o create a magazine is more difficult than we imagined! After only a few weeks
we already knew that it was going to take a very long time to produce the kind
of magazine we had envisioned. But, being the enthusiasts we are,
we jumped at the work and finished the magazine in one whole year.
All this time was one big learning experience! To think of something original is one thing, to actually realise it is another. We used almost every piece of software we had (including stuff from coverdisks and demoversions). And still there wasn't enough to make a magazine. We still had to create our own programs, such as ProGUIDE, ProGUIDE checkers, and other small programs that simplified complicated or repetitive tasks such as setting up the active picture areas, and placing images. Inside the magazine we wanted to use effects that we didn't want to incorporate in the ProGUIDE program, so we also wrote us a modplayer, an animplayer, a colourcycling program and a small 'invaders' game. (wow! -WEd.)
Almost everything in the magazine was created using nothing but our imagination. The backdrop pattern of the Worms review for instance, was drawn by a composer/programmer (and certainly not graphics artist) of The Problem using DPaintIV and Photogenics. And what about the Doomclone-revolotion article? The tunnel was raytraced with (the coverdisk version of) Imagine 2.0, and adapted for colourcyling with PPaint. It really shows that the Amiga is, if no longer state-of-the-art, still a creativity-inducing computer. Who other than a real Amiga-nut would spend so much time on creating a goodlooking article? With all the major DTP programs around on other platforms, not many people will think of writing a 'disk-mag' anyway! Layout is easy these days, but most articles that come from the DTP office look alike: boring and newspaper-style.
The extra features of a diskmagazine above a real magazine, also make for better fun when creating articles. You can imagine that it is quite a satisfaction to see that an idea such as the 'Probe Invaders', the 'channel-search intro' or the colourcycling tunnels actually works out they way you planned it.
Most of the ideas we get seem impossible at first, but after some braintwisting mindflow sessions most things become possible after all. Another great kick is when you accidentally create something astounding! Just fiddling around with one or another paint program, a programming laguage, a scanner or whatever, can lead to unexpected but great looking restults. Many pages in Probe1 came to an existance in this way. I mention the backdrop graphics for the main page (see picture) and the Vapourware main page, and the 'fuzzy keyboard' backdrop in the articles about linux and ProGUIDE (drawn in the same way as the worms picture and the X-logo from the X article).
Another stimulating factor was the fact that ProGUIDE is so feature-infested. Every function had to be tried out and many tricks that we hadn't even thought of when implementing the features were discovered. During all the time we spent on the magazine, we kept a close eye at the diskmagazines reviewed in Amiga magazines and the ones we found out about ourselves. We never found one that matched Probe. That is the one thing we were afraid of: that others would beat us to it! We know how that feels from previous experiences.
Speaking of others: there is something else that really gets you going when creating something as big as Probe1. Support from others. It really is great to see others developing an interest in your project. So if somebody says he/she wants to contribute an article, a picture or whatever, then that is great. This is how we got the text for the Linux article in Probe1. We even got a new member out of it: Digital. His first contribution to The Problem's work was the intro/title picture of Probe1 (the satellite-dish towers). When people want to contribute, you get a real 'team-work' spirit. And that is, I guess, what everybody would feel when taking part in our next project.
The final, and probably most important ego-trip we got from Probe1, was the user response. Although we were not overwelmed with reactions from all over the planet, messages dropped in once in a while. And the best thing was that all reactions were positive. In all our previous 'big' projects this had never happened. It was great to find out that somebody liked Probe1 and that he got it from the AmiNet CD. We didn't even know it was on CD-ROM in the first place! That's exactly the sort of thing that keeps us going. You don't know what you are missing if you don't try something too. We offer you the opportunity: Take part in developing the very best magazine ever...
Probe 2 : Problem Reality