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Alive 13
kRadD's Adventures

Noise 2006

        After ages of waiting, Eastern 2006 finally came closer and 
        after considering visiting Breakpoint (which is only 30 km away 
        from my hometown Wiesbaden) I decided to travel the 1300 km to 
        Kosice instead.

        All I needed were some fellows who where willing to join me on 
        that trip, since travelling 1300 km on your own is not much fun 
        at all. Travelling by plane was no option, because it would mean 
        a major cut down to my travelling gear. Anyway, in the end twh 
        agreed to join me. We both were quite surprised, that our route 
        planner told us, that our journey will take us to Vienna and 
        Budapest. We though that we will travel through Czech Republic 
        to Bratislava and then finally to Kosice. After studying the map 
        a little bit, I found out, that Slovakia looks like Switzerland. 
        What the Alps are in Switzerland is called "Karpaten" in 
        Slovakia, but that is a minor difference I think. Well because 
        most Highways in Slovakia are still "to be built", there's no 
        fast route from Bratislava to Kosice and we had to use the 
        Hungarian highways instead.

Wiesbaden, Germany

        Tuesday 13th of April 2006

        Putting all the stuff together for the party was not much of a
        problem, because everything was already boxed. After merely one
        hour of packing and not to forget smoking :) I left. My first
        stop was KFC and a supermarket, which consumed another hour, so
        I left Wiesbaden at about 3 PM and found myself caught in a
        traffic jam. Nice! This added another 15 minutes to my travel
        time, but there was still more to come. I lost another hour
        while passing the "Spessart" hills near Wuerzburg, but finally
        around 9 PM I arrived at twh's flat in Munich, which meant 417
        km were already done.

Munich, Germany

        Friday 14th of April 2006

        I woke up at about 5.30 AM and we managed to get all our stuff 
        into the car within approximately one hour. So we left Munich at 
        about 6.30 AM.

Linz, Austria

        Friday 14th of April 2006

        Was it because of the fresh air? Was it because of the
        exhausting travel? Who knows? Just after entering Austria, we
        became hungry like wolves and were desperately looking for a
        McD. Too bad we missed one in Salzburg, since there seemed to be
        no other one along our route. So we were quite relieved to find
        an IKEA shop near the highway cross at Linz. We feared it would
        be closed for a religious holiday but much to our surprise we
        could see people entering the shop. So our empty stomachs made
        us leave the highway and we entered the famous IKEA restaurant.

        Unfortunately the great Swedish meatballs we were hoping for 
        were only served from 11 AM onwards and the clock just showed 10 
        AM, so we decided to take the breakfast menu instead. It turned 
        out to be a cool decision, and we enjoyed the breakfast very 
        much. Afterwards I used the time to buy some furniture at IKEA. 
        At that point, it was already worth to travel the 1300 km to 
        Noise instead of the 30 km to Breakpoint, because I haven't had 
        time to spend at furniture shopping for ages. Maybe that's a new 
        kind of commercial Atari party travelling. Something like: "Have 
        fun, meet a lot of ATARIans, and go shopping during the travel!"

Vienna, Austria

        Friday, 14th of April 2006

        We decided to take a small detour, in order to give Vienna a
        short visit. It was nice to see the city, and if we would have
        had more time, maybe we would have stopped somewhere since the
        city looked quite inviting. While driving through the city we
        passed a big and beautiful palace, and learned that it was
        called "Schoenbrunn Palace" from a sign we discovered shortly
        afterwards anyway it was time to get back en-route, so we had to
        postpone a closer inspection of Vienna.

Hegyeshalom, Hungary

        Friday, 14th of April 2006

        At the Hungarian Border we had the great idea to change 15 Euro 
        to Hungary Forint. I still have all the money. What about a 
        party in Hungary? :)

Budapest, Hungary

        Friday, 14th of April 2006

        Twh bought a map of Hungary at an Austrian highway shop, but
        despite of that we immediately got lost in Budapest. So we had
        the oppurtinity to pass 5 of the 7 bridges of Budapest crossing
        the river "Donau". We also passed a sign that told us to visit
        the main Budapest fortress. Because we had already lost another
        hour, I said "next time". But then twh had to find a restroom
        (this way at least he could spend some 50 Forint :-). Since we
        accidentally found the right street, and the fortress was quite
        near, we changed our mind and gave it a visit. In the end it was
        really nice and we had a look at the nice scenery of Budapest
        and once again, we saw all bridges we crossed so far :-)

        After we left the fortress and crossed another bridge, we were 
        really sure to be back en-route. At one junction where we only 
        had to go straight, we double-checked the map, and found 
        something that looked like a shortcut to us. So we left our safe 
        route. Well, what can I say? Suddenly all traffic signs 
        disappeared. Damn! I told twh who managed the driving since the 
        Hungary border that we could take any direction, since somewhere 
        we will hit the highway if we don't cross any bridge again! Just 
        as predicted, we hit the highway half an hour later and we were 
        really happy to have passed Budapest heading to Godvllv (nice 
        name :-).

Miskolsc, Hungary

        Friday, 14th of April 2006

        In Miskolsc we left the highway, and found ourselves on a small
        countryside road while the sun had set for ages. It was pitch
        black outside and twh couldn't resist telling tales about some
        people in Hungary who stop cars at night, and do strange things
        to them, not to mention the passengers. I have to admit it was a
        little bit frightening. However nothing happened and after some
        time we reached a traffic jam consisting mostly of trucks, which
        could only mean one thing: We were close to the Slovakian
        border. Luckily a Slovakian driver passed the queue of trucks on
        the other lane and we decided to tail him. Without that car, we
        may have waited for hours.

Kosice, Slovakia

        Friday, 14th of April 2006

        The distance to Kosice was about 20 km from the border. Despite 
        the fact that the Noise organisers put very nice maps on their 
        webpage, we had trouble to find the right "highway exit" to the 
        party location. When we finally arrived at the local crematorium 
        we decided to turn and drove a little bit around, until we found 
        the right suburb. 

        We were 100% sure, that the location had to be 100 m south of
        us, but we couldn't find the right street to get there. All
        streets were crowded with parking vehicles and besides it was
        pitch black outside. After trying almost all possible streets we
        decided to call the organizers. What can I say? They managed to
        pick us up and awkwardly enough it turned out that we simply had
        to use the only street we hadn't tried so far. ;)

        So with 800 km and 14.5 hours spent on the road we arrived at 
        the party location around 9:00 PM. It had been a little 
        adventure to drive through Hungary and Slovakia in the dark, but 
        it was well worth the trip, because we saw a lot of interesting 
        things. Perhaps more important, remember that I bought some IKEA 
        furniture for my flat! :)

        At this part I expect most people have already fallen asleep
        from reading this party report, so we better try to wake em up
        and talk about the party instead of travelling :)


        The party location was a local sport complex surrounded by huge 
        blocks of flats, so you only faced concrete while standing 
        outside for a smoke. Not the tiniest bit of green was to be seen 
        outside. However on the inside everything looked really cool. 
        The infrastructure was great. Proper toilets, showers, a kitchen 
        with cups for everbody, a sports hall, where you could 
        play any kind of sports (i.e. football, tennis, basketball etc), 
        a huge sleeping room with a beamer, and of course the party room 
        with enough space for about 50 people. Our first action on 
        arrival was to sign the guest list. Since we got there quite 
        late, we were no. 16 and 17 on the list. Later there would be a 
        total of 20 names on it. The other visitors were: Satantronic, 
        Mikro, Bohdan, Jan / Jaysoft, Bob!k, Zdenek from ATARI Club 
        Prostejov, Baggio and Deez from Evolution, Sedma and four guys 
        from Poland (I remember Vulgar and Gustaw). Anyway, afterwards 
        we got our name batches and a free Noise t-shirt!

        Though it was already quite late, I immediately build up my
        falcon and started coding on my team tap falcon multiplayer Tron
        game. I made good progress but at about 2 AM, I finally went to

        Saturday, 16th of April 2006 

        After waking up, and some coding I heard, that our Czech friends 
        were planning to visit Kosice and we quickly decided to join 
        them. I also asked Baggio and Deez of Evolution if they wanted 
        to accompany us, and so we ended up meeting at a public parking 
        place in the middle of Kosice. After teaming up we invaded the 
        main street. Bob!k joined the gang of foreigners while the rest 
        of the Czech had some very extreme sightseeing.

        Twh and me still were looking for some breakfast, while the
        Evolution guys were lucky enough having theirs at the hotel
        already. However there was one minor obstacle to overcome first.
        We had to get some Slovakian money. Unfortunately the first
        cashpoint didn't accept any of our cards, even though it said it
        would. Maybe (for sure :-) because it was an Austrian bank :-)
        The next one (a Czech bank) did the job, and I said: "Let's have
        a thousand (Slovakian) crowns or so!" Hey, what a cool feeling!

        Now since we were equipped with money, we started looking for a 
        café, but because of Easter most of the shops, pubs and cafes 
        were closed. We finally found a restaurant inside the only 
        "real" warehouse (a Tesco) at the main street.

        Inside we learned that nobody from the service personal could
        understand us and vice versa. Lucky enough for us, it seems the
        Slovakian language is similar to the Czech one, and so we
        managed to get each of us a pancake and a cappuccino with help
        of Bob!k. In the end we had a nice breakfast.

        Now since we were equipped with money our stomachs were filled, 
        we wanted to have a closer look at the city of Kosice. The 
        shopping street is attractive with nice houses, but I have to 
        say that I had expected more. Unfortunately the main tourist 
        attraction a tower was closed, and so we had no chance to watch 
        the city from above. Before returning to the party location we 
        made a halt at the local supermarket and bought the most 
        important party accessories: "Chips, beer and vodka."

        Right after our return to the party place, the multijoy
        competition started. We played "Shoot em all up" with the
        multijoy16 adapter on a ATARI 8 Bit. It's hard to control your
        player because of the timing, but it always makes a lot of fun
        to play with 16 persons simultaneously. I did well and scored a
        good 2nd place in the first round, and a 5th place in the second
        round. The son of XI won the first round and Jan won the second
        round. They both got a mp3 player, a cup and a nice ATARI.SK t-

        But the compos where far from finished. The organizers presented 
        a screenshots and the people had to guess the name of the 
        corresponding game. The first who found the right name got a 
        point. I did quite well again, but again some others performed 
        much better. I think I named games like Eliminator, Nebulus and 
        some other. In the end Vulgar won the competition. However the 
        compo was very funny and I hope the idea will be picked up and 
        improved at other parties in the future.

        Afterwards some people with a never ending demand for food
        (guess who :-) ordered some king-size pizza. Just when they
        finished it, the organizers announced, that there is a
        reservation for bowling and free food for everyone. At the
        bowling centre, we could find a well styled sideboard. At the
        end most of the food was bundled so that we could eat it on
        Sunday. Only one guy was angry about himself, the one who just
        had a pizza :-) The food and the bowling were included in the
        entrance fee, but the drinks were to pay. I'm quite sure that
        the pub earned enough money on the drinks.

        To be honest, bowling is not my favourite game, so Baggio, Deez 
        and me talked a lot while the others had much fun hitting pins 
        with heavy balls, or was it the other way around? Anyway when 
        the tournament started I was really lucky that it didn't made 
        the last place. Surprisingly baggio had the second best score 
        and since XI, who made most points was one of the organisers he 
        named baggio as the winner of the bowling compo. The 1st price 
        was a bowling sphere signed by the other combatants. Nice idea!

        We went back to the party place a bit later, just to find 3 of
        the Polish guys leaving the party to return back home. What a
        pity, since I had no time to talk to them, the only remaining
        Polish guy named Gustaw was very friendly but he didn't speak
        German or English, so communication was a bit difficult.

        I spent the rest of the day coding, while the normal party 
        continued as usual with videos, supermarket visits and stuff 
        like that.

        Sunday, 16th of April 2006

        After I woke up, I quickly fixed a problem within my game which
        had cost me endless hours on Saturday. Sometimes you only need a
        bit of sleep to be able to compile a playable version again, so
        better don't worry and keep drinking :) however we succeeded at
        playing the game with 8 players.

        Next element of the schedule were the official compos. The real 
        time coding compo was amazing, aim of the compo was to write a 
        code snippet that displays white rectangles on a black 
        background. Astonishingly the code length differed only 3 bytes 
        between 8 and 32 bit version. In the end Bob!k's Atari 8bit 
        version won the competition.

        The mxplay skin of Jan was also nice, as well as the new version
        of mxplay which was presented by micro/mystic bytes. The gfx and
        music entries were fine, so even with few entries, real
        competition feeling could be felt.

        Finally the master discipline was about to come up, the demo 
        compo. Seeing "Supernatural" by Evolution was worth the trip 
        alone. Can't describe how great it was to see this kind of demo 
        on an Atari computer. And if you consider that it has been done 
        in a hurry and that deez had to use slow routines and 16 bit 
        textures you can imagine there is more to come in the future.

        After the competitions, I demonstrated my game again. I also
        spoke a bit about LUA, the language the game was written in.
        Then Gustaw demonstrated the last Jaguar release called "Bomb
        Squad", which was released at the previous Euro-JagFest in
        Germany. Only a few people had seen it before. I had to play a
        round against the son of XI and lost it, damn! ... Noch ein Bier

        When the competitions were over, it was time to relax, and the 
        folks started watching ATARI Videos. All the releases from the 
        forever party were shown. We had a great time while watching the 

        In the meantime the vote sheets were counted and a bit later the
        results were announced. Gustaw the only remaining guy from
        Poland had to collect the prizes for his absent friends.
        Evolution won the overall competition, because they scored most
        points of all entries. Their prize was a 17" TFT. Lotek Style
        won the mod competition, so I also had to carry something in
        order to bring him the prices.

        Considering the long journey back home, we decided it was about 
        bedtime :)

        Monday, 17th of April 2006

        At 4.30 AM twh woke me up and we packed our gear and left the
        party place. The evening before we were afraid, that no gas
        station would be opened, since we heard, that such things could
        happen in Belgium or the Netherlands (the organizers told us,
        that it happened to them on their way back from Outline). Anyway
        nothing like that happened in Slovakia. We found a gas station
        and after refuelling nothing could stop us anymore.

Budapest, Hungary

        Monday, 17th of April 2006

        This time we didn't get lost in Budapest. Of course we crossed 
        another bridge, perhaps it was number 6 but after only 20 
        minutes we left Budapest behind us.

Salzburg, Austria

        Monday, 17th of April 2006

        Again we became hungry. Even with most aggressive search
        strategies we were unable to find the McD in Salzburg, which we
        had spotted there 3 days ago. We tried again and again to find
        one in the neighbourhood of the other IKEA shop, but it was
        closed. So we changed our plan, and decided to find a McD in
        Germany instead.

Bad Reichenhall,


        Monday, 17th of April 2006

        We could not spot a sign indicating a burger restaurant, but we 
        were so hungry, that we took the first highway exit right after 
        the German border. Much to our surprise we found us directly in 
        front of a Burger King. This made us wonder why there were no 
        big advertisements on the highway side. Perhaps the reason is 
        that a large Burger King sign would not blend too well into the 
        fantastic Bavarian landscape. :)

Munich, Germany

        Monday, 17th of April 2006

        We unloaded all of twh's stuff after we arrived at his flat at
        around 5 PM. We realized that we are really old farts, since we
        were talking about such essential things like: "How much is it
        to bring your shirts to a laundry" or likewise. In former times,
        we got out of the car, and discussed ways on how to save a few
        CPU cycles in an inner loop or such. Well, I guess times are
        changing :-)

Wiesbaden, Germany

        Monday, 17th of April 2006

        After leaving Munich, I still had to drive about 5 hours. I 
        finally arrived at 22.30 PM in Wiesbaden. The trip and the party 
        were extremely cool. But I was glad to be at home again.

Lessons learned

        - There are as many IKEA restaurants as McD. on the way to a

        - Combining IKEA shopping with a ATARI party is a brilliant

        - Hungary should spend more money in installing traffic signs in

        - If there are not that many people at a party, you have more
          time to talk to each of them.

        - If you sit in a car driving around in a Slovakian city with
          two German, two Swedish and 1 Czech Atari fan, while listening
          to French punk music, you know that being European is great

        - Combining 8 Bit and Falcon is the right thing.

                                     kRadD and twh for Alive, 2006-04-17

Alive 13