STOS “The Game Creator” is a dialect of the BASIC (Beginners’ All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language implemented on the Atari ST computer.
STOS BASIC was developed by Jawx, François Lionet, and Constantin Sotiropoulos and published by Mandarin Software (later becoming Europress Software). STOS was specifically designed for creating games, but the set of powerful high-level graphics and sound commands it offered made it suitable for developing multimedia heavy applications with little or no knowledge of the internals of the Atari ST or low level languages such as assembly. Games could be written in just a few simple lines of code, and great achievements could be made with a little extra polish, allowing for near commercial quality releases.
STOS proved so popular that Atari contacted Mandarin and licensed it to be part of the Discovery Pack that was given away with new Atari ST computers.
The first versions of STOS were released in France, and in late 1988 version 2.3 was released within the UK. Version 2.3 came bundled with many utilities & accessories for editing sprites & music that could be used within the language. Three full games (Orbit, Zoltar and Bullet Train) were also bundled, including their full source code as a source of learning. A short time afterwards, the STOS Compiler was released with an update to v2.4 which had a few improvements to floating point functionality, along with some bug fixes.
STOS was then updated with v2.5 & v2.6 in order to cater for the newer TOS versions that were present in the updated Atari STE machines. The final official release of v2.7 was a compiler update to fix issues with compilation tracker replay routines.
Since the final official update release, a number of community updates have been made to take into account newer hardware such as the Atari Falcon. The current release is v3.0 from 2014.
STOS gave programmers the ability to extend it’s functionality by adding new commands via machine code extensions. Over the years many extensions were created, with a number of notable ones such as Misty and The Missing Link standing out from the crowd. These extensions created a new lease of life for the product, which is still going strong today! Here at STOS Coders, we intend to keep this programming language alive for many years to come!
Other STOS Products
Many additional application disks and hardware were released during the product life cycle.
Sprites 600 gave us lots of quality animated sprites that were ready to use out of the box in our STOS programs.
STOS Maestro was a sampled sound replay extension that introduced digital sounds into STOS games. STOS Maestro+ offered a hardware cartridge for capturing your own sounds.
A STOS game writing competition introduced us to Cartoon Capers, a cartoon style beat-em up with great graphics and sound. Four runners up from competition were published as the “Games Galore” pack which included Sky Strike, Yomo, Mouthtrap and Skatetribe.
STOS 3D was a new extension that introduced us to the world of 3D objects.