Ok, apart from some new stuff being made for the Atari VCS, there are still
strong and promising life-signs for its slightly younger brother, the 6502-
based Atari 800 (or we're more correctly looking at the 130 XE.) this came
to us, courtesy of the Forever 2007 party, and was rather well received,
winning its competition category.
And back to earth, and to my Atari 800 emulator (Mac edition). After
figuring out exactly how this 'xex'file is intended to work (drag and drop
onto the main application,) we get to kick off with a lovely but all too
briefly seen loading screen. This may be intended as a prediction of the
moving and fully 3-D Aztec step pyramid to come.
There is a static and very blocky pixelled picture, introducing the demo,
which is sort of a vague landscape. What seems to be a bit of a mess
suddenly becomes more interesting when it starts to zoom in....
Keep going, keep going, and we arrive at an island, the vague feature now
fully realized, even with a small collection of buildings at the coastal
edge. A reflecting and rippling water surface mirrors back a suddenly
appearing spiny spinning thing and the background, and all at a reasonable
frame rate! This is possibly breaking some new ground for the XE series, if
any more expert Atari 8-bit scene watchers care to disagree with names and
dates, I'm willing to listen. This looks more like a CT60 scene than a
machine of that age has a right to look, albeit one rendered in 'Defjam-o-
There is another short calm interlude and another nicely drawn still piccy
to enjoy, briefly. never mind, you can take your time and get a good eyeful
of it here!
A more technical part of the demo follows next, the coder is in charge here.
A 3-D flat shaded solid polygon sierpinski pyramid can be found spinning
around. There is no fancy distracting background, just pure object, but such
a lot of it. There is a very drab and grey colourscheme to acccentuate the
no-nonesense nature, but you do get a nice light source effect.
There is more in the same vein, with a hollow cube made up of smaller cubes,
like an incomplete Rubik's cube spinning its stuff as well. Is this a sneaky
tribute to the Numen demo?
We come to the climax, with a Aztec or Mayan (or Inca or Toltec) - Stop
showing off! - South American history Ed! styled step pyramid shown against
a background of purple boiling clouds. This is something else normally only
seen on a higher spec machine. I am somehow reminded of a similar weather
system on the CT60 ' Traal' intro!
LaResistance show off the versatility of their 3-D engine by rotating the
camera view over and around the pyramid. Then with an outstanding
transformation display of a "where the f*ck did that come from!"variety, an
Easter Island Idol appears from the side of the screen. There is more
spinning around that. LaResistance aren't content to pillage inspiration
from the Southern hemisphere, as we also get a trip around the blocky arches
of Stonehenge to finish off this section.
We're kind of drawing near to the end, as there is a credits screen with
zooming chunky fractals. We find out who did what, namely pr0be(code, 3d
objects and scenes), powrooz(graphics), and born(music, 3d objects).
We are really at the end now, as the mountainscape at the beginning pulls
back out to where we started from, the music stops, and that is the end of
This demo certainly maintains the viability of the Atari 8-bit, even with
very newschool effects, some of which you would only expect to find on
systems like the CT60. We are told in no uncertain terms in the readme text,
that all effects are 100 percent realtime calculated, and pure 6502 power.
The frame rate seems to hold up reasonably well, whilst it is never going to
be a syrupy-smooth 50 frames/sec, it is good enough for this demo, and the
overall pacing fits together nicely. Of course there is music, with a decent
bashing given to the POKEY chip, and the occasional pop and crackle coming
from my emulated version.
Conclusion.. I'd consider this a timely addition to the long and
distinguished roll of honour for cool Atari 8-bit demos.
A good feel for design, nicely put together, "thematic elements"!
Some lovely still graphics.
Ah, the kick-ass coding, nearly forgot to mention it!
Some parts not out of place on an '060 machine, (if a tad chunky..)
Too short. (An old favourite for this section!)
Its not Numen (but that would be very hard to beat!)
But not a lot else to quibble about, so we'll leave it there..
CiH,for Alive Mag,April '07.