News Archive - 2006

News Archive - 2005

News Archive - 2004

News Archive - 2003

News Archive - 2002

News Archive - 2001
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2005 News Archive

All the news items archived from 2005. Please note prices may have changed since these news items.

Sam Revival issue 13 released 31st December 2005

Issue 13 of Sam Revival is now out!

Kicking off issue 13 of Sam Revival is a 14 page news section to give a lowdown on what's happening in the Sam scene, and a welcomed addition to the magazine is the new letters section which in this issue features some questions about the Mayhem Accelerator, some development tools queries and a request for a machine code routine for palette changes using line interrupts which is answered with a few pages of source code!

Feature articles in this issue include a look at the Siemens Pocket Reader by Steve Parry-Thomas, along with the listing for the software he developed to use it from BASIC via the Comms Interface. In my own feature article I delve into the pile of unreleased and partially finished games that I bought the rights to from Hydrasoft earlier in the year.

On the coverdisk with this issue is the full Sam game "Marbles Deluxe' by Steve Pick. Featuring very colourful graphics in his own unique style Marbles Deluxe is quite a challenging arcade puzzle game and was originally released back in 1995. A quick cut and paste from the start of the instructions... "A genetically engineered biological organism has just been created for genetic correction experiments. The organism is lovingly referred to as Willy. Testing Willy is to be an extreme task, as a psychotic killer is being used for the experiment. Willy has to correct the killer's damaged brain cells ... all 50 of them!"

This issue of Sam Revival costs £3.00 (or £3.80 for international readers, including airmail postage).

For your conveience you can buy issue 13 by using the PayPal buttons below. Alternatively you can pay securely by Credit / Debit cards by clicking on the 'NoChex' button on the left navigation bar, or lastly drop me an email for my postal address should you wish to pay by Cheque or Postal Orders.

Editorial 6th November 2005

It was interesting to see a 4 page special on the Sam Coupé in this weeks MicroMart, although it was a bit a shame that there were a few factual and technical errors in it (tsk tsk i'm nit picking again!). I'm not sure who wrote the article but it was nice to see, and there was a plug for this website at the end of the article along with a photo of myself and my setup at a previous MicroMart show! So, a big warm welcome to any new visitors to the site who were led here by the MM article. Here's a quick potted history of Quazar for you...

Quazar was founded back in 1995, when I released the Quazar Surround soundcard for the Sam Coupé, giving the Sam multichannel digital sound, up to a quality of 16 bits and in full surround sound - unheard of at the time, especially for an 8 bit home computer. Now as the last, and longest running Sam company, I have single handedly produced over a dozen pieces of hardware, and over 85 software titles - with most of the new hardware I’ve designed being released over the last two and a half years.

Quazar has grown from strength to strength, expanding the range of services provided - such as the Sam Revival magazine which started in the summer of 2002 to fill the void after all other Sam publications had disappeared. In the pipeline there is some stunning new hardware - including the Mayhem Accelerator, and several new games for the Sam Coupe.

If you are interested in seeing what's happening in the Sam Scene, then I have to recommend you try the latest issue of Sam Revival magazine! For a limited time only the current issue (12) can be bought for the discounted price of £2.00 (normal price: £3.00) if you haven't already tried Sam Revival in the past and you can order online by PayPal or NoChex (links on the left navigation bar) or by Cheque (use the Contact Quazar option on the left and i'll forward you my postal address). This offer is valid until 14th November 2005.

If you are also hunting for a Sam Coupe computer, then I do have several reconditioned packs in stock, for full pack details and pricing then please drop me an email. Likewise, if you have questions or queries about anything Sam Coupé related whatsoever then please don't hesitate in asking!


Information 21st September 2005

A couple of announcements today...

Stratosphere Price Drop
I've dropped the price of the hit game Stratosphere by five pounds making it now only £9.99. Information and reviews about Stratosphere can be found at the old page by clicking here. (This old page will soon be transferred to the new software section here shortly)

The reviews really speak for themselves - one of the best games ever on Sam!

Stratosphere can be ordered online quickly by Paypal by clicking below, or by Nochex (link on the left navigation bar) or by Post with Cheque or Postal Order.
(Free delivery for UK and EU)

Reconditioned Sam Coupé's Available from Quazar
Just as the feature picture above used to say, I do often have stock of reconditioned Sam Coupés available (I currently have two in stock). For more information please email me (or use the webform in the 'Contact Quazar' page) and i'll email you a PDF file with all the details.

Reconditioned Hardware Available
As well as reconditioned Sam Coupés, I do also have a selection of other original Sam Interfaces in stock, including parallel printer interfaces, 1 Megabyte external memory expansions, RS232 Comms Interfaces and the SamBus / CardCage expansion slots. All of these will soon be listed in the reconditioned section along with photos, but in the meantime if you are after any of these interfaces please do get in touch and i'll send you a complete list of what 2nd hand hardware and software I currently have.

Sam Revival issue 12 released 20th September 2005

Issue 12 of Sam Revival is now out!

This issue of Sam Revival features an 8 page news section, catching up with what's happening in the Sam scene (although a lot of news has had to spill over to issue 13 which is due out next month). Feature articles this issue include 'Creating Mayhem' - a look at the behind the scenes development of the forthcoming Mayhem Accelerator (which will boost the speed of the Sam Coupe up to 20MHz!) and also looks at general development work on Sam hardware here at Quazar HQ. Another article 'Bogomips' looks at creating a benchmark program to measure the speed of the Sam, which has proved to be very useful when comparing the speed of the Sam to that when using the Mayhem Accelerator prototypes.

On the coverdisk with this issue, is the full Sam game "Mage Fire", a 'chaos' style game with 4 wizards (either real players or CPU controlled opponents) fighting against each other till only one survives, with a whole hoard of creatures that can be summoned up and an arsenal of spells to use for defence and attack. The game also features additional sound effects if you have a Quazar Surround soundcard for your Sam Coupe.

This issue of Sam Revival costs £3.00 (or £3.80 for international readers).

Contacting Quazar... 14th September 2005

I've recently had two people re-use the Web Form on the 'Contact Quazar' page to say they never had a reply from the first message they sent to me. I do always reply to messages and emails so if you don't receive a reply please check incase any mail has been dropped by mail filtering software you have, and do please try emailling me again to let me know you haven't received a reply. Also if you wish you can include details for any Instant Messaging software you use - such as MSN Messenger, ICQ, AIM or Skype, and I can contact you that way.

Editorial 28th August 2005

Got some spare time so a quick update to the site! The CGE-UK show went without a hitch earlier this month, and it was great to meet up with a few Sam owners there, as well as showing off the Sam Coupe to a few people who had never seen one before or who thought it was just a 'super spectrum'... by the time they left they were well educated on just exactly what the Sam can do! Here's a couple photos from the day...

The Quazar stand set up.

Adrian Graham ( hiding behind his setup of computers (including
an Enterprise 128 and a Commodore 65) who kindly lent me a Sam Coupe to use on the day - cheers!

All the best,


More Music Snippets 28th August 2005

Issue 11 of Sam Revival has been the most popular issue to date, with the bundled CD of music from the Sam Coupe. Here's a couple brief snippets from three of the tracks on the CD to give you a taster of what's on it!

About As SID As It Gets - listen here.
(60 second snippet) - A brand new piece of Sam music by David Suzuki-Sanders, using the Sam's SAA1099 soundchip

On Your Own - listen here.
(30 second snippet) - A piece of sequenced sampled music and sequenced by David Launden, played back with the Quazar Surround soundcard.

Star Trekkin - listen here.
(30 second snippet) - 16 bit music played back through the Quazar Surround soundcard, compressed at a ratio of 8 to 1 using a modified ADPCM compression, and the Sam's 6MHz Z80 is fast enough to decode it in realtime apon playback with 2x oversampling.

For ordering back issues of Sam Revival please see the links on the navigation bar for pricing and ordering details.

Music Snippets 13th July 2005

I've just sampled some short snippets of music straight from the Sam from the games that I am currently developing. I had commissioned David Suzuki-Sanders to do the tunes for the games and he's done a sterling job on all three, with the SAA1099 soundchip really being put through its paces!

Thing on a Spring remake - listen here.

Harlequin remake - listen here.

Conquest revamp - listen here.

(30 second MP3 files... approximately 460k each)

Editorial 10th June 2005

Here we go - the new website is finally live, replacing the old Quazar site. Everything has been transferred across - such as the information on the products I produce for the Sam Coupé and you'll also find a few new sections - such as a more detailed 'In Development' page, which has details about the Mayhem Accelerator and some new software titles.

There's still a couple gaps for the time being, you'll see a couple greyed out links on the left navigation bar, but those remaining sections will all be uploaded in the very near future. The main news page will also feature news from around the Sam scene, stay posted for an update soon.

This year also see's the 10th Anniversary of Quazar! I started Quazar back in April 1995 with the release of the Quazar Surround soundcard and grew with a steady release of software. Now as the last, and longest running Sam company, I have produced over a dozen pieces of hardware, and over 85 software titles - with most of the new hardware I’ve designed being released over the last three years. And i've no plans of slowing down - just look at the 'In Development' page for details of what's on the way...

Imminent releases: Sam Revival issue 12 (with Magefire on the coverdisk), and issue 13 (with Marbles Deluxe on the coverdisk)

Mage Fire (left) and Marbles Deluxe (right)

All the best,


Mayhem Accelerator - Prototype Benchmarks 10th June 2005

Here's a couple benchmarks from the prototype of the Mayhem Accelerator. Despite being only clocked at half the final speed, the 12MHz Mayhem Accelerator prototype is showing a dramatic speed increase over a normal Sam Coupé...

Fractal Explorer (by Simon Goodwin and Andy Wright) - default Mandlebrot image:

Sam Coupé = 21.4 seconds
with Mayhem Accelerator = 8.4 seconds (254% speed up)

BogoMIPS Benchmark (by Frode Tennebo - article coming up in Sam Revival issue 12)

[MODE 4] Sam Coupé = 0.374 BogoMIPS
with Mayhem Accelerator = 0.919 BogoMIPS (245% speed up)

[MODE 1] Sam Coupé = 0.336 BogoMIPS
with Mayhem Accelerator = 0.919 BogoMIPS (275% speed up)
(Mayhem isn't hindered by the extra contention generated by the ASIC in MODE 1)

If you are interested in the Mayhem Accelerator, please drop me a line with your comments through the 'Contact Quazar' option on the left Navigation bar - it would be good to be able to gauge how much interest there is for it! The next stage of the prototype is due to be completed within the next month or two time willing, and will see the accelerator start to operate at its final speed of 20-24MHz.

Hydrasoft Games... 6th June 2005

I have recently bought the rights to several old Sam games, and a pile of unreleased stuff from Pete King, formerly Hydrasoft.

Pete had two games released back in 1996 and 1997 - Conquest and Mage Fire, which were published to a limited extent by Zedd-Soft (run by Michael Stocks / Zodiac Magazine). I was also involved with the two titles way back then by adding support for the Quazar Surround soundcard to both of the games.

I had previously secured permission from Pete to use Conquest and Mage Fire on the Sam Revival coverdisks (and you’ll find Mage Fire with this very issue!) but now with owning the titles I can go further with them and I am already planning a revamp of Conquest to update all the graphics and sounds.

What I have to do now is go through a massive pile of disks to look at all the unreleased games. Expect more news soon!

Conquest - a challenging strategy game

Gremlin Graphics Remakes... 6th June 2005

I have received permission from Andy Davis of Alchemist Research to use old Gremlin Graphics games on the Sam.

Now instead of just adapting the ZX Spectrum versions to run on the Sam under emulation (as was done on the old Blitz diskzine back in the late 1990’s) it is my aim to create full Sam versions of some of the classic games and that was why I originally approached Andy to enquire about permission.

Now that things can go ahead, the two games I have my eye on first are personal favourites of mine that I feel would be great on the Sam!

The first is the game ‘Thing on a Spring’, originally released back in 1984 for the Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC only.

Thing on a Spring is a bouncy and fast platformer and with some carefully planned scroll routines it should make the transition to the Sam with few problems.

What also made Thing on a Spring famous was the fantastic SID based music it featured from Rob Hubbard who went on to become one of the leading C64 musicians.

Now the music for any game is very important for me, and I am planning to feature the original SID based music (for use with the SID interface) as well as a new rendition of the tune for the normal Sam SAA1099 soundchip.

I’m pleased to say that initial work on the game remake is underway, and the SAA1099 version of the music is already complete!

The SAA1099 music track was carefully composed by David Suzuki-Sanders (who also composed the ‘About as SID as its going to get’ SAA1099 track on the audio CD with the last issue of Sam Revival.)

I have to say that David has done an excellent job of creating the music, and if you were at the ORSAM 2004 show last November then you may have heard it being played!

Original C64 graphics ported to the Sam

The second game I am looking at converting is ‘Harlequin’, one of the first games I ever played on an Amiga, and one that immediately impressed me with its graphics, music and playability.

Harlequin is another scrolling platform game, based in a fantasy dreamworld with very colourful graphics and a thumping soundtrack, and was released only for the 16 bit machines in 1992 - the Atari ST and the Amiga.

So why should the Sam be left out of such a great game? No reason I think! So far I have converted over the graphics for the first level from the Atari ST (easier to capture via an emulator than the Amiga version), and for the main scenery and characters only 12 colours were used so this conversion was quite straight forward.

My aim is to convert across the whole of the first level as a test, to see how well I can get the game engine to work. However as this game does involve full screen scrolling and some quite large sprites I will be writing it to run with the Mayhem Accelerator to give the Sam the speed it needs to move everything around.

Again, David Suzuki-Sanders has taken on the role for the music, and created versions of several of the tracks from the game for the SAA1099 soundchip, and he has achieved incredible renditions of the music (which was originally sample based on the Amiga) in his own style.

I have to say though, that I have no idea when either of the remakes will be ready as I haven’t had much time myself to work on them but I will keep you up to date with what’s happening.

Two Sam screens of the conversion of Harlequin

Editorial 24th May 2005

News from April 2005 and earlier, as was previously featured on the old website... mugs available! 17th February 2005

(Front and Back views)

As something different, i've got some mugs made! The mugs have been prepared using dye sublimation into the hot glaze with the most colour stable inks to ensure a hard wearing and resiliant finish.

For delivery in the UK, the price is £12.50 including postage, and for delivery in the EU it works out at £14.50 including airmail postage. I've created some links below for paying by PayPal, UK users can also order with Credit Card / Switch through NoChex without having to register (link above) or of course cheque / postal order.

Sam Revival issue 11 released 14th February 2005

The belated issue 11 of Sam Revival is out now...

This issue of Sam Revival is an audio special, and the cover CD contains music tracks recorded directly from the Sam Coupe. There's music from a variety of music programs such as E-Tracker, Pro-Tracker and several MOD Players as well as a whole variety of music created with advanced sound interfaces including the extremely popular Quazar Surround soundcard. Tracks recorded from the Quazar Surround really show what the Sam Coupe can do sonically - there is samples up to 16 bit quality, advanced sample compression, oversampling and sequencing. If you have ever been curious to what the most powerful 8 bit home computer coupled with the best sound hardware can produce then this CD will show you just what Sam Coupe can do sonically!

There's also two bonus tracks added to the CD at the last minute - the first being a new piece of music composed with E-Tracker for the Sam's internal soundchip (the FM synthesis based SAA1099) which pushes the FM capabilities to the limits, and the second bonus track is a recording from the Sam Computers Limited phone hotline in 1992.

As well as the usual features in the magazine such as news and the Sam Scene Roundup (which includes an eight page roundup of the recent ORSAM 2004 computer show with plenty of photos and includes the preliminary information on the prototype 'Mayhem Accelerator' I demonstrated running at the show which boosts the speed of the Sam) the rest of the magazine articles continue on with an audio feel. There is a mammoth article looking in depth at all the extra sound interfaces that have appeared (or not as the case may be with some of them!) for the Sam Coupe over the years... including amongst others the Blue Alpha Sampler and the Quazar Surround soundcard.

This issue of Sam Revival costs £3.00 (or £3.80 for international readers).

There is a small sample issue of Sam Revival you can read online, which has a selection of pages from issues 1 to 10 of the magazine. To view the sample issue click here! (PDF / 3.3MB)

If you have any feedback about the magazine, please drop me an email!