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Zogging Hell

Member Since 7 Dec 2009
OFFLINE Last Active Today, 4:44 PM

#3729166 ST without a disk drive

Posted by Zogging Hell on Tue Mar 28, 2017 4:07 PM


Atari designed the ST as a competitor to the MAC so it seems it was more intended as a business machine that as a games machine. The usage of GEM and hi-res 640x400 graphics mode points to a business machine role and the lack of gaming features in the hardware (no hardware scrolling, no hardware sprites) does not seem they intended it to be a games machine. Of course history proved the ST was (at least in the first years in Europe) used more as gaming machine (the processing power of the 68000 made it possible to do things in software were the 8-bit computers needed hardware support chips) but still had some great business applications. So I'm not convinced game cartridges were part of Atari's plan.



To a degree I would agree, but coming where Tramiel had come from the with the C64 etc, and the fact that unlike the Mac, the ST had colour resolutions; gaming has to have been at the back of their minds if not the forefront. The blitter was planned from nearly the start, which wasn't really a lot of use for business apps (although ironically it does help their response more generally than games, which don't take advantage of its presence unless specifically programmed for it), and there was a interview with one of the designers where he seemed to suggest the included sound chip was intended as being little more than a bleeper - the real deal never seems to have materialised, however (Amy presumably). There is also talk in one of the early Atari users of a further graphics chip (different from the blitter) being development. although that might be hearsay. I suspect the STs limitations as a gaming computer are more a result of the development timescale and cost bracket, rather than a deliberate aim to position the ST as a business computer. Custom chips take time to develop, which Tramiel didn't have, and they all add to the overall cost, which would have defeated the point.The machine looks like it is designed to be a all rounder, good for graphics, games and business, but not really excelling at anything (well apart from the overall package). This was always the attraction of the ST for me over the Mac and Amiga. It really is a jack of all trades (and master of none!). The cartridge port seems to be an odd thing to add if it isn't included for gaming, as for other uses it isn't as good, or even as easy to implement as a straight forward bus connector :)


I believe you are entirely right that the ST is meant to compete with and best the Mac though. All the ST line generally seems to react to developments in the Mac world, The Falcon for example is a bit like a poor mans NeXT computer, or a super powered LCII (thanks to the DSP, though the basic spec is the same), the TT is a bit of a Mac II. If I were to guess I would actually say that the Tramiel doesn't even consider the Amiga in the STs lines specs generally (bar the half hearted attempt with the STe), presumably as overall sales of both it and the ST paled next to the Mac.

#3724721 ST without a disk drive

Posted by Zogging Hell on Wed Mar 22, 2017 5:15 PM

They did get me a Cheetah 125+ for my birthday a month later. The nearest store was twenty miles away, which is somewhat of a distance for a ten year old to cycle, and with £1 a week pocket money I might have been struggling :) I suspect their intention was for it to be used mainly for 'educational purposes'  Although to be fair my undergrad dissertation was eventually written on an Atari compatible (Milan) so it wasn't entirely wasted on that front icon_smile.gif.

#3724594 ST without a disk drive

Posted by Zogging Hell on Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:21 PM

You could also get one without a mouse (which was optional in some packs), which while you can use the keys, seems awfully stingy! A ST with no mouse, floppy or ROM chips would be the computing equivalent of a chocolate tea pot :)

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#3724352 What was Atari's reason for launching the STE?

Posted by Zogging Hell on Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:10 AM


I vaguely remember that the STFM- which had come down to £299 in late 1987- went up to £399 the following year due to increases in the cost of RAM. (Atari tried to mitigate this by bundling it with a lot of games.) This article confirms that RAM prices went up massively in 1988; ditto this contemporary report. Perhaps you're thinking of that?


I've no idea if you're right about the STE or not- but unless it used completely different memory chips to the STFM (and couldn't be easily redesigned to accept different ones), surely any increase in RAM prices for the STE would have affected the STFM as well? The Wikipedia article doesn't indicate a "chip famine"(!) circa 1990 or 91.


Also, by 1990-91, wouldn't prices have fallen enough in general so that even a (proportionately) similar increase to the 1988 one wouldn't increase the cost of 512KB by as much as it had then?


You may well be right, but I do defintely remember STe's going up in price by a chunk, memory did fluctuate quite wildly during that period. I will have to read through some old ST Formats, as I suspect the article is in there. It doesn't take much for memory prices to sky rocket, just look at the price of ram today compared to a year ago, it's gone from £50 to around a £100 for c. 16gb :)

#3723898 ST without a disk drive

Posted by Zogging Hell on Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:18 PM

Imagine that would be the worst Chrimbo ever (almost as bad as my folks buying me an ST for Chrimbo with games that needed a joystick and then not giving me a joystick.. I spent a month staring at the boxes and imagining what they were like to play!)


Back in the early period you could in theory insert one of the tiny number of software cartridges that were released (one of which was a programming language, which might help a little), but even they probably need GEM.. so if you are running one of the TOS on disk numbers you would be stuck. If you do have have GEM they could work, or if someone gave you a preformatted hard drive with some modem software you could run off that and download what you wanted. Nowadays my STs pretty much operate off the hard disks, with the floppies just used to copy software or run floppy games. Once the stuff is on hard disk though I would not notice not having the floppy drive.


I suspect Atari thought the cartridge option would be more popular and games would be released that way, so in theory the diskless ST would be like the 8bit, where the floppy was more of a luxury.

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#3716792 Total Carnage, How To Continue

Posted by Zogging Hell on Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:02 PM

Slightly off topic (sorry) but as it was mentioned.. I think on Bubble Bobble (if the port is the same as the ST version), you have to hold down the fire button as you die to continue in one player. I played the ST version for years before I worked that one out as it isn't in the instructions.. :)


It's like playing Bubble bobble. 1 player you have one continue/3 lives, then game over. When you play it as 2 players you share 7 continues x 3 lives = 21 lives + all the extras you get during the game, around 30 i'd guess. In this game as well it becomes 10 times easier in 2 player mode, plus add the double fire capacity and 2 player tactics on top of that.

#3675309 The cost reduced 520STFM of mid 1993?

Posted by Zogging Hell on Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:51 AM

I think the story you are referring to was in ST Format (or Review, or both, not entirely sure), it was I think in a round up of the year style article and had interviews with some games producers regarding the price drop (most were unimpressed if I remember rightly). The gist was (as someone mentioned) that Atari reduced the price on the remaining STFM stock and flogged them cheap (this is much the same story as the STFM re-release after STe production stopped I believe). These STs were fitted with surface mounted chips so were more difficult (though not impossible) to upgrade the memory on. Basically Atari had realised the ST was a dead dug commercially from this point, and was using the price reduction as an excuse to sell off the remains of their stock.


I would say the STe has more in common from a 'why did they do it' point of view with the 500+ than the 600, both were released in the same time period and offered some extra features that weren't really used much and weren't a big enough upgrade to make a big difference. The Amiga 600 came later if iirc, sort of the same time as the 1200 and Falcon?

#3671227 Install megafile 60

Posted by Zogging Hell on Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:31 PM

On the ST? Depends a little on which TOS version, you best bet is to expand the window to maximum size and then rubber band (hold down the left mouse button and drag across all the files you need till they all turn black). Then drag the files across to the destination folder (you need two windows open or be copying to the root directory - in which case you can drag to the floppy B icon. There is a bit of a guide to using GEM on my website which might help



#3671086 Install megafile 60

Posted by Zogging Hell on Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:11 AM

Yeah after you have run ahdi, regardless of outcome try using HDX. The other possibilities (that don't include dead drive) is that the lead is knackered, or in the wrong socket on the Megafile. It might be worth trying HD Driver - you can download a demo version that may be enough to establish if its working.



#3670902 Install megafile 60

Posted by Zogging Hell on Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:18 AM

If you put the HDX formatting on floppy with AHDI (which I presume you have if you have AHDI running?), run the AHDI program from the desktop or auto folder (you don't need to have booted from the hard drive) and then run HDX. Hopefully it will detect the drive, you can then proceed to format it. HDX is pretty simple to use, there is a partial guide to the AHDI system here:




Click on the format option in the menu and then just run through the dialogues - it may well take yonks with the Megafile as the drive is slow.


If it works you need to use hdinstall to stick the AHDI program into the boot sector of the hard disk so it autoboots

#3670287 Install megafile 60

Posted by Zogging Hell on Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:59 AM

Go with the Ultrasatan, the megafile is resilient and may well be ok, but the speed from a SD card compared to that old drive is a relevation. I have two old megafiles, one does take a little time to warm up, the other apparently has lots of bad sectors (Diamond Edge believes virtually the whole drive is a bad sector). Weirdly though I've used it as a boot drive for 15 years in this condition and haven't experienced any data loss or corruption.


You could try and reformat the drive if you are not worried about loosing anything on there. You will need to use the HDX program from the AHDI disk (if its on there).

#3561653 Best Atari ST Paint Program(s)?

Posted by Zogging Hell on Fri Jul 29, 2016 12:37 PM

I think the ST version of Deluxe Paint is somewhere around Deluxe Paint 2 featurewise on the Amiga. Although it is the ST's first version, it came out a long while after the Amiga original so has a lot of the features from the later Amiga versions.

#3559065 Best Atari ST Paint Program(s)?

Posted by Zogging Hell on Mon Jul 25, 2016 4:48 PM

Two copies of Paintworks on ebay UK at the moment (not my auctions I hasten to add), not sure what the postage will cost your side of the pond, but with our currently collapsing currency it will be quite a bit cheaper than usual  :)

#3551949 Falcon first steps... (semi)-old Atarian with (semi)-old Atari

Posted by Zogging Hell on Thu Jul 14, 2016 2:22 PM

Might be something in the autofolder causing havoc and creating the bombs. Try opening drive C and renaming the 'auto' folder to something like 'autox' so non of the programs in there auto load during boot. If the bombs stop then there is something in there causing a problem. If it is rename the auto folder back to auto and then try deactivating the programs one by one in the auto folder by changing their extnsions from prg to prx. Hopefully this will narrow down the problem.

By the sound of it you might also want to check the NVRAM settings (and probably do the battery fix if it hasn't had it already).


The crash during resolution change might be a rogue desk accessory - early versions of X-Control and some others didn't like the resolution being change after they loaded.


If the floppy was in the drive during shipping, the drives head might have clonked into it at some point. Always best to take them out when the computer isn't in use :)

#3551344 Active ST forum?

Posted by Zogging Hell on Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:31 PM

I'll disagree (on one count) ;)


Magic, I found, was way faster for GEM applications (at least in terms of AES response) than TOS, and also a lot more fully featured. It did however crash a fair bit with some of the older programs. Mint/ Multitos on the other hand in my experience was a little slow on a standard Falcon (I suspect someone will disagree with that!). I'd agree though that single TOS is solid and dependable and you don't need any more really :)


To me a Falcon with NVDI, Magic and Jinnee desktop installed were the golden era of my Falcon's productivity period (where it got used for work all the time, rather than the more limited use it gets now - which is pretty limited as it is currently in bits!). I only switched back into TOS back then to run Cubase, games or some random programs that choked Magic. At that time I thought the Atari had a better OS with those three than the Macs classic MacOS of the same period.