We're taking the emulator challenge!
It's been a lazy few months, followed by a busy few weeks. I've finally
started to get my contributions to Alive into shape, and in the dying days
before Xmas, I'm getting there at last.
Now one of the challenges I set myself was to see how far I could go with
making Alive without an original machine. So why is this? Well for one thing,
I remember wearing out a keyboard on my CT60 Falcon doing the editing and
formatting for my Alive issue 13 stuff! I've got a nice replacement keyboard,
thanks very much, but I'm getting more aware of the age of my tribe of Atari
hardware, and getting a bit protective of them from over-use.
Also, the main MacOS Atari emulator, Hatari, has been getting more
interesting. In this issue, we even get to see a pre-release CVS build beta
with Falcon 030 emulation included in action! Yes, at last, the emulator holy
grail is in sight at last!
So I decided to take a closer look at Hatari, which I considered an
interesting toy, and place of first resort to try out new ST-based downloads,
but not in general use as a serious tool. My process of creation for Alive
was split evenly between the Mac and my Falcon. The Mac for initial text
creation, and the Falcon for final editing, formatting, and preparation of
screengrabs. This time I decided to see if I could do it all between the Mac
It has been generally ok, once I worked out the quirks of Hatari. The
facility for extended GEM modes was a big help for tasks like text editing.
even gave GGN's Kolour Tagger a spin, which worked nicely on here too. I
still resorted to the Falcon for one article, the 'Imponance' Ascii cartoon,
as the keyboard mapping on Hatari isn't quite right, or set up incorrectly,
and has some missing keys.
The process of sorting out screengrabs came from a combination of grabbing
from a variety of sources. The Mac has its own screengrabber built into the
'Preview' picture displayer. The 'Gimp' image processing and painting package
came in useful to scale and resize pictures, and Imagecopy in Hatari was used
to make the final Alive shell friendly Degas images.
The Alive test shell runs under Hatari, and this is the final frontier to
cross, but it seems that it is possible to avoid using an original machine at
(almost) every stage of article creation. I'd still be more comfortable with
the slightly saggy-keyed certainties and comforts of the Falcon though, so
maybe a return to old methods is on the cards for the next time.
And what is coming forth from this issue? Well there's no really big breaking
news, but lots of small to medium sized snippets of interest. A Jagfest
report from the wild north, a sample chapter from the "Epic" (as in delayed
game from Digital Image Design sense of the word!) History of the Atari demo
scene. There is the first look at a working Falcon 030 emulation, more from
the world of the Enterprise 128, a bit of a zombie theme in the books and
movies department, and more!
And some other people, (Hi GGN, Cyclone!) have written some stuff as well.
What more can I say, but enjoy!
There's one last little thing, I found this random image on Pouet, and I'm
putting it in here, because I like it!
Ok, that is really it for this time!
CiH, Dec '06.