SOME 8-BIT DEMOS
Having got your Atari 800 emulator to run successfully, how about getting
some demos to run on it? Here, we take a look at a few, plucked seemingly at
random, from the many hundreds out there.
'Drunk Chessboard' by Infinity..
This is a true classic, by any stretch of the imagination, and is one of
those well-coded demos that shows up effectively, even on a slower emulated
version of an Atari 800.
The first part is expanding on variations of that zooming black and white
chequerboard thing so popular in many demos and acid-sponsored chess
tournaments. It goes wildly beyond the majority of tame zoomers, bringing in
many hair-raising screen splitting effects. There are two, or four separate
chessboard funka-delik activities, each going on separately in their own
portion of screen. Apparently impossible to replicate on a ST, as it uses
hardware found in the A800 custom chip for the screen splitting!
A little later, some coloured plain-shaded 3-D polygons prance around in
front of the chessboard. Then, the most gorgeous plasma curls in the
background, in the space where the black bits of the chessboard would
Inbetween those, are various 'melt-a-screen' single bitplane effects, to
break up the tension, before a coarse 'motion-blur' chessboard waltzes
Repeat, but make sure the effects get a little bit more involved and complex
each time, just to keep them guessing. And you have a winner on your hands!
Never has so much been done, with the concept of alternate black and white
squares, in such a small amount of diskspace!
'Te.Mod' by Satantronic..
SV2000 attenders, and smartly cased CT2 Falcon owners, Satantronic, have
quite a good track record on the 8-bitter. Apart from various games and
utilities, they have dabbled with the odd intro, but this is (so far) their
biggest and best on the Atari 800.
Again, this is coded pretty well, and makes a decent impression, even running
on my partial speed emulated A800.
A nice title screen gives way to graphically cool member logos, then the
first real effect, as squares randomly plonk on the screen, then dissolve
away. A sort of alka-seltzer concept headache relief screen? These join
together to trail snakelike around the screen. Then two, endlessly chasing
each others tails.
A more slowly building monochrome plasma/fire effect wavers onto the screen,
then a vivid 'FIRE' appears in the centre of the screen! All burnt up, as
highly mobile indicator bars for music I can't hear, stride swiftly left to
right and back again.
Suddenly, some very fullscreen and very nice plasma is up next, with a
twisting distorting grid pattern superimposed on top of it.
Next, some more purist blue plasma wavers, then a streaky yellowy pattern
follows that. This criscrosses and rejoins in countless different ways,
proving the 8-bitter has really got what it takes for the latest demos! A
more rippling reflective almost keftale styled purple screen is next up, then
back to ocean blue.
The plasma motif continues for quite a while, with many more variations on
the theme. This really is turning out to be the ultimate plasma demo work-
A great digitised babe concludes the section. All of the 256 colours are
used, I suspect! Then, a departure into more conventional territory, with
dot-spline patterns of increasing complexity against a black background. This
is one area where the emulator speed does not show up too well if you are
comparing with similar effects on a native ST or Falcon. These are a class of
effects that are technically accomplished, but running at half-speed, let's
face it, not too exciting to watch?
This is the conclusion of the demo, and there is an endscreen, which seems to
have gone slightly wrong, with almost legible text, and a piccy of a classic
figure clutching a sword ready to chop off the head of the next impertinent
diskmag reviewer who makes a comment in the wrong place!
Good clean stuff, another nice demo to introduce people to the pleasures of
8-Bit demo viewing.
'Carpe Demo' by Heaven..
This starts with a nice colourful series of title screens first. almost
rendered in feel, and a credit to the colourful abilities of the A800.
A further title screen. raster bars, and copying information follows.
Prodding an assortment of keys likely to provoke further movement brings up
the first 'real' action part of the demo, a series of shadebobs, reflected in
a blue border 'pool' below. With a fast and furious soundtrack, which I still
can't hear, denoted by the screen flashing in time?
That would seem to be all though, as a keypress too far, (F5 for soft reset)
kicks you right out, instead of loading the next bit.
A one-screen wonder, this one would seem to be?
'4ktro' by Heaven..
Yes, they like the smaller categories on here too, although on a ZX80, 4K
would have been a fully expanded machine's worth.
Characters '4096' on screen, which then dissolve fire-like, with its sister
letters 'Dentro', then a bunch of plus signs and credits, all meet the same
After being told to 'Enjoy', we get the full-screen burn-em-up treatment,
which is quite effective, even on the emulator, and probably running a treat
on a full-speed machine.
Cool, er, hot!
Ever so slowly fades away.. Then something altogether more, green? snakes
about onscreen, gradually building back up. Then splotches which splatter
then fade/dissolve, in yet another variation of the fire/feedback effect.
'Rotate' is next, which is the endpart to the demo, and a rotating
scrolltext, made up of large letters consisting of LED-style blobs. Not the
most clear way of delivering your message, as you can only see two or three
letters at a time! Still, it's the effort that counts!
For a 4Ktro, you certainly get your Euro's worth!
Sometime in the future, maybe we get to look at some more classic Atari 8-Bit
demos, with the help of a CT060, and an emulator proggy that is able to play
some POKEY without falling over.. Watch this space!
CiH - Alive! Mag, Oct '00..