Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 2 NO. 1 / SUMMER 1987


Every issue of START, The ST Quarterly, contains articles written by some of the finest developers and writers in the Atari computer community. Many of these articles are programming tutorials, detailing how the wizards of the Atari world practice their arcane art. But anyone can benefit from the disk--we provide everything from tax templates for your spreadsheet to full-featured word processors, easy-to-use drawing programs and spectacular graphics demos.

START was designed as a magazine withdisk, containing the finest ST programs available. If you purchased the $4 non disk version of START you can still obtain the disk by sending us the bound-in order card or mailing $10.95 plus $2 for postage and handling to: START DISK #5, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (Be sure to specify the disk you want.) Note: If you want same dayservice, call (415) 957-0886 and ask for the Disk Desk. Give us your MasterCard or Visa number, and we'll send your START disk out that very day!

All programs on the START disk are for your own privateuse, and are not public domain. Please don'tcopy your disk for your friends, accept a copy from someone, or upload these programs on a bulletin board system. That makes it more difficult for us to afford to bring you quality ST programs and incisive technical material. Software piracy hurts everyone.


Use scissors to open your disk envelope along the outside vertical edge, then put the disk in drive A and double-click on the disk icon to see its contents. Refer to your ST owners manual if you're uncertain about using the Desktop.

Important: Before you do anything else, back up your START disk--it's not copy-protected. Format a fresh disk as single-sided, and copy your entire START disk to it. Finished? Now place your original START disk in a safe place and begin using the new copy.


In each issue of START, our pages for features, departments and reviews are at a premium--and our disk space for programs is as precious as lemonade in the Sahara. We have to fit a lotof programs on every START disk, and to do that we compress the files into archives.

The ARC system was originally developed for MS-DOS computers, and was implemented on the ST by Harvey Johnson of Palm Bay, Florida. With ARC you can compress many different files together into a single file, reducing the total size by 40 percent or more--and then later expand the file back into its original parts. We chose ARC because it's efficient and. bulletproof--the same reason it's CompuServe's preferred compressor/librarian. You can download a complete set of ARC utilities from CompuServe's ATARI16 forum and many other online services and bulletin boards. It's also available for $12 (plus $3 postage and handling) from The Catalog, which is bound into the middle of this issue of START.

You'll find the program ARCX.TTP on your START disk--it's a compact version of ARC that can only decompress ARC files. Using it is simple. Suppose there's a file on the START disk called FOO.ARC. To un-ARC it, first copy FOO.ARC and ARCX.TTP to a freshly formatted disk. Double-click on ARCX.TTP, then type in the name of the file you want to decompress, FOO.ARC, and press the Return key. ARC will un-ARC the files inside FOO.ARC and place them on the disk. That's all there is to it!


  • ARCX.TTP The unARCing utility. Double-click on this to decompress a file.

  • BENCMRK.ARC Dave Plotkin works for the oil industry, and he's one slick programmer. In this issues BASICs for the ST, Dave pits five different versions of BASIC against each other in mortal combat. These are the benchmarks he used, for Fast ST BASIC (FSTBSTST.BSC), GFA BASIC (GFABASTS.BAS), standard ST BASIC and the LDW compiler (STBASTST.BAS), and SoftWorks BASIC (SWBASTST.BAS).

  • CLI.ARC What's better than getting WordPerfect early? How about a peek over the shoulder of the man who programmed it? In Escape From the Desktop, Jeff Wilson brings an IBM-style Command Line Interpreter to the ST. Here's the working desk accessory (CLI.ACC) and the assembly-language source (CLI.ASM and MACROS.CLI), which include scads of programming examples for accessing TOS-level file handling routines.

  • DECOMM.ARC Imagine using a great product for a while, and then discovering a whole new side to it. Tom Hudson designed DEGAS Elite and the new CAD-3D Version 2.0 so other programmers could easily hook into them, and in Plumbing GEM's Mysteries he shows how you can do it yourself. DECOMM.ACC is a sample "test everything" desk accessory, and DECOMM.C is its source code in Alcyon C.

  • FLICKER.ARC Jim Kent, author of Animator ST from Aegis, jumped at the chance to demonstrate how basic animation is performed on the Atari ST in Flicker. The program FLICKER.PRG is where it all comes together, and GRAMMA.SEQ and WINK.SEQ are sample animation files. But to see how Jim created this marvel in Aztec C, choose a long, sultry summer afternoon to examine the 35 (gulp!) source files: ABLIT.C, ALINE.ASM, ALINE.H, BRUSH.C, CELPULL.C, CIRCLE.ASM, CLIPS.C, CLOCK.ASM, CONV.ASM, DISK.ASM, DRABRUSH.ASM, FASTRAND.ASM, FILEREQ.C, FILES.C, FINDCOL.C, FLICKER.H, FOO.C, FRAMES.C, GFX.ASM, INIT_SYS.C, INPUT.C, MAIN.C, MEMORY.C, MULTIOPS.ASM, PENTOOLS.C, POLAR.ASM, PRIM.C, PULL.C, PUTDOT.ASM, SINE.C, SQR_ROOT.C, STRETCH.ASM, UNDERMOU.ASM, ZOOM.ASM, and ZOOMTAB.ASM. There's also MAKEFILE and FLICKER.LNK, which Aztec C uses to sew them all together.

  • MIDISAVE.ARC In Save Your Synthesizer Sounds, Tom Bajoras of Hybrid Arts shows you how to use your ST to remember patch settings for MIDI synthesizers like the Yamaha DX7 and the Casio CZ101. Tom's MIDI generic patch editor, MIDISAVE.TOS, is here along with the source code in C (1.C) and assembler (2.S).

  • PACKTEXT.ARC You can't fit two gallons of water in a one gallon jug, but Dan Matejka's Packtext shows how to fit two files in the space one would normally take up. Dan's text compression program (PACKTEXT.PRG) and C source code (PACKTEXT.C) demonstrate some of the techniques used in full-scale compression systems like ARC.

  • TOOLKIT.ARC START Technical Editor Patrick Bass heard Tom Hudson talking about the DEGAS Elite pipeline, and sat down to create A Super Toolkit for DEGAS Elite. Patrick's toolkit contains two desk accessories: a Screen Operator named OPERATOR.ACC (the Alcyon C Source files are OPERATOR.C and OPERATOR.H, and you'll need the resource file OPERATOR.RSC to run the desk accessory) and a Page Flipper named PAGEFLIP.ACC (Alcyon C source PAGEFLIP.C and PAGEFLIP.H, resource file PAGEFLIP.RSC).

  • TWISTER.ARC Back again! This time, TWISTER.PRG is the corrected version of the Twister floppy disk formatting program from last issue's Hard Disk Warfare by Dave Small and Dan Moore. Check the Alert Box (right next to Dialog Box at the front of this issue) for details of the fix.