STGHOST / SECTOR
-------------------------- committed by STsurvivor ---------------------------
Foreword : in many crews there are wellknown members and less known ones which
doesn't imply any levels of talent... just fame and glory. ST Ghost is one of
these "shadow" men. He is the mastermind of Sector One : he doesn't code demos
fx, paint or compose msx. He codes what you _don't_ see most of the time. His
name rings more familiar now, especially to Falcon users who have been able to
enjoy MP3s for some months already thanks to him and Splash of Sector One.
sts : Hi ST Ghost ! Before we get into the real thing, could you tell us a bit
more about you : your real name and age, where your nickname comes from, what
machines you use and any other kind of interesting information.
stg : Hi ! My real name is Denis Huguet and i'm 24. My nickname has no kind
of special history, I took this nick because I loved (and still love) my first
ST... why ghost then ? well, I'm not sure to remember well, but it's probably
because I loved the movie called 'Ghostbusters' ;) My usual computer is a
CT1 Falcon with 14 megs, 3 scsi hds, a scsi cdrom and s scsi cdwriter and
a rgb screen that I've been using since 1985. I still have a 4Mo STE + a
megafile 030 running on a sm125 screen. And I still have my old STF which has
no more floppy drive and a broken keyboard (no 'E' key).
sts : what about your history ? If I'm not wrong, Hello and you are actually
the oldest members of Sector One, in other words you were members of SCT1 long
before the others. How did you join ? Did you work with other people before ?
stg : my history ? hmm... once upon a time, there was nothing but dinosaurs...
ehm, not that far ? ok ;) I've been using ataris since 1983, starting with a
800xl but i never did much on it, just some lame stuff in basic. Then I got a
STF in 1985 but I only began with GFA Basic in 1987, it was rather fun and
I kept on coding since then... I began asm in 1992, and that's when I've
joined Sector One along with Fred1 (well, he has left a long time ago now)
because there were mostly GFA experts and they wanted people that knew asm.
We didn't know that Sector One was nearly over then... There were so many
members ! As we were leaving far from other members, we kept on coding on
our side while most famous Sector One guys were leaving the scene. After a
while we were alone, and Fred1 wasn't doing much either... I was mostly
coding some lame music disks. Hello contacted me in 1995 as he heard from me
from a friend of my brother, and as he was a coder and he knew alot of people
I decided to take him in the 'crew'. And from Hello's contacts, a gfx guy
contacted us (in 1996 or 1997, i don't remember well), it was EdO. Then came
Dma-Sc and Exyl. And finally, Frost, Splash and Zerkman joined us.
sts : in the same line, did you meet the "ancient generation" members of Sector
One like Jedi and others ?
stg : I've only met then once a few months after joining the crew, it was at
the Crystal Summer Convention in the south of Paris. That also was my first
coding party ! We had great time at that party (except for an alarm trouble
on sunday (early) morning...).
sts : tell us about your work so far apart from FalcAmp. What utilities did you
create ? Any other ones in mind ?
stg : Well, I've mostly coded utilities since I'm on Atari... And especially
sound related stuff. I began with 9 music disks (probably still unknown ;)
Then I began the DBE Tracker in 1995 which was a rather big project for a
single coder. Then I did try video too with AVI030 (and also an Hades version)
before I heard of mpeg. I first heard of it with an article about a layer1
mpeg decoder for dsp in a french Atari magazine. The article stated that
layer 2 was impossible on Falcon. But later on, NoCrew released the great
MP2Audio. Then everybody said it was impossible to decode layer 3... And it
seemed to be a rather tough challenge ! But I wondered why nobody tried to use
both 030 & DSP to perform the decoding as no player was using this way. So
I began it in May 1998. I met Splash during a coding in February 1999, and you
probably know the rest ;) First, FalcAMP was just a TTP-based mp3 player...
But as I did a plugin system in my DBE Player for GEM, I've decided to reuse
this method in order to have the ability to add new fileformats later on
(like samples or soundtracks) but unfortunately, I've not enough free time
to do as much as I want.
sts : how difficult was the programming of FalcAmp ? What was SPLASH's part ?
What are the current features of the latest FalcAmp and what do you plan for
the future ?
stg : I still don't understand all the mathematics involved in mp3 but I know
what are the different stages of the decoder. MP3 was more tricky than layer2
as it was featuring a realtime Huffman decoder and some extra stages. I began
with a simple program that was parsing frames without performing any decoding
and then i added stages one by one. The Huffman stage is probably the one who
took most of my time. Splash has handled all the remaining stages on the DSP.
Without him, I think I'd still have no sound output in the player... Current
version features higher quality for those that have no external clock (now
using order 1 instead of 0 for interpolation) and is a bit faster, we're
still hunting some tricky bygs. I'm working on some features for the cast
plugin. My plans are to make new plugins but I don't have much time for this.
And Splash will "only" have to add joint-stereo after the soon coming release
of the plugins.
sts : what do you think of the current state of our Scene, generally speaking,
and of the French scene more particularly ?
stg : Atari scene is often quiet, but hopefully not because people are doing
nothing. There's still very good stuff, and there'll still be. That quietness
can seem boring to some people, but I'm very confident in the scene. The
French scene ? hmm, as quiet as the whole scene and with good stuff too... not
sts : what are your favourite demos, games and utilities on Ataris ?
stg : My favorite demo on Falcon is the Lost Blubb by Lazer. My favorite game
is Turrican II on STE. And my fave utilities are Devpac, Adebug and AtarIRC.
sts : are you interested in clones ? Accelerated machines ? Would you develop
on them ?
stg : unfortunately, all interesting clones are dying one by one :( The Phenix
looked great but has never been beyond the prototype stage... And the Milan II
won't even reach that stage it seems... What a pity ! Let's hope that the
ethernet interface by Mario Becroft will be finished at least ! With the CT060
Tempest and Eclipse boards, we'll get some parts of these clones with a 100%
falcon hardware compatibility ;)
sts : time for some brainstorming ! Here we go :
A : Arkanoid
B : Barbarian
C : Crystal castles
D : Deuteros
E : Elite II
F : FalcAMP ;oP
G : Goldrunner
H : Huffman (grrr)
I : IK+ ;)
J : Joint-Stereo...
K : Killing Impact
L : Leatherneck
M : Major motion
N : Nethack 3
O : Oops...
P : Phenix :(
Q : quake sucks !
R : Road runner
S : Stunt car
T : Turrican II
U : Utopia
V : Vroom
W : Wild wheels
X : xes (read it in a mirror ;)
Y : Yescrew ?
Z : Zany golf
sts : oki now do you have something you wanna say to our readers and to
Atarians all around ?
stg : keep faith in the scene !
sts : thanks a lot for the time you spent on this interview !
stg : time to go bed now... ;)