Source:Atari ST newsletter

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The single known issue of the Atari ST newsletter, published as a text file on the Atari ST Eamon master diskette.



April 1987


Michael Detlefsen


The use of this item is permitted and constitutes fair use on the grounds that it's free or in the public domain.

Eamon Newsletter #1
April 1987

This file, glorified by the name of "newsletter", is intended to bring everyone up to date on what's going on in the World of Eamon as of now.

First, I'd like to apologise for the situation with the adventure shell. I uploaded the thing in what I thought was good shape. The next day I found that I had inadvertently changed a variable in the routine for scanning artifacts to see what is in the room. I fixed that and then decided, well, why not go ahead and add in the routines for using the FSB (File Selector Box). The only thing I didn't care for about it was that you can't have adventures on different disks than the Main Hall (EAMON.PRG), unless you use the "c" option, and then you are back to the "one disk, one adventure" situation. I don't think this is a big drawback, and my own preference is for having a separate disk for each game (and I have a hard disk!).

OK. The adventures that are released as of this date are:

0) The Beginner's Cave
1) The Zyphur Riverventure
2) The Quest for the Holy Grail
3) The Death Star

The worst bug is in the Holy Grail. In v1.0, when you finally get the grail, you go into the character died routine. This was fixed fairly early, and I didn't realize the version on GEnie was the old one, since I didn't upload that one (sorry, guys).

The second worst bug in any of these is pre-v1.4 of the Beginner's Cave, where occasionally you will get into a situation where the program won't reset the flag for being in battle, and you will try to move and be told that you can't do that with unfriendlies around, even though you have killed the monster(s). This is a real nuisance, if it happens you can work around it by using the 'flee' command to get out of the room, or get v1.4. Sorry. Also, the behavior of the Kzin in Death Star is not a bug. Read Larry Niven's books to get an explanation (I'm not giving anything away!).

I have currently in the works the fourth translation, The Devils' Tomb, which will be released very shortly. Another Eamon enthusiast, Jeff Chin, has three translations he is working on.

As far as original ST games, there aren't any at the moment, due to the short time the DDD (Dungeon Designer Disk) has been out. I expect that it will be several months, at least, before any original material surfaces. I am working on a science fiction oriented one at the moment (tentative title: "Star Portal"), but it is barely blocked out (only 60 rooms so far!) and it will be a while before it is ready.

There is something that I would like to point out here, and that is the built-in advantage that ST owners have over the Apple and IBM Eamon users. Both of those machine use a 64K bound BASIC for Eamon, and the Apple is further limited by a small disk space (144K, few Apple owners have the 3.5" Apple drive which has 800K). There are ways to get around some of these things, such as using multiple disks, segregating program and data memory spaces, etc., but the ST needs none of these. Another factor is that the ST version is the only one to be entirely memory resident. All the data files are read into arrays at the start of the program. The ST version uses serial data files, which make them much smaller and also makes the program much more compact. And the ST is much faster. I had to insert timing loops and "wait for keypress" routines in Holy Grail to keep things from scrolling faster than anyone could read. The Apple version runs very slow (much faster on the GS, I am sure). There is one advantage that both the IBM and Apple have over the ST, though. Both of the versions on those machines use the BASIC that comes with the machine, so people don't have to go out and buy a language to write the games or fix bugs. Also, Eamon was developed on the Apple (over 5 years ago), so there are more games around for it (144 at last count). The ST already has as many games out as does the IBM.

At this point, I would like to make my standard plea for everyone to distribute the source code for their games along with the game. I learned a tremendous amount from looking at the programs existing on the Apple.

GEnie seems to be the main arena of Eamon activity. In the two weeks that the files have been up, there have been well over 800 downloads of Eamon stuff. Contrast that with CIS, where in a month, there have been just over 100 downloads of Eamon. There may be some cosmic significance other than the $5/hr versus $12/hr (1200 baud) downloading cost, but I don't see it.

Finally, several requests have been made for clarification about what files go with what. OK, here's the set-up:

These files are the Eamon Master Disk—


All these files must be on the same disk if you are using a separate disk for each adventure. If you are doing adventures that allow multiple games per disk (presumably all those adventures after number 3), then the above files must all be in the same folder.

Each adventure will have the following files—   ADNAME.DAT
  (Name of Adventure).PRG

And possibly:

As with the Master Disk programs, all of the files for each individual adventure must be kept either a) by themselves on the same disk, or b) by themselves in the same folder. And don't write protect any of them.

Another item: Don't change the names of any of these files! They must remain the same to avoid File-Not-Found errors (the infamous Error -33).

If you have any problems, I will be happy to help, but I must know exactly which programs (and version numbers) and files are on/in which disks/folders and exactly what they are named, and under what circumstances the problem occurred.

And really finally, here are the current version numbers of the games:

  EAMON.PRG v1.5
  GRAIL.PRG v1.2

  Designer Disk v1.61