Atari ST Demo-Crew X-Troll (Hidden Page)
|Maybe you have seen the little
X-Troll logo somewhere near
the end of level two. Many people might have asked themselves what or who
the hell is X-Troll? Well X-Troll had been a demo-crew on the ST that
coded a lot, but never released anything. Sounds strange? We coded only
for fun, mainly to research some technology which was later used in
commercial products. For that reason we wanted to protect the code from
being ripped and used elsewhere.
The commercial products that were coded
by X-Troll members were:
- Music Editor (MeDi), an editor for very CPU-time friendly Atari ST
- Music Editor (MV2000), an editor for chip
music with buzzer bass and digidrums.
- The Turbobooster, the fastest disk-copier for the ST(E) ever. It had
only 5 registered users.
- Amiga on a Wire Tools, a hardware and software solution to code
Amiga programs from the ST.
- Block Editor 3.99, a professional editor for blockbased 2D games
like Lethal Xcess.
- Lethal Xcess, the technically best shoot'em up for the ST(E) ever.
- MegaSend and SMDsend, two tools to communicate with a Super Magic
Drive copy-station from the ST(E).
- Genesis on a Wire Tools, a hardware and software solution to code
Sega Genesis (aka Mega-Drive) programs from the ST.
- An MC68K-Assembler, which had been never really finished, a pity
because it had been faster than TurboAss and supported makros.
- Hex Editor, an editor for hexagonal blockmaps, which were widely
used in strategic games.
Our non commercial products, which had been mainly used by ourselves
and some friends were:
- TOS 1.07+, a slightly modified version of the original Atari
TOS to suit our personal needs.
- CFHD, a modified Harddisk-Driver, that allowed to choose the
boot-partition freely and some other useful stuff.
In 1988 two guys from Hattingen in Germany formed a Crew named Troll.
Their nicknames were Sunnyboy aka Claus Frein and Nexus 6 aka Mirko
Mönninghoff. They did some nice MC68000 assembler coding, and created
some very useful tools for the ST.
1989 a third member joined Troll, it was the Cyclone aka Heinz Rudolf
(yes that's me). All three members were MC68000 assembly coders, and a
strange kind of competition took place. Sometimes it seemed they were
working for different teams, because three guys were coding some demo
shit, but everybody on his own.
We produced several Demos this way, but we never released them. I went
through some of my old disks and found several demos, but it seems a lot
of stuff can't be read from these old disks.
However, I will try to convert them anyway and every time I succeed, I
will release the disk on this site with a little description.
The final Swobbler
The Cyclones New Year Demo
The Audiopac Demo
This one is really bad. It's a 1989 remake of my very 1st assembler
program. The original source was written in 1988 and so I put this demo
here, even when it had been released one year later as a joke.
Nothing is awkward enough for us :-) This has to be the worst intro
In spring of 1989, we visited the "Hobbytronic", a computer
fair in Dortmund (Germany). The Hobbytronic had it's best times in those
years. We always bought computers and electronic-stuff directly on that
fair and it had been the best place for having a glance at new hardware.
It was the time after the 8 bit age, 16 bit computers and
consoles arose everywhere with new and advanced features. For example the
NEC PCengine was presented on that fair, and I was amazed by the games
Dynatex showed on that tiny console. While walking around the fairgrounds,
we accidentally met Marc Rosocha and Klaus-Peter Plog (Plogi / Blue Devil)
from the Gigabyte Crew. As I realized that they were talking about an
Atari demo, which was displayed on a monitor. I addressed them and asked
some silly questions. (I had not done a real program on the ST at this
time.) Everything was rather new and interesting to me, and as I figured
out that these guys were coders from the Bladerunners, I was really
While we talked, Sunnyboy and Nexus 6 joined us. They watched the demo Marc had coded and decided to do this little demo right after
It had been inspired the demo Marc showed us, he displayed something
about 60 sprites in one VBL. Sunnyboy and Nexus 6 wanted to beat that
record, but it wasn't that easy, because Marc's routines were already
optimized very well and nobody thought about generated code at this time.
Finally they had done one or two sprites more than Marc, which was not
very impressive. To make it look more, they coded a demo that showed 120
sprites in two VBLs. Not one of our brightest ideas. Marc recognized the
cheating immediately despite we had used slow movement for the sprites to
cover this fact.
the SpriteMagic demo was saved to disk together with a new version of our
scroller, which had been done before the fair, we only changed the
If you want to see this demo make sure you use TOS 1.0
and exactly 1 MB of RAM, otherwise you will see nothing, because of
some "optimizations" in screen flipping which only work on a one
meg machine ;-)
The final Swobbler
The final swobbler, which is a horizontal picture distorter, had been the result of a Troll internal competition.
In the end Sunnyboy and Nexus 6 had the better code.
Their routines were fast enough to draw 200 lines (with music), while mine could
only render 197 lines (without music) in one vbl. As some kind of punishment, I had to
draw the graphics. Because I never painted anything on the ST before, I used an
Cover for "inspiration" and converted it to the ST pixel by
robot was one of my very first computer graphics, and I think it's not
very well done but we used it anyway.
We don't cheat in any way in this demo and with generated code or a
specially designed picture (the picture can be replaced by any other 4
bitplane 320*200 pixel graphic) we could have drawn more lines, but we
needed only 200 lines to fill an Atari lo-res screen.
As usual everything had been done quick and dirty and so it runs on Saint 0.99 if you switch to 1 MB
only (you have to because it only works with exactly 1 MB). If you want to
look at it, just download this disk-image
with the complete Source (GFA-Assembler) and the executable program. If you want
to replace the disted picture, just copy another "BLOBL.PI1" to
the root directory.
The Cyclone's New Year Demo
Since Sunnyboy and Nexus 6 did all the coding and left the
graphics part to me. I felt the need to code something for myself. So I
decided to do a project on my own. The whole demo is not exactly what you
would call stunning, but the process of coding this demo improved my
coding skills a lot. Since I had problems with my electrical equipment on
new years eve, the demo had been finished on Jan. 2nd 1990. You can read
the details in the scrollers.
I hadn't intended to release it to the public, but I gave it to some
friends and so it happened that this little demo had been spreaded. It had
been included in some compilation disks like POV (Persistance of Vision)
disk 99. The demo is called "Trolls New Year" there, you
can download the POV disk 99
The demo consisted of 6 screens which had been done in a hurry. Above
you see the welcome screen. The lower border had been removed. There was
palette animation (wow), a horizontal distorted Troll logo (that looked
like hell). Besides there had been a XY-distorted Cyclone logo and some
This is the main menu, I think it's the best screen of the whole demo.
There is a lot of movement on the screen and I still got all the blue
rastertime left. I simply didn't know what to add because I had been
satisfied with the result.
The picture above shows the greetings-screen. Instead of naming all the
crews in the scroller I cracked their demos and ripped the needed logos to
send the greetings in a different way. The lower border had been removed.
There is a scroller, a disting text, some sprites and a synchronized
Troll-logo that fakes an overscan in the upper screen.
The hall of fame should be called the hall of shame. It's a lame screen
with some nice looking rasters and sprites. I had some serious problems
with movem and timer B at that time. It's a very old screen which should
have been the hiscore-list for our abandoned jump and run game.
Well what should I say, Sunnyboy and Nexus 6 nearly killed me when
they saw that screen :-) but, the girl mentioned in that screen is still
my girlfriend (since 1987) and we have two very nice children today. There
is a reset Demo hidden behind this screen, which reveals some interesting
but maybe dangerous effects. To force the anxious guys to switch off their
computers the scrolltext in that reset demo isn't very nice. The effects
are activated by pressing some keys at the end of the scrolltext. I guess
you have never seen your drivelight illuminated to this brightness before.
Unfortunately you won't see that on any emulator. Don't use the screen
killer, it's really dangerous on real hardware.
The picture in the reset demo was ripped from the game "Teenage
Queen" and it was "improved" a bit :) by me. The joke on
that thing is. I wanted that picture from the TCB loading screen when I
saw it. And because I didn't own that game, I began to hack into the Cuddly demo when one
day later some pal from the university dropped a
pile of disks on my desk. Guess, which game was on one of those disks. It
would have saved me some work if he came up with it one day earlier.
The Multiscroll is a cover of one of the Union Demo-screens, but this
one comes with 6 bit samples generated by the crappiest hardware ever
(sounds like hell). It had been my 1st and last attempt to produce sound
on the ST. When I coded this screen I thought I had beaten the Union, but
that's certainly not the case. Yes I play a crappy sample yes I have two
more scrollers, but I can't change the speed of the scrolltexts. (You can
change the speed and direction of the three background layers with Numpad
1-3 to select the layer and cursor left/right to increase/decrease the
speed afterwards) It would be not problem on a ST with one megabyte to
include the variable scrollspeeds, but it is a problem on a half meg
If you want to take a look at my very first demo, just download the Cyclones
New Year Demo 89/90.
The AudioPac Demo
The Audio Pac Demo had been done by Sunnyboy and Nexus 6 on their
managed it to hide the whole project until it had been finished. Maybe
they wanted to decrease the damage which my New Year Demo had inflicted as
it slipped through my fingers and reached the outside world.
The Audio Pac Demo is mainly a music demo with some nice side effects.
You can play Pacman while listening to all the tunes. There are rasters
all over the screen as well as some nice sprites. Besides some
borders (left & right, bottom) are removed in the lower part of the
After cracking and ripping all our games, there were still some bytes left
and Sunnyboy decided to hack the union demo. Encouraged by the easy progress,
He attempted to crack the cuddly demo once again and succeeded. Every bit of
chipmusic was ripped and packed into this demo. If you want to look
at it, just download this disk-image it
runs perfectly on Steem 2.2 or Saint 0.99.
As a side effect of this demo we learned how to code "real" joystick
and keyboard routines
and simple game logics. That had been a important step towards a real
Another Demo I wrote was the Neoshow, it's just a picture slideshow
with a top and bottom overscan, and a scroller in the upper border, where
the left and right borders were removed too.
It starts with some partitial overscan, stars and a big X-Troll logo
which looks absolutely terrible.
The Neoshow shows some of the pictures Nexus 6 and I had painted.
It's nothing special and there are only very few pictures on that disk,
but maybe you like it anyway. The Neoshow runs on STEEM 2.3b, it
won't work on an earlier version.
In spring of 1991 Nexus 6 was also involved in the development of
Lethal Xcess, he coded his own digi-drum routines and editors for the ST
and put some stuff together in a small music demo.
The tunes at the top of the screen are the original Lethal Xcess tunes.
The other ones haven't yet been used anywhere except for
"Cyclones-Memory" which was composed for a memory game I wrote.
After selecting a tune, the demo will automatically switch to this
screen with three loudness indicators, and some kind of pixelart. I think
this demo will run fine on all machines with any TOS.
It seems X-Troll guys will get famous finally, after being greeted by
D-Bug and mentioned in
the great UMD 8730 by Grazey the
X-Troll website was mentioned in an Atari Diskmag called Undercover
UCM #23 The (former) German Atari Scene on the Net
Since there is some false information spread within UCM #23 we
decided to bring you the real facts about it. For that reason we cite an
excerpt of that review and write something below each paragraph. The
credit for the original review belongs to moondog.
||Cyclone of XTroll
|status of the band
||dead since 1o years now
|last update of the site
There are some errors included in that header. The site mentioned above
is actually maintained by Nexus 6 of X-Troll and it's still updated
when necessary, e.g. when we find another ancient demo on our dusty disks
Cyclone maintains the site http://lethalxcess.atari.org/
including the page you are currently reading.
XTROLL? Who the fuck is or was XTROLL? I wondered by myself as I
first stumbled over this band and their site on the net. In fact even if I
was a hard demo collector I can't remember one of their demos.
Despite the few stuff we actually released some of the finest members
of the late 80s / early 90s Atari scene had the pleasure to meet us (maybe
it was vice versa :). The stuff we coded was often some kind of technology
study for later commercial usage. So sadly most of our demos were never really
finished and could be hardly called demos at all, because they were single
FX screens which needed a debugger environment to run. I think our only
real release was the Audiopac demo. The other stuff was never officially
itself claims that they didn't released their demos because they don't
wanted that someone ripped their code... huuh.
Well that credit belongs to Sunnyboy who was really paranoid about his
source codes and coding tricks. As a matter of fact the other members of
X-Troll hardly had the chance to look at his stuff in the early days. The
situation went better when we started Lethal Xcess, but it was too late to
release anything then. There are still lots of source codes on Sunnyboys
harddisk, but I doubt anybody but him will understand how to get 'em to
work because he always included some nasty stuff into the source to
prevent it from being assembled by other people.
And so they lived from the late eighties until the beginning
nineties, releasing a bunch of hardly mediocre demos and... LETHAL XCESS,
or at least their member CYCLONE, who was responsible for the graphics and
Well X-Troll still exists since the crew never disbanded. However we are no longer
full time sceners. For sure I won't comment the "hardly
mediocre" research for this UCM-Article :) but it's true, that I did nearly all graphics for Lethal Xcess
as well as some coding. The real credit for coding Lethal Xcess belongs to
foundation member of X-Troll. Beside Sunnyboy and myself, Nexus 6 was
involved in LX when we started the project. He did
all the music and SFX 1st, but left the project soon, so we had to look
for another musician. I would advise
anyone interested in that who-did-what-stuff to view the credits for a complete list of
all people involved in the creation of what became the very best shoot'em
up on the Atari ST(E) platform.
Today there aren't actions as XTROLL anymore,...
It actually looks like that because X-Troll doesn't show much activities to the
outside world, the truth is: All X-Trolls are still active on Atari but
low priority. We all have children and other family business as well, as
very time consuming jobs. We get active whenever possible, but we hardly
have time left for that passion. Currently we mainly try to preserve our
work from the 90s, but I am confident there will be some
new stuff in the future.
... just CYCLONE is
around to create some LETHAL XCESS 2oo2 thing but ATM, I doubt that we
will see it this year...
I am still working on an enhanced version of LX.
Furthermore its true that this enhanced LX version will be delayed. That's the reason why it
isn't called LX 2002 anymore, the name changed to
Lethal Xcess XL. How could that happen? Well, there is a life beyond Atari
and I won't neglect my children or girlfriend for working on a game. The current
project status can be viewed at our projects
department and the latest graphics can be found at the level
The page is very clean designed, showing a lot of screenshots, bringing
a lot of informations about the band and their "non" releases,
offering demos for to download and links to check out. The page isn't a
blaster at all but if you have not visited it so far, just do it... demo
collectors should find the one or other rare software antics there as
You actually can find all X-Troll related stuff on the page you are
currently reading. This page is not related to the Nexus 6
site but Nexus 6 and myself are slowly scanning through our old
disks and if one of us finds anything of public interest, we will release
it on both sites. The reason for the creation of my own X-Troll page
His site is hardly readable because of these scripts :).
|| Clean, easy to navigate and understand, but no burner
|| downloads, a bunch of informations about past and present
|| completely Atari related
| Surf On
|| if you miss something of
the XTROLL releases