting programs I have ever seen on a
Atari! Later I made this game compatible with Stemulator
Gold (PC) and some Milan Computers.
I had a try with much
more games which have never been finished. One idea
was to make a sci-fi game where you are a trader, buying
and selling goods and making money. Each of this games
were well designed, but they have never been finished.
The last game of this was called "Cosmic/Starraider".
It used many full-screen-animations and morphing and
very nice graphics including a fast full-screen flight
through a texture-tunnel.
Eric Hentschler was the
first one who called me the Omikronman because I was
doing all my work with Omikron Basic. He always made
me angry with his game reviews, but I decided to take
the name "Omikronman" as a running gag, a
nice idea as I think. :-)
In 1998 I bought a PC,
but I wanted to continue coding for the Atari. I took
Stemulator Gold and made the first Falcon Game written
in a Emulator. Even if the Stemu is not able to emulate
a Falcon, it is able to use the 65536 colors and the
Falcon sound routines. I was really surprised that my
new game "Q-Blue plus" was working with minor
changes onto the Falcon too!
My actual work belongs
to another Boulder Dash clone, coded with Omikron Basic
6.55d on a Apple Power Book G4, but I am thinking of
making another game because this would be my third Boulder
like to appear in a future Reader
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