Disk 116 (May 1989) : AmyToday10.3

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                                 Amy Today     
                 A text-file magazine for all Amiga lovers

                  Volume #10, Issue #3,  April 30th, 1989
            DEDICATED IN THE MEMORY OF SCOTT 'HJALMER' PETERSON
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Editor :  John Rydell
Writers:  Bob Beogelein

Address all correspondence to:           "Amy Today"
                                         C/O John Rydell
GEnie address:  J.Rydell1                640 Willowglen Rd.
                 (#54790)                Santa Barbara, CA
                                         93105
Plink address:  J*Rydell               
                                         (805)687-5643 <Voice Line>

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Contents:

1.  A Message From the Editor              John Rydell
2.  Distributing "Amy Today"               John Rydell
3.  Amiga Happenings                       John Rydell
4.  Dedication to Hjalmer Peterson         John Rydell
5.  WordPerfect Ditches the Amiga          John Rydell
6.  A New Distribution?                    Bill Beogelein
7.  Advertiser Information                 John Rydell
8.  Amy Today Advertising                  John Rydell

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A Message From The Editor:

This issue of Amy Today has been dedicated to Scott 'Hjalmer' Peterson--
author of the shareware game "GravAttack".  Scott recently passed away.

Also, within the last two weeks some big news about the Amiga has been
released.  First, Max Toy quit his position.  Next, WordPerfect stopped
developing new products for the Amiga!  Both of these incidents will likely
hurt the Amiga.

More about the dedication, and these incidents is printed within.

Also, normally I include an index every 3 issues.  I have decided to wait
until my GALA one year anniversary issue to publish a full index.

Remember to mail in your registration and enjoy the issue,

           John Rydell
            (Editor)

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Distributing "Amy Today":

Amy Today is file-based magazine which has been copyrighted by John Rydell. 
I am allowing everyone to freely distribute it as long as they give credit
to Amy Today for anything taken from the magazine.  I also request that the
magazine, itself, remains "AS IS" when being distributed.  Please do not
modify it in any way if you are going to distribute it.  

About Distributing:  Please upload Amy Today EVERYWHERE!  This magazine
simply will not flourish if it is not uploaded whenever possible.  Every
issue is kept near 15,000 bytes ARCed so that upload/download time should
never be a problem.  So, please, if you have the chance spread the magazine
around the country!  Give a copy to your friend!  Keep Amy Today alive and
going strong!

A great way to spread Amy Today to non-modem users is to put the textfiles
on your monthly user group disks.  Please do this.  Full permission is
granted!

Also, I am now encouraging everyone who reads Amy Today to send in a
registration.  Please send your NAME, TYPE OF AMIGA, and WHERE YOU GET YOUR
ISSUES OF AMY TODAY.  No money!  No hassle!  Just a postcard or letter! 
Registered readers also get some benefits.
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Amiga Happenings:
(John Rydell)

Max Toy Quits!-
President of Commodore, Max Toy, resigned recently.  He is replaced by
Harold Copperman.  Max Toy was supposedly frustrated by the way sales were
going in North America.  I am sorry to see him go.  In the interview that
Amy Today published with him, he seemed to be doing a great job.

WordPerfect Ditches the Amiga-
WordPerfect Corp has decided to stop Amiga production.  Read all about it
later in the issue.

PD Contest-
The Southern New Hampshire Amiga Users Group (SNHAUG) is sponsoring a 'Best
of PD' contest.  For more information or to submit your PD write:

     SNHAUG Best PD
     C/O Dave Motoylak
     160 Mystic Street
     Manchester, NH  03103

Amiga Happenings is a column dedicated to giving you information on what is
happening in the Amiga community.  Some of the information could possibly be
wrong due to the fact that I am trying to get early information.  I do not
in any way guarantee that the information will be accurate although I will
try my hardest to protect the innocent.

>>If you have some new information you would like to share please submit it
to Amy Today.

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Dedication to Scott 'Hjalmer' Peterson:
(John Rydell)

Those of you who have been reading Amy Today for a long time, probably
remember the column entitled, "In The Future."  Well, I often promised an
interview with a shareware programmer--an interview which never came...

Scott 'Hjalmer' Peterson was the author of GravAttack which was, and still
is, one of the best public domain/shareware games I have ever played on my
Amiga.  Scott was attending UC Santa Cruz and I wrote to him often. 
Eventually, we decided that it would be nice to publish an interview with
him for the magazine.  Unfortunately, I didn't hear from him for a couple of
months.  Finally, a couple of weeks ago I received a note from his father
explaining what had happened.  He had passed away.  Scott had started to
answer some of my questions for the interview, but had not finished.

Scott was currently working on a commercial version of "GravAttack" for
MicroIllusions.  The game's new title is "Dr. Plummet's House of Flux." 
Scott was almost done with the game when he passed away.  David Boyles, of
MicroIllusions, said that they would complete the game and include a special
page of dedication to Scott.  It should be available soon.

I have dedicated this issue of Amy Today to Scott.  The following is the
note that his father sent me and the beginning of my interview with Scott:
------------------
Dear Mr. Rydell,

As you might have learned by now, my son, Scott Hjalmer Peterson, the
developer of GravAttack and Dr. Plummet's House of Flux, died in a tragic
mishap on March 19, 1989.  In going through his things, I discovered the
enclosed letter to you that Scott had obviously not yet finished.  I felt
you probably would like to receive it even though it is incomplete.  I hope
you still plan to publish this interview.  I can probably answer a few
questions that Scott had not gotten to yet.

Scott's hobbies included Scuba diving, racquetball, tennis, and drawing--
especially drawing.  He had become quite an accomplished artist, at least in
my rather prejudiced view.

Scott had planned to be an independent software developer and consultant,
especially in the areas of games and video animation.  He used his artistic
abilities to obvious advantage.  He had so many ideas for games that he
couldn't do them all and had planned to hire programmers to help him with
more routine aspects of game development.

Scott's first computer was the Commodore 64, which he started programming
while a sophomore in high school.  He quickly tired of BASIC and taught
himself assembly language, as he wanted speed and efficiency in code.  He
sold one of his games on the 64 (called Lava Pit) to RUN magazine and
developed several more beside.  He had one very sophisticated game almost
finished on the 64 when I gave him the AMIGA in the fall of 1985.  He became
so excited about the AMIGA that he never did finish it.  I plan to take a
look at it again and might send it in to one of the 64 magazines.

I really can't comment on Scott's thoughts about the AMIGA except that he
felt it had more to offer for the money than the IBM or Apple computers as
far as his interests were concerned.

Scott got his idea for GravAttack from several sources.  The earliest was
when he was in eighth grade.  I had a contract to do some software
development for government contract and was using the Air Force Academy
computer in Colorado Springs, CO, where we were living at the time.  One
evening I took Scott with me to the computer lab as there was a graphics
computer there that someone had programmed "Lunar Lander" on and I knew he
would enjoy that.  He was hooked!  Several years later he told us that after
seeing that game, he knew he was going to be a computer game developer. 
Even at that point he had several ideas on how to improve that game.  Other
aspects of GravAttack came from several different arcade games.  I don't
know which ones.

With regard to the secret bonuses, I doubt that MicroIllusions will publish
them.  The new version does have lots of bonuses, however.

Scott started using his middle name, Hjalmer, only recently.  Apparently,
there is another Scott Peterson developing software for the AMIGA and Scott
didn't want people to become confused.  He even started to sign his drawings
with Hjalmer.  The name Hjalmer, incidentally, was that of his grandfather.

If there is anything else you would like to know about Scott, please don't
hesitate to ask.

Sincerely, 

Vern L. Peterson
------------------
And here is the letter from Scott that contained the answers to my
questions:

Dear John,

Here are the answers to your questions.  Since it will be a while before you
publish this stuff, you can feel free to call or write me concerning any new
questions that might pop into your mind.  Well, here goes:

Amy Today(AT)--> How did you decide upon releasing the first version of the
game as shareware and was that successful?  Do you still recommend
shareware?

Scott Hjalmer Peterson(HP)--> There was this game that my friend had on his
Mac.  It was called "Wave 15."  We used to play that thing into the ground. 
It was a shareware game.  I had never heard of shareware before.  I thought
it was the neatest idea ever... I mean it was so perfect:  For the author,
it was a chance to sell the world a game without having to go through a
publisher or incurring the financial burdens of advertising and marketing. 
For the end users, it was a chance to try some software thoroughly before
deciding to pay for it (no possibility of buying a dog).  Also, since there
is no middle person, all of the profits go directly to the author--not to
greedy publishing company executives.  As far as I could see it was Utopia.

I knew though, that although people generally were fair and had good
intentions, most were also born procrastinators.  I knew I needed a catch
(to entice people to send money).

<<Ed's Note:  This catch was that he gave out listings of 'secret bonuses'
to anyone who registered for the game.>>

AT--> How did it come about that you started working with MicroIllusions?

HP--> I gave them a call, and a copy of GravAttack.  They liked it and we
worked out a deal.

AT--> What improvements over the old GravAttack should we look for in "Dr.
Plummet's House of Flux?"

HP--> Lots of neat stuff.  I added 11 levels (ranging from downright easy,
to moderately difficult).  These levels are of a higher grade than those of
the original GravAttack I believe.  In the original version, I was very
conscious not to waste any excess space on graphics or sounds because I knew
no one would download a 400K file (as it is, 140K is pretty huge).  In Flux,
I had a whole disk to work with.  This allowed me to make more intricate
graphics and sounds on the new levels, and the old.  Another thing I
improved was the gameplay.  I was getting tired of using the old Asteroids
type ship dynamics all the time.  I made a few levels that have different
laws of physics.   Also, I made a whole class of "GLIDE" levels in which
your ship has wings, thus momentum can be conserved during turns... it can
be a blast when you get going pretty quickly.  Hmm.. what else... Oh, I
cleaned up (at MI's insistence) the graphics of the ship, bunkers, and keys
(which are now astronauts which must be rescued).  It looks much more
professional now.  Also, the game now has music and a spiffy animation to
see if you complete all of the levels.

AT--> Are you happy with the game?

HP--> To a point.  It seems that there is always something that I could add
to make it more fun.  It can be very frustrating.  Also, I am not too happy
with some of the changes that MI forced me to implement... but they know
marketing.

Still, all in all I think it is a pretty fun game (I still play it alot just
for the fun of it..not just for testing and stuff).  I think that it is
entertaining to just fly about the levels and narrowly avoid collisions.  It
seems that the better I get at controlling the ship, the more fun it is. 

##########################################################################
#           KINDER, GENTLER PRICES... FROM ELECTRONIC ECSTASY!           #
#------------------------------------------------------------------------#
# A-Max (Macintosh Emulator for the Amiga!)....................$ 149.00  #
# Commodore A-501 512k Ram Upgrade.............................$ 169.00  #
# The Silent Drive (by Centaur) External.......................$ 149.00  #
# The Silent Drive (by Centaur) Internal.......................$ 125.00  #
# 80mb Quantum Hard Drive(19ms)with MAST Tiny Tiger Controller.$1099.00  #
# Mini-Megs Ram Expansion (by MAST) 500/1000 with 1mb Ram......$ 455.00  #
# Mini-Megs Ram Expansion (by MAST) 500/1000 with 2mb Ram......$ 745.00  #
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##########################################################################

WordPerfect Ditches the Amiga:
(Reprinted from Comp.Sys.Amiga)

WordPerfect recently decided to stop developing new Amiga products.  We will
probably never see version 5.0 or 6.0 of WordPerfect for the Amiga.  If,
after reading this announcement, you are mad please act on your anger! 
Write to WordPerfect or Amy Today.  If you send letters to Amy Today, I will
have them forwarded in a group to WordPerfect.  

WordPerfect Corp
ATTN Pete Peterson or Amiga Rep.
1555 N. Tech Way
Orem, Utah  84057

Here is the announcement which was made by Pete Peterson of WP:

I spent some time on the phone today with an Amiga user who wanted to tell
me how upset he was to learn that we have cancelled PlanPerfect for the
Amiga and put on hold any plans for a major revision to WordPerfect.  The
person was especially upset to learn that the decision was based largely on
monetary considerations.

All of this is true.  This week we took five programmers from the Amiga
group and moved them to OS/2 or Unix.  That left two programmers to maintain
(fix the bugs) in the current versions of WordPerfect and Library.  We will
continue to sell these versions, and we will from time to time issue minor
releases to fix bugs.

For those of you who are unhappy or upset about the decision, I offer the
following explanation.  I know it may not help much to understand the
reasons, but I will offer them to you so you at least know what happened. 
As has been discussed on this forum, we have a few problems in the Amiga
market.  I would suggest our problems are as follows:  1--We do not show
fonts on screen; 2--We do not support any graphics on screen or in a
document; 3--Our price is too high for the market; and 4--Some people feel
our software has too many bugs.  4 is, of course, something we can do
something about (and there is an interim release coming in a couple of
weeks).  1, 2 and 3 are tougher.

We don't have an easy way of getting fonts and graphics on screen.  5.0 for
the PC handles fonts and graphics well, but not on screen.  We probably
won't have a WYSIWYG DOS version that can be ported for another year, and a
port of a DOS version would take 18 months after that.

The Amiga programmers had been planning on porting the next Mac version, but
the big problem with using the Mac code (which is 68000 assembly) is that we
rely completely on the Macintosh facilities for printing.  That means the
Amiga group would have to write all the printing code themselves, in
addition to the code translation.  Such a product could not be ready until
mid-1990 at the earliest--and probably longer.  We thought of using our
printing code from the C (Unix) version, but the code is just too big to be
used effectively on the Amiga.

The third alternative is to write a word processor from scratch.  Such a
project would take 6 or 7 programmers about 18 months (an optimistic guess).
So whatever we do, we arrive very late to the market--probably the end of
1990 at the earliest.  And once we arrive, we probably have to enter with a
price closer to $195.  At that price (distributor price of $80-$100) given
the salaries we pay our programmers and the support we offer, we don't feel
we can make money.

Most of our Amiga programmers are very discouraged with the decision.  They
love the machine and they like working together.  They have worked hard
without much commercial success.  But Bruce, Alan and I (the Board of
Directors) cannot fund the new products without some hope that the products
will be successful.  Given the timing, the price point, and the costs of
development, it just doesn't make sense.

We had hoped the German market would generate enough money to pay for the
projects, but unfortunately we are not selling in Germany.  While sales of
the Amiga are strong, most of the sales are for 500s, and we don't run well
at all on the 500.

We're sorry.  We know a lot of customers will be unhappy with these
decisions.  We entered the market because a few of our programmers loved the
machine.  It was a decision of the heart, not the head.  We tried to pull
back last summer when our WordPerfect sales fell off badly, but the
programmers pleaded for more time.  We reconsidered the decision in January,
and again (with our hearts) decided to give it a little more time.  Since
then sales have fallen off even more, and now we don't see any way to
justify the new products.  WordPerfect is a great word processor and the
Amiga is a great machine.  Our 4.1, 4.2 or 5.0 versions, however, are not
the right versions for the Amiga.  We need 6.0, and 6.0 isn't ready yet. 
Once it's ready, we may change our decision, but in the meantime, we can
make better use of the programmers on other machines. 

I know it doesn't help much to say we aren't leaving the market completely.
We will continue to offer 4.1 and we will continue to fix bugs and we will
continue to offer toll free support for current and future users.  The
decision to move most of the programmers to other machines is for now and
could change when we have something to port.

Those in our Amiga division tell us the retail needs to be $195-$250 and the
street price at $125 or less for us to be competitive with what's coming for
the Amiga. 

We spent about $500,000 to develop and publish the first version.  We
recovered that money in the first few months, however, we've lost quite a
bit of money over the year (in the neighborhood of $250,000 for 88), and
sales are much lower than last year for the first part of this year.  It's
not a question of "least profitable."  We've been losing money for quite a
few months and do not see how to reverse the red ink unless we cut back the
size of the division.

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A New Distribution?
(A letter from Bill Beogelein)

<<Ed's Note:  The following is a letter I received from a reader proposing
that I set up some new options for the distribution of Amy Today.>>

I'm the head sysop of The Amiga Shareware HQ in Detroit, MI at 313-473-2020. 
Our BBS is available via PCPursuit (MIDET) making us a local call for some
8500 exchanges across the country.

We are currently trying to gather all of the back (and future) issues of Amy
Today and make them available for download.

We're running into two problems.

1)  None of the issues list a non-pay service where the latest issue (or the
complete collection) can be found.  We've managed to gather a random
sampling of Amy Today from a variety of sources.  In addition to the pay
services that you use to upload and distribute Amy Today, please consider
free BBS's also.  Not everyone can afford (nor has a desire) to use the pay
services.

Also, we have received several requests by callers who wished to donate text
and had no way to contact you via (non-pay) modem.

It would be great if you could pick a handful of regions for "official"
distribution.  New England, Great Lakes, SouthEast, West Coast, etc.  Pick a
well-established, long-term, non-pay BBS in each region where callers can be
guaranteed to find the latest issues (and back issues) as soon as they are
released.  Post their phone numbers in each issue.  Feel free to use Amiga
Shareware HQ as one such BBS, if you see fit.

2)  Any way to standardize the file naming convention used with Amy Today? 
I realize once the file leaves your hands it can easily get renamed to a
wide variety of names.

TodayXXY.arc
XX would always be a 2 digit volume number 01-99
Y  would always be a 1 digit issue  number 1-4

This would comply with the 8 char + 3 char extension restriction that is
often (unfortunately) enforced on filenames on many BBS's.  And this would
handle things nicely for the next 99 volumes (8+ years!).

The header lines in each issue could read "If you re-distribute this file
please make sure it is named 'Today092.arc' only" (or some such convention).
This would make keeping track of the issues much easier.

Keep up the good work.

Bill Beogelein
------------------
I must agree that this is a good idea.  I would like to start an official
network of BBS's that carry each issue of Amy Today.  If you have a large
Amiga BBS which is well-established and operates 24 hours a day, and would
like to be an official distributor, please contact me.  Also, I would like
to have a volunteer who calls Plink and also has access to PCPursuit who
would be willing to help start the distribution.  

I hope this new form of potential distribution works out!  

Also, I will change the file-naming convention when, and if, this official
distribution starts.

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Advertising Information:

Index Numbers:

100 - Electronic Ecstasy
101 - NoodTech Productions
102 - Hermes' IconLab
103 - Amy Today's Fred Fish Disk Sale
104 - Amy Today's Advertising Rates 
105 - Premier Software
106 - The KSW Company

If you would like information on any of these advertisers please send a
postcard or letter with the #'s you would like to know more about to:

Amy Today Advertiser Information
640 Willowglen Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93105

I hope you take advantage of this new service which is being provided to Amy
Today readers and advertisers.

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Amy Today Advertising:

How would you like your own custom-made advertisement to be spread
throughout the land travelling from computer to computer--printed from
printer to printer!?  Amy Today brings advertising to you at low, low
prices.  Just think of the number of readers you will reach with your ad!
 
For more information on our low-cost ads call or write:

Amy Today Advertising
640 Willowglen Rd.
Santa Barbara, CA  93105
(805)687-5643

##########################################################################
#  FRED FISH RELEASES HIS NEW DISKS 195-200.  AVAILABLE FROM AMY TODAY!  #
#                                                                        #
#   Amy Today is offering Registered Readers Fred Fish's newest disks    #
#   for only $2.00 a piece when ordering five or more.  OR $2.50 each    #
#   when ordering less than five.  Currently disks #170-200 are avail-   #
#   able.  Send check made out to "Amy Today" to:  AMY TODAY, ATTN       #
#   FRED FISH SALES, 640 willowglen Rd.  Santa Barbara, CA  93105....    #
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"Amy Today" is copyright 1988/89 by John Rydell.  Portions of the magazine
may be reprinted but the content of this magazine may NOT be changed without
the expressed consent of John Rydell.  Yet everyone is encouraged to
distribute it AS IS.  Please give credit to "Amy Today" as well as to the
individual author when reprinting material.  "Amy Today" as well as any of
its authors are not responsible for any damages that occur because of errors
or omissions.  Articles reprinted from other newsletters, as noted, are not
property of Amy Today but are under the control of their original authors.
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