Friday, April 09, 2021

Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge #AtariSTe

It's finally here, folks!!

After months in development, the time has now come to ditch your PC and dust off the old Atari. Yes, a public release of the Atari STe upgraded Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge will be available to download from tomorrow - April 10th. The only caveat is that your computer requires 1MB Ram and a working floppy disk drive.

The plan was to update Lotus with features missing from the original ST release. Jon added sky rasters, revamped roadside details and boosted the framerate. He later used the Blitter Chip to crunch those car sprites and smoothly scroll the landscape which delivered even more speed. Jamie Hamshere worked on the DMA audio to ditch the horrendous sound effects. As you can imagine, the end result of all this effort is staggering.

I'd like to thank Jon for all his hard work and for sharing what he created each step of the way. It's been great to follow, a fascinating experience and tons of fun. I would like to thank Jamie & Masteries for their incredible DMA skills; I'll never forget the first time I played Lotus with sampled sound effects alongside the chip music.

Downloads will be available from tomorrow morning via AtariMania. Well, that's my weekend sorted - enjoy!

One day I'll get myself a sports car and I'll live the game for real. One day...

Did you know?

The new Lotus Esprit actually works on the Atari ST and features nice sky rasters, faster gameplay and more. The only caveat is the 1MB Ram and also a Blitter Chip (check the Options menu in GEM if you're unsure!). All Mega STs meet these requirements and late-model STFM's have an empty socket... Feeling tempted to upgrade?

Worried that you don't have a working floppy disk at hand? Well, the download is compatible with floppy disk replacements and can also run off a hard drive/ultrasatan using programs like Floppy Image Runner.

The 16MHz Mega STe can run Lotus at dizzy speeds - just hold down the SHIFT key at bootup. Also, if you're missing the peculiar YM effects then press the ALT key at bootup to disable the DMA samples.

Finally, if you have extra hardware connected to your Atari STe, like hard drives, then power it off. Do not try leaving the hard drive on and attempting to bypass its auto-booting. Power it off and cold boot the computer.

Check it out, I made the high score table. Honest, I swear I did... ahem!!

Preview Release Timeline Updates (for reference)

Exciting news alert folks!! Massive progress is being made to the Atari STe upgrade of Lotus Esprit Turbo and I have been given the latest development releases that feature DMA sound samples alongside that gorgeous chip music. The roaring samples are taken from an unknown computer made sometime in the mid-80s.

Sorry, I forget its name. Amoeba or something silly? Not sure...

Anyhow, I've made a few video recordings to flaunt each release. All credit to Jonathan Thomas and Jamie Hamshere & Masteries (for DMA audio) for their hard work with each new release. Don't worry, the fantastic chip music remains as an option and the DMA playback has no negative effect on the framerate. Great work lads, keep it up!!

For reference, here are the links from each development build I have received:

Apr 10th - It's finally here to download from AtariMania!!
Mar 31st - video #6 Player two has sky gradient, Blitter scrolls the landscape per pixel, more audio refinements and a higher framerate!
Mar 28th - video #5 Portugal track (audio sample for the intro and many improvements made to the volume balance of YM/DMA.
Mar 21st - video #4 Practice track with a massive change to the audio. Lotus can play play DMA sound effect samples alongside the glorious Ben Daglish chip music!!! Volume refinements to come thanks to Jamie...
Mar  7th - video #3 Iceland track (DMA sfx).
Feb 28th - video #2 Mexico track (chip music).
Feb 21st - video #1 Italy track (chip sound effects).
Feb 21st - website feature with information, specs, photos, etc.. :-)
Dec 24th - Jon posted on Atari-Forum about his Lotus plan!


  1. The work and improvements brought on this game are impressive. The screeching tyres, the raster bars for the sky and the sign boards, all these features make the original game even better. Don't understand today why the first coders didn't implement these elements totally or partially (stf)

    1. Lack of time and talent... unlike today with Jon and Jamie :)

  2. Aw come one, I just started playing the Megadrive version on my Mega Sg, but this version looks so much better :D

    1. Thanks :D
      I've just checked out a video for the mega drive version... Ugh! And that chipmusic too O_o

    2. Lotos 1 & 2 was my fav racing games on atari st, beside Vroom and Stunt Car Racer. But the 3rd Lotus i only played on PC and it was great!

    3. oh imagine Stunt Car Racer without any changes (don't wanna ruin it) BUT with DMA samples for the sound effects.....

  3. ameaba... still lol from this one !

  4. Just a heads up, your link to the Youtube videos is broken. Missing the Y at the beginning of Youtube. :)

    1. THANKS!!!! How on earth I missed that one... lol

  5. This is fantastic! The graphics are faster and smoother than anything before!
    Unfortunately I am haviung issues with the sound. I hear the screeching of tyres but no engine or chip tune. :(
    STe 4MB, booted from floppy and Image Loader to same result.

    1. Really? Can you try this one:
      I've the same 4MB STe and I tried it the day before release. All ok :/

    2. That's very strange - there's a software mixer mixing the sound effects and engine sound together so I'd expect you to hear both or neither. Any problems with other games?

    3. Hi Steve and Jonathan
      I've looked at the Github link and the ST file is identical to what I have. To save doubling up on forum posts I'll stick to the thread on Atari-Forum but I can confirm that I've never seen this problem before. (I just hope my kit isn't failing!)

  6. Let's try it now! 🎉