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by Axe of Delight

Editorial note: This article as such wasn't written by Axe of
Delight - indeed, we don't even know who he is! It is a touched
up version of the READ_ME.TXT file normally found with the packer
that we included in the PROGRAMS folder of this issue of ST NEWS.
It is a very good packer, and hence we have included it.
Here it starts.

Today I have decided to give out my packer "Pack-Ice" as Public
Domain. That means that you can use it on whatever program you
want to. Actually I never wanted to give it out to anybody, but I
see many groups using very slow and very bad packing and
depacking routines. I hate waiting for my computer to decompress,
so I give this packer into your hands. I hope that you will use
it instead of Jek or anything. The packing algorithm is based on
the Automation packer, but I have improved and debugged (!!!) it
a lot. The packed files that are created are ALWAYS smaller than
files packed with the Automation packer.

In the folder, you will find:
ICE_2_1.PRG - the packer itself
ICE_UNPA.S - the normal unpacking source
ICE_UNP2.S - the comfortable unpacking source
ICE_DISK.S - source that depacks all loaded files
ICE_READ.ME - the document file

As I told you above, you may freely copy this folder to anybody
you want to. I really hope that there is nobody out there who
still uses lame packers like Jek, Jam, Automation or anything
that's even worse...

This is what the packer can do:
- Pack all files without errors (I hope!!!)
- Crunch files smaller than Automation packer 2.31
- Work on harddisks and ramdisks!!!
- Pack several files in one go (FILE*.* or SHIT.*)
- Files are saved under the same name as the original
- The Offset is set to the value with best results (which is
- Percentage is shown during packing
- Time for packing is shown after packing
- The packed file is checked for errors automatically (even
though there won't be any. If there should ever occur an error,
please contact me!)
- The packed file is only saved if it is smaller than the
- The data may also be unpacked at an odd address

Improvements for Version 1.1:

- Packing time was reduced.

Improvements for Version 1.11:

- Version 1.1 which I made in one night returned with a
Verify-Error when a special combination of bytes appeared.
Pack-Ice now works fine again.

Improvements for Version 1.12:

- If you press Alternate during packing (while the number of
remaining percent is decreased), the current file is left
unpacked and the next file is packed.

Improvements for Version 1.13:

- Some executable files that were packed with Pack-Ice caused an
error on STE computers or very new TOS version. I never
realized that error, because I don't have any of those. Thanx
to Jinx of FOF who spotted the error and told me about it.

Improvements for Version 1.14:

- Was (Not Was) found a bug in the packer. It has been removed.

Improvements for Version 2.00:

- Comfortable working with Pack-Ice is possible, because the
mouse is used.
- Fileselectbox: Select the path in which the file(s) which you
want to pack are. If you select a filename, only this file is
packed. If you select FILE*.*, then all files with this name
are packed. If you do not specify any filename, then all files
in the current directory are packed.
- If you don't like working with mouse (or don't have one), then
press the Alternate-key while the program is loading. Then you
can work with the old keyboard commands.
- If you compress pictures (Degas, Neochrome, Doodle, ...), you
may want to use the additional algorithm for picture
compressing. It compresses screens to about 2 kB less. The
unpacking for screens is done automatically with the normal
source (ice_unpa.s or ice_unp2.s). If a picture file is packed
with the special algorithm, then P> is shown. If it is not in
the correct format, then -> is shown, which indicates that the
normal compression routine is used. If you never use this
feature, you can kill the 15 marked lines of the unpacking
sources in your routines.
- Some files returned with "Data could not be packed". This only
occured, if there were (somewhere in the file) more than 1038
bytes in a sequence that could not be packed. I corrected this
and files like Castle Master 2 should not make any problems
- Other changes in packing and unpacking source have been done.
The old unpacking source is not compatible with the new one!
- With the source "ice_unpa.s", you can unpack data to whatever
address you like (e.g.: original address: $32345, target
address: $72213). Please check out that the target address is
at least 120 ($78) bytes higher than the source address.
Otherwise, you might overwrite the original data.
- You do not need the packed length for unpacking anymore. You
just need to specify source and target address.
- The source "ice_unp2.s" will unpack every file onto itself.
The program needs 120 bytes of free memory for saving and
restoring data.

Improvements for Version 2.1:

- Unfortunately I have put some wrong sources into the Pack-Ice
folder. Only the ice_unpa.s source worked correctly. Sorry
about that.
- the decrunch at an odd address wasn't possible in version 2.0

Improvements for Version 2.11:

- I got special wish, demanding an input for the offset. Here it

Have fun using this great packer!

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.