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Original author(s) Jeff Minter
Developer(s) Llamasoft - Worldwide
Initial release 1988; 30 years ago (1988)[1][2]
Written in Assembly language[1]
Platform Atari ST, Commodore Amiga
Type light synthesizer
License Commercial, shareware

Trip-a-Tron is a light synthesizer written by Jeff Minter and published through his Llamasoft label circa 1988. It was originally written for the Atari ST and later ported to the Commodore Amiga in 1990 by Andy Fowler.[3][4]

Trip-A-Tron was released as shareware, but also came in a commercial package with a 3-ring-bound manual and 2 game disks. The trial version contained no limitations, but registration was necessary to obtain the manual, which in turn was necessary to learn the script language ("KML" - supposedly "Keyboard Macro Language" and only coincidentally the phonetic equivalent of "camel") which drove the system.

The software has a usable but extremely quirky user interface, filled with numerous in-jokes and references to Llamasoft mascots. For example, the button to exit from the MIDI editor is labelled "naff off", while the button to exit the file display is labelled with a sheep saying "Baa!"; the waveform editor colour cycles the words "Dead cool" above the waveform display, and the event sequencer displays an icon of a camel smoking a cigarette; and the image manipulation tool has a series of icons used to indicate how long the current operation is going to take: "Make the tea", "Have a fag", "Go to bed", "Go to sleep", "Go on holiday", "Go to Peru for six months", and "RIP"; and the scripting language command to set the length of drawn lines is "LLAMA". (The manual states: "I could have called the command LINELENGTH I suppose, but I like llamas so what the heck".)

The manual is also written in a similar light, conversational style, but has been praised[by whom?] for nonetheless achieving a high degree of technical clarity.

In spite of this the software is extremely usable and was recommended as one of the best light synthesizers available at the time.[citation needed][5][6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b The Trip-A-Tron manual online at the Wayback Machine (archived July 16, 2004)
  2. ^ From Over the Big Water: Overseas games, By Marshal M. Rosenthal, ST-Log ISSUE 33 / JUNE 1989 / PAGE 48, Screenshots and review.
  3. ^ Trip-A-Tron, Hall Of Light – The database of Amiga games
  4. ^ Atari ST Trip-A-Tron, Advert scans, Atari Mania
  5. ^ 1988, Adrian Wagner (2) / Jeff Minter - Merak - The Video (VHS), Discogs, A Music Suite/Llamasoft Product, All graphics generated on the 'Trip-A-Tron' light synthesizer program created for the Atari range of computers.
  6. ^ 1096: Colourspace, By Pete, I'm Not Doctor Who, One thing that does stick in my mind from Trip-A-Tron, however, is a peculiar artistic project Minter undertook with a musician named Adrian Wagner known as Merak. Merak was a wordless, abstract story about the adventures of an android in space, and it was a spectacular combination of psychedelic visuals and memorable music

External links[edit]