As you are reading I/0 you presumably already have an
Atari Home Computer and know that the software you can buy is the finest
available. In fact, there is so much good software around from Atari and
the independent American software houses, that sooner or later you may
find yourself short of money and will have to forego some of those games
you wanted. Your software library will cease to grow and if you can't
afford any new games your interest might start to wane. This is a
problem which faces all of us, but there is an answer which will get you
dozens of programs absolutely free. Write them yourself!
The Atari computers are amazing machines when you get
to know them a little. You may find problems in writing software as good
as that put out by Atari but, believe me, the advanced capabilities of
the Atari are so easily accessible that you can certainly write programs
as good as those commercially available for other machines. I expect many of you are now thinking that
programming is easier said than done, having
struggled through the BASIC manuals, but
the secret to learning more is to see actual programs written by other
users and to take routines from them to build your own programs. If you
can find someone to share your learning - perhaps through one of the
User Groups in I/0 - then some of those insurmountable problems will
soon be solved, but the most important thing is to READ. Read as much as
you can, not only articles but program listings. Try to work your way
through published listings and figure out what each section is doing.
When you find a section that you can understand and which may work as a
subroutine on its own, write it down and use it in your own
programs. There is no need to start from scratch - others have already
worked out many of the more difficult routines for you. Use them!
Editor and founder of Page 6
immediate problem is to find listings and articles for they seem few and
far between for the Atari, but there are in fact users all over the world
writing some very good programs and one man in America - Stan Ockers -
churns out dozens of programs with very advanced subroutines written
specifically for users just like you to experiment with and learn from.
About eight months ago I started producing a magazine
called PAGE 6 which specifically sets out to bring to users in this
country some of the best programs from around the world and Stan Ockers
has been featured several times. The main objective is to encourage
Atari owners in this country to begin writing their own programs, but
for those of you who are not as yet ready there are plenty of reviews
and hints and tips for beginners. The magazine started in conjunction
with the Birmingham User Group, but is now
produced independently although several BUG members
contribute material. It has grown quite quickly and many people see it
as the UK equivalent to ANALOG magazine.
One of the most enjoyable things which came from
producing the magazine is the number of friends I have made in America
and Australia. People in User Groups who are as dedicated to their Atari
as you or me but who know just a little more as they have had their
machines much longer. Much of what they have discovered will find its
way into the pages of PAGE 6. Hopefully one day your programs and
articles will be featured and then we can repay the kindness and
generosity of overseas users. Wouldn't it be nice to know that something
you have written has been appreciated by other users all over the world?
Wouldn't you like to see what others are writing?
The Atari Home Computing scene is at last beginning
to develop rapidly with User Groups springing up and Atari doing a fine
job with the Home Computer Club and I/0. Now you have PAGE 6 magazine to
add to your enjoyment. You became a part of the worldwide Atari
community when you bought your machine - why not get more involved!
PAGE 6 is published bi-monthly and is available for an
annual subscription of £6.00.