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Article #637 (730 is last):
From: aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Fred Horvat)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.mags
Subject: Jaguar Explorer Online Vol1 #1 03-27-97
Reply-To: aa778@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Fred Horvat)
Posted-By: xx004 (aa778 - Fred Horvat)
Date: Thu Apr 24 07:37:00 1997


 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
 :: Volume 1, Issue 1      JAGUAR EXPLORER ONLINE         March 27, 1997 ::
 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
 ::                                                                      ::
 :: JAGUAR .............. News, reviews, & solutions ............ JAGUAR ::
 ::    EXPLORER ........... for the online Jaguar .......... EXPLORER    ::
 ::       ONLINE ................. Community .............. ONLINE       ::
 ::                                                                      ::
 ::      Published and Copyright (c) 1997 by White Space Publishers      ::
 ::                          All Rights Reserved                         ::
 ::     """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""     ::
 ::     Publisher Emeritus Plus ................... Michael Lindsay      ::
 ::     Publisher Emeritus .............................. Travis Guy     ::
 ::     Editor/Publisher ............................ Clay Halliwell     ::
 ::     WWW Spinner .................................. Frans Keylard     ::
 ::      Genie Uploader ............................. Clay Halliwell     ::
 ::       CompuServe Uploader ....................... Richard Turner     ::
 ::        America Online Uploader .................... Lonnie Smith     ::
 ::                                                                      ::
 ::                              Contributors:                           ::
 ::                        (voluntary and otherwise)                     ::
 ::                        """""""""""""""""""""""""                     ::
 ::             Doug Engel, Wes Powell, Don Thomas, Jeff Minter,         ::
 ::                              Mark Santora                            ::
 ::                                                                      ::
 ::                      Telecommunicated to you via:                    ::
 ::                      """"""""""""""""""""""""""""                    ::
 ::                     GEnie: ST/JAGUAR RT Library 38                   ::
 ::        AOL: VIDEO GAMES FORUM Hints, Tips and Tricks II Library      ::
 ::         CompuServe: ATARIGAMING Library 10, VIDGAME Library 15       ::
 ::                                                                      ::
 ::       World Wide Web:  http://www.ior.com/~fkeylard/aeo.htm          ::
 ::                        http://www.mcc.ac.uk/~dlms/atari.html         ::
 ::                                                                      ::
 ::        E-Mail Request address: AEO-by-EMail-request@maximized.com    ::
 ::                                                                      ::
 ::        >>>   To subscribe to JEO, send a message to the request      ::
 ::        >>>   address, with the following line (no subject):          ::
 ::        >>>                                                           ::
 ::        >>>   subscribe aeo-by-email                                  ::
 ::        >>>                                                           ::
 ::        >>>   and your address will be added to the list. To          ::
 ::        >>>   unsubscribe from JEO, send the following:               ::
 ::        >>>                                                           ::
 ::        >>>   unsubscribe aeo-by-email                                ::
 ::        >>>                                                           ::
 ::        >>>   to the same request address, making sure you send       ::
 ::        >>>   it from the same address you subscribed from.           ::
 ::                                                                      ::
 ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::


                               Table of Contents

* From the Editor ......................................... JEO: AEO Reborn?

* Where Was I At? ............................................. It's Travis!

* Jaguar Tackboard ........ Web Message Boards - Atari Times - JEO's Jaguar
                                  Development List - Mail Order Directory -
                                   Catnips - PRs - WTR - Jaguar Underground.

* Jag-Fest '97 ......................................... Jaguar Users Unite.

* Llatest from Llamaland .................................. The Yak is Back.

* BattleSphere Updates .................................... How it's Coming.

* BattleSphere Playtester Update ......................... How it's Playing.

* Baldies Review ........................................... Down With Hair!

* Breakout 2000 Review ............................. Breakout, 64-bit Style.

* Towers II Review ........................................ Jag's First RPG.

* Did You Hear Anyone Say "Goodbye"? ........... Don Thomas Eulogizes Atari.

* Martin Brownlow Interview ................. The programmer of MC3D speaks.

* Vince Valenti Interviews ............... The programmer of Towers II begs.

* Matthew Gosling Interview ........... The programmer of Zero 5 rolls over.

* Atari Jaguar Cheats and Codes FAQ ................ Cheats for all seasons.

* Shutdown ............................. Around the world and up your block.


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  From the Editor .............. Jaguar Explorer Online: AEO Reborn?
   ||  By: Clay Halliwell
\__//  halliwee@ts436.dyess.af.mil
       ------------------------------------------------------------------

The last issue of Atari Explorer Online was Volume 4, Issue 9, published in 
January of '96... over a year ago! Since then, enough has happened to fill at 
least three or four AEOs, but unfortunately Travis Guy, the chief driving 
force behind AEO, was finally forced to retire AEO in favor of other, more 
real-world concerns.

Then one day in early February, I'm browsing an old issue of AEO, and I 
realize that such a vast quantity of Jaguar news has accumulated, that 
putting out a new issue of AEO would be practically trivial. Trouble is, I 
can't just take over AEO... there's far too much baggage and infrastructure 
attached to it. Solution: Create a sort-of-but-not-really new publication, 
which I've dubbed "Jaguar Explorer Online". No ST/Mega/TT news, no Lynx news, 
no industry news. Just 100% pure Jaguar news.

You may notice a lot of very old "news" in this issue... these items were 
included simply because AEO has always served as a sort of "time capsule" of 
Atari news, with each issue capturing and preserving events of note. So while 
something like Don Thomas' "Did You Hear Anyone Say Goodbye?" may be 11 
months old, it's too significant a document to allow to slip, forgotten, into 
the cracks of the Internet.

But it's not all old news! What's the state of the Jaguar these days? For a 
supposedly dead system ("I don't want to go on the cart!"), the cat is 
showing a lot of life... Breakout 2000 and Towers II have just been released, 
we've got at least four more excellent games coming from Telegames, we've got 
Jag-Fest '97 ramping up, we've got the Jaguar Underground hacking away on 
their Jaguar Servers, and 4Play continues to push BattleSphere closer to 
reality.

Long live the Jag!


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Where Was I At?
   ||  By: Travis Guy
\__//  g8trh8tr@ix.netcom.com
       ------------------------------------------------------------------

When last we met, Atari was one of the oldest video games names still in 
business, Windows 95 was the shining new hope of computer operating systems, 
and I was single... ensconced in beautiful Northwest Florida.

Some things change.

Jaguar software was trickling out, Windows 95 users were dealing with 
aggravating bugs, and the FU Gators football team had never been able to call 
itself "the best team in the land."

Some things stay the same.

It's a pleasure to know that a year after Atari died, the flame - although 
nowhere near as bright as it once was - is still held high by a few. Terry
Grantham and his crew at Telegames have stepped in to fulfill the wants
of a small band of Jaguar owners with new titles. Tom, Doug, Scott and
Steph of 4Play are fighting the bugs carved in silicon to bring us
BattleSphere. Clay Halliwell has graciously offered to carry the mantle of 
Atari Online News Resource.

(Speaking of such, I would like to thank once again, the two men that 
assisted AEO the most during my tenure as Editor; the two men who tried to 
keep the good news flowing: Bob Brodie and Don Thomas.)

If it's not a labor for money, it must be a labor of love. That I can
honor. Speaking of love, Clay asked me to dash off a missive that would 
explain what happened to Atari Explorer Online...

The back injury I mentioned in my last editorial put me out of action
for several months early last year. During that time, a sweet angel named
Geri appeared, and once I had began to mend, I took her as my bride. Atari's 
death throes seemed too distant to relate as we literally loaded up the truck 
and moved to Beverly ("Penske" and "Silicon Valley" actually, but they don't 
read as well).

I had to lay my Atari aside and join the "real" world. It was not an easy 
task, rather, one which simply had to be done. I will always look back on my 
many years using Atari computers and games with a sense of family and joy.

Making no allusions to the recent political season here, Atari represented 
one of the first bridges - steps - between the world as it was before digital 
entertainment, and the world we are hurtling towards. Atari brought the 
digital revolution home. Helped give it a face. Revolutionized the world.

But revolutions are nothing more than a change in the status quo. Once
the change takes effect - or doesn't - the revolution is over. And so it 
goes.

To commemorate Atari's preeminence in the arena of digital entertainment, I 
created an image ["FUJIFISH.GIF" --Ed.] that should be attached in this 
archive, and which should be treated as public domain. I think the image 
itself needs no explanation. Wear it, share it, improve upon it, toss it into 
the bit bin. But remember the fun we all shared.

Have you played Atari today?...


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Jaguar Tackboard
   ||  Confirmed information about Atari's Jaguar
\__//  Compiled from online and official sources
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Atari Times Jaguar Newsletter
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Greg "Fruitman" George  publishes a Jaguar-
specific newsletter called The Atari Times. The newsletter is FREE, but cash 
donations are greatly appreciated. To subscribe, write to:

Greg George
1531 Stevens Loop Rd.
Babson Park, FL 33827

Also, an online version is available at: 



=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Web Message Boards
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Anyone with web browsing capability can join in on the discussions on two 
web-based Jaguar message boards out there on the net. Note that, due to the 
rapid message turnover and instant-update nature of these boards, they have a 
tendency to burn through topics in a matter of days instead of weeks (or 
hours instead of days).

Just point your browser to:

Jaguar Interactive


or...

Toad Computer's JagTalk



=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Internet Jaguar Mailing List
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Anyone with Internet e-mail access can join the discussions on the Jaguar 
mailing list. To "subscribe" to the list, send an e-mail to the following 
address: 

With the following as the body message:

subscribe jaguar FirstName LastName

(Where "FirstName" is your real first name and "LastName" is your real last 
name.)

You should then soon receive the subscription information. Since the list 
moved, digesting is no longer available.

The actual list address is: . All mail will go to the list 
server and be sent to the dozens of readers of the list.


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Atari Underground Mailing List
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Anyone with Internet e-mail access can request to be added to the Atari 
Underground mailing list. This is a moderated mailing list maintained by Matt 
"MHz" B., generating periodic messages describing current events of interest 
to Atari Jaguar owners.

To subscribe to the list, send an e-mail request to .

Please do not confuse the Atari Underground mailing list with the Jaguar 
Underground hackers (more on them below).


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Jaguar FAQ
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Robert Jung  still maintains the Jaguar FAQ (Frequently 
Asked Questions) file, an updated list of Jaguar specs and facts. The Jaguar 
FAQ is posted to rec.games.video.atari on Usenet around the first of every 
month, and can also be found via FTP, address: ftp.netcom.com, in Andy Eddy's 
/pub/vidgames/faqs directory.


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Jaguar Cheats and Codes
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Clay Halliwell  maintains the Atari Jaguar Game 
Cheats and Codes FAQ. It's available by e-mail request, from Andy Eddy's FTP 
site (see above), or from Jaguar Interactive 
.

Lonnie "The Mage" Smith  maintains the Concise Compendium of 
Frequently Asked Codes, Moves, and Cheats (FACMAC). It's available via FTP 
from , or from 



=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Independent Association of Jaguar Developers
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The IAJD (Independent Association of Jaguar Developers) is still accepting 
members on GEnie. The IAJD is a private group where confidential discussions 
can be freely held. (Category 64 of the ST RoundTable is the IAJD meeting 
place.) Consequently, membership in the IAJD is limited to Jaguar developers 
who are registered with JTS Corp. To apply for membership, send e-mail to 
ENTRY$ on GEnie (or  if you're not on GEnie). Regular e-
mail correspondence with the IAJD should be sent to IAJD$ (again, or 
 if you're not on GEnie).


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// JEO Development List 1.00
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The following list of game titles has been confirmed to the best of JEO's 
ability as of March 10, 1997. Entries in the "S"tatus column reflect any 
"e"rrors, "u"pdates, "n"ew titles, titles that are in "P"roduction, or 
"?"uestionable listings since the last AEO list. Entries in the "M"edia 
column reflect whether the title is "C"D-ROM (blank entries are assumed to be 
cartridge software).  "NEW" indicates titles released since the last (and I 
do mean "last") issue of AEO.

ETA dates are dates that have been provided by the developer or publisher.

//// Titles in Development or Limbo

S M Title                             ETA   Developer            Publisher
" " """""                             """   """""""""            """""""""
?   Air Cars                           ?    Midnite
?   Arena Football                     ?    V-Real Productions
u   Battlesphere                      1997  4Play                4Play
?   Brett Hull Hockey                  ?    Ringler Studios
? C Brett Hull Hockey CD               ?    Ringler Studios
?   Charles Barkley Basketball         ?    Ringler Studios
? C Commander Blood                    ?
?   Deathwatch                         ?    Data Design
? C Highlander II                      ?    Lore Design Ltd.
?   Hyper Force                        ?    C-West
P C Iron Soldier 2                    3/97  Eclipse              Telegames
? C Magic Carpet                       ?    Bullfrog
? C Robinson's Requiem                 ?    Silmarils
?   Skyhammer                          ?    Rebellion
? C Soulstar                           ?    Core Design Ltd.
?   Space War 2000                     ?    Atari
? C Varuna's Forces                    ?    Accent Media
P C World Tour Racing (was F1 Racing) 3/97                       Telegames
P   Worms                             5/97  Team 17              Telegames
P   Zero 5                            4/97  Caspian Software     Telegames


//// Current Software Releases (revised ratings)

M Title                             Rated   Developer            Publisher
" """""                             """""   """""""""            """""""""
  Alien vs. Predator                  9     Rebellion            Atari
  Atari Karts                         6     Miracle Design       Atari
  Attack of the Mutant Penguins       6     Sunrise Games Ltd.   Atari
C Baldies                             6     Creative Edge        Atari
C Battlemorph                        10     Attention to Detail  Atari
C Blue Lightning                      6     Attention to Detail  Atari
C BrainDead 13                        5 NEW ReadySoft            ReadySoft
  Breakout 2000                       7 NEW MP Games             Telegames
  Brutal Sports Football              6     Millennium/Teque     Telegames
  Bubsy                               5     Imagitec Design      Atari
  Cannon Fodder                       8     Virgin Interactive   C-West
  Checkered Flag                      4     Rebellion            Atari
  Club Drive                          5     Atari                Atari
  Crescent Galaxy                     3     Atari                Atari
  Cybermorph                          7     Attention to Detail  Atari
  Defender 2000                       8 NEW Llamasoft            Atari
  Doom                                8     id Software          Atari
  Double Dragon V                     4     Williams Enter.      Williams
C Dragon's Lair                       5     ReadySoft            ReadySoft
  Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story         6     Virgin Interactive   Atari
  Evolution: Dino Dudes               6     Imagitec Design      Atari
  Fever Pitch Soccer                  6     U.S. Gold            Atari
  Fight For Life                      6 NEW Atari                Atari
  Flashback                           7     Tiertex Ltd.         U.S. Gold
  Flip Out!                           6     Gorilla Systems      Atari
C Highlander I                        8     Lore Design Ltd.     Atari
  Hover Strike                        5     Atari                Atari
C Hover Strike: Unconquered Lands     7     Atari                Atari
  Iron Soldier                        9     Eclipse              Atari
  I-War                               4     Imagitec Design      Atari
  Kasumi Ninja                        5     Hand Made Software   Atari
  Missile Command 3D                  8     Virtuality           Atari
C Myst                                9     Atari                Atari
  NBA Jam: Tournament Edition         9 NEW High Voltage         Atari
  Pinball Fantasies                   6     Spider Soft          C-West
  Pitfall: The Mayan Adventure        8     Imagitec Design      Atari
  Power Drive Rally                   7     Rage Software        Time-Warner
C Primal Rage                         7     Probe                Time-Warner
  Raiden                              6     Imagitec Design      Atari
  Rayman                             10     UBI Soft             UBI Soft
  Ruiner                              6     High Voltage         Atari
  Sensible Soccer                     6     Williams Brothers    Telegames
C Space Ace                           3 NEW ReadySoft            ReadySoft
  Super Burnout                       7     Shen                 Atari
  Supercross 3D                       5     Tiertex Ltd.         Atari
  Syndicate                           7     Bullfrog             Ocean
  Tempest 2000                       10     Llamasoft            Atari
  Theme Park                          6     Bullfrog             Ocean
  Towers II                           7 NEW JV Enterprises       Telegames
  Troy Aikman NFL Football            6     Telegames            Williams
  Ultra Vortek                        8     Beyond Games         Atari
  Val d'Isere Skiing/Snowboarding     7     Virtual Studio       Atari
C Vid Grid                            6     High Voltage         Atari
C VLM                                 9     Llamasoft            Atari
  White Men Can't Jump                6     High Voltage         Atari
  Wolfenstein 3D                      7     id Software          Atari
  Zool 2                              7     Gremlin Graphics     Atari
  Zoop                                6 NEW Viacom               Atari


//// Current Hardware Releases

Item                           Manufacturer
"""""                          """"""""""""
Jaguar 64                      Atari
Jaguar 64 CD-ROM Drive         Atari
3-button Controller            Atari
6-button ProController         Atari
Team Tap                       Atari
Jag-Link                       Atari
Memory Track                   Atari
CatBox                         Black Cat Design
Lap Cat/Lap Cat Pro            Ben Aein
Jaguar Server                  Roine Stenberg (Istari Software)


Pts Stars  JEO Ratings
""" """""  """""""""""
 10 *****  THE ULTIMATE - Flawless, beautiful, deviously addictive.
  9 ****+  EXCELLENT - Something to throw in the face of N64-heads.
  8 ****   SMEGGIN' GREAT - Something to kick on the shoes of N64-heads.
  7 ***+   DARN GOOD - Plays as good as it looks.
  6 ***    DECENT - Plays better than it looks (or vice versa).
  5 **+    TIME KILLER - If there's nothing else to do, you play this.
  4 **     INEPT - The programmer's first Jag game?
  3 *+     INCOMPETENT - The programmer's first game ever?
  2 *      UNPUBLISHABLE - Heaven help us!
  1 +      INCONCEIVABLE BAD - ...but someone conceived it.  Too bad.
  0 -      EXECRABLE - This is an April Fool's joke, right?


//// The Short Term Schedule

Here's the Jaguar software schedule for the next few months. Please bear in 
mind that these dates represent everyone's best assumptions.

March: Iron Soldier 2
       World Tour Racing

April: Zero 5

May:   Worms


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// JEO Mail Order Directory 1.00
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The following list of vendors carrying Jaguar software/hardware has been 
confirmed to the best of JEO's ability as of March 10, 1997.

//// Best Electronics
Mail   2021 The Alameda, Suite 290
       San Jose, CA 95126-1127
Voice  408-243-6950

//// Bits of Fun
Mail   PO Box 12345
       San Luis Obispo, CA
Phone  800-FUN-JAGS
Email  
Web    

//// BRE Software
Mail   352 W. Bedford Ave., Suite 104
       Fresno, CA 93711
Voice  209-432-2684
Fax    209-432-2599
FaxBak 209-432-2644
Email  
Web    

//// Buy-Rite Video Games
Voice  919-850-9473
Fax    919-872-7561
Email  
Web    

//// Demand Systems
Voice  805-482-7900
Orders 800-593-0059
Fax    805-484-3745
       805-987-1998
Email  
Web    

//// Electronics Boutique
Voice  800-800-5166
Orders 800-800-0032
Email  
Web    

//// Flashback Video Games
Mail   2284 Kresge Drive
       Amherst, OH 44001
Voice  216-960-1622
Fax    216-960-1663
Email  
Web    

//// GameMasters
Mail   14393 E. 14th Street, Suite 208
       San Leandro, CA 94577
Voice  510-483-4263
Email  
Web    

//// Game Pedler
Voice  801-273-0787 (ask for Internet Sales)
Fax    801-273-1357
Email  
Web    

//// Games To Go
Mail   7632 Lyndale Avenue So.
       Richfield, MN 55423
Voice  612-798-5879
Fax    612-869-5925
Email   (orders)
        (info)
Web    

//// Hardysoft
Mail   24 Lawnside Drive
       Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Orders 609-883-1083
Fax    609-538-8674
Email  
       
       
Web    

//// STeve's Computer Technologies
Mail   405 Main Street
       Woodland, CA 95695
Voice  916-661-3328
Fax    916-661-1201
Email  
Web    

//// Telegames
Mail   P.O. Box 901
       Lancaster, Texas 75146
Voice  972-228-0690
Orders 972-224-7200
Fax    972-228-0693 
Email  
Web    

//// TigerDirect Inc.
Mail   8700 West Flagler Street, 4th Floor
       Miami, FL 33174-2428
Voice  305-229-1119
Orders 800-879-1597
       305-228-5200 (international customers)
Fax    305-228-3400
Email  
Web    

//// Toad Computers, Inc.
Mail   570 Ritchie Highway
       Severna Park, MD 21146-2925
Voice  410-544-6943
Orders 800-448-8623
BBS    410-544-6999
Fax    410-544-1329
FaxBak 410-544-0098
Email  
Web    

//// United Game Source
Mail   210 Ring Ave Unit 104
       Palm Bay, FL 32907
Voice  407-726-6867
Orders 800-564-1458
Fax    407-726-6903
Email  
Web    

//// Video Game Advantage
Mail   6861 Anthony Lane
       Parma Heights, OH 44130
Orders 216-843-8815 (24-hr answering machine)
Email  
       
       
Web    

//// Video Game Liquidators
Mail   4058 Tujunga Ave, #B
       Studio City, CA 91604
Orders 818-505-1666 (9am-5pm PST)
       888-944-4263 (toll free)
Fax    818-505-1686
Email  
Web    


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Press Releases
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

//// Atari Announces JTS Merger

ATARI, JTS TO MERGE OPERATIONS

SUNNYVALE, Calif.  Feb. 13, 1996  Atari Corporation and JTS Corporation 
today agreed to merge the two companies. Atari is the pioneer in multimedia 
video entertainment and JTS is a manufacturer of computer disk drives.

"This merger puts us in a great position to capitalize on a very experienced 
management team and a rapidly growing disk drive market. JTS is using 
innovative technology, particularly in the 3" disk drive market, and we are 
excited about its prospects," said Jack Tramiel, chairman of Atari.

"Our partnership gives us the ability to expand our capabilities and pursue 
new opportunities," said Tom Mitchell, president and chief executive officer 
of JTS. "Dataquest has predicted that 115 million disk drive units will be 
shipped worldwide in 1996, and it is a great time for us to be participating 
in this market," said Mitchell.

Terms of the Agreement

Under the terms of the agreement, the new corporation will operate under the 
name of JTS Corporation and the officers of JTS will become the officers of 
the merged company. The Atari entertainment business and the JTS disk drive 
business will operate as separate divisions of the new merged company.

Atari has extended a bridge loan to JTS in the amount of $25,000,000. In the 
event that the merger is not consummated, the bridge loan will be convertible 
into shares of JTS Series A Preferred Stock at the option of Atari or JTS and 
subject to certain conditions.

As a result of the transaction, Atari stockholders will hold approximately 
60% of the outstanding shares of the new company following the merger. The 
transaction is structured to qualify as a tax-free reorganization and will be 
accounted for as a purchase.

The board of directors of Atari and JTS have approved the definitive 
agreement. The merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory 
approvals and other conditions to closing. The parties anticipate the 
transaction will close toward the end of the second calendar quarter of 
1996.

JTS Management Team

JTS was formed in 1994 by Jugi Tandon, the company's current chairman of the 
board. Tandon is well-known in the computer storage industry for his ability 
to develop innovative products for the marketplace. Tandon will remain 
chairman of the board of the new company.

Tom Mitchell was a cofounder of Seagate Technology and president and chief 
operations officer of both Seagate and Conner Peripherals. Mitchell brings 
unparalleled industry and operational experience in the high-volume disk 
drive market. He is a pioneer in disk drive manufacturing in Singapore, 
Thailand, China and India.

About Atari Corporation

For more than twenty years, Atari has provided consumers with high-quality, 
value-priced entertainment. Atari markets Jaguar, the only American-made, 
advanced 64-bit entertainment system and licenses and markets software in the 
multi-platform, multimedia market. Atari is located in Sunnyvale, California.

About JTS Corporation

Founded in 1994, JTS Corporation develops and manufactures hard disk drives 
for the computer industry. JTS has recently introduced its new 3" Nordic 
product for the portable computer market. Headquartered in San Jose, 
California, with manufacturing facilities in Madras, India, JTS employs 1,300 
people worldwide.

The above statements regarding the disk drive industry and JTS' prospects are 
forward looking statements and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. 
Among the factors that would cause actual results to differ materially are 
the following: business conditions and growth in the portable computer 
industry and in the general economy; competitive factors, including pricing 
pressures; availability of components from third parties; risks associated 
with manufacturing of products in India or other overseas jurisdictions and 
risks associated with JTS' ability to ramp its manufacturing operations, 
including cost and yield issues.


//// Atari Announces JTS Merger Again

ATARI CORPORATION AND JTS CORPORATION TO MERGE

On February 13, 1996, Atari Corporation and JTS Corporation announced plans 
to merge the two companies. JTS is a manufacturer of personal computer hard 
disk drives. Under the terms of the agreement, the new corporation will 
operate under the name of JTS Corporation and the officers of JTS will become 
the officers of the merged company. The Atari entertainment business and the 
JTS disk drive business will operate as separate divisions of the new merged 
company.

In connection with the merger Atari has extended a bridge loan to JTS in the 
amount of $25 million. In the event that the merger is not consummated, the 
bridge loan may be convertible into shares of JTS Series A Preferred Stock at 
the option of Atari or JTS and subject to certain conditions.

As a result of the transaction, Atari stockholders will hold approximately 
60% of the outstanding shares of the new company following the merger. The 
transaction is structured to qualify as a tax-free reorganization and will be 
accounted for as a purchase.

The boards of directors of Atari and JTS have approved the definitive merger 
agreement. The merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory 
approvals and other conditions to closing. It is anticipated that the 
transaction will close toward the end of the second calendar quarter of 1996.

Atari has been in the video game business for over twenty years. Today, Atari 
markets Jaguar, the only American made, advanced 64-bit entertainment system 
and licenses its intellectual property to third parties. Atari is 
headquartered in Sunnyvale, California.


//// Telegames Announces New Releases

In the past few months, Telegames has either released, or announced their 
intention to release, SIX new Jaguar games.  While they haven't put out any 
actual press releases, these are the descriptions from their web page 
.

TOWERS II: PLIGHT OF THE STARGAZER, is the first genuine RPG to be released 
for Jaguar. Become one of four different characters as you are immersed 
within the strange happenings in the mystical land of Lamini. You must 
uncover the secrets as you explore Daggan's castle. Many before you have 
tried, but none have returned. First-person perspective, full screen smooth 
scrolling, talk to others, collect 100's of items, refer to maps, encounter 
100's of creatures, experience challenges in combat, magic, and spell 
casting. Hours of challenge with appropriate save and restore feature.  
Available NOW.

BREAKOUT 2000 is a 3-D version of the arcade classic. Designed for one or two 
players, this reflex tester will challenge any skill level. The object of the 
game is still the same; accumulate as many points as possible by breaking 
Bricks with Balls. That's where the similarity ends. There are a total of ten 
different Phases to survive, each consisting of five playfields. Each 
playfield is more difficult to clear than the one before it, and each Phase 
adds even more difficulty. As you progress through the game you'll encounter 
bricks that you have to hit more than once to break, and even some bricks 
can't be broken at all. Also includes Classic Breakout for the nostalgic 
player. Available NOW.

IRON SOLDIER 2 (CD) is the knockout sequel available on CD for Jaguar. Pilot 
your 42 foot tall mech robot through 20 new missions against the evil Penta 
forces. Dramatically enhanced 3-D graphics create a virtual battlefield with 
war waged in all 360 degrees. Outfit your mech with combinations of 12 
weapons systems and begin your fight against the multitudes of enemy weapons. 
With full motion video, driving soundtrack, and realistic SFX, all available 
in stereo or surround sound, this product must be purchased by any true 
gamer. Available March 7th. [delayed, see below --Ed.]

WORLD TOUR RACING (CD) is the first Grand Prix style racing game for Jaguar. 
Select your racer, customize its features, and set off to conquer the 
international racing world. With a super-high frame rate, this game really 
puts you in the driver's seat. Split screen, head-to-head competition in two 
player mode. A multitude of features makes each race a new experience! 
Available March 28th.

ZERO 5 is a futuristic space shooter set in a 3-D, 360 degree playfield. The 
year is 2044 and the battle for Earth has begun. On the far reaches of the 
galaxy, a massive invasion force is assembling. Scanners at DEFCON have 
alerted you to the alien threat. The Earth's best pilots are dispatched in 
their BAMBAM cruisers to engage the enemy. Multiple weapons, driving 
soundtrack, non-stop combat, multiple power-ups, and 15 extended missions 
contribute to a shooter's game with real depth. Available April.

WORMS is the hit product that is available on most other next-gen systems. 
Designed for one to four players, this game combines the best elements from 
the very best games ever created. The game requires great thought, strategy 
and elements of sheer outrageous fortune within an almost infinite range of 
playing possibilities. Teams take it in turn to bombard the enemy with 
whatever weapon they feel is likely to reap the most reward. Each battle has 
a time period and once this is over a period of extra time may be played 
where all remaining worms are reduced to 1 unit of energy and the slightest 
hit will render them out of the game. The last team remaining wins the game. 
Available May.


//// IS2... The Wait Continues

IRON SOLDIER II DELAYED

The projected release date of Iron Soldier 2 (CD) for Jaguar has been delayed 
due to a CD replication problem. Although Atari's "officially" licensed 
replicator has had the gold masters of IS2 since February 20th, they have 
been unable to create problem free glass masters that are required for mass 
production. Their problems are partly related to the sophisticated security 
encryption on the Jag CDs. Engineers have been working furiously since the 
masters were delivered to fully resolve the problems. We will update our web 
site as more info becomes available. Please do not send individual e-mail 
inquiries asking about the status.

[Editor's Addendum: In response to an inquiry regarding whether the IS2 delay 
would push back the release of subsequent titles, Telegames had this to say: 
"We will try to maintain release date separations, so probably yes."  
Bummer.]



//// Electronics Boutique to Carry Telegames Titles

Again, this isn't an official press release, but was posted to several online 
sources. Check out  for 
this offer.

ELECTRONICS BOUTIQUE WANTS YOUR HELP!!

Hello everyone... My name is Wes Pederson and I am the Web page creator for 
the EB WORLD web page at Electronics Boutique. We have responded to your 
requests for us to carry the new JAGUAR games by TELEGAMES. We have decided 
to try it one more time and see how it works. We will not be offering these 
games in the stores to start with but we will be offering them through our 
mail order department as a test. If this test works, we will look into 
carrying them in the stores as well. Here is how it will work... We will test 
it with IRON SOLDIER 2 by offering it through our mail order department at a 
price of $59.99 and when you call and tell them that you heard about it from 
the EB WEB PAGE , you will get an additional $10.00 
Gift Voucher upon the delivery of your new game that you can use towards your 
next purchase at EB. (Store or Mail order) 

To place your Pre-Order call 1-800-800-0032 

We pride ourselves in listening to you the customer and what you want... So 
here is your chance to make a difference... Let's here from you folks...

If this test goes well, we will look at offering the rest of the TELEGAMES 
titles for the JAGUAR...

Wes Pederson



=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// CatNips Epilog
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

08/14/96 - by Don Thomas

You may like to know that I have submitted my resignation to Atari and have 
determined that Thursday, August 15 will be my final day.

I have been at Atari since November 1989. I helped launch the Portfolio, 
which enjoyed tremendous success early in its life cycle. Later, I took on 
the role as a specialist and helped represent Portfolio technology at 
specialty trade shows, key account presentations and in exclusive development 
scenarios. More recently, I have streamlined an effective customer service 
department pursuant to the resources afforded by corporate direction. During 
much of this time, I have made every effort to be accessible and active on 
CompuServe as well as GEnie, Prodigy, our Web Site and a BBS I sustained 
privately in my home.

Prior to Atari, I worked at Federated Electronics stores and was known within 
the organization for my prejudice for Atari brand computers and games. Much 
of my software library was provided to Federated as samples and the software 
buyer asked me to test the latest titles.

I purchased my first Atari product in the early 80's. The 2600 was financed 
on my first Visa Card from a Video Concept store in Dallas, Texas. I was so 
impressed with the technology that I taught myself programming and developed 
a newspaper delivery game to present to my employer, the Dallas Times Herald, 
long before Paperboy ever hit the coin-op arcades. Only the crash of the 
video game industry in the mid 80's kept me from entering the industry during 
those years.

My first computer was the TI99/4a and, later, the Commodore 64. But it wasn't 
until I opened an Atari 400 box in my apartment that I developed a passion 
and soon found myself hoarding every cool thing I could find. From Scott 
Adam's adventures to my MPP1000c modem and Rana disk drives, I was virtually 
possessed.

After the Tramiels took over Atari, I bought into their 16-bit computer line 
hook, line and sinker... and never regretted a single moment.

When the Tramiels acquired Federated in the late 80's, I thought I died and 
went to heaven. For the first time, I met the likes of Neil Harris and Mr. 
Jack Tramiel himself. During the day, I helped expand Atari exposure in 
Atari's new chain of electronic stores. At night I honed my programming 
skills into a line of software I called Artisan Software. I successfully, 
released a know, Atari has just completed a merger with JTS; a 
reputable supplier of hard disk drive technologies. The terms of the merger 
relegates Atari as a division of JTS and no longer is Atari an independent 
corporate entity. Shares of stock are now traded under the symbol JTS. 
Atari's staff as of next week will consist effectively of 4 people, all of 
which are among the most proud and honorable I have ever known.

On behalf of Atari, past and present, thank you to everyone who supported us. 
Atari will always be an institution in our hearts remembering the evolution 
of Pong, Asteroids, Star Raiders, Major Havoc, Millipede and many more. Look 
for Atari's afterlife in licensed titles for other systems.

I have every intention to continue frequenting the Atari support areas and 
you will no doubt find me popping up in a PSX forum near you! I'll look 
forward to seeing you there.

-- Don Thomas @ Atari


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Hark the Herald Angels SCREAM
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

by Don Thomas

Hark the Herald Angels SCREAM
no one hears the words they sing
for 'neath the boughs of ever green
'midst the wraps of red and sheen
tied with bows of satin white
there's sorrow cradled that slumber night.

There were parcels large and some petite
there was one quite long and another smelled sweet
there were tags for Mom and sometimes Lover
some marked Mike, Michael or Brother
others did say simply Sister or Susan
and some of the ones were for Dad or for Rueben.

Now all the paper is crumbled and torn
not one gift is left still adorned
some bows are saved for another year
most are battered and tattered, we fear
and all the while; during joyful festivity
no VCS, no 8-bit, no Antic, no ST.

In years gone by; not all long ago
Mount Fuji stood tall; its pride aglow
it inspired and nurtured millions of souls
it marketed great things and set all the rules
there were games and computers and printers and mice
there were joysticks and modems and drives that were nice.

Yet lo in the present there's no present to be
that's wrapped with the factor of fn fromAtari
this year Jack The Santa; J.T.S. to be quite sure
took funds once marked for gamers so pure
and with disk drives that ship pairs at a time
there's no money for gamers, not hardly a dime.

Yet Christmas is perfect to remember the past
the Tempests, the Asteroids, the game names that last
and no one demands to know where they have gone
the silence just deafens as new systems move on
and through all, we shall treasure that precious green tree
next year when J.T.S. absorbs the tree industry.

--Donald A. Thomas, Jr. (75300.1267@compuserve.com)
  believing that the tremendous success of the today's
  systems has meaningful roots that should not be forgotten.
  (c) Christmas, 1996
  Please freely reprint or resend with author's credit.


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// World Tour Racing Author Speaks?
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

The following messages were posted to the Jaguar Interactive message board, 
by someone claiming to be the programmer of World Tour Racing (formerly known 
as F-1 Racing... coming in March from Telegames!). We have no proof that this 
individual is indeed who he claims to be, but he certainly sounds like he 
knows what he's talking about.


//// World Tour Racing - Info

1/28/97

Hello Jaguar users,
With luck World Tour Racing will be released in March by Telegames. The game 
was originally completed 12 months ago, but the release vanished with the 
demise of Atari. Information about the product is quite scarce, so I would 
like to clarify a few things. The game IS polygon based, the project was 
originally conceived as Virtua Racing on the Jag, but as the project 
progressed that look became dated and we received pressure to include heavy 
texture mapping. The game does contain some texture mapping, but also 
includes lots of tricks involving scaled sprites and bitmaps to make the 
screen look detailed and interesting, without anywhere near the same speed 
hit. It's not 30fps but it is a lot faster than Chequered Flag.

World Tour Racing was in development for almost 2 years whilst I worked at a 
company in Greenwich London. Since than I've moved on and now work at another 
company, but I'm currently helping to resolve a few technical issues so that 
the game can be published. I had to fire up a dev-kit for the first time in 
almost a year a few weeks ago to supply the screen shots which are now on the 
Telegames web site.

I'm grateful to Telegames for releasing the game, as I and the rest of the 
team that worked on it were proud of the product and how well it played and 
looked when it was finished. The fact that it didn't go onto the shelves was 
a bit of a kick in the teeth.

Regards
The Programmer.


//// World Tour Racing - More Info

1/29/97

Hello again.
Some answers to some direct questions :-)

The game has 16 tracks, 12 of which are based on real F1 tracks from around 
the world, and 4 fantasy tracks which we made up (I wanted pyramids in the 
game and Egypt doesn't have any racing tracks, so what the heck). It has 10 
cars in each race, at one point the game had as few as 6, it was part of the 
process of tweaking the game play so that you were always racing against 
someone. 10 cars worked well in the final product. The fact that you never 
really raced against anyone in CF was probably the worst thing about the 
game.

The Jaglink is not supported, 2 player mode is via a split screen. What 
resolution does it run at? Erm... most of them. This would probably take me 
quite a while to answer, due to a technique I used to maintain acceptable 
frame rates at all times. Instead I'll just point out that Doom is the lowest 
resolution game on the Jag, only 160 horizontal pixels, and I'm higher than 
that at all times.

The music was produced by the same musician who did the music for that French 
skiing game that I can never remember the name of [Val d'Isere Skiing and 
Snowboarding --Ed.]. It's CD audio throughout and I was very happy with it, 
but you'll have to decide for yourself.

I think I remember the adverts that some of you have been referring to. The 
early mock up pictures of the racing game [Checkered Flag] had nothing at all 
to do with WTR, it didn't exist back than. The company where I developed the 
game was producing Brutal Sports Football at the time (the programmer who 
converted that game wrote the first level of Die Hard Trilogy on the 
Playstation afterwards).

Well done whoever it was that said that the in cockpit camera seems slightly 
higher than the drivers head, it is, by about 20cm. Very few people noticed 
in testing and it does make quite a big difference to the game's playability. 
You can set the camera to lots of different positions, you can even race via 
the TV cameras if you really want to.

World Tour Racing was not a Domark project, and as a publisher I don't think 
they ever released any Jaguar software. As a side note, I now work for Eidos 
Interactive which owns Domark Software.

BTW, during my time as a developer I did have access to some of the Jag 2 
papers, I think by now my NDA is pretty much dead, anyone interested?

Regards
The Programmer

Sorry, I'd rather not give my e-mail directly, but I'm checking this site
on an irregular basis, so if you want to leave me a message post it up
here.


//// World Tour Racing - Jag 2 Info

1/29/97

I'm about to disappear as it's the end of my working day, but as there seems 
to be quite a high level of interest I'll clarify what I said about the Jag 2 
in my last message.

I don't have any physical Jag 2 papers, I don't think anyone does except the 
ex-employees of Atari, as the project was confidential, but I did get to see 
some of them.

Atari started releasing details to some developers around the middle of '95, 
with the intention of holding a developers conference in the Autumn. The 
conference never happened and the project died later that year.

Depending on how much I can remember (it was over a year ago) I'll try to 
post some information up about the machine tomorrow. But I will say this, at 
the time it didn't look that great compared to what was looming and Atari 
must have been aware of that.

Now for a few more answers :-)

Yes, the tracks do have tunnels and dips and bridges, it doesn't wildly 
undulate, which is mostly due to the nature of the real world tracks and the 
type of racing.

The computer cars do race against one another and have quite complicated AI. 
The car AI was originally developed on another machine before the Jaguar 
project began, so it was adjusted, refined and playtested over a considerable 
length of time.

Yes the game does vary the resolution. It doesn't quite do it on-the-fly in 
the sense that it changes whilst you're racing around a track, but it does 
change from section to section and track to track. It even changes res when 
the game is paused, if things are flying pst at high speed you can get away 
with lower res as the eye doesn't notice that sort of detail, speed is all 
important in a racing game. I did at one point experiment with an engine that 
changed the base res on a frame by frame basis, but that makes simple things 
like screen overlays stupidly complicated.

The car is highly configurable, there is a workshop during qualifying which 
you can jump into at any time and adjust all the usual stuff. It has a fairly 
complicated vector force model driving the physics of the car, with a set of 
interpreter blocks put in to make it a fun game to play. Sliding is an 
important part of the game, simply because most testers found it a lot of 
fun.

I'm not sure what the Blitter "trick" is that your refer to, but it does blit 
via CLUT & GPU memory, and uses many, many other techniques (half of which 
I've now forgotten).

Bye for now
The Programmer


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Jaguar Underground Forges Ahead
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

"THE UNDERGROUND"
[This article originally appeared in Gamepen's Gamewire 
. Reprinted with permission.]

In the wake of the Atari Jaguar's commercial death, it seems that the Atari 
community is going to pick up where the corporation left off. Certain 
dedicated members of the community are in the process of making history. A 
group of game designers and programmers that calls itself The Underground is 
working on the idea of shareware for the Jaguar. The movement is currently in 
a learning state: all the coders figuring out the tricks of assembly on the 
Jaguar. The group is also requesting rights from various corporations to 
program certain titles. If successful, this would be the first major 
shareware movement on a console, and it could very well change the face of 
the video game industry.

Recently GameWire was able to get in touch with some members of The 
Underground to find out how this project is developing:

"The final form of the shareware has not yet been determined. Most of this is 
in its infancy. If only (Atari) realized how many people would write games 
for them from this underground, the Jag may still be formidable. Fact is the 
Jag can do all those nice tricks the PSX can and better, with more color. We 
simply want to put out games for a system that we all love and realize a 
great potential for."

"Just so everyone understands who reads this, we in no way intend to violate 
anybody or their copyrights, Atari included. If (they) had half a market 
brain, they would bring back the Consumer Program Exchange where home hackers 
produced a lot of the 8 bit computer software."

The Underground has mentioned a few titles and it seems some of Atari's 
broken promises of 'classics' may be fulfilled through this. (Games by) 
Bally, Stern, and other classics are all possibilities, pending approval, of 
course, from their respective companies.

Overall, the shareware movement is alive and well on the Jaguar. The game 
descriptions that have been shared with us thus far sound extraordinary. We 
wish the best of luck to The Underground and will continue to cover this 
development as it progresses, so stay tuned to GameWire for exclusive 
interviews and coverage. In the meantime, if you have any comments, 
questions, or concerns about The Underground, please email GameWire's Senior 
Web Editor, Brian C Bessemer (). Messages will be forwarded 
to The Underground and we will attempt to answer all concerns, if not 
personally, then in future updates.


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// New AvP Code Discovered
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Thanks to Adam Ryder for unearthing this heretofore unknown Alien vs Predator 
code. This code displays a few lines of debug info on your HUD.

Debug Info:
     Hold Pause.
     Press Option.
     Press 1+3.
     Release Pause.
     Press Option.
     Shotgun blast confirms.

"dec(nn,nn)" is your map grid coordinates.  "hex(nnnn,nnnn)" is your precise
coordinates (in hexadecimal).  "1(nn)" is the current level.


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||
   ||  Jag-Fest '97
\__//  The Atari Jaguar's Woodstock?
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

Several Jaguar enthusiasts (mostly on Jaguar Interactive) are organizing a 
little get-together called "Jag-Fest '97". It started out as a party to 
celebrate the release of BattleSphere andAtari employee) 
and Terry Grantham of Telegames. They are not attending for sure, but it is 
an exciting possibility. 

Jeff Grimshaw has sent out a request for feedback on who's planning to 
attend. Here it is:

"PLEASE SUBMIT A POSTCARD

Send a Postcard Today!

Attention all Jag-Fest '97 party goers! It has proven to be somewhat 
difficult for me to secure a place for our meeting. To help remedy this, I 
ask that you send some information to me via SNAIL MAIL! 

Hardcopy information I can keep and file and be happy about, electronic I can 
lose when my next HD crash occurs... 

My big problem is that I know we all would like to go and have a good time, 
but I don't know how many of you will be needing a place to stay. I don't 
really know how much you are expecting to spend, what you plan to bring (if 
anything), if you plan to show up early or would like to stay late and help 
clean up. 

I don't know if you want to donate anything, be it ideas, food, luck, 
posters, artwork, whatever. Remember, a big undecorated room is ugly to look 
at. Besides, you'll become rich and famous like me (ever heard of me before 
this event? :-Q ) when we credit you for your contributions. 

As of now, this is the information I will need: 

First and Last Name: (so I know who you are) 

Age: (I hate to ask... but there are curfew laws and hotel regulations we 
must take into account. If you are way too young and coming alone, we'll try 
to pair you up with someone, but your parents will be convinced all internet 
geeks are axe murders, anyway..) 

Mailing Address: (in case I need to mail you for whatever reason) 

Daytime/Evening phone numbers: (In case I need to contact you regarding 
hotel/motel rooms/pricing etc. The hotel will also need this if they need to 
contact you in case of reservation problems.)

E-mail Address: (so I can e-mail you with updates) 

Who is Coming With You? (Wouldn't it be great if I requested a bunch of 
single rooms and your group of 12 drinking buddies come along with the 
intention of all staying in the same room? This will allow me to have a fair 
idea of how large of a room we each need. Prices will vary accordingly due to 
room size.) 

What can you bring? (Tell me if you are bringing something. I don't care if 
it's a thank-you card. Acceptable items are listed on Chad's page.) 

Are you willing to send a deposit on your room, if need be? (I will try not 
to handle the money and have it go straight to the hotel if this comes to 
light, but I can't promise) 

Who can we contact in case of an emergency? (If you suddenly die, we can't 
throw you away) 

Finally, what comments/suggestions do you have? (There's still so much to do, 
there's still time for one person to make a difference!) e-mail me this information. But if you 
must, my email address is: Gorgonzola@earthlink.net

Please use the same format as listed above, and title the message "Jag Fest 
Applicant Information" 

All people who register with me will be getting e-mail shortly thereafter. I 
will try to keep everyone posted in a timely manner as to current events and 
developments. If you would like to send me artwork/posters/etc, please 
forewarn me, so that I will be sure to check the PO Box more often. 
------------------------------------------------------------------------

The PO Box's address, incidentally, is: 

Jeff Grimshaw 
PO BOX 958542 
Hoffman Estates, IL 
60195-8542 

Thank you for your support! I look forward to meeting you all and publicly 
losing most of the contests... No one said I was a good gamer, I just like to 
play..."


//// Where Can I Get More Information?

Every Friday evening, 11:00 PM EST, there is a lengthy Jag-Fest meeting for 
everyone to attend. It's located at JPFN. To go directly to the chat, go to 
.

Be warned though, some have encountered technical problems and haven't been 
able to enter chat. If this happens, then please e-mail us (or probably 
Kevin) for the latest scoop on what went on. Of course, you can always check 
out the home page for all the info, too.

Check out these home pages for further info:

Jag-Fest '97 Home Page:


Jag-Fest Info Page:

Maintained by Kevin Manne (kevinmanne@wycol.com)

Atari Video Club:



                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Llatest from Llamaland
   ||  By: Jeff "Yak" Minter
\__//  llamaman@ix.netcom.com
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

[All of the following postings are taken from Jeff Minter's web page, Yak's 
Zoo .  Check it out, and see what else 
Jeff has yakked up lately.]


//// 22 Jun 1996

Well, I have been getting on with The Project Of Which I Cannot Speak, having 
fun doing that... went to an excellent party not too long ago... enjoying the 
onset of California summer and driving around in the Red Ship... installed 
Linux on my PC... (amazingly enough, someone has converted the old C64 game 
Thrust to Linux! I was most impressed!)... unfortunately I can't say a lot 
about what is really turning me on at the moment, but soon... real soon... I 
promise :-).

I've introduced a new section, dedicated to my favourite tech toys, and added 
a bit of new stuff here and there in the existing sections. I know there are 
a few snapped links around, I'll do me best to fix them and add new ones RSN. 
Sorry I have been a bit inactive Webwise of llate, I have just been a lazy 
git, iz all. And not being able to speak of my passion makes it a bit harder 
to get enthusiastic about maintaining my stuff. That *will* change. Soon. 
Watch the skies. Imagine a world without pixels :-).


//// 14 July 1996

Just done a major overhaul of the Llamasoft Titles by System page - adding 
links to scans of the original cover artwork of the games where available, 
plus a few words about each of the games. I will add more as I get hold of 
more of the cover art, but some of that stuff is quite hard to find now!


//// 20 Oct 1996 (Wipeout XL is due to release tomorrow!!)

I've been away for a while, took a short trip back to the UK... yes the new 
project is still proceeding OK, no I can't say a lot about it yet - at least 
no more than I said in the October 'WIRED' Atari piece. Soon... in the 
meantime, I have updated a couple of areas and added a piece about my recent 
trip, including some nice pi can be sure; but 
that period is coming to an end. Expect interesting things to read about at 
the start of '97. Next year is going to be a Time of Much Coding and Many 
Miracles. As soon as I can, I shall also start up my "Wallpaper of the Week" 
section, where you will be able to download psychedelic stills for your 
Windoze wallpaper from some of the outrageous graphics naughtiness that I 
have been getting up to. Be warned that you will need 24-bit colour to view 
them at their best. I tend to be worst-case for anything less. :-)

Also, also... been playing a few new games (see In The Slot)... and got a 
couple of new emulators and finally uploaded my game packs for download from 
the Emu page, and I've also updated a coupla other areas on the website... 
Apart from coding and messing with my computers I haven't really been up to 
much recently. I've been in semi-hermetic mode, lurking in my lair communing 
with exotic constructs and occasionally breaking off to consume stimulants 
both chemical and digital. (Coffee and Robotron will get ya wired as f*ck). 
In particular, I have been firing up the Williams Arcade Classics on the PSX 
and refining my skills at Robotron, in anticipation of the imminent release 
of "Robotron X" on that system.

Oh, Tempest is now apparently out on the PS and Saturn... I still haven't 
seen it as nobody at either Interplay or what remains of Atari has seen fit 
to send me a copy to have a look at, which is kinda weird, considering that 
it is my game after all. However initial reaction in the newsgroups and in 
review is good, and there is no reason why the conversion shouldn't be as 
cool as the original - maybe more so, with some cool new FX on the PS 
version. One of these days maybe I will even get to see it.

I've been coding up a lot of HTML too... but nothing you are gonna see
:-)... tech examples for the coders who are to follow me down the Path to 
Great Glory that is our current project.

However it won't be long until I am comfortably enthroned in my Virgin 
Premium Economy, definitely no smoking seat, within a large metal tube 
hurtling at unthinkable velocity and altitude above a large body of water,glugging down one gin and tonic after another 
and mak won't want to do anything except gaze at your screens drooling 
on the carpet and... interfacing... we are talking serious habit-forming 100% 
class A pure video narcotics here. Algorithmic ecstasy. A full-frontal 
digital lobotomy.

heh heh heh.....


//// 15 Dec 1996

Well, I was supposed to be tidying up my house prior to my going back to the 
UK for the hols (yippee!), but instead I found myself seated firmly on my 
arse in front of the Playstation and N64 all weekend. Go to In the Slot if 
you wanna hear the whole sorry story. My arse is totally numb from all the 
videogaming I have been doing...

Hey, I did tidy up at least the living room today, in between games. I nearly 
blew up my Hoover! There I was, Hoovering away, when suddenly I could 
smell... you know... that smell. Burning electrical stuff. Never a good odour 
to encounter as it usually bodes ill. I switched off the Hoover, and sure 
enough, there were wisps of smoke coming out of the ventilation slots!

Now, I know my carpet was dirty. I have about as much sense of domesticity as 
a billy-goat, as anyone who has ever had to use the bogs at my gaff will 
attest. I rarely Hoover. So there was plenty of dirt on my carpet - I didn't 
have so much dust-bunnies as dust-cows. Big ones, wandering around and mooing 
loudly. However, even I would have been amazed that there could be enough 
dirt to actually blow up my Hoover.

As it turns out, all that was wrong was that I had forgotten to switch mode 
on the Hoover from "low pile" to "high pile" before I attempted to suck my 
living-room carpet. Now that's an easy oversight to make, and I reckon there 
should have been some failsafe device in the Hoover to actually cut out the 
motor before it started to burn up. Bloody silly piece of design that there 
isn't. Luckily I stopped my Hoover before actual flames ensued, but it was a 
close call. Poxy dumb mechanical devices - I hate 'em. I look forward to the 
day when I can buy some nano dust that I can scatter on my carpet and which 
will eat my dirt, using it as raw material to reproduce themselves, evolving 
vast nano civilizations in the interstices of my shagpile whilst 
simultaneously keeping it spotlessly clean. Hehe...

Oh well, tomorroeview, complete with moany bits and comments, on my reviews 
page. (To be honest, I am probably being a bit extra-hard on the game, but, 
well, if anyone has the right to be an opinionated git about the game, it's 
me. And, of course, the Great Originator Dave Theurer - but since he has left 
the games biz, I feel like I have kinda inherited Tempest - I care about it 
deeply, and I want to nurture and protect it, keep it safe from harm... and 
watch it grow. I don't think I've finished with Tempest yet. Oh my no, not at 
all... (hehe)...

"Project X" is entering a very exciting phase, and we're all buzzed about how 
things are going at work. Yes, there will be announcements; no, I don't know 
yet when they will be, but it should be fairly soon. Keep an eye on the Area 
51 section of my homepage, because if I let anything slip, that's where it's 
going to be slipping.

Oh yes - and one other thing I have decided about this year: Exodus.

Apart from that... I had a very nice break over the Xmas hols, went back to 
the sceptred isle as per usual, got to hang out with my mates, go to Wales, 
drink lots of beer and eat plenty curry. In fact on the last day, I went out 
for curry with my mates, and the curry house offered me one of the mythical, 
off-the-menu "stealth curries" which they consider to be too dangerous and 
won't even admit they exist until you have a proven record of wolfing down 
the hottest Vindaloos. I had a dark, ominous, seething chicken curry that 
made my eyes water and my tongue throb. A curry that burns like fire and, 
amazingly enough, even looks exactly the same both going in and coming out.

I also went to see my mate Dave Lightsynth up in Bristol, and had one of 
those proper British nights out that I really miss since I've been here. You 
know the sort of thing - down the road for a most excellent Vindaloo at the 
Sheesh Mahal, then lots of lager, further stimulation, and conversation until 
N o'clock in the morning... Dave's gaff is an interesting place to get 
smashed in - full of boxes marked VPL and bits of Polhemus trackers, hardware 
and computers everywhere, even parts of the furniture made out of bits of old 
computers. Dave is an excellent guy to have inebriated conversations with. 
This is a guy who has interfaced the Jaguar VLM to a Theremin, for Ghu's 
sake. Me and Dave and Ian Lightsynth used to have regular such sessions at my 
old gaff in Wales, so it was most excellent to do so again - it's been a 
couple of years. Oh well - maybe soon the Welsh sessions will be starting 
again...

Not that I don't get to have occasional good nights out over here - in fact 
the other night I met up with some ex-Atarians I hadn't seen for a while and 
we had a most pleasant evening indeed, consuming a degree of fermented 
beverages of varying ilks and talking about this and that and the Old Days 
Back At Atari. There was this guy there I didn't really know, kinda a FOAF, 
ya grok [Errm... no?  --Ed.], and although he was a nice enough guy for sure, 
well, you know that funny feeling you get when you know someone who's 
apparently sane but belongs to some cult, or is a Scientologist? Well... this 
guy was a heretic... I can barely bring myself to say it, but he... he...

He didn't like Roger Waters.

Yes, yes, I know, that's shocking, and the very words look ugly upon the page 
of your Web browser, but it's true. I tell you, I knew something was up when 
the conversation happened to veer in the direction of Their Exalted 
Pinknesses, and he suddenly said something extraordinary: he said that he 
thought that Pink Floyd were losing their touch when they released The Wall. 
He thought The Wall "wasn't that great".

Yeah right! And that Eugene Jarvis chap was totally missing his stride when 
he wrote Robotron. And that Shigeru Miyamoto, he's crap, he is, and Mario 64 
sucks!

Now that was scary, being in the same room as someone who actually thought 
The Wall was crap... but, shock piled on horror, the heretic went on to make 
the following bizarre allegations:

- The Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking is, apparently, crap!

(yeah right! And the Curry Gardens serves rotten Vindaloo and it never rains 
in Wales!)

- Radio KAOS is "poppy!"

(yeah right! Regular Spice Girl, that Roger Waters is! Yeah! KAOS was *so* 
mainstream!)

- Amused to Death only has one decent song on it!

(yeah right! And the only good game on the PlayStation is "Viewpoint"! And 
that Dave Gilmour, he only knows one chord!)

Naturally, I was somewhat taken aback to find out that apparently my Deity 
has been creating all this crap, poppy music for years and silly me's been 
enjoying it and thinking it's good! Damn, I hope nobody pops up to tell me 
that all Eugene Jarvis's games are crap, and I just didn't notice - that 
would really spoil my day.

Amazingly enough, when pressed, the individual in question revealed that he 
had arrived at his deep, insightful opinion of Pros and Cons after just the 
one listening! Silly me, and I thought that there was such a wealth of detail 
in that album that it took me quite a few listenings before I began to get 
the most out of it...

Well, after hearing such talk, in mixed compaI was halfway through 
writing some stuff for the website, when I had a pre-emptive curry interrupt 
that caused me to leap into the Red Ship and tool down to Monterey and 
India's Clay Oven, where I had an extra extra hot chicken Vindaloo, garlic 
naan, two spicy pappadoms (the best spicy pappadoms I have found in the US so 
far, actually) and a couple of bottles of Flying Horsie beer (according to 
the little tag you get on each bottle, Flying Horsie is "the champagne of 
beers", and each bottle is brewed "for you, the connoiseur. When you're sure 
the occasion deserves it, serve Flying Horsie Royal Lager Beer. Then sit back 
and drink deeply". Well, a good curry always deserves lager, so I did indeed 
sit back and drink deeply - in between shovelling forkfuls of steaming 
Vindaloo into my face, that is :-).

Speaking of curry and lager, I am totally overjoyed that Red Dwarf series 7 
is out at long last, and being broadcast back in the UK. Thanks to a co-
operative mum over there and a multi-standard VCR over here, I am receiving 
regular tapes of the new episodes, to my unmitigated delight. I was howling 
with mirth within the first five minutes of Episode One when Lister is 
devastated to find out that a spacetime anomaly has wiped out the ship's 
entire supplies of curry and lager ("Life without curry? That's like Laurel 
without Hardy... or the Lone Ranger without... umm... that Indian bloke!").

Life without curry would indeed be a terrible thing to contemplate. Maybe I 
should marry a nice Indian girl who would be willing to cook me Vindaloo 
every night. I can just see my Personals ad now:

"Shaggy, goaty-smelling coder seeks Indian female for spicy culinary 
relationship, possibly marriage. Looks unimportant, age unimportant, but 
please send photo of curry..."

Hehe... so what else is up? Well, I'm off skiing next week, oh delight, 
sliding down mountains with long things on my hooves, one of my favourite 
activities! I'll be strapping on my Salomon ski-boots and getting into my 
very appropriately-named Mountain Goat ski-suit, although not in that order, 
'coz that would be well awkward :-). 

Finally got around to trimming off some of the dead parts of my website, and 
gathered my links and downloads into one place; and I have decided to release 
Llamatron and Revenge as freeware. Coding continues well on the new Thang - I 
expect to twiddle with Area 51 [the section of Yak's page, not the game --
Ed.] a bit more tomorrow and quite possibly upload a couple of new images, so 
watch the skies!


//// 15 March 1997

Saturday night again - seems to be the timezone when I am most relaxed and 
can re-enter the real world long enough to actually communicate with humans 
:-)... here I sit listening to a nice techno compil that I laid down onto 
minidisk a few months ago, and quaffing a not insignificant amount of Gin and 
Tonic. G&T is my inflight drink of choice, you see, and when I am feeling a 
little homesick, well, if I can't jump on a plane and fly right back to 
Flossie, well, at least I can do the gin part, and imagine the rest.

Things are hotting up a bit in the world of Project X, and I've had precious 
little time to be human recently... I have n things to do right now, and when 
I'm not doing those, I am thinking about the n+1 things that I also need to 
do, but which are of a lower priority from the original n... and there are 
several layers of X-based priorities before you even begin to get down to 
normal human things like feeding yourself or going out or being sociable. As 
a result of this I am afraid I have fallen down somewhat on my comm duties, 
and I have a huge backlog of email that I just cannot hope to shift. I 
apologize, and don't mean to seem rude if I don't answer your email 
immediately, if at all. I always appreciate hearing from people who know of 
me and my work, particularly when people write out of the blue just to thank 
me for wearing out their joystick hand over the years - it always cheers me 
up when I get such a communication. But these days I am knocking off work 
quite late most nights, and all I'm fit for at the end of the day is a quick 
beer and then bed, and I can't really face answering a ton of email. I'm 
sorry, I don't mean to be rude. Merlin eats me, iz all. And I love it, and 
the results will be well worth it, you wait and see. You will know extreme 
bliss when I caress your quivering neurons with my nootropic algorithmic 
digital-narcotic wares. And that day is getting inexorably closer. There is 
much excitement amongst the Project X team.

I've basically been in trogloditic mode, and will probably remain so for the 
next month or two - I have a long-weekend break arranged for the end of May, 
when I shall be going to an extremely good party; I'm kinda using that to aim 
for and to justify not really having a life beyond X at the moment. And after 
that, of course, there's my return to Flossie, planned for later in the year, 
to which I look forward with inordinate relish. It gives me deep joy to know 
that before the year is out I shall be reunited with my Ungulate of Choice.t of hard 
work for all of us on the X team, and will continue to be so for the next few 
months... but if I could tell you the specs right here and now, you'd 
understand exactly why it's gonna be so worth it.

For you, it's gonna mean a gaming and lightsynth experience unlike anything 
you've ever seen before. N64 included.

For me, it's gonna mean being back in Wales, working on stuff that I am 
passionately enthusiastic about, on unbelievable hardware that I would never 
have imagined in my wildest dreams (at least the wild dreams pertaining to 
hardware, rather than beasties) a few years ago, living not far from a decent 
pub, and in close proximity to a variety of pleasantly aromatic furry 
beasties.

Well worth working for, I reckon. Trogloditic mode isn't particularly human, 
but it gets stuff done :-)


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  BattleSphere Updates
   ||  By: Doug "Thunderbird" Engel
\__//  thunderbird@sprynet.com
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

[All of the following are public postings to Usenet by Doug Engel, 
BattleSphere Chief Engineer.]

//// BattleSphere(tm) Mini-Update(R) 4/17/96

Greetings Sports Fans! Welcome to the latest installment of BattleSphere(tm) 
Update(r). Once again, we are slaving around-the-clock in our efforts to 
create the greatest console game ever designed on any system known to 
mankind.

Since the last update, the following breakthroughs have been accomplished:

1) A super-nasty and annoying bug in the targeting system was exterminated. 
Changing targets with the selection keys no longer glitches on occasion. It's 
working fine now.

2) A bug in the sound manager was squashed, so now the sound locations in the 
universe are accurately calculated, so their relative volumes are now 
properly computed. This had caused some annoying miscues in the sounds.

3) Speaking of sounds, the new samples which we added recently have been 
described as, "Sounds like a world war". Great. That's what we wanted! Our 
sound is officially chock full of "64-bitty" goodness!

4) All of the versions of all of the Starbase objects have been created. A 
major task has been completed. There are bases for each different race. Each 
base has a unique shape and style, making them all race-specific.

5) The Starbase code has been completed, which includes the ability to 
target, shoot, damage, and eventually destroy a Starbase. The HUD icon for a 
base was added, so they can be spotted on the HUD and targeted. It looks 
great.

6) The universe was expanded (Scott playing God again) because the large 
bases would not grow small enough in the distance before wrapping around the 
universe.

7) We were not 100% happy with the way the Starbase destruction sequence 
appeared once it was first completed. We felt that a Starbase should have a 
distinctive looking termination effect. Inspired by the effects from the 
recent space-battle on Babylon 5 (which blows away any and all current 
versions of Star Trek), we came up with a last-minute revamp of the Starbase 
destruction. Now, a Starbase that dies does so in a much more spectacular 
fashion. It's last-minute inspiration like this which makes game development 
so enjoyable, and makes BattleSphere(tm)'s development process superior to 
the rigidly defined processes of other developers.

8) The "Gauntlet" play-mode is being honed to perfection. It's a lot of fun 
and has an "arcade" feel to it. The enemy AI is really wickedly evil, and few 
players will get very far against the ever improving enemy pilots. Protecting 
a group of Starbases in a sector has never been this much fun before...

9) Expect a preview from none other than Travis "El Travvy" Guy, from Atari 
Explorer Online within a few days. Travis is going to be playing a recent 
beta test version of this game.

10) BattleSphere(tm) R00LZ!

Until next time, Happy BattleSphere(tm)ing!

Thunderbird


//// BattleSphere(tm) Update(R) #032396:

That's right! With tonight's code modifications, you too will experience the 
amazing technological innovation of 4-times the Nonvolatile Memory Capacity 
*** Warning - You will be disconnected in 5 minutes!  Please Finish quickly!of any Jaguar Game Cartridge ever produced!!
!

We felt that limiting our high-score tables to only a handful of names was 
one of the few legitimate complaints with the -awesome- Defender 2000, so we 
embarked on an effort to quadruple the storage capacity of the NV memory. The 
effort has succeeded. Now we have the ability to store complete high-score 
tables _and_ detailed ship statistics.

Another record-shattering advancement from 4Play!

This BattleSphere(tm) Update(R) brought to you by:

Thunderbird


//// BattleSphere(tm) Update(R)  9/9/96

Greetings, everyone!!!

Welcome to the latest installment of the BattleSphere(tm) Update...

The three latest additions to our masterpiece are as follows:

1) The "Warp Effect" is incorporated. This is a cool wavy wormhole that 
appears in the spot where a ship exits from hyperspace. If you see one of 
these things you can pepper it with gunfire and the ship will materialize 
right in your hail of fire! Boom!!! It works!!! And it looks really cool!!! I 
have to make a sound effect for it though...

2) "Free-For-All" play mode has been added. This mode pits you up against 15 
other ships in an all-out battle to reach a selectable number of points. You 
will re-generate after getting killed after a 5 second delay, with a 1 kill 
penalty. The first player to reach the goal is the victor! This is something 
like "DeathMatch" in Doom, except that we have the additional features:

  a) When killed you re-generate with your targeting computer locked on
     the ship that killed you, so you can get "REVENGE(tm)" on him!

  b) Your targeting computer displays a bar-graph indicator under each ship
     target indicator indicating their score. A ship with a large indicator
     has more kills than one with a short one. This way you can concentrate
     fire on the guy that's winning, and cut his score back!

Free-For-All mode is complete, except for the pre-game setup screen which 
allows the number of kills to be specified and the ship classes allowed in 
each game.

Free-For-All works in both 1-player and Networked modes and it's a real blast 
to play!!! With 16 ships in constant battle and an infinite supply of lives, 
things get pretty hairy! There's never a dull moment here!!!

3) Check out the All-New and Vastly Improved "BattleSphere(tm) Homepage(R)".  
Just point your browsers at  and select the 
Videogames / BattleSphere icon.

We even have a feedback form so you can submit your info so we know who to e-
mail when we release!!!! And we have e-mail links to all of your favorite 
4Play members!!!

Let us know what you all think!!!

Thunderbird
Strap yourselves in. This flight is gonna suck, and we don't serve peanuts!


//// BattleSphere(tm) Update(R)  12/28/96

Hey there BattleSpherePhanatics(tm)! The wait is drawing to a close. Gauntlet 
Play Mode is now in play testing, and I must say that it RULES!!! Never 
before have I met such a challenging shooter game in my life! (Well... maybe 
Tempest 2000). But it's great!!! 

The levels start off pretty easy for me (I'm an expert) but the enemy gets 
smarter and stronger as you go. Some levels require a great deal of strategy 
as you're outnumbered and outgunned. Careful planning of when and where to 
use your special weapons is crucial.

The level bosses are particularly fun and challenging, and really make the 
time fly by. Finding the weakness in these guys is going to be a real 
challenge! It took me 90 minutes to get through one particular level and I 
know the Achilles heel already (heh heh heh) you guys are gonna love this.

Watch out now that the enemy AI is programmed to use special weapons on you. 
Some of you complained a while back that some of our special weapons were not 
particularly useful, right? Well, you'll be singing a different tune when you 
discover how "INeffective" they are when the enemy is using them on you 
(don't cry to me).

At any rate... if you finish all 100 levels of Gauntlet, you will indeed be a 
supreme BattleSphere champion. 

In other news, our nifty new introduction which tells the story of the game 
is completed, which really spiffs up our Attract Mode. There's even some cool 
easter-eggs in that sucker.

There's a couple of other things new too, but I can't tell anyone about them 
;-) Let's just say we have another "first" for Jaguar games!

Thunderbird


//// BattleSphere(tm) (Awesome) Update(R) 02/03/97

Greetings BattleSpherical BattlePhanatics! It's time once again to give you 
all the nitty-gritty on the most eagerly anticipated videogame in all of 
videogame history! You guessed it... we're talking about BattleSphere(tm) 
from 4Play!!! (That should really annoy Martian, huh?)

More amazing superhuman effort has brought about dramatic changes to the 
world of BattleSphere(tm). As we approach the end of available ROM space, 
more and more additional features are being added and play is being tweaked 
to perfection. The actual changes made include but are not limited to: 

1) The graphical extravaganza introduction has been completed. The number-
crunching graphics are indeed impressive. The nasty bug in the hardware which 
caused this mode to occasionally lock up was circumvented. 

2) The mega-awesome new "Mystery" levels have been added to Gauntlet (I hate 
the term "Boss"). Several unusual new entities have been added to make things 
a little more interesting for the player trying to complete all 100 levels! 
Animated 3D ships RULE!!! 

3) Gauntlet Networking is nearly finished. This allows 2 consoles to be 
connected to play a cooperative version of Gauntlet... it may be the only way 
some of you get to see the nifty later levels (heh heh heh). 

4) Cockpit radars have been aesthetically improved for a more high-tech look. 

5) Another incredibly realistic explosion has been added.

6) Several all-new sound effects have been added.

7) Steph is pleased to announce that all non-in-game music has been increased 
to 8 or 10 track stereo sound, thanks to an all-new music player expertly 
coded by TBird. (Limited bandwidth forces in-game tunes to remain 4-track). 

8) A nasty hardware bug killing BattleSphere(tm) mode was eliminated. It 
didn't show up until testing. 

9) BattleSphere(tm) Play mode is finished. This mode is a show-stopping, 
strategy-invoking, white-knuckle blast! Conquering the bases of the enemy 
team is challenging and fun... and the more players you bring to the Battle 
Sphere, the more fun it gets. Forget about mindless "Deathmatching" (Which 
you can play too in "Free-For-All" mode)... BattleSphere(tm) mode's vastly 
more elegant play mechanics create a networked play environment that's light-
years ahead of the simplistic kill-or-be-killed doldrums everyone's so weary 
of. 

The object of the mode is to capture the enemy team's bases using special 
energy weapons... but you need to accumulate kills to be able to upgrade your 
ship to be able to carry these weapons. Once you upgrade your ship, you can 
dock with your bases and load up on special weapons.

But watch out! If you get destroyed, you have to start over again. Once you 
have sufficient weapons to conquer a base, and you get through the enemy 
fighters defending it, you can lay into it and take it over. Once the base is 
yours, you can go after the next. Be careful though because the enemy may not 
want you taking over their base and may take their own base down with a last-
ditch bombing run, if it looks like you're about to conquer it! 

Of course the number of bases, number of players, and method of victory 
(conquest or destruction of enemy bases) is completely configurable... for 
hours and hours of networked play fun. By itself this play-mode is an entire 
game. Remember... this mode is for 2-8 consoles only (no 1-player version). 

10) Coding is progressing on the final play-mode (Alone Against the Empires), 
which is the Star-Raiders-ish mode. An all-new galactic map is being designed 
as well as the enemy AI required to seek and destroy bases in multiple warp 
sectors. This mode will be super cool.

With the multiple play-modes available and the variety of them, it's a lot 
like getting 4 or 5 different high-quality games all for the price of one! 
Imagine getting a game and 4 of its sequels all at one time! That's what 
BattleSphere(tm) is all about.

As always... BattleSphere(tm) continues to improve daily. 

Until next time.... 
Thunderbird


//// BattleSphere(tm) Collector's Edition  03/02/97

Anyone who is interested in having their very own customized and personalized 
"Collector's Edition" of BattleSphere(tm), please go to our web-site and 
leave us Feedback mentioning your interest in this sort of item. Also, please 
mention how many we should limit the number of them too, and how much you 
would pay for one: 



You have to realize that these would have to be "hand made" and individually 
encrypted, etc. It will be labor intensive, so the fewer of them we make the 
easier it will be, but they will probably cost more for us to make. 

If we're going to do this, we need feedback to judge how many of them we can 
make. 

We are CONSIDERING doing this sometime after we finish the current game and 
we see how sales are. 

At the very least, we'd have the owner's name displayed on the title screen 
or a special dedication screen. We'd probably have a serial number on there 
too to authenticate the rareness, and we'd sign the cart or something. 

Thanks. 

Thunderbird


[Editor's Addendum: 4Play has just made available a 30-second "commercial" 
for BattleSphere. It's a bit... odd, and it's their first effort with their 
new video capture card, but is darn good considering. Snag it at: 
]


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  BattleSphere Playtester's Update
   ||  By: Mark "Stingray" Santora
\__//  santora@earthlink.net
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

[Be sure to check Mark Santora's BattleSphere Playester's home page at 
 for updates. World Tour 
Racing preview coming soon!]

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// The January/February 1997 Report
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

//// The Plot

In the future, an intergalactic war is about to break out. Eight different 
races were set to fight until they controlled the galaxy. But in a brief 
moment of intelligence, the races agreed to save the galaxy from being 
ravaged by war. They did this by placing their best pilots in an enclosed 
area of space to fight until one remained. Which ever race that was, would 
rule the galaxy. Here lies the plot for Battlesphere.


//// Commentary

Well gamers, the wait is almost over! That's right, with a full force 
programming blitz over the past few months, Battlesphere is a hell of a lot 
closer to getting finished. Let me tell you, the gang at 4Play have managed 
to really pump up the action. But more on that later. At this writing, there 
are about 7 more concepts to be put into the game. Also, work on the Gauntlet 
mode is complete.


//// Gameplay

As I said above, the Gauntlet mode is pretty much done, aside from some minor 
tweaking. That said, most of this report is going to focus on that.

Gauntlet mode starts off with a simple yet effective screen asking for which 
level you wish to start on, what type of ship, and difficulty level. There 
are 99 levels in this portion of the game. They start off pretty easily, 
sending a ship or two into your sector and they go after your starbases. But 
as you get higher up in the levels, you start running into Squadrons. That's 
right, out of one "jumpgate" area, three or more ships will appear. They each 
have their own vortex, but you get the point. The best way to describe what 
this looks like is from a movie(a movie reference from me?). Remember at the 
end of Return of the Jedi all the squadrons of Tie Fighters heading for the 
Millenium Falcon? That's what you will see, minus the Death Star. Hey, these 
guys don't want to get sued!

Now, a quick fighting tip for Battlesphere: Whatever you do, Don't Fly 
Straight At An Enemy Squadron! This is a good tactic for anywhere in the 
game, but when you are facing the squadrons, they will kick your ass in a 
real serious way. 

Speaking of enemies, they have taken another step towards consistently 
flogging you. They now use their special weapons, i.e. missiles. A nice 
little sound accompanies each missile as it moves towards your ship, sort of 
like sonar. The missiles can be shot down, you just have to find them first.

For all you science fiction fans out there, also look for nods towards the 
past in Gauntlet mode. One level is inhabited by beings from a planet in our 
solar system. Nak! Nak! Nak! If you don't get it now, you might once you play 
it - level 48.

Speaking of the radar, the gang has added a bit of depth to it by layering in 
a few things. I can't really describe it, but it looks nice and gives you a 
bit more eye candy. It looks polished.

Also in Gauntlet, you get the Boss Ships. Put your head between your legs and 
kiss your ass goodbye. They are extremely difficult and make you wish for 
those squadrons of Capitol Ships. 


//// Graphics

The graphics are still sharp and look better than half the crap that is 100% 
texture mapped. Sure, texture mapping is nice, but usually I find that it 
bores me and interferes with the gameplay. Let's face it, a nice looking game 
with bad gameplay is TFX2000. And a bad looking game with bad gameplay is 
Battlecruiser 3000. 


//// Sound Effects

Well, we've got thenew sound effect for the incoming missiles, but nothing 
that I've noticed aside from that. Of course, Scott will pull me aside later 
and give me a whuppin' for that comment. 


//// Networking

It appears that the eight-player networking in Gauntlet is finally solid. No 
new bugs have creeped up, at least none that Scott has told me about. Link up 
with your friends, and get rocked!


//// Music

Stephanie has been diligently working on new/different tunes for the game. 
The ones she has shared with me, and what's in the game, are most excellent. 
Take the energy of the Tempest 2000 music, give it more of a John Williams 
tone, and put it in Battlesphere. Now you know what to expect. Steph has a 
few MODs of the tunes on her web page, check them out. 


//// Alone Against the Empires

It has finally started. Here comes what unofficially can be called, Star 
Raiders 2000. This is the game loyal computer users have been waiting for 
since the original hit in 1982. Really folks, this is the game to beat. 
Scott's got some time to finish this one, hopefully I will have more to tell 
you about it once I get a Flashrom of it. 


//// Secrets

I can't tell you the easter eggs, but I'm trying to keep track over here and 
my last count put the number of easter eggs around 15. I'm sure there are 
more. This doesn't count the hidden race which everyone knows about. These 
are the funky things. Things you don't expect. That's why they're so much 
fun.


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Review: Baldies
   ||  By: Clay "Macabre Kiwi" Halliwell
\__//  halliwee@ts436.dyess.af.mil
       --------------------------------------------------------------

So you say, you want to be a god? You've watched jealously as your PC- owning 
friends have simulated cities, founded entire civilizations, and ruled 
benevolently over a worshipful populous. How many times have you glared at 
your Jaguar and wished you could take command of a group larger than those 
four little guys in Cannon Fodder?

Well, now you can. Baldies is here for the Jaguar CD. So slap on that halo, 
grab a thunderbolt, and step on up to the throne!


//// The Bald and the Beautiful

Upon loading, in what has to be one of the more unusual intros I've seen, 
Baldies goes straight into a long claymation video with no dialogue and very 
little connection to the actual game. The CinePak video here is some of the 
worst I've seen on the Jaguar, and on top of that the animation itself is 
very crude.

Once at the main menu, you can start a new game, enter a level password, or 
load a saved game from a Memory Track cartridge. Baldies supports a single 
save slot on the task to 
perform, and each also has a power bar that is depleted as they perform their 
tasks. Baldies can either be wandering around outside or placed inside 
buildings.

[] Workers (red): The default Baldy type. Inside, they produce more Workers
   (amusingly depicted by a Baldy jumping up and down on a bed). Outside,
   they build up the red power bar. The red power bar is depleted by digging
   holes and laying down strips of land.

[] Builders (blue): Inside, they repair and maintain buildings. Outside,
   they build up the blue power bar and build new buildings.

[] Soldiers (green): Inside, they build up the green power bar and defend
   buildings from invasion. Outside, they pummel, shoot, and lob grenades at
   the Hairies.

[] Scientists (white): Inside, they construct weapons for use against the
   Hairies. Outside, they build up the white power bar.

You can switch Baldies between types as much as you like, whether they're 
inside or outside.

Generally Baldies who are outside will wander around aimlessly, stopping only 
to pick a flower or take a nap in the shade of a tree. I've also spotted 
suspicious yellow patches on the ground in the Ice stages, but haven't 
actually caught anyone in the act yet. There are no territorial boundaries in 
Baldies, so be careful that your guys don't wander onto enemy soil!


//// Let There Be Condos

While some levels start with a building ready for you to use, most of the 
time you'll have to build your own. Simply plant a flag anywhere on the map, 
and all your Builder Baldies will converge on it, eventually causing a basic 
hut to appear. Then you can fill it with Builders and choose what kind of 
building you'd like it to expand into. The type of building you create has a 
direct impact on what it's optimized for. Building proceeds along the 
following decision path:

Hut -+- House --- Large House -+- Larger House -+- Largest House
     |                         |                |
     |                         +- Nursery       +- Heliport
     |
     +- Fort ---- Large Fort
     |
     +- Laboratory

[] Houses: Have the highest Baldy capacity, and are good all-around
   production centers.

[] Nursery: Best for producing more Baldies.

[] Forts: Best for military production.

[] Laboratory: Best for churning out inventions, and required to access
   certain inventions.

[] Heliport: Must have one of these to access the helicopter invention.

If you don't allot enough Baldies to building then your building won't expand 
to the next size. Even if you don't want your building to get any bigger, you 
still have to assign a certain number of Baldies in each building to 
performing maintenance, otherwise it will fall into a state of disrepair (at 
which point all production going on inside stops), and eventually 
disintegrate.

If the number of Baldies inside exceeds the maximum capacity of a given 
building (usually due to Baldy breeding), the extraneous Baldy is kicked out 
the door. If you abandon a building it will eventually fall down, but don't 
be surprised if your computer-controlled opponent starts dropping Hairies 
inside and takes it for his own.

As you build more buildings, you also gain new abilities. At three buildings 
you gain the ability to dig up and create terrain, and at four buildings you 
can make your Baldies fly. To use this ability, you select an area of Baldies 
to be affected, then click where you want them to go. This is good for moving 
large numbers of Baldies across the map quickly.


//// Implements of Destruction

You have two main means of wiping out the opposing Hairies-- Soldier Baldies 
and inventions.

To use your Soldiers, just set your inside Baldies to military production and 
send in the troops! Target selection is accomplished via a shield icon which 
you pick up and drop wherever you like. Soldiers will home in on this, but 
will also lob grenades at any enemy buildings they pass on the way. Shooting 
and using grenades will quickly consume the green power bar, so be sure you 
have lots of Baldies back home supporting the cause. Soldiers with an empty 
power bar will be reduced to just knocking the Hairies down (which only stuns 
them).

Inventions are where the real fun is... theoretically anyway. With your 
Scientist Baldies, you can create gizmos such as poppers, mines, bear traps, 
cannons, springs, and almost a dozen other items. You can increase the 
fertility of your Baldies, decrease the fertility of your enemies, rain down 
boulders and goldfish, cause earthquakes, zap your enemies at will, and bring 
about Armageddon!

Poppers, mines, et al, fall into the general "trap" category, which I try to 
avoid using. They're good for taking out wandering Hairies, but can't get at 
the ones inside buildings. For that you need to send in your troops, which 
can also be killed by all the traps you've laid. So for the most part you end 
up either not using traps, or finishing off the enemy by building a 
helicopter and bombing them back to the stone age.

Most of the really good inventions aren't available until you work your way 
through the basic inventions. You can also gain new inventions by picking up 
objects and dropping them in a Laboratory building. One of the most useful of 
these is the Stink Bomb, which you gain by dropping a skunk in a laboratory. 
Using the Stink Bomb on any building will cause about five of the inhabitants 
to come running out (and right into any traps you've laid...).

By the way, the Exploding Cow is truly awesome. It does require a lot of 
Hairies to set off though. And some of the inventions (balloon, angel cloud) 
I have yet to figure out.


//// Sights and Sounds

Graphics are pretty much what we've come to expect from Euro software... very 
tiny, and very detailed. I was definitely glad to be running S-Video while 
playing this game. The animation is decent enough, but the scrolling is 
embarrassingly coarse.

Where the graphics really fall short is in the various inventions. Half the 
fun of a game like this is meting out death and destruction upon your 
enemies, yet the lack of graphic payoff here severely undermines that 
pleasure. For instance, the first time I used the cluster bomb invention, I 
expected to see a fusillade of missiles falling from the air, fireballs, 
craters, and flying bodies. Instead, a small cluster of Hairies simply cried 
"Eek!", burst into little pixelly flames, and fell down. Very, very, VERY 
lame. All of the high-power inventions are like this, leaving you with little 
more than a strategic satisfaction at having used them.

Sound effects are similarly underpowered. What's there is okay (your Baldies 
protest with a "Hey!" when you pick them up), but when you're dealing with a 
game where you can only see a small part of the action at a time, audio cues 
become extremely important. Baldies simply doesn't have enough sound effects.


//// Conclusion

Baldies is essentially "Populous Lite". It tries to convey the impression of 
great variety of gameplay, but this is mostly a sham. All five sets of levels 
(green, ice, desert, circus, hell), while graphically different, play exactly 
the same. All the traps perform the same function. With few exceptions, the 
variations in terrain have very little effect on gameplay.

As for the game itself, at times it feels more like a level editor than a 
complete game. By giving the player the ability to redraw the terrain, drop 
Baldies wherever you like, and change Baldy types at a whim, you don't get 
much sense of having a virtual world to work within. The interface is clumsy 
as well. I won't go into the details, but there are about a dozen little 
things that they didn't get quite right about it. Well, I'll list one. The 
game treats the entire screen as your window on the Baldies world, and then 
overlays your menu bars on top of that. So, if you're at one of the far edges 
of the world and want to pick up something that happens to be underneath a 
menu... you can't.

Overall, I enjoyed Baldies for quite a while before its weaknesses started to 
get to me. There is a mild appeal to building up your little civilizations 
and clobbering the Hairies, but the uninspired AI and long waits for 
buildings and power bars to come up to strength guarantee tedium in the long 
term. A two-player mode would have made this game exponentially more 
entertaining, but is sadly absent.

In the end, it's a technically mediocre product that simply lacks the depth 
and polish of the games it attempts to imitate.

If you have WWW access, be sure to check out .


//// Final Ratings

        Title: Baldies                   JagNet: No
       Design: Creative Edge            Players: 1
 Published by: Atari                      Media: JagCD
       Retail: $59.99               Availablity: Now

  A Summary of Ratings:
              "*" is a whole
              "+" is a half
               5 stars Maximum

Graphics - ***    Choppy scrolling, teeny-tiny character design.
   Audio - **+    Tinny music and too few sound effects.
 Control - ***    Imprecise object selection and placement. Objects
                  sometimes unreachable under menu bars.
Gameplay - ***    Shallow and repetitive. Not much real variety to the
                  weapons. No 2-player option.
 Overall - ***    A pleasant waste of time. Occasional crashes.

Key to Clay's Ratings
  (leaders of men)

   ***** - Julius Caesar
    **** - Winston Churchill
     *** - Jimmy Carter
      ** - George Steinbrenner
       * - Leonard Tramiel



                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Review: Breakout 2000
   ||  By: Wes Powell
\__//  powell@easilink.com
       --------------------------------------------------------------

Breakout 2000... a game that's been due out for, 'ahem'... too long. The 
third in the series of 2000 [fourth, if you count MC3D --Ed.] games, B2K 
doesn't disappoint. T2K and D2K were fairly similar, with their distinctive 
styles. B2K may not be as good as they are, but it's definitely a 2K game 
with a new flavor.


//// Blast from the Past

You're greeted by a polished title screen and a dull and repetitive tune. 
>From the menu screen, you have great control over the way the game will be 
played. You can choose between Breakout Classic and Breakout 2000. In 2K, you 
can choose from three difficulty settings and three paddle speeds. You can 
choose to play solo, against the computer (that, I might add, has superb 
artificial intelligence) or against a human opponent.

As in the other 2K's, you can take a dose of nostalgia by going back and 
playing the original version of the game. In B2K, they didn't do a good job 
on the classic mode. There are only two levels... but, I can't say that I'd 
want more. I'd rather that they put the effort into the NEW version, and let 
the diehards of old pick up an older Atari system and jam to the clsic. 

B2K's object is simple: destroy the bricks on the playfield. It's not as easy 
as it seems though, especially with new stuff thrown into the mix. 

B2K's gameplay is anything but predictable. The levels designs are very well 
planned to give you a run for your balls. There are robots that can help or 
hurt you. Some shoot down much-needed power-ups. Others try to make a mess of 
your paddle. There are bricks that take multiple hits to destroy, and some 
that are unbreakable. Ball speed, angle, and rotation are very important. If 
you're gonna get anywhere, you've got to get good at aiming the ball by 
judging the angles.

In two-player modes, you'll be faced with even more obstacles. If you clear 
out a section of your bricks, your ball will hit a ramp at the back of the 
playfield and hit the opponent's bricks. Unfortunately, you may be handling 
two balls at one time. If you miss your ball, you lose a ball. If you miss 
the opponents ball, you lose 1,000 points (a hefty chunk). Watch your balls 
closely.

To keep the game from being repetitive, they were smart, and threw in some 
great new stuff. Complete five levels, and you'll be treated to an 
intermission of either a 3D Pong round, or a target round. 3D Pong is 
awesome! I had never thought about a 3D Pong, but here it is, and it's 
intense. You'll face your friend or a computer foe. With every hit, the balls 
moves faster... and keeping track of two balls moving at blinding speeds 
isn't easy. The target round is a test of your lightning shooting skills. 
You're equipped with lightning, and you'll be awarded points for destroying 
the target bricks in the least amount of shots. Very cool bonus rounds 
indeed. 

The mechanics of the ball are excellent. Angles and stuff are precise and 
very realistic. Scaling of the ball is also great... almost flawless. The 
ball floats above the ground and has an appropriate shadow. It looks very 
shiny, and spins in different directions. When you hit the ball left or 
right, it'll spin respectively.

The robots that you'll be faced with are animated very well. They look almost 
like SGI with the exception of some rough edges. They move around well, and 
they scale smoothly too. They'll throw down some nifty power-ups, or some 
sucky power-downs. Get the breakthrough ball to sweep the levels clean. Bag a 
bigger paddle or an extra ball. Paddle boosters like lightning charges and 
ball attract. Beware, there is an opposite to every power-up.


//// Graphics

The graphic package is nice, but it's not going to blow you away. In the 
game, there are different space-like backdrops which are nice and colorful. 
There is a molasses-speed star field in the back as well... very choppy, but 
your mind will definitely be on other things.

The bricks that make up the levels are fairly basic, but look shiny 
nonetheless... the 3D look that is created is mighty cool. Your paddle is 
transparent... and that's a nice plus. It also recoils when you hit the ball. 
The sight of your ball traveling up and down the ramp is outstanding. When 
the bricks become multi-stacked, that's when you'll realize that this really 
looks awesome. 


//// Sound

The music and effects bundle is also done well. The SFX are basic stuff. Some 
seem to be pulled right off of the 2600 or something (not sure on that). 
Other sound effects have a newer and cooler sound, fortunately. There's not 
much to complain about... some of the effects are very nice, and others are 
average. 

On the music side, what we have heard in the other 2Ks isn't matched here. It 
doesn't seem that they fine-tuned the music the way that Imagitec did. 
Although, the music does a great job of suiting the game. It's always upbeat, 
and offers a lot of variety in the way of beats and rhythms. You'll get a new 
track each five levels. Some of the tunes are remixes of others with new fill 
ins and beats, but they are varied enough that you won't mind at all. I find 
myself tapping my toes to these tunes... I really enjoy 'em. 


//// Overall

The control is dead on. With speed configurations, you should be able to play 
the way you want to. There's not much more to say-- it's perfect in this 
category. 

If you've seen a screenshot, or watched a Quicktime of this game, and weren't 
impressed, believe me... it has to be PLAYED to be believed. The action is 
intense, and that makes for great fun-factor. Multi-player options are also 
very cool and add much to the replay value. Great game for any library. 


//// Final Ratings

        Title: Breakout 2000             JagNet: No
       Design: MP Games                 Players: 2
 Published by: Telegames                  Media: 2 megabyte cart
       Retail: $59.95               Availablity: Now

  A Summary of Ratings:
              "*" is a whole
              "+" is a half
               5 stars Maximum

Graphics - ****   At first they look basic, but in the later levels, you'll
                  respect the excellent 3D look that is created.
   Audio - ****   The tunes are great, and the sound effects are more good
                  than bad.
 Control - *****  A great game for beginners with its simple control setup.
                  Nice and easy to use.
Gameplay - ****+  It's awesome. Multi-player increases the replay value
                  dramatically, and solo is great fun too. Don't judge this
                  game on pics alone... play it. 
 Overall - ****   A game that will appeal to all types of gamers with its
                  simple controls. In the later levels it gets pretty
                  intense, a la T2K and D2K.

Key to Wes' Ratings
  (an audiophile state of mind)

   ***** - Mini-CD
    **** - CD
     *** - Cassette
      ** - 8-Track
       * - Rocks


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Author's Bio
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

I'm Wes Powell. I'm 16, have brown hair, blue eyes, and I stand about 6 foot. 
I'm one of the biggest Jaguar freaks ever, and I run the Jagu-Dome web site 
. My talents 
include, but are not limited to: Jaguar , kicking peoples' butts at Jaguar 
, playing piano or keyboard, artwork, and HTML code.


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Review: Towers II
   ||  By: Clay "Macabre Kiwi" Halliwell
\__//  halliwee@ts436.dyess.af.mil
       --------------------------------------------------------------

After years of waiting, false starts, canceled agreements, and last-minute 
deals, the Jaguar finally has its first (and only) true RPG... Towers II: 
Plight of the Stargazer.


//// Enter the Daggan

Like the original Towers (released for the Falcon), Towers II is set on the 
island of Lamini, where your merry band of adventurers is still shipwrecked 
after an unfortunate run-in with some pointy rocks. As the nicely presented 
intro relates, the titular stargazer is a wizard by the name of Daggan. Seems 
he's been acting strangely of late... ranting and raving, blowing things up 
at his castle, and exhuming the corpses of dead mystics. Everyone who goes to 
find out what's up never returns, up to and including all of Lamini's knights 
and high council members. Oh my.

It's at this point that the sheriff resorts to you. In exchange for entering 
Daggan's towers and apprehending him, he offers you a keep of your very own 
(a keep to keep?) and as much treasure as you can grab inside the tower. 
Being poor and bored, you of course accept.


//// Tower Power

Towers II is a single-player, single-character, first-person RPG. The game 
environment is very Alien vs Predator-ish (but with lower ceilings). The 
entire game takes place within Daggan's tower. There are 11 floors, which you 
can move between freely via stairs, teleporters, and the occasional hole in 
the floor. There are two types of game saves you can perform-- a complete 
save to RAM (unfortunately lost when you power down your Jag), and a partial 
save to the cartridge. This partial save includes only the bare essentials... 
your inventory, stats, position, groups of monsters killed, and major 
objectives completed.

Before you start, you select and roll your character. There are four 
characters to choose between:

[] Merton, the wizard. Physically weak, but a magical powerhouse.
[] Tasler, the boy. Reasonably strong, the decent magic.
[] Andros, the circus performer. Similar to Tasler.
[] Gerand, the fighter. Strong as a blue ox, but little magical talent.

The character selection you make determines the range of the stats you roll 
for that character.  The stats are:

[] STR - Strength
[] INT - Intelligence
[] WIS - Wisdom
[] DEX - Dexterity
[] CON - Constitution

Fortunately, you can immediately re-roll a character if you don't like the 
numbers that come up. The character selection you make has a real outcome on 
how you play the game. For instance, Gerand can only cast a handful of the 
available spells, and Merton is too frail to wear any armor.

Once you've created a character, you're placed on the ground floor of 
Daggan's tower with only the clothes on your back (why do videogame 
adventurers never bring weapons with them?).

The user interface is relatively simple. Pressing the joypad moves and turns 
you in the usual way. Your character has rather a lot of inertia... if you've 
stopped and press forward, it takes a full second to start moving. This can 
be extremely annoying (and fatal) when trying to weave around monsters in 
combat. The game uses every available button but one on the joypad. You can't 
change button assignments, but the layout is optimized for use with a 
ProController. Pressing the shoulder buttons lets you sidestep, and the most 
commonly used keypad functions are mapped to the X/Y/Z buttons. Unfortunately 
there is no keypad overlay included.

The game runs full-screen, with health and mana bars at the top and a compass 
in the upper-right.  Your currently-selected weapon bobs, Doom-style, at the 
bottom of the screen. A press of a button bring up additional overlays-- a 
spell canvas on the right, which gradually fills with icons as you find spell 
scrolls, an inventory on the left, and miscellaneous text displays in the 
lower center. The drag-and-drop inventory management system clearly shows its 
roots in the Falcon... to pick up items you go into inventory mode, click on 
an onscreen object, and drop it into any available inventory slot. You start 
with only four inventory slots (forget about collecting every bit of treasure 
you find), but this can be increased by finding bags and backpacks. Equipping 
is done by moving inventory items into boxes overlaid on a small human 
figure.

The mouse-based functions of Towers II can be somewhat of a hassle. Your 
cursor moves much too rapidly, forcing you to tap-tap-tap the d-pad to 
position the cursor where you want it. You even have to go into inventory 
mode to open doors (yep... stop and click on the door).

Your health is whittled away by enemy attacks, and can be regained only by 
sleeping or drinking a healing potion. Sleeping is implemented rather oddly 
in Towers II. To go to sleep, just punch the Sleep button... anytime... even 
in the middle of a fight. Weird. Health is regained at a fixed rate, so the 
more powerful you become, the longer you have to sleep to fully heal. You can 
only sleep when you're not hungry, so be sure to carry some food with you at 
all times. Happily, "summon food" is one of the first spells you find.

There is an excellent automap feature, which maintains a full map of every 
level as you explore, and you can view the map of any level at any time. 
Naturally there's no way to fit these maps on the cart EEPROM during game 
saves, but the game makes a valiant effort to reconstruct your map by looking 
at the monsters you've killed and the goals you've achieved.


//// All Out of Bubble Gum

There's a satisfying variety of destructive implements in Towers II. Attack 
from afar with arrows, wands, and spells, or get in your opponents' face with 
swords, clubs, maces... even a broom! You also have the ability to throw 
knives (or apples, very small rocks, whatever...) but the mode-switching 
required to do this makes it practically useless in a fight.

To select a weapon, you go into inventory mode and drop the weapon on the 
character's right hand. If you've found a shield, you can drop that on the 
left hand. After attacking, if you continue to hold the button down your 
character will raise his shield, blocking or reducing damage from enemy 
counterattacks. There's a minor bug in this system, as you have to actually 
fire before raising your shield,vP 
or Wolfenstein, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Instead of a ray-
casting engine, Towers II builds its dungeon walls and floors out of texture-
mapped polygons, resulting in a rather herky-jerky appearance as you move 
through the maze. Furthermore, the clipping horizon is only about four 
squares in front of you, and bitmap objects near this horizon distort 
strangely. 

There are holes in the ceilings and floors in some parts of the tower, and 
instead of simply texture-mapping a "hole" graphic, they're rendered as 
actual 3D holes (albeit square holes). It's pretty neat-looking.

Enemies are a bit lo-rez, but there are 20 of them, they're animated, and you 
can view them from any angle... not too shabby for a 2meg cart!


//// Sound

The music in Towers II is excellent... very moody and medieval, with lots of 
deep gonging bells and whistling wind sounds. There are three songs total... 
one for the title sequence, one for the endgame, and one that plays during 
the game. The ingame song takes a long time to repeat, which is good because 
you'll be listening to it for literally hours on end.

The sound effects are decent... not particularly engaging, but sufficient... 
a generic collections of oofs and thuds. You can hear your footsteps as you 
walk around, and the footsteps of approaching enemies as well. Since the 
sound effects are in stereo, this is very nice.


//// Overall

Essentially, Towers II tries to merge the Doom style of gameplay with a role-
playing game, all within the limits of a 2meg cart. The result is a game that 
doesn't especially excel at either genre. Also the ending is on the 
disappointing side, a.com
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

10/4/96

It's odd to imagine an institution which was as big and as powerful as
Atari once was, to have been shut down in recent days. The real amazement for 
me is that it was all accomplished without a measurable flinch from within or 
outside the gaming industry. I can understand that gamers wanted to push Pong 
out the door early in the timeline. I can appreciate that the classics such 
as Missile Command and Asteroids do not push 32-bit and 64-bit systems to any 
technological limits. I know all these things intellectually, but the heart 
cannot face the truth that the rld and the corporate machine known as Atari 
could not find an amicable way to coexist.

On Tuesday, July 30, 1996, Atari Corporation took each and every share of its 
company (ATC), wrapped them all in a tight bundle and presented them to JTS 
Corporation; a maker and distributor of hard disk drives. On Wednesday, the 
shares were traded under the symbol of JTS. Within a few weeks, the
remaining staff of Atari that were not dismissed or did not resign, moved to 
JTS' headquarters in San Jose, California. The three people were assigned to 
different areas of the building and all that really remains of the Atari 
namesake is a Santa Clara warehouse full of unsold Jaguar and Lynx products.

It was only as long ago as mid '95 that Atari executives and staff believed 
things were finally taking a better turn. Wal-Mart had agreed to place Jaguar 
game systems in 400 of their Superstores across the country. Largely based on 
this promise of new hope and the opportunities that open when such deals are 
made, Atari invested heavily in the product and mechanisms required to serve 
the Wal-Mart chain. But the philosophical beliefs of the Atari decision 
makers that great products never need advertising or promotions, put the Wal-
Mart deal straight into a tailspin. With money tied up in the product on 
shelves as well as the costs to distribute them to get there, not much was 
left to saturate any marketplace with advertising. While parents rushed into 
stores to get their kids Saturns or PlayStations, the few that picked up the 
Jaguar were chastised by disappointed children on Christmas day.

In an effort to salvage the pending Wal-Mart situation, desperate attempts
to run infomercials across the country were activated. The programs were 
professionally produced by experts in the infomercial industry and designed
to permit Atari to run slightly different offers in different markets. In
spite of the relatively low cost of running infomercials, the cost to produce 
them and support them is very high. The results were disappointing. Of the 
few thousand people who actually placed orders, many of them returned their 
purchases after the Holidays. The kids wanted what they saw on TV during the 
day! They wanted what their friends had! They wanted what the magazines were 
raving about!

In early 1996, Wal-Mart began returning all remaining inventory of Jaguar 
products. After reversing an "advertising allowance" Atari was obligated to 
accept, the net benefit Atari realized was an overflowing warehouse of 
inventory in semi-crushed boxes and with firmly affixed price and security 
tags. Unable to find a retailer willing to help distribute the numbers 
required to stay afloat, Atari virtually discontinued operations and traded 
any remaining cash to JTS in exchange for a graceful way to exit the 
industry's back door.

Now that JTS has "absorbed" Atari, it really doesn't know what to do with
the bulk of machines Atari hoped to sell. It's difficult to liquidate them.
Even at liquidation prices, consumers expect a minimal level of support which 
JTS has no means to offer. The hundreds of calls they receive from consumers 
that track them down each week are answered to the best ability of one 
person.

Inquiries with regard to licensing Atari classic favorites for other 
applications such as handheld games are handled by Mr. John Skruch who was 
with Atari for over 13 years.

In spite of Nintendo's claim that their newest game system is the first
64-bit game system on the market, Atari Corporation actually introduced the 
first 64-bit system just before Christmas in 1993. Since Atari couldn't 
afford to launch the system nationwide, the system was introduced in the New 
York and San Francisco markets first. Beating the 32-bit systems to the punch 
(Saturn/PlayStation), Atari enjoyed moderate success with the Jaguar system 
and managed to lure shallow promises from third-party companies to support 
the system. Unfortunately, programmers grossly underestimated the time 
required to develop 64-bit games. The jump from 8-bit and 16-bit was wider 
than anticipated.

In addition, Atari was already spread thin monetarily, but were required to 
finance almost every title that was in development.

After the initial launch, it took Atari almost a year before an assortment
of games began to hit store shelves. Even then, having missed the '94 Holiday 
Season, many of the planned titles were de-accelerated to minimize problems 
caused by rushing things too fast. Consumers were not happy and retailers 
were equally dismayed. The few ads that Atari was able to place in magazines 
were often stating incorrect release dates because that information changed 
almost every day although magazines deadline their issues up to 120 days in 
advance.

It was in 1983 that Warner Communications handed Jack Tramiel the reins of 
Atari. By this time, Atari was often categorized as a household name, but
few households wanted to spend much money on new software and the systems 
were lasting forever. No one needed to buy new ones. That, combined with
Warner's obscene spending, amounted to a *daily loss* of over $2 million. 
Atari was physically spread all over the Silicon Valley with personnel and 
equipment in literally 80 separate buildings; not considering international 
offices and manufacturing facilities. Mr. Tramiel took only the home consumer 
branch of Atari and forced Warner to deal with the arcade division 
separately. Within a few years, Jack took the company public, introduced an 
innovative new line of affordable 16-bit computers and released the 7800 
video game system.

To accomplish these miracles for Atari, Jack implemented his "business is
war" policies. While people who publicly quoted his statement often felt that 
policy meant being extremely aggressive in the marketplace, the meaning 
actually had closer ties to Tramiel's experience as a concentration camp 
survivor. Of the 80 buildings in Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Milpitas, almost 
every one of them were amputated from Atari's body ically, international 
magazines were touting ample supplies. Those in the know within the U.S. 
became dismayed. The remainder never knew Atari was slowly abandoning the 
value of Atari's name recognition as it became easier and easier to forget, 
some assuming Atari had long filed for bankruptcy.

On a technical level, Atari 16-bit computers were designed beyond their
time. For less than $1,000, consumers could enjoy "multimedia" before the 
phrase was ever really widely used. The icon-based working environment 
preceded Windows' popularity, although the essential attributes of the two 
environments were very similar. MIDI was built-in and became an instant hit 
in the high-end music industry. Tasks were activated and manipulated with a 
mouse and the system accepted industry standard peripherals such as printers, 
modems and diskettes.

With all the genius that went into the technology of the machines, very 
little of equivalent genius went into the promoting and marketing of the 
machines.

Mr. Tramiel was the founder of Commodore Business Machines. When he 
introduced the PET computer in 1977, Jack discovered he didn't have to call a 
single publication. Instead they all flocked to his door demanding an 
opportunity to see the product. News magazines. Science Journals. Business 
newsletters. Newspaper reporters. They were all there with microphone, camera 
and pen in hand. And they kept coming back. Adding a switch, announcing a new 
4K application or signing a new retailer were all big stories the press 
wanted to handle.

Today, a new video game announcement may generate a request from any of the 
dozens of gaming magazines for a press release, but a lot of costly work has 
to be done to assure fair or better coverage. Editorial people are literally
swamped with technical news. Samples are mailed regularly to their attention. 
Faxes fly in through the phone lines and e-mail jams up their hard drives. It 
takes a lot to grab their attention.

While Atari retained hopes to be successful with the Jaguar, Atari's
marketing people were fighting established standards in the industry with 
severe handicaps. Since cartridges (the Jaguar was/is primarily a cartridge-
based system) were so expensive, editorial people were required to return 
them before new ones would be sent. Editorial people like to assign review 
projects. So finding cartridges they sent out was not always easy to do. 
Additionally, reviewers often love their work because they get to keep what 
they write about. Regardless, the few magazines willing to cover Atari 
products were more often turned away because of a lack of programmable 
cartridges or any number of other indecisive barriers. In-store signs and 
posters were sometimes created, but many retail chains charge premiums to 
manufacturers that want to display them. Some direct mail campaigns were 
implemented, but Atari often could not afford to keep those things being 
advertised on schedule. Therefore, the advertisements were published and 
distributed, but the product was not available.

Clearly, Jack's experience with the world beating a path to the door of a 
company making a better mousetrap no longer applied. The world had revolved a 
few times beneath him and he never noticed. The tactics used to successfully 
sell Commodore computers were simply antiquated notions from the past. 
Meanwhile, Sony launches the PlayStation with over $500 million in marketing 
funds. Today, the PlayStation is considered the most successful next-
generation gaming machine throughout the world. Sony bought the market. 
Tramiel's Atari never learned how to do that. Actually, they never could 
afford it anyway.

After the 1990's got underway, Europe as well as the rest of the world, 
discovered that IBM-compatible computers were becoming more powerful and more 
affordable. The world always did want computers at home just like in the 
office and companies like Dell and Gateway exemplified the industry's trend 
toward home-based office computers. As a result, companies like Commodore, 
Atari and NeXT couldn't compete any longer. While the dedicated user base of 
each of them felt abandoned by these companies having to leave the computer 
market, the inevitable prevailed. Commodore jumped ship, Next changed 
business goals completely and Atari invested what they had left in the Jaguar 
game system. Even today, Apple is kicking and screaming. As good as Apple was 
at creating a huge niche for themselves, they focused more heavily on 
education. When kids grow up and get jobs, they want business machines. IBM 
was always the business standard.

When one examines the history of Atari, an appreciation can grow for how many 
businesses and people were a part of the game over the years. Chuck E. Cheese 
Pizza was started by Atari's founder, Mr. Nolan Bushnell. Apple Computer was 
born in a garage by ex-Atari employees. Activision was founded by ace Atari 
programmers. The list goes on and on.

But for some pathetic reason Atari's final days came and went with no 
tribute, no fanfare and no dignified farewells. Why? Where did all the talent 
go? Where are all the archives? Where are the vaults? Where are the 
unpublished games and where are the originals of those that were? Why has no 
company stepped forward to adopt the remaining attributes Atari has to offer? 
Where are the creditors? What has happened to all the properties and sites? 
Where are the databases, warranty cards, promotional items, notes on 
meetings, unanswered mail? Who owns P.O. Box 61657? Who goes to work in 
Atari's old offices? Where do consumers have their systems fixed? Who is 
publishing new games? Who still sells Atari products? Why are there still a 
lot of people talking about Atari on-line?

I'm an ex-Atari employee and proud to have been. I'm still an Atari devotee 
and proud to be. To me, these are questions which all deserve an answer, but 
who will ask them?

The best people to ask these questions are those who have exposure to the 
public. If you believe Atari left us without saying goodbye, contact Dateline 
at dateline@nbc.com. If you REALLY believe, then send this article to 10 of 
your friends in e-mail. AND if YOU REALLY, REALLY believe, mail a few to 
newspapers or other news programs. A letter in your own words would be great!

I'd spend money for a thorough retrospect on Atari. Wouldn't you?

Wouldn't it at least be nice to say "Goodbye"?

-- Don Thomas
   75300.1267@compuserve.com
   209/239-3898


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Martin Brownlow
   ||  Interview by: Clay Halliwell
\__//  halliwee@ts436.dyess.af.mil
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

This interview with Martin Brownlow (programmer of Missile Command 3D) was 
assembled from several e-mail exchanges between Martin and myself.

[JEO] What other games have you written?

[Martin Brownlow] I wrote a few shareware and PD games on the Atari ST - 
Grav, Grav 2, Gems, Chaos, Abombinaball, [Tanx] - and whilst at Virtuality I 
wrote two VR coinops - Virtuality Boxing and Buggy Ball (don't blame me for 
the frame rate on those - I wasn't allowed to touch the 3D engine!), and 
helped do the Sega NetMerc VR coin-op.  I'm currently working at Shiny and 
finishing off MDK.

[JEO] What home console games have you done?

[MB] This (MC3D) was my first home game to be published.

[JEO] How long did it take to write MC3D from start to final version?

[MB] Six months.

[JEO] When I saw preview footage of MC3D I was a bit skeptical about what 
you'd done to Missile Command... it seemed like substituting point-and-shoot 
lasers for missiles ripped the entire heart out of Missile Command.

[MB] I was pretty skeptical myself when told to do a VR Missile Command (I 
was kinda hoping for Marble Madness VR!), but when I finally resigned myself 
to doing it, I think I came up with a pretty good game design (VR version).

[JEO] Isn't it kind of short?

[MB] Too short?  Doesn't it take about half an hour of constant blasting to 
beat it?

[JEO] Well, Tempest 2000 has dozens of levels and takes a long time to beat.

[MB] The only problem with T2K is that it gets boring after about 20 waves - 
you know nothing really special is going to happen, that it's just going to 
be the same.  MCVR was designed to draw the player into the VR.  Hence the 
fact that nothing attacks from below until stage 3.  It was all ramped around 
the user getting better with the headset (which of course never came out).

[JEO] Are there any scraps of VR headset code left in the cart?

[MB] Yeah.  If you can get your hands on a prototype headset (unlikely) with 
the right ROM in it that transmits the correct keycode (even more unlikely) 
then you can play using the headset in both VR and 3D modes.  If a headset is 
attached then you get some extra options in the options menus and the keypad 
functions differently (left and right will move between bases rather than 1 
and 3, since the D-pad is easier to use when you can't see).

[JEO] Who designed the "MISSILE COMMAND 3D" variation?

[MB] This game was totally Atari's design, and was written in about 2 weeks 
(including tweaking to get it how Atari wanted).  Please don't talk to me 
about this section - it's a sore point.  Atari at one point wanted to drop 
the 6 months of work on the VR game in favor of making the cartridge 100% 
MC3D, which just sits in a spare couple of K off in one corner of the 
cartridge!

[JEO] What are all the missile powerups in "MC3D"?  The highest I've seen is 
Fireball Missiles.

[MB] I honestly have no idea  I think that fireball missiles are the best 
(don't they make a horizontal line of explosions?).  As I said before, I 
didn't really care for this game, since it wasn't designed very well.  I 
believe that a lot of people have complained that the game won't actually let 
them die.

[JEO] Would you say that MC3D came out well in spite of Atari?

[MB] Yeah, although I still think the 3D game sucks.

[JEO] The "classic" Missile Command was a major disappointment.  I'd rather 
play a 99% perfect Missile Command than fool around with polygon models of TV 
sets and Lynxes.

[MB] I would have preferred this, too, but Atari gave me absolutely zero 
support, no screenshots, no arcade machine, no copies of near perfect 
conversions, just a design doc for the Microsoft Arcade version, which went 
more into wave structure than screen resolution and appearance.

[JEO] Why are powerups only identified the FIRST time you pick up one of each 
type?  Sometimes it's impossible to see what you've picked up through all the 
explosions.

[MB] Blame the producer, and Atari.  Atari wanted no text, the producer 
compromised and made me change it from every time to just once.

[JEO] Did Atari give a reason for this bonehead idea?  And was there a 
Tramiel involved?

[MB] So you heard stories about the big bad Leonard, too... they're all true!

[JEO] I've heard that the level select cheat originally had no "9" in it, 
that you added it to hide the cheat from Atari when they demanded you take it 
out.   Any idea why Atari wanted it out?

[MB] I have no idea.  They just said take it out.

[JEO] Were the city domes and tunnels originally transparencies?

[MB] No, they were always stippled.  Transparency is almost impossible to do 
at any speed on the Jag without limiting yourself.

[JEO] What does "SWIRV" stand for, if anything?

[MB] Erm... actually, the producer came in one day near to the end of the 
project (the first two levels were almost totally finished and I was just 
putting the last 1/3rd of the last level together) and said that he wanted to 
add a new missile type that was like a MIRV but targeted your bases. When I 
asked for a name for it (for the missile ID screen in the intro) he said to 
call it the SWIRV, but I believe I called it UNKNOWN and moved the name SWIRV 
to the one that swerves out of your sights.  So SWIRV doesn't actually stand 
for anything, but is a corruption of "swerve".

[JEO] In the VR mode, are missiles really useful against anything besides the 
bosses?

[MB] With practice you can use them to detonate multiple ships or missiles, 
or pick powerups up, and this was the original idea, but it's kind of 
flogging a dead horse... there's no point when the lasers do a perfectly 
adequate job against all the smaller enemies.  I wish it were otherwise, but 
there was really no obvious way to keep the game missile based when moving 
into immersive 3D.

[JEO] Why wasn't there the standard "city count" between MC VR waves?

[MB] The wave summary was kind of a last second thing.  There was no room in 
RAM to decompress a sample, and no time to do it.

[JEO] Does the game decompress all three wave bosses into RAM at the 
beginningse I have is to say that there were 10 bosses to do (originally 
9 but I decided to surprise you at the end when the artist came up with a new 
boss (I wanted to keep the little robots boss!)), and it kinda gets hard to 
think of new things to do with them.

[JEO] Do you have names for the bosses?

[MB] Nope.

[JEO] Did you program the Virtuality arcade MCVR?  How does it differ from 
the Jag version?

[MB] No, Simon Fox did that, but it was based heavily on the Jag game.  The 
differences are that it is a lot more arcade oriented - a lot faster, the 
waves designed for high response headset input, the players go around the 
arena in gun platforms that go around a circular runner.

[JEO] Does MC3D use much 68000 code?

[MB] The spinny logos are on the 68K, the vertical blank interrupt and the 
in-game decompression, but mainly the 68K is pointing at a STOP instruction.

[JEO] Is the Jaguar a pain to program?

[MB] Yes.  You only have 4K of memory in the GPU, so you need to page code in 
and out of this, and there's a horrible Blitter bug that caught me out - when 
you start a blit off, it takes 3 cycles for the busy flag to be set, so you 
have to wait for 3 cycles before you can test to see if the blit has done.  
This is not documented anywhere, and Atari wouldn't even recognize it as a 
bug or agree to put it in future documentation.  It caused me so many 
problems - jumping into code that hadn't been blitted yet is not a good idea!

[JEO] Do you have any idea why MC3D crashes on some Jags?

[MB] No, it's never crashed on our development machines, and it got right 
past Atari's testers... so I can only presume that Atari's testers didn't 
test it on every model of Jag.

[JEO] Did Virtuality have any other Jag games started or in mind?

[MB] They were doing Exorex - a mech game, and Zone Hunter - originally an 
explore 'em up, but got changed into a Doom style game (and it's a real 
travesty that you never got to see my Jag Doom engine - it FLEW!) but they 
stopped all that ages ago.

[JEO] Do you own a Jag?  And if so, what's you favorite game?

[MB] Yeah, I own two (one of which is sitting back in England).  I really 
liked AvP and sort of liked T2K, so I think I'd have to say AvP (apart from 
MC3D, of course!).

[JEO] The frame rate is good, but a bit on the slow side.  What happened?

[MB] Blame Atari... "Oh, and texture this, texture that, texture the other." 
"But textures are at least 8x slower than flat shaded" says I.  "Actually," 
says Atari, "they're at least 22x slower, but we want them anyway".  You saw 
how the motorcycle game (Supercross 3D --Ed.) game came out - really slow - 
that's because they gave in to Atari and textured everything, which the Jag 
just can't handle.

[JEO] Why are the lasers only solid white triangles?

[MB] That's the frame rate issue.

[JEO] Which name do you like better: Missile Command 3D or Missile Command 
2000?

[MB] Actually I liked Missile Command VR (and if Atari had made me change the 
name around once more, then they would have been firebombed).  As it was, 
there's still a mistake in the final game - the high scores for the 3D 
section are actually called PLUS HIGH SCORES, from when that section was 
Missile Command Plus - how I ever let that game become the title game is 
beyond me.


                             --==--==--==--==--


   ||  Vince Valenti
   ||  Interviews by: Wes Powell and Clay Halliwell
\__//  powell@easilink.com, halliwee@ts436.dyess.af.mil
       -----------------------------------------------------------------

Anyone who's had the pleasure of corresponding with JV Games' Vince Valenti 
(programmer of Towers II) knows that he's a pleasant and remarkably talkative 
fellow.  So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that we have not one, 
but TWO interviews with Vince.  Enjoy.


=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
//// Wes Powell's Vince Valenti Interview
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

[JEO] Hey Vince, first of all I want to thank you for your time and effort on 
this interview. Thank you. Let's begin.

[Vince Valenti] Thanks for doing the interview. :)

[JEO] First of all, can you tell us a bit about the Towers II team?

[VV] JV Enterprises began with two people, Jag (Jaeger) and myself. When we 
were developing Towers II we decided that we could not handle the work load, 
so we found Eric Richardson, our music writer, and John Easton, who helped 
design the monsters and characters.

I, of course, did the programming, and Jag did the designing, map creation, 
and puzzles in the game.

[JEO] How long has this game been in the works?

[VV] We first developed this game for the Atari Falcon. It took us about 9 
months to develop and create. We then started porting the game to the Jaguar, 
made tons of visual improvements, and that took us about 6 months to do.

[JEO] What will be the cart size on the game?

[VV] The game will fit in a 2 meg cartridge. The Falcon game was about 4 
megs. The Jaguar version w/added textures and size of some graphics two more. 
We were able to squeeze it into a 2 meg cartridge.

[JEO] Tell us a little about the game's plot and storyline.

[VV] The story is a continuation from Towers I on the Atari ST & PCIt's 
about a group of men, who were sailing to battle. Along the way, they were 
shipwrecked on a little island. In an attempt to repair the ship and continue 
on their way, they took up odd jobs to pay for the repairs.

Towers II starts when the sheriff calls the characters in for a job. One of 
the lords, who owns a tower, has been on a rampage and no one has heard from 
him. The sheriff asks one of e in 
the game?

[VV] There is not any gore in the game. There are some blood spots, drops of 
blood flying out of the monsters. Other than that, it's pretty timid. :)

[JEO] Now that we've discussed some of the gameplay elements, let's talk 
about some technical stuff. What is the resolution on the game? Colors? 
Speed? Any special effects?

[VV] The game runs at a resolution of 320x200 with 65,000 colors, in-game 
music and stereo sound effects at 41.4Khz. The speed is between AvP and Doom.

[JEO] In your opinion, how long would it take the average gamer to complete 
this game?

[VV] Wow, that is a tough one to answer! I'd say it takes ME about 15 hours 
to play from start to finish. There is a lot of stuff to do and get, and 
things to fight, that even if you know what to do, it can take some time. :)

[JEO] A lot of people have talked about developers taking their games from 
the Jag and publishing them on other platforms. Will this be an Atari 
exclusive?

[VV] Towers II should be available on the PC as well. BTW, We tested the port 
on a 50Mhz 486DX in 65K colors and the Jaguar version still runs faster.

[JEO] What are your future plans?

[VV] Right now, I am trying to close up our projects, so that Jag and I can 
start designing our new game.

[JEO] Vince, I want to thank you again for taking your time to do this 
interview for the Jagu-Dome. I wish you and the crew good luck on whatever 
the future holds for you. Towers II should breathe some new life into the 
Jaguar community. We thank you for that. Cheers!

[VV] Thanks for your time. I can't wait to see Towers II finally reache 
dungeon, your fighting style will most likely be hand to hand or close range. 
However, when you play the wizard, he can not pick up half of the armor, and 
can't hit well. But he will be able to use all the spells you can find. So 
chances are you will not be fighting closely. Also, certain areas of the game 
are easier or harder for the different heroes.

[JEO] Are there any hidden player stats, like reputation or alignment?

[VV] No, there is no reputation or alignment. All the stats are shown. 
Depending on what character you choose will determine the max of your stats, 
and how much you increase per level.

[JEO] Are there awesome magical weapons of mass destruction? :)

[VV] Sphere of Annihilation, and Hammer of Titans. I like the Fire and Ice 
storm. If you have a few creatures following you in a row, these spells 
continue through and damage each of them (and you too, if you're in the 
path). Also several weapons/spells only affect/do extra damage to certain 
creatures.

[JEO] Is there any environmental interaction?

[VV] Secret doors, falling through cracked marble floors, creating a 
temporary wall with the spell create wall, freeing the Sword from the 
Boulder...

[JEO] Are there environmental hazards?

[VV] Yes, teleports, triggers, pits, etc...

[JEO] How many different wall textures are there?

[VV] There are three groups of wall textures. There are approximately 30 
different bitmap images for the walls and doors. Approximately 7 more bitmaps 
for the floor and ceilings.

[JEO] Are the torch textures on the walls animated?

[VV] Yes they are.

[JEO] Are there environmental sound effects or in-game music?

[VV] There is music playing throughout the game. And loads of sound effects. 
Doors opening and closing, your footsteps, other monster's footsteps, etc...

[JEO] How many graphically unique creatures are in the game?

[VV] There are 20 unique character graphics in the game.

[JEO] How many frames of "walking" animation do most creatures have?

[VV] They have 3, moving in 8 directions, and an attack graphic. The graphics 
vary in size, but human types are approximately 45x60. We increased the size 
of the bitmaps to allow more detail within each monster than the normal 32x48 
type character found in most RPGs that smooth scroll.

[JEO] How were the creature graphics created?

[VV] The characters were drawn by an artist. Then I took the drawings and 
modeled a character in a 3D rendering package. I created several rotation 
animations where in between frames the character would rotate 45 degrees, 
giving you 8 directions.

[JEO] What's the color depth of the creature and wall texture bitmaps?

[VV] Everything is stored and rendered in 16 bit color depths.

[JEO] Does each creature have its own unique sound effect?

[VV] No not each of them, but many of them do. Some have heavy footsteps, 
some light, some are silent, some fly...

[JEO] Does each creature have its own unique behavior?

[VV] All behavior is set by a group of conditions. Speed, morale, mood, 
etc... Example, if you hit someone enough, they might run based on their 
morale, some won't run at all.

[JEO] Are creatures activated by seeing the player, or just proximity?

[VV] They have to see you to become aggressive, which means you can sneak up 
behind them.

[JEO] Do non-activated creatures sit still or roam?

[VV] It depends on the character. Some stand guard at their post until 
disturbed, some wander around, and some are friendly.

[JEO] Does the player character (and/or creatures) have any projectile 
attacks?

[VV] Yes, several of them do, and they stay arms reach away from you and pelt 
you with magic attacks. You have to move up to them to hit them.

[JEO] Can creatures hurt each other with stray shots?

[VV] Yes, they can; just like you can hurt yourself with yours.

[JEO] Can creature corpses be moved or affected in any way?

[VV] No they cannot be moved. But you can search them for stuff.

[JEO] Is the graphics engine strictly Wolfenstein 3D-ish (but with textured 
floors and ceilings)?

[VV] There are also textured pits in the floor and ceiling, reaching to the 
next levels.

[JEO] How far out does the graphics engine render walls/creatures?

[VV] We could have rendered as far as we wanted, however to keep the speed up 
we limited the view in the distance, somewhat like Dungeon Master does, 
although not as short. Right before the graphic appears it begins a fade in, 
or depth cue, so no, nothing seems to pop-up like Cybermorph or the like.

[JEO] Are there any dynamic lighting effects (flickering lights, etc...)?

[VV] There are flickering candles, and depth cueing. However, no dynamic 
lighting like Phong or something.

[JEO] What's the best/worst/average frame rate?

[VV] Approximately 12FPS. In between the speed of AvP and Doom for the 
Jaguar. There are a couple of slow downs but, they are very minor, and only 
in a couple of areas.

[JEO] Is there a "run" button?

[VV] No "run" button per se. But you do move pretty quickly through the 
tower. Unless you are hungry or something.

[JEO] How big is the save-game EEPROM?

[VV] The EEPROM is 128 bytes. As long as the Jaguar is on, you get two full 
saves to RAM. Once you turn off the Jaguar and turn it back on again, then 
the cartridge save will reconstruct the save game from EEPROM. All inventory 
and stats, locked and unlocked doors, full and empty wands and quivers, 
groups of dead monsters, and automap reconstruction, fit into the EEPROM. 
Don't ask me how I fit it all, I still don't know.

[JEO] Are there any cool cheats?

[VV] Of course. We had to hide something. :)

[JEO] How long are you going to wait before releasing the cheat codes?

[VV] We have not decided yet.

[JEO] Does the ending suck? :)

[VV] The ending is short, but not cheezy. Our music writer even wrote a 
unique song for the end of the game (sounds like the song to the end of a 
movie).

[JEO] Are there multiple possible endings?

[VV] No, there is only one ending.

[JEO] Must you complete every puzzle to win the game?

[VV] No, There are several blockades that have two solutions or more, so you 
only have to solve/find one of them.

[JEO] If Towers II does well, and Telegames is still interested, do you see 
yourself porting any more games to the Jaguar?

[VV] I would not mind porting another game to the Jaguar if Telegames is 
still interested.

Vince Valenti
JV Games
PO Box 97455
Las Vegas, NV 89193
(702) 734-9689
(702) 433-3973 Fax


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