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Alive 14
The Shrine
                                 by LaResistance

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-
Vision'(chunky style!)

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
the demo.

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..)
Nicely brisk-paced.

Negatives ..
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.
Alive 14