Issue 17: Mar 2002






ACE: World Exclusive


Have Atari users got a future?


I want my AEX!


Tip of the day


Get Calamus Fonts Without Selling the House


The Current State of the Desktop Publishing Art


Reader Profiles: Markus Binder


Atari GmbH




Atari Emulation -
Part 2



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 the ST.

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!

[Screen-shot: Enemywar]

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...

[Screen-shot: Boulder Smash]

[Screen-shot: Boulder Smash]

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 Bjrn 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.

[Screen-shot: Enemywar II]

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!

[Screen-shot: Q-Blue Plus]

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 Dash clone.

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MyAtari magazine - Feature #8, March 2002


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