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Greetings and welcome to the Shareware release of Colourspace.
This program is Shareware. If you enjoy it, please take the
trouble to register with us. The shareware fee is five pounds,
and for the dosh you will receive our newsletter, a complete
manual for Colourspace detailing all the funky stuff you can do
with it, and a distinctly cool and spiffy folder to keep your
manual and disk in. Please send yer dosh to us at
LLAMASOFT, 49 Mount Pleasant, Tadley, Hants RG26 6BN.
(That's a UK address for those reading this in Foreign Parts!)
Please make cheques payable to Llamasoft and if you want to
use a credit card, we can handle the main cards, mail or phone
your card number.
Enough money talk already! What is this weird Thing lurking
on the disk?
"In the beginning was PSYCHEDELIA on the C64, which begat
COLOURSPACE on the 8-bit Atari, which led to this version,
COLOURSPACE ST, which is the direct ancestor of TRIP-A-TRON".
COLOURSPACE was the first ST incarnation of the light-synthesiser
concept. The lightsynth idea is one I have been playing about
with since 1984. The basic idea is simple: the light-synthesiser
is an 'instrument' which produces dynamic patterns and colour
sequences under the direct control of the operator. The lightsynth
is generally used in conjunction with music; it's nice to sit down
and mellow out with your favourite sounds and use the lightsynth;
yer mates can watch too.
COLOURSPACE was one of the first ST products, appearing in 1986.
It was succeeded a couple of years later with TRIP-A-TRON, which
is still selling well to this day. We have decided to release
Colourspace as shareware for a number of reasons - not least
because it serves as an excellent advertisement for Trip-A-Tron.
You see, the trouble with a lightsynth is that it is very difficult
to describe one to someone who has never seen one. Screen shots
cannot do it justice as the essence of the lightsynth is in the
way it moves and flows. Describing it in an advert is equally
difficult. People don't quite know what it is and are therefore
reluctant to part with their wedge for some weird thing they don't
know they're going to enjoy.
Colourspace, although old, serves as a good entry-level lightsynth
system. It provides a good sample of simple lightsynth effects.
If you like it, register and we'll send you the manual so you can
get the most out of it. It is compatible with all STs (it even
runs on the TT). If you really like the idea of lightsynth, instead
of registering 'Space, you can get full-blown Trip-A-Tron from us for
the special price of 20 quid (it's normally 30!). TAT contains
a heap more effects, completely user-definable keyboard layout,
graphics and picture manipulation stuff, a proper user interface
with icons and stuff (unlike the admittedly arcane 'Space system
control commands - hey! this was my first-ever program on the ST,
first-ever 68000 code, and in those days there were no guru-books
to help you figure it all out!) - and even its own graphics creation
and system control language KML. TAT comes in a severely optimal
ring-bound manual (180-odd pages) which is the main reason for the
high price (high for us, that is - if I was writing it on the PC
or Mac II I could probably sell it for $100 and have you seen the
prices they get away with for 'serious' software? but anyway that manual
costs quite a bit to produce). Anyway, if you like this a lot, then
you can get TAT for twenty quid from us (if you like this you'll
be in pixel heaven with TAT).
Okay, okay, end of plug. You want to know how to get up and grooving.
HOW TO GET UP AND GROOVING:
Method 1: Go out to a really good gig or rave and boogie yer
brains out.(Anyone fancy the Shamen Progeny all-nighter at
the Brixton Academy 11th October? You may well see a Mad Shaggy
Method 2: If you got this off a BB or something, make a Colourspace
disk with the .PRG and files on it. Everything should be in the
root directory! It's important that nothing should be in a folder!
Put your Colourspace disk in drive A and get your ST
into low-rez. Make a nice cup of tea and put it somewhere you
can reach it while you're at the computer. Get out some of your
favourite sounds and put them on your audio system. Reduce the
ambient light level in your computer room and adjust your display
so the colours are bright and the contrast is good. Run the
program file on the Colourspace disk. Have a drink of tea while
After the disk has finished mungeing, you will see the Colourspace
title screen with a starfield behind it. Press the '[' key, which
will remove the background picture so you can see what you're
doing. Grasp the mouse firmly. Wiggle the mouse and notice the
way the little white dot moves. Now, hold down the left mouse button
and move the mouse around, whilst listening to the music. Remember
to stop and have a drink of tea occasionally, or it'll get cold.
Experiment with the mouse and patterns for a while.
Now try pressing any of the keys ZXCVBN. They control symmetry.
There is an 'extra symmetry' mode you can toggle on and off with
key W. Experiment with the symmetry.
There are different pattern shapes available on the keys ASDFGHJK.
There are also some different modes on L,E and R. Play with them.
Use the numbers on the numeric-pad 1-9 to choose different palettes.
There are 20 preset Colourspace modes programmed in when you load
up the system. To see them, press any of the function keys or any
of the number keys 0-9 on the main keyboard. The presets show
various Colourspace effects and the use of NeoChrome images as
foregrounds and backdrops.
You can design your own pattern shapes, starfield effects and
palette selections and assign them to one of the 20 Preset slots.
Banks of presets can be saved to disk. You can record and play
back mouse movements. I'm not going to describe how to do that
here - for one it's a lot of typing, and for two it's a further
incentive to register and get the manual! However, here's a brief
summary of some of the commands you'll want to play with. I
recommend you print this out or write it down on some paper or
something and keep it handy.
SYMMETRY: Keys ZXCVBN, W for extra sym on/off
PATTERN SHAPES: ASDFGHJK, LER extra modes
STARFIELD ON/OFF: Key ;
STREAKS ON/OFF: Key '
CHANGE STARFIELD MODE: Key Delete
CHANGE STARFIELD SYMMETRY: Key # (\ on US keys)
GRAVITY ON RADIAL STARFIELD: Key Insert
PIXEL SIZE TOGGLE: key Backspace
PALETTES: Keys 1-9 on Numeric Pad
SINGLE STROBE: key Q
CONTINUOUS INSTANT BRAINDEATH STROBE: key T for on/off toggle
TOGGLE BACKGROUND ON/OFF: key [
TOGGLE FOREGROUND ON/OFF: key ]
SELECT PRESETS 1-20: F1-F10, keys 0-9 on main keyboard.
Some keys are used to prefix disk save and load operations.
Once pressed, these keys disable the usual keyboard commands
and use subsequent keystrokes to get information about what to
save and load. If the system seems to go away and not do what it
should it could be that you pressed one of these keys. We recommend
that you avoid pressing them until you have the manual and
know what's going on. They are UNDO, numeric-pad ( and ), main
keyboard -,+ and underline.
One of the UNDO commands that you can use is UNDO-M-,
which sets the drive that 'Space reads its data from. Usually it
expects to be in drive A. 'Space is very primitive in its disk
handling; although you can tell it to read different drives, it can
only read the root directory in each! (Whatever was I thinking of
doing it that way???).
We recommend that you make a copy of your Colourspace disk straight
away, just in case during fiddling about with the system you accidentally
bosh the default presets or something. We also recommend that you
make copies of Colourspace and spread them about all over the place,
upload it and generally get it about. Please make sure this README
file goes out with it too. Thanks.
Right, you've got enough info there to get the lightsynth going.
Have a play with it, enjoy, and if you like it and want the full SP,
you know what to do! Whatever, have fun!
Now, for those who are interested, here is the llatest Llamasoft
LLAMASOFT NEWS: SHAREWARE PROJECT UPDATE
First off, I have to state categorically that based on our experience,
Shareware works. It is a viable alternative to the commercial way
of selling software.
The details, for those who are interested, are as follows. So far we
have had some 800 registrations, mostly from the ST release. The Amiga
version is in PD libraries now and we're just starting to get a few
Amiga registrations. The Ami version gets the cover disk treatment
So we've already made about 4K out of the ST version and we're still
getting about five registrations a day. If we assume that Amiga owners
are going to be at least as honest as ST owners, at the end of the day
we could stand to have made going on for ten grand out of Llamatron.
While this isn't as much as you might make from a bigtime commercial
blockbuster, it's still quite a reasonable wedge, definitely more
than you'd make selling a 'commercial' budget game.
I'm delighted, as are all at Llamasoft. I must admit that when I
originally proposed releasing Shareware it took quite a bit of
persuading to convince the others that it was a good idea, but now
we're convinced. Special thanxx to everyone who has registered
with us. It's been especially great that so many people have
taken the trouble not just to register but also to write us long
letters telling us what they thought about the game, Shareware,
and offering constructive criticism. We can't possibly reply
individually to all those people who asked us questions but we've
tried to help as many people as possible. All feedback about
the game is being considered and will be borne in mind while I'm
writing 'Revenge of the Mutant Camels' - no leftover text to obscure
the graphics, ability to turn hardcore strobe effects off etc.
It's really a nice way to make some money when everyone pays over
their fiver with a smile on their face and no-one feels disappointed.
Thanks, too, to those people who have sent in disks, tapes of music
and other stuff for me. It's great to get feedback from the
people who actually play the game. Beats hell out of dealing with
some software house and being just another product. And although only
one per cent of the people who actually got Llamatron have registered,
it's nice to know that for once a game of mine has got out there and
that a lot of people are playing it. If only it were ten per cent -
I'd never write any commercial games again!
Hopefully, we've helped to give a bit more credibility to the idea
of Shareware. What we need now is for more programmers to join
in and make more quality stuff for the Shareware circuit. The
more stuff there is in Shareware, and the better the quality, the more
chance there is that little Darren might think twice before
forking over the dosh for the latest load of unimaginitive twaddle
which some (but by no means all) of the large software empires foist
on the public.
Of course getting cover-disk distribution has been a big help and
some people have suggested that we had an unfair advantage over
shareware distributed via the PD libraries. My response to those
people is: we didn't ask ST Format to distribute the game. All we
did was send out the shareware to the PD libraries. They in turn
sent it to ST Format as a sample of their latest new stuff, and
Format asked if they could put it on the disk. The same thing
could have happened to any good piece of Shareware. There's always
loads of PD on these cover disks; if they like mine they're welcome
to take it! It's just part of the Shareware idea: good Shareware
distributes itself. If people like it they want to spread it for
Currently underway here in Woolly Welsh Wales are two projects.
The first is an ST version of 'Revenge of the Mutant Camels';
expect this before the end of the year. It features a laser-
spitting dromedary, an ancipital, loads of weird waves, powerups,
Warps, some more mad samples, the option of simultaneous two-player
mode and a computer-assisted mode like the Droid in Llamatron.
It's going to be Shareware. There will be an Amiga version but
it'll be a bit later than the ST release, as I'm going to replace
the scroll with a hardware-scroll and add some raster horizons to
the Amiga version.
The other project, which I have great difficulty in tearing myself
away from, is a next-generation lightsynth on a Transputer-based
platform. Details when appropriate, suffice to say I am having
a distinctly wonderful time; you have to love any system where you
have sufficient speed to run dense 256-colour 3D starfield effects
in weird symmetry modes like order-17 rotational with X and Y
mirroring, and the Mandelbrot sets you can generate on this thing
make my brain hurt, especially when you start using some of the
new lightsynth's effects on them!
Of course Panther is now dead, and I'm waiting to get my mitts
on Jaguar. Third time lucky this time? I'm determined to do some
console work one way or another, and if Jaguar is everything Atari
are hinting then, in terms of hardware, it's going to nuke the
Megadrive and Famicom into a glowing radioactive pile of melted
silicon. Take the brain of a workstation, bolt it onto some
kickin' graphix hardware and you've got one awesome games engine.
Let's hope Atari can also deliver the goods in the software department.
Rule No.1 of consoles is: SOFTWARE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HARDWARE.
Look at how the Lynx - a technically brilliant system with an utterly
optimum graphics chip - is struggling in the face of Sega's Game Gear
onslaught. Sega released as many games in the first month as Lynx has
had over its entire lifespan. We need a lot of new Lynx software
right now. The Lynx is technically streets ahead of the Game Gear,
which is basically just a handheld 8-bit Sega console, but it could
get buried in a tidal wave of cute Japanese software. This is
infinitely galling to me, 'coz I love the Lynx dearly.
What Atari must do is have at least ten, twenty would be better,
absolutely dynamite games ready at launch time. These games should
do all the things Famicom and Megadrive can't do. Famicom's hardware
rotate/scaling chip only seems to be usable on a single playfield - not
individual sprites; its CPU is very slow and as soon as too many
objects get onscreen the system begins to slow down. Megadrive has a
faster CPU, but no scaling or rotation. So we need games which push
Jaguar's CPU and hardware to the limits. Rather than get companies to
do Amiga ports to Jaguar they should get them to design new versions
FOR the Jaguar. By all means get hold of prestigious titles from
the likes of Psygnosis but let's have the ultimate version of Lemmings
and a version of Beast which makes the Amiga version look like
a ZX81 program by comparison.
They also have an excellent chance to score against the Japanese
in their strongest subject - software. It is true that the Japanese
write excellent, polished, playable software - but have you noticed
that it's all the same game? You scroll through a level, bosh the
meanies, collect the goodies and powerups, then you get to the Boss,
kill him, then it's level 2, scroll along..... (repeat about 8 times,
get to a Super-Boss, beat him, you've won!). This is all well and
good, but although it's easy and quite fun to play, ultimately such
games are boring. You don't really get good at games like these; you
just learn patterns. You could train an industrial robot to play
Super Mario Brothers or R-Type right to the end.
Atari already have the rights to a lot of excellent game designs.
Some of them are old, but in all cases the underlying designs are
much more advanced and interesting to play than the standard Japanese
formula. A competent game designer could use today's graphics,
sound and hardware capabilities, extend the design if necessary adding
complexity and depth, and produce games so utterly blinding that
standard Japanese formulaic stuff would look very flat by comparison.
Jaguar would then be perceived to be orders of magnitude better than
the competition for hardware AND awesomeness of software.
Here are a few of the titles Atari have already published on console
or for which the rights must be available for a song:
STAR RAIDERS. Utterly brilliant Atari 400/800 3D space game. If
Atari have any doubts that an improved Star Raiders would be popular,
let them look to the PC world, where a game called Wing Commander
by Origin Systems is currently taking over the US. The game is
basically improved Star Raiders with breathtaking graphics - enemy
ships being scaled and rotated in the dogfights, mega explosions,
going on missions in a large and hostile Galaxy - it's all there.
The game is brilliant - I've played it - but to play it you need
a '386 PC with VGA graphics and a hard drive. Even on such a PC
the game is nowhere near 50Hz smoothness. A Star Raiders-upgrade
like this on Jaguar would be awesome. The graphics hardware and
that awesome CPU could render this game in 50Hz realtime no sweat.
Add amazing sound and plenty of ROM space for lots of graphics and
missions, and you'd have a game which would dwarf the likes of
Super Mario with its sheer epic scope and which, as an added benefit,
have every PC owner in the US slavering to buy a Jaguar to play
the ultimate Wing Commander-style game on - not to mention all those
Atari 8-bit Star Commanders already out there. Should be bundled with
the system when you buy it - or even built in!
RESCUE ON FRACTALUS: Originally developed for the 7800 console,
finally emerged as a 400/800 game. Lucasfilm managed to create a
world of solid 3D fractal mountains through which you could fly in
realtime. Imagine what they could do with a CPU a hundred times as
powerful and awesome graphics assist. The basic game formula begs to
have more complexity added, with larger mappable terrains and
different missions. I can imagine Jaguar owners bragging to Nintendo
nerds: "So you thought that ground rotation in Pilot Wings was good?
Check THIS out, dude...."
DEFENDER/ROBOTRON: Both these Williams titles could be developed
into outstanding shoot-'em-up games. Given the best graphics you
can buy, more variety and complexity and special attention to
playability they'll make conventional Japanese scrollie-blasters
look very uninspiring.
TEMPEST: Weird but wonderful early Atari arcade game. I can think
of how you might use the basic design of this game to create an
utterly brilliant and unusual 3D shoot-em-up in a Cyberspace-style
setting. Tempest is a strange and wildly frantic 3-D shoot-em-up
designed by Dave Theurer, the game designer responsible for another
early Atari classic, Missile Command. Tempest is played on a neon
web suspended in space; running along the top edge, you fire down
into the web at the meanies which swarm up to get you. Originally
a vector game, this basic design could be updated using the latest
raster technology to create a 3-D shoot-em-up far more weird,
ferocious and addictive than Space Harrier or Afterburner ever were.
Atari also need at least one awesome flight simulator, one awesome
driving game (possibly Race Driving, the Hard Driving sequel),
STUN Runner (a futuristic driving game which would, if implemented
well, be a lot better than Famicom's futuristic driving game
F-Zero) and Lemmings. Sure, let them hedge their bets with a
few arcade conversions, but let them pick the best ones and the
most complex - the sort of stuff which would be hard for a Sega
or Nintendo to do well.
So Atari have the ideal opportunity to reclaim their homeland
from the invading Japanese. Nintendo and Sega have made their
moves; Atari know that their hardware is way better than both
of the Japanese offerings. Ultimately, however, it is the
quality of the software available which will decide the matter.
In this respect Atari shouldn't set out just to emulate the Japanese.
They should go all-out and bury them.
Well, that's about all for the moment. Enjoy the lightsynth,
watch out for Revenge when it becomes available and keep on taking
the tablets. I'll leave you to reflect on a few gentle lines I
wrote to my beloved only the other night:
 INT tbb IS [star FROM 32 FOR 64]:
(in.x.range(x2)) AND (in.y.range(y2))
-- Y a K 14/8/1991