APPLICATIONSCREATION GRAPHIQUE ★ Model Universe (c) ARNOR ★

Arnor - Model Universe|Amstrad Action)Applications Creation Graphique
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ELECTRONIC COAT-HANGERS
3D animated creations are fun and educational, but what use?

Recently there has been a spate of drawing and design programs for the Arnold. Most are artistic paintboxes, providing an electronic canvas to doodle on. Amor has a reputation for the case and power of its products - like Maxam. Does this latest offering have anything novel as well?

Yes, it certainly does. Mode! Universe is an introduction to three-dimensional graphics. It enables you to create 3D objects and to animate them in mode 1.1 can't think of another program that does anything like this.
Included is a pretty good demonstration program that enables you to see the sort of standard of the system. Although the blurb claims that 'From the technology of mainframe computers, Model Universe can simulate three-dimensional...' etc etc. this is untrue. Mainframes do not use microprocessors. However, from the point of view of the average enthusiast, the ability of Model Universe is really very good.

The program can accept input from the AMX mouse, a joystick or keyboard to move the various cursors and pointers which control exactly what happens on screen. Nearly everything the program does is menu-controlled - typing in data from the keyboard is kept to a minimum.

After making your choice of data entry, the main menu gives access to the design and display menus. First of all a design has to be created. This means drawing the outline of an object, using edges and vertices. (It's best to do a sketch of what you want before attempting to recreate it on Arnold.)

A vertex is a point where two or more edges meet. A cube has twelve edges and eight vertices. This may sound a bit complicated, but it's just 'joining the dots'in 3D. If you make a mistake, simply edit backwards to remove it. Tubes and pnsms are accomplished by drawing one face and 'extending' away from it.

The program will happily accept any old scrawl; nobody will get any brilliant results at the first attempt. After a while you suss out what is going on - the manual helps a lot here. One of tlie welcome features is that the main cursor (a small arrow) is 'intelligent'. It starts moving slowly and accelerates the longer you keep pressing the button.

Up to 255 edges and vertices can be used for each design. This should be adequate for most needs - a circle requires about 30 of them. Some complex effects are possible, but if you want to see something like the Eiffel tower, this just can't do it.
Once you have drawn your masterpiece, select the display menu. This enables you to rotate and translate around a viewpoint. The options are static mode, in which the object is moved around the midpoint of the screen, the origin: dynamic
mode, which rotates the object around its own axis; and viewpoint mode, which moves your view around the object, as if you were taking a stroll around it.

Bear in mind that a complicated object will take longer to display than a simple one. Also, all of the objects are 'wire frame1, as if made of coat-hangers. If you are not happy with your object, you can easily toggle back to the design menu and alter it.
The main menu also allows you to save and load designs, to change the default foreground, background and border colours and to destroy the design currently in memory. Only one object can be designed and animated at a time.
All the vertex and edge data can be saved as Basic arrays, to use in your own programs. An example of this is supplied in the manual. Designs can be dumped to a printer or plotter. The plotting routine supports only the Tandy CGP-115 or MCP40, so if your plotter is not compatible with those, you will have to write your own routine.

The packaging is a plastic box with no actual disc case. This is very annoying, because either you have to keep opening and closing the box or (like most people) you have a collection of disks exposed to dust, gnt and coffee. Large boxes may look nice but they are not as practical as proper cases.

Only a provisional manual was supplied for review but this, I have been assured, has exactly the same contents as the real manual. These chapters were laid out in a very logical manner, taking you through the various stages step by step.
Also included in the price is a free game called Gatecrasher, which up to now was only available from Amsoft at the full price. It's a one-screen game with quite good animation and graphics, but it's not really up to much. Mind you, it's better than a poke in the eye.

The only real drawback to the whole package is the price. It's a good idea, it's easylo use and it's educational. But £16 really is a bit steep for a product that only introduces you to 3D graphics.


PM , AMSTRAD ACTION #16

★ PUBLISHER: ARNOR
★ YEAR: 1986
★ CONFIG: 64K + AMSDOS
★ LANGUAGE:
★ LICENCE: COMMERCIALE
★ PRIX : £15.95 (tape) , £19.95 (Disc)
★ AUTHOR(S): ???

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.