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 6


As I was looking for good topics, a terrible question haunted me : as far
as I remembered I had NEVERread an  interview of Defjam, Checkpoint's famous
brainblasting and  asskicking coder !! Nay surely it couldn't be, I had to be
wrong... What followed was a messy shuffle thru my many floppies, looking for
earlier issues of UCM, Maggie or Toxic  Mag leading to  this conclusion : YES
there was NO interview of Defjam anywhere ! Never too late is a famous saying
so here we are again, bringing light into that well of darkness :)

STS : Hiya Carsten ! As usual I'll ask you to tell us about your name, age,
occupation, current status and whatever else you could find of any interest.

 My name is  Carsten, as  introduced  in the  question. I'm 26 years  old and
 currently studying computer science - although I don't know if I will finish
 (or better: continue) this study. Current status : depressed.

STS : Funnily enough I  remember CHECKPOINT as a sudden new crew coming out
of nowhere and kicking ass right from the start ! Tell  us how it started : had
you also coded on other machines before ? I can't believe you started so little
time ago, that seems so incredible !

 My first computer was a 1040 STFM, bought in 1989 - short after  the change in
 East Germany. We paid only around 200 DM (that's about 100 Euro today) for the
 1040 STFM including a SM124 monitor and a Seikosha  printer. It was that cheap
 because  the so called 'Intershop' (shops in  East Germany  were you could buy
 Western articles - but  you had to  pay in DM  ofcourse) was sold  out at that

 Ohh .. I see I loose the focus on the question!  ;)

 Well, at that time (around 1989/90) a lot of people  had Atari machines here
 in  Dresden. We had  one of  the sucessful  shops (Dresdner Computer Center)
 which was mainly Atari orientated. This shop got at least one time the award
 'Atari trader of the year' by Atari Germany.

 Ahh.. I just  looked it  up in some  old ST-Computer  issue  (German  Atari
 magazine, still published) : July/August  1990, page  22 - there's a report
 about the dude responsible for the Dresdner Computer Center. Again lost the
 focus - naahh.

 Ok, in 1989 I had my first computer - the mentioned Atari 1040 STFM. What to
 do ? Mainly I  and other  people copied demos  and  games (Hello Mario M. !)
 I started some very craaap  stuff in monochrome using Omikron Basic (I still
 have the disks with that shit !). In the middle of 1990 I stuck my nose into
 68000 assembler (or at least tried to figure out how to play around with the
 wonderful debugger 'Bugaboo'  by r0,1 se pc=*  and then  took a look where's
 the point why that fucking game can't be copied! ... hi again Mario! I still
 have some originals from you (or is it only one?) :)

 Message  to everyone : Hacking and  Cracking  is for sure the  best way to
 UNDERSTAND assembly - this will help you  in ANY assembly language.  Well,
 coding wise (around 91/92) I was still laming around, disassembling  other
 peoples code (I  still can  remember  that I  printed  out 4-6 sheets of a
 simple sprite-routine...  ohh my, how incredible lame!! :)

 In 1993, Juri (another  Dresden'er - don't know  what he is currently doing,
 for sure he is actually stoned ... ;)  and me attended the Friedbits I party
 in Bremen.  It was quite nice, although I felt a bit  not at the right place
 and was a bit shy. (still being in that state sometimes today).

 My knownledge was just too little.. Mhh.  There  were also the Synergy guys,
 I saw the stunning 3D  routs by Rapido (whom I met again at the STNICCC 2000
 and even showed him 'Suretrip'  Wow!  :) - 1993, that was before the Synergy
 megademo was released, right ? Nevertheless, I also met Zanac of Synergy who
 painted a logo for us (not a Checkpoint logo!).

 After 1994 I tried to start coding 'seriously' - although my coding was still
 quite rubbish.

STS : Then of course we'd like to know more about the birth of CHECKPOINT.
Who founded the crew, what was the member list ? Can you give us a short list
of members and prods ?

 Difficult question. Don't know how it was 'founded'. :)  When I remember right
 it might have been around 1995 or so.  I can only remember (if the brain works
 partially right) that I've been at  Norman's (No/Escape) place when Nils (505/
 Checkpoint) asked  me to  enter the  group.  Voila ! Then we  were 2 members !
 Members at that time:  505, Defjam
 Members I never knew of:  Liebling (but who cares.. )

 Later, humm.. year ? 1999 ?  mOd (or mOdmate ? :) stumbled  in. Which  was
 really great because know we had the best musician, the best graphician...
 and the worst coder.

 Today's memberlist might look like that :
 * 505 ....musician
 * mOdmate..graphician
 * Defjam  ..codician
 * JoeCool  .. Hmmm? Don't know. Just to rise the amount of members ? Anyway
   he's a very nice chap!

 Prods ? ohhh.. mhhh..  not too much. Except for 505 who made tons of music for
 other people too. And mOdmate who also made some graphics in the meantime.

 I'll try the other pieces:

 * 1996 : Drooling  (32K-tro  (Really too big in size),  FireLinevector (the

 * 1997 : THE fix of the Sid Sound Designer replayer - people, without me you
   never had a 3 voices SSD player!!  :)
        > UCM-11 intro (1997 ?)
        > Surprise kind of "Birth-tro" - done to celebrate the 30th birthday of

 * 1998 : Modulation 2. Musiccompilation where I also made a lot of graphics
    for(the GUI-gfx (except the GREAT Checkpoint logo by Moondog(now tSCc)))

 * various 128-bytetros:

     > Hunt4Fuji (Z-Rot-Zoomer with the Atari Fuji logo, considered as the best
       128-bytetro by some people)
     > Stars
     > Somethinglikeaplasmatunnel

 * 1999 :

     * Error In Line I stuff:
       > Invitation-intro (with graphics by NO & Spion of Escape, as well as
         some lines of code by NO(rman)
       > Suretrip : A bit bigger demo, with 2 fullscreens (fullscreen-tunnel
         with sampled sound as well as 'Fire'-linevectors in fullscreen -
         not the standard fullscreen stuff! ;) 1st place in the ST-demo compo
       > Ruletime : Ascii-screen with a realtime Phong-Torus (routine ripped
         from a Polish demo - sorry but the routine was too nice! :) placed in
         the Wild-compo. Might be last place. Don't remember.

     * ACM0001 :  AfterCoverMagazine, since  505  missed the  deadline  for  an
       issue of UCM (don't remember which one) - but he  wanted the articles to
       be released, so I coded a little & poor shell (but it runs at least more
       stable than the  UCM one ! ;) and wrote some  articles too (demo reviews
       to be more precise)

 * 2000: mmh. ??

 * 2001: a screen for the DHS summer (or was it spring?) competition 1st place
  (just one single point in front of the 2nd!) (1st time I made a  Z-Rot-Zoomer
  without Codemodification, the technique I used 1 year later in my Palm 4-ktro

 * 2002: GBA-demo : 'We  Are Armed.' for the democompo. This demo
  didn't even made it among the top  20 (which means it didn't  got one single
  vote from the jury :( But it was quite nice producing it, just after 2 weeks
  coding in ARM-assembly.

  Mobilewizardry Palm-OS
  democompo stuff : Palm-OS 4ktro : '4palmz' 1st place, 1st place overall
                    Palm-OS 256btro: 'Hurt4fuji'  1st place (based on the Atari
                    128-bytetro Hurt4Fuji)

  UMD8730 intro : I converted a part from 'Suretrip' for that damn cool intro of
                 that incredible music-compilation by PHF.

STS : You took us by surprise back in '99 as the first edition of Error In
Line was held. What's the story behind SURETRIP ? If I remember well you first
had decided to cancel your compo entry...

 Well, do there have to be a story behind a demo ? Anyway, after being
 depressive half a year before Eil'99, I dropped the demo. After all I finished
 it just some days before the party and the final compilation was done just
 during the party.

STS : What  happened  then ? We heard  about a  preview due to  be shown at
STNICCC and maybe some attendants actually had  the chance to catch a glance at
your next demo but... Nothing came out. Later your absence was to be noticed at
EIL2. Why ?

 I didn't feel like attending Eil2. During  that time I had my A-levels and was
 again at a point that I felt like wasting to much time doing stuff on Atari. I
 better had done much more  for my  A-levels which I  really regret now. (after
 all being the second best  in the  class ain't  that bad, isn't  it? ;) ...but
 mainly  due  to a special elaboration I  made for  my A-levels (it's something
 about reverse- engineering  a development  system for  Z80 microprocessors...)
 Although it's totally out of place here, greetings and thanks to Mrs. Riester,
 without her I never had done that elaboration! :)

 After all I regret a little bit not to take a little visit at Eil2. But hey,
 time passes by.

STS : Does it mean that CHECKPOINT is dead ? Your last ST prod was a pretty
cool screen that made it second at  the DHS Summer Compo  but then Modmate said
he'd be inactive and if 505 went on, he mainly did it with other crews...

 I don't know about the status. Just consider it as partially alive. btw, the
 screen at the Dhs compo made the first place.

STS : Logically now I have to ask you about your latest demo, presumably
named Monostyle, Posh or god  knows what :) Should we  think of it as lost ?
Almost finished ? Still in the pipeline ?? We want to know !!! :)

 There's still a lot of work to do. Some effects aren't linked into the demo.
 I don't even know if I'll finish  it to Eil3, because if  I want to continue
 my computer science studies I have to do much more for my studies. Otherwise
 I am out of  business here. My  further live  should get some  more priority
 than finishing some stupid computer demo, that are maybe a handful of people
 are interested in, don't you agree ?

STS : For some time now, you've been coding on GBA or Palm. Do you think
there's a real challenge to face here ? Is it  for fun or do you expect this
experience to give you a job opportunity, maybe ?

 GBA is a cool device.  Palm could have been cool too. Instead Palm-OS has some
 major drawbacks. The only cool thing left about is the Motorola processor (the
 latest models got an ARM processor) If you  ever looked deeper in the OS code,
 analyzed the senselessnes of  systemfunctions, asked you why they  use memory-
 protection if you  can override that with a simple systemcall (which IS in the
 SDK!), asked you why the OS  needs ~2 seconds just  to set 256 colors (because
 it remaps it's system  default colors to  the new palette, although it was not
 asked to do so)  I have never seen such a buggy operating system.

 But it's nice to  code on  it anyway. Although  most of the people do it in C.
 Uhhh. Oh.. I missed the question once again! :) 'real  challenge to face here'
 - must there always be a challenge to face ? Did you ever heard of coding just
 for fun ?

STS : Does your interest for other platforms imply that you think the ST
can't be pushed any further ? What about coding Falcon specific stuff ?

 Some Atari people are just  narrow minded.  Don't -you- agree ? You can do
 interesting stuff on any platform. 'ST can't be pushed any further' - what
 a dull expression, sorry.  Where do you want to push it ?

STS : Are you interested in the forthcoming Centurbo 060 ? Are you an ST
fan or an Atari fan ?

 I have never been into the so called 'Atari-clones'. The  whole concept behind
 that reminds me to nowadays  PCs too  much, sorry.  I  prefer a 'fixed system'
 with standards, just like the Atari ST.  But anyway, if people are happy about
 it - why  not. I won't  say  it's  crap  because  this prejudice  is childish.
 The Coldfire  project could be a  kicking project. Since Norman  is one of the
 people working on it!  DoPe for the Atari-Coldfire?  That would RULE!  :)

STS : Can we expect to see you at Error In Line 3 ? I'm not even talking
about a party entry, just being there and talk with some friends ?


STS : Finally here comes our homecooked brainstorming. Feel in the blanks
with whatever comes to you.

D :   Demos ... the only sense of computers
E :   Emulators  good for development+see cool stuff from other platforms
F :   Fullscreens ... code generators rule for that!!
J :   Japtro ... the funniest Atari ST demo ever
A :   Atari ... What else?  :)
M :   Motorola ... wonderful name. the processor of my life.

C :   Coding ... The faster the processors the lesser the Coding. ;)
H :   Holocaust ... the best French demo-group (Japtro - incredible!!)
E :   Earth ... wonderful planet with bad people
C :   Cracking ... puzzling
K :   KC-87 ... GDR's 8-bit homecomputer
P :   Protection ... senseless.  (esp. in demos)
O :   Optimization ... doesn't mean precalculation!
I :   Interrupt loader
N :   New demo ... still in development
T :   The Replicants ... always liked their intros.

STS : Okay ! Thanks for giving us some of your time to answer these
questions. Do you have final words for our readers ?

 Never forget the old computers but also look forward in the future. Stay cool,
 stay yourself. Mhh.. some questions missing?? favourite demos/games - not
 interested in ? Anyway I'll mention it anyways...

* Fave demos (Atari ST)

 The Synergy demo - espc. that damn cool 3D screen!
 Flashback / TCB  -  strange scrolltext.
 FlipO / Oxygene - although too bright colors, it rules!
 Virtual Escape / Equinox
 Tut! / Wildfire
 Suretrip / Checkpoint .. sorry to add my own demo, but although many people
 say it's crap, I like it. And that's important.  :)
 Anything by Holocaust (Japtro, Rising Force, Choice of Gods) The best
 fullscreens on Atari ST.
 Lametrop / Zuul  - one of the wicked musics in a demo

* Fave demos (Atari Falcon)

 Sonolumi...whatever / Avena, THE demo on F030. No one will ever beat it.
 Hmmmm / Escape, the second best demo on F030. Although too many different
 musics in the demo.

* Fave demos (other systems)

 C-64: I simply like C-64 demos, esp. the so called 'newschool' ones
 (for example:anything by Reflex(f.e. Mathematica,Nine)
 or Smash-Designs(f.e. Second Reality C-64, the Triage series) )

 PC: the 96-ktros from The Black Lotus from 1996/97 (Stash,Jizz) anything that
 does NOT use accelerated 3D-shit

* Fave games (Atari ST)

 Xenon II  - the best shoot-em-up on Atari ST ever. Parallax scrolling,
 incredible graphics.
 Eliminator/Nebulus - THE games from 1988/89, but hey JMP did them!
 Turrican I & II
 Wings of Death & Lethal Xcess
 Swiv - incredible cool game with loading during gameplay.
 Match It! / Sokoban - maybe the one and only reason for having the 'Syntax
 Terror' - demo by Delta Force

Alive 6