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 9
                       Unconventional 2004 Party Report

So it was September again, time for the Unconventional party to take place. This
year no one of the other Dresden-Atarians had the time or motivation to go there
for various reasons. Personally, I was accidently only an half an hour trainride
away from the partyplace - so going there was easily possible to me also without
having a car.

As in the former years since  2000 it took  place in  Lengenfeld, Germany again.
The  party  place  is  suitable for  a computerparty (a  big hall, a kitchen and
toilets plus a big green meadow outside to put up your tents).
This year  only about  25 people found  their way to  the party. This may be the
result of the little promotion for the party, that has been done in the world of
Atari 16/32 bit computers. Most of the visitors were attached to the Atari XE/XL
system and brought anything from simple setups up to incredible powerful systems
with every extension you can imagine.
Regarding the ST/Falcon scene there weren't many fans around, only Bewesoft from
Czech Republic  brought an  Atari Falcon. Several STs were set up here and there
but mostly only used for gaming and the realtime article.
Another clear  different to  the usual  demoparties was that the convention more
triggers on  games and development  than on demos, so as the years before a demo
competition was neither planned nor presented.

The organization  of the  party was  done by  several  members of the ABBUC, the
Atari-(8)Bit-Byter-User-Club. Mad Butscher of Foundation Two was not involved in
the organisation anymore and was also not present (too bad.. it's always fun for
me to meet him at parties). The main part of the organisation was therefore done
by Carsten Strotmann and Helmut Weidner (members of the ABBUC). Thanks a lot for

As I came  without a computer  to the party  I was a bit scared that I could get
bored easily. But  as Atari-people  are nice folks  it came to happen that I sat
before a  running ST-system  as well a  running Atari XL-system on Friday night,
just  a couple of  hours after my  arrival. RIK/F2  lend me  his  Atari 600 with
floppy drive, Carsten Strotmann  gave me an STf with colourmonitor to use and so
my stay was much  more pleasant. The  following days the ST was mostly  used for
gaming (why  did nobody tell  me that Speedball  is such an  awesome game!). The
Atari 600 XL was  occupied in  the following  days to  finish some  pokeysongs I
wanted to work on since a long time. Yeah!

So who was actually  here? In one corner four people from Czech Republic had set
up a Falcon system (Milan Bohdar was busy converting Net-BSD to the Falcon). The
others, Zdenek, Jaysoft  as well as  Raster/CPU did  not bring any computer with
Another corner  was taken  by the organisers. Here  was a  long table with stuff
that was for sale as well as various Atari systems set up.
In the  middle of the  hall all existing  Atari game systems were put for anyone
who felt like  playing one or other game. This was also the gaming competion, as
there were sheets with a table where you could write in your maximum score.
The other side of the hall was taken by several Atari 8-bit people who worked on
their software.
All in all one can say, that this party was not full of computers. Actually most
of the  people seemed  not to  have brought  their computer  system  with them -
therefore  the ones  who brought  their  Ataris  usually  brought  also  several

The days passed with the usual pizza-cola-beer mixture but also had some special
events. First there was the legendary barbeque outside in the evening as well as
a funny  outdoor-competition. This  time no harddisk  had to be thrown - instead
the visitors were divided in four teams. Each person of each team got the chance
to shoot an arrow into a target using a crossbow. This wasn't so easy!
The target  was a big  Unconventional-logo  in the typical  circled-style. Every
circle had a different colour. Depending on the colour you hit with the arrow, a
question your team had to answer was choosen.
(There were as  many colours on the target as there were categories of questions
(hardware, software...). Well, this  was pretty funny  and different. Honestly I
was unable  to answer any  of the  questions (Which color  has a computer I have
never heard of? What  game did someone  I never heard of work on? ... ;)  but my
teammates were experts enough to press us on second place anyway.

Another  interesting  issue  was the  presentation  of the  programms  that were
released for  the ABBUC software  contest  this year. So  13 different programms
were presented  on the beamer. There was a math programm, several smaller games,
a new version of the RMT-player and some more or less interesting tools.
The best programm  was in my opinion the conversion of Dynablasters to the Atari
XL/XE. This  one  was  just  outstanding - good  musics, graphics  that  can  be
described  as better than  the original (a bit exaggerated maybe) and everything
from the  orginal version. Wow.. that's  something  someone really  has put love
into. However, the  entries were voted by the visitors. As every ABBUC-Member is
allowed  to vote, the results will be published after the voting in the internet
is finished.

Carsten  Strotmann, one   of  the   organizers, finally  presented   his  latest
development to anyone interested. If I remember clearly it was in the night from
saturday to  sunday when someone  suddenly shouted: it  is ready! Yeah,  Carsten
just had finished the driver for his new USB-interface. It can be plugged in the
cartridgeslot of the XL/XE and you can connect an USB-device.
The driver finished at  the party was supporting  an USB-keyboard, so it was now
possible to type on that external keyboard. More devices may follow.

Carsten Strotmann (3rd from left) showing is interface

This was an unexpected  surprise to me.. once again the 8-Bit-people were faster
than the  16/32 ones (as far as I remember there is no USB for ST and Falcon yet
(?)). Carsten later  on also did  a workshop for  the interested people with the
topic "reverse engineering in assembler" or similiar.

So.. the  Unconventional  went  over. I cannot  say it  was like  every year, as
several things have been really special. The organisation was good again and the
special events  made it much  more interesting  to stay here. A bit sad was that
only so few people appeared, which does not mean it was not fun. However, with a
bit  better  advertising  especially for  the  ST/Falcon-users  maybe it can get
bigger  next time. I mean, I am  quite sure most of the ST/Falcon-people did not
even know about the party taking place.

Although  Unconventional is  more a general  Atariparty of three days, and demos
are definatly  not the central  aspect, it was  once again fun to share the time
with other Atarians with talking, gaming and doing stuff on the Ataris.
Actually I hope that next time more of us will appear there. On previous parties
the one  or other always  managed to  come. And as it is with the people, if one
comes, then another one suddenly decides to come, too, and so on.
Actually  when  I regard the  party surrounding  (organisation, partyplace, free
entrance, ...) nothing is missing for a big party.

Ok, that's  it for my party  report. You can see some pictures of the party when
you follow the Unconventional link on

------------------------------------------- fiveofive / checkpoint -----------

Alive 9