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The Story Of Attitude
by DJ Gruby/Arsenic/Excess/Protovision


When I began working on Attitude in the year 2000, I could never imagine that the magazine I was about to release in April that year was going to exist for at least another 14 years. After all a fourteen-year existence of a product seemed like a completely abstract idea to a 19 year old teenager. But here we are, exactly that many years after those memorable days, still alive and kicking. Throughout the years Attitude established the position of a top-class production with probably the best magazine engine around, featuring a fast full-screen full-colour text-displayer, enabling unlimited embedding of hires and multicolour images freely interleaved with text. Who would have thought? Being able to design and code a layout like this entirely by myself is like a childhood dream come true for me. Working on every new release of Attitude gives me so much joy that I only wish I had more spare time to release it more often than, with the current schedule, merely once a year.

What makes Attitude stand out these days is the top-notch content. In a recent years this effort has been mostly led by notable TRIAD members: Taper, Bepp, Motion, Twoflower, Vent, and Tao. But we should of course not forget about all those brilliant contributors who supported Attitude across a previous decade, readily sharing their skills and knowledge: RRR, Alias Medron, Fanta, Graham, HCL, Jailbird, Krill, Oswald, Puterman, Randall, TCH, Zapotek, and many other guests and co-editors. From this place I need to thank you all for such an inestimable support. I would have never managed to go on this journey alone.

But this journey does not end here, is not over yet, it is merely a new beginning for us. With an introduction of an entirely new design and magazine engine last year we equipped ourselves with an excellent tool-set, enabling us to release new issues easily by focusing only on things that matter in this business, i.e. articles. And even though working on Attitude #15 was mostly about editing texts, we are still able to provide you with one of the best reading experiences in the history of the C64 scene.

Let me also not forget about all composers and graphic artist, who never hesitated to support our disk magazine. When it comes to music there are two tunes that bring special memories to me. The first one was titled Lightspeed, composed by Agemixer and published for the first time in Attitude #4. In my opinion it is still one of the best SID tracks ever composed. Probably because it marked a very special moment for me personally. I joined Oxyron in 2002 and so did Attitude. Publishing the magazine under Oxyron label lasted for 10 years until it was gradually taken over by the current TRIAD staff. Another tune which I like so much that it deserves an honourable mention here is Intervention by Dane released in Attitude #7 (although I would definitely rank every Dane's tune for Attitude amongst my all-time favourites). It obviously does not mean that these two particular tracks somehow stand out from the crowd of almost 100 excellent musics ever published in Attitude. I somehow associate them with a special moments, which bring some emotional memories to me, and they perfectly suit my individual taste in SID music, which is why I like them so much.

And then, when I think of how many composers supported us throughout the years, I find it truly embarrassing not to give them a proper credit here. One of my other ideas a couple of years back was to release a music collection featuring a complete Attitude soundtrack, which would act as a particular tribute of mine to all the artist who provided our readers with a more pleasant reading experience by composing some remarkable sounds. As this idea did not work out for a jubilee 10th edition, who knows, maybe it will do when another jubilee 20th issue comes out.

When it comes to graphics, there are also two honourable mentions. RRR's logos marked out the style, the look and the feel of our magazine for many years, and Bedrich's hires pictures accompanied you while reading articles through six different issues of Attitude.

There were a few groups involved in releasing Attitude with Oxyron being the most prominent one amongst them. But we should not forget that it was all started by a small Polish-based group Axelerate, later absorbed into Samar, and finally moving along together with the main editor under Oxyron's wings. As soon as a new main editor emerged in a person of Taper, it was becoming more and more natural to release Attitude under the TRIAD label, which is the current state of affairs.

Along the years I have coded a couple of magazine engines. The first three editions did not come with a proportional text displayer and each article was written in a simple note maker with a text data saved in the end. A fun fact is that because those early Attitude engines used a 17-line text displayer, the number of rows entered on a single page of the note maker also had to be exactly 17 before exporting the text. Manipulation of a little bit more complex pointer was beyond my coding skills back at that time. And I did not want to use a scrolled note maker like Voodoo Noter for that, because preserving an original formatting of an article was important to me (you may realise how much I hate an empty line at the top of a page by a fact that you have probably never seen one appearing in Attitude).

Until issue #4 arrived in September 2002 I was basically coding a new outfit entirely from scratch for every new issue of a magazine. Its design was primarily based on availability of graphics, so depending on a type of logos/pictures I had received, I decided what and how it should be displayed. And so the first issue was the simplest one, because it displayed the same logo all the time (this excellent logo painted by Colitt is still one of my all-time favourite Attitude logos), swapping selection menu and text displayer in a lower part of a screen. The second issue was a little bit more tricky, as it required a vertical split between the selection menu and a mermaid picture drawn by Luc. Switching to the article reading mode revealed one of my favourite logos painted by JSL.

After joining Oxyron I realised a way better outfit with a proper proportional text displayer had to be implemented. As my coding skills were progressing very slowly, which is always the case when you want to realise too many different things at a same time, it was not a trivial task. Fortunately, with a help of Fenek my text projection routine could be significantly improved and with the release of the fifth issue nobody had complaints about a slow displayer any more.

Another interesting curiosity of that engine was that a user was able to switch between 8 different colour modes. This feature was possible only because we did not display anything besides monochrome text in an article reading section (compare with this and a previous Attitude edition, which are full of coloured words and phrases). So if you preferred to read yellow on black, you could have it back then.

The sixth issue brought the biggest change and an outfit modelled after the famous Vitality magazine (but only in the selection menu section). This great layout survived for many years (10 in fact) until issue #14 was released. The biggest challenge when coding a new outfit came from the necessity of packing a lot of code and data into the very small amount of memory available. Keep in mind that is not only a logo, a hires image (sometimes two!), the selection menu with all the titles, authors and frames, and of course the text displayer routine (which already introduced the possibility of changing text and background colours for each line individually), but also article texts themselves.

These were the best times for Attitude. Most editions appeared packed with excellent content, lots of great reviews, tutorials and feuilletons. The main reason behind that was not only a lot of spare time which I had during my university studies, but also thanks to the vast number of contributors willing to support Attitude. Issues spanning two disk sides became a norm.

Not only the content of the magazine was truly impressive. Several outstanding intros were coded by top demo programmers. I totally adore the intro coded by Britelite for issue #5 (with excellent graphics by Deev) for its style of a demo-like production, but probably nothing can beat the two intros coded by HCL for issues #6 (graphics by Jailbird and RRR, music by Jammer) and #9 (with absolutely amazing UFLI graphics by TCH).

Coding each new magazine engine was a big challenge, as it had to always be better than a previous one. But the currently used engine was the biggest task I have undertaken so far in my entire demoscene career. The main motivation for coming up with an entirely new magazine engine came from the necessity of implementing a completely new build system that would enable us to fully automate the process of compiling new issues. This idea was a result of a lot of manual work that was involved in rebuilding a mag even when a very minor change (like a typo) had to be made. I decided to save some of my often extremely limited time by thinking up a system that enabled me to run a single command (e.g. make release) and after waiting several dozen of seconds have a freshly compiled mag running in my VICE emulator.

It was also a great opportunity to revisit a 10 years old outfit and come up with a brand new idea (or actually revisiting an idea which floated around for several years already). But more importantly it was a great relief, because I no longer had to care about anything except for an actual content. All the technicalities have now been hidden behind the curtains of a new build system and need to be touched only occasionally (like for example bumping the issue number from 14 to 15, or replacing the start address of a new intro's executable file).

The current outfit makes me pretty content, as the final result looks exactly the way I imagined it a couple of years ago. I had already had this exact idea before even being able to program it. I discussed it for example in great detail with Crimson who even once volunteered to program it, but then I somehow became less and less active and lost my interest in the topic for a couple of years. That resulted in no Attitude release between years 2005 and 2010 , but what was a greater loss was many previous editors gone, losing their interest in Attitude. HCL did not join the staff back ever again. RRR's last journalistic contributions appeared in Attitude #12. And so did others never come back either.

2011 marks the beginning of an entirely new era in the history of Attitude. This is the time when the TRIAD crew slowly came aboard what some already thought was a sinking ship. Taper's involvement brought the mag back on tracks. With the right dose of professionalism and enthusiasm he led Attitude to its original position and beyond. But this is obviously not a single man's merit. The support that all TRIAD members provide for each next issue has been incomparable to what this mag received from its publishers ever before. This kind of an engagement is what any project leader can only dream of. From this point I cannot do anything else but thank Taper and the entire TRIAD crew for their amazing support given to Attitude ever since taking it over and treating it like their own baby. The effort they put into each new release is worthy of great respect. And I hope it benefits their team too, as they strengthen their position as one of the most influential groups in the C64 scene.

Next year Attitude will be celebrating its 15th birthday, quite an achievement for a purely leisure time production, I dare to say.

Looking back in time, one must realize the competition in the magascene was much tougher 15 years ago, and a lot of great publications were still being released at a time when the first Attitude edition saw the light of day. I have no doubt you still remember and have the exact same sentiment as I do for "Domination", "News Press", "Propaganda", "The Crest", "Relax", "The Beergarden", "Driven", "Nitro", "Rock'n Role", "Arachnophobia", "Colony News", and many other great diskmags of the late 90's. "Vandalism News" is the only surviving title today with a history longer than Attitude. Their first issue was released almost 10 years before the Attitude project was even launched.

I know that some people consider Attitude to be their favourite publication on the demoscene. I always find their words of support to be enormously motivating. They make every single moment I spend working on this production worth the while.

At the end of this chapter I would like to sincerely apologise to anyone who was directly involved in the production of one of the issues of Attitude and was not mentioned here by name. I have written this article in order to try to collect my elementary memories of Attitude, which are fading away quickly. Perhaps I should try to write them down in a more detailed fashion before they eventually get completely forgotten. Just know how much I value your support and appreciate all the effort you put into providing Attitude with your work, whether it was code, music, graphics, articles, or just a piece of constructive feedback. Also know that you are always welcome to cooperate with us again.

Last but not least I would like to thank all of you, the readers of Attitude, as in the long run you are the main reason why we continue doing what we do.

I hope you enjoyed reading this little story of Attitude, and I hope you are enjoying the rest of a content we prepared for you in this issue.

DJ GRUBY/ARSENIC/DREAM/EXCESS/PROTOVISION

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