Armor of the Gods
Armor of the Gods was a diskmag from Russia that was released in the years 1997 and 1998. The first three issues, edited by Warhawk of Religion, were almost completely in the Russian language. The fourth and final issue, edited by Programmer of Universe, had an English and a Russian section.
Armor of the Gods is available at scene.org. The fourth issue has been downloaded about 100 times. On my modern PC, it doesn't work. If run with DOSBox, the title picture is displayed, but I haven't found out how to get to the main menu - there's no response to keypresses or clicks.
Armor of the Gods #4
Armor #4 (subtitle: "Reborn") is from July 1998. The engine was coded by Warhawk. The pretty nice title picture (it's "Celia", which got the 15th place at The Party 1997) was drawn by Made of Bomb, and the background graphics are from Greenpix7 of Universe. The music comes from Tangerine of T-Rex and Xhale.
There is a very smooth transition from the title picture to the main menu. The AOG main menu itself is divided into three parts, like in Imphobia: The part on the top of the screen contains the AOG logo, in the middle there is the text window with the background gfx and on the bottom there are some more graphics and, instead of a progress bar, the name of the current article.
Now let's come to the controls. AOG is mostly controlled by mouse, the keyboard can only be used for scrolling in the articles but not in the main menu. You select an article from the main menu by clicking on its name with the right mouse button and scroll by moving the mouse to the left or right screen edge. The right mouse button exits the current article or, in the main menu, the whole mag. That's very much the same as in Imphobia. To get into the music menu, you have to move the mouse cursor to the bottom edge of the screen, which reminds me of Autark. Then a small and nice-looking music menu gets displayed. It looks like a rectangle and contains the buttons "stop", "play", "select tune 1", "select tune 2", like we know them from stereoes, a stereo-system-style display, a volume control and the name of the current tune. If you move the mouse upwards, this music menu vanishes again.
The design of the text windows is very much like in Imphobia: the text window is split into two columns, each of a width of 38 characters and a height of 15 lines. If you scroll backwards and forwards, however, it always scrolls by two columns to the left or to the right (the same as if you answer the question "Do you want to force a FULL (80 columns) scrolly?" in the Imphobia set-up menu with yes).
Only in the main menu more than one text-colour is used. The font in the articles themselves is mono-colour. But the interface supports the possibility of embedding pictures into the text, which is used in some articles.
After leaving the mainmenu, the mag exits and displays an ending ascii before returning to the OS.
About the text-design: There are some annoying mistakes. For example, in the main menu there is a section-headline on the bottom of the left column, and the first article-headline of this section is displayed in the right column. In the articles themselves things like this occur as well. I even spotted a headline-in-between on the bottom of the left column and its underlines in the right column. There are also some tables which would have easily fitted into one column but are split into two columns. That makes reading harder and is really bad text-design. On the other hand, the pictures which were inserted into some articles make the texts more lively and contribute a lot to the atmosphere of the mag.
AOG #4 is divided into three sections, the International Section, the Russian Section and some "Interesting Stuff" at the end of the mag (in English). These sections are divided into several sub-sections. The sub-sections of the International Sections are Main (editorial, news and rumours), Party (invitations, reports and results), Articles ("How to make the best demos", "Tips for IT to XM Conversion", "Friendly Sceners" and others), Interviews (Virago, GooRoo and Amusic), Charts (top 10 demogroups, graphicians, composers, coders, demos), Hardware (only one article: "Soundcards Review") and Nonsense (short stories and jokes). All in all AOG #4 contains 500 kbytes of articles (according to the file_id.diz). 38 people contributed to the charts, mostly Russians.
Many of the English articles were taken from the Coders F/X BBS Newsletter or from other diskmags. This "recycling" of articles was done with the permission of the other magazine editors who were parts of The E-Mag Network [TEN], a mailinglist where some diskmag editors exchanged articles.
Moreover, AOG #4 contains a Graphics Gallery with the pictures "Angelic Particles" by Danny and Louie, "Trapped" by Orome, and "Just another Story" by Orome. What motifs would you guess they have? Right, hand-pixelled uncompletely dressed women.
The news sections are small. The international news have mostly been gathered from the votesheets and are sorted by the people who have sent them. In total there are about three columns of international news. The Russian news section is larger. There is also a nice feature: After each news Programmer has added a value in percent indicating how probable it is that this news is true.
What else is in AOG #4? Well, there are lots of spelling errors in the non-[TEN] English articles and the mainmenu ("Mekka and Symphosium"), and some party-results that use the Windows charset were not adjusted to DOS ASCII.
Moreover, attached to the mag, there is a zip-file which contains an example program to the Russian Vesa tutorial by Warhawk.
From a technical point of view Armor of the Gods #4 is great. And in contrast to some other diskmags which are technically also great, Armor doesn't lack international content. 500 kbytes is a large text-size compared to other PC diskmags of those days, and that's good even though many articles were already published elsewhere.