|★ APPLICATIONS ★ CREATION GRAPHIQUE ★ Screen Graphics Packaged ★|
|Bunyip Software - Screen Graphics Packaged|The Amstrad User)||Applications Creation Graphique|
MADE IN AUSTRALIA
Bunyip Software is new to the scene as a commercial software developer, and has no doubt been burning much midnight oil in Murray Bridge, SA to complete its first offering 'Screen Graphics Package 6" for the 464/664 and 6128 Amstrads.
The package consists of a Screen Drawing (designer) program, a character editor and utility, a utility to load redefined character sets, a disc editing utility, a program to dump screens to an Epson compatible printer, a demonstration and a library of pictures and character sets. With the disc comes twentyone pages of instructions including a dire warning on the front that certain routines have been included to prevent copying. There is also a couple of "Public Domain'1 programs at the end of the instructions to reload saved copy areas or character sets. Although suitable for all CPC machines (better if they have colour monitors), 6128 owners will appreciate having the extra 64k tne program uses for storing pictures.
Screen Drawing program
This operates in Mode 0 or 1, and shapes are achieved by moving a non-destructive cursor pixel with the aid oi a joystick or through the numeric keypad. As the cursor moves a bleep is issued, and to get from one side of the screen to the other a little faster, the fire button (or shift) can be held down. Simply pressing "L" will start the continuous line drawing and if the fire button (or shift) is pressed at the same time, a dotted line is drawn. The style of line can be varied from standard to heavy, small rectangles or textured (in Mode 1). A useful feature is a "flash" in the border of the screen to indicate that the instruction you have just issued has been carried out.
Colours can be changed quite easily, even to the point of alternating between two colours if desired. You'll also find a "zoom" style facility to accurately locate the cursor and an adjustable width air-brush. With the latter, 6128 owners have the advantage of being able to spray with 2 colours.
Naturally all the standard squares, circles, ovals and so on can be drawn and filled using a variety of key press commands which become easier to use (and remember) as the program is used more.
One of the main features is a "cut and paste" facility. This is achieved by moving a rectangle to a position on the screen and adjusting the size if necessary. Pressing "X" copies that area, and pressing "Z" sets up the target area (where you want lo put the copy) which can be moved to the desired position. Press CLR and whammo - the copy is transferred. Again, various keys provide the facility to double the copy area or shrink it including horizontally or vertically. It is also possible to save the selected copy area onto disc or tape as a separate file to include in another picture at a later date. This is actually saved in two files - an ASCII file with the size and description and another file with the data.
If that's not enough, there is a mirror option that copies the area to the right or below (upside down) and with the choice of making it "rippled" - as though it were a reflection.
Loading and saving pictures is simple, and in most eases is carried out with a minimum of key depressions. You have the choice of either saving just the screen (in which ease no record is made of the colours) or the whole work of art using the "auto-run" facility. For 6128 owners, pressing a particular key will save the main screen to the 2nd RAM bank.
There are many versions around, all achieving almost the same results. The presentation in this version is clear with some helpful features. At the time the module is loaded, you are requested to enter the symbol character from which you will start. This activates a display of that number plus the next 19, with the ability to "scroll" further down the range if required. The obligatory large matrix is also displayed to enable the new character to be defined. Once defined and saved, the new character is placed in the display line in a different colour for easy identification.
A facility is also provided to create small pictures with a number of selected characters, a string variable filled with CHR$(xx) values to be precise. The output can be saved in Basic format to be merged with another program. Control codes 1 to 31 may be included in the string. Other facilities include the option to run a mini version of the main Drawing program which provides the "cut and paste" facility and the ability to copy then rotate or invert any of the characters from 32 to 255. Load Character Sets This utility allows character sets previously produced and saved by the Character Designer program to be reloaded as data files. You are able to load them in their normal position or specify a start position within the character range of 48 to 254.
Disc Editing Utility
This is a fairly standard utility, but with so many files containing pictures and redefined characters which are bound to occur after using the package for a while, it's useful to have this utility handy. It provides three simple functions - CATalogues, |ERAse and |REName.
Screen Dump to Printer
After slaving over a hot keyboard for hours, this utility will produce the hard copy on your printer, assuming it's has 960 dots per line bit image mode like the DMP2000 which is Epson compatible. Naturally you won't get the colours, but the dump utilises 16 shades of grey. You ha ve a choice to print a full screen with the added advantage of being able to crop the picture and select a particular section, enlarge or shrink it, then print. In addition, if you find that the density of the printed dots it not to your liking, you can use the "find and replace ink" option to change the colour and in consequence the dot pattern. Demonstration
With the picture files on Side 2 of the disc, a demonstration of what can be achieved with the Drawing program is presented. 6128 owners who have not experimented with the extra 64k will be pleasantly surprised to see how fast three pictures can be loaded, one after the other.
Clearly a great deal of work has cone into producing this package (although the documentation needs tidying up -1 believe this is happening before the official release), and after an initial slow start caused only by my inability to remember all the key depression necessary, within just a few hours I had created a pretty colourful representation of my own house. Regrettably, I had just 48 hours to look at the package so I look forward to having a more comprehensive look at a later stage.