|★ APPLICATIONS ★ CREATION GRAPHIQUE ★ THE ILLUSTRATOR (c) GILSOFT ★|
|The Quill Adventure System (Amstrad Computer User)||The Illustrator (Popular Computing Weekly)|
All for art
I won't insult your intelligence by pretending you don't know what the Quill is. or that the Illustrator is designed to allow you to add graphics to the adventures you write with it. If you've bought Quill and like it then wild horses probably wouldn't keep you from buying this too - but is it good enough to convince new users to fork out nearly thirty quid on the combined package?
The first point of note is that the Illustrator is not a screen designer - the artwork you produce is not saved as screen RAM. rather it produces a series of machine code graphics mstructions that are interpreted at the correct point in the game and the entire picture redrawn. This means that, as long as you avoid too complex shapes, many pictures can be produced using very little memory space. This contrasts to a screen file which takes up 16K no matter how simple or convoluted the artwork. The obvious drawback to the system is that it takes time to redraw the picture but the good news is that it runs very fast indeed - comparable to professional offerings from companies such as Level 9 which use a similar technique.
Other advantages are that once the command sequence for a shape is defined it is very easy to alter the size of the parameters it holds - in English this means that if you draw a shape you can easily fill the picture, or later pictures with recreations of the same thing of different sizes and colours.
You are also provided with a very wide range of shading patterns to use in the fill routine. It's ingenius and powerful.
There are. however, certain types of graphic effect that are almost impossible to do with this system and the end result always seems to tend toward cubism. It most definitely couldn't cope with Terry Greer style graphics (now wouldn't that be a utility and half!). But if you don't mind simple blocky looking pictures, then the biggest disadvantage to the Illustrator is that the code it produces only works with the Quill and can't be bolted on to your own program.
Tony Kendle, PopularComputingWeekly851003