"Girls are like air to me, but I need air to survive!"
SOFTWARE FOR THE FALCON - PRESENT AND FUTURE
- or -
A BRIEF LOOK AT STUFF THAT IS OR WILL BE AVAILABLE
(WITH A LOOK AT A LOAD OF HARDWARE, TOO)
by Richard Karsmakers
In the previous issue of ST NEWS I've concentrated slightly on
the hardware side of things for the Falcon. I want to make up
possible deficiencies by including as much information as I've
been able to gain on software for the Falcon.
Compo is one of the companies that has supported Atari through
thick and thin. Their German and Dutch branches are very
enthusiastic about the future of the Falcon and they have already
released updated versions of their main two packages, "That's
Write 2" being one of them. It's an extensive word processor
package that, unlike "1st Word Plus", has been continually
improved and enhanced. It supports up to 20 different font,
graphics in the text, advanced Houghton and Mifflin correction
system, macros, index, list of contents, multiple columns and
With "1st Word Plus" being slightly too basic, "Protext" not
running with "MultiTOS" and "Le Redacteur" being only for about
75% compatible with this multi-tasking environment, "That's Write
2" seems to be a worthwhile investment.
Compo's database "That's Address 2" has been converted for
Falcon use, too. Again, though not as extensive as "Superbase
The most remarkable program by Compo, however, is "Musicom".
This is the already near-legendary hard-disk-recording system
that was demonstrated at the Falcon 'release' at the 1992
Düsseldorf Atari Messe. Apart from the obvious, such as direct
recording and playback of samples to and from hard disk, it also
allows an extensive range of manipulations to be inflicted on the
sound. These include digital delay, flanger, harmonizer and
karaoke (suppression of up to 80% of the vocals). All sounds can
of course be of CD quality, which makes this program an
interesting purchase for both the sound freak and the
professional musician. Priced at around 120 Dutch guildes, it's
very interesting indeed, I should say.
On the hardware field, Compo also has some interesting news.
What about an MS-DOS 286 emulator with a Norton factor of 12 (!)?
It will even support VGA with 16 or 256 colours when using
"Windows 3.x". This "Falconspeed" is already finished, with a
486-based emulator currently being developed. A price of about
400 Dutch guilders (about £160) is mentioned. It supports up to 8
Mb of memory.
Electronic Arts...well...I've slightly grown to dislike this
company. They were one of the first to dump the ST, way back in
1987 or something. Then they came back, only to leave us when
things were supposed not to be lucrative enough last year.
Apparently their programmers are too uncapable to make an ST
version of a game for which the Amiga version already exists -
something which should take one or two weeks, tops. Now they
appear to be back again, with Atari having commissioned them to
do "Deluxe Paint V" for the Falcon. If it's anything like the
Amiga version of "Deluxe Paint IV" with a sufficient amount of
knobs on, then I'm sure we're in for a treat!
I just hope that they'll do more stuff for the Falcon in the
future. Electronic Arts used to be a company that helped
computers grow (need I mention "Deluxe Paint", back in 1985 on
the Amiga?) - I hope they haven't forgotten all about it and that
they're willing to take some chances with the Falcon while it's
There's a rumour going around that "Deluxe Paint V" will be
bundled with the Falcon. These are denied by Atari Benelux,
though they can't comment on UK machines being bundled with the
package or not.
Jeff Minter, shoot-'em-up programmer extraordinaire, has already
been working on a true-colour Falcon game for aeons - or at least
since spring 1992. The title: "Llamazap". It's a significantly
and terrifically souped-up "Attack of the Mutant Camels", a game
some of you may still remember from the heyday of Commore 64 and
Atari 8-bit. I haven't seen much of it, but it promises to be
At the moment I'm not sure whether it will be shareware or not,
actually. I don't think so, and for Jeff's wallet's sake I hope
not for it might in the end turn out to give him some decent
funds for more shareware games in the future.
Nothing seen of their first game, "Space Junk", so far, but it's
been in the pipeline since the very beginning of the Falcon's
story. Press releases so far seem to put emphasis on the fact
that it has "100 digitized full-colour characters", whatever
that's supposed to mean. Let's hope it will not be just a load of
hype with zilch game-play. It's been described as '"Elite" meets
American company ICD has already acquired quite a bit of fame
with their various hard disk interfaces. They are designing a
small interface that should allow you to work with old ASCI hard
disks (such as the Atari Megafile series), something which is not
possible with the Falcon by default. If marketed at the
appropriate price (let's say about 25 quid or less), this thing
should sell massively for all those who would rather not chuck
their old hard disk out of the window (with my Megafile 60 I'm
one of those).
Marc Rosocha's Eclipse, well known from games like "Lethal
XCess" and "Stone Age", will release a 3D Space adventure game
called "Eclipse" (?!) and a drawing program not unlike
"Neochrome", which will be called "Eclipse Paint".
Most of the Atari stuff planned is already available. It was
already mentioned in the previous issue's "Fornicatingly Fabulous
Falcon" articles. I'd just like to add that I've seen most of it
demonstrated in the mean time. The games, like I already
suspected, are utter crap. They're not even very playable. The
sound stuff is nice enough to make a couple of laymen drool,
though. I also heard things of an additional audio package (a
demo version of a commercial program) being bundled as well, but
I don't know anything about that.
Together with a company called Brainstorm, they've done a DSP
Debugger, estimated to be available soon at $80. Developers are
using it already. Since there's plenty of DSP software around
already, it seems to be pretty OK.
Intergalactic Development (who did "Universal Military
Similator" I and II for Rainbird) is making them a 19th Century
London murder mystery. No Title Yet.
OverScan is a German company that has specialised in graphics
hardware bits for the last couple of years. It will come as no
surprise that they're doing graphics add-ons for the Falcon as
well. So far they've got three things coming up from their
"Falcon Genlock", which is estimated to cost about 700 German
marks, allows you to use the overlay bit to mix Falcon pictures
with genuine video-video. It's finished already, so I've heard,
and it's probably every video amateur's wet dream.
Another thing is called "Overlay", to set you back an estimated
200 German marks. It allows you to generate titles for videos,
including animation. It's at the moment in its demonstration
phase. I think I've actually seen it (there was nobody around to
confirm it, it just ran on a solitary Falcon) and it seems a bit
slowish. Text sortof headbangs itself across the screen when
Last but not least (but cheapest, at an estimated 150 German
marks) is a thing called "ScreenBlaster". It allows you to have
up to 256 colours when you're using either a Super-VGA monitor or
an extra add-on between you regular monitor and the Falcon with a
driver in the AUTO folder. Sounds interesting, though I doubt
whether, say, games manufacturers will do anything with it.
With a Super VGA monitor, the following screen resolutions and
screen refresh rates can be obtained: 640x480 (61 Hz), 800x600
(67 Hz), 880x600 (61 Hz) and 1152x832 (87 Hz interlaced).
More hardware to be expected from this German company. It's a
package called "MatDigiR", which is currently in development.
It's a video digitizer that makes use of the Falcon's true colour
facilities. Sounds very impressive. At the moment they've arrived
at two pictures per second, but they're working at a real-time
version (which sounds like heaven if you ask me). A price quoted
is 700 German marks - but it's unclear whether that's for a real-
time version of for a slower one.
Yep. Even more hardware - and a video digitizer as well. It's
called "VideoMaster" and it's a 4096-colour digitizer that's
finished already. Further details, such as price and the number
of screens per second, are not available.
Crazy Bits is one of many companies that have thrown themselves
on the art package market for the Falcon. No wonder, really, with
the machine offering such a reasonable amount of colours and
Anyway, their program will be called "Pixart". It's supposed to
be finished already, and I believe it even works on regular ST
systems. It can process .TIFF, .PCX, .IMG and .XIMG pictures, and
the press information quotes a very fast zoom function.
Digital Arts' program, "Didot Professional" has already been
demonstrated for something that seems like aeons - but that
actually means 'since june 1992'. Nothing more as known about it,
at least not to me.
Together with H3 Systems, Digital Arts have also done a program
called "DA's Vectors", which is a vector-based animation program
(images can be filled with .IMG, quoted from the press release -
whatever it may mean). Price to expect: About 300 German marks.
With a package like "Chagall", Trade It want to be the most
flexible around. The package works on the Falcon as well as
several other graphics boards, and can cope with up to 16
million colours (provided they are there and, I suppose, as long
as they are supported by VDI). Of course it can read .TIFF, .PCX
and .IMG. An estimated price tag can be expected to be around 670
Trade It will also do a program called "DigiTape", which sounds
very interesting. It's a multi-track digital recorder with echo
and hall, hard disk recording and a possibility to time code sync
with a videorecorder. Estimated price: 200 German marks.
Yes! More English products, indeed. Some of it was already
mentioned in passing in previous ST NEWS' Falcon article, but
more details are known now (not many, but some). First
there's a drawing program called "True Paint" and it's programmed
by the guy who did "Canvas". At the moment it's in its
demonstration phase. It's a drawing program that can work in true
colour mode, and supports .TGA and .TIFF formats. It also works
with "MultiTOS" and "SpeedoGDOS".
Some of you may know already that HiSoft is working together
with Oxxi Inc who now have the rights to the ST and Amiga
versions of "Superbase Professional". Version 3 of this program
should work on the Falcon, too, and version 4 is said to be
Existing HiSoft packages will be adapted to the Falcon, too.
These include "Wordflair 2", "Diamond Edge" (the hard disk backup
program), "Xboot III", "Lattice C" (version 5.5) and (!YES!)
This French company seems to have one of the most high-end
drawing programs available for the Falcon, called "Synthetic
Arts". Works with interlaced and non-interlaced modi, all
resolutions, the works. The specs are impressive.
With "Papillon", Application Systems seems to have a very strong
contender in the drawing programs market. For starters it's
already finished. Second, it works on all systems and the
Falcon's VGA mode. Third, it recognized .XIMG, "Doodle", "STAD",
"Degas", "NeoChrome", "MacPaint", "IFF" and "GIF" formats - which
seems like catering for each and every one's need! And the price
seems reasonable, too: A mere 200 German marks.
Yes. An Apple emulator is said to become available for the
Falcon soon, with the ability to outspeed even the highly
acclaimed Apple Quadra. Of course I'd first have to see it to
believe it, but it sounds hellishly impressive! It will be called
"Falcon GCR", with a supposed availability date in June ('93). It
will have to be connected to the Falcon's internal expansion
The French branch of popular consumer electronics producer JVC
will make software for the management of all audio/video systems
made by JVC. These, incidentally, is the sort of equipment the
master for the "ST NEWS International Christmas Coding Convention
Vid'" was edited and mixed on. It should be available soon, even
with a cut-down PD version!
Maxon, the German company responsible for example for the
"Scheibenkleister" books, will do a program called "DSP-MOO".
This will be an object-oriented modular development environment
for the DSP. Available any day now.
Audio friends, watch this company! It's a British company that
seems to want to make the most of the Falcon's audio qualities.
For starters they've made an interface, "A/D64X Audio Interface",
that allows you to record straight from your CD player via the
Hey! Wait a minute!
Can't the Falcon just have a CD player outlet plugged in the
microphone port, thus allowing the recording of any source,
You're right. But unfortunately you can only let the signal into
one of the 8 Falcon sound channels. This will suffice for most
needs, I reckon, but if it doesn't then you need this interface
which is in its demonstration face and about which no price
details are known.
They also have something called "4I/4O", another interface that
allows the recording/playback of 4 stereo channels through the
DSP port. It needs the "4T/FX" software, below. It beats me what
the actual difference between this package and the above one is.
Estimated price: $600.
But hold your horses. They've got even more.
"SPDIO" is a hardware thing, again for your DSP port. It's for
use with the "D2D-Edit" software (see below) for recording on
44.1 or 48 Khz (CD and DAT speeds respectively). Price: About
So far the hardware. D2D Systems have also written (or are
writing, or whatever) software to fully utilize this interface
(though it can also be used without the interface, although
somewhat limited of course).
First there's "4T/FX", which needs the "4I/4O" hardware.
Estimated price: $600. You surely need a lot of dosh to use this
stuff professionally. Anyway, it's always cheaper than the real
stuff they're using in studios that is $5000 or more.
Second, there's "D2D-Edit". It's a direct-to-disk recording and
editing package (disk = hard disk, of course). It's finished, and
should be available at $300.
This French company will soon release a program that sounds very
interesting indeed, by the name of "DSP Synth". It can read MIDI
files and that let the DSP play that music as if it were a
This German company has another rather interesting program on
sale, similar to "DSP Synth" mentioned above. It will be called
"Kurzweil Emulator", i.e. it will emulare a Kurzweil K2000 on the
Falcon. I believe this is a synthesizer.
Yes, professional (and semi-professional) music lovers, open
your gathered cavities to drool, for Steinberg will do an audio
version of "Cubase" - called "Cubase Audio". I think it's
needless to say what it can do for, obviously, everybody already
knows (and, more importantly, I don't).
By the way, "Cubase" version 3.1 already works on the Falcon,
too (on the contrary to older versions).
GfA Systemtechnik / GfA Data Media UK
Not much to say here. Some people are doing a "GfA Basic"
version 4.0 that will work on the Falcon and "MultiTOS" and
whatever other system you would care to shake a stick at. Good
news for all "GfA Basic" programmers (such as myself) who got fed
up with the old versions' incompatibilities.
This French company is doing Falcon versions of "Gobliiins" and
"Gobliiins II". These are both amusing fantasy mouse-driven
puzzle games, with the sequel allowing you to control two
goblins. Cocktel will also do "Ween: The Prophecy". This is a
fantasy graphic adventure.
Yes. Millenium also wished to have it made known that they are
designing some games. In the pipeline are "Daughter of Serpents"
(to be done by Eldritch Software), which is a spokky 1920's
Egyptian Mystery, and "Rome AD92" which is a game you have to
climb the Roman social ladder in, by any available means.
A version of "NVDI" for the Falcon will be released as well.
Especially 256-colour modi will be enhanced greatly. Bela is also
rumoured to have sortof a "Screenblaster" expansion forthcoming
on the Falcon, offering a much more stable (60 Hz or 80 Hz)
screen with a resolution of up to 8xx by 600 pixels with 256
colours. Price is rumoured to be around DM 120, and it's a simple
thing to be put between your Super VGA monitor and Falcon.
Another hardware bit. It's a thing called "Mighty Sonic 32",
which will be an external thing to your Falcon that will give you
a 68030 processor running at 32 Mhz, with space to plug in SIMMs
that allow your memory to be expanded up to 128 Mb. I wonder how
this can be made to work, but that's not my concern.
A price of around 1300 German marks is mentioned.
Although everybody is certainly waiting for a "Lemmings" game of
sorts to be released on the Falcon, nothing is known about that.
They will do games for the ST, though, of which the only one
heard of so far is "Innocent", which is (quote) an incredibly
user-friendly futuristic RPG.
Am I right in assuming the games market tends to be getting
slightly serious, what with lots of puzzle games and RPGs being
released and only one meagre vertical shoot-them-up?
Well. It'll have to do.
Although Atari say a couple of dozen of games should be
available for the Falcon by the end of the year, so far I've
heard little that could be called concrete. Some titles include
"Steel Talons" (by Koveos, first half of the year), "Raiden" (by
Imagitec, first half of the year; it's a vertical shoot-'em-up),
"Cyber Assault" (by Koveos, first half) and "Road Riot 4WD" (by
Images, first half too). To me it seems that Atari is putting to
use some of their licenses here - all I can hope for is that they
will be decently programmed. Reading these titles already gives
me a sour taste in my mouth - aren't these the same games that
were part of the "year of the Lynx, 1992", and didn't that year
fail to be what it was intended?
Anyway, some other games due for release on the Falcon
imminently are "Vroom II" (by Lankhor; allows up to four players
on screen at the same time), "Yuppie's Land" (by Eurosoft; said
to be something like the Sega Megadrive hit "Sonic the
Hedgehog"), "Humans" (Falcon version of "Dinolympics", by
Imagitec) and "The Chaos Engine" (yes, the prenatally legendary
Bitmap Brothers game)!
And that, as they say, is it. Keep your eyes open for more
Falcon software. Atari claims to have a total of almost 100
packages in development at various companies that should all be
finished by the end of this year. Let's keep our fingers crossed,
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.