|★ APPLICATIONS ★ PAO/PRESSE ★ MICRO DESIGN 2/MICRODESIGN II|Amstrad Action) [WMG! ★|
|Micro Design 2/MicroDesign II||Applications Pao/presse|
Tim Morris takes a look at the preview version of something that could change the face of CPC DTPing.
A few years ago a program arrived that set the PCW world humming with excitement. It was Micro Design 2 and it wasn't really the sequel to Micro Design. The original had been a graphics program for designing electronic circuits and MD2 was the hottest ever desktop publishing program the PCW had ever seen. Now, thanks tc those nice people at Campursoft, MD2 is about to arrive on the 128k CPCs.
We've only seen the Beta test version where only some of the features have been implemented, but it already looks rather fab.
The finished program will have full page design capabilities, allowing the user to import graphics and text from other programs or to create them from within MD2 itself. There's quite an impressive-looking set of graphics tools and a comprehensive typesetting function.
It doesn't look as if any but the most basic of word processing facilities will be included, but text imported from outside can be typeset in a number of character sets (fonts) with full user control over character size and spacing as well as line spacing. Graphics functions include the usual shape drawing as well as fill, paint, and zoom (which allows half-pixel editing).
If your friend uses MD2 on the PCW you'll be able to import files created on their machine (.MDA files) provided they're not too big, as well as files from Stop Press. As with most DTP programs it works best with a mouse, but I tried it without and it's almost as easy to use.
MD2 deals with the page as a whole, unlike many DTP systems which treat text and graphics separately. Once text is typeset (ie once it's been flowed onto the page) it becomes part of the page and can be edited only as graphics, not as text. So if you spot an error in the text once it's on the page, you have to remove the text, edit it, and then flow it back onto the page again. One thing that will certainly be impressive, though, is the way MD2 flows text around pictures.
I'll have to wait until we get hold of the finished version and run some comparisons with the competition before I rave too much but, at the moment, it's looking as if MD2 is going to be well up there with the best of them. We've noticed something of a leap in the number of fanzines out there and there's no getting round the fact that a lot of them could do with a bit of pepping up, design-wise. There's no way of knowing, yet, whether MD2 is going to be the program to help do that, but it's certainly going to be one of the major contenders.