Atari ST(e) Demo Archive

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Posted by spkr/smfx on 20 november 2021

Atari ST(e) Demo Archive

As of 2021-11-21 an Atari Falcon archive is also provided

Like you guys, we love demos! And nowadays, its quite common to no longer rely on actual floppy disks, but use a storage medium instead. Especially in the past few years, awesome storage solutions have become available to us.

The end-all for myself is the cosmosex, which allows to use a network share to be used/appear as an Atari ACSI/SCSI harddrive.

The Goal

And as such, its would be totally awesome to have the complete Atari ST(e) democollection available to browse and use on the actual hardware. And on top of that, have the easiest way to directly run and view the demo on the hardware; with as least hassle as possible.

The Solution

In order to do this, I wanted to make an archive that consists of all releases for the Atari. And when asking Gargaj about pouet, he pointed me to the pouet API. When I downloaded the entire dataset, I realized I could use this dataset to both resolve the contents of each entry (what type of prod it is) as well as other info, like when and at what party it was released, by whom it was made etc...

This enabled me to generate different views on the data, so that when I use the Atari, I can browse the productions by alphabet on releasename, or search for example by group. So... Well, when this seemed possible, I cobbled something together to parse the dataset, and subsequently download all the prods, and then using the metadata generate the view.

The Result

And I thought it'd be nice to share this with you, considering you, a fellow Atari demoscene lover like me, may have a similar need to have an as complete as possible collection on your old Atari :).

I used 3 different views on the Atari ST(e) demo releases collection, using 2 basic viewpoints:

  • organized around production name
  • organized around group name

The view organized around production name comes in two flavours;

  • 'prod_az_flat':a long list, categorized per letter of the alphabet (0-9,a-z) (f.e. flat/m/motus.dem)
  • 'prod_az_by_year': grouped over year of released, and then categorized per letter of the alphabet (0-9,a-z) (f.e. 2019/m/motus.dem)

The view organized around group name is as:

  • 'group_az' groups categorized per letter of the alphabet (0-9,a-z), containing their prods (f.e. s/smfx/smagfx1.mag and d/dhs/smagfx1.mag)

The latter view includes redundancy, since a production may be attributed to multiple groups, and as such the production appears in each contributing group dir.

As far as the contents are concerned:

  • All .ZIP files that could be automatically extracted, are extracted
  • All .ST files that could be converted to .MSA are converted and treated as such
  • All .MSA files that could be automatically unpacked, are unpacked
  • All .ARJ files that could be automatically unpacked, are unpacked, and subsequently its contents handled as above.
  • All .LZH files that could be autonatically unpacked, are done so.

This way I intended to give as much content as possible that could be directly used when using the real hardware. Added bonus when you use the cosmosex is, that the .MSA files are still available for direcly mounting/emulating the A-drive.

Grab the archives (release/group/year views) here:

Disclaimer: This is mainly an automated grab, extract and convert approach. YMMV.

As of 2021-11-21 an Atari Falcon archive is also provided

The Future

I will publish my scripts later, so you can run those instead of having to download the archive yourself. There may still be a remote chance that others may want to contribute to this project...

Next steps: Generate archives for other platforms, f.e. Falcon.

The Consideration

And last but not least, if you like demos that you discover this way, please do know that feedback towards the demomakers goes a long way, whether its a recent demo or a demo that has been made 20 years ago... Feedback is essential!