The Atari CD market is growing, there's no doubt about that. The only factor which is putting customers off 'taking the plunge' and buying a CD-ROM drive for their Atari is lack of software. It's the old chicken and egg scenario.
Of those CDs which are available, the vast majority are almost entirely German in their content. Whilst fully acknowledging the fact that many of the very best Atari software packages have come out of Germany, untranslated software is of little or no use to those of us who don't understand the language. This is something Floppyshop are currently addressing with their new series of English language CD-ROMs, the first of which will be released at the Birmingham and London Atari shows in April.
There is a wealth of English language software just waiting to be discovered, yet only the excellent Suzy's B's Atari Software Treasury has ever made it onto CD-ROM. We do not claim that our collections will be 100% English language, but at least 75% of the contents will be. The majority of the programs are original English language programs, some are official English versions of foreign language programs, others are amateur translations. And for those which remain in German, we have included two excellent German to English translation programs to help you along!
The biggest problem with the current range of CD releases is that you can't find anything on the disc! You simply don't know where to look or if you do find a program it's difficult figuring out whether or not it's what you really need for the job! Some have crude indexing systems, others have none at all. Doesn't it make you feel like it's all just shovel-ware. Cram as much as you can onto a CD and make a quick buck! Do the people who compile these CDs know that the programs actually do, do they care, do they own Atari computers? We do on all three counts!
Our CDs come fully catalogued with descriptions of all programs on the disk. No that's not a joke, the descriptions are taken from our regular Shareware catalogue and adapted specially for CD use. Each program is referenced by its directory path and cross-references to other related programs are to their directory paths too. If you need a program to perform a specific task, use the search facility in the catalogue or the program name and up pops the description and directory path required. It couldn't be easier.
Ready To Run...
One of the biggest criticisms of existing CD-ROMs is that a proportion (sometimes all) of the software is supplied in archived format. Yes, this does mean that you get even more data packed onto the disc, there's no denying that. The main disadvantage is that (without a proper cataloguing system), the archive names are even less meaningful than the program names. You spend hours decompressing archives in the hope of finding the program you need to do the job. It's akin to finding a needle in a haystack! Even with a proper cataloguing system you have the added problem of finding space for everything. How many of you own a 1.2 GB (or larger) hard drive? Here at Floppyshop we believe convenience to be the answer and have supplied everything uncompressed and ready to run. The majority of programs and files can be run directly from the CD time and time again, without occupying so much as 1K of space on your hard drive. OK, so some programs are picky and object to this but they are few and far between. Most modern programs run from anywhere provided all files are kept together in a common directory. You've bought your CD-ROM drive, so why pay for a huge hard drive too?
All CDs from Floppyshop will include a number of useful utilities which every Atari owner should have in his/her collection. In addition, there will be demo versions of Floppyshop's range of commercial software as well as a few commercial packages thrown in for free. For example our first release, DTP+, includes the complete DegasArt (parts 1, 2 & 3) graphics tutorial, the full Family Roots v1 and the registered version of Xlator, an excellent German to English translator program and last but certainly not least, the full version of Edith Professional, an impressive text editor/binary file editor worth 35 pounds which is exclusive, being available on no other CD.
Everyone who has ever purchased goods from Floppyshop knows that we are knowledgeable about our products and that our catalogue is second to none. Our CDs offer no less, our customers expect no less! Depending on the response we get to our first two releases, the plan is to produce about 5 or 6 CD-ROMs during 1997 with more to follow in 1998. Our current collection is large enough to sustain this and new programs continue to be added at an encouraging rate. So why not buy your Shareware compilation CDs from the experts. Anyone can botch together a CD, but only a Floppyshop CD has quality and ease of use written all over it!
We regret that constraints of time prevent us from entering into personal correspondence about the timing and contents of future releases. We will continue to make further announcements as more titles become available. Compiling these CDs is a massive task, let us get on with it and you won't be disappointed with the results.
Floppyshop, PO Box 273, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK. AB15 8GJ.
Tel: 01224 312756 (Intl +44 1224 312756)