|★ APPLICATIONS ★ PAO/PRESSE ★ STARDUMP ★|
|Goldmark Systems: Stardump (CPC Attack)||Applications Pao/presse|
StarDump is written in machine code, and is very professionally presented. The instructions are supplied in the form of a small printed leaflet, about the size of a box of large matches.
Supplied with this utility is a screen from Panic Dizzy by Codemasters, which is a fine example of a medium resolution mode 1 screen. There are so many good things about this program that it would take a whole page to list them, so we'll only deal with the main ones.
The program, like most of Goldmark's utilities, can be run off both A & B drives, but saving is always to drive A. The filing system is remarkably easy to use, with the file to print selected using a highlighted bar. The wonderful thing about StarDump, apart from the printout quality, is its ability to handle a wide variety of file formats. You can throw Multiface, Spectrum-size. Goldmark. or Advanced Art Studio screens at it without a whimper of complaint.
The printer dump routine is written to work with any Epson-compatible graphic 24-pin printer - and that means just about everything! The dump is also very fast, (one of the fastest I have ever seen in relation to the output quality!), but high quality speedy printing obviously wasn't enough for Goldmark, who have taken the step of incorporating 8-bit printer drivers, not only for their own port, but also 5 other types. These are the KDS v1,2 and 3, the Electric Studio port, as well as the DIY one, and after being asked whether you are using an 8-bit port, your next mission (should you chose to accept it), is to tell it which of the ports you have.
The PLUS range of CPC's are already kitted with an 8-bit printer port, but the firmware is not designed to utilise it. Stardump can however detect PLUS machines and install code to drive the port. Okay, you are asking yourself, stop going on about it. and tell us how it works. It's quite easy really. There's a number of choices which require either a YES or a NO answer, with other selections listed as choices. The disc in the selected drive is CATalogued. and the picture selected. There is a choice of print size, from 7.11" by 4.44 ". 8.00" by 5.55", 10.60 by 6.66" to Spectrum size.
The choices of screen type are Standard 17k screen. Advanced Art Studio, Multiface screen, and Goldmark compressed screen. On selecting Standard screen, ink values are prompted for. so that the Grey scales can be correctly matched with the picture. With any other type of screen the ink values are predefined in either the screen file itself, or in the case of Advanced Art Studio, by the PALette file saved with the screen. Finally the screen mode is selected, either 0. 1 or 2. It may sound quite complicated, but in reality, with full menu driven options. Stardump couldn't be easier to use. One word of warning though, it hates ROMs, especially, I suspect, ROMDOS. The disk drive head nearly came out the back of the casing when the ROMs weren't turned off! This is the best screen dump program available. It may seem rather expensive for what it seems to do. but when you see the quality of the output, by golly! it's worth it.