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texacala

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About texacala

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  1. How do you animate soft sprites over a scrolling background like this? Do you erase, scroll, and re-draw them all? Or erase and re-draw one at a time, scrolling after the animation? Just trying to work out in my head how this is done, thanks!
  2. I think they will love Bruce Lee. The game plays very well and the two player version is hilarious.
  3. @Mac-42 - haha, no I haven't explored the BBS world in a long time and I imagine my daughter would find it pretty lame. What's fun though is a lot of teenagers have looked at my A8 and they assume it's running a GUI. They believe there are "windows" somewhere, and then when they see the OS is command-based they think that is incredibly dated and cool. And BASIC is just great for them-- being able to write a quick program and have something happen right away is not something they are used to. @Synthpop - damn that is cool! What do you use? I've played around with TMC2 but haven't tried anything else because I'm not sure it will run well on my NTSC machine. I've started learning Reason 5.0 on my laptop and I'd like to incorporate the A8 at some point. I'm a big synthpop fan, Japan, Alphaville, Kraftwerk, Absolute Body Control, lots of stuff.
  4. I definitely relate to the idea of using the computer in ways you would have liked to as a kid. For me, the Atari 400 was my first computer in 1980 and I never owned an XE machine back in the 80s, so it has been fun to see what I missed out on. I also have taught my daughter some BASIC and I love to show kids my 130 XE. They love it!
  5. How do you use your Atari 8-bit computer? And why? I've thought about this for awhile now and I am curious. Is it to play games? To program games? To install upgrades and enjoy the satisfaction of them working? For word processing or work? For nostalgia? To be stubbornly "retro"? Because your are fascinated with the machine's design? Because there is nothing quite like an ATARI? I've wondered a bit myself. Why do I do this? I want to hear from other forum members because I am genuinely curious. For myself, I can break down my activities as follows-- I mostly use my 130 XE for word processing. Specifically, I use The Last Word with a laser printer at work. I take notes, print letters, lists, inventories, play around with the different options. It"s not that I have anything against Microsoft Word or modern word processing (I use Word a lot). But using my Atari makes my day a bit more fun and interesting. I am exploring other office software options for the same reasons and I very much look forward to Jon's forthcoming GUI and applications built for it. Beyond the Last Word, I also use Eclipse on my Windows 7 laptop for programming 6502 code that I can test with Altirra. I am working on a game idea and learning assembly language at the same time. And while it is not always technically "fun" (haha), I find it very interesting and rewarding. It's not that I'm just interested in a playable game-- I also enjoy exploring what the machine can do and how it works. I also enjoy reading articles and forums-- that's always interesting to me, particularly when people are developing hardware or upgrades because I don't know very much about electronics or computer hardware. Finally, I do play games sometimes, although not very much. I do like learning about what games are out there though and following the ABBUC contest. So... what about you?
  6. Well, I tossed out that power supply because I was afraid I might see it one day and forget it's evil ways ("Oh hey, great! I have an extra power supply!" Yeah, right.) These posts are encouraging though because I want to fix this fried 130 XE. The case is virtually new (it's beautiful) and it was working very well for over a year. So maybe this is my chance to open it up and see if I can learn something about these computers on the inside... Thanks to everyone for the info!
  7. My SDrive NUXX is ok! And the monitor is fine, so it really was the power supply that fried my 130 XE. I have tracked down a new 130, but does anyone know a resource for fixing the old one? I don't know if it could be recovered or not but I would like to try. Just for the record, those Ingot 1.5 power supplies are *dangerous* even though they say "Atari" on the label.
  8. Well, my 800 XL isn't working either so it might be my monitor that's the problem or this other power supply isn't working either. I ordered a new power supply and I will test my computers on a different display and see if I can figure out what happened. Ah, the joys of retro-computing! I just hope my computers and NUXX are ok. Thank you to everyone for the information.
  9. Ok, I did a little research and it appears the power supply is the dreaded "ingot" version which means possible trouble. The other one I have is not, so I will try an 800 XL with this "safe" PS and see what happens. I really hope the NUXX is ok... (crossing fingers).
  10. Ugh, I hope not! Ok, I will see if I can test the voltage. Is that a common problem with these computers? And is the damage reparable on these components?
  11. So last night I fired up my 130 XE and there was no picture -- only bands of white. Bad computer? So I thought, but when I switched in a different 130 XE I got the same result. Broken monitor? Maybe, but then I noticed my SDrive NUXX wasn't powering up. Hmm. So I unearthed an old 800 XL power supply from the garage and tried that and now the NUXX lights up but there is still no picture. So I suspect (and hope) that I simply need a new power supply rated for the 130, but if anyone has had similar troubles I would certainly appreciate feedback. I have been using this set up almost daily for over a year with no prior problems.
  12. Kraftwerk used Atari STs in the 1980s and also used ST graphics for "The Mix" in 1997.
  13. Thank you, that's very helpful. Looks like I'll experiment with the immediate VBI and take over the OS myself to get the most cycles. Is it a bit trial and error to determine the number of cycles available before problems crop up? I want to modify my display list and then animate objects onscreen, both playfield animation and some PMG (NTSC machine). Also, do I gain some VBI cycles (or other speed benefits) if I use narrow playfield?
  14. "De Re Atari" describes the time limit for an immediate VBI as 2000 cycles and deferred VBI as 20,000 cycles, with the warning that long deferred VBI routines may cause graphics problems since "many" of the cycles are executed while the electron beam is being drawn. "Mapping the Atari" says an immediate VBI has about 3,800 cycles to use (20,000 for deferred VBI) and adds that "it is suggested that you do not execute graphics routines in deferred VBIs." It also describes the tantalizing possibility of bypassing the OS VBI routine entirely to gain more time/speed. My plan is to just test out immediate and deferred VBI routines with my animation loop and see what happens graphically, but I'm curious if you guys generally use immediate or deferred routines, which one is best, and also whether I'm better off using VBI for calculations other than graphics in the first place.
  15. Thanks, I'll try it out. I was looking for Atari blue (just the normal DOS 2.5 menu color) so I'll play around a bit and see if I can find it.
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