As I was looking for good topics, a terrible question haunted me : as far
as I remembered I had NEVERread an interview of Defjam, Checkpoint's famous
brainblasting and asskicking coder !! Nay surely it couldn't be, I had to be
wrong... What followed was a messy shuffle thru my many floppies, looking for
earlier issues of UCM, Maggie or Toxic Mag leading to this conclusion : YES
there was NO interview of Defjam anywhere ! Never too late is a famous saying
so here we are again, bringing light into that well of darkness :)
STS : Hiya Carsten ! As usual I'll ask you to tell us about your name, age,
occupation, current status and whatever else you could find of any interest.
My name is Carsten, as introduced in the question. I'm 26 years old and
currently studying computer science - although I don't know if I will finish
(or better: continue) this study. Current status : depressed.
STS : Funnily enough I remember CHECKPOINT as a sudden new crew coming out
of nowhere and kicking ass right from the start ! Tell us how it started : had
you also coded on other machines before ? I can't believe you started so little
time ago, that seems so incredible !
My first computer was a 1040 STFM, bought in 1989 - short after the change in
East Germany. We paid only around 200 DM (that's about 100 Euro today) for the
1040 STFM including a SM124 monitor and a Seikosha printer. It was that cheap
because the so called 'Intershop' (shops in East Germany were you could buy
Western articles - but you had to pay in DM ofcourse) was sold out at that
Ohh .. I see I loose the focus on the question! ;)
Well, at that time (around 1989/90) a lot of people had Atari machines here
in Dresden. We had one of the sucessful shops (Dresdner Computer Center)
which was mainly Atari orientated. This shop got at least one time the award
'Atari trader of the year' by Atari Germany.
Ahh.. I just looked it up in some old ST-Computer issue (German Atari
magazine, still published) : July/August 1990, page 22 - there's a report
about the dude responsible for the Dresdner Computer Center. Again lost the
focus - naahh.
Ok, in 1989 I had my first computer - the mentioned Atari 1040 STFM. What to
do ? Mainly I and other people copied demos and games (Hello Mario M. !)
I started some very craaap stuff in monochrome using Omikron Basic (I still
have the disks with that shit !). In the middle of 1990 I stuck my nose into
68000 assembler (or at least tried to figure out how to play around with the
wonderful debugger 'Bugaboo' by r0,1 se pc=* and then took a look where's
the point why that fucking game can't be copied! ... hi again Mario! I still
have some originals from you (or is it only one?) :)
Message to everyone : Hacking and Cracking is for sure the best way to
UNDERSTAND assembly - this will help you in ANY assembly language. Well,
coding wise (around 91/92) I was still laming around, disassembling other
peoples code (I still can remember that I printed out 4-6 sheets of a
simple sprite-routine... ohh my, how incredible lame!! :)
In 1993, Juri (another Dresden'er - don't know what he is currently doing,
for sure he is actually stoned ... ;) and me attended the Friedbits I party
in Bremen. It was quite nice, although I felt a bit not at the right place
and was a bit shy. (still being in that state sometimes today).
My knownledge was just too little.. Mhh. There were also the Synergy guys,
I saw the stunning 3D routs by Rapido (whom I met again at the STNICCC 2000
and even showed him 'Suretrip' Wow! :) - 1993, that was before the Synergy
megademo was released, right ? Nevertheless, I also met Zanac of Synergy who
painted a logo for us (not a Checkpoint logo!).
After 1994 I tried to start coding 'seriously' - although my coding was still
STS : Then of course we'd like to know more about the birth of CHECKPOINT.
Who founded the crew, what was the member list ? Can you give us a short list
of members and prods ?
Difficult question. Don't know how it was 'founded'. :) When I remember right
it might have been around 1995 or so. I can only remember (if the brain works
partially right) that I've been at Norman's (No/Escape) place when Nils (505/
Checkpoint) asked me to enter the group. Voila ! Then we were 2 members !
Members at that time: 505, Defjam
Members I never knew of: Liebling (but who cares.. )
Later, humm.. year ? 1999 ? mOd (or mOdmate ? :) stumbled in. Which was
really great because know we had the best musician, the best graphician...
and the worst coder.
Today's memberlist might look like that :
* 505 ....musician
* Defjam ..codician
* JoeCool .. Hmmm? Don't know. Just to rise the amount of members ? Anyway
he's a very nice chap!
Prods ? ohhh.. mhhh.. not too much. Except for 505 who made tons of music for
other people too. And mOdmate who also made some graphics in the meantime.
I'll try the other pieces:
* 1996 : Drooling (32K-tro (Really too big in size), FireLinevector (the
* 1997 : THE fix of the Sid Sound Designer replayer - people, without me you
never had a 3 voices SSD player!! :)
> UCM-11 intro (1997 ?)
> Surprise kind of "Birth-tro" - done to celebrate the 30th birthday of
* 1998 : Modulation 2. Musiccompilation where I also made a lot of graphics
for(the GUI-gfx (except the GREAT Checkpoint logo by Moondog(now tSCc)))
* various 128-bytetros:
> Hunt4Fuji (Z-Rot-Zoomer with the Atari Fuji logo, considered as the best
128-bytetro by some people)
* 1999 :
* Error In Line I stuff:
> Invitation-intro (with graphics by NO & Spion of Escape, as well as
some lines of code by NO(rman)
> Suretrip : A bit bigger demo, with 2 fullscreens (fullscreen-tunnel
with sampled sound as well as 'Fire'-linevectors in fullscreen -
not the standard fullscreen stuff! ;) 1st place in the ST-demo compo
> Ruletime : Ascii-screen with a realtime Phong-Torus (routine ripped
from a Polish demo - sorry but the routine was too nice! :) placed in
the Wild-compo. Might be last place. Don't remember.
* ACM0001 : AfterCoverMagazine, since 505 missed the deadline for an
issue of UCM (don't remember which one) - but he wanted the articles to
be released, so I coded a little & poor shell (but it runs at least more
stable than the UCM one ! ;) and wrote some articles too (demo reviews
to be more precise)
* 2000: mmh. ??
* 2001: a screen for the DHS summer (or was it spring?) competition 1st place
(just one single point in front of the 2nd!) (1st time I made a Z-Rot-Zoomer
without Codemodification, the technique I used 1 year later in my Palm 4-ktro
* 2002: GBA-demo : 'We Are Armed.' for the Gbadev.org democompo. This demo
didn't even made it among the top 20 (which means it didn't got one single
vote from the jury :( But it was quite nice producing it, just after 2 weeks
coding in ARM-assembly.
democompo stuff : Palm-OS 4ktro : '4palmz' 1st place, 1st place overall
Palm-OS 256btro: 'Hurt4fuji' 1st place (based on the Atari
UMD8730 intro : I converted a part from 'Suretrip' for that damn cool intro of
that incredible music-compilation by PHF.
STS : You took us by surprise back in '99 as the first edition of Error In
Line was held. What's the story behind SURETRIP ? If I remember well you first
had decided to cancel your compo entry...
Well, do there have to be a story behind a demo ? Anyway, after being
depressive half a year before Eil'99, I dropped the demo. After all I finished
it just some days before the party and the final compilation was done just
during the party.
STS : What happened then ? We heard about a preview due to be shown at
STNICCC and maybe some attendants actually had the chance to catch a glance at
your next demo but... Nothing came out. Later your absence was to be noticed at
EIL2. Why ?
I didn't feel like attending Eil2. During that time I had my A-levels and was
again at a point that I felt like wasting to much time doing stuff on Atari. I
better had done much more for my A-levels which I really regret now. (after
all being the second best in the class ain't that bad, isn't it? ;) ...but
mainly due to a special elaboration I made for my A-levels (it's something
about reverse- engineering a development system for Z80 microprocessors...)
Although it's totally out of place here, greetings and thanks to Mrs. Riester,
without her I never had done that elaboration! :)
After all I regret a little bit not to take a little visit at Eil2. But hey,
time passes by.
STS : Does it mean that CHECKPOINT is dead ? Your last ST prod was a pretty
cool screen that made it second at the DHS Summer Compo but then Modmate said
he'd be inactive and if 505 went on, he mainly did it with other crews...
I don't know about the status. Just consider it as partially alive. btw, the
screen at the Dhs compo made the first place.
STS : Logically now I have to ask you about your latest demo, presumably
named Monostyle, Posh or god knows what :) Should we think of it as lost ?
Almost finished ? Still in the pipeline ?? We want to know !!! :)
There's still a lot of work to do. Some effects aren't linked into the demo.
I don't even know if I'll finish it to Eil3, because if I want to continue
my computer science studies I have to do much more for my studies. Otherwise
I am out of business here. My further live should get some more priority
than finishing some stupid computer demo, that are maybe a handful of people
are interested in, don't you agree ?
STS : For some time now, you've been coding on GBA or Palm. Do you think
there's a real challenge to face here ? Is it for fun or do you expect this
experience to give you a job opportunity, maybe ?
GBA is a cool device. Palm could have been cool too. Instead Palm-OS has some
major drawbacks. The only cool thing left about is the Motorola processor (the
latest models got an ARM processor) If you ever looked deeper in the OS code,
analyzed the senselessnes of systemfunctions, asked you why they use memory-
protection if you can override that with a simple systemcall (which IS in the
SDK!), asked you why the OS needs ~2 seconds just to set 256 colors (because
it remaps it's system default colors to the new palette, although it was not
asked to do so) I have never seen such a buggy operating system.
But it's nice to code on it anyway. Although most of the people do it in C.
Uhhh. Oh.. I missed the question once again! :) 'real challenge to face here'
- must there always be a challenge to face ? Did you ever heard of coding just
for fun ?
STS : Does your interest for other platforms imply that you think the ST
can't be pushed any further ? What about coding Falcon specific stuff ?
Some Atari people are just narrow minded. Don't -you- agree ? You can do
interesting stuff on any platform. 'ST can't be pushed any further' - what
a dull expression, sorry. Where do you want to push it ?
STS : Are you interested in the forthcoming Centurbo 060 ? Are you an ST
fan or an Atari fan ?
I have never been into the so called 'Atari-clones'. The whole concept behind
that reminds me to nowadays PCs too much, sorry. I prefer a 'fixed system'
with standards, just like the Atari ST. But anyway, if people are happy about
it - why not. I won't say it's crap because this prejudice is childish.
The Coldfire project could be a kicking project. Since Norman is one of the
people working on it! DoPe for the Atari-Coldfire? That would RULE! :)
STS : Can we expect to see you at Error In Line 3 ? I'm not even talking
about a party entry, just being there and talk with some friends ?
STS : Finally here comes our homecooked brainstorming. Feel in the blanks
with whatever comes to you.
D : Demos ... the only sense of computers
E : Emulators good for development+see cool stuff from other platforms
F : Fullscreens ... code generators rule for that!!
J : Japtro ... the funniest Atari ST demo ever
A : Atari ... What else? :)
M : Motorola ... wonderful name. the processor of my life.
C : Coding ... The faster the processors the lesser the Coding. ;)
H : Holocaust ... the best French demo-group (Japtro - incredible!!)
E : Earth ... wonderful planet with bad people
C : Cracking ... puzzling
K : KC-87 ... GDR's 8-bit homecomputer
P : Protection ... senseless. (esp. in demos)
O : Optimization ... doesn't mean precalculation!
I : Interrupt loader
N : New demo ... still in development
T : The Replicants ... always liked their intros.
STS : Okay ! Thanks for giving us some of your time to answer these
questions. Do you have final words for our readers ?
Never forget the old computers but also look forward in the future. Stay cool,
stay yourself. Mhh.. some questions missing?? favourite demos/games - not
interested in ? Anyway I'll mention it anyways...
* Fave demos (Atari ST)
The Synergy demo - espc. that damn cool 3D screen!
Flashback / TCB - strange scrolltext.
M-DEMOS / TCB
FlipO / Oxygene - although too bright colors, it rules!
Virtual Escape / Equinox
Tut! / Wildfire
Suretrip / Checkpoint .. sorry to add my own demo, but although many people
say it's crap, I like it. And that's important. :)
Anything by Holocaust (Japtro, Rising Force, Choice of Gods) The best
fullscreens on Atari ST.
Lametrop / Zuul - one of the wicked musics in a demo
* Fave demos (Atari Falcon)
Sonolumi...whatever / Avena, THE demo on F030. No one will ever beat it.
Hmmmm / Escape, the second best demo on F030. Although too many different
musics in the demo.
* Fave demos (other systems)
C-64: I simply like C-64 demos, esp. the so called 'newschool' ones
(for example:anything by Reflex(f.e. Mathematica,Nine)
or Smash-Designs(f.e. Second Reality C-64, the Triage series) )
PC: the 96-ktros from The Black Lotus from 1996/97 (Stash,Jizz) anything that
does NOT use accelerated 3D-shit
* Fave games (Atari ST)
Xenon II - the best shoot-em-up on Atari ST ever. Parallax scrolling,
Eliminator/Nebulus - THE games from 1988/89, but hey JMP did them!
Turrican I & II
Wings of Death & Lethal Xcess
Swiv - incredible cool game with loading during gameplay.
Match It! / Sokoban - maybe the one and only reason for having the 'Syntax
Terror' - demo by Delta Force