Davidson's Atlas Game Engine

Discuss any beta and abandonware games.
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Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:11 pm

Davidson's Atlas Game Engine

Post by HeadsetGuy »

I've been trying to do research about the Atlas Game Engine, a proprietary engine developed by Davidson & Associates and used in several of their popular (and less popular) edutainment games, such as the "Blaster" series (1995 onward, I think). It was also used in some of the later JumpStart games, after Davidson got absorbed into Knowledge Adventure.

A game that I have, called "Learning Voyage: Sand Trapped!" (released as "Davidson's Learning Center Series: 3rd Grade"), includes references to debugging tools in some sound clips:
* "Hello, princess, you're in princess mode! Wimp~!"
* "Princess mode off! I have to work like the rest of us!"
* "All levels enabled!"
* "The stupid level shortcut is disabled! ...Heh-heh."
* "Wow! Woo-hoo! Free tokens, WOO-HOO!"
* "Oh joy..." "It says that there's a programming error, but that's impossible!" *nervous chuckle* "When you're ready, check AtSpy."

"AtSpy" was apparently the "Atlas Spy Module". I have no idea what its purpose was, but it was almost certainly used for something related to debugging; I have found almost no games that include AtSpy files on the disc itself, with the one exception being Math Blaster Jr., which includes both ATSPY.DLL and ATSPY32.DLL.

In addition, I have found several Davidson games that seem to include a hidden menu and hidden dialog boxes; Math Blaster Episode 2: Secret of the Lost City version 1.2c, in particular, seems to include a secret Debug menu with options such as "Animator", "Watch ResMgr", and "Matte Sprite", just to name a few, as well as a "Scenes" menu.

How do I go about accessing these menus and debugging tools? I haven't found it documented anywhere, and I suck at using reverse engineering tools. The closest I can figure is that pressing Alt+F6 does something, but I can't for the life of me figure out what (all I know is that games that display a title bar show it greyed out).

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