ST-Ware From Two Continents
Is U.K. now in the lead?
by GIGI BISSON, Antic Assistant Editor
An army of ST software is on the march, advancing swiftly on the market from two continents...
Antic just returned from the huge PC World Show in London where "Popular Computing Weekly" (the "InfoWorld" of the U.K.) reported, "The new 520ST stole the show with strong software support...over 170 titles are on the way."
British developers are not so "IBM-locked" as their American counterparts. They're also used to writing for the Sinclair QL, a 68000-based machine. While many state- side developers have just been waiting and seeing about the ST, our British cousins have been producing a wide variety of ambitious ST programs.
The following products were in various stages of development at our press time in October. For each program, we specify whether Antic has seen a FINAL Marketed version, near-final BETA Test version, earlier ALPHA Test version, incomplete DEMO segment, or PRESS Release announcement.
Prices are given in U.S. dollars when that information is available. Otherwise the prices are listed in English Pounds (£), currently worth about $1.33 each.
ANTIC LANGUAGES (METACOMCO)
Metacomco, developer of Amiga DOS for Commodore International and a BASIC interpreter for Digital Research, Inc., is a leading supplier of systems software and proprietary languages for 68000-based computers. The following professional development tools will soon be available from the Antic Catalog and Atari retailers.
Assembler/Edltor/Linker High-specification macro assembler, originally developed for the Amiga. $79.95. BETA.
Pascal Full ISO 7185 standard Pascal compiler already widely used on the Sinclair QL. Compiles to native code. $99.95. ALPHA.
Lattice C Originally developed for 8086/88 micros, follows C features and functions as described in Kernighan and Ritchie's standard text, "The C Programming Language." $149.95. ALPHA.
Cambridge LISP ST implementation of the LISP used in mainframe artificial intelligence research worldwide. $199.95. PRESS.
IBM PC Cross Development System Includes cross assembler; C cross compiler and linker. (Price not available.) PRESS.
MODULA-2 A highly structured successor to Pascal, includes a full screen editor linked to a compiler.
UCSD Pascal Industry standard Pascal includes a screen editor and utilities. Both are now available for £195 each. TDI, 29 Alma Vale Road, Bristol B58 2HL, England. FINAL.
Pro FORTRAN 77 NSI Standard Fortran compiler for 16-bit 68000 microcomputers, from Prospero Software of London. Under $300. BETA.
C Compiler A small C without floating point. But it includes GEM bindings, assembly editor and linker. $59.95. FINAL. GST also has a CP/M 2.2 emulator in final BETA test.
Brataccus Graphic adventure that looks and handles like an interactive cartoon. You use a mouse, joystick or the keyboard to control the protagonist, Kyne, as he jumps, rides elevators, duels with robots, walks smoothly in richly animated sequences. Includes a 78-page novel illustrated by famed fantasy artist Roger Dean to "prepare you for the world of Kyne" an oppressive metropolis replete with video cameras and thought police. DEMO.
Colourspace A psychedelic trip for your Atari, does for light what a synthesizer does for sound. Available for 8-bit Ataris in England now. ST version coming from Antic Catalog in early 1986. BETA.
Lost Kingdom of Zkul Advanced adventure game with a J.R.R. Tolkien type plot. Takes many months to solve, according to manufacturer, Talent Systems of Glasgow, Scotland. Sinclair QL version sells for £24.95 as package with West a cowboys and Indians game. FINAL
Mission Mouse Multilevel platform game with multiple screens and animated sprites. Antic Catalog. DEMO.
Lands of Havoc With 2,000 screens of mazes, beautiful music, and multitudes of characters, this "arcade adventure" is very difficult and very fast. Antic Catalog. FINAL.
Murray and Me One minute he was enjoying a lean pastrami in a deli, the next-POW trapped inside a 5205T! Meet loveable Murray, a born loser who actually likes his classy address. After all, the rent's cheap and he has you to keep him company. Created by Israeli cartoonist Ya'akov Kirschen, Murray is the first of a new generation of ST "Biotoons" computerized cartoon characters who utilize the memory and graphics ability of the ST to deliver "personality without the price." Available in December from Antic Catalog. $39.95. BETA.
Mom and Me When's the last time your computer made you feel guilty? Mom, a hilarious Jewish mother, will nag you until you roll on the ground in fits of laughter. (You might even start eating your vegetables, who knows?) Another ST Biotoon by Ya'akov Kirschen. Available in December from Antic Catalog. $39.95. BETA.
AtariNet Mailbox Electronic mail utility from Software Punch of Liverpool, England. BETA
Desk Diary Desk/time management system and database. Antic Catalog. BETA.
K Calc Kuma Software's spreadsheet calculator will be compatible for data transfer with other upcoming Kuma business packages word processing, database and communications. £49.95. BETA.
FlexFile Talent Systems' database and report generator runs under GEM, handles mailing lists, personnel histories, credit control records, stock records, etc. BETA.
TimeLink This "temporal database" was originally released for the Macintosh by SoITechnics of London. It allows you to do almost anything with information relating to time. $99.99. ALPHA.
Rhythm Combination of spreadsheet and calculator functions lets you do what-if analysis, or use its number-crunching power as a programmer's calculator. Integrates with other standard GEM application programs. $49.99. BETA.
STaccounts Small business accounting package from Silicon Chip Ltd. is written within GEM and includes a sales ledger, purchase ledger, stock control and nominal ledger. $299. ALPHA.
BOS Software Atari Corp. has purchased rights to offer BOS (Business Operating System) a popular British operating system. BOS may soon be bundled with the ST or available as an option. BOS National offers a complete line of business software and 40 vertical applications packages including BOS/Net, a local area network operating system. However, BOS software titles are expensive in the $500 range and aimed primarily at corporations. FINAL.
Cash Manager This business accounting package is one of the first in a series of BOS-compatibles from Towngate of Dorset, England. Towngate is sort of the Lotus Corp. of the U.K., with software widely distributed in 20 countries worldwide. FINAL.
Wasp Printers Costing, a software package for professional print shops, is part of a library of Wasp vertical applications running under BOS that includes Vets & Farmers, Legal Accounting, Insurance Brokers and Real Estate Agents. FINAL.
But it's not only British ST software that's beginning to pour in. Hippopotamus Software, Inc. took the short drive from Silicon Valley to Antic and showed off their latest creations. Much of the software we saw was not yet finalized for market. But Hippopotamus assured us that all of the following titles would be available by the time you read this.
Hippo Almanac This computerized almanac contains over 35,000 odd, intriguing and sometimes useful facts. A kind of "Poor Richard's" CD ROM, you can type in whole-sentence questions and receive swift answers. Hippo was nice enough to leave this one behind and we've had a lot of fun with it. Look for a review here soon. $34.95. FINAL.
HippoJokes and Quotes One of the more unusual (and controversial) software ideas we've seen a computerized joke book. You may access your jokes by subject, author, or keyword and choose the degree of risque from PG to X. You may also play the censor by deciding if you want to include ethnic or sexist jokes. Very different. $34.95. FINAL.
Hippo ST Disk Utilities Nicknamed "DUST," this will allow complete examination of disk tracks and sectors plus examination of most of memory. You may also alter anything you examine at your own risk. Completely GEM-operated and mouse-controlled, it includes file recovery, string search and many other valuable routines. $49.95. FINAL BETA.
HippoSpell A spelling checker that's currently designed to work with Express, ST Atariwriter, and GEMwrite. Includes a dictionary of 30,000 root words which can be easily augmented and permits you to program it for commonly misspelled words. $39.95. BETA.
Hippo ST RAMdisk This is particularly valuable if you've customized your ST to one-megabyte. The RAM-disk can be installed in several sizes as a boot-up on any system disk. $34.95. BETA.
On the hardware side, Hippo is working on a $139.95 EPROM Burner. BETA. They also mentioned an Analog to Digital Sound Board and told us they had reached the point of realtime reverberation. Just hook up a microphone, speak into it, and manipulate the output with your ST. We're particularly anxious to see this product. ALPHA.
Haba Systems of Van Nuys, CA (not to be cotiftised with above-mentioned Hippopotamus) dropped by Antic to preview their newest ST products too. We'll be seeing a final version of Haba Hippo C within the week and Haba promised an enhanced version later. Phone (800) HOT-HABA toll-free for more information.
Habadex Phone Book Haba systems assured us that Antic was the first to see this. More than a computerized Rolodex that uses color GEM displays, the Habadex is almost a mini-database and will alphabetize and categorize phone numbers by company, city, state, etc. Can print out labels and mailing lists, and when hooked up to a modem, it will autodial a phone number with a click of the mouse. $59.95. BETA.
10-Megabyte Hard Disk This may be the only time when the cliche "blinding speed" is appropriate. We saw a prototype hard disk flipping through 32K picture files at a speed of about 3/4 of a second each. $799. BETA.
HabaWriter The first word processor to use GEM was to ship in October. Works with Epson-compatible printers. A version with a variety of fonts and an integrated spell checker is in production. $74.95. FINAL.
Haba Solutions: Wills, Business letters Designed to be used with HabaWriter, (and compatible with other ST word processors) these packages contaln only rudimentary text editors. Wills takes you step-by-step through the process of writing your own will. Business Letters is a collection of 50 business letters just plug in names and other pertinent information for invitations, annual reports, memos, etc. $49.95 each. FINAL.
MORE U.S. ST-WARE
Universe II You're an agent for a government composed of 47 distant planets in this sequel to OmniTrend's Universe, a 24th Century text/graphic adventure game. $69.95. PRESS.
DEGAS The first "paint" program for the ST makes MacPaint look like fingerpaint. Written by Tom Hudson of Batteries Included. $39.95. BETA.
PC InteComm Mark of the Unicorn's high-priced telecommunications program provides capture, Kermit and XMODEM modes, plus baud rates from 110 to 9600. To be reviewed in the next issue of Antic. $124. FINAL.
ST Writer Atari Corp's. ST word processor has operating commands exactly like the old 8-bit Atariwriter and includes utilities to transmit 8-bit Atariwriter files to the ST. At press time, Atari was undecided about marketing plans for this product. ST Writer may be given away with the ST until GEMwrite is available. BETA.
NEochrome Atari Corp.'s powerful "JackPaint" program has been showing up for field testing at various users groups, along with some spectacular demo pictures. BETA.
Hacker and Mindshadow Activision's first ST releases are expanded versions of recent 8-bit titles. Hacker is a simulation of online hacking. Mindshadow is a graphic adventure. PRESS.