|★ APPLICATIONS ★ DEPLOMBAGE ★ DISCOVERY PLUS|Amstrad Action) ★|
|Siren Software - Discovery 1||Siren Software - Discovery Plus|
Tape to disk with a touch of control
Discovery Plus is a revamp of Siren's original tape-to-disk Discovery. There have been vast improvements concerning ease of use, presentation and general performance of the software.
Included on the disk are 'Tape Disk', which was previously sold on its own as a headerless copier, 'Tape Disk 1a revolutionary multi-copier program, and 'Splock Trans', which deals with the DJL Speedlock loaders (a protection system used by some software houses).
The original Discovery has also been put on the disk. We reviewed this in the February issue; suffice to say that Discovery transfers ordinary block-saved programs from cassette to disk. It will rename or relocate the files to make them compatible with the disk operating system.
Siren's new improved Speedlock transfer program (sounds like a commercial for soap powder), called 'Splock Trans', will need approximately 52k of free disk space, as it has been configured to handle even the longest of programs. This routine asks for a name under which to save the program and proceeds to load the game as normal. Once loaded, the disk motor will start up and, hey presto, it's on disk - magic. After the transfer has been completed, the game will start normally.
For those awkward headerless files on cassette - another common form of protection - 'Tape Disk' is available to transfer them to disk. However, they will not run independently; they must be run from within the 'Tape Disk' program, which is designed to discourage piracy.
'Tape Disk 1' is a most amazing piece of programming. It transfers software to disk at the touch of the Control key. The program loads and runs the game as normal; as soon you press Control, the game is on disk. It is similar in principle to the various hardware devices on the market - such as Multiface II by Romantic Robot or the Mirage Imager.
It has its limitations obviously. Although many cassette software titles are easily transferred - especially those with loading music - 'Tape Disk 1' needs a completely free computer: all expansion roms and interfaces must be removed (with the exception of the disk interface, of course). Programs saved using this method need the original 'Tape Disk 1! program present on the same disk. Furthermore, whatever was saved on a 464 will work only on a 464, what was saved on a 664 will run only on a 664 and so on.
Discovery Plus must be the most advanced, and probably the most efficient, tape-to-disk transfer utility to date. You do pay for the privilege, though: £15 is nothing to sneeze at.
It must be noted that this program takes steps against piracy - particularly that the Discovery file must always be present on the disk.