Submitted by Dan Dooré on Thursday, May 17, 2018 - 15:51.
|Magazine||SC_assembler tips, The Key Press release, Search: “Triltex” mooted, Info on samples|
|Letters||Letters, plus a moan from Colin!|
|QL>Sam conv||Convert QL software BASIC files to Sam|
|Gauntlet demo||Simon Cooke||Sampled music from Gauntlet arcade game|
|Encounters||Ian Slavin||Continuing Zeb Green’s adventures|
|Banzai demo||Dan Dooré||Demo/scroller from Banzai|
|MC pt 8||Steve Taylor||Search: “MC 8” Working with Interrupts|
|Gods demo||Masters of Magic||Sprite demo|
|Header reader||Mark Walker||Reads headers on cassette software|
|Database||Marc Rickard||Address-managing database|
|Simon||Dan Dooré||Famous memory-testing game|
|Capper||Chris White, Colin MacDonald||Lower case filenames -> upper case|
|Total key scan||Chris White||Improved mc keyscanning routine|
|Joystick reader||William McGugan||Reads joystick actions|
|Text coder||William McGugan||Encrypt text files|
|Un-blitzer||William McGugan||Returns a blitzed string to commands|
|Fade routine||Simon Cooke||MC screen fading routine|
|Expander||Simon Cooke||Screen enlarger|
The FREDitorial Welcome again from Sunny Swansea (that's in the few days when it's not raining!) in Wonderful Wales. No? You're right, I'm an awful liar. An exciting month really - Prince of Persia gets 90% in Your Sinclair, Sinclair User will print a wonderful article entitled "The Best Of SAM Software" written by me, Digital Magic have agreed for their "Escape From Colditz" (similar to Great Escape by Ocean on the Speccy) to be converted to the coupe along with up to 7 other titles (possibly). YS recently printed that SAMCO almost had a deal with Psygnosis about Lemmings - what happened was : Alan Miles interviewed Chris White on the hotline and Chris said that he might like to do Lemmings next... YS also said that we were in talks with Codemasters, we were, things were looking good for five of their titles to be converted (including 2 Dizzy games) and then they turned round and said that they weren't going to make enough money from it! They didn't even have to do anything, SAMCO were just going to pay them a small fee for every copy sold!!! Maxis, the owners of the copyright to Sim City, are "not interested" in converting Sim City to the coupe, but Infogrames (the publishers) are very The FREDitorial helpful and want North & South and Light Corridor converted as soon as possible. There have been more problems with F16 Combat Pilot - it should be out by next issue though. Thanks to the insight of a talented editor, ie me, F16 will also be mouse compatible. The Keypress was released today (the 5th), but I need volunteers (preferably someone who is involved with children a lot) to review educational software as I don't think I can do them justice. So, Keypress MIGHT be reviewed next month. Prince Of Persia is STILL not finished, the programmer (whose name gets in FRED too often so I won't mention it!) is having a few last minute bugs and is just putting the Movie sequences in so a release in a week or two is hopeful (but still not realistic - sorry Chris!) Two FRED readers have written some software which Revelation is currently considering buying. John Hawkins has written The Castle - a graphic adventure around a castle including combat routines and Andy Monk has written SoundTrack, a utility to allow you to compose better music. The FREDitorial Zeppelin games are currently pretty busy - spending their time replying to SAM programs sent into them saying that the coupe is a waste of time and money and they recommend that people should not waste their talents on the coupe but buy a 16 bit computer instead : "If you wish to send us a something else at some time in the future, though not on the SAM, we would be happy to consider it". I think what this company needs is a flood of letters coming through their door saying that "I am a SAM user and want some software". If you can splash out 17p to support the SAM then address the letters to Gareth Briggs, [redacted]. Or you could just ignore this and continue to moan about the lack of SAM software... Outlet magazine are offering a first prize of £100 for the best Sound/Graphics demo sent to them in 1991. Every entry published in Outlet will get at least £10. Sounds like a ploy to get loadsa programs sent in, but £100 can come in useful you know.. HOT NEWS There are FOUR All Format Shows in September (see below) and SAMCO are going to ALL of them (even the one in Glasgow!). If you are in Scotland or North England then please support the Glasgow Show. I would also like to add that any companies who do not go to this Show will be heavily slagged off in the next issue - If I can go down to London/Birmingham to every show this year (on my own - oooooohh!) then any companies who support the coupe faithfully will go to this show. SEPTEMBER Dates: :Sunday 1st, University of Leeds Exhibition and Sports centre , Calverley Street , Leeds Central , LEEDS :Saturday 7th , Royal Horticultural Hall , Greycoats Street , Westminster , LONDON , :Saturday 14th , National Motorcycle Museum , Solihull , BIRMINGHAM :Sunday 22nd , City Hall , Candleriggs , GLASGOW Other dates - Bristol (6 Oct), London (2 Nov), B'ham (10 Nov), London (14 Dec) SAMCO will probably also be going to the Computer Shopper Show in London on 7th December! MOUSE SOFTWARE For those of you who have bought a mouse (either one!) you will be looking for better software than the game I wrote for the SAMCO mouse pack, and so, I have signed up two brilliant puzzle type programs. The main title is a fiendishly difficult one player game featuring over 20 levels (it took me a solid week to do the first 7!) and the other is a two player board game sort of puzzle. Both work with Keyboard, Joystick or Joy-Mouse or if you're really lucky and have a SAMCO mouse then it is ideally suited. These titles will be released in the following few weeks under a FRED label (any suggestions for a name?) and already I have been approached by two companies wanting to sell the pack (yes, SAMCO and Blue Alpha). You will probably read about it in the reviews or in the SAMCO newsletter before I get FRED14 sent out, but if they don't convince you, I should have a playable demo and maybe some screenshots!!! This software will also be on sale at all SAM dealers who stock software, available direct from other companies, and I might decide to distribute it myself. The cost will be around £10.99 but please don't send any cheques until it's release. . These following tips are for anybody using the Sc-Assembler (I feel sorry for you poor Buggers I use the Comet Assembler Which is still under Development but is still faster and better to use and SC or LERMS by a long shot ) If you have a source file in say bank 3 and you want to put it into bank 1 then you can do the folowing :- 1) Save the source file 2) Go to basic 3) Load the file with the letter "C" into address 98304 4) Dpoke 98304+file length,65535 Upon rentering the assembler you will find that the file is now in bank 1.This will work with any bank to any bank and it will even work with Sc-256k files to Sc-512k files and Sc-512k files to Sc-256k files. The following addresses are for the texted banks for 256k and 512k versions of sc-assembler SC-Assembler tips Bank 1=98304 dec , &18000 hex Bank 2=131072 dec , &20000 hex Bank 3=163840 dec , &28000 hex 512k assemblers only Bank 4=196608 dec , &30000 hex Bank 5=229376 dec , &38000 hex Bank 6=262144 dec , &40000 hex Bank 7=294912 dec , &48000 hex Bank 8=327680 dec , &50000 hex Bank 9=360448 dec , &58000 hex Thanks to Colin Jordan for the start of this Discovery.Hope all you Fred readers can understand and use this method,and any more useful things I find will appear in Fred. Look out for Comet Assembler which is to be released by Revelation sometime in August its the best Assembler for the SAM Coupe (Even Steve Nutting ordered a copy). Chris White (programmer of Prince Of Persia) First Impressions Actually, I'm writing this just two weeks before I'm due to leave Wales but I'll try and recall back to the day I arrived. cue hazy smoke and distant eerie music..... I actually came straight to SAMCO from the Birmigham Show at the beginning of June. I was kindly escorted here by Adrian Parker (BEFORE I reviewed his mouse!) and Paul Thomas, the journey into Wales was em... different - never have I been in a van which is pushed past the P in the MPH on the speedo, getting snipets of some Welsh folksong, being taught what I was told was Welsh (I later found out what it really was!) and numerous other exciting (well...) events. Different is certainly a good word. After being shown round Blue Alpha, Adrian drove me past SAMCO (Lakeside address) and the old MGT building (Century Park). The two buildings are virtually a stone's throw apart but vary slightly in size - SAMCO is a two story unit in a large building (along with other companies like Alfex, Yamaha etc) and Century Park is like a football pitch - it is HUGE. Taking up 16,000 square feet it was built especially for MGT who expanded, moved First Impressions in, went bust, and moved out on June 11. The building still stands empty - with MGT posters still pinned up. SAMCO is an entirely different matter - employing only 11 people (now that I'm here) the factory is small (at 4,000 sq.ft.) but is ample for the size of the company at present. The Upstairs is open plan and this is were most customer related things are taken care of - I answer tech. queries, write routines and help out generally, Alan Miles persuades foreign people to sell the coupe (when I arrived he was in Poland and Czecheslovakia, both of which went quite well incidently), Bruce Gordon deals with the very technical queries, the accounts and of course new hardware, Colin Jordan (tries to!) persuades software houses to sell or at least let us convert software for the coupe. There are also another 3 people "up top" (as it were!) who you may not have heard about - Brian Nutt (the Operations Manager) deals with orders to be sent out, orders coming in and the general smooth running of the company, his wife, Christine Nutt is the one who enters all your orders into the PC's used only for that purpose. Mark Hall was one of the original employees of MGT and is now First Impressions employed by SAMCO to deal with the dealers ie make sure they're getting what they're supposed to get, make sure they're all happy etc etc. Downstairs is the store, shop, despatch and repairs section (as well as the kettle!). The shop is actually just a small room sectioned off from the rest of the factory which has a demonstration coupe as well as most of the software/hardware currently available. Robert "George Michael" Smith is the person who works there and will be more than pleased to show anyone any coupe products should they wish to pop in(?!). Just to be fair I guess I'd better mention Paul, Jamie and Craig who do various jobs including testing, repairing amongst other things. When I first got into SAMCO then next day I was surprised - I had expected a small room crammed full of people with everything all over the place, as I said on the hotline (never again!), I was pleased - everything is co-ordinated and although things get a bit panicky when something like Prince is a month late, it is generally well run. About a week after I arrived, Colin struck First Impressions up a deal with Ian Andrew at Incentive, and he is now working on a coupe version of the classic game Splat. There will be all the original levels plus an extra 14 to keep you going and the graphics will be in Mode 4 with a 3D type effect. As I have now become the Official SAM Coupe Sales Co-ordinator (or something long and fancy like that!) I will be "popping down" to Swansea (if that's possible from Scotland) every couple of months to see how things are going so I'll write about my experiences and anything else I can remember, as certain SAMCO employees seem to doubt my memory..... (long story) (actually it's not as it happens but it's pretty boring (!?)) OK, I've got to go now because a) I've run out of room and b) It's 1.30 in the morning and there's three of us still working here at SAMCO , quick story - at half twelve in the morning the phone rang so I picked it up with the usual "Good Morning, SAM Computers". I guess the caller didn't expect anyone to be working at SAMCO at that time and hung up immediately!!! Just as long as it wasn't a FRED reader!!! Splat?!? As I've just mentioned, Colin Jordan is doing a coupe version of the old (or, as Colin puts it "classic") game Splat. Which was published by Incentive way back in 1984 (I think!). I have managed to smuggle a coupe of screenshots out of Colin's possesion and have included one on this disc in case you want to look at it. You will find it somewhere in the adverts (well, there's got to be some incentive (no pun intended) to look through them hasn't there? Colin has been working on it for several weeks now and predicts to have it finished in time for FRED14 (he actually said the end of August, but we know the real reason don't we!). It will be released on Revelation's "classics" label (name to be decided) priced at about £9.99. Apart from what you can see by the screenshot, Splat will have all the features of the original and a lot more ie 21 levels instead of the original 7! Full Mode 4 graphics are being used and Mr Edwin Blink is reported to be doing the sampled "Yipeee" at the end of each level!!! More piccies next month hopefully........ SC SONICALLY SPEAKING... (Part 2) Ahem. I suppose you lot have already heard the Gauntlet II sample demo, which should be lying somewhere on this disc. And I suppose you want to know more about sound samples and such like. Ok then. Let's get onto how the hardware works (we really covered most of this last month, but I want to go into more detail). When you play a sample through the internal sound chip, you are using your own custom envelope (it will help if you've got a copy of the technical manual as well, at this point). What's happening is that you are directly altering the speaker by altering the overall volume of the envelope. If that's too garbled, you just alter the volume of channel 2 (or channel 5). This allows you to have 4 channel (stereo) sampled sound - if you can write the code fast enough to utilise it, that is. Viz. Each sound channel has a volume register, allowing 15 different volume levels for each speaker of a stereo pair. If you look at the diagram for the sound chip (page A3 in the Technical Manual), alongside the frequency generator SC Sonically Speaking (Squeeze an Amiga out of a Coupe?) boxes for channels 2 and 5 are horizontal lines going to a mixer box, which then go on to an Amplitude Controller box. Only on channels 2 and 5 does the info from the amplitude box go on to the Envelope Controller. As the amplitude control for each channel is split into two stereo pairs, this gives two sound channels for stereo sound. Because channels 2 and 5 supply amplitude info to two separate envelope controllers, this gives 2 channels, with 2 stereo pairs each, making (gasp!) 4 stereo halves and thus 4 channel stereo sound. Now, that out of the way, I'll tell you a story about memory contention. When you do any processing on the Coupe (or most other computers), the screen is being updated constantly at 50 frames a second. To do this, the Coupe has to supply information to its ASIC (which processes the info), so that everything is kept up to date. The problem with this, though, is that while the screen SC Sonically Speaking (Of memory and bottlenecks) is being updated, the processor has to be held up so that the screen memory can be looked at. Now in normal circumstances, this doesn't make any difference - you don't notice anything slowing down or speeding up erraticaly while you're programming do you? (I don't mean the effects of bad programming of course...) But while samples are being played, any speeding up or slowing down - however slight - drastically affects the quality of the sound. For an example of this, break into my Gauntlet II demo and remove the OUT 254,128 command. Now listen to the sample. Urggh - if I am right, you should be hearing all sorts of distortion. A major problem. The way that this was solved in the earlier Sample demos (I rewrote my Xenon 2 one shortly [about 10 minutes] after I sent off the original) was by turning off the screen display so that - as no screen was being updated - the memory contention would be removed. All fine and dandy I suppose, but not very interesting to the listener - he/she (got to be anti-sexist) would be bored stiff looking at a blank screen for a minute (if you, like me [tie wiggle] can crush enough sample into 256k for SC Sonically Speaking... (A tale of LINE interrupts) that much listening time). So how did I rectify the problem then? After much thought, I came across the idea of using MIDI or LINE interrupts so that the sample playing will occur at orderly times. (Now, for all you cynics out there who will insist that I have actually just taken Edwin Blink's idea from his first sample demo, you're wrong. I actually was working on that idea way (about 3 weeks) before I ever got my hands on his brand new scrolly-with-a-sample demo). If you've lost your place after that long bracketed section, go back (I'll wait for you). As I couldn't quite get my sample player to run fast enough to run on every single screen line (I did write a peculiar version much later which did it for every second line, but I didn't allow for any sound to be played in the border area or during the frame flyback), I tried using a delay loop to soak up the spare time. This worked, and as you can see if you select Psychedelic on the NEW-and-IMPROVED Xenon II demo, there is a space of about 2 lines between each colour change. Edwin Blink actually has written a sample player which runs on single line-interrupts. I'd die to see his coding. Perhaps more soon... MH MIKEY H'S ROLEPLAYING FILE! What is roleplaying? Roleplaying is like a 3D board game - where you yourselves are the counters, and the board your imagination. Some elements are still the same, though. You still need paper and pencil, dice and players - but the main thing you need is an imagination. Many roleplaying games give you the chance to be a of a different race - elf, halfling, troll (as dense as they may be), and yes, even human (there are many other races as well). Games like Marvel Superheroes (MSH) give you the chance to be the part of your favourite hero - i.e. Spiderman, Wolverine and (not forgetting the girls) Rogue, Aura and many more. Example of play: ---------------- Imagine the scene... Picture a waiting room. There's a desk, ten chairs and a large video screen on the front wall. On the right-hand wall there is a door and four large windows. There is MH MIKEY H'S ROLEPLAYING FILE! also four windows in the left wall. There is a large clock that says it's three o'clock. A glance out of the windows shows that it's three at night (darkness). Try to keep this mental picture in your head. It doesn't matter if you forget details, as the memory improves with practice. (If the text above sounds like it's come out of a text adventure - that's because they're sort of on the same lines - Cookie). Imagine the setting... At the front of the room is a large figure. In one hand there seems to be the shape of a knife, in the other (to coin a phrase) there's an Uzi 9mm, with laser sights. The figure points the sights at one of the many people in the room (his hand is now seen, and is clad in dirty bandages). Obviously, some crime is taking place. The next step is to find out how you fit in. Imagine the character... Depending on the game, the character can be from a hamster to a god. Many games have rules for character creating. Also, when creating characters, the person discovers how intelligent his/her character is, and all the other MH MIKEY H'S ROLEPLAYING FILE attributes. These are not relative to the character playing - e.g. Einstein could have an I.Q. of about 500, but his character in a game may only have an I.Q. of 3. The finished character tells the player nearly everything about him/herself- how that character would react in situations, his/her physical strength, any special powers he/she has (although when I say that it tells the player how a character would react, this means that the character might have a certain phobia, or relationship with another character). Imagine action... Imagine you are a spy, but have scotophobia (fear of the dark). This would limit your actions. e.g. The figure walks over to the window, and opens it. Here, either you face your phobia, or you let the figure accomplish his mission. To overcome your phobia, the Games Master might say "You have to make an IQ roll to realise that the dark can't harm you." (In certain games, this may involve rolling under or over your IQ attribute). If you succeed your roll, your character then has a choice of many actions, but you the player must make the final decision. Until next issue. Unlucky for some - but issue 13 looks good! Sadly, there are no freviews this month. Why because Budget is the only new piece of software that I would have reviewed (or rather, slagged off!) so instead I've stuck in a letters column for a change. The Garfield screens (there's still more to come) are supplied by E. Dybacz. From "The President" comes a QL>SAM program convertor! Instructions appear upon loading. PS It helps if you have a Sinclair Quantum Leap for this one! From Cookie this month comes a Guantlet 2 sample demo seeing as the last two went down so well ( I never will understand humans!) Monsieur Steve Taylor brings another lesson in the subject of machine language (It's GOT to be better than French!) From Banzai Productions (Dan Doore) comes a coupe version of the great classic - Simon, where you are tested on your memory skills - Not a brilliant game but a nice conversion. More adverts to keep you up to date with the latest goings on in the coupe world. Le contents de la disc (ahem) Bits 'n' Bobs features a range of useful routines and programs from William McGugan, Simon Cooke, Chris White, Dan Doore and myself! ( just! ) Who would like to see another Encounters demo? Well, here's the latest offering from Ian Slavin but hopefully not the last. PS This demo will only work on V3.0 ROM ((PRINT PEEK 15)/10) From the Masters Of Magic comes another demo, this time a demo of the 16-bit game Gods. To exit from this just press ESC then F9 to boot up menu - if it had been done any other way, the demo would have been considerably slower. Remember the foreign disassembler? Well, on this disc is a file called "dis.merge" which is the English (or rather, Scottish!) version of the text! M S Walker brings you a tape header reader for those who want to see the equivalent of a DIR1 on a tape for any obscure reason Marc Rickard has done a database type program with details of SAM people in it to show you how it's done - instructions upon loading. Credits Once more I bring myself to this humble position and am forced to thank the many kind souls who helped/hindered/p****d me off with this issue. Steve Taylor Dan Doore Simon Cooke E. Dybacz The President Chris White (aaaarrrgghhh!) Stuart Leonardi Neil Holmes Marc Rickard Colin Jordan William McGugan Ian Slavin FRED14 will possibly come out the first week in September so send your £1.50's in or see me at one of the four Shows (hopefully,I personally will be going to all 4) FRED is a...em...ur...FRED production (!?) and is copyright of...FRED (?!?) but out of kindness of my heart I am releasing this disc onto the PD scene - but anyone who breaks the PD laws will get their butt seriously kicked! (or at least sued!) AM+GG ANDY.M. VS GREG.G. (BANGIN' TUNE CONNOISSEURS) Hello menial SAM Coupe observers, I have been asked to aid this so-called authority of "Club Music", making a one off guest appearance, I am here to put straight his withering point of view (that's Greg G speaking- Cookie) What a load of bollocks. He wouldn't know a bangin' tune if it hit him right between the eyes. On with the reviews...(ANDY M) Singles: CHARLIE - The Prodigy As I play this tune, I see heads exploding on the horizon. This is the tune of the month, definitely, and I predict unfortunately national chart success. (GG) I'll have to agree with the creep on this one - The Prodigy is THE techno group to look out for (Check out their WHAT EVIL LURKS E.P.). They've got samples from the old Saftey Ads - I like the way you get a little gheeball boy saying "Charlie says always tell your mummy before you go off somewhere", before the tune goes manic. Absolute genius. (AM) AM+GG ANDY.M. VS GREG.G. (part 2) ECSTASY - Control Seeing as I know someone from Control, it is only fitting that I compliment them to hell. Control have rapidly become a widespread success in the clubs. This track isn't my favourite of their produce, and I have known them to make some absolutely astounding, first rate house. All those of you out there waiting to head into your local Woolworths are going to be greatly disappointed, as Control are not selling out to Radio 1 etc. (GG) This single marks a change from Control's usual hardcore house style, and they've got some unknown vocalist to sing- along to a tamed down tune. Nothing special, I hope Control don't go the way of The KLF,and GG's right. Oh, by the way, I know that guy from control as well. (AM) Bollocks. (GG) (Yarrggh! Split them up! Time out! Call an ambulance! These guys are at each others throats!-Cookie) AM+GG ANDY.M VS GREG.G (Bangin' on) SPACE FACE - Sub Sub Right, this is a bit of an old tune (been out for a few months), but seeing as you guys won't know the difference, I thought I'd review it all the same because I like it. My review is - I like it. And I'll buy it. (GG) "I LIKE IT!" is that all? This is one classic bangin' tune - it's original, with a good tune - it's not just a drum beat with a load of samples. One of my all time best. (AM) THIS IS A DREAM - Love Decade Oh my God! Another soul/dance load of garbage. As I listen to my colleague writhing around in anger at my view, I sit complacent in the knowledge that my views are far more valid. This tune is not worth the vinyl it was pressed on. Turn it off. (GG) ALRIGHT. Firstly, if you'd stop complimenting yourself for just one minute you will note that this is not soul at all - it's House/Dance (IT MOST DEFINITELY IS SOUL! GG). Just because its' not hardcore techno, as usual, GG dismisses it AM+GG ANDY.M vs GREG.G (More from the Housin' authorities) without giving it a chance (GG nods - Cookie), because you've got such a narrow spectrum of musical taste. I however, am a connoisseur of all club music, and this is a fast, pacey, altogether bloody brilliant tune. (AM) DON'T YOU DO IT - Eskimos And Egypt I must say that I like this tune a lot. I don't know, but it has a certain quality about it which makes it different from the huge amounts of ANASTHASIA - T99 ripoffs, despite it being a hardcore techno tune. Unlike most of the others, it has an original tune, largely original samples and you can't trace it to any other tune. Its also got a heavy bass line, which is essential. (GG). Now over to you Mr. Moore. Do your worst! I agree totally with Mr.G (Of course - GG), and this is my essential selection for the month. Full marks in all departments - brilliant rap, fitting vocals, fast powerful tuneful tune, and a meaty bassline. Stunning. (AM) AM+GG CLUBSTER VS GREGSKIDEENO (WHAT?) WEEP FREEDOM - Antiko This has been knocking around for a while, but nevertheless, it remains a large tune. Not quite as good as it could have been, because it gets lost towards the end, sending the listener into a dreamy world, which is advantageous if you're already hi. Not top of my personal list of tunes, but definitely in the top 20. (GG) VERY powerful tune. Would be my favourite of the month, but it's getting on a bit now. (AM) LOSE YOURSELF - Rising "Sadly" the Rising have not yet acquired a record deal. (I wonder why). Perhaps it has something to do with the abysmal nature of the record? This record is just plain trash. In summary, it's bland, it's too dreamy, and just reminds me of The Beloved gone boring. Despite what Andy M will say, seeing as he's been knocked on the head a few times, it is understandable that his views will be slightly crooked. Are you sure you can manage reviewing it Andrew? (GG) AM+GG ANDY MOORE VS GREG GORTON (The throttling continues...) There is no need to resort to making up cock-and-bull stories in your defence, rather than making any constructive criticisms on the track. This is a beautifully composed tune (Beautifully? See what I mean? GG) with some of the best vocals I've heard since Secchi. I'm sure that this brilliant group will find a record deal (sometime in the far future - i.e. never - GG) (Yes, it's far ahead of its time, I agree - AM) (Hmph - GG). Club music at its best. (AM) TWISTED TAMBORINE (Remix) - Doolally D After the slightly sad intro I was pleased to hear Doolally D. bucked up his ideas and beefed up the record immediately. I like the way it pleasantly trundles alongside a nice bass- line, with careful thought to the samples used, albeit old ones. I don't expect the next record to be any good, because I think D.D. is straining to make a good record here. (GG) D.D. does strain, I agree, and completely fails. Too slow, far too slow, not a tune as such, and overall only has the bassline to commend it. Very poor. (AM) AM+GG ANDY M vs GREG G (The battle continues) NARROW MIND - Genocide 2 This track instantly reminds me of MAKE IT RAIN by KLF, because of the vocals. But unlike KLF, this track is far more upbeat, and carries the tune to the end. Well worth a listen, and I particularly like the blend of mellow with hardcore. (GG) The tune is too weak, the track too repetitive, the vocals too bland, and the tempo too slow for my tastes. However, as a whole it holds these elements together pretty well and is strangely likeable. Mediocre. (AM) Although you cretins won't be able to begin to comprehend the unrivaled genius behind such a great review, I nevertheless send this out to all you boffins in the hope that perhaps a miniscule amount of my knowledge is taken in and appreciated. thankyou to Andrew Moore for this slot as I travel endlessly in search of the ultimate techno tune. I hand you back to "The Clubster". (GG) Bye fans. Till next time we meet, look out for "THE WHISTLE AM+GG ANDY M Signing Off. SONG" by Frankie Knuckles. It's gonna be MASSIVE. Also look out for "PIONEERS OF THE HYPNOTIC GROOVE", a compilation album featuring the very first techno tracks. Breaks, Bass and Bleeps 2 is another one to look out for. Lastly, REACTIVATE is still THE album to buy (can't wait for volume 2). See ya. (AM) Right. I'm going to have to apologise for Greg G and his nasty comments about us Coupe users. Its not his fault that he's a philistine. So sorry. He'll be back next month, though, so brace your ears (eyes?) for a load more of his sardonic wit! (Cookie)
FRED Letters Instead of a reviews section this month, I thought I'd put in a few fairly critical letters for a change (!?). If you send in more letters I will try to print them but don't just go on about how good the last issue was because that makes for pretty boring reading (and a big head on my behalf) however if you think that FRED is utter tripe then please do write in and air your views. PAGE 2 David Wornham 5 Mike Haine 10 My Reply to Mike Haine 13 Dan Doore 14 My Moans If you get the urge to write in and moan then please send your scribblings on a disc so I don't have to type them out again. Dear Colin, Following your opening comment welcoming a reply to your Flexipage review I cannot disappoint you or your readers, so here goes. Firstly, my sympathy goes to anyone attempting a review of Flexipage because there are so many features. What emerges from your write up is that, quite naturally for an editor, you had a limited amount of time. In mentioning the "one or two facilities which allow the creation of your own games etc." then discussing the included exercises, your readers may have missed the point that Flexipage is primarily a text and graphics AUTHORING SYSTEM with the demos. being included as SIMPLE examples of what can be done. In fact "Crime Quiz" and "Advert." can be purchased for only £2 and be copied and given away as PUBLIC DOMAIN. Although the demos. were originally produced on a Spectrum, and only use one set of UDGs, Crime Quiz new includes 3 Sam Mode 4 SCREEN$ (1 more than your review copy). The Crime Quiz subjects are not all for children, as advice is included for car and house owners! Whilst 4 of the 8 subjects within Crime Quiz certainly do use your described approach of a "telling off" (I prefer "advice") message, the other 4 are examples of true David Wornham "adventures" with a wider choice of decision. "Police Patrol II" and "Olaf the Viking", sold separately for £4 each, are examples of longer adventures. Maybe the demo. graphics let it down, but the graphics can be as good as the user wishes. A UDG Designer is included with the additional unique(?) ability to "snatch" UDGs from any SCREEN$ and "Standard" pages can use up to 15 UDG sets per disk (including BLOCKS OFF) loading them in at will during an exercise and Mode 4 SCREEN$ can be used on their own or have the lower half over laid with a "standard" page. The 3 modes are Automatic, Free Format and Interactive, the last having a scoring and automatic, named, results print-out facility. The full Sam colour range can now be used with Flexipage. "Flexipal" Palette Colour Block Designer is included FREE to select any block of 16 colours from Sam's 127, save up to 15 blocks on one disk and then load them into the exercise whenever required. As Flexipal will work with any other program it is available separately for £3. Does it REALLY confuse matters when instruction paragraphs David Wornham are numbered instead of pages, or is it just DIFFERENT? With the contents and index this approach is designed to give the user a QUICKER way of finding the required subject. Time continues to be spent on developing Flexipage's abilities which have left the demos. well behind, so I am acting on your comments and uprating the demos. to give a fairer example of what can be done. Regular FREE updates continue to besent sent to those returning the original (first copied) disk, SAE plus additional 1st class stamp to cover the leaflet cost. Yours Sincerely, Dave Wornham Thanks for your comments Dave, I did not enjoy reviewing Flexibase because it was so extensive but I felt I reviewed it to the best of my ability and time. PS : You wouldn't ever think of consistently plugging your products in a letter to FRED would you?! Mike Haine MIKE HAINE,[redacted] DEAR Fred, Just a few comments. Some may sound a bit critical, but are meant to be more helpful. First of all; sorry you had a bad experience of Swansea. I have spent many a happy holiday at the extreme end of the GOWER. Only about 15 miles beyond Swansea it has some of the best coast in Britain. I hate to think what it might be like today, but suspect it might still be pretty good. but suspect it might still be pretty good). My first visit was Still what I really meant to ask you Fred, after your stay with SAMCO is how one can get some tech info from them? I have tried writing and never get a reply, I have the Tech manual, but it is pretty sparse. Has it it been brought up to date? What happend to the Technical help scheme they started in their old guise? I am sure there must be many others who would like answers to these questions. I find I am slowly unravelling some of the mysteries of the ROM. There must be others in the same position, could you not have a section where we could tell the world of our new "FINDS"? and perhaps ask question to solve Mike Haine our problems. Here is one for starters:- We often have a m/c prog which produces some text printed on the screen, eg a disassembler: Now it is easy to open#2;"P" to get the same thing printed on a printer. However,I often find I want to change the Format or to store what was on screen. For example I like to PRINT a disassembly listing on paper in 2,3 or even 4 columns. If we assume the lines of the listing are numbered 1 and on, and if we want to print 3 columns of say 60 lines per sheet, then we need to print lines 1,61 and 121 across the first printed line;and so on: This means we need to have 180 lines accessable. Now I achieve this by using screen$ to read the data on the screen and put it into a string. This is ok but reading off 180 lines or 6 screens is a slow job. Now the problem could be solved if the text bytes were loaded into a string or into a region of memory at the same time it was printed on the screen. This is easy to do in ones own m/c routines. But requires a lot of delving to modify someones else prog. However,I feel sure the object could be achieved by using a modified channel (possibly using the RST30 call which Mike Haine allows one to divert to a bit of m/c.) I have played around with this but so far with no success.????????? Now let me turn to another matter. I still find it quite infuriating when FRED is loaded and one goes to one of your nice little demos or progs, to find one is locked in and can only get back to the menu by resetting and reloading. Then the reload takes an age of grinding of the disc.Yes I know the menu page ii a masterpiece, but one doesn't really want it all again each time one wants a new item. In any case it is quite possible to store the page in RAM and call it back without a reload. Then again it should be easy enough to put a line in all the other items to alllow the menu to reload without a reset. I am sure that most readers would agree that these things would greatly enhance your MAG. Now, I'd like to refer to the question of REVIEWS. I find it a waste of time to read most of them as they are so uncritical as to make one feel that they have been written only by authors who have received a free review copy and hope for more (Sorry if that hurts, but I hope it will stir up a rather Mike Haine more critical aproach to Reviewing). In particular I have been a great supporter of Tasword 2 and have modified it considerably to suit my purposes. I don't think it is appreciated just how much one can do with a word processer. I have to agree that Tas2 has its limitations and some of these have been overcome in OUTWRITE. However, was it necessary to change the key usage? Surely the obvious thing would have been to make it look as much like Tas2 in Text mode as possible so that we didn't have a new learning cycle? I would also argue that my modified menu system for Tas 2 is much to be preferred. This was published in SAM Supplement. And there are now some further mods available. If you have the SAM version of the prog send me a disc and SAE for details (include your set up details and interests please). Are there no bods out there with interests in electronics? A bit of cooperation in that field could pay dividends. For example is anyone interested in using SAM to run a stage lighting system? That is amongst the 1001 and one other things one could do with it. More on TASWORD 2! I load all the text items such as the Mike Haine editorial & letters etc. straight into Tas2: Never mind that they are saved from an address way up in the RAM memory (from 85836). My Tas 2 Loads by LOAD a$ code (a + dpeek (val"62216")), ((val"22"+dpeek(val"62221))*64-a) The first code address is that at the end of any text already present (ie the new text is merged to the end of any there). The second number after the comma is the space still available. In the latter case if the text being loaded is shorter than that space then OK! If not then an error is returned and no load occurs. The maximum available space in the tas2 text file is 320 lines (20480 bytes). An example where the text in FRED is too long is REV1 in issue 12, which is 25600 long. I get over this by loading it at its original address and then resaving it in 2 parts. SAVE "rev1a"code 85836,20480:SAVE "rev1b"code 85836 +20480, 25600-20480). The 2 parts can then be dealt with separately.... BUT WHAT IS THE POINT?...well,the text is easier to read in Tas 2. It can be moved up the screen in full page or single line scrolls. The full editing facilities of TAS2 can be used to add notes, to delete unwanted lines etc etc. Finally the modified Mike Haine text can be printed out in 2 64 char columns using my mod for this. I find I only want to keep printed copies of a few selected bits, and it is useful to add notes as one reads. Such as "REVIEW OF SO AND SO...QUITE UNCRITICAL AS USUAL!!!..WRITE ABOUT IT!!!" Firstly I would like to thank Mike for putting his thoughts of FRED down onto paper. I hope I can reply suitably. On behalf of SAMCO I apologize for your not receiving any letter - this is why they asked me to come down for the Summer, Alan and Colin realised that they could not cope with the majority of day by day enquiries as well as getting on with their other jobs (selling the coupe and arranging for more software to be released respectively). As part of my job, I reply to most of the queries which arrive and in the first few weeks here I also cleared a HUGE backlog of enquiries. Although I will be going back to "bonny" Scotland soon, a replaceent has been found for me - you'll hear about him on the hotline soon - so you need not worry about that any more. Reply to Mike Haine You must realise that SAMCO and MGT are two different companies - MGT was huge (with over 50 employees) and SAMCO is relatively small (with 11 employees). MGT was a very succesful company (for a time) and hence had a lot of plans but SAMCO are running on a very tight budget, and although would love to see ideas like the one you mentioned take off, they (we??) have to get our priorities right - and the top of the list is selling the coupe. Back to FRED- the reason certain programs cannot return to the menu is that they have to set up the memory in a specific way, or they - for various reasons - HAVE to be protected, like the NWB games. Adding to this, recently FRED has had some very impressive menus done but they have all required the memory to be set up exactly as if the computer had just been switched on. Rather than me spending days on end (not being a m/c programmer) finding this way around it, you simply have to reset your machine which I do not feel is unreasonable. You think that I review products favourably because I get sent them free!? Up to this point, I have not received one single Reply to Mike Haine item of software from SAMCO or ENIGMA - I have had to BUY IT ALL MYSELF - PAYING THE FULL PRICE AND COMING OUT OF MY OWN POCKET. If you add that up, added to the cost of the hardware I bought specifically for review/duplication purposes ( 1 ext. Megabyte (£80), 1 SAMBUS (£50), 1 Sound Sampler (£40), 1 256K upgrade (£40), 1 Blue Alpha Mouse (£30)) Now, unless I'm mistaken that adds up to quite a few quid when you add 10 Enigma and 3 SAMCO software titles. OK, I would have bought a couple of the games anyway and possibly the 256K upgrade if I didn't run FRED. If people can find the time to jot down a few notes about their findings and send them to me, I will most certainly include them in FRED - if of course, people don't have anything better to do. I have always, and will always, almost certainly print anything that is useful or interesting that is sent to me. I now use Outwrite! to write FRED because it means I can fit the whole text into one file which saves me continually saving and loading to check and insert text. If anyone out there can help Mike with his problems then perhaps you could send a copy to me for future inclusion? . Dan Doore Dear Colin, I resent being called a Your Sinclair reader! I spend many an hour pondering over my copies of Format, PCW and Computer Shopper but never one of those Speccy rag-mags. I am quite worried, probably for no reason at all, but seeing Cookie's menus and samples in m/c I am worried that us less talented programmers who work in BASIC will be pushed out in the cold due to the higher standard of programs in m/c. This could just be my paranoia complex surficing again... As a footnote, how did you get the old Speccy trick of line 0 to work on the coupe? I would love to know how to do this so hows about printing it? Yours, Daniel Doore SORRY ABOUT YOU BEING CALLED A YS READER. I THINK FROM THE NUMBER OF YOUR PROGRAMS THAT APPEAR IN THIS ISSUE, I CAN ANSWER YOUR SECOND QUERY WITHOUT SAYING MUCH. OK DANIEL, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT THE LINE 0 POKE IS (WHICH WAS DISCOVER BY COOKIE) 'COS YOU ASKED, BUT I WON'T PRINT IT YET! My Moans Dear FRED Readers, It's not often that an editor puts his own letter into his magazine but I felt like a little moan so here goes. When you write to me DO NOT say "the FRED team are doing a great job" because there is no "team" as such. The older readers will remember a few people did become part of the "FRED team" about 9 months ago but I was continually let down by them (although Brian did begin to write the Mad Bitty for every issue) and I found I was doing just as much work as ever, so, I have not made another "FRED team" as such. Those of you who get about a bit will see that Brian is now writing for Enceladus - the thing is he receives a substantial payment for every copy of Encel sold which I cannot possibly do. I would like to thank the people who have heavily supported me and are closer to the "team" than anything ie Steve Taylor, Ian Slavin and now Simon Cooke. OK, my moan's over. I'll let you read something interseting now.
Machine Code Tutorial #8
Sorry, no column this month. No, absolutely not. I don't have the time. Oh, okay then. What shall we discuss then? Howsabout a little bit on interrupts? I tell you what, I'll do something about interrupts in general with a mouse driver this month, and in issue 14 I'll go into detail about interrupt driven music, with some info about controlling the sound chip. Is that all right? Good. Dan dan dah... INTERRUPTS ========== Essentially, there are two ways of getting information from peripherals. You can either get your software to go round and round scanning all the ports waiting for something to happen (this is called POLLING), or you can get the peripherals to tell you when they need servicing. This second method involves interrupts which will stop the processor doing its stuff, and will jump to a routine which will take care of it, and will then return to the CPU's previous action. Now, with the Z80 CPU, like the SAM's, things are simplified a bit. Fancy computers will have many different interrupts with a priority system allowing one interrupt to, erm, interrupt another, if you get my meaning. However, with a Z80 there is only one maskable interrupt line, and no maskable interrupt can over-ride another. Maskable interrupts? Let me explain... Right, there are two types of interrupt: maskable which can be ignored (masked) and non-maskable which can't. I'll deal with the NMI first, 'cos it's simpler. Okay, The coupe has one and one only non-maskable interrupt which is connected to the break button. If you press this button the CPU will stop what it's doing and will address #0066. With the ROM paged in this corresponds to the routine to escape from a BASIC program, the DOS or anything. If you can remember back to the issue about vectors, there is one which you can change to provide your own action for BREAK, or to disable it (effectively, anyway). That vector is NMIV=#5AE0, by ra way. Fine, got everything so far? Good. Now for the maskable jobbies. Well, there are three different modes on the Z80, but with the design of the coupe, we might as well just stick to MODE1 (not to be confused with screen modes). Okay, well, there are five different interrupts which go to the CPU acting under mode 1. These force it to address #0038. The only way to tell which of the interrupts requested the interrupt a read of the STATUS register is nescesary (port 249). The lower 5 bits of this byte act as follows:- bit 0 - When low (0) this means that the value in the LINE interrupt register (port 249 - write) matches the scan line of the TV about to occur. You could use this to change palette or screen mode part of te way down the screen. bit 1 - When low, this indicates the COMMS interrupt is requesting. In my version of the ATM it states that this is a mouse interrupt. It isn't - the mouse is scanned by the FRAME interrupt. bit 2 - When low, this means that the MIDI channel has a data byte to be read. bit 3 - When low, this means that the TV scan has just been completed. This is regulated at 50/second - useful for timing. bit 4 - When low, indicates that the MIDI out register has just completed its data transfer. There are three instructions to control maskable interupts: DI - Disable Interrupts (switches em off) EI - Enable Interrupts (switches em on) HALT - Waits for an interrupt to occur. Now, I cannae be bothered to write a complete interrupt handler for you, so I'll give you some snippets. Firstly, if you stick your program in 0-#7FFF (in place of the ROM), you can leave interrupts on, and by putting EI: RET at #0066 you can effectively disable the NMI. (By the way, interrupts are off during an service routine, so you must end with EI followed by RET). Remember, you must stack all the registers you're going to use, before your routine, and recover them before returning. Leave the states of LMPR and HMPR the same as on entry. Yer basic routine would be somink like: MASKABLE_INT PUSH AF IN A,(249) BIT 3,A CALL Z,FRAME_INT . . Other interupts . POP AF EI RET FRAME_INT PUSH AF CALL MOUSE_SCAN . . Maybe add a counter, or switch palettes . to flash them, or play some music (more . on this next month). POP AF RET MOUSE_SCAN PUSH BC PUSH DE PUSH HL LD BC,#FFFE IN A,(C) LD HL,MOUSE_SPACE ; Temporary storage area LD DE,#070F IN A,(C) AND E CP E JR NZ,MOUSE_END MS1 LD (HL),A INC HL IN A,(C) DEC D JR NZ,MS1 LD (HL),A LD HL,MOUSE_TABLE LD A,(HL) CPL ; CPL inverts all the bits of A AND 7 ; Isolate bits 0-2 LD (BUTTON_STATUS),A INC HL INC HL LD A,(HL) INC HL AND E RLCA RLCA RLCA RLCA LD D,A LD A,(HL) AND E OR D ***** NEG ; Add this if you want to number ***** ; your y axis from 0 at the top. ; Neg makes the accumulator negative ; ie. 1 becomes -1 (#FF) LD D,A LD A,(Y_COORD) ADD A,D CP 192 ; This is yer maximum y coordinate JR C,MS2 XOR A BIT 7,D JR NZ,MS2 LD A,191 ; Maximum y-1 MS2 LD (Y_COORD),A INC HL INC HL LD A,(HL) INC HL AND E RLCA RLCA RLCA RLCA LD D,A LD A,(HL) AND E OR D LD E,A RLA SBC A,A LD D,A LD HL,(X_COORD) ; 16 bit value ADD HL,DE LD A,(FATPIX) ; This is zero, if we are using LD B,3 ; MODE 3 with high-res pixels. AND A ; Otherwise, make it non-zero. JR Z,MS3 ; (ie. if in another mode or if DEC B ; fatpix is 1) MS3 LD A,H INC A JR Z,MS4 CP B JR C,MS5 LD H,B DEC H DEC H LD L,255 JR MS5 MS4 LD HL,0 MS5 LD (X_COORD),HL MOUSE_END POP HL POP DE POP BC RET X_COORD DW 0 Y_COORD DB 0 BUTTON DB 0 ; BITS 0 & 2 correspond to buttons on ; mouse FATPIX DB 0 ; see above. MOUSE_SPACE DS 8 I hope this will help you all produce some great software for the superb new mouse (worth waiting for!) Well, au revoir everyone. See you all next time. All together now.. Weeeee'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when......