Submitted by Dan Dooré on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 - 11:29.
|Menu||Graham Goring Roger Hartley|
|Editorial||Pc To Sam Article, Samsprite by Wayne Coles Update|
|Letters||Adventures, Sam Vision, Comet|
|Laser Squad||Julian Gollop||Another Really Amazing Speccy Game|
|Scr$ Compressor||Andrew Collier||New Fast Version & The Best Compressor|
|Zeolite||Robert Pain||Scrolly Sphere Demo|
|Black Jack||John Eyre||Sam C Card Game|
|'The' Interview||Colin Anderton||With Graham Goring|
|E-Tunes||Jack Bailey||Tra La La, Tum Te Tum|
|Jellytext||Graham Goring||Chortle Chortle Chortle Chortle|
|Pc Text Converter||Graham Goring||Very Effective Text Converter|
|Modules||Chris Dodd||Converted Amiga Mods|
|Disc Utility||Graham Goring||Disc Reader/Recoverer/Changer|
|Samples Fix||James R Curry||Small Bug Fixer For '4 Samples'|
|Circuitry||Graham Goring||Complete The Set As Many Times As Poss|
CA Still A Bit Late, But Getting Closer Freditorial Blimey, it only seems like yesterday that I was putting the finishing touches to last month's FRED. Which isn't surprising because it was. However, I think you'll find that despite recent "variable" deadlines, FRED is still the most reliable magazine on the SAM, not to mention the best. With any luck, and I think we're about due for some, this issue is going to get to you just before the April Gloucester show. Having said that, I'll probably get a massive disc error, the postman will put a magnet instead of a stamp-mark on the envelope containing the master copy, the duplicators will forget to put the labelling on the disc and the postman who eventually delivers the issue at your end will crash the van just before your house. Sounds like a normal month to me.... CA Ham and Cheese Sandwich With this issue, you'll notice that I've now been with FRED for a full 18 months. It only feels like about 3 months, probably because that's all Colin has paid me for, but I'll soon be beating that Brian McConnell in the number-of-issues-done race. Although as someone kindly pointed out to me, I'm still known as the "new editor", and probably will be in years to come. Oh well, that's the hardship you endure for twizzling on your chair all day and occasionally typing a word and calling it a part time job. Ho ho ho. I've just asked my brother what to write about in my editorial, and after thinking deeply and meaningfully, divulging into his worldwide knowledge and amazing on the spot experience, I got the wonderful reply of "I don't know". Then, like throwing salt and vinegar and aftershave into an open wound, he followed that by the words "No-one reads it anyway". What a lovely brother I have. Killkillkillkill. CA Ouch. High Blood Pressure. I had the biggest, most bizarre, amazing coincidence last weekend. Blimey, I though it was only Colin Mac who had strange coincidences, but it seems that it comes with the name. I went into Cheltenham last Saturday on a bit of a "shopping because there's nothing to do" trip. Anyway, I was just walking down the main street when I bumped into the person who lives opposite me at University. Quite a coincidence, I thought, but it doesn't stop there. He had a friend with him who he knew at school. Anyway, we got chatting and after Dan mentioned I was the editor of a disc magazine on the SAM, his friend's eyes almost dropped out. When we asked him why, he told us that he subscribes to FRED! Dan didn't even know Chris (the SAMmer) owned a SAM, yet it turns out he's one of the new subbers we got about 6 months ago after the mailshot. Why on Earth don't those sort of probabilities occur when I do the lottery? CA I Think I'm Going To Cry *sob* My stupid arrrggghhhwhycan'tIswearinFRED blasted tape player has just chewed up my 'The Police' tape. It wasn't even a copy from CD, it was one I bought on tape. It's ruined. In a fit of anger, I kicked the tape player a bit too hard and now it's in the bin in pieces. Stupid short temper. I've now got nothing I can listen to music on. Dammit. Sorry, I mean, darnit. Calmity, calmity, calm. Calm calm calm. That's better. Right, with the beautiful tweeting of dicky birds and the wind rustling through the leaves, I'll carry on. On the next page is an article, written by me. I've decided that although I have been described as the World's Wittiest Man (by myself), I can always take the time to write a sensible article. It's all about converting stuff from PC to SAM. I hope you'll find it of some use. Here's part one... CA Easy PC... Converting stuff from PC to SAM is becoming more popular. It's a more common way of getting text articles or screens onto the SAM. Indeed a number of things that you read on FRED have been sent from a PC (screens, interviews, etc). Even programs have used PC's to get them to me. For example, Jellytext has been archived into one file, stuck on a PC disc, sent via e-mail and then slapped back onto the SAM. Before you think 'This is all a bit complicated, I'm skipping this bit', bear with me. Heck, if I can do it, then anyone can. Except my mum. The cat learns things quicker than my mum. But anyway, that doesn't matter. If you can get access to a PC, whether it be your own, your school's, university's or work's, or even some chap you met at the bus stop yesterday, then you can make a lot of use out of it. You will need a bit of knowledge of using a PC to be able to do it. Don't panic though, you don't need much. When I first dabbled in this area, I had no understanding whatsoever and the CA Easy PC... (get it?) guy sat next to me did it all for me. The person who owns the computer will be able to tell you how to put a file onto disc, and that's pretty much all you need. Let's start with the most common - converting text. Text on the PC is stored is a similar way to the SAM. All the letters have the same code, as most of the other things do (spaces, full-stops, etc). Therefore you may think that straight conversion is simple, right? Well, not really. There is one big difference between SAM text and PC text, and that's the way it's formed. SAM text is generally 64 column (which means there are 64 characters of text in each row, like in this article) and at the end of lines, spaces are put in to make it all line up on the left hand side and to prevent half words at the end of lines. On the PC, text length is variable. I'm not sure what the CA Easy PC... (it's like 'Easy Peezy') general length is, but I think most texts are 76 column. Also, rather than putting spaces at the end of a line, there are things called Character Codes - an invisible character which tells the computer to start the next word on the next line. On the SAM, these either come out as question marks, or are shown as spaces on Outwrite so you don't think they're there, but once compressed come up as stupid little characters (aargh) so Colin has to get rid of them and then recompress the editorial. There are a couple of wordprocessors which use these return codes, but in general SAM word processors insert spaces. The other problem is that because PC lines are of longer length, they come out as rubbish on the SAM. For instance, a converted piece of text may look like this on the SAM: There are many techniques to using a golf club. The first we sha ll look at is?the famous arch swing. Etc, etc, etc. CA Easy PC... (well, I thought it was good) Note the unwrapped word 'shall' and the question mark. A straight reforming will leave a space in the middle of shall. So, we have the idea of the differences, now what do we do? In true Blue Peter style, here's a list of things you will need: A 720K formatted PC disk Some text on the PC KE_Disk (FRED 36) or another PC disk reader A SAM disk A decent SAM word processor Firstly, put the text you want to convert onto the PC disk. This is the bit where you might have to ask an adult to help! Secondly, load KE_Disk. Insert the PC disk and press return. Type LD followed by the name of your file (eg LD MYTEXT) and press return. Insert a SAM disk and press RETURN. It's essential you press return again so the program knows you want CA Easy PC... (it's better than PC of cake) to use a SAM disk next. Type SV followed by what you want to call it (I use the same name to make things simpler). Press RETURN and it should save the file to SAM disk. One note - KE_Disk doesn't recognise SAM disks that don't have a DOS on them. Don't know why, it just doesn't. Sorry if you use a different PC to SAM converter. I've never needed to get another, but hopefully you get the idea and you can do the same on that program. Right, now we've got that dodgy text I was going on about earlier. There are a number of ways of correcting this, although every method I've used requires you to do some pretty boring jobs. On this issue of FRED, you will find a PC to SAM text converter. It's written by Graham Goring and is so far the best one I've used. Not only does it strip all unwanted codes out, but it CA Easy PC... (heh heh, PC of cake. That's good) checks each line and shifts code about so that you don't have half words. Yesterday, when I was writing this article, I didn't have this program, so I've had to make quite a few changes (including getting rid off my wonderful BASIC program). Once you have run your text through the text converter, it should be almost perfect. Graham's thing has an option of going through your code and inserting return characters, but I find that putting the text as it is into Outwrite and then messing about with it there does the trick much better. In general, the only problems you will find is that paragraphs may not have the line between them and centralised text won't be centralised, and it may even be on two different lines. This requires just a little tidying up, but believe me, it's a LOT easier than trying to do it from scratch. CA PC of Cake... The only other piece of information I can give is that if you want to convert text from the Amiga or another machine to the SAM, the best way of doing it is to convert text from Amiga to PC (without altering it), then from PC to SAM. I put Archimedes text onto PC disk, then convert using KE_Disk. Computers like the Archimedes can automatically read PC disks, so it's just as if you're using a PC. Other computers such as the Amiga will need their own version of KE_Disk that can read and transfer files for both Amiga and PC disks. If anyone has any more queries, or if something isn't working properly and there's something I should explain better, please write in. Next month, I'll cover converting screens and MODs (MODs are really easy). CA Come and Have A Go If You Think You're Hard Enough I hope you enjoyed that. Well, if you read it, that's enough. Anyway, articles are a thing that I want more of. They help the editorial appeal to a much wider audience (someone other than just myself). Carol Brooksbank has started work on some SAM C articles which will begin in a couple of issues time and John Eyre will be going through the making of a SAM C game. However, if you feel you can write something about ANY of the subjects below, please write in. We can get these youngsters learning things yet. - The SAM Hard Drive - Computer Compatability - SAM C - help, tips, explaining programs, etc. - Using MASTERDOS, Gamesmaster, SCADs, E-Tracker, SAMPaint, etc. - Reviews (I'll even print really nasty ones) - Internet articles If you're unsure of how good you'll be, write something and I'll either put it in, or tell you what to explain better. CA News SAM COMPANIES ARE GO! This is your last reminder of the April SAM & Speccy Gloucester show. If this gets to you in time, then good. If it doesn't then I'll hide my head in embarrassment. Anyway, the show is on SATURDAY 20TH APRIL at Quedgeley Village Hall in Quedgeley, Gloucester. It's right next to Tesco's, so if you get a bus, ask to get off at Tescos in Quedgeley. FRED, Format, Revelation, Steve's Software, Crashed, Zodiac, SAM PD, Nev with the SAM Hard Drive and dozens more people will either be there or be represented there. Simon may be hiding away in the corner showing off his accelerator board again in the hope that Bob doesn't charge him for a stand. Stefan will probably be walking about selling MOD players. Christina (the girl on the door) will be there giving you all something to look at once you're bored with computers (ho ho). I'll be there eagerly interviewing people. FRED and probably most of the other companies will be offering bargains galore. And most CA News importantly, you'll be able to talk to and get help from lots of other SAM and Spectrum celebrities. So, beg your mum to let you go, beg your wife to let you out the house for a day (in fact, bring her along to carry everything for you) and beg your boss to give you the day off. It's the SAMs biggest and best extravaganza of the year. Let's make it the busiest. We all look forward to seeing you there. And don't forget to bring along the details of your Fantasy FRED League Team! DOUBLE VISION SAM Vision, the additional super library for SAM C has sold extremely well in only it's first month. Around half of the people who own SAM C have already purchased SAM Vision and so far, the signs are that it's more than people could have hoped. CA News SPRITELY LITTLE DEVIL An updated version of SAMSprite has been finished which has just tidied up a couple of little bits and incorporated variable cursor speeds and the option of double clicking on filenames to load them. If you would like the upgrade, send a stamp addressed envelope and the original SAMSprite disk to the usual FRED address. HMMM The final bit of news we have this month is that ELVIS has just ordered Grubbing For Gold from FRED!!! What an amazing bit of news. Erm, that's Elvis Smith from Newcastle. Sorry. Anyway, the deadline for the big FRED competition is closing, so here's a final reminder. Entries by next month please --> CA It's the one and only official.... ***** *** * * ***** *** **** * * * * * ** * * * * * * * *** ***** * * * * ***** *** * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * **** * ***** **** ***** **** * * * * * * *** **** *** * * * * * * * * * * * ***** **** * ***** *** **** * * ***** * * * * * * * * * *** ***** * *** * * *** * * * * * * * * * ***** ***** * * **** *** ***** CA Fantasy FRED League Yes, that's right. You've heard of Fantasy Football League, where you build up a team of 11 players from any club with a limited budget and you get points for goals, clean sheets, etc. Well, this is Fantasy FRED league. We will give (not literally) you 12 million pounds (sorry, foreign folks!) to spend on your team of 8 SAM programmers/graphics people/public and we'll give points for what they do on FRED. There are no silly rules like you can only have 2 people per programming team or anything like that. It's all down to you and your decisions. What is even better is that you can pick ANY SAM person. I'll put prices on the more well known people, and then you pay just £0.1 Million for anyone you know - so you can have yourself in your team! If you decide to play, please register your team with me through FRED. It's free to play and the person at the top of the league by the 1997 April show (in 1 year) wins a 6 month sub to FRED! I'll write a program to add up all the scores, and I'll print the updated league (top 20 probably) in every issue of FRED. CA POINTS ====== The following things are ways in which your team scores points, and the amount they get. If you think of any other ways to give points, write in very quickly and if it's a good idea, I'll use it. Points Reason 10 Main writer of a slot D contribution. 2 An assist! If he/she has helped towards the slot D contribution. 6 Main writer of a slot E,F,G,H or K contribution. 1 An assist for EFGHK. As above. 3 Main programmer of a Bits n Bobs item. 2 For e-tunes contributions. (Person gets 2 points no matter how many tunes) 2 Screens contributions. As for e-tunes. 2 A letter, review or text article. CA Fantasy FRED League 4 A menu contribution. 1 A menu assist. 2 For the first mention in the editorial. 1 Per mention in the editorial. 1 For being one of the first five people mentioned in a scrolly. 2 For the last mention in the editorial. 1 For using "Fashoooom" to wrap your scrolly! 2 Per mention in the newsletter (not Macdonald) 3 For being IN a digitised screen Please note that the only change is the fashoooom one. Negative numbers are just tiresome and awkward. Oh, and the scrolly mentions one has changed, just to stop clever clogses putting fifty hellos every time. And contrary to the belief of a certain scouser, this isn't an April Fool's wind up. It's fairdinkum. So enter it. CA In Almost Alphabetical Order... Name Price(£M) Name Price(£M) Colin Anderton 100.0 : Roger Hartley 1.3 David Brant 1.0 : Paul Horridge 1.7 Bob Brunsden 1.4 : Scott Inwood 1.0 Matthew Beaman 1.6 : David Laundon 2.0 Bob Brenchley 1.5 : Warren Lee 1.4 Jack Bailey 1.1 : David Ledbury 0.5 Marc Broster 0.8 : David Marriot 1.2 Nicholas Bay 0.4 : Peter Moore 1.4 Victor Cooper 1.9 : Colin Macdonald 6.0 Andrew Collier 3.2 : Brian McConnell 0.8 Ian Collier 1.6 : William McGugan 1.7 Rob Clayton 0.6 : Derek Morgan 1.8 Andrew Chandler 1.8 : Dean Nicholas 1.0 Martin O'Connell 1.0 : Rob Pain 2.2 Allan Clarkson 2.2 : Steven Pick 1.2 Wayne Coles 1.9 : Colin Piggot 1.3 Simon Cooke 1.2 : Tim Paveley 2.0 CA The Prices Are All In Millions Of Pounds James Curry 2.5 : Prophex 1.7 Dan Doore 1.8 : Matt Round 3.0 Ian/Chris Dodd 0.8 : Kevin Smythe 1.1 Stefan Drissen 1.7 : Michael Stocks 0.7 Steve Ekins 1.6 : Stewart Skardon 0.9 Terry Ekins 1.7 : Anonimity Smith 1.6 John Eyre 0.4 : W. Tippens 0.5 Richard Faulkner 0.4 : Steve Taylor 1.2 Luke Falla 1.6 : Peter Vinnicombe 2.4 C. Farmer 0.5 : Robert Van Der Veeke 1.5 Martin Fitzpatrick 1.9 : Matt Vowles 2.2 Phil Glover 1.1 : Martin Wilson 0.6 Roy Gardener 1.0 : Paul Walker 0.9 Diggory Gray 1.2 : Lee Willis 1.7 Graham Goring 2.0 : Doug Young 1.9 Martijn Groen 1.5 : David Zambonini 1.6 James Horsfall 0.5 : Dave Handley 1.6 : ANY OTHER SAM OWNER 0.1 Craig Harris 0.3 : CA The Rules In short, here's the rules again. PLEASE CHECK these before sending us your team. 1) You have 12 million pounds to spend on SAM People 2) You must have 8 people in your team. Any teams that don't have exactly 8 people in them will be disqualified. 3) You do NOT have to spend exactly 12 million. This is just a maximum limit. 4) No repetition of players (eg. you can't have two Matt Vowles's. One only.) 5) Any person not listed costs £0.1 million. 6) If you don't know any £0.1M people and need some in your team, just send in your team and ask it to be filled with some random ones, and I'll do that. 7) In the event of a draw, the person with the highest scorer wins. If it is still a draw, I'll toss a coin. 8) My decision is final. 9) GIVE YOUR TEAM A NAME (Max. 35 chars) 10) Feel free to increase your points by contributing!!! CA Disc Contents A few months ago, you may recall that we used Julian Gollop's Chaos on FRED. Well, now we can bring you another of his games, Laser Squad. All of Julian's games are PD now, so we can bring you this gem of a Spectrum classic. Our undying thanks go to Julian Gollop who is, in my opinion, one of the best games writers on the Spectrum. Instructions for the game have been written by Graham Goring. Once you get the basic idea, play with it and you'll soon catch on. This is one of my favourite Speccy games, so you'd better enjoy it. It's a game of strategy and war, adventure and wonderfulness. Thanks Julian. FRED regular, Rob Pain has once again written us another of his wonderful demos. This one, strangely called 'The Zeolite Demo' contains a nice rolling background, 3 scrollies and a "different" reset screen. Thanks, Robby, keep 'em coming. We also have the new version of Andrew Collier's screen compressor. It's a lot quicker now and decompresses the next screen while you're looking at the current one. Included with CA Disc Contents this version are complete instructions, so I'll let Andrew explain. It's a little harder to use than the previous one, mainly because there are no programs to do it all for you. Try using it from the explanations in the info, but I'll also try and get a couple of programs on the next few issues to help you along. Hopefully one for the screens section. Thanks Andrew. We've also got a PC to SAM text converter, which I talked about in the PC article. It's pretty straight forward, and very useful. Thanks to Graham Goring for this one. In slot K, I think, we have another "Super SAM C" (boy, that sounded good) Card game. Despite John's claims that he's not very good at SAM C, here's another lovely little game. The big advantage of this is that you can play all by yourself and you don't get your cards bent trying to do impressive shuffles. And of course, it's written completely in the numero uno programming language, SAM C. Thanks to programmer John Eyre, and all hail the mighty SAM C, which we all love and worship. CA Disc Regulars Jellytext is here again, still as wonderful and controversial as ever. You should know by now that if you get upset and irritated by swearing and vulgar descriptions, then don't read it. If however, you want to play a little "choose-what-happens" game about a dog trying to avoid going to the vets for a certain eye watering animal operation, then load it now. Graham Goring has once again stepped in as writer, because Matt Round claims one day's notice isn't enough. Tsk. In Bits n Bobs are two funky little contributions from Graham Goring. The first is a disc utility, allowing you to recover erased files. The keys are shown on the main screen. The second is an addictive little puzzle game. Also in bits n bobs is a fixer for the samples program on last issue. Just run your FRED through this, and you won't need Masterdos to run the program. Hurrah! We can now all splendour in the delights of Blackadder, and things. Thanks to James Curry for the fixer, even though he caused the problem. CA Doo, do, do, dooooo, Thaaankyoooo The Kingpin : COLIN MACDONALD Bsc Dr. Octopus : COLIN ANDERTON BSE All contributions to: And the rest of our Spidey friends are FRED PUBLISHING, [redacted] Hobgoblin : Julian Gollop The Lizard : Rob Pain Dr. Doom : Graham Goring (times ten) The Scorpion : Carol Brooksbank Green Goblin : Andrew Collier All complaints to: Peter Parker : Peter Vinncombe The Hunter : John Eyre FRED COMPLAINTS Dept. Venom : Lee Willis 1.7 GUMFA STREET, Juggernaut : James 'Madras' Curry BALUBALULAND, Spiderman : Phil Glover MARS. The Sandman : Matthew Gallagher The Vulture : Jack Bailey <- Erm, don't take offence The Shocker : Himself to that anyone.
Letters & Reviews
Letter From Phil Glover Dear Colin, Sorry for the slight delay in resubbing. Finances have been a bit tricky of late, having bought a new television and, wait for it..... a PC! Yep, at last, Glover has upgraded to a PC and will soon ditch SAM completely... Only joking, as the PC in question isn't exactly state of the art technology. It's an Olivetti PCS 286 with monochrome monitor and a huge 30meg hard drive. Compared with the office 486 PC with its math-co-processor, the 286 is S-L-O-W, but it's still good. My next main buy will be the SAM hard drive, but only when I've read some more positive news about the HDOS, which seems to need a lot of improvements. I'm currently working on the graphics for some SAM adventures: MURDER MYSTERY, TRUEFAITH & SMUGGLER'S HAUNT Letter From Phil Glover (loaders only) and GOLDEN SWORD OF BHAKHOR. My graphics are fairly average, but I wish I was faster, as they seem to take me ages to complete. I'll let you know about these games as each reaches completion. The SAM/Notepad transfer PD disk is being revised to make it more flexible for non-Notepad users. It'll be called STU, for SAM TRANSFER UTILITY, and I'm sure you'll get a copy once it's complete. It should include several extras, including tips on using non-SAM text files for WORD_PRO use. I've been contacted by a couple of PC owners who use the Amstrad Notepad, and they may let me have some BBC BASIC programs for the STU disk for the Notepad users, but we'd like to broaden the appeal of the disk to allow SAM users with other computers to use it. The STU can help link SAM to a PC for file transfers, and I'm sure other types of computers could also be used. Thinking about improvements for SAM PAINT, or other software, could some sort of screen-saver functions be used Letter From Phil Glover within them? I'm often called to the phone while using SAM, and it'd be nice to see a blank screen on my return, rather than some image slowly burning into the monitor screen after an hour or so. Could you possibly give a mention to Dave Whitmore's DALMATION SAM bulletin board? Although we have little COMMS hardware and software for SAM until TERMITE appears, I'm sure there must be SAM users who have other machines which could access DALMATION. In fact, I may explore the likelihood of my 286 PC going on-line, as it can run the WINDOWS 3.1 terminal program. FORMAT seems to be ignoring the existence of DALMATION, but I reckon it deserves much more publicity. Many SAM users may not understand the internet and COMMS, and FRED could be of great help in explaining the basics to us, myself included! The idea of sending SAM files via a phone line within minutes, rather than by post, really appeals to me. If interest in SAM COMMS grows, it may be worth investigating the chances of setting up some sort of bulletin board for FRED. It'd probably Letter From Phil Glover be useful in that you'd receive letters and text files ready to be edited for FRED, rather than type them up first. Good luck with FRED, and maybe I'll see you at the April SAM Fair. I'm sure that it'll be very good, with increased interest being shown in the SAM hard drive. All the very best, Phil Glover CA Reply to Phil Glover Not another PC convert... Although it is good to see that people are still keeping involved with the SAM. More positive comments on HDOS, eh? OK then. "I have used HDOS for my whole life, and I wouldn't be alive today if it wasn't for it's miracle code. I owe my life to HDOS." Or did you want real ones? Seriously though, the hard drive is after backing and support. The more interest in it, the quicker it will develop. Work is being done to improve the DOS, I believe simple LOAD and SAVE commands are working now. Give it a little time, and it will be all you could ever ask for. If anyone has got a hard drive and feels they could write either a review or an article about it, please send it in (the review, not the hard drive). I don't think that FORMAT ignoring Dalmation BBS is a deliberate thing. The problem is that Bob hasn't (to my knowledge) got CA Reply to Phil Glover access to it, so isn't in a position to write or print articles on something he isn't sure about. At the much more advanced, twenty-first century company, FRED, we do have a lot more internet access and we are able to print stuff about comms. The only problem we have is finding someone who can write an article about something. If Colin or I tried to do a technical one, we'd get everything wrong and sound like a couple of turkeys. However, when I get back to university, I'll do a bit of bullying and see if I can get someone to write a selection of articles for us. We don't have a FRED bulletin board yet; Colin has toyed with the idea but for now any letters/articles or even programs can be mailed to Colin or me. My address for those who don't know is [redacted] Speaking of which, are any SAM owners coming to Nottingham next year? If so, get in touch. Letter From Carol Brooksbank Dear Colin, I see from the SAMVISION "readme" file that you have encountered the trouble I have had with kbhit() since the first version of C. I overcame it in the end by rewriting kbhit() on my working copy. I have put my version in my working copies of the new program, but have no time to try it out just now. Listing below. It is the code I always use in machine code for checking whether a key has been pressed, and I have never known it to fail. You might like to try it on your machines and see whether it solves the problem for you. If so, perhaps it might be worthwhile to use it in the master discs of Sam C and SamVision. I don't have copyright on it. It was the method I learned for doing the same thing on the Spectrum - testing bit 5 of FLAGS, which is set when a key is pressed. Usually you would use the carry flag to give you the answer, but HL is apporpriate in C. I hope it helps. Letter From Carol Brooksbank kbhit: LD HL,&5C3B BIT 5,(HL) LD HL,0 RET Z LD HL,&5C3B RES 5,(HL) LD HL,1 RET Sincerely, Carol CA Reply To Carol Brooksbank Many thanks Carol. I didn't follow much of that, but I'm sure it's much appreciated by many of our C programmers. Letter From Peter Vinnicombe Dear FRED, Could you please tell me how I can go about starting my own PD library up? Are there any still going? Do I need special rights to sell PD stuff? And where can I get it from? Etc. Cheers for the SAM C update disc - a vast improvement!! What's the comet assembler like? - Is it easy to use, for someone who hasn't got a clue how to use machine code?... Can you recommend any books on the subject? Keep up the good work, Pete. Reply To Peter Vinnicombe This probably won't be the sort of reply you're looking for, but the truthful answer is DON'T. There are a number of reasons for this negative response, I'm not just being negative. Firstly, there are already two PD companies, SAM PD and Zodiac PD. SAM PD is the slightly bigger. On this basis it would be hard to get a company going. Secondly, the number of people who will respond to PD companies on the SAM is low. A few years ago, there was one big PD company, SCPDU (or SCPDSA or something similar) and they ran the whole PD market. However, they were lazy, sloppy, didn't fulfil orders, and were so bad that they were forced to quit. Ever since that, people haven't trusted PD companies and response to them is very low. Thirdly, following on from above, they are a bit of a market killer. People give programs to PD in the thought that they will become recognised a lot more. However, it's simply not the CA Reply To Peter Vinnicombe case. PD companies do not sell an awful lot of software, and the only way to get recognition is to contribute to disczines like FRED. It may sound like I'm saying this to be biased, but I could tell you at least a dozen people who feel the same way. Read this months Jellytext for starters! Disc magazines are the cement between the bricks that hold the SAM community together, in the same way as Your Sinclair, Sinclair User and Crashed held the Spectrum market together. That's where the support should be concentrated. I don't mean to be negative, but I think we've got enough PD companies, and the SAM's future is very dependant on FRED, Format, Crashed, Zodiac, SAM Supplement and all other publicity magazines. The Comet assembler is very highly recommended by a lot of SAM programmers. I have been told that it's the best to use whether you're a beginner or an advanced coder. SC_Assembler is alright as well, but it asks you for line numbers which can be a pain if CA Reply To Peter Vinnicombe you need to change things. Apparently, a good book to Get you started is "Spectrum Machine Language For The Absolute Beginner" by William Tang, published by Melbourne House Publishers. After that you want to be looking at something like the FRED machine code guide, and also popping along to Gloucester shows and asking current machine coders for tips is helpful. Blimey, that's got to be one of my longest ever replies. And not one stupid comment all the way through. What is wrong with me? Letter From Lee Willis Dear COLIN "Didn't use my menu 'coz it mentioned the fact that you were chatting a certain female up at the Gloucester Show last April" ANDERTON, I've just had this urge (wahey!) to write to you about a couple of things! The first is the Fantasy FRED League. Is this a p**s-take or not? If not it's quite a cool idea but it sounds like it'd be a hell of a lot of work for you. Was this just an April Fool thingy or what? The second is about the WWW. In the letters section you mentioned about the lack of a FRED page. Maybe I can help. If you give me an idea of what you'd like on there and send me some graphics / text / etc. then I could bung it on as an offshoot of my homepage. Since I've got about 30 Meg. of free space at Uni. Yours, LEE "Pool Genius" WILLIS CA Reply to Lee Willis Hello LEE "Didn't have the confidence to chat up that female at the Gloucester show because he knows he is really ugly and bad at talking to women, so instead just raged with anger as I talked to her" WILLIS. Ho ho ho. No, Mr Willis, the Fantasy FRED League is not a hoax, it's a real thing. I did have a super April Fools joke planned for this issue, but as the previous issue was actually closer to April Fools Day, then it's not worth it. I'll just have to wait another year. Yes, I know the amount of work I'll have to put into the FFL thing, but I'll do it. In fact, I've already written the main program to do most of it which will probably see it's way to being on the next FRED. A FRED WWW sounds great. There we go, folks, FRED could well be delving even further into the future with a WWW page. Look out for more news on that. From COLIN "Sexual Magnetism" ANDERTON Letter From Matthew Gallagher Dear FRED, Over the weekend I received SAM Vision. A few days before I also received the update to SAM C. I assume forthcoming issues of FRED will tell us a little more about SAM Vision as, although I was getting to grasp with C fairly well, I really can't understand where it fits in. On a minor point, the SAM C title screen says "SAM C for SAM Vision", but the SAM Vision information says "SAM Vision for SAM C". Which is a part of which? Also, I thought it would be a great idea to combine the latest version of SAM C (Version 4.12) with SAM Vision, but the version of SAM C supplied with SAM Vision is only Version 4.02. Can they be combined this way, or is SAM C Version 4.02 specially written for SAM Vision? Letter From Matthew Gallagher If they can be combined, which files do I need to copy onto the SAM Vision disc (the two discs contain more than two versions of some files (eg Runtime)). Please can you help? Matthew Gallagher CA Reply to Matthew Gallagher I think the correct phrase should be "SAM Vision for SAM C". It's best to think of SAM Vision as an extra set of functions for SAM C. You basically have to learn them as extra commands. It should be possible to combine them, but with the programmer, Marian, not speaking much English, it's down to us using trial and error. As you can see, we didn't have much luck prior to the launch, but will keep you informed.
Interview: Graham Goring
'The' Interview Many is the time when either Brian McConnell (previous editor) or myself have had to warn or apologise to people about the dodgy content of a certain contribution. Nine times out of ten, this is down to one person - Graham Goring. He's best known for his wonderful graphical abilities, and recently he's been programming in machine code. He's the man I always turn to when I want a job doing. Say hello, Graham Goring! GRAHAM: Um, hello. Erm, in a bid to be polite, how are you? (actually I have no reason to ask as he's just spent the last five minutes complaining of chest pains after a nasty scare playing alien trilogy) COLIN: I've got nasty chest pains, actually. And it's a complete lie about me playing Alien Trilogy. I was working on the SAM. Yeah. Now let me ask the questions, you arrogant young man. Firstly, your computing career (!) stems way back to when you were a wee laddie who still needed his mum to wash his hair for him. What was your first machine? GRAHAM: Before I answer, what do you mean working on the SAM? Hmm... What do you call those swingy things between men's legs? Ah, that's it, Bo- COLIN: MOVING ON... *sob* GRAHAM: My first machine was a VIC 20, way back just after me old mate James got into the raw power of the sinclair 48k ZX Spectrum. It was c**p. It just had a few games and I used to annoy James by boasting about my 3 channel sound compared to his bleepy little poxy fx. COLIN: Right, and what happened to that? GRAHAM: One day I tried loading a game and it just... stopped. Methinks beggering about with the 16k ram cartridge had something to do with it but I'm not entirely sure... COLIN: So that went in the bin, then you moved onto the Speccy, right? GRAHAM: Yeah (but the vic 20 never went in the bin, I think my mum flogged it to some poor sap)... But after that came the ZX Spectrum +2a with premier collection games pack. Hmmm... Happy days, but that was just I moved to Cornwall and away from James Curry... COLIN: Hooray, eh? GRAHAM: Right, I'm telling James you said that you little bum. COLIN: So. I wield the mighty power of a FREDitor. I could beat up He-man blindfolded. Anyway, where did your programming start? GRAHAM: On the VIC 20 with my amazing 3 frame exploding tank animation including White Noise (woooo!). On the Speccy however me and James really started by doing tons of "Spacey Adventures" which involved a mis-shapen blob cavorting about the screen in various exciting scenes. They got so big that they'd often take 5 minutes to load up... Then came our first computer revoloution... COLIN: Which was? GRAHAM: UDGS! And by god I still swear by them (much to Stefan Drissen's horror). Yep, give me an UDG any day instead of your new-fangled sprites and texture maps... COLIN: Erm, well maybe Speccy UDGs do have a sort of advantage over PC CD ROM things. Maybe. Somehow. So, did your programming experience amount to anything on the Speccy? GRAHAM: Oh yes, we (or rather James) discovered the delights of the DIM command and wrote many a cruddy game involving tanks, mazes, ghosts and O's (Pacman from above). COLIN: Where did you hear about the SAM? GRAHAM: Well, I suppose from those early Crash articles. But the main reason I bought a SAM (and I am ashamed to admit this) was after I saw Trip-A-Tron and fell in love with it instantly. Ack! COLIN: And this is where your biggest claim to fame comes in, isn't it? GRAHAM: Nope. What the hell are you talking about? COLIN: Well, you talked ME into buying a SAM, remember? People will remember your name forever. GRAHAM: Oh yeah, so I did. Hah. Sucker. COLIN: What were your initial impressions of the SAM once you got playing with it? GRAHAM: I don't like the colours. And who the hell is this Mel Croucher bloke? Oh, and that's a nice astronaut. COLIN: What about the Axel F demo? GRAHAM: I was dead impressed. Laughable when I look back at it. But then again most of the early SAM stuff is a bit crud. 'Cept Tetris. COLIN: Which you can get from us on issue 3 of FRED for just 2 quid, folks! GRAHAM: Or from me for the cost of a blank disk and a first class stamp.. Just send it to- COLIN: Shutup. You were a late FRED subber, weren't you? Why did it take you so long to get involved with the world's greatest disk mag? GRAHAM: Skint. Oh, and trust my damn luck but as soon as I started subbing (ish 48) then some berk came along and replaced that nice Mr McConnell. Tsk! However, at least I did buy 48 or so back issues at one show for the mere price of 80 simolians. COLIN: I think you mean pounds. And I think Colin enjoyed that night thanks to you. GRAHAM: How did you find out about our passionate night out that night? It was meant to be a secret. Okay, so we loved each other in a country split by computer formats, but is that a crime? I say not! Damn you all! Can't you tell it's real love we're dealing with here? DAMN YOU ALL TO HADES! COLIN: Goodbye job. Anyway, give us a rundown of what you've written for FRED over the last two years (and try not to mention the stuff you wrote which I submitted in my name). GRAHAM: Like the editorials for ishes 51 to 58? Okay then, that just leaves... (rumbles about for his FRED disk box...) FRED 48 - Android Escape and the Quiz that nobody entered. FRED 49 - My first Sci-Fi thingy. Cool... To be a published Author. FRED 50 - More Sci-Fi, am I unstoppable? YES! FRED 51 - Um, Intergalactic Races, a game unfairly censored by you. Oh, and the worlds' worst menu screen. Ha! FRED 52 - Again I topped myself with THE WORLDS EVEN WORSER TITLE SCREEN, with added dundruff... FRED 53 - Robots, based on an Atari ST game of a similar name. You almost completely had to retype it in because of one repeated variable in my program. Hee hee hee! FRED 54 - Anonimity. And for 53 too, I just noticed. Work work work... FRED 55 - Nothing, but I think it'7s safe to assume that I meant too. So there. Maybe the NET section on that was mine. FRED 56 - Nowt. FRED 57 - Anonimity again. FRED 58 - I wrote the text viewer only ever used on the first interview section. FRED 59 - This, I think was the start of my lazy period. FRED 60 - The menu graphics, and 5 (count 'em) Sci-Fi articles. FRED 61 - Nowt? FRED 62 - Anonimity. I think. I don't think I can find the disk at the moment. And the menu, too. FRED 63 - Zilch. FRED 64 - Nada. FRED 65 - Anonimity. FRED 66 - Um, I was ill. FRED 67 - Cough cough... Oh yeah! I did Jelly Text! FRED 68 - Menu, Jelly Text, The Interview, Compiled Laser Squad, 2 Bit's and Bob's items. PC text converter. Um, the whole sodding issue, right? Plus various B'n'B bits, including the BEST EVER BIT'S AND BOB'S item, the WHIRLYTRON 2000. That's about it. COLIN: Quite a busy bee then, apart from when I'm away at uni and can't moan at you. Still, a fine example of what a typical subber should be like... You have stemmed into the more commercial scene though, doing graphics for Wayne Coles and designing for Graham Burtenshaw. Tell us about that... GRAHAM: Well, the stuff for Wayne is mainly for 2 things. STAX, an excellent Columns clone, hopefully on next months FRED. And also for Tactical Assault Squad (The Wayne 'crap names for games' Coles curse strikes again) which is a bit like Laser Squad+ really. Plus I have designed the rooms for Momentum, the spindizzy-esque game from Mr Burtenshaw. Actually the game has been growing on me lately. I also have done the graphics for Spellbound, but if that see's the light of day I'll be VERY surprised. COLIN: For those who didn't know, the Graham Burtenshaw game is the one mentioned a few months ago. It's hopefully going to be realeased this year by either FRED or Revelation. What's been your proudest piece of work on SAM? GRAHAM: Either the Whirlytron 2000, because it f***s up your eyes for MONTHS on end. Or the Sci-Fi skits as I enjoy writing, so it's nice to be recognised (even if it is due to a chronic lack of other contributions). COLIN: I'm sure it's just a dry spell. Hmm. How do you think FRED has changed since it began? GRAHAM: Well, obviously the standard of contributions has picked up a lot, but there's been a little bit of a drought lately. Mainly due I'm sure to utterly selfish sods. (Sorry, people at Uni). COLIN: What is your view on SAM PD libraries? GRAHAM: Um, they're nice but I would obviously prefer it if the really good PD got aired to a larger audience before becoming PD. And one of the best ways for this to happen is to SEND IT TO FRED! (Hmmm... Is this really Graham typing this bit or is it Colin?) COLIN: No this is me! Ta-daaaa. Actually, I did ask you that question in the hope you agreed with me, and you do. Phewee. GRAHAM: Oh arse! COLIN: Do you hold any other strong views on anything that won't get me or FRED into trouble? GRAHAM: Yes, Walkers crisps. Why oh why did they stop making Maple Cured Ham flavour 3D's? The other flavours (Nacho cheese and spicy vomit) tasted grim, I'll admit, but I could happily eat bag after 80gram bag of them until my arteries clogged up. COLIN: Um, thanks. I'm sure a lot of other people feel strongly about that too. Hmm. Finally, what do you have planned for the future? GRAHAM: Aside from eating junk food, and perhaps TRYING to write a Sit-Com (insert the letter H if you feel it's necessary) I don't know. Certainly finishing some of the many things I have started on the SAM and almost definitley exploring this concept you earthlings call "sex". COLIN: Sit-Chom, eh? Wow. Well, I'll wrap this up there, before I die. Thanks very much, Graham. Anything to say to those people who still haven't a clue who you are? GRAHAM: Yes, I'm the one on the left of your picture. Oh, and by the way, as we type this in it's (grabs colin hand) 2.51am and colin has to drive home. Let's hope he doesn't crash, eh, readers?