with Cooper /
cxt: Hi Cooper, most people will recognize you from the IRC channels #atariscne
and #atari.fr also your real name (Nicolas Hettinger) in no secret anymore. Last
not least people might have seen your picture in the "horror show" at DHS :) or
they could have read your interview in Alive Issue 4, which is now two years
old. I guess a lot of things have changes since 2002, so what's new?
Cooper: I'm 22 years old now (one of the younger Atari users nowadays, no? :)),
and I have finished my studies in computing sciences. I'm a lazy GFA coder, more
interested in doing fun little games than brain blasting demos (maybe mostly
because I am lacking the knowledge how to do them :)). However I'm still a
hardcore Atari fan :)
cxt: You live approximately 100 km from the German border, and your name doesn't
sound too French at all. Do you know anything about its origin?
Cooper: Sure, my name comes from a town called "Hettange" which is located in
France (about 50 km far from Nancy), and my name means "the man who comes from
cxt: I see, we've got something very similar here in Germany. And I am sure most
of you heard of a "Hamburger", "Berliner" or "Frankfurter" :) Since I grew up in
a city called "Hattingen" people could have called me a "Hattinger" during that
cxt: You surely can't live from what you earn as a lazy GFA coder :), so what is
your current profession?
Cooper: I'm not working atm (I'm on holidays :D), but I plan to do a training
course to work as a driving-licence teacher (far from computers, but computing
is just a hobby for me now :))
cxt: Well your education seems to be a good investment anyways, since most of
today's cars come with more "computers" onboard than you will find in an average
sceners flat :) In addition to that I heard that the amount of Software used in
state of the art cars exceeds the capacity of a CD already.
Cooper: Perhaps there will be games or demos in our cars tomorrow, who knows? :)
cxt: Last time you weren't to fond about the ST Scene in general and said
something like the French ST scene was asleep. I guess things have changed a lot
since then. You seem to be a frequent guest at #atari.fr and lots of sceners
have become friends. How do you feel today about the French scene, do you still
think it is sleeping?
Cooper: Since the last time, I went to several parties, in France, or even
abroad (EIL3, or the great Outline 2004 :D). I met really nice people, from
several groups (MJJ-Prod, or others), and after some chats and several beer, my
point of view really changed. The French scene is in a rebirth mood I think, as
many old crews (Cerebral Vortex for example, hi GT Turbo!) or old coders (hi
Tobe :) are back. Anyway I'm a bit sad that great groups like Sector One are
cxt: What makes you think that Sector One is dying? Ok EDO took a timeout, but
he is still around here and there. And most sceners get back one or the other
way after some time. Deun and Frost seem to be pretty active too, not to mention
DMA SC who is doing one SID after another.
Cooper: The majority of Sector One members have other activities (like Zerkman,
Exyl, ...), I had a chat with EDO, he doesn't seems very motivated to go on
pixeling. The only "survivors" are ST Ghost and Dma-Sc, but I'm pretty sure they
will join Dune one day :) It's easy to see that they are dying too. Just check
the Sct1's member list, and count how many are around, IRC-wise or BBS-wise...
Beside Frost is planning to sell his Falcon ;)
cxt: That's bad news indeed, but even without one falcon he still owns an
impressive hardware collection :) He bought a Pegasos some weeks ago, so I don't
think he will quit the scene, and we won't spread rumours here :)
Cooper: Hehe, sure, and like real coders say: "ST is enough" :)
cxt: Can you define the term "real coder" ;)?
Cooper: To me, a real coder is someone who is able to write a nice ASM proggy,
which he actually understands :)
cxt: LOL, I always thought you have to know what you are doing before you start
to code :) Anyway, we all know you are coding in GFA BASIC, but I read somewhere
you started to learn ASM too. When will we see your 1st ASM program?
Cooper: I must admit I had a brilliant teacher (Nerve :)) but ASM is not for me
(for the moment). I like to see the result immediately, and I'm not good at
thinking with data/address registers, and so on. I can release my little
scrolling screen, but I doubt it would be of any interest for anyone :) and
perhaps I'm too lazy to launch the assembler each time ;)
cxt: I have heard there are solutions for these speed issues. Ages ago a German
guy coded the Turbo Assembler, you can test your program within the blink of an
eye I really like that feature, and I wouldn't like to swap it for anything else
Cooper: Hmmm, interesting, perhaps it's time to dig out my good old .s files :)
cxt: The scroller you were talking of, was it just to learn ASM or was it
thought to be part of a bigger project?
Cooper: It was only to learn ASM, no project was planned at this time. It was
really interesting, and it featured useful hints (loading the picture,
displaying it, moves, loops in ASM and so on) to put it in a nut shell, the
basics of ASM :)
cxt: Including the basics of Gemdos it seems :) What happened to your plan to
convert this CPC game called "Rally 3000"?
Cooper: I haven't thought about it since the last time to be honest. No preview,
no code done... when I think about it, the aim of the goal wasn't very
original... perhaps one night I'll do it just for fun, but these days I have
more appealing projects :)
cxt: I was about to ask about them, so tell me more :)
Cooper: Something called 'Pooz' for example :)
cxt: Yes you joined forces with Exocet, STS and DMA-SC to create a conversion of
a really nice game. I heard it was planned that Schemantix should do the music,
how comes that he was replaced by DMA-SC?
Cooper: Scheme disappeared with his tunes, so I turned my hopes in Dma-SCs
direction ;) Some time ago, before Pooz, we planned to do a little music disk,
with original tunes by Scheme (10 tunes). Code was done, but I never heard about
the ziks anymore...
cxt: This kind of figures, maybe he is still busy with his Super Cars II
conversion for STE :)
cxt:With two graphics artist onboard progress should be rapid I guess :) At
least in the old days missing graphics was the main reason for delay, beside
lazy coders of course :)
Cooper: Yes, I'm a lucky man with this project (2 gfxmen for 1 game :)) but
there are other constraints: holidays and hardware problems (on my side).
cxt: Since you own several ST(E) machines I guess you have issues with your
Cooper: I love my falcon, but to be honest I think CT2 is a bit shitty... speed
is ok, but I have many troubles with solders, or instability of the whole thing.
The previous user has also done many modifications to it. Beside that, I am in
desperate need of a hard disk for my STE.
cxt: Unreliable hardware is something I would never work on, it sucks to loose
work because of random system crashes. And for the harddisk: It should be pretty
easy to collect one from ebay for 10-20 EUR.
Cooper: ebay is like the lottery: sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.. and
postage costs are really expensive for such equipment.
cxt: Hehe, maybe one of our readers has still some ancient Megafile or something
like that gathering dust at the attic :). It seems you don't like ebay too much.
Despite of that, you seem to own a little collection of classic computers (at
least several STEs a CT2 and an Amiga), where did you get them from? Local flea
Cooper: I bought all my spare STEs from some friends and I found my Falcy thanks
to DHS BBS :) And my original STE is a gift from 1989's Santa Claus :)
cxt: Was the STE your 1st computer?
Cooper: Yes, it was my first computer, and I used it almost everyday until 2000
(unfortunately, I had to buy a PC for my studies).
cxt: You mentioned Pooz earlier. The game itself will be covered in another
article in this issue. How is the cooperation inside the development team?
Cooper: We have many discussions regarding the design of the game it takes time
to have the same style in all the screens when there are 2 gfxmen with their own
style. Exocet has a Nintendo-style, and STS has a Cannibal Corpse one :)
cxt: Exocet has surely developed his very own style, especially his dithering
technique looks like nothing I have seen in any Nintendo game so far :)
Cooper: That's the problem ;)) his gfx are really colourful, like kids games :)
but I'm really impressed by his dithering technique.
cxt: Well Pooz is not really 18-rated or would you recommend it for grown ups
Cooper: The aim of the game is a bit like Tetris: 1 minute to understand the
goal and a lifetime to achieve the ultimate hi-score :) It's really a game for
any kind of person, but I doubt it would interest kids.
cxt: Beside Exocet often uses cute figures and puts them into situations that
are not really suitable for little kids :)
Cooper: I see what you mean ;)
cxt: Wouldn't it be possible to avoid the design discussions by letting one guy
paint the surrounding graphics while the other one does the in-game stuff?
Cooper: I don't think that will be necessary since I noticed STS can adapt his
work to many styles (look at his entry in the DHS compo, with the Bubble Bobble
cxt: Pooz is not your 1st game. You did Manga Puzzler before which can be
downloaded from the Paradize homepage. Are there any other games you have
Cooper: That's the only one. I've several projects almost finished, but I'm not
pleased with either the graphics or the rules. Or the games aren't original
enough. Releasing a 157987547th Arkanoid clone is no fun for me :)
cxt: Its pretty hard to come up with something original these days, isn't it?
Cooper: Cooper: yes, but I have some sources to find great concepts :)
cxt: Which leads to the inevitable question: Where do you get your inspiration
Cooper: Yep :) I often look to the Flash games on the internet, and also in the
Game Boy or Game Boy Advance game collection many Chinese games have great
cxt: GBA? Sounds like you were either a puzzle or beat em up fanatic :)
Cooper: Yes :) Puzzles can easily be done in GFA ;) same for Flash.
cxt: Apart from implementation questions, what is your favourite game genre?
Maybe you can name some of your favourite games too.
Cooper: 2D fighting (Street Fighter ...), sport (Virtua Tennis 2 on Dreamcast
:)), action games (Wario Ware on GBA, which HAS TO BE done on ST!), and of
course puzzle and adventure games (Maupiti Island, Cruise for a Corpse ...)
cxt: It sounds like you own several consoles beside your computers.
Cooper: I only have a Dreamcast. A bit outdated, but there are really nice games
on it. I'm not on the consoles trip, I can't find the same feeling than with old
ST games for example
cxt: The Dreamcast is a cool machine, it was lightyears ahead of the other ones
when it came out. What about the GBA?
Cooper: I only have the emulator, because I read somewhere about the great Wario
Ware... I had to try it :)
cxt: I guess, well we better don't get any deeper into that :) But since you
mentioned Emulators, what do you think about ST(E) Emulators, do you use them
for coding or something else?
Cooper: Mmmh, yes ;) I often use STEem to watch the latest releases. If it's
great for my taste, I create a real floppy with the stuff on it. I tried one
time to code with STEem but it was real nightmare to use the PC keyboard (I'm
addicted to the ST keyboard for special characters) and STEem is slower than my
real hardware (my pc is getting old) but it's really useful when I need to use
an Atari application.
cxt: Ok lets go for the last challenge, I am sure you have already waited for
it? The ultimate Alive Brainstorming Test :)
Cooper: Yeahhh :)
cxt: This time we won't use your Nick, that's far too easy ...
Cooper: Sh*t :)
cxt: Paradize would be ok, but it is to short, so lets use your real name:
Cooper: Wow this is a REAL challenge :)
cxt: Since you already know the game, just shoot, you have got 30 seconds :)
Cooper: ok :)
N: Natframe (I love this tool on my falcon :))
I: Internet (nice to gather all the Atari lovers)
C: Cooper (coder of Cybernoid II)
O: Outline 2004, a great party
L: I hope I'll never be one: a Lamer
A: Atari, what else ;)
S: State of the Art (the best Amiga demo IMHO)
H: Docteur H, the GFA Master (hi Tobe ;))
E: Eclipse (Software Design) rules
T: Terminal fuckup :)
T: Thalion (No second Prize could have been better ;))
I: IF (written thousands of times in my source codes
N: Nick/TCB (the impressive coder)
G: Gfxman (what I wanted to do, but I'm not good at pixeling :))
E: Always Experiment in your life!
R: Reservoir Gods, I *love* your games ;)
cxt: Wow, that was hardly 30 minutes ;) and you got them all :) Impressive!
Cooper: Hehe :) really hard to find ;)
cxt: Now the "feel-free-to-say-anything" part occurs, I am pretty sure you
remember it from the last time, so if you have anything to say to the world, do
Cooper: I wish to thank everybody who motivated me code-, or hardware-wise, and
may Alive and the Atari scene live for a long time!
cxt: Thanks, for this live IRC interview, we will feed it into our random talk
generator to get a streamlined version for the next issue :)