STOS: The Game Creator was a programming language
released in 1988 for the Atari ST
software. STOS was written by Francois Lionet and Constantin Sotiropoulos and quickly became one of the most popular 'beginner' programming languages
for the ST
, next to GFA basic
Basically, STOS was a BASIC interpreter with a library of game-related functionality built-in. You wrote your programs in the old '10 PRINT HELLO; 20 GOTO 10' way.
What made STOS unique (and popular) is that it integrated so much functionality (sprite and graphics handling, chip music playback, saving and loading of the most common graphics formats (Degas (.PI1), NEOchrome etc), joystick and mouse handling as well as a primitive windowing environment) that it let you get quickly to the meat of designing your game with minimal effort. This may not be the most professional approach to software design, but the point of STOS was to make game programming accessible and user-friendly, so that prospective game developers would be able to get into creating games and seeing results quickly without putting too much time into pre-production.
To this goal, STOS included several tools such as sprite and music editors. To demonstrate its possibilities, it also came with 3 pretty cool games written in STOS (including source code): Zoltar, a Galaxian-like shoot'em up; Orbit, an Arkanoid/Breakout clone; and Bullet Train, a speedy train game.
STOS grew quickly in popularity and spawned several add-on products, such as STOS Maestro (sample playback), STOS 3D (Flat-shaded polygons... ahh, those were the days) and the STOS Compiler.
In 1990, Francois Lionet released AMOS, the Amiga version of STOS. AMOS was a vast improvement over STOS, leaving its BASIC roots behind and using a more Pascal-like syntax (more loops, less GOTOs and line numbers). As with STOS, AMOS became one of the most popular applications on the Amiga.