ABBUC in a Box - 30 Years Atari Bit Byter User Club

In December 2015, the A.B.B.U.C. celebrated its 30th anniversary. A small team of club members invested countless hours into making all content, disks and magazine issues and special magazines of these 30 years available in a convenient and easy to consume form on DVD. It was released one year ago in June 2016 and given as annual special to all 450 members of the club.

I spent weeks debugging other people's code from 198x to make it work out of the on modern configurations. You wouldn't believe how much of the programs actually only work because of pure luck. Well, people were new to the platform, documentation was basically not available. So you POKEd around until you found a way that worked and released the program to the public. At one point, after months of work, the content management system of the main editor broke and took all the work to hell. After going through the valley of despair, we rebuilt it all from scratch in a way so I could also automatically generate an HTML menu that works on all host platforms. Ultimately the work resulted even in improvements to Altirra's OS emulation and a German Quick Start Guide for Altirra.

If you are interested in the Atari 8-bit computer and the DVD and are not yet a member of the A.B.B.U.C., you really should changed that. The annual member fee is still 50 Deutsche Mark as it was in 1985 when it all began. That's 36 EUR in todays currency. You get double sided 5¼ inch floppy disk with news and programs plus a full color printed paper mag quarterly. In addition there are special mags and annual specials and events. The disk and paper mag are in German, because that is the native language of most members (apart from ATARI BASIC of course). Yet the A.B.B.U.C. forums are open for English threads and posts, too.

Silly Venture 2k17 Invitro and Web Site Released

Almost 4 years have passed since my last VCS release, but finally it is done. And today my Silly Venture 2017 Invitro was released together with the new Silly Venture web site.

Both effects in this demo are 4 years old an were originally planned for Sillyventure 2k14. But back then I didn't have any music and ultimately that kept me from coding for the VCS. Back then no usable tracker existed, so getting music are no feasible in the foreseeable future. The sine scroller used almost the complete RAM, so it was clear it was going to be tough. In addition kk and Kylearan created new stuff using k65, which is basically unbeatable when it comes to coding for bank switching modules. The latter is really a nightmare why you have to do it manually.

During that period, Kylearan created TIA Tracker and changed the VCS world. Finally musicians didn't have to be coders anymore. At Revision 2017 Flush released .bin with three 3 outstanding tunes created by Glafouk using TIA Tracker. That was very motivating, esp. with Nick Montfort, Flush and Kyleraran at the party place. Therefore, when Grey announced that there is going to be a Sillyventure in 2017, I decided to take the effects together with my favorite tune and create this invitation and finally release the stuff.

Read the full story and technical details here.

Revision 2017 - Atari VCS Highlights

This year's Revision Party turned out to be the event of the years for the meeting VCS coders. Roughly 80% of the active VCS coders in the world were present. To give the right context: In absolute numbers we're talking about 5 people :-). And I had the once in a life time chance to meeting Nick Montfort, professor for digital media at the MIT one of the authors of Racing the Beam. That is the book that triggered my interest in coding on the VCS by making it seem easy, which it is not. We gathered all the Atari VCS guys and were photobombed by the usual Atari ST fanboys. Here's the result.

The Atari crowd

So now I have my copy of the booked signed by Nick. It's been great talking to you Nick, and to all you other crazy people there. I hope to see some of your again at Sillyventure. Keep on racing!

The Atari crowd

Revision 2017 - Atari Mega ST

As a surprise, D-Fox approached me at Revision 2017 an had an Atari Mega ST for free from the former facility manager. As you can guess I didn't say no, even though am an 8-bit Atarian. I've spent quite some time taking it apart and giving it a proper cleaning. Here's how it looked in my bath tub.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 - Puzzle with 102 pieces Board in very good condition

And this is the final result. I gave it to Biobern and he's trying to make the Mega File RLL hard disk work. And we plan to release something small and Atari ST related at Revision 2018 to say thank you guys!

Final result

Site Update

Finally I had the guts to update my Joomla version to the most recent one. Doesn't sound like a big deal, but... when I first installed Joomla and made it look the way I wanted to, I had no clue about PHP, CSS and Joomla. Consequently I simply modified all kinds of files to fit my needs. As part of the recent update I extracted all my changes into separate PHP and CSS files and adopted the CSS so it should work better on big screens and mobile devices. I can you find something is broken now, please contact me.

Apart from the I spent some nights chatting with Kevin Savetz this week and (in his own words) "harassed him to actually" perform the port of his "Kaverns of Kfest" game from the Apple ][ to the Atari 8-bit using WUDSN IDE. You can find the details, download and source in the AtariAge thread.

Click to watch video