ZERKMAN / SECTOR
---------------------------- tortured by Stsurvivor ---------------------------
Foreword : first he was known as the mad guy with a broken leg who attented the
PMP party... Then as CD-labman... Shortly after that, he put his mental balance
at stake on a 1500kms long ride with STS to Gdansk... Is he crazy ???? No, he's
only French :) Say hi to Zerkman of Sector One.
sts : hi Zerkman ! No surprise here as we start with the usual presentation :
who are you, how old, where does your nickname come from, what machines do you
use and that kind of stuff...
Well, hi, my name is Fran‡ois Galea. I'm 24, and I really don't know exactly
where my stupid nickname comes from. In fact, I used to code stupid stuff in
Applesoft Basic on my good old Apple //e, and my code was such crap that I
couldn't take the risk to code under my real name, so I choosed to use a nick-
name, and I chose "Zerkman". In fact, I never swapped anything on the Apple 2
Let's go with the machines I've got : I've got an Atari STF with 2.5 MB of
ram, a Falcon equipped with a ct1 accelerator, FPU, 14 Megs of Ram, and a 1.7
GB hard disk. I've also got another Falcon, equipped with a ct2, 16+4 megs of
ram, and the same hard disk as the other Falcon. I've also got a 15" SVGA
monitor, a RGB SC1425 monitor, a Zip drive, a 12x cdrom drive, 4 CD recorders,
including 2 of them which can be considered as being out of order, a 1GB SCSI
hard disk, a Canon BJ10 printer, a Portfolio with several memory cards and a
parallel port, and also a PC laptop which I mostly use for my studies and
internet access, all of this under Linux, of course.
sts : what's your history in our small world ? You joined Sector One about a
year ago I think, but you were already doing things before, right ?
Yeah, that's true ! (hehe, I'm sure you were waiting for this anwser, weren't
you ? ;p ) Well, as I already told you, I started coding some crap stuff on
Apple 2, my "biggest" projects were a bank account manager, and a program for
making my brother practice his English irregular verbs ... What a hell, just
imagine me at 2 A.M, typing stuff like : 12040 data "begin","began","begun"
and all of this for each verb... Argh ! And my brother still doesn't know his
irregular verbs ! ;-) I started to adapt it to the German verbs, but there
are about 300 of them, so I gave up ! :)
Then, in June 1989, I bought my first Atari, a 520 STF, 3 months before the
STE went out, btw :-/ ... I started coding stuff in ST Basic, and I trashed
this crap as soon as I discovered GFA Basic.
Some friends of mine, Fredo, Morloc, Xbios, and I created TGG (The Gnomes
Group), our first demo group. Fredo was a graphician, and the 3 others were
coders. Fredo, Morloc and I were in the same school, and we were communicating
with Xbios via Rtel, a minitel server. Morloc and I used to code GFA lame demo
stuff, and I never knew what Xbios was exactly doing, except that he was
running the STACC RTC minitel server.
I started learning assembler in 1990, and I quickly coded my first scrolltext.
I never released any ST demoscreen. In fact, I'm really bad at design, so I
mostly copied effects from other demos, so no interest in releasing them.
Morloc and I lost contact with the others, thus we decided to create another
2-member demo crew, which was called IPL7. Morloc changed his nickname to
Celeborn, and began to code some pretty good quality GFA stuff. I coded
several ST effects, which were never released, due to a lack of originality.
In fact, I'm only good at coding technical stuff, I'm bad at everything else,
especially design ;-). I also coded utilities for myself, like an anti-virus
boot sector, and a minitel graphics editor.
I lost contact with Celeborn, and I started coding alone, mostly utilities.
I coded a screen expander for ST, which allowed you to work in 320x240 lowres
or 640x240 midres, by removing the lower border of the screen. GEM was working
perfectly in this enhanced mode. The only problem was that the floppy accesses
made the lower border blink. So, I gave up the developement of this program.
In 1993, I borrowed a brand new Falcon to my computer club, and I immediately
fell in love (it's a way of speaking, ok ?) with it. I quickly discovered its
screen resolution expansion possibilities, but at this time, I was using a
SM124 monochrome monitor, so I coded "SM Blaster", a tool for enhancing the
screen res ... only in monochrome mode ;-).
Then, I coded Videl Inside, which was the colour version of SM Blaster. With
a bunch of other Falcon developers, we founded Trisomic Development, which was
a crew only made of utilities coders ! The members were : Kor, Pozzi, SoniX
and me at the beginning, then Melkor and Soyuz joined us. Kor was a specialist
in picture file formats, so he coded several picture viewers, and melted all
of them in his famous Alpha viewer. Pozzi had started a GEM library, but never
finished it, SoniX never did anything I can remember, Melkor coded the famous
Dirty Sound Studio, then left us in order to paticipate to the development of
Studio Son. Soyuz was the ghost member of Triso Dev, I both never saw him and
never saw any of his prods ;-). There's another member, but I can't remember
his name or his nickname ... Shame on me.
Trisomic Development turned into another 2-member crew, with only Kor and me.
Then, Kor bought his Alpha station and left his Falcon activities. Then, in
April 2000, I joined Sector One.
sts : what have you been working on so far and what are your projects ? I know
about some of them, but tell us what is not secret :)
Well, I started a lot of never finished projects, like a gfx/zik/code ripper,
several graphical libraries, lots of demo effects ... I also coded stuff for
my own, with no great interest really.
All the stuff I actually released was coded on Falcon : SM Blaster, Videl
Inside 1 and 2, a 3D effect in Adrenaline's O-tentyk demo, CDLab, and I think
At the moment, I'm still working on CDLab, a CD recording program, and I'm
experiencing some ST demo effect coding. It's definitely so much fun !
I'd like CDLab to become a really complete tool, which means that a lot of
work still needs to be done. I'm also thinking about a newer version of Videl
Inside, but for the moment, I'm lacking time for that.
sts : Sector One is now the last big French Atari crew : you have released
games, utils, demos. I'd like to know a bit more about the current activities
of the crew and of their members
Well, what could I say... Splash and StGhost are still hard working on FalcAmp,
Hello is having fun with his PC, Exyl codes ST stuff when he's not working for
his school, Frost shares his free time between his Amiga and his Falcon, and
concerning Edo and Dma, I don't really know. We're passing through a quiet
period at the moment.
sts : I heard that you were crazy enough to travel to Gdansk in my... erm STS's
car !! Is it true ? Then you would be the first and only person who survived
that long with sts ! Can you still sleep at night ?
You seem to be very well informed ;-)
It was really difficult, but very interesting experience. I'm glad to be still
alive, and when I manage to sleep, I often dream I'm in a Volkswagen Polo,
whose driver is a hairy monster, and a Mr Potato lays on the back seat.
sts : btw, what about joining me for another ride soon ? :)
Well, I need to get advice from my psychotherapist first.
sts : since we know you wrote CD-lab which is a CD driver for Falcon, maybe you
are interested in new machines or accelerated cards ? I mean how many Falcon
users actually have a CDrom ? Are you waiting for clones ?
Well, I'm really interested in new cards, although I'm afraid they reduce the
compatibility between the different configurations. It's cool to have a fast
Falcon, but if you can't run Falcon demos or games on it, it's a pity...
In the other hand, accelerators and new motherboards prevent our small Atari
world from disappearing, and motivate developers to go on working on the
machine they like. Thus, I'm really interested in the Centurbo 060 and Tempest
projects, and I'm very sad to know the Milan 2 will never be available.
Concerning CDrom drives, I'd say 99% of Falcon users actually own one ... ;-)
I'm not expecting any clone to be released one day, but if one of them gets
released, it would be really good news, and I'd be glad to buy it !
sts : name your favourite games and/or demos on Ataris. Feel free to add some
comments regarding your selection.
Wow ... very difficult to answer, you know... Here is a non-exhaustive list of
my favourite games :
- Bubble Bobble
- Xenon 2
- Wings of Death
- Lethal Excess
- The Chaos Engine
- Speedball 1 and 2
- Arkanoid Revenge of Doh
- Stardust (one of the only STE games available)
- Dungeon Master
- Chaos Strikes Back
- Ultima 5
- Ishar 1,2 and 3
My favourite ST demos :
- The Cuddly Demos / TCB (definitely the best ever)
- Just Buggin' / ACF
- Ooh Crickey Wot a Scorcher / TLB
- Dark Side of the Spoon / ULM
- Syntax Terror / Delta Force
- Punish Your Machine / Delta Force and others
- Flipo / Diamond Design + Oxygene
- Garcimore aime les moules / Fantasy
- Y'a des moules dans le RER / Fantasy
- Garcimore 2 rire / Fantasy
- A l'aube du matin du soir / Atrocity
- No Cooper / 1984 (a very innovative one)
- Phaleon / NeXT and others
My favourite Falcon demos :
- Lost Blubb / Lazer
- EKO System / EKO
- The Most Wanted / Scarface
- Sonoluminescenz / Avena
sts : bing! bing! Hey Mister Magic Mushroom ! It's time for the brainstorming
thing. Simply name one word starting with each letter mentioned below :
A : err... Atari ?
B : Belette
C : Cannibal Corpse (2 words, ok... btw, their latest live album is EXCELLENT!)
D : Deftones
E : Entombed
F : Falcon
G : Grass
H : Holland
I : In
J : Jsoiduqoilkjdtqesd
K : Kronenbourg
L : Linux
M : Motörhead
N : Navy
O : Ozzy
P : People
Q : Quake (sux)
R : Rustique (le)
S : SOD
T : The
U : Utrecht
V : Village
W : Woohoo (errm ... :-/)
X : Xylophone
Y : YMCA
Z : Zerkman
sts : done ! Before we put an end to this interview, would you like to add
something and/or send some messages ? Then use the opportunity !
- Well, I'd like to thank all those who read this interview ! Thanks for your
exemplary courage !
- Special message to Elrix, and all the members of 1984 : Go to the STNICCC
party in december, or you will be cursed during at least 3 generations !
- Special message to Exyl, who has broken his knee, exactly the same way I
broke mine : Good luck for your recovery ! I know it hurts, but it's cool to be
taken care of !
sts : thanks for the time you gave us. Let's hope Sector One can bring us more
cool thingies in a near future (you know what I'm talking about :).