"PASSENGERS HIT BY CANCELLED TRAINS."
SOFTWARE REVIEWED IN SHORT
by Richard Karsmakers
Art for Kids
I hate children. I never wanted to have them, and I could only
stand them for more than one minute if I knew for certain whoever
were the parents weren't going to lock me up in a room with
This viewpoint changed slightly when I got "Art for Kids" sent
to me by Keith Frisby. For I think many people would consider
just having kids in order to see them fool around with a paint
package like this.
Did I already tell you it's a paint package? Guess I didn't.
"Art for Kids" is an art package for children, compatible with
ST low resolution on ST, TT and Falcon. With it, children can
unleash whatever creativity they have dormant within themselves.
And believe me, kids will want to use "Art for Kids"!
The user interface is simple. Part of the screen is reserved for
the picture, with the tools and such arranged arranged around the
edges. To the left there are sixteen nicely primary colours. To
the right are some disk I/O and "exit" commands (that only work
when you've got [CONTROL] pressed - a nice touch). To the top
there are the tools. These include "line", "draw", "fill", "text"
and even "special effects". Depending on which tool is selected,
the lower range of selections changes into line thicknesses,
special effect identifiers, letters/numbers, fill patterns and
The program is very intuitive and, I guess, a lot of fun to use.
Some of the fun comes from the sounds. Each action has a sound.
The eraser, for example, has the sound of a window being wiped
clean. Really nice, I think. If this program had me hooked for
the best part of half an hour, think of what it will do to keep
your kids out of your hair.
A demo version is available from various on-line sources as well
as Goodman international. The text file accompanying it fails to
mention the price, but I should think it's worth its weight in
something quite valuable of it keeps your kid occupied while
you're having...more important things to do.
"Art for Kids" is produced by Moving Pixels. Distribution, as
far as I grasped, is done by Goodman.
2/39 Frazer St.
Ph/fax +61 (0)2 555 7312
16 Conrad Close
Meir Hill Estate
Stoke on Trent
"Rainbox" columnist John Weller, a uniquely insane person who is
into furry animals, the Grateful Dead and 'zines apparently, sent
me a program called "Artificial Weirdness" written by an American
chap called George Pope. It's definitely one of the most useless
programs you're ever likely to come across, but that doesn't
necesarrily mean you shouldn't try to get your hands on it!
"Artificial Weirdness" is a program that receives input from a
straight ASCII text file and then, according to certain
parameters you can specify, transform that into what is a highly
odd/perverse/strange/crazy version of that text file. It takes
phrases of x words with an y percent chance of finding nouns,
I believe, and goes artificially intelligent on you and makes all
these totally absurd sentences. I had one of my love letters to
Karin artificially weirded and the result is disturbingly
There are two different versions of the program: One for 1 Mb
machines (allowing 10 Kb text files to be successfully processed)
and one for 4 Mb machines (with a 20 Kb limit). It takes quite a
while to analyse a text, but once the results come running out
you'll find grins on your face all the time. The droller the
subject matter, the wittier the outcome.
The program is not well-behaved at all. It runs on monochrome ST
mode on the Falcon but doesn't work well in other screen modes,
nor with "Geneva". But that doesn't really matter, does it?
Flashback Demo by TCB
I saw it, lost it, and all I can say about it is "nice, but
quite a letdown after all that time". Not even worth while
getting, actually, unless you can get it for less than the price
of an empty disk.
"MODest", written by Great Dane Software, might be the answer
for all those people that have collected a zillions MODs (digital
music modules, for those not in the know) and that want to
organise them in some or other way, keep track of them, and
prevent double occurrences of the same MOD with different names
on your precious hard disk space.
The program can maintain a library of details on the various
MODs you happen to have lying around. It recognizes a variety of
formats, such as "Noisetracker" (with 15 or 31
instruments), "Esion Tracker", "Protracker" (packed and
unpacked), "TCB Tracker" (partly supported), "STOS/AMOS Tracker"
(as far as is possible) and, possibly, other 4-voice formats.
Some of them can even be replayed, though the dox mention this
might crash on a Falcon.
However, I should want to mention that it's not the perfect
answer yet. The following is a list of things I don't like:
o It uses its own file selector. I'd personally rather use my
own, i.e. "Selectric". The custom file selector looks funny,
o It doesn't use GEM. Some programs should, and some programs
shouldn't. This one should. Either that, or the user
interface should be point-and-click entirely instead of
o It only works in ST medium res, even the Falcon version.
When starting in the wrong resolution, it doesn't even warn
o It doesn't support >4 voice formats (yet).
I really wish I could be more positive about this program, for
it is a big wish of MOD collectors, I suppose. It's flexible and
capable, but it's just not perfect and I so much wish for
programs to be perfect. No doubt, future versions will improve
(provided enough people register).
Yes, it's shareware, so please register if you got it and use it
(registration fee is 75 Danish Kroner, i.e. about £ 7,50 or US$
12). The world can't go on forever to abuse the good intentions
of shareware programmers. Violators of the shareware principle
should be shot on sight!
N.o.B.I. - Brainstorm & N.o.B.I. - Racing
Hintzen & Verwohlt GbR, the people who brought us those
terrifyingly addictive "Thriller", "Shocker" and "Shocker II"
games, have unleashed upon the unsuspecting world two further
shareware games. Are we supposed to be happy with that? No! Are
we supposed to be addicted to them, will we be addicting to them?
The "ball across a playfield gathering bits" concept has been
sucked dry so now they've come up with an equally simple concept
that is, however, equally good in the hookability factor.
Ever heard of "Snake" on whatever old computer system? The game
where you controlled a snake that had to gather apples (or
something akin) whilst having to avoid running into objects or
its own tail while eating continuously increased its size?
Well, "N.o.B.I. - Brainstorm" is one of two games released
October 1994 that use this concept. However, they have crossbred
it with "Pacman". You're in a maze where you have to collect
stuff that increases your size. Because it's a maze you have
rather a lot more problems staying out of your own tail so to
Of the two, "N.o.B.I. - Brainstorm" is by far the most
difficult. You can control the snake as it travels through the
mazes, gathering bonuses and thinking a lot to avoid it from
running into dead ends (out of which it can't get). Many
playfield elements have been added.
In "N.o.B.I. - Racing" your snake always moves at a steady pace,
increasing as you progress through the levels. At some of the
bonus levels it moves lightning fast - literally! It's quite a
lot less taxing on your brain cells to get this latter version,
though no less addictive!
The PD version of these games can be ordered by sending DM 5,- a
piece to the address below. The registered versions can be
obtained by sending DM 40,- a piece.
The address to contact is Hintzen & Verwohlt GbR, Marienkirchweg
3a, D-48165, Münster, Germany. It should be noted that the price
for the "Shocker 2" code-breaker book (i.e. registration fee) has
been decreased to DM 30,-. Both "N.o.B.I." games work on ST, TT
and Falcon with VGA, TV, RGB or monochrome monitor.
I look up from the keyboard and glance at the wall. There is a
picture of Karin on it. Although a picture can not make me feel
in any way as *whole* as her actual presence, it's better than
nothing. I find my eyes glazing over, my lungs excreting a deep
I hate distance.
Gard - yes, He Who Was Formerly Known As The Witty One Or Even
Minute One, yes, Gard Eggesbø Abrahamsen - has done it again.
After his OS enhancement tool "GEMBell", he has now released a
very Tiny (indeed, Minute) TSR program by the name of PAnTHer
that can be chucked in your AUTO folder to take care of a lot of
Well, let's not get over the top with overstated exaggerations
here. It can divert GEMDOS load/save calls. That's all it can do.
But just think of the implications for a while...
When booting, "PAnTHer" will check the root directory of drive C
for a file called "Panther.inf". This has to be a straight ASCII
Now suppose the line
is included in that file. That will make sure all resource files
will be read only from the "\rsc\" folder on drive "C". This
means you can have all your .RSC files in one folder. Of course
you can do something quite similar with configuration files, info
files and more of these. You can even cause all your source files
to be written/read to/from one specific directory.
Think about this for a second. It will seriously enable you to
clean up your hard disk. Yes, you can even have all your
accessories in one folder, off the root directory! You could also
make sure your source files are never copied off hard disk (say,
by unauthorized people) and you can even do symbolic links.
But why am I saying all this? My concentration is getting less
and less as I get to feel more mellow with a certain drink and
time is progression. There are more important things to do. Check
out the "PAnTHer" program and its documentation file in the
FEATURES.ZIP archive in the PROGRAMS folder and see for yourself.
And...if you use it, please register by sending Gard some money.
Although he can't possibly be as poor as me, I suppose he does
Sircware Virus Killer Pro 0.1
At one time, about one year ago, Floppyshop was supposed to
release a new version of the "Professional Virus Killer" by Mike
Mee, now fully re-coded and newly developed by Chris "Sircware"
Brooks. I can only assume this idea has been canned, for recently
I found this "Sircware Virus Killer Pro" without any Floppyshop
credits but with Chris' name as the programmer. Although I sent
Chris new versions of my "Ultimate Virus Killer" occasionally,
he hasn't actually contacted me of late.
Well, I hear you asking, is it any good?
It's got potential, of course, but right now I wouldn't say it
is. For starters, what we have here is an alfatest version. No
help screens, no bootsector library and rather a lot of small
aesthetic bugs in the user interface (at least when run in Falcon
resolutions). A thing I really like about the program, however,
is that it claims it's able to actually destroy most link viruses
without having to destroy the files they are attached to. This is
something "UVK" never could (and never will be able to) because,
frankly, I could never be bothered to do the intricate coding and
Sure, I'm lazy.
Be that as it may, I think "SVK pro" is not yet worth getting.
In the near future, however, I think it might well join the virus
battle front, joining Kai Holst's "Antidote" and "UVK" (for the
other virus killer that used to be at the front, Volker Söhnitz'
"Virendetektor", hasn't been heard of for quite a while and
Volker has been incommunicado for about a year now).
Speed of Light
Stuart Denman, author of "Speed of Light" and "Triple Yahoo",
has released a new version of the former program, number 3.5. As
I use it primarily to view GIFs and not manipulate them very
much, the best I can do here is summarise some of the changes
after 3.3 that seem important.
o It now starts with the Option Dialog, unless starting in GEM
o You can load multiple files using the "Selectric" file
selector, including the use of wildcards.
o GIF saving has been fixed, and loading speed has been
o You can access pictures 21 - 30 by pressing [ALTERNATE] with
o A glossary is now included on the disk to explain some of
the more complicated image processing terms.
Of course, loads of stuff involving warping and histograms and
whatnot has been added, but I really can't be arsed to check
which of these are actually important or not. Some things are
better left unexplained, especially by inept graphics experts
such as me. Just get it.
The Ship of Fools' "Out There Somewhere" CD adds really nice
atmospheric sounds as midnight passes by and a small sips of the
Divine Fluid #2 ("Muier Schippersbitter") keep getting sipped.
I'd be swigging Plantiac if it weren't for the fact that the
bottle I have is as yet unopened and I know myself...
Probably the best pinball game ever to be released on any
machine - at least to the best of my knowledge which may contain
a hiatus or two - is Volume 11 Development's "Starball". There
are so many things I like about it that I find it quite
impossible to mould some piece of prose together to proclaim it
in. I will therefore resort to summarizing the good bits.
o It's fabulously playable. The physics of the ball are just
right, there are really no unfair bits (such as in "Gator"
on the Gameboy where you can predict losing a ball if it
gets into a particular movement), and the graphics are great
and have a good atmosphere.
o You get a lot of stuff on less than 380 Kb of disk space.
There are four screens (204,800 pixels) worth of pinball
machine with three sets of flippers, four totally different
(including one zanily ozric) bonus screens and plenty of
additional pictures thrown in for maximum effect. Also,
there's an extensive intro proclaiming good taste (except
for the Vauxhall, perhaps) and a useless but nevertheless
entertaining starting "quote of the day" section. And
there's a demo mode too.
o Sound effects are OK, and you can add your own module find
paths for the specific screens to include your own favourite
music that the program will load and use. On the ST (yes,
the game works on Falcon as well as ST) you get "Fair Dinkum
Sound" (although I must admit I haven't got a clue as to
what that means).
o The game contains original bonus systems, many small
surprises and a startling amount of (sometimes really silly)
remarks displayed in part of the screen.
Now for the things I don't like about the game, for indeed there
are a few things that could have been added/improved to increase
the game's incredibility even more.
o There is a hiscore table, which is good. It isn't saved,
which I like rather less.
o On Falcon VGA and TV at least, module sound playback is
sometimes approximately twice as fast as it should be. This
seems to be caused by certain modules you have specified to
be loaded and may not be a bug in the module player.
o On Falcon TV, the playing action is a cool 50 frames per
second. This is good. Excellent, even. However, it seems all
movements (including scrolling and the ball) are too fast.
o Sometimes the game crashes. It happened to me three times,
both when I entered the "spaceship docking port". I think it
might have something to do with having 4 balls, 9 bonus
multiplicator, bonus hold and a rocket present. Bombs, and
back to the desktop.
If you would like to get your hands on the game - which is
shareware - you should send £5 to the address below. That also
takes care of registering, I believe. If you send your own disk
and SAE or IRCs I think they'd appreciate it even more. I would
like to conclude that I don't think any game player will be
disappointed with "Starball". It's the best non-commercial game
Volume 11 Software Development
PO Box 311
Preston PR3 5DZ
** Stop press! "Starball SE"! **
In the mean time, those awfully nice people at Volume 11 have
released a souped-up version of their game, "Starball Special
Edition", which contains sampled sound effects for all machines
with DMA sound hardware (STE and Falcon). It also boasts a
saveable and extended hiscore table (now containing my new
hiscore of a massive 137,222,650!) and no longer has the annoying
crash bug I mentioned earlier (at least I haven't seen it again
and I've played lots).
There is no reason in the world why thousands of people
shouldn't join the 30-odd that have registered so far.
Come on, people, I think I can safely say that it's a f@*kin'
outrage that such an excellent game, dowloaded from Bulletin
Board Systems up to hundreds of times per day, is only registered
by about 30 people! Do you want your computer to die?
Please register! It's only £5, for crying out loud!
Warp 9 3.81
A new version of "Warp 9" has been released. There really isn't
much to be said about that, for there have been preciously little
changes in the first place. The Falcon version has had a Screen
Blaster problem fixed, and the TT version now doesn't crash when
using background pictures. That's all there is to it.
Do note, however, that even "Warp 9" version 3.81 must be run
before "SpeedoGDOS" if you want the mouse speeder to work! I
only found this out recently and I thought I wanted to share this
Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, The Automated Grandson of
Some of you may be aware that I've programmed a few Public
Domain thingies. Among them were "Handy Plus" (a really simple
accessory that can lock your system waiting for a password,
display date and time in an alert box and, most importantly, call
the file selector in case of an alternative one being installed)
and "Background Music Utility". I was recently struck by an
attack which caused me to check whether these programs worked on
the Falcon, even with "MultiTOS". They both did.
I had another program, however, that didn't. It didn't work on
the Falcon and failed miserably when using "MultiTOS". This
program, "The Son of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged", a
swearing accessory, did not use GEM and took hold of the screen
rather bluntly and incompatibly.
Without a doubt, "Wowbagger" is the PD program I put most effort
in. I wanted it to work on the Falcon, too, and possibly even
with "MultiTOS". So I redid all screen output using the by now
familiar "FlyDials" library by Gregor Duchalski, added another
couple of words...and did quite a bit more than I had originally
intended. So what did I change?
o The previous version could crash in strange circumstances
upon booting. This should no longer be possible (the
crashing, I mean). This was a bug in the MENU_REGISTER
command of "GfA Basic".
o The new version is all GEM, much more user-friendly, and
compatible with Falcon, "MultiTOS", "Geneva" and, hopefully,
anything else. Cheers to Gregor Duchalski and his "FlyDials"
routines library for "GfA Basic"!
o A switch has been added, now allowing for Dutch output.
Apart from over 2 trillion possible English swearings, about
2.1 billion Dutch curses can be generated. This totals to a
massive 2,056,732,555,440 insults that can be generated.
o Curse word segments have been rated internally. The user can
now determine the insult level - U, PGA and XXX - so the
raunchiness can be limited somewhat.
But why am I telling you all this when you can check out the
FEATURES.ZIP file and use it yourself? And...er...it works with
"Geneva", too (which is a lot better than "MultiTOS" anyway).
More software will be reviewed in the next issue of ST NEWS, as
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.