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Just because we haven't been updating this website doesn't mean we weren't busy! So, what happened since the last news item?
Arkos Tracker 2 replay routine for the ST
As you can read from the tracker's website, "Arkos Tracker 2 is the evolution of STarKos (an Amstrad CPC Tracker) and Arkos Tracker 1 (A Windows-only Tracker)". Its author (Targhan) publically asked if anyone would take up on the task of making a ST version of the player since the Amstrad CPC and the ST share pretty much the same sound chip (AY-3-8912 vs YM2149F). GGN was intrigued at the possibilities this opened, primarily since this would enable people to compose tunes on PC (or Mac) and play directly on ST. So he overcame his fears (and disgust!) for the Z80 CPU and started on a port of the player code to good old MC68000. The details of this are probably good enough for an article of their own so I'll save it for now.
After a few days of staring at instruction manuals, register descriptions and trying code in simulators he had a working prototype that could play tunes that took a whopping 6 scanlines of CPU! Hooray! After a few optimisation passes, the CPU usage dropped down to about 3.5 scanlines (worst case). Which is great, but what to do with it?
That's when XiA came into the picture*. The tracker did seem nice to use for him and pretty soon he started composing chiptunes again, something he hasn't done in a few years! Around this time the Outline demoparty was looming and we had nothing to show. On a whim GGN started mashing around some visualisations for one of XiA's tunes, thinking it would be enough for a small entry. This was 3 days before the party started! Around that point XiA started throwing assets and code at GGN that he and his lovely wife Acca had prepared in the past. They all looked lovely, so how could those not be used? Lots of effort, bug fixing and contributions by TiNKer at the party and we had something that resembled a demo on our hands! We called it "LovelYM", it ranked 3rd place out of 5, and you can view/download it on Pouet as usual. As a final remark, the initial design document for the demo was to show a raster bar to indicate how much CPU time the replay routine took, so we think we exceeded those expectations by far!
As for Outline itself - we had a blast once again. GGN, Showaddywaddy, TiNKer, SPKR, Havoc, D-Force, TheMatch, Beetle, Tronic, CiH, Felice, Lisu, JAC!, they were all present to keep the Atari flag up in the party and the compos :). And of course not forgetting people from other platforms like the Guideline folks (Numtek, TheBat), Alpha C who took care of the compos, and too many other people to mention here.
As expected, it wouldn't be a proper party without D-Bug coding! So Showaddywaddy wore his Grazey hat and ripped a few musics for the good of humanity, while GGN succeeded in adding SID voice support for Arkos Tracker! The results are publically on Github, so you are all invited to check it out and use it in your projects!
Finally, GGN and Showaddywaddy and his friend Gaz spent a few hours walking around in rainy Amsterdam after the party - good times!
After an exhausting party like Outline, surely we wouldn't attempt to do anything other any time soon, right? You would guess wrong!
To keep it short, we did yet another demo with XiA! And documented the process here. GGN and Shw were again present at the party (wooo, two parties in the same year - madness!) and, as expected, good times ensued! Shw was almost thrown in the river because of World Cup shenanigans (namely, England beating Sweden during the party), GGN beat everyone at the gaming compo yet again (yawn!), and the GGN/XiA/Acca demo scoring first place at the Twist compo. No idea how this happened but as usual you can see the result for yourself on Pouet. Enjoy!
Okay, so surely that was it for us for 2018? Two parties, two demos? Ehhh, nope!
Nordlicht demoparty was holding a 512 byte executable compo. And GGN walked into Arvenius (AKA wysiwtf) of Titan during Outline, who is one of the organisers of Nordlicht. An entry was promised, so something had to be done about it!
pLOLsma was written as a part in The Twist demo, but was left out for various reasons. The core code was written by GGN during the flight to Sweden in about 1 hour, and was beaten into submission 2 hours past the deadline for Nordlicht remote entries. No regrets, it is what it is, the promise was not broken :).
Time jump to yesterday, when we finally mustered enough courage to release a sister site/blog/soapbox/whatever into the wild. Beyond Brown had been stewing over a slow fire for a few years now. It was meant to be for our entertainment, jotting down things or writing a few words that were not fitting to other online mediums (forums etc). But over time word got out and people asked about something more public. So here we are. We still think it needs a lot more content (one major reason for not releasing it earlier) but at least people have an easier way to access whatever content is there.
The observant among you must be screaming right now. "Fine, but what does all this has to do with D-Bug??????". So nice of you to ask! GGN and Shw have been talking lately and thought that we might as well start producing a few CDs again! First up will be a demo compilation, and then who knows...
Stay tuned for the future - it's coming soon-ish!
* Well, it was a bit earlier than that, but the narrative sounds better this way!
|Whooah, we're on a roll. 28 years later we re-release Automation 250 , this fixed a bug in Necron's Ultra-Load depack routines. The menu code has also had a slight update, 3 changes to be exact if you can spot them!|
|And now for something new!|
Created by members and close collaborators of D-Bug, today marks the first release by Bello Games, entitled bexa64n!
To put it simply it's a game rendered inside a puny 64x64 window and plays not unlike a famous indie hexagonal game :). The reasons for this release are:
1. To give a teaser preview of a bigger release in the works called Bexagon
2. To give Atarians a new game they can play right now
3. To be the first game that has a dual release (Jaguar/Falcon030) using a single source base! The whole game was written in our very own dialect of Basic called Bello Basic which (with only a few exceptions) can generate the two very different binaries from the same source base which perform identical!
And that's pretty much it. Visit the above links, download and enjoy this first release. And stay tuned for more!
|Let's cast our minds back to 2009 for a bit...|
D-Bug was really active back then, releasing a lot of games for newer Ataris and adding hard disk loading capability. During that frenzy we decided we should put an end to our Compacted Disk series, releasing our last menu as a full CD-ROM which contained new stuff plus all the older menus and patches. (Shortly afterwards we would put most activities to the backburner and pursue other fun stuff to do). During the period we were gathering things to put in CD #200 we received an email out of the blue. It was from our friend n0kturnal and contained a Pasti image of a really rare game on the ST - Robbo! Reports say it's so rare that it only ever sold 80 copies in all! What a boon for us - we could include something really special!
I drew the short straw and got to work taking it apart and making it hard drive and Falcon friendly. Everything seemed fine, we tested a lot of levels and it all seemed fine. So it was greenlit and included into the final CD.
Fast forward to last Sunday when I got a friendly email from another pole, bartek030 informing me that my version of Robbo actually had a showstopping issue that would freeze the game past level 44 (if I remember correctly!). Oops! And not only that, but he also sent me a link to atarionline.pl where there is a page devoted to it, including an interview with the creators thanking the people who cracked it but a pity it wasn't working fully. Double oops!
So back into Robbo I went again, fixing all issues and exposing the in-game trainer so this time I can verify that the game goes all the way to the end sequence (which is very nice, you should check it out :)).
Enough talking, now grab the new updated version and have fun! And who knows, maybe in 10 years I might backport all the literally hundreds of Atari 800 version levels to this version! (if anyone wants to help, get in touch!)
|Hey look, even more new stuff!|
Grazey brings you SNDH update 4.7! So go grab it and don't forget to leave a comment on the blog!
|A happy new year to everyone!|
Look! Third post in one month - world record! Does this mean D-Bug is finally back in action? Who knows!
In the meantime GGN spent a couple of hours on new year's eve to make a pitifully small Falcon intro using a brand new TiNKer pic and an old tune by 505. It was planned to add snowflakes dancing but since it didn't snow in Greece he decided to go for realistic weather model instead ;) (that, or he ran out of time because he tried to do everything at the last minute). Get it here. In a bizarre twist of events an unknown person sent us a ST/STE version - grab it here. Here's also the Pouet link if you're so inclined to leave a comment!
|Not to be outdone by GGN's news, Showaddywaddy has made his first patch in 4 years! He starts his rebirth with Disc, a decent Tron like clone. Will this be the start of a more active period in the Automation / D-Bug journey.... we shall see.|
|Second news item in one year - wooo, we're on fire!|
Showaddywaddy and GGN attended Outline again and it was a blast! Not many Atari people or Atari activity in there but those who were there made it worthwhile. And while we were there we thought "Why don't we win the Atari demo compo?" ;). And so we did: HipSid, Grazey's brainchild that combined Mad Max tunes with SID voices, ranked first in the compo! You can read a very brief note about it on the SNDH blog. With about 10 hours of non-stop music action it is well worth a download!
GGN also attended Sommarhack, but with less one month to prepare something for the compo more complex endeavours weren't feasible.
With about a week or two left for the party, GGN got a request from Lotek Style of tSCc. Specifically, an old music disk by EKO called Epidemic has never behaved properly - the intro would run but the music selector would crash violently. A quick fix was made for it, yet many issues still remain: there is a lot of screen tearing on the 3D objects in the background which (given the short time frame) weren't apparent to fix. Also a tune was missing, and that's because this music disk appears to be a port of a PC music disk of the same name - the tune in question is an 8 channel .mod file, something that the player was not capable of playing. Fortunately Lotek managed to source a 4 channel version so cheers to him and the person that did the conversion (details are a bit sketchy, either the tune was converted using a tool or was hand fixed).
So with the music disk in a state of "works, not that great but at least it gets the job done" it was time to let it out for the world to yawn at (sorry!). However, since Sommarhack was just around the corner it looked silly not to release it during the party. And a release there without an intro looked quite poor, so something had to be done :). The initial design was to use an old and unfinished intro (from 2004 no less!) and just use an old tune. So I set out to debug the code, convert some old logos to monochrome, use an unreleased tune from Dubmood and just be done with it. But then something unexpected happened: after describing my idea to people, they sending me assets! XiA sent a 3 minutes and 30 seconds tune, TiNKer drew some tiled backgrounds. Now I actually had to put some effort in it - oh noes!
The whole ordeal took about 3 days, and it was finished 2 days before the party. Nothing exciting to say about these 2 days apart from having to join everything into something that wouldn't make people fall asleep. Somehow I suspect it was not too successful at that ;). One thing worth mentioning is that it works on both RGB and VGA and maintains proper sync with the music - not that many Falcon productions do that :). In any case it ranked 4th at the compo, and you can download it here and check it out for yourselves, or watch it on YouTube.
In other news, GGN and DML of TPT teamed up to bring new versions of the gcc compiler to the ST! Each had their own reasons to do this which is another story, but you can read more about the work and getting the files from an experimental blog/soapbox/call-it-what-you-will, Beyond Brown where a few people just dump their thoughts and texts in no particular order or discipline.
The year is not over yet so there might be something from us still, so stay tuned!
As for CJ? Well, he's quite happy in Jaguar land. Head over to the Atari Age forums if you want to say "hi" to him!
|Ever wondered what the mighty D-Bug web-server looks like? Well now you know, running on a state-of-the-art Raspberry Pi!|
|Here we are again - another Christmas! Could we let this be a dull celebration without any Atari?|
Of course not!
Here's a small demo we made in cooperation with Excellence in art and the lovely Acca! To our knowledge this is the first intro that is distributed in source code format only. To run it, you must assemble it! Fear not though, because we have bundled the assembler that was used to develop the intro (rmac) as well as a script that can assemble it. Hopefully it won't be a huge bother for people :).
It is dedicated to a very special person, we hope that the person in question sees it and likes it!
And that's it, merry Christmas and a Happy new year!
|New hard drive patch!|
Back in July GGN visited Sommarhack, and he had a jolly good time too! The usual place, nice people, laid back atmosphere, BBQ, conversations, jokes, plans - what more could one want from a party? Releases maybe? Yes there were releases!
...sadly one didn't work as expected :( - and it was a bummer because it looked really interesting. I know Evil/DHS did his best to make the demo work, for you see the demo is Rebirth by Cybernetics. Originally the demo wants 2 floppy drives which are a rarity on its own, but the real kicker was that the track loader is a bit too sensitive to timings (or the disks were faulty, I don't think we'll ever know). End result is that the demo looped around a specific part for 5-6 minutes - we thought that was the flow of the demo so we were bummed about it :(. Evil assured us that the demo actually goes on and has other parts. Sadly it ranked low on the results...
When I got back home I got myself a copy of the demo and went to work to make it run from hard drives. I even got in contact with Metal Ages (the coder of the demo) while trying to patch it (I tried to make it run as a stand alone .prg, but by the time Metal Ages replied I had already fixed it - sorry Jerome!). And I was getting ready to slap my usual loader and release it in the wild.
And then in a weird case of synchronicity, !Cube of Aggression messaged me, asking me if I had any releases because he wanted to code an intro for us! I happily accepted. And waited. And then waited some more for the logo. And then waited some more till he got back from vacations. And then I got the final version, added the intro to my stuff, did some last minute debugging, and here we are: Rebirth, single parted, hard drive installable! (it even fits on a 800k disk, yay!). 2 megs of ram needed sadly, but hey just upgrade your STE :D
|Just a quick note to say that since about 1 week we're moving servers, so a few things might be inoperative (most notably the forum). We're flogging the server gimps as hard as possible and hope to be fully operational soon!|
We've updated Trans D-Bug Express to version 1.03. Bug fixes and added features, the main being that you can change the retries during read using F2/F3, it is also possible to quit out of a read using F10. Oh and F1 now makes TDE write an MSA file even if the maximum number of retries have been used up. See the read me for more info.
And now that we have TDE, Shw has imaged some of his old dodgy disks which Fcopy and MSA couldn't image. Therefore the Dumping Ground is updated!
We have lots of little internal utilities stashed on our hard-drives. One of which sees the light of day with a lick of paint and some added polish. Released at Outline 2015 but not making the compos as we didn't know which category to enter it in! TDE is a little MSA imager which has many advantages over existing programs including lush Ukko graphics and industrial Kraftwerk sonics by gwEm. See readme for full docs.YouTube video here!
|I suppose it's time for our biyearly news post! Happy new year and all! It's true that this website has seen busier days, but its members have been far from silent in Atari.|
Showaddywaddy has been busy as always on the SNDH archive, ripping tunes to the end of time. He also released an update to his SNDH editor, visit the link to grab it. He also has a blog that he updates... sometimes - lazy boy ;).
Cyrano Jones has been having most of the fun lately: he finally released his Jaguar graphics library called RAPTOR that makes coding on the machine much easier! Then he got bored waiting for good games to come to the Jaguar, so he started porting ST games to the machine, something that many people thought it was hard or impossible! Well, just for his own amusement here's Rick Dangerous, Gauntlet II, Mercenary, Buggy Boy, Bubble Bobble, Arkanoid II: Revenge of Doh, Carrier Command, Super Sprint and Metro Cross! So now nobody has an excuse for not getting a Jaguar - ther are a handful of good games for it :). Also, here's a small writeup on the process of porting a game to the Jaguar.
Finally, GGN has been all over the place! First he provided patches to Jookie's terrific CosmosEx device, mainly the translated driver, so D-Bug games will load from network drive - yay! Also added the TT compatibility, and by the looks of it will beta test the next generation that will be Falcon compatible! Then, in December he ported 2 Basic dialects to the Jaguar that work with CJ'S RAPTOR library! AtariAge has a dedicated forum for RBASIC (ported by GGN and CJ) and RBASIC+ (ported mostly by GGN). A lengthy writeup on how this happened can be read here (Caution! Wall of Text in there :)). Last week he released a demo called Baby, instant soup doesn't really grab me for the Global Convention of Worldwide Demo Developers International, Inc. 2015 and came first! And today he took the time to check out a Falcon demo (sent to him by Lotek Style) by Hydroxid that refused to run. Not any more! Love vs Darkness by Hydroxid is here for your pleasure!
So that's it for now - see you in a few months when we can be arsed to post again!
|August? Bloody hell, where did the time go? Anyway...|
Shw and GGN were present at Outline (as usual) and they even brought gifts! A very special gift too as this release was hiding in the dark for more than 20 years! And by no other than TLB - not every day you expect to see a new release by them, right? :)
Killing Spree was sent to us by Lowlife/Hotline and we thought it'd be a good idea to release it at the party. So we worked on the sources a bit, chained them, added a small intro just enough to play Spaz's quartet tune (I suppose people know which intro this is when they look at it!) and added an unreleased Scavenger tune so the main game won't be silent! It ranked 2nd on the competition, but who cares, it's TLB stuff, enjoy! Mega thanks to Lowlife for the sources and TLB for allowing us to release it!
In other news, our friend KrazyK has been busy converting Automation and D-Bug menus to Windows platform, and just today we received a new batch of remade intros from him. Download and enjoy!
|Happy new year everyone, even if it's a bit late!|
So, to business! Seems like Futur Minds have made a small boo-boo in their Snork megademo, which in essence crashed the machine before running the ULM screen. Well, after some digging I managed to extract the file from the disk and run it.And was a bit surprised at what I saw... Download it for yourself and I'm sure you'll be too!
|Wow, a news item!|
Just a quick fix for you this time, Evolution by Exa, that fabled Falcon demo that few people can manage to get running on their Falcons has been fixed! (it ran flawlessly on my machine at least :)). Download and enjoy - remember, RGB only!
|Our friend KrazyK (you might remember him from the forum) has been busy recreating some of our intro menus on PC, and I thought I'd mention them as they're really faithful recreations! So download them and have a look!|
Again, thanks to CrazyK for his efforts!
|A heart beat from team D-Bug. About bloody time! I've taken a week off from SNDH matters to release Muzzy a rare puzzle game which had never been filed. I've added a lives/time trainer and my version also runs on STFM, how novel!|
|Slapfight continues the trend of taxing shoot-em-ups. Again I've included a life and invincibilty trainer. This allows you to see how much later levels influenced Factor 5's Turrican 2 vertical shooter level.|
|Phobia next, an insanely difficult shoot-em-up by Ratt. My version is the only one around that includes a shield trainer. This just about makes this game playable. Some lovely varied graphics on the later levels, something which not many people will have seen!|
|Two sports games next. Firstly Winter Games which I loved playing on the C64 back in the day. Secondly Buffalo Bill which isn't my cup of tea but some people like it!|
|Now my intro is 100% patches should appear more regularly. Next for release is Lotus 3. I've had this lying on my hard-drive 95% complete for 3 years!|
|Shw is back with Stormlord. He's updated the intro which now features speech if you have an STe or greater! Look out for exclusive tracks on his next few patches!|