by Robert DeWitt
Managing Editor, ANTIC Publishing Inc.
This book is for people who own or have access to ATARI computers. It excerpts the best material from the first six issues of ANTIC magazine, and adds some extra articles, games and other programs ATARI owners may need and enjoy. We offer it primarily because our supply of back issues for Volume One of ANTIC is nearly exhausted. ANTIC--The ATARI Resource has become the largest monthly magazine exclusively serving the Atari community, and new readers constantly inquire about our early material. We hope this fills the bill.
If you, like us, own an ATARI, your computer is probably the first one you have ever owned. Many of us have used a computer in our office or classroom, and we may have taken courses in computing. Some of us may have studied programming--perhaps BASIC or COBOL. A few of us may have tinkered with electronics or even studied computer science, but most of us are rather new at all this.
Whatever our situations, computing sooner or later presents us with new terms, concepts, and ways of approaching and solving problems that baffle us. We struggle to understand, and gradually (or suddenly) the new ideas come clear. One of the qualities of computing is that it is supremely logical. If your computer or program doesn't work, some specific thing (or things) is wrong. Computers are built around the notion of error-free operation precisely to make it easier to find and fix problems. This frustrates new users because mistakes are common when you are learning. You don't yet have the experience of successful, pleasant use of the computer to encourage you, and you haven't yet absorbed the many pieces of information that will eventually lead you to quick solutions. You will probably conclude occasionally that your computer is broken (it seldom is) or that there is a program logic error. The solution is often simpler.
Our writers and editors have gone through your agonies. At various times we have connected our equipment incorrectly, scrambled procedures, misinterpreted instructions, overlooked the obvious, "lost" data and programs, ruined diskettes, and made errors in programming. We have typed in a listing for hours only to find that the program doesn't work. Occasionally we have thrown up our hands in disgust. We know what you are going through.
We have also returned with a calmer mind, sought help, reread the instructions, persisted, and eventually enjoyed the personal satisfaction and some of the accomplishments that home computing brings.
Our primary purpose at ANTIC is to help you enjoy ATARI computing too. ANTIC magazine began as a labor of love, and although it has grown into a successful publishing business, it is still based on our personal interest in ATARI computers. Our first issue was dated April, 1982, and appeared just in time for that year's West Coast Computer Faire in San Francisco. That issue contained 40 pages and presented eight articles and a few other items. We printed about 12,000 copies (all we could afford) and stored them in our publisher's apartment. We sold 400 copies at the Faire, and hawked a few thousand more to computer stores. We offered the rest as back issues while they lasted, but the issue was sold out before the year was over.
ANTIC was published bimonthly for the first year, so there are six issues in Volume One. Issues number one through five are also now sold out. The last issue in the volume, February-March 1983, had 112 pages, 17 articles, and various other content. By then our circulation was about 60,000. With that issue we began monthly publication, and as of this writing have passed the milestone of 100,000 copies sold per issue.
Many ANTIC readers have requested back issues "to complete their set" or to get some specific article. It is gratifying to know our early efforts are in demand. We have gone back over Volume One and extracted the material we considered of greatest interest and continuing value. We have added some new material, useful especially to those who want to program. We have also added several games previously unpublished.
In spite of its growth in size and quality, in many ways ANTIC number six still resembles number one. Every issue featured at least one type-in game, placed conveniently at the centerfold. The first was Chicken, by Stan Ockers, a fine game then and now. In this book we repeat Chicken and several other games from ANTIC Volume One.
We also reprint TYPO, our checksum program by Bill Wilkinson, the buddah of BASIC. TYPO, which means Type Your Program Once, gives you a way to locate your entry errors in the BASIC listings that appear in ANTIC (and this book), and to verify your listings when correct. We still use TYPO in every issue of ANTIC and it alone will repay the price of this book in the time it will save you.
The Memory Map is another valuable resource. When you turn your ATARI on, the Operating System establishes values in memory that guide and direct hundreds of functions for your computer. The map tells you where these are, what they do, and how they work. This information has been gained by digging it out of the technical documentation for the ATARI 400 and 800 computers. Although it is not comprehensive, we believe it will be helpful. You should note it may not be valid in all respects for the new XL line.
Most of the programs we reprint will be in BASIC, a few in assembly language. The programs have been chosen for amusement and usefulness. We have reviewed them carefully to make sure they work. Each program has been RUN on our machines (400, 800, 600XL, and 1200XL). We have tried to keep RAM requirements within 16K. If more, we note it. Our computers were used to generate the listings, so they should work as published. Technical problems that appeared in the magazine version have been corrected here. Any new problems should be reported in writing, attention Technical Assistant, to the address below. If you want a personal response, include a self-addressed stamped envelope. We know from experience that most problems are due to entry errors, so use TYPO and review your work carefully before writing.
The listings in this book have been produced to show you exactly the same ATARI characters you will see on your video screen in the same place you will see them. In other words, the listing emulates the screen. This will help you type correctly and proof your work. The keystrokes needed to produce some of these characters may not be known to you. The Table of Listing Conventions that follows provides a chart of these obscure characters and tells you how to enter them.
If you would prefer not to type in these programs, you can obtain them on disk or cassette by using the form in the front of the book, or by sending your check, money order or credit card authorization to: ANTIC Anthology, 524 Second St. San Francisco, CA 94107