(TWH) of Foundation Two visited "People's Summer" in
Poland, English translation by Harry
a long time I had intended to go to a scener
party in Eastern Europe some time. I wanted to
get an idea of the talents we have to thank
for those unbelievable demos such as Trip6,
Daze and Drunken Chessboard. I have heard much
about Polish events like Orneta and QuaST. If
measured by the final results,
these events were always a colossal success
and surely held unforgettable memories for the participants.
After I met Mr
Bacardi (Stephan Pollock) at the ABBUC JHV in
October last year, we soon had the idea to take
a trip to Poland. The things we do for and
because of Atari!
Our summer examinations
were well-timed, so
there should be no problem driving
to "People's Summer" alias "Lato
mainly in Polish, surely wasn't
very suited to the international audience, nevertheless we could sample
what would await us. We could find the small
Polish town Opalenica even on a card of Poland,
that made the journey admittedly easier!
So only my Atari 130XE with 1084S monitor and
APE notebook computer had to be wrapped up and
we could then start our long journey
through Germany with the aim: Opalenica! Those
who don't have any idea where Opalenica lies
perhaps know Posen (Poznan). So this year's
meeting should be approximately 25 Km away from
there for the Polish Atari sceners.
The journey proceeded
without problems. Mr Bacardi came to me in Efurt
by train a day earlier,
so we could comfortably drive off on Friday 2nd August 2002.
near the border we had a break and bought
a crate of beer. We wanted to celebrate
After about seven
hours of travelling and various little difficulties
with the Polish traffic we discovered the
first signpost to Opalenica. Mr Bacardi already knew this place from last year. The
destination was the so-called "Arts Centre".
The advantage of this location was a big and
completely darkened hall with a stage. There
was a separate dormitory, a little kitchen as
well as a shower! We could even store our beer
in a refrigerator to enjoy a marvellously cool
Wernesgrüner when thirsty! Furthermore there was
the famous "Pizzeria Opalenizza" in
the building, to cater for our insatiable
need for pizza at any time.
From a distance
we could already hear the Atari test melody
and we felt a warm glow. Vasco, the organiser
of the party, welcomed us after our arrival.
He was obviously pleased to greet visitors from
Germany and to meet Mr Bacardi again. This
was a very kind prelude and we looked out for
some chairs, a table and power connection
for my Atari. A table was quickly brought into
the hall from the
neighbouring room and another blue
background shone with the word "READY"
on the monitor. Then there were the first curious
looks and astonished faces at the German foreigners.
It is apparently not often that people
from the neighbouring countries come to Polish
Atari events and so it led to the first interesting
conversations. Unfortunately, there were bigger
language problems than I expected at first.
Most people had basic grasp of German,
however, that proved to be insufficient
for an intelligible conversation between Atari fans.
Therefore Mr Bacardi and I decided to completely
over to English
and we coped, with some grammatical blunders,
thanks to our Atarian ambition. We deserved a cool bottle of beer.
Then we began to put famous scener nicknames
to faces and we soon found famous people
like MacGyver, Fox, Dracon and XI thanks to the
About 40 people
had already arrived on Friday and the hall
was almost filled. I took the chance to gaze
admiringly at exotic hardware which is seldom
seen or almost unavailable in Germany at all. I noticed in
particular the strange disk drives
like "California Access" or other
completely unknown types. The XF551 or the Atari
1050 floppy is obviously rather unknown or has
not been available in large quantity in Eastern
Europe. On the other hand, finally I could examine
stereo Pokey expansions working live and was
surprised by some of the other upgraded Ataris.
There was a 2 MB SIMM RAM expansion, 16-bit
CPU upgrades and built-in SpartaDosX modules
to admire. By the way, the QMEG-OS by Stefan
Dorndorf is also popular in Poland and
installed by many Atari users. Unfortunately,
I couldn't find the SID upgrade of Slight
anywhere. But it should still be a long
night. As usual at such parties, there wasn't
anything like a night's rest or defined event
times. Until the early morning hours people
were playing, demonstrating, soldering, discussing
and celebrating. Late in the night towards 01:00,
Vasco had managed to install the projector for
the "big screen" and after an endless
discussion, finally a couple of
demos and programs were shown on a big screen. Later I
spread my sleeping bag
in the next room and recovered from the
long journey and the exciting first day.
After a "restful"
night the next day started. The sceners
were still or once again engaged in programming Ataris
or playing games. I realised that although
the party was intended for all Atari computers
and thus also for the ST and Falcon series, I
only saw XL/XE computers. This was
almost a late satisfaction, because there always
used to be more for stuff for the ST than for
the XL/XE anyway, and I took great
delight seeing here a crowd of Atari fans filled
with enthusiasm for their dearest computers. After breakfast in the kitchen
Mr Bacardi and I decided to have an extensive
heat of Archon and Ballblazer. After a hot duel
and final competition for the victory of
the Light or Dark side I could show my gaming
clan "Foundation Two" the honour and
got the victory.
is proud to have an Atari.
Then I asked the Polish
fan community for a fight in International Karate
of Epyx. We had a lot of fun and even a joystick
was broken. After some hours of gambling it
was suddenly there again: the need for marvellously
oven-fresh pizza! In the afternoon I had the opportunity
to talk to Nir Dary, an Atarian who made
the long trip from Israel to Poland! Due to
English we could talk about his colossal game
cartridge collection and he talked about his numerous
Atari contacts in Germany, England and
at home. He had brought some astonishing pictures
showing some very rare original games. He is
a cartridge specialist and knows all about their
and demonstrated especially for me
his self-programmed cartridge loader. He
showed me, for example, a self-built cartridge
the most beautiful Datasoft games which
loaded in a matter of seconds. In the afternoon
Mr Bacardi and I took the opportunity to have
a little Atari break and went on an excursion
into town with McMaster/SSG who knows the location
Dary and Mr Bacardi.
is hungry for good pizza!
McMaster and TWH.
In the early
evening the hall became even more packed.
More cars stood in the car park now and the
scener feeling was stimulated by various Amiga
and Falcon demos. Besides some interesting stuff
among some very impressive things we could admire
was an Atari VCS 2600 emulator
for the Sega Dreamcast console. So VCS games
were tested there on a gigantic screen and
proved that the spirit of old retro games is
to found in today's consoles, too. Then it became
louder and rhythmic techno-beats indicated the upcoming music, graphic and demo
competitions. We were
in the dark for a relatively long time and wondered
when the new things would be introduced, and
asked politely for a time schedule. But
they just laughed and said that it will
surely come some time. Hmm, this showed
the small difference in style of game
parties in Eastern Europe, which is by far not
as organised as an ABBUC JHV! Here it is all just
a little more laid-back.
for the competitions.
pizza in the evening the high point was reached.
Everybody took a place
and the Atari demonstration was prepared. After
some tests an Atari 130XE with 320 KB of RAM
was connected to a projector and two gigantic loudspeakers,
thanks to a stereo Pokey expansion. Then Vasco
made some comments in Polish
about the assessment form. Thanks to McMaster's
good knowledge in German acquired at school
we understood the most important parts and could
join the voting. First the music
competition was started. Altogether ten new MPT/CMC
modules were introduced. Mega Player 1.6 was used
for playing them, this is
an excellent module player which is also
visually attractive. After a long break musician
X Ray/TQA also made wonderful
new contributions. I particularly liked the song
"Scream" of EPI/Allegresse besides
the contributions with "typically Polish"
music style. Then MODs were to be played by a
Covox expansion on the Atari. Unfortunately,
there were technical problems, so this competition
had to be cancelled. I was very sorry
for it, because I wanted to finally know how
a Covox-MOD would sound on the Atari!
There was only
one contribution from Dracon/TQA in the graphics
competition. The multi-colour picture showed
a person with astonishing similarities to
Vasco, which led to some laughter. This picture
naturally then got first place. The excitement
increased because of the demos to be expected
now. Rumours of an unbelievable new demo from
Taquart already wandered around like a ghost
for the whole day, causing the general atmosphere
to get better and better.
Then things were
going their way. After a pretty 1 KB intro was
shown by DoDo/Satantronic, the first demo started.
It was a contribution of the Animkomikals, which
till now, were rather known for joke contributions
or "anti-demos". But what we got to
see was a nice animation demo with sarcastic
design. After an ample applause the new demo
by Quasimodo "Pacem in Terris" was
shown. The guys managed to convert an
expensive Flash animation from the PC to the
Atari and to play it extremely smoothly. Together
with a wild soundtrack one could enjoy the animation
on the screen and hardly believe that only
a small Atari 130XE was powering it. A great
moment then came. The latest demo by
Taquart was to be displayed. For a long time
screen-shots of the famous Doom clone "Vector"
on the 8-bit were presented on the internet.
On that day the public was introduced
to the actual working 3D engine by Fox for
the first time.
The emotional tension
further increased and many people couldn't believe at
first what they finally saw on the screen.
In the demo "Numen" (Latin: monument
or genius) one could stare in amazement at unbelievably
fast full-screen effects, look at multi-colour
pictures and follow the virtual camera into
the 3D world. The driving soundtrack of the
demo is probably among the best sounds ever made on the Atari. Definitely the
nearly 12 minutes' playing time of this demo
was the absolute
highlight of the party. According to Fox the MPT-Sound editor had to be adapted
for this demo since there was nobody
till now who had produced continuous music of
such length! Then there were several minutes
of standing ovations for the members of Taquart.
Every Atari user knew that on this day Atari
history was made in Poland. Of course many people
wanted to try out this demo on their own Ataris
Suddenly only one program was
run on many
Ataris and if it came to an end, it had to
be started again and again. Unfortunately, this
demo also has a little caveat: it only runs with
computers that have at least 320 KB of RAM. Regrettably, my Atari 130XE couldn't fulfil
this requirement. I remembered that the
Slovak group Satantronic introduced
its 1 MB SIMM RAM expansion kit for the first
time. So I talked to DoDo and quickly decided to upgrade my XE. At first I didn't
understand that he wanted to upgrade my Atari
immediately on-site. And so it was that
XI and DoDo began in the middle of the
night at 01:00 to upgrade my Atari to 1 MB!
After almost four hours of work from
the two of them I had an
operating SIMM RAM in my XE. The specially
programmed RAM tester was then started by XI,
with the result that everything worked very
well. Towards 05:00 I joyfully looked
for my sleeping bag and tried to sleep a few
hours. Finally it was already Sunday and we
still wanted to pay a visit to a friend in North
When I finally
my sleeping bag, I had to remark that
the first Atari fans had already gone home.
Nir Dary was already on the way to the airport
and Mr Bacardi and I still had a long way to
go. Then we packed up our things and had
the last conversations towards 12:00.
Vasco had just invited us again for the winter
party. Many people were already away homeward again
and what was left was a damned messy hall with
many party remains. For certain Vasco still
a lot of work to do. So we thanked everybody
we met there. At the same time, we also
referred to the UnCon2k2. But I don't think
many Polish Atari fans will come to Germany,
but it was a first step. Perhaps more German
fans will be in Poland soon?
this party was a real Atari highlight. Admittedly it
shows the slightly different
party style in Eastern Europe that we must
get used to first. One notices this mainly in
the form of the organisation and the more freaky
behaviour of the sceners. However, an essential
element of this party is much alcohol and a
lot of celebration atmosphere and people like
to go to Opalenica again and again to meet like-minded Atarians to have fun
together. That much
productivity can arise you can see in the numerous
contributions and technically masterful performance
of the hardware and software. Now I am looking forward
to the UnCon2k2 party in Lengenfeld where we
hopefully may welcome foreign sceners again.
programmer of Numen.
Bacardi and Dracon of TQA.
Two gaming contest.
presenting the competitions.
navigator is a great tool, isn't
is watching Numen by TQA!
was originally published in German by the Unconventional
Party Society, August 2002, and is reproduced
in English with kind permission. Additional
photographs from Thomas Havemeister's private