Atari Speed Reading

One of the most distinctive features of the Atari is the fact that the program recorder uses one channel for serial data and one for normal sound. This means that you can replay music and spoken words during loading. Based on this feature, Atari released a number of educational software titles. One of them is the "Atari Speed Reading" course from 1981. On the picture below you can see Tigerduck an me after we spent the whole evening trying to sample the first tape using a notebook with AudaCity, a hi-fi system and put a back on a tape again. It took quite a while but finally we managed to find the right recoding and re-recording settings to make it work also on the Atari again.

Atari Speed Reading

Site Update

  • Credits tab added with the list of contributors and related projects like compilers, emulators, graphics and sound libraries
  • Eclipse 3.6.2 Platform Runtime Binary (50 MB) direct link is now correct and positions correctly within the target page
  • Update of the compilers download archive
    • For MADS 1.9.3 the Mac OS X version for Intel and PowerPC are now included
    • XASM for Windows has been updated from 3.0.1 to 3.0.2
    • ACME 0.90, KickAss V3.21 and TASS 1.46 r38 are now included as preparation for supporting them

Site Update

The content has been split into into individual PHP pages. So instead of editing an HTML document with almost 4000 lines, I can not update more selectively and more frequently. In case you experience problem with the site now, please contact me.

  • The FAQ section on the tab WUDSN IDE has been structured into the sections ""Installation, Configuration, Editing and Compiling"
  • The following FAQs have been added or updated
    • When I try to start Eclipse is get an error like "Failed to load the JNI shared library 'C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jre6\bin\client\jvm.dll'". What is wrong?
    • Why is WUDSN IDE not available via the update site?
    • Why is MADS the primary compiler?
    • Why do I get the error "No ORG defined" when compiling the example from the tutorial?
    • How to I convert an ATASM source for to MADS format?
  • All supported 6502 compilers are now contained in a single download archive . The installation section for compilers has been updated accordingly
  • The download URL for DASM has been changed to dasm-dillon.sourceforge.net because some ... Atari lawyers forced Andrew Davie to shut down www.atari2600.org after 11 years
  • For DASM the new version 2.10.11 is now included. The Mac OS X PowerPC version is now also included
  • For MADS the new version 1.9.3 (source, examples and Windows executable) is now included. Executables for other platforms will follow
  • The source example and related screen shots in the section "Creating and compiling an example project" have been updated to the syntax of MADS, which is the default compiler since 1.6.0

Rest in peace Radek

On this date, one of the most prominent, influential and gentle guys in the Atari 8-bit scene died: Radek Štěrba, also known as R.A.S.T.E.R.

On 30th of July I was preparing my stuff for the Fujiama party. When I was there last year I met Raster personally after all the years of admiring him and using his tools, games, demos and hardware. He always had the strangest and funniest ideas what to do and how to do it on the Atari. We all competed in his multijoy game Cervi. He won - of course :-)

Radek and me at Fujiama 2010
Radek wins at Fujiama 2010
I was hoping to see him again next week. Now I'm deeply sad and to be honest don't know how to handle it. I met him on the 30th of July, and that's also the day when I lost him.

For those who did not have the chance to meet him personally, I recommend to have a look at the more then 100 releases from Radek. And that's only the software part. Therefore I provide here the English translation of Fandal's blog entry from 2008-01-28. Thanks to twh for the German translation.

Tribute to Raster

When writing something about Radek Štěrba you cannot but write in superlatives. For the majority of Atarians he is a living legend, simply superhuman, for some even a demigod. Imagine that. Raster is dedicated to software and hardware development, is an outstanding musician, graphic designer, coder and writes games and demos. In the world there are not many people like him, especially not here with us. When Jirka Bernášek (Bewesoft) and Davi Spilka (Datri) left the Atari scene, he had absolutely no competitors left in the Czech Republic and nothing indicates that this situation will ever change. So let us take a closer look at Raster.

Let's start with software. The database on a8.fandal.cz contains more than 80 (!!) entries with his name - quite unbelievable. Some of the most famous games from Raster include undoubtedly the outstanding Naturix, Magnetit, Videopoly and Dangerous Street, as well as the games series created in cooperation with Robert Knill which includes Gunhead, Predator or Imagine which where. More recently he created incredibly popular Multijoy games like Cervi, Cervi 2, and Shot’em All. In the demo scene Raster scored a lot with his "Self Demo" and his 1kb intros with which he beat his competitors at the famous Forever Party on more than one occasion. Of course we should not forget the famous Raster Music Tracker, a Windows music editor which unleashed a real revolution in the musical development of the small Atari. Finally, Raster created a large amount of native and cross-platform utilities. All this is just unbelievable!

And the list does not end with Raster’s software activities in the Atari Scene. He is also a hardware guru. By creating Multijoy Raster created an interface that makes it possible to connect 8 or even 16 joysticks to a single Atari. This hardware wonder allows you to play together simultaneously. Moreover, our hero is responsible for the S/XEGS RAMCart Project, a programmable 128 kB cartridge which supports the vast majority of our beloved Atari's cartridge types. At present Raster is working together with Bob!K on another - initially top secret - hardware project, which will make an impact again – you can be sure of that.

To sum it up: Raster is a hyperactive Atari all-rounder, an Atari master at professor level, the driving force of Atari Club Prostějov, the first man in the Flop-magazine, a superstar with format who deserves a monument. He is by far the most notable and famous Czech Atarian of all time and his popularity will continue to grow every year. We can be glad to have him in our midst. I believe that not only foreign Atarians, but also people from other platforms are secretly envious of us. PS: If this tribute sounds like some heroic epic, then you should know that this is completely intentional. This man really deserves it. Someone just had to say it.

WUDSN IDE update 1.6.0 released

After 5 months I have completed a new major update of WUDSN IDE with a bunch a new features and improvements. Some of the new features like the graphics conversion and the content assist for identifier are still "beta" but already usable and useful. For example the syntax highlighting sometimes detects keywords within other words. This will be corrected soon.

Features: See the tab "Features" on WUDSN IDE for screen shots or click on the inline links

  • .ENUM and .STRUCT are now displayed as sections with own icons in the content outline
  • .VAR and .ZPVAR definitions are now displayed as equate definitions in the outline, they will get their own icon in the next version
  • .PROC, .LOCAL, .PAGES and binary includes now implicitly end a definition section even without ORG statement
  • The expanded nodes and the selected elements in the outline are now stable. In case of structural changes, the selection is repositioned automatically to the next higher visible parent element
  • The bold and italic style of the syntax highlighting is now also visualized directly in list within the preferences
  • Separately configurable syntax highlighting for all types of identifiers and numbers. For non unique identifiers, the syntax highlighting will try to be a best guess
    Syntax highlighting for all types of identifiers and numbers
  • Altirra is now available in the preferences as standard emulator for the Atari 8-bit editors
  • All editor names have been extended with the platform like "ACME (C64)"
  • The toolbar icon for "Compile and Run" now adapts based on the hardware of the currently opened editor, for example it will show a C64 icon when using the "ACME (C64)" editor
  • The toolbar icon for "Compile and Run" now has a pull down menu which allows running the output file with any of the applications configured in the preferences. This way you can run the output file easily with different emulators without changing the preferences. That can be very helpful if one emulator show a different behavior than another or in case you have specified a build script as user defined application in the preferences
    Run with... for Atari 2600 Run with... for Atari 8-bit Run with... for C64
  • MADS (Atari 8-bit) is the new default editor for the file extension ".asm" for new installations. You can change this as you desire in the preferences panel "General/Editors/File Associations"
  • Symbols file "*.lbl" is now only created if there are actually any symbols. An existing symbols file is deleted if it is empty
  • The graphics editor now supports viewing for all 23 Atari 8-bit image formats supported by version 1.0.1 of "FAIL (First Atari Image Library)" plus C64 charsets and sprites. This includes hires and multi color charsets, images with palettes and true color images.
    PlatformFile ExtensionFile Format
    Atari 8-bit AP3 80x192, 256 colors, interlaced
    Atari 8-bit APC Any Point, Any Color, 80x96, 256 colors, interlaced
    Atari 8-bit CHR 8x8 charset, mono or multicolor
    Atari 8-bit CCI Champions' Interlace, 160x192, compressed
    Atari 8-bit CIN Champions' Interlace, 160x192
    Atari 8-bit CHG Gephard Hires Graphics, up to 320x200, mono
    Atari 8-bit CPR Trzmiel, 320x192, mono, compressed
    Atari 8-bit FNT Standard 8x8 font, mono
    Atari 8-bit GR8 Standard 320x192, mono
    Atari 8-bit GR9 Standard 80x192, grayscale
    Atari 8-bit HIP Hard Interlace Picture, 160x200, grayscale
    Atari 8-bit HR Hires 256x239, 3 colors, interlaced
    Atari 8-bit HR2 Hires 320x200, 5 colors, interlaced
    Atari 8-bit ILC APAC 80x192, 256 colors interlaced
    Atari 8-bit INP Interlace Picture 160x200, 7 colors, interlaced
    Atari 8-bit INT INT95a, up to 160x239, 16 colors, interlaced
    Atari 8-bit MCP McPainter, 160x200, 16 colors, interlaced
    Atari 8-bit MIC Micropainter 160x192, 4 colors
    Atari 8-bit PIC Koala MicroIllustrator, 160x192, 4 colors, compressed
    Atari 8-bit PLM Plama 256, 80x96, 256 colors
    Atari 8-bit RIP Rocky Interlace Picture, up to 160x239
    Atari 8-bit SXS 16x16 font, mono
    Atari 8-bit TIP Taquart Interlace Picture, up to 160x119
    C64 64C Charset, mono or multi color
    C64 SPR Sprite, mono or multi color
  • The graphics editor now supports conversion to the following 8-bit file formats using a flexible JavaScript based approach. Default scripts for most of these format are part of the delivery, more will follow.
    Conversion from GIF/JPG/BMP/PNG images to binary files or 8-bit images files
  • The new image palette view associated with the graphics editor displays the palette entries and the color histogram. It supports filtering of unused colors, sorting by index and color frequencies, pre-settings and editing the palette when displaying 8-bit images
    Image palette view
  • The file chooser dialog now has a hierarchical display including automatic positioning to the next suitable folder in the hierarchy
  • The content assist now recognizes if there is already and instruction in the current line and suggests the available identifiers instead if this is the case. This is the first version and it supports global identifiers in the current source file and source file included from there. Scoped identifiers of the form "a.b" are not yet supported
  • The online help now contains the entry "WUDSN IDE Guide" which contains the overview of all tutorial videos and release news videos
    Integrated Help

Fixes:

  • Hyperlink navigation now also works for labels which contain an underscore
  • The key binding for the "Compile" menu is now "Shift-Ctrl-9" because it turned out that "Ctrl-0" is not available in all cases
  • The HexEditor is now also detecting the situation that the first block of a COM file is incorrect and display this correctly
  • Content assist has now correct new lines when inserting #IF, #WHILE and .TEST
  • Fonts and colors resources are disposed correctly now
  • Resetting to default syntax colors in the preferences works now
  • Elements of .ENUM are recognized as equates now also if they do not start of position 0
  • Elements of .STRUCT are recognized as labels now also if they do not start of position 0
  • Cursor is now positioned to the first character of an equate or label also if it is not defined starting at position 0

Site:

  • New section tutorials added to the "WUDSN IDE" tab