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What was Atari's reason for launching the STE?


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#76 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 31, 2017 7:27 AM

 

I thought the STE's increased palette was pointless even at the time- it still had the same 16 colour onscreen limit (in regular use) as my STFM, which was always the main limiting factor by far. So why bother? (IIRC even the ST magazines themselves thought this.)

 

Pretty sure that if anyone had been offered the choice, they'd much rather have had 32+ colours even from 512, rather than 16 from 4096. (Yes, I know the former would likely have been harder, which probably explains why Atari went for the easy "enhancement").

 

I've no doubt if you wanted to create true 16-level greyscale images in Neochrome it might have offered a minor improvement- as well as marginally smoother gradients on games and possible other niche uses- but in general it appears to have been a "looks nice on paper until you think about it, useless in practice" improvement.

 

Of course a bigger palette would have been better,  but 4096 colors did make some difference.  Especially if you were into Spectrum 512 style images.   The pictures photochrome could do with the STe's palette were stunning for the time.    But even many games could use programing techniques to put more than 16 colors on the screen.

 

Really the STe's main features were the DSP sound/hardware scrolling/blitter.   Games that actually used these things no long felt laggy with sub-par sound as many ST action games felt.  Unfortunately not enough games took advantage



#77 nurmix OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:24 AM

 
I totally understand why professional musicians/audio people hung onto Atari longer than the others,  it wasn't just the hardware but the software too.
 
But for someone like me,  everything I needed from a PC to make the jump was available by 1992-93 

I was still using my accelerated (Nemesis board) Falcon030 with Cubase Audio up until the early 2,000s. I picked it up new at Guitar Center in the mid-nineties - when they were 'blowing them out' for about half the price Atari dealers were asking at the time.

I had the FDI (Falcon Digital Interface) and utilized the AD/DA converters in my Tascam DAT. Also had the JAM 8-out and Macman MIDI interface (for additional audio and MIDI outs respectively). For progressional audio/MIDI work, it was definitely a nice system.

Prior to the Falcon I ran Cubase on my STE. And I eventually moved to the PC platform - and I'm still using Cubase on that platform today.


Sent from my Keyboard Component using Jack's Conversational Intelli-talk cassette

Edited by nurmix, Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:25 AM.


#78 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 31, 2017 11:40 AM

 

 

The RAP-10 was essentially a Sound Canvas on a PC card. It wasn't meant (nor did it provide much support) for PC gaming. Serious musicians used them. I'm pretty sure the RAP part stood for "Roland Audio Producer." The Turtle Beach Multi-sound was an excellent card, but the RAP-10 had a better SNR. (For context, "back in the day", a good friend of mine used the RAP-10 & Cakewalk for professional music gigs.)

So yeah, expensive as all heck, but a good bit past "a pipe dream".

 

Here's the 1994 PC Magazine audio interface benchmark:

 

https://books.google...rasound&f=false



#79 Mostro OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:37 PM

 

Of course a bigger palette would have been better,  but 4096 colors did make some difference.  Especially if you were into Spectrum 512 style images.   The pictures photochrome could do with the STe's palette were stunning for the time.

 

I understand- but with respect, that's the sort of thing I had in mind covered by "niche uses".

 

FWIW, I'm definitely aware of Spectrum 512, since I remember reading about it in the late '80s (long before I had a 16-bit machine myself). It looked like a nice trick, though from what I remember and what I've read since it was very CPU intensive, had some limitations (e.g. 40 colours per line) and probably wasn't suited to games.

 

Still, I'll admit that some of the best examples I've seen of it were definitely comparable to HAM on the Amiga. Not that HAM itself was very suited to games either- the display wasn't CPU intensive, since it was hardware-based, but altering the image was still complicated; that's likely why even Amiga games stuck to the standard 32 colour mode (or 64 colour EHB on rare occasion).


Edited by Mostro, Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:37 PM.


#80 zzip OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:55 PM

 

I understand- but with respect, that's the sort of thing I had in mind covered by "niche uses".

 

FWIW, I'm definitely aware of Spectrum 512, since I remember reading about it in the late '80s (long before I had a 16-bit machine myself). It looked like a nice trick, though from what I remember and what I've read since it was very CPU intensive, had some limitations (e.g. 40 colours per line) and probably wasn't suited to games.

 

Still, I'll admit that some of the best examples I've seen of it were definitely comparable to HAM on the Amiga. Not that HAM itself was very suited to games either- the display wasn't CPU intensive, since it was hardware-based, but altering the image was still complicated; that's likely why even Amiga games stuck to the standard 32 colour mode (or 64 colour EHB on rare occasion).

 

you are correct that going "full spectrum" wasn't suited to games,   but there was always compromise techniques that could still use more than 16 colors, For instance "Obsession Pinball" was using 64 colors on screen and still ran smoothly.    Like many other computers, the ST could use Horizontal Blank interrupts,  which allowed you to use a completely new palette on every scan line, if you wanted.   That kind of method tends to be relatively inexpensive.    Changing palettes several times per line, as Spectrum-like programs did, is a lot more CPU-intensive. 


Edited by zzip, Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:56 PM.


#81 opcode OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:10 PM

Fun fact: a couple of weeks ago I bought what I thought was an Atari 1040STF from someone on Craigslist. Well, I received the ST today and for my surprise it wasn't a STF. It is in fact a full 4MB STE in excellent condition with original floppy disk working (not to mention I have a SH205 coming from the same seller).

So I am now part of the STE community and right now I couldn't care less about what was Atari reason for releasing the ST. I just want to enjoy my new STE during the weekend. :D



#82 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:43 PM

Fun fact: a couple of weeks ago I bought what I thought was an Atari 1040STF from someone on Craigslist. Well, I received the ST today and for my surprise it wasn't a STF. It is in fact a full 4MB STE in excellent condition with original floppy disk working (not to mention I have a SH205 coming from the same seller).

So I am now part of the STE community and right now I couldn't care less about what was Atari reason for releasing the ST. I just want to enjoy my new STE during the weekend. :D

 

Run Stardust on it!! Eeeet's weeeekeeeed!



#83 MrMaddog OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 7:10 AM

Fun fact: a couple of weeks ago I bought what I thought was an Atari 1040STF from someone on Craigslist. Well, I received the ST today and for my surprise it wasn't a STF. It is in fact a full 4MB STE in excellent condition with original floppy disk working (not to mention I have a SH205 coming from the same seller).

So I am now part of the STE community and right now I couldn't care less about what was Atari reason for releasing the ST. I just want to enjoy my new STE during the weekend. :D

 

Isn't that the point of owning any ST, to enjoy using it?  I don't regret getting a STe even though the only "extras" I used were the audio ports hooked to my stereo and a few shareware games that had DMA sampled sounds.  But it's still an Atari ST...

 

Yeah in hindsight I would have gotten a Mega STe just to have a better TOS and increased speed using GEM apps (plus still run games in 8Hz) but it just wasn't in the budget at the time.



#84 poobah OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 7, 2017 5:35 PM

 

Here's the 1994 PC Magazine audio interface benchmark:

 

https://books.google...rasound&f=false

 

Awesome link, it appears my memory is a little fuzzy.

Looks like the TB card (barely) edges out the RAP-10 on most of the measurements, though they both have impressive specs.

At any rate, both cards are evidence that you could indeed do professional music work on PCs of the era.



#85 walter_J64bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 9, 2017 3:34 AM

Atari's reason for launching the STE?

 

So, I can have a 4MB ST with limited use of the Blitter chip and enhanced joystick ports! :dunce: 



#86 Nebulon OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 10, 2017 2:46 PM

 

Awesome link, it appears my memory is a little fuzzy.

Looks like the TB card (barely) edges out the RAP-10 on most of the measurements, though they both have impressive specs.

At any rate, both cards are evidence that you could indeed do professional music work on PCs of the era.

 

The RAP-10 is listed as having high-end distortion issues.

 

And while the Turtle Beach card passed their hardware tests, its software wasn't up to the task of muti-track audio.

 

Meanwhile the Falcon could use Cubase Audio (an app that wouldn't appear on the PC for another three years.

 

I'm really not aware of anything in 1993 (or even prior to 1996) that could do multi-track audio sampling on the PC (other than perhaps the IQS system and I have no idea where a person would purchase that from).



#87 poobah OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:24 PM

 

The RAP-10 is listed as having high-end distortion issues.

 

And while the Turtle Beach card passed their hardware tests, its software wasn't up to the task of muti-track audio.

 

Meanwhile the Falcon could use Cubase Audio (an app that wouldn't appear on the PC for another three years.

 

I'm really not aware of anything in 1993 (or even prior to 1996) that could do multi-track audio sampling on the PC (other than perhaps the IQS system and I have no idea where a person would purchase that from).

 

Multi-track sampling is a whole different animal, I doubt there was a PC-based solution for it during that time period.

The "high end distortion" comment seems odd, and the measurement suspect since the RAP-10 doesn't have a PA on it.






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