by Clayton Walnum
It has always been ANALOG Computing's policy to bring its readers the highest quality, type-in software found in any magazine. Frequently, however, commercial-quality programs are so huge that the printing of the listings in the magazine is prohibitive. Rather than resort to a "disk only" format for those programs, we sadly pass them by.
Once in a while, though, a program comes in that simply can't be ignoredeven if it is on the large size-and we are faced with a decision: Do we offer the program over the course of two or three months, breaking it up into smaller pieces? Or do we dedicate a larger-thannormal portion of the magazine to the program, hoping that the majority of our readers will want to get the whole thing in one large article?
The last time this came up was when the program Troll War II came across my desk. In that instance, we chose to break the program up into two smaller parts, published in two succeeding months. Well, the letters came in, and the bulk of them requested that, the next time we had a program of this size to publish, we print it all in one month rather than make people wait for the conclusion. "We're not afraid of all that typing!" they insisted.
Also in those letters was another frequently asked question: "Why doesn't ANALOG Computing still run full-length assembly-language listings?" And to be honest, we really didn't have a good answer to that question. It seems that over the years we slowly got into the habit of not publishing those listings in order to find space for other material-and before we realized it, the full-length assembly listing had become a thing of the past.
In recent months we've tried to remedy that. We've made a greater effort to get our authors to supply nicely formatted assembly code for use in the magazineand when they supply it, we print it. Looking back over the years, it strikes me as odd that we stopped publishing those listings regularly, especially considering that we've never had anyone complain about their inclusion in the magazine. Au contraire! It was this extra attention given to the advanced programmer that set ANALOG Computing apart from its competition.
Of course, you've undoubtedly realized by now that there's a reason for this little chat we're having. To put it in a nutshell, it's happened again. A program has fallen into our hands that we absolutely cannot ignore.
By now, all ANALOG readers are familiar with the names Barry Kolbe and Bryan Schappel. In the past these two gentlemen have supplied some of the finest machine-language programs ever to appear in the pages of this magazine. Those programs include BBK Artist, The Robox Incident, TEDIT, The ANALOG Database and The Clash of Kings, to mention only a few. This issue were proud to present, complete with its assemblylanguage listings, BCALC, a full-featured spreadsheet for your 8-bit Atari computer-written, of course, by those prolific machine-language wizards, Kolbe and Schappel. There's no need now for you to run out and spend $50 for that spreadsheet program you've been needing. BCALC will fit the bill quite nicely, thank you.
And once you've finsished using BCALC to set up your home's or business' finances, don't forget to check out Colin Faller's zany Train Crazy, a truly arcadequality game. And there's more! Joe McManus will get your nerves jangling with his fast-moving simulation, Crisis Center, where you get a chance to see how it feels to have hundreds of lives depending on your quick thinking and careful decision making. Carey Furlong brings us Solar System Scaler, an Atari BASIC program that'll bring the universe right into your living room, scaled down to a size that even the feeble (galactically speaking) human mind can understand.
Also in this issue, we start two new columns for those of you who want to learn more about your computers and how to program them. First on the agenda is Robin Sherer's Master Memory Map, a complete tour of your Atari's innards brought to you over the course of the next few months, including complete documentation of even the most esoteric memory locations in your machines. And for those of you who've always wanted to write your own arcade games, but didn't know where to start, we've got Game Design Workshop, a column by Craig Patchett that'll take you, month by month, through the entire process of designing and writing a video game.
We think this is an exciting issue, and we're sure you will too. As usual, we'd like to hear from you. Let us know how we're doing, and what we can do to better serve you. This is your magazine, and it's your input that'll keep it moving in the direction it should go.
And as always, thank you.