Various Good Reasons to get a CT60
Now this article needs an advance apology before I get started. As it is
about the CT60, this is a 'minority interest' article, for people actually
getting, or thinking hard about Rodolphe Czuba's CT60 Falcy super booster.
So hardcore ST fans, 4 Meg 'purist' Falcon owners, and Oliver 'Tempest' Heun
had better look away now, and find something else to read instead. Sorry
For the rest of you, this little article may hopefully reinforce your
justification to get a CT60, not that you really needed to do that in the
So why get a CT60? It's lovely to have a faster Falcy, but some of you may
be wondering if all there is out there for it, is lonely hours playing with
your GEM-Bench to see how many hundreds of times faster you are than a 1985-
era, bog-standard, yellowing with age, STFM. I hope to show you what else is
The most immediate and obvious gain will be the enhanced responsiveness of
your GEM or GEM compatible desktop and apps. To take an example close to
home, using the Jinnee desktop on a standard Falcon isn't the quickest
experience in the world. There is a respectable pause, the sort of pause
where you could fit in a quick coughing fit, before a new window opens. With
a CT60, you could move around, almost before you even thought about it!
So this is not such big news by itself, but then you take it with some GEM
apps, and see the difference now. Everyone has their own favourite, I would
say that Smurf, rather good right now, would be feckin' brilliant with an
'060 pushing from behind! This uber-chip would be particularly good for
processor-intensive tasks, such as rendering, without having to wait several
beard-lengths for an end result. Just remember to go for the one with the
built in MMU though.
A key area which will benefit from a massive speed jump would be the Atari
users experience of the internet and the world wide web in particular. The
browser front-end would feature fast, virtually realtime, page formatting
and image decoding. If High Wire ever makes it out properly (see elsewhere
this issue) we may see the ultimate web solution for the Falcon. As it is,
the CT60 would still be good with later versions of CAB. All we need now is
a fast connection, as the only remaining bottleneck is the upper 56k limit
on a standard modem! Ultimately, if someone out there is working on it, the
CT60 means things like Java can be realised decently as well.
Didier Mequignon, the author of the fantastic 'Aniplayer', is featured on
the CT60 developers list. This means that Aniplayer is going to get CT60
specific code. So we can expect to see major improvements in such areas as
video playback. We should see proper replay of MPEG video with audio, and
newer formats such as Real Video, currently not supported. Best of all,
Aniplayer will get decently quick MP3 encoding! Never will it be easier to
make cheesy tunes that everyone can enjoy!
There is more interest in the area of games than I might have expected, the
news here is encouraging. For instance, the mighty Reservoir Gods, hot from
their successful return to Atari game making are on that same CT60
developers list, promising CT60 versions of their latest games, such as Chu
Chu Rocket and Godpee. Maybe there will be something a bit more advanced, in
a third dimensional sense, that reflects their current high console coding
There is more to see on the developers list, a 'Universal Motor Racing
Simulator' is promised by one chap. There is of course, Nature's long
awaited 'Reekin' Rubber' which has got stalled, but may well restart again.
Even Deez has some sort of game in the pipeline.
Those GEM games could do with a closer look. I think that Holger Weet's GEM
version of the classic space game 'Elite' would run a lot lot quicker, with
as many colours as you liked.
Then there's Patrice Mandin's ports. He's been a little bit busy on an Atari
version of the PC bore's favourite, 'Quake'. I think that this might stand a
better chance of running decently on a CT60. Then there are other game
ports, such as Descent, which may appear someday?
One of the most cheering entries on the developers list, top coder Norman
Feske. A 'successor' to Whip! has been mentioned!
Of course, one of the prime reason for interest in the CT60, is the vastly
increased scope for demo creation. Lots of people get their names in at this
point, DHS come to mind for some reason, Escape again, Deez again, and even
a CT60 version of the famous French 'Odd Stuff' demo! This is probably one
of the most controversial reasons for taking up a CT60, as many people will
argue that demo coders should seek to 'break the limits' on their existing
limited hardware, but spoil their case by complaining but doing buggerall
If anyone can be bothered, there is vastly increased opportunities for
emulation of other systems, a personal favourite reason of mine! One example
of a good, well realised emulation which really needs a lot more power than
most current Atari 16/32 bit machines can provide, is Petr Stehlik's Atari
800 emulator. This emulation is technically amazing, and able to run the
majority of Atari 8-bit demos, including many of the cool productions that
we saw at the SV2000 party. At CT60 speed, we would get it at something like
the speed it would run at in real life!
This means access to a whole other world of cool productions. Other
emulations of classic systems could be produced. Patrice Mandin has forever
been talking about a SNES port. Maybe this will happen now? Could there be a
follow-up to Godboy? Or could the notoriously tricky STemboy GEM-based
Gameboy emulator be made to work with the CT60?
So, in an attempt to round-off this badly researched, hastily written
article, a CT60 is not just about blowing out GEM Bench, printing out the
results, and showing them in saddo fashion to your sceptical PC owning
compadres, it's about a new era of useful and entertaining real world
software as well!
IN A FUTURE ISSUE OF ALIVE! - A comprehensive review of the CT60, from first
fitting, to final flourish!
CiH- For Alive! - Jan '02