News Team Current issue History Online Support Download Forum @Pouet

01 - 02 - SE - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06 - 07 - 08 - 09 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14

Alive 5
                        When The Saints Go Marching In
                           - Test of SainT v1.00b -

    Atari ST... these words sound like magic for us.  Most of us have discovered
computers with the ST. All around the world, the ST was famous for its games and
MIDI applications.  Now, it is commercially dead but people still love using it.
And what about the demos, these finely optimized pieces of code  which  push the
physical limits of the machine to the extreme? Nowadays, we must admit there are
PCs everywhere, but it is time for the ST to come back!

    If  you have one of those powerful but crappy computers called PCs, you have
surely used an emulator, haven't you? On Kro$oft's platforms, the two best Atari
ST emulators are STeem and SainT.  One  is  not  better than the other: they are
complementary and not competitors.

    SainT version 1.00b is available since June 2002.  It has been tested on two
different computers:

    1/ PC with Windows 2000
       Pentium-III processor running at 700 MHz
       192 MB of RAM
       GeForce 2 graphic card

    2/ PC with Windows XP
       Pentium-III processor running at 1.2 GHz
       256 MB of RAM
       NVIDIA Riva TNT2 graphic card


    SainT  is  coded  by  James  Boulton  (alias  JimB)  and Arnaud Carre (alias
Leonard/OXYGENE). This software is totally freeware. SainT is more than an Atari
emulator. According to  its  author,  it  is  a  demo-oriented  emulator.  SainT
requires  at  least  a Pentium-II PC at 233 Mhz with a basic 3D card. It runs on
every Windows version and needs DirectX8.

    In  this version 1.00b, ZIP archives are treated as directories. In general,
the STE sounds are well played. Thanks to the choice between STFM  and  STE,  we
can see the demos which do not work on our "true" STs.

    On  the  other hand, the F11 (reset) and F12 (menu) keys are too much close.
SID-voice musics aren't played very well and they are unbearable  for  my  ears.
Moreover, fullscreens often slow down the musics.


    When  you run SainT for the first time, it checks if DirectX8 is present and
it asks if you prefer fullscreen or windowed-mode.

Disk Menu:
    Here  you  can  select the directory containing disk images. Each disk image
    can be inserted into A: (B: isn't supported in this version).

    You  can  choose  the  rendering mode.  SainT supports the GPU rendering but
    every graphic card doesn't support DirectX8.1 dynamic textures. For example,
    GPU rendering slows down the GeForce 2, but it runs very well  on  a  NVIDIA
    In  the  options  screen, it's also possible to choose the ST type (STFM  or
    STE), the amount of memory (up to 2 MB) and the drive  speed.  The  joystick
    and the sound can be configured as well.

    For  the  moment, you can only save a screen shot and record an YM music. In
    future versions, you will be able to record a movie.

    You go back to the emulation.

    Well, that's obvious... isn't it? ;-)


    I've  not  tested *all* the demos, of course (I'm not that crazy).  I've put
the  Supremacy's  ST  Anthology CDs and I've choosen some well-known demos. Note
that some demos need a patch (e.g. Dark Side of  the  Spoon)  in  order  to  run
perfectly with SainT.

These demos run very well:

    Beyond Deadline
    Blood (synchro problems with some fullscreens)
    Cuddly Demos - the fullscreens are great!
    Dark Side of the Spoon (you need a patch)
    If Pigs could fly
    Japtro (synchro problems with vertical scrollings)
    Just Buggin'
    Life is a Bitch (Gigatex's Ak-screen doesn't work)
    Mindbomb Demo
    Ooh Crickey wot a Scorcher (I've not tested all the screens)
    Pete Megademo (except the STE screens)
    Snork Demo (I've not tested all the screens)
    Sowatt (STF mode only)
    Synergy Megademo
    Things not to do
    Vodka Demo

These demos don't run correctly:

    Anomaly Demo
    Bad Taste
    BIG Demo
    Brain Damage (due to STE video hardware?)
    Brutal Techno Demo 1 (SainT has crashed!)
    European Demos
    Froggies over the Fence (freezes when depacking the main menu)
    Humeur Vitree (it hangs on during the first fullscreen)
    Knockin' on Krystal's Door (it hangs on after the first screen)
    Punish your Machine
    Relapse (doesn't recognizes the STE mode)
    Syntax Terror
    Ventura (the intro is OK but choosing a screen is impossible)
    White Spirit

I've also tested a few games, even if STeem  is  more  appropriate  to  play  ST
games. These ones run correctly with SainT (non exhaustive list, of course):

    Jim Power
    Lemmings 2
    Parasol Stars
    Rainbow Islands
    Saint Dragon
    Wings of Death
    Xenon 2

Note: STE games such as Sleepwalker don't work yet.


    To  conclude,  SainT is an ST demo emulator for the purists who wish to find
the feelings of the ST: noise of the floppy disk drive, overscan,  only  8  MHz,
neither saving nor restoration of the memory...

    For the next versions, I think the STE emulator must be improved.  It  would
be  cool  to  save  and  restore  the memory, because restarting a game from the
beginning is a real pain sometimes.

    Some links:

    Download SainT:
    Atari forum with emulator section:

                                              By Strider/Supremacy on June 2002.
                        I've used my Portfolio as a notepad for this article :-)

Alive 5