Classic Computer Magazine Archive START VOL. 2 NO. 5 / SPRING 1988

News Notes & Quotes

Edited by Frank Hayes
START Senior Editor

One Size Fits All
There are lots of ways to add memory to your 520 or 1040 ST, as Charles Cherry points out in "The Hot-Rod ST" in this issue of START. Unfortunately, most of them only work with one version of the ST-and some are very complicated.

"The big advantage to EZRAM II is that one board fits all STs," says Michael Jack, Product Manager for Terrific Peripherals. "You only have to remove one chip, the video Shifter, and install it on a piggyback board." And because the EZRAM II comes without RAM chips installed, you can look for your own bargains for 256K chips (for a total of 1 meg of memory) or 1 meg RAMS (for a total of 21/2 megabytes of memory).

Why not a 4 megabyte RAM upgrade for the EZRAM II? Two reasons, says Jack. "To upgrade a 520 or 1040 ST to 4 megabytes requires cutting some traces and modifying the motherboard. We wanted a memory board you could put into your ST, then take out in case the computer needs to be repaired. And it draws too much power-running 4 megs on a 520 will be overloading the power supply."

EZRAM II is $139.95 from Terrific Peripherals, 17 St. Mary's Court, Brookline, MA 02416; phone (617) 232-2317.

Life or Death
In most computer games, you can die if you crash the plane or get clobbered by the monster. But a new simulation for the ST puts someone else's life in your hands. Code-Blue simulates a cardiac patient in critical condition. You get constant readouts of the patient's vital signs and blood chemistry. Your job: choose what to do to keep the patient alive.

If that doesn't sound like loads of fun, don't worry-it's not intended to be. According to Dr Ron Schaefer, who created the program, it's designed to run medical students through their paces. "The student can select drawing labs,
procedures, and administering the common ACLS drugs. Scenarios are generated either randomly or selected by the user, but no two are exactly alike." In other words, this is one game you can't just memorize your way through.

But what if you run out of ideas and your patient is dying? Don't worry, says Schaefer "There's an artificial intelligence mode that can assess the current patient status and suggest the next appropriate step." That's a Help key that most emergency-room doctors would love to have.

Code-Blue is $65.95 from Schaefer Supergraphics, 1201 Wilder Ave. #1801, Honolulu, HI 96822.

Where No Oid Has Gone Before
There's a new game from FTL Games, the company that brought you Dungeon Master. In Oids the object is to rescue the Oids, a race of mechanical men. The game combines elements from several different arcade-style games, from lunar landers to shoot-em-ups, and you can travel to different "galaxies" where increasingly complex collections of obstacles make the job of saving the Oids more difficult.

Oids also comes with a game editor that lets you construct your own galaxies. And you don't have to keep those new creations to yourself- in fact, FTL is awarding $100 every month for the best original Oids galaxy. For more information on the contest, pick up a copy of Oids-it's $34.95 -or write to FTL Games, Oids Galaxy Contest, P.O. Box 112489, San Diego, CA 92111; phone (619) 453-5711.

Dot Dot Dot. . .
Art Director and Film Director, a set of paint and animation programs for the ST, won't be published by Broderbund after all. However, the ST version of Karateka should be arriving soon, and other games are in the works. . . Meanwhile, Art Director and Film Director were last seen looking for a home with another ST software publisher. . . Is Firebird going out of business? No - they've just moved from snowy New Jersey to sunny California, and their software will now be distributed by Activision. . . If you've been waiting for the new version of Real BASIC from Computer Crossware Labs, you may be disappointed-it won't run on a Mega. CCL hasn't got a Mega yet, and no one there has been able to verify compatibility. . . Maybe you've heard about the secret deal between Atari and Steve Jobs's company, NeXT, Inc., to manufacture low-cost Macintosh clones. Don't believe it-NeXT is cutting secret deals, but not with Atari. . . Besides, all STs can already run Mac software with Magic Sac + from Data Pacific. . . Meanwhile, the hardware add-on to let STs run IBM PC software is still in the works. It's being developed by another company under contract to Atari, and when it arrives it should work with all 520s, 1040s and Megas. . . If you've got a hot tip or an interesting product for the ST, we'd like to hear from you. Let us know at News, Notes & Quotes, START, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107.

TOS and Blitter Update
Some START readers were upset after they saw the item in Winter START saying Atari has no plans for TOS upgrades for existing STs. It turns out that doesn't mean there won't be upgrades -just that Atari hasn't finalized the plans.

As of January 1988, Atari was considering a licensing deal to sell the new version of TOS if they can't come up with a good way to make the upgrade available themselves. And providing blitter chips for 520s and 1040s is purely a matter of availability, according to Neil Harris of Atari-the blitter took forever to arrive, and it's still in short supply. But the company's committed to making the upgrade available to every ST owner.