Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 1 NO. 1 / SUMMER 1986



Programmers! Developers, hobbyists, students, gamesters, hackers: share the wealth....of information. We have a new machine to explore, a lot to puzzle out. START wants to hear from you, be it in a letter, article or program. This is your forum, so take advantage of it. We're looking for those new discoveries, technical tips, tutorials and bugs.

Submissions and queries are very welcome. Please send correspondence to the address below. Submissions should be on both printed hard copy and on 3 1/2-inch, single-sided ST disk. (We prefer double-line spacing for articles; very long programs need not be placed on hard copy.) A cover letter, briefly describing your program or article, is suggested. If you wish your material returned, please include a self-addressed, stamped mailer. START is looking for original information and will be unable to publish articles or programs which have appeared in user group newsletters or on bulletin board systems.

Our address is:

START Editors
c/o Antic Publishing
524 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94107


I am very interested in learning C but do not know which compiler would be best for me. I want to write good entertainment and/or role-playing, Ultima-type games. Okay, I may be 12-years old, but I am serious. Which compiler should I get?

Tim Gallo
Via CompuServe

Many languages are available for the ST, including a few esoteric rarities such as Modula-2 and Personal Prolog. START considers C the most flexible language for the ST, but not necessarily the easiest to use. Alcyon C, included in the developer's toolkit from Atari, is difficult to use and slow to compile. Unfortunately, Alcyon was the first and has therefore established certain standards. Of the several other C's available on the ST, MegaMax is the easiest to use, but it is also the most expensive (for more details, see "Practical Software for the Non-Developer," in this issue). GST-C is more affordable and is nearly as friendly as MegaMax, though not as fast. But GST-C has no floating point and its link system is incompatible with Alcyon C's. Other versions offer greater incompatibility with Alcyon, or greater difficulty of use.

If you are creating from scratch, incompatiblity is not a problem. But if you are dealing with a program written for Alcyon C, such as a magazine listing, you are sure to run into trouble. At START we have decided to make our C listings compatible with Alcyon C because a standard of some kind must be established. In most cases, our listings will also work with MegaMax C. Some changes may be needed for GST-C or Lattice (usually for the linkage). Haba Hippo C will have many problems.

If you don't insist upon C, we recommend O.S.S.'s Personal Pascal. Pascal is very close to C and Personal Pascal is the only language currently available with full, understandable documentation on the GEM AES and VDI calls. With any other language (excepting Alcyon C) you will need to buy the Abacus ST books, numbers 2, 3, and 4.