THE SECRET OF THE FISH by Udo of TEX
On our visit to Holland (see the article in the ST NEWS Volume 3
Issue 2) Richard urged me to write an article about the 'fish'.
If you don't know anything about the 'fish' get your hand on our
"B.I.G. Demo" and view our second Psych-O-Screen. Perhaps you
will see a fish in the bottom right corner of the screen where
usually the border appears. If you can't see any fish you are one
of the few poor guys who have an ATARI SC1224 monitor. But at
least you must see some 'air bubbles'. The fish was painted to
explain the presence of the air bubbles, and the air bubbles were
only painted to hide a useful error of the video chip. And now we
have reached the theme of this article: Fooling the video chip
not to make the lower border.
1) How to switch off the lower border:
To irritate the video shifter you must switch the video
frequency from 50 to 60 Hz in the last line of the screen.
This will irritate the video chip so it forgets to draw the
last 2 Bytes of the screen memory (this causes the right
border to start 16 pixels earlier and to hide this
malfunction the air bubbles were painted in the screen). After
displaying 200 lines the MMU is checking if 32000 Byte have
been displayed. But due to the 2 Byte error there are still
some left. If switch back to 50 Hz in the left border of the
next line, the MMU will continue sending memory data to the
shifter without stopping. It depends on the monitor and the
ST's video transistor but in the best case you will see 64
more lines of video data till the monitor starts his blank
gap. I will now explain a routine doing this, which is my
modified RIP (raster interrupt program) from ST NEWS Volume 2
A complete source is somewhere on this disk (in the "PROGRAMS"
First we need a level 4 routine which is called at every VBL
(that means 50 times per second).
clr.b $fffffa1b.w ;stop timer
move.b #199,$fffffa21.w ;set data register
move.b #8,$fffffa1b.w ;start timer
This rout sets the timer c data register to 199 so our main
program will be interrupted to handle the border removing
Now the Timer C handler:
clr.b $fffffa1b.w ;timer stop
move.b #180,(a4) ;set counter
This will install a new Timer C data so we are no longer
disturbed by the Timer C, but it is still running.
moveq #0,d0 ;wait till middle of line
move.b #0,$ffff820a.w ;on to 60 Hz
We now spent a lot of time multiplying nonsense to let the
electron beam run in the middle of the screen and then
switched to 60 Hz.
move.b (a4),d0 ;wait for right border
As the Timer C is still running, we use this loop to wait for
the right border.
moveq #0,d0 ;wait on left border
move.b #2,$ffff820a.w ;back to 50 Hz
With this commands we spent some time waiting for the HBL then
we switched back to 50 Hz.
bclr #0,$fffffa0f.w ;end of interrupt
Now we have ended the Interruptrout.
This was my explanation of the border removing for those who had
no time or no patience to read it in the scroller of the "B.I.G.
Demo". The only disadvantage of the program is that in the worst
case you can see only 8 lines of the border graphic (on a very
bad SC1224 monitor). But I hope you can use this program
I you have any questions or suggestions write to:
P.O. Box 1322
D-6702 Bad Dürkheim
Udo (-me-) of TEX
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.