The birth of Atari ST

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The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Mon Jul 22, 2013 8:13 pm

Some interesting reading about the birth of Atari ST.

The Atari ST (part 1)
http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=995

The Atari ST, Part 2
http://www.dadhacker.com/blog/?p=1000

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:51 am

Some more interesting reading

Who killed the Atari ST? A drama in three parts
http://www.technofileonline.com/texts/stdoom89.html

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby simonsunnyboy » Sat Jul 27, 2013 8:39 am

The later artical is strangely prophetic but pretty sound about its arguments.

I still think both Atari's failures and the PC quality bang killed Atari off.....
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:29 am

I was always a bit confused over why Atari never used Jay Miner custom chips when designed ST. This article explains pretty much why. Never the less, Atari come up with a good computer anyway. But imagine a computer with Jay Miners custom chips and GEM. It should be a powerful computer that was easy to use too (i hope)

I think that Atari's biggest blunder was to ignore the american market.

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sun Jul 28, 2013 9:12 am

ST should have been THE computer for the american market because of the popularity of Atari 8bit computers. Instead Atari almost ignored the american market and concentrated on the european market. ST became big in several european countries but it felt kind of strange somehow to see an american company concentrate on europe.

Why didn't Atari went for the american market first?

A wild guess

America was the big market for Atari 8bit computers because it was the home market and Atari 800 got quite popular. Atari 800 wasn't big in Europe where people bought other computers instead. Besides that Atari 8bit was an expensive computer to buy before Commodore started a price war by lowering the price on C64 several times.

When Atari released the ST they wanted to concentrate on the European market because of ST was way too different from the Atari 8bit range of computers and they wanted ST to get a fresh start without having to worry about the 8bit computers?

I remember myself when i got my first Atari ST in early 1988. It was quite mixed feelings because i was expecting a computer that was very similar to Atari 800 XL, but way more powerful. The almost magic display wasn't there, in fact nothing that i liked so much by 800 XL...was there.

What i got was something completly else and my reactions was kind of confused in the beginning. Like "Wow" and "what is this?". Most of the time i was very pleased with my new ST, but sometimes i was real disapointed too. On no, this game was much better on Atari 800 XL. Wheres the magic colours? Only 3 sound channels? Hmmm, my 800 Xl had smoother scrolling.

I soon learned that the two computers had nothing in common, and when that happened i started to like ST for what it really was, no straight follow up to Atari 130 XE and a real good easy to use allround computer perfect for serious appz and okey for gaming too. I used my (real) ST regulary for 14 years before buying my first PC.

Could this be the reason for ignoring the american market? Perhaps many people expected some sort of 16 bit Atari 800 XL?

I can BET....if ST countained all Jay Miners custom chips, America would be the first country to recive Atari ST.

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby simonsunnyboy » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:36 am

I think the US were already tending towards the compatible PCs in 1986. Atari could have get some better share later on if they had sold a Falcon together with a builtin 386 board ;)
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:54 am

Also a possibility.

Now, time for some fun facts about Atari. ;)

Like this one. ;) :D

10. Clean out your desk, Bill.

In a million dollar deal, Atari contracted a company called Microsoft to port the BASIC programming language to the Atari 800. A young developer named Bill Gates was responsible for the project. One year later, the software had yet to be completed, and Alan Miller, an Atari game designer and programmer, {took over} the project. This very likely makes him the only person to have fired Bill Gates.


Or this one...

9. The magazine might have been called Atari Power.

When Nintendo’s executives decided to expand to the American market, it considered partnering with Atari for its first console, and releasing it with the Atari brand. The deal fell through, and the {Nintendo Advanced Video Gaming System} project was stripped of its keyboard and tape-storage, redesigned, and released as the Nintendo Entertainment System.


Read the rest here...

10 THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ATARI
http://mentalfloss.com/article/31624/10 ... bout-atari

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:17 am

Let's post some more fun reading on this thread. ;)

Well, it's a bit of reading from the forum "Classic Amiga"

Atari ST games that outshone the Amiga
http://forum.classicamiga.com/forum/sho ... -the-Amiga

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby calimero » Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:26 pm

Retrogamer_ST wrote:Some more interesting reading

Who killed the Atari ST? A drama in three parts
http://www.technofileonline.com/texts/stdoom89.html

this text, as many other, have untruth "facts":

"All Atari had to do was buy Jay Miner's new company and sell his computer as the next-generation Atari PC. Atari would save a lot of its own development costs, and Miner would be freed from the job of marketing his new design -- code-named Amiga -- on his own.
It was an excellent plan. But Jack Tramiel, who was fond of saying "business is war," had left his enemies at Commodore with too much ammunition. While Atari was looking the other way, Commodore sent its own engineers out to Sunnyvale to look at Miner's new baby -- and Commodore promptly bought the new firm."


Jack T. did not know for Amiga-Atari Inc contract before he bought Atari Inc. and before "he" did start work on ST.
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby dlfrsilver » Mon Jul 29, 2013 11:38 pm

Retrogamer_ST wrote:Let's post some more fun reading on this thread. ;)

Well, it's a bit of reading from the forum "Classic Amiga"

Atari ST games that outshone the Amiga
http://forum.classicamiga.com/forum/sho ... -the-Amiga


I know talking about games that outshone the amiga ones, two titles that are incredible or better on the atari ST :

Shadow warriors from Ocean, and Crackdown from usgold.

For shadow warriors, the music on ST is excellent, specially the title music, and graphics are good as the amiga.

For crackdown from usgold, let's say it straight : The coder should be shot down for doing what he did :

1) The atari ST version is 2 double sided disk (11 sectorsx512bytes = an amiga disk format in capacity meaning 1,7mb !) while the amiga release is HALF in size (disk image is MFM and 950kb).

2) The game graphics are better on ST than those on amiga, how the hell have they been doing this that wrong ??

The players' windows size is bigger on the atari ST and smaller on the amiga !!!

3) The game has the full introduction on ST, on amiga they have omitted 2 gfx parts

4) The ST release has the arcade end, while the amiga had a mastering disk error (you talk about someone at ARC dev goosed his job !!!)

All in all, i'm sure the ARC coders have spend TOO MUCH time on the ST release, and as such have been unable to produce an equivalent and correct
amiga release, and then they have completely butchered this version.
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:44 am

calimero wrote:
Retrogamer_ST wrote:Some more interesting reading

Who killed the Atari ST? A drama in three parts
http://www.technofileonline.com/texts/stdoom89.html

this text, as many other, have untruth "facts":

"All Atari had to do was buy Jay Miner's new company and sell his computer as the next-generation Atari PC. Atari would save a lot of its own development costs, and Miner would be freed from the job of marketing his new design -- code-named Amiga -- on his own.
It was an excellent plan. But Jack Tramiel, who was fond of saying "business is war," had left his enemies at Commodore with too much ammunition. While Atari was looking the other way, Commodore sent its own engineers out to Sunnyvale to look at Miner's new baby -- and Commodore promptly bought the new firm."


Jack T. did not know for Amiga-Atari Inc contract before he bought Atari Inc. and before "he" did start work on ST.


Correct. And when Commodore bought Jay Miners company Commodore quickly got sued.

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:46 am

dlfrsilver wrote:
Retrogamer_ST wrote:Let's post some more fun reading on this thread. ;)

Well, it's a bit of reading from the forum "Classic Amiga"

Atari ST games that outshone the Amiga
http://forum.classicamiga.com/forum/sho ... -the-Amiga


I know talking about games that outshone the amiga ones, two titles that are incredible or better on the atari ST :

Shadow warriors from Ocean, and Crackdown from usgold.

For shadow warriors, the music on ST is excellent, specially the title music, and graphics are good as the amiga.

For crackdown from usgold, let's say it straight : The coder should be shot down for doing what he did :

1) The atari ST version is 2 double sided disk (11 sectorsx512bytes = an amiga disk format in capacity meaning 1,7mb !) while the amiga release is HALF in size (disk image is MFM and 950kb).

2) The game graphics are better on ST than those on amiga, how the hell have they been doing this that wrong ??

The players' windows size is bigger on the atari ST and smaller on the amiga !!!

3) The game has the full introduction on ST, on amiga they have omitted 2 gfx parts

4) The ST release has the arcade end, while the amiga had a mastering disk error (you talk about someone at ARC dev goosed his job !!!)

All in all, i'm sure the ARC coders have spend TOO MUCH time on the ST release, and as such have been unable to produce an equivalent and correct
amiga release, and then they have completely butchered this version.


Thanks for that info. :)

Outrun was better on ST. Streetfighter on ST used scrolling clouds in background sky that wasn't in the Amiga version of the same game. Ocean's Wizball for ST got higher score then it's Amiga counterpart in "The Games Machine" magazine.

To fill upp with some more reading.

There's also a list of ST exclusive games that never got released for the Amiga.
http://forum.classicamiga.com/forum/sho ... #post25974

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Tue Jul 30, 2013 6:15 am

More of the same, games that was better on ST

Amiga vs Atari ST.....is there any game better on the st?
http://www.lemonamiga.com/forum/viewtop ... 04efa99356

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby calimero » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:46 am

Retrogamer_ST wrote:
calimero wrote:
Retrogamer_ST wrote:Some more interesting reading

Who killed the Atari ST? A drama in three parts
http://www.technofileonline.com/texts/stdoom89.html

this text, as many other, have untruth "facts":

"All Atari had to do was buy Jay Miner's new company and sell his computer as the next-generation Atari PC. Atari would save a lot of its own development costs, and Miner would be freed from the job of marketing his new design -- code-named Amiga -- on his own.
It was an excellent plan. But Jack Tramiel, who was fond of saying "business is war," had left his enemies at Commodore with too much ammunition. While Atari was looking the other way, Commodore sent its own engineers out to Sunnyvale to look at Miner's new baby -- and Commodore promptly bought the new firm."


Jack T. did not know for Amiga-Atari Inc contract before he bought Atari Inc. and before "he" did start work on ST.


Correct. And when Commodore bought Jay Miners company Commodore quickly got sued.


You can find exact story about whole thing (Atari, Amiga, Commodore) at book "Atari Inc.: Business Is Fun" by Curt Vendel and Marty Goldberg

http://books.google.rs/books?id=3FwGMtR ... ri&f=false
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Tue Jul 30, 2013 8:43 am

Thanks for the reading tips. :)

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:07 pm

It's a shame that ST never got popular in USA. Especially when some of the best software developers were american like Lucas Games and FTL.

FTL was a small company that Wayne Holder founded. It was Wayne Holder, Nancy Holder and Bruce Webster that wrote some of the best games for ST like Dungeon Master, Sundog and Oids. Some people even think that Oids was the best game ever for ST and Dungeon Master speaks for itself.

Imagine more american companies of THAT caliber writing games for ST.

Well, Amiga didn't sold that much either in US.

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Dio » Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:22 pm

My thoughts:

simonsunnyboy wrote:I still think both Atari's failures and the PC quality bang killed Atari off.....

The Megadrive largely killed the ST and Amiga as games machines; for 80% plus of game titles it offered hugely better quality at a vastly cheaper (hardware) price because of the platform fee model, and more convenience (albeit at higher cost) because of carts). The computers couldn't remotely compete on price and that despite being stuck on a 1984/5 hardware specification due to the impossibility of moving people off the base spec. Frankly they did well to last as long as they did.

Retrogamer_ST wrote:Why didn't Atari went for the american market first?

The hardware spec they chose precluded that as an option (which I suspect they didn't realise at the time). In the US, 8-bit machines had been heavily upgraded; 80 column support, ubiquitous disk drives (in the US, 85% of Commodore 64 owners had disk drives, compared to well under 20% in Europe), modems, etc. - which both raised the capability bar and the expected cost of a machine.

In Europe, that didn't happen and so paying a lot more money (nearly twice as much) for the Amiga with 'slightly better graphics' seemed an odd choice when such an embarassment of high-resolution, ubiquitous disk riches seemed like a huge upgrade over our more limited 8-bits.

So in the US, the ST just looked like a bargain bin machine - 68000 and lots of memory sure, but nowt else new. The Amiga looked like the real next-gen capability - or a PC, if business software was really the important thing; they were relatively far more affordable in the US. That made the ST a very hard sell there.

Another probable contribution may be that the US never quite developed such a gaming culture around computers the way Europe did - it was a more serious business over there, with gaming capabilities reserved for consoles (not least because of the relative cost of the machines, one suspects the target market was significantly older). Hence also why the 1983 crash was strictly a US phenomenon.

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 01, 2013 5:52 am

@Dio

Interesting thoughts. :)

On the other hand ST was THE computer to own for serious appz and Germany released some of the best like Calamus, Cubase, Notator and many more of the industries best applications at that time. Atari's own mono monitor was THE thing to own when you lived in Germany. ST were created to compete with Apple for serious use.

Perhaps a poor mans Apple, or a "Jackintosh" like some people called ST. ;)

I read in a forum yesterday...

(from an american)

For him Atari was pretty much Jay Miner who designed both Atari's earlier consoles and the 8bit line of computers. So when it was time to buy a 16 bit computer, it was Amiga because he didn't see ST as an Atari computer.

Before Jack Tramiel
After Jack Tramiel

Atari changed quite a lot.

Perhaps more americans felt this way?

I don't know but it could have been one of several factors for Atari to settle for Europe instead.

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby calimero » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:40 am

I hate to go back but...
Atari fail mainly because most people are simple STUPID.

Computing was new back in 80s and lot of people blindly go for IBM because it was "safest" way (if you do not know nothing about computers).

Jack Tramiel in many occasion state: "End-users are intelligent. They know what they want and they know what it's worth,"

http://www.atarimagazines.com/v3n10/JackTramiel.html or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uK7cnsE-4Q

"Jackintosh" compared to Mac was:

1. 2.5x cheaper than Mac
2. faster than Mac
3. had bigger screen and resolution
4. had more memory
5. had fast external ASCI connector
6. had 3x cheaper laser printer
7. had colors

Mac had no advantage over ST.
Image


than compare ST and PC software e.g. Word processor:

Image
Signum

Image
Microsoft Word 5.5 1989.


...and there was a bunch od professional application on ST that outclass anything on PC.
I really do not understand why somebody buy and use PC in 80s?
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:00 am

Not only that. ST was a much better allround computer then any of the rivals, including Amiga. Cheap, powerful and a big library of excellent appz and games. Even in the first part of the 90's serious appz like Calamus and Notator was the best you could get. Even today 2013 Atari ST is used for midi and regarded as the most exact midi computer ever built.

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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby nativ » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:50 am

Protext was comparable to Word and probably better, Timeworks was and is still better than word for windows and it's trying to please several functions and only succeeding in the help animation!
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby calimero » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:14 am

nativ wrote:Protext was comparable to Word and probably better

note that there are two different Protext!
- one is from germany: Protext ST (with powerfull scripts, I think that 2.x version is newest)
- and other is multiplatform Protext by Arnor (I never use it!)
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby nativ » Thu Aug 01, 2013 10:24 am

calimero wrote:
- and other is multiplatform Protext by Arnor (I never use it!)



Well Amiga, PC and ST versions are available here for free! http://www.tigerteam.co.uk/protext/
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby calimero » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:09 am

that nice :) and here are infos and screenshots of german version:

http://milan.kovac.cc/atari/software/?f ... TEXT&i=&c=
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Re: The birth of Atari ST

Postby Retrogamer_ST » Thu Aug 01, 2013 11:55 am

I used Protext 5 for a while. I also used ST-Writer Elite, Script, First Word Plus and Harlekin's built in Text Editor. The best of them all was Everest, an excellent text editor (shareware).
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