Pitman Publishing in Australia don't publish very many computer books, but when they do, they do it properly. This book is no exception. The cover of the book states "Pitman's First Book of Amstrad Games provides an introduction to writing programs on the Amstrad series of microcomputers". And that is certainly what the book does.
Many authors and publishers have lost track of what BASIC programming is all about. There is an abundance of books consisting of pages and pages of program listings and maybe an explanation of the BASIC keywords, which claim to teach you how to write programs. They appear to have overlooked the fact that there is a lot more to BASIC programming than stringing keywords together on consecutive line numbers. This book takes a new approach. While still placing a heavy emphasis on typing in program listings, each program listing introduces one or more new programming concepts. Each program is completely different but expands upon the uses of the concepts detailed in the previous programs. I was very impressed. The book teaches BASIC programming rather than BASIC keyword familiarisation. Enough of the ideology of the book, you probably want to know what's inside.
Well, it consists of twelve chapters. The first chapter, an introductory chapter, goes into some detail on the pitfalls of programming and how to overcome them. It describes some of the most common error codes and what they really mean in terms of your program, and also covers the main procedures for debugging programs that won't run.
The second chapter gives a series of listings for computer graphics. Graphics programs are a favourite of mine because they are short and easy to type in and yet they give you so much satisfaction. Those in the book are good examples of what I mean. I especially enjoyed the last one, "Wave", which produces an effect similar to the arcade game "QIX". The main feature of these graphics listings is that each one is based upon a single mathematical formula. By expanding on these programs it is easy to develop your own graphics programs. From here on each chapter consists of a program listing complete with notes on what it does, how it does it and how the program has been written. Each chapter introduces BASIC programming concepts in such a way that makes the book of great benefit to newcomers and experienced programmers alike. As if this feature alone is not enough to warrant my recommendation for all Amstrad programmers, the programs themselves are excellent, both in quality and content. I won't go into detail on all the programs in the book, but just to whet your appetite, here are a few. Touch Typing Tutor: If you can't touch-type, this program will teach you how, and if you can, this is a great way to improve your speed and accuracy. Maze Plays: Features include randomly generated maze, level of difficulty, timer, option to play same maze or new one and computer replay. Triathlon: If you have seen the arcade game "Hyper-Olympics" then you'll know what this one is about. This program shows you how it's done. Telcdex: A telephone directory which works like a phone book not a card file. This program can easily be adapted for many different applications. That's just a sample. There are also Ski Run, Emergency Landing, Draw Straws, Stop the Invasion, Sound Envelope Generator and Australiana Smith and the Forbidden Temple. The only criticism I could make would be that there should be more of it. This book may herald the coming of a new style of computer-books. I will eagerly await the release of "Pitman's Second Book of Amstrad Games".
The Amstrad User #8
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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.