APPLICATIONS ★ GRAPHICS ADVENTURE CREATOR: PROGRAMMING TUTORIAL 2 ★

Gac - Programming Tutorial Part 2 (Amstrad Action)
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Now, either my previous two GAC articles were so well written that no-one had any problems at all or no-one cares! (sob! The Balg) So this month I've decided to move away from our bank adventure (which I will use every now and then for examples) and continue explaining the intricacies of GAC.

This month we'll look at the graphical capabilities of GAC..

Drawing graphics in GAC is very simple and easy to master and can improve youi adventure greatly. Adding graphics to an adventure is good fun, too, as you can see the results take shape before your very eyes.

Press 'G' from the main menu to enter the graphics section of GAC. On the screen will be a rectangular window, a compact menu below and a question 'Which picture number?'. Press T and press ENTER - the question will disap pear and cross-hairs will appear in the middle of the window.

You can move the cross-hair around one pixel at a time using the arrow (cursor) keys and for rapid movement (of 8 pixels a tame) you can press the cursor keys in conjunction with SHIFT.

Graphic commands:

arrows Cursor
Move the cross-hair around the screen.

SHIFT arrow Cursor
Move the cross-hair around the screen quickly.

ESC Escape
Change picture number or press again to return to main menu

D Dot
Place a dot on the screen.

DEL Undo
Take back last command e.g. if you just pressed D for a dot then pressing DEL will delete the dot. In the top right hand side of the screen is the word 'LAST', which tells you what your last command was.

COPY Pen
Puts pen on;off paper - press COPY once to start a line and then move the cross-hair to where you want the line to terminate and press COPY again. If you look at the pen on the right hand side of the screen you will know when your pen is up or down on the 'paper'

I Ink
Change colour of 'pen' - On the left hand side of the screen is a set of number (0 to 3) followed by coloured squares. These are the colours of the various inks you can use. When chosen the pen on the right of the screen will change colour to the one you have chosen.

F Fill
The fill command can colour-in a section of the screen with up to two separate colours (chosen using the S command). The fill routme is very fast but not very good with irregular shapes -these shapes may need several 'fills'to colour in completely. See the diagram below for more details on how the fill routine works. Note that you can only fill any area of solid colour not shaded areas, as, due to their composition, you will only fill one pixel.

+routine position

The area filled is worked out by the fill roubtine checking up and down from the cursor position until it hits something, giving a horizontal band of colour.

S Shades
Used to determine what colours you want to fill with - if you want a solid colour then just press the ink number twice. You only need to re-do the 'S' shading command again if you change the colour If you have several FILLs the same colour there is no need to re-type *S' in between them.

C colour
Change your choice of colours used in four colour 'inkpot'. First choose which colour ink you want to change and then you will be asked for two letters taken from the table below.

  • SPACE: black
  • R: bright green
  • J: cyan
  • B: bright blue
  • T: bright cyan
  • L: yellow/brown
  • D: magenta
  • V: pastel green
  • N: pastel blue
  • F: bright red
  • X: gold
  • P: pink
  • H: bright magenta
  • Z: white
  • I: green
  • A: blue
  • S: sea green
  • K: sky blue
  • C: red/brown
  • U: lime green
  • M: white/grey
  • E: mauve
  • W: pastel cyan
  • O: orange 
  • G: purple
  • Y: pastel yellow
  • Q: pastel magenta

If you change ink 0 to BB then the background ink will turn bright blue (0 is background, 1 is text), however AI would produce a background flashing between blue and green. Experiment with this command carefully, though - make sure you don't set ink 0 and ink 1 to the same colour or you won't be able to read anything!

E Ellipse

Draw an ellipse (a squashed circle) on the screen - useful for drawing clouds, suns, moons, holes in the floor etc. Of course, it can also be used for drawing a circle if you get the proportions right. Press 'E' again when you have moved the cross hair to where you want the ellipse to finish.

R Rectangle

Draw a rectangle.

Editing pictures

The CTRL key and the cursor keys will step you backward and forward through the picture step-by-step so that you can insert things half-way through.

  • CTRL-left takes you back one command (similar to DELete in that the last thing disappears, but it is not deleted).
  • CTRL-right takes you forward one command.
  • CTRL-up takes you forward five commands.
  • CTRL-down take you back five commands.
  • SHIFT-> deletes everything from this point in the picture to the end.
  • W Draw the whole picture back again.
One other very useful feature of GAC is that of merging pictures - for instance you may find that in your adventure you have a single basic cave shape, which you want to use in many of your pictures, but details differ. It is possible to insert a picture already created into the picture you're in by pressing 'P', typing the number of the picture you want to include, and pressing ENTER. This is then drawn over the top of anything there. (It's usually best to merge at the start of the drawing process - you can then draw around the merged picture).

Finally, to actually allocate pictures to various locations you must move to the rooms menu and change the picture at that location to the picture number you have drawn on the graphics menu.

Amstrad Action #78

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