Submitted by Dan Dooré on Monday, May 21, 2018 - 18:48.
|Magazine||Networking And Vdu Articles|
|Letters||Search: “Stylewriter” Bug Fix|
|Prisoner||Neil McCLean||Sam (Not Speccy!) Megademo|
|Go!||Guy Inchbald||Shareware Strategy Game|
|Vector||Robert van der Veeke||Wireframe Animation|
|Sampaint||Graham Burtenshaw||Screens From Sampaint|
|Adventurer||Cameron Patterson||Adventure-Game Creator|
|E-Tunes||Search: “John Hutchings” Roger Hartley||Music Done On E-Tracker|
|Dishcloth||Matt Round||Draws 3d Mathematical Graphs|
|Santa||Matt Round||Excellent Games Master Shoot-Em-Up|
|Sesame||Cameron Patterson||Adventure Game Based On Famed Street|
|Banzai||Dan Dooré||Solitaire + E-Player By Banzai|
BM Editorial Merry Christmas readers! Yet another festive season is now upon us, and the SAM is not only still going strong but is getting even stronger with the release of Lemmings and SAMPaint - have you bought your copy yet? This Christmas should prove very interesting for the world of computers in general, with the CD32 and the Mega CD vying for top spot in the CD games market. The CD32 wipes the floor with the Mega CD and should in theory do a lot better, but hey, this is SEGA we're talking about, and we all know what their ad campaigns are like (pretty damn good, basically). According to some rumours I heard, Atari released their 64-BIT Jaguar at the end of November, but I haven't heard much about it... The thing I can't understand is what is the point in having a 64-BIT games machine? CD32 games are going to be pretty incredible and that's only (ha!) 32 bits. 64 BITS is by no means futile in the world of "real" computers, but for a games thing? Waste o' time. Whatever, Christmas is going to be make-or-break for Commodore, whose future really depends on the 1200 and CD32 selling loads. BM Editorial Back in the world of SAM though, remember that we may not have 32 bits to play with, and CD drives are not exactly imminent, but do Amiga or Megadrive owners have FRED to look forward to each month? I think not. We are going to try to get this issue to you before Christmas, but the distributors warned us that there'd probably be some delays due to the rush to get software in the shops before Christmas. Unfortunately, an Amiga software house getting 50,000 discs run off takes priority over a small SAM disc magazine getting about 12 done. So, apologies if this arrives after Chrimbo, but we tried. Nothing else for me to say except the obvious - have a great Christmas, and we'll see you in 1994! CM Show Report Ahem, I did promise last month to do a full report of the FORMAT's Gloucester Show (13/11/93). I was planning on writing it while the events were still fresh in my memory. So when Brian phoned this afternoon to ask whether I'd done it I had a heart attack, and on top of a hangover that's not very advisable. Thank you very much Mr Editor. Sadly, the train times (and prices) down to Gloucester from Dundee were not workable so good ol' Colin commits to spending 10 hours each way in a bus. Arrive Birmingham at 7am. Aaaggghhh! It's cold, wet, dark and I've only had two hours sleep. A pleasant (!) few hours are spent sitting in the station whilst the trains are delayed and I pay close on a pound a time for a cup of coffee. NOW do you see why I rarely cover costs at these shows? Anyway, to cut a long story short, I got to the show at 10am. CM Show Report For the first hour or two, the show wasn't that busy, but by the time lunch came around I was rushed off my feet! People had to queue for up to 15 minutes at peak time just to buy from the FRED stand! By way of SAM representation, most people had stands : Adrian and Mark from Blue Alpha Revelation Software FORMAT (obviously!) Hilton Compter Services Andy Wright from BetaSoft Derek Morgan's PD service SAM Supplement SAM Prime Flexibase There was also a "bring and buy" stall which did remarkably well I'm told and a few other companies that were selling Spectrum stuff. Two products made their debut at the show : Driver from Revelation and the "Two-Up" from West Coast. CM Show Report I'm probably going to regret this because there will be some people I've forgotten out, but I'll try to remember most of the people whose name's you'd recognize were there : Bruce Gordon Neil Holmes Simon Cooke Simon Goodwin Steven Pick Marc Broster Ian "AXE" Slavin Dave "SCAC" Whitmore Derek Morgan Bob Brenchley Adrian Parker Mark Hall Steve "Driver" Taylor Jack "Hilton" Gibbons Jupiter Software Carol Brooksbank Jenny "FORMAT" Bundock and family Every single person I spoke to about the show was overwhelmed with it's success and was looking forward to the next time. Amazingly, this went for the organizers, stand holders AND the visitors - a rare occurance! All I can say is that FRED will undoubtedly be attending the next one (hopefully dragging Brian down as well!) so we'll keep you posted on all the details. CM Software Report As I write, the first pre-release copies of SAMPaint are just about to go out. The response to last month's news of Lemmings and SAMPaint has been great, it's wonderful to see so many people still care enough about the future of SAM to buy the licensed software. If sales keep up, it shouldn't be too long before we start talking about the next big licence!! Unfortunately, we still can't give a guaranteed release date for Lemmings. Any orders received before Christmas will be sent the latest version in time for Christmas with the final copy following soon after. We've included some SAMPaint screens on this issue to let you see some of the hundreds of features it has. A full list of features is available on request (or see FRED39). Although neither Lemmings nor SAMPaint need the mouse, it does improve them drastically so they can be purchased with one for £55 and £60 respectively regardless of whether you are a FRED subscriber or not. Networking Article by Malcolm Perry Has anyone tried using or doing anything with the SAM network? My experiences linking two SAMs may be of interest: Firstly the connecting lead. The handbook (p171) shows a lead that has pins 1&6, 3&7 joined at one end but only pins 6&7 used at the other. This single lead will give data transfer in one direction only. A clue! P108 vaguely shows the SAMs connected in a closed loop, use a second lead and providing they're connected the right way round so that each SAM has an end that has the pins linked then two way transfer is possible. We can now use LOAD/SAVE "n:XXXX" to transfer Basic, Code, Screens etc between the computers. Incidentally, the data leaves the SAM via pins 6&7 and receives via pins 1&3. I have not worked out the implications of the same SAM having data fed back into itself by the linking of pins 3&7. Networking Article by Malcolm Perry Unfortunately, a lot of programs seemed to lock up when both leads were connected. I found that many routines trigger the Network output and leave it high. It seems that if pin 3 is taken high then the keyboard is locked out, no doubt to prevent data corruption during network use. However, as pin 3 is connected to pin 7 then when the programs drive an output on network and leave it there things come to a halt and the computer is locked up. Investigating Outwrite I found that it is the MC menu option routine that triggers the network. So selecting option "O" and returning to BASIC the network is held high and unuseable together with the keyboard locked up. Many other menu options also do the same. However the BASIC command MODE resets the Network output to zero. The Network can now be used normally. Therefore using the MODE command in your Network programs frequently should solve this problem. Networking Article by Malcolm Perry It was not at first obvious to me that Network and Midi are in fact one and the same as far as the computer is concerned in sending and receiving data. Using different pins on connectors only gives different levels of signal to suit use. The actual form of data is decided by the software/ROM/DOS routines to suit use. However input is via the same input circuit and seems to go to same input in ASIC. Likewise output is from the same point in the ASIC and just goes via different coupling cicuits to Network or Midi. So the info in the ATM P3 as to ports is valid for networks. The following test routines will generate a value in one SAM and display it on the second. SAM 1 : 10 FOR x=0 TO 255: OUT 253,x: NEXT x: GOTO 10 SAM 2 : 10 LET A=IN 253: PRINT AT 0,0;A: IF A=255 THEN CLS 20 GOTO 10 Networking Article by Malcolm Perry Not very exciting, but at least it's a start! I am still trying to find out if the network as such has been included as stated in the handbook where it refers to Channel 0 and 1 to 15 as stations, how "device n5 uses network station 5" and so on relate and how to define which station it is supposed to be. I have in fact found that it is more reliable to use a 2 core plus screen cable for two machines where pins 1&6 connect to screen at each end but then each core connects to only pin 3 at one end and to pin 7 at the other end. This means that the machine does not lock out it's keyboard when pin 7 goes high and most times the system can be freed. ---------- Since writing the last letter I think I have found the problem in Outwrite when I said the network output was being driven during certain programs and menu selections. Networking Article by Malcolm Perry In Outwrite it is PORT 252. Bit 7 of 252 is used for MIDI/Network. This port as example in MODE 3 can hold 222 ie PRINT OUT 252 IN 252,222 Drives network O/P high and leaves it there IN 252,222-128 " " " low " " " " However an IN with bit 7 set to zero is not permanent as if the network output is off then it sets bit 7 back high it seems. My conclusion is that OUT 252 to avoid triggering network should be bit 7 to zero even if the vale is obtained from the port in the first place. ie. IN a,(252) Set bit 7 to zero (whether high or low) OUT (252),a CM Network Reply When at SAMCo last Summer, Adrian, Charles and myself did some experimenting and besides having fun we did actually produce some interesting results! Yes, there does seem to be a problem with two SAM's in a closed loop but we didn't investigate as far as Malcolm as done. We successfully "daisy-chained" four SAMs together with each one being a different station number. We wrote a message sending program which allowed one SAM to have control of the network. It could send a message to one specific machine, to all of them at once, or it could pass the control to another machine. If I remember correctly, this program worked on the network side of things as opposed to MIDI ie the messages were loaded / saved as code files between machines. Although I don't have a copy of this program, it is believed to be lying deep in Adrian's collection of discs so I'll try and get hold of it for a future issue. CM Network Reply When at SAMCo, myself and Adrian enjoyed playing computer Othello. So when the network was experimented with the first thing we did was create a networked version of Adrian's Othello program that was published in FORMAT some years ago. Because all that needed to be transmitted was the new position ie "C4" I think it was sent by MIDI ie simply using IN and OUT on port 253. Again, I'll try and get hold of the program sometime because although it was nothing exceptional, it was nice to experiment. Thanks for your research Malcolm, if anyone else has experience in SAM networking I'd love to hear about it. Colin Macdonald FROM SQUINT TO SKINT!: buying a new VDU ------------ by Matt Round ------------ For some time I'd used a trusty old 14" colour portable TV for computing, firstly with a Spectrum and then SAM. It had a fairly clear picture & good sound, and was fine for most things... except for SAM's mode 3! The text was readable, but I found I was getting eyestrain from the blurring and distortion. Indeed, even mode 4 wasn't much fun when doing graphics, so I felt I'd reached the point where the discomfort had to stop! I had two main options: a monitor, or a TV with a monitor socket of some sort (almost certainly a SCART/Peritel connection nowadays, as this is firmly established as a standard). Why a special monitor socket rather than just a better TV? Well, in order for the aerial cable to carry all the different channels at once, the signals are modulated and carried at different frequencies, which is why you have to tune the television. This process (and the reverse process which separates out one signal) inevitably causes distortion and limits the clarity of the picture, so no matter how good the TV is it will always be restricted. A SCART input bypasses this system and takes a 'raw' video signal, usually either as 'composite video' (which is simply the same signal as it'd extract from an aerial lead but of better quality due to bypassing the modulation) or as 'RGB', where the red, green and blue signals are carried along separate wires. RGB is a 'purer' signal, but either is better than the standard aerial input. So what are the pros and cons for a monitor? You're virtually guaranteed a sharp picture, and the main contenders offer stereo sound, but the colour balance may be very different from what you're used to and if you also want to watch TV then you'll have to have two things cluttering up your space. And for a TV? Obviously, you can watch 'Neighbours' (hmm... is that a pro or a con?) or whatever on it, and the colour is more likely to be the same as that which most people see on their SAM (quite important if you're designing things to be published). But, it's likely to have a less sharp picture and stereo sound would be expensive. Having dithered for months, and after looking through lots of magazines and shop windows, I got down to a shortlist... Monitors: * Philips CM8833 Mk2, nice design, stereo sound, sharp picture, around £180 mail order or £200 in shops. * Commodore 1084S, a rebadged Philips Mk1, so it's similar but slightly inferior, generally £10-or-so cheaper. Apparently you can also somehow connect up a colour monitor from an old Amstrad CPC, but I don't know for certain. TVs: Most manufacturers now make televisions with SCART/Peritel sockets, but many restrict it to their expensive models (£300+). Of the cheaper ones (under £200). In my High St. I could only order a couple of models and wait for them to arrive (Ferguson and someone else, each around £180), or go for a Sony KVM1400U for £200 (minus the usual 5p, of course). The Sony is a 14" Black Trinitron set, with remote control, on-screen display, good sound (but not stereo), and a SCART socket. Trinitron is a special kind of picture tube which is flat vertically (i.e. the screen is a section of a cylinder rather than a sphere) and has much better contrast than an ordinary tube. Also, on this set black really is dark, not the medium-grey you get on normal sets; turn off a TV and look at the screen - that's your deepest black. I've had trouble with other SCART TVs in the past (the brightness control wouldn't work with the SCART input, the colour was terrible, I couldn't leave the aerial connected and switch between the two at will, etc.) but was assured I'd have no such problems with the Sony. The Dixons assistant said I could bring it back within a week if I didn't like it, so I handed over my £199.95 and wandered home with a heavy cardboard box... What do I think of it? I'm a perfectionist (=fusspot!), but I can't really fault it. The remote control is a bit of a monstrosity, but that's because it's designed to also control a video recorder & Teletext (which is an option for £40 more), and the buttons you need most are well-positioned. The styling of it is lovely, and the television picture is great, as is the sound. Connected to the SAM using the standard SAM-to-SCART lead the picture is wonderful, with just slight imperfections (where there's black on white, for example, there's sometimes noticeable 'shadowing', but I can live with that). Even in mode 3 individual pixels are clearly distinguishable (which takes a bit of getting used to!), and the colour is strong yet nicely balanced. I haven't had eyestrain with it, and it's enabled me to do far more programming. Overall, I'm very happy with what I got for my money. If I didn't want to watch television I'd have gone for the stereo Philips (everyone I know who's got one loves it), but as it is I'll settle for being seduced by a stylish Sony... Matt Round -- Malevolent -- '93. BM Disc Contents Thanks for that Matt. I'm actually thinking of getting a new monitor (or telly) myself, as I myself am getting really miffed with the quite ludicrous "shadowing" that my current telly gives me. Christmas for me is either a new monitor or an accelerator for my Amiga. Or lots of beer. I can't decide. But without further ado, here are the contents of our lovely Christmas issue: PRISONER is a megademo, BUT! it ain't a Spectrum conversion! Shock! Horror! This was done by the Doogle, Neil MacLean. It's been sitting in the FRED disc box for ages, unnoticed and hence unused, and only now is its full glory unleashed upon FRED readers. Press SPACE to move between sections. GO is a shareware game by Guy Inchbald. It's a strategy game in the way that chess is a stragety game, and needs two players. Full instructions upon loading. BM Disc Contents VECTOR by RJV is another of those wire-frame animations which went down so well last time. This one features a formation of ships flying through space. SAMPAINT. You know that excellent new art package we've been publicising like there's no tomorrow? Well, now's your chance to get a wee look at it. This isn't a rolling demo or anything; unfortunately we're limited to just a couple of screens showing off some of its features. We think you'll be suitably impressed even by these, though. There are a lot of screens, so we'll be putting half on this month (if there's enough room for 'em all) and another lot on in issue 41. E-TUNES is back again, with tunes by John Hutchings and one by Roger Hartley. Don't load it up expecting to find a huge, witty, well written, punchy scroller, because I didn't have time to write one. You can just pretend, or something, or read a good book to the music. Or just sit and vegetate in front of the screen. I don't mind which.Just make sure you LISTEN! BM Disc Contents ADVENTURER is one of those very "special" items we only occasionally manage to get for FRED. It is, in fact, an adventure game creator, and as such allows you to produce complete adventure games with which you can "stun and amaze" your friends! This was written by Cameron Patterson, who is also planning to release an even more powerful version of this creator. Keep your eyes peeled for more details in a later FRED, adventure fans. Instructions are provided. DISHCLOTH. I don't know why it's called Dishcloth, but never mind. This is the first of Matt Round's contributions this issue and is for mouse owners only, I'm afraid. It allows you to plot 3D graphs of mathematical functions, but isn't nearly as stuffy and dull as that description might suggest. See the example pics for inspiration and then jump right in! Examples of some of the more spectacular graphs are provided, so let them guide you initially. Again, help is available on-line (that seems quite standard practice, these days - and thank God for it! Cheers programmers!). BM Disc Contents Matt Round's other contribution is SANTA GOES PSYCHO, a game which certainly doesn't fail to capture the true tranquility and spiritual purity which Christmas is all about. Santa Claus, you see, is a bit peeved at his never-ending chore of present delivering and has frankly gone off his nut. Joystick or QAOPM control the bearded assassin as he tries to terminate flocks of warlik birdies, snowballs lobbed up from below, and even some nasty visiting martians! This is undoubtedly one of the best shoot-em-ups on the SAM, and shows exactly how powerful Gamesmaster is when used by a true master of games. I can quite confidently predict a rocket in Gamesmaster sales after people see this game. SESAME - Written by Cameron Patterson and D Noble, this is short for Nightmare on Sesame Street, a great example of what can be done using the Adventurer (Item H this issue, for those of you who are information-retentionly-challenged). Explore and enjoy it for yourselves. BM Disc Contents ADVERTS is its same old self. BANZAI is a couple of programs from Dan Doore, the old FRED champion of the people. Solitaire is another mouse program, although it is possible to use keys on this one. The old story - leave the board with just the one peg at the end. The second program is yet another E-Tune player, which will appeal to those of you who like to get all your tunes on the one disc. Menu driven for your convenience. And that's our Christmas FRED folks. A couple of games, a demo, a couple of utilities, some music, some screens (by Andrew Hodgkinson - I've remembered this month!) and of course this texty bit. What more could you want over the festive period? Finally, apologies to all of you who wanted to meet this spritely young lad at the Gloucester show. Wm Low simply refused to give me the weekend off. After hearing about it though I'm determined to be at the next one - roll on February! Byeeee! BM Credits Editor - Brian "penniless student" McConnell Thanks and extra helpings of Chrissy Pud to: Neil MacLean Roger Hartley Steve Pick John Hutchings Guy Inchbald Matt Round (new rival with Stefan RJV to take over FRED??) Andrew Collier D Noble Cameron Patterson Banzai Andrew Hodgkinson FRED Publishing Phone: (not at 8am, 1st Jan) [redacted] [redacted] >>> Music as usual >>> BM Music Section I've been meaning to get the new Lemonheads and Pearl Jam CDs, but you know what student incomes are like. Not e-sodding-nuff. And now we're to get 10% less. Cheers Govt., much appreciated. At least we don't have to put any VAT on FRED. But enough whinging, onto the music. Nirvana - In Utero Revolting Cocks - Linger Fickin' Good A distinctly indi-ustrial (ho ho!) flavour to this month's music secion. Is it as good as Nevermind? That's the question you're all desperate to find the answer to, so turn the page to find out... BM Nirvana - In Utero Months before this was released the press speculation was huge. Would it be unlistenably rough? Or would the band sell out completely? Most people, quite correctly, predicted that it would be much less commercial. First track is "Serve The Servants" and like the rest of the tracks on the CD, your guess is as good as mine as to what it's about. Quite good, with a simple tune to it. The next one, "Scentless Apprentice" is a bit crap. It is a bit too tuneless and rough to enjoy. "Heart Shaped Box", the single, is the best on the CD. It's great. Following that is "Rape Me" which could be construed as a bit controversial. This is Nirvana though, and I doubt they're too bothered about causing public moral outrage. This manipulates the opening guitar bit on "...Teen Spirit" from Nevermind. Lesser bands would be accused of lack of ideas, but since this is, after all, Nirvana, it's an artistic look back at the naivety and relative innocence of Nevermind, etc etc. Yawn. BM Nirvana - In Utero Poor excuse. I could go on detailing every track, but I won't. I'll just say that this album is a disappointment. After Nevermind, it was a very hard act to follow, and they've not managed to pull it off. This does have some good music on it, but it's few and far between. Nirvana are trying a little too hard to become respectably hard core again, but while it may be infinitely cool to do so, it's not so nice to listen to. To be honest, I think Nirvana have had their finest moments and this could be the start of the downward slide. 6 out of 10. BM Revolting Cocks - Linger Ficken Good The Revolting Cocks (get your titters and giggles out of the way now, please) are Al Jourgensen's "other" band, the main one being Ministry. The Cocks' style is, I suppose, "industrial" in that it sounds very modern, intense, somehow mechanical, and pretty heavy in places. The sort of music you can get completely lost in after a few beers, and happily dance away to. That's how it comes across to me, anyway. Combining the strong, repetitive baselines of dance music with Faith No More-like punchy guitars, this is good music. Add in Mr Jourgenson's intense, angry, screaming vocals (Cobain is no match for this man) and what you get is an excellent album. Joining the ranks of GNR's "Live and Let Die" and "My Girl" by the Mary Chain is "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" - yes, Rod Stewart's one. And suprisingly, it's excellent! They played it at the local indie place last weekend and oh, 'twas brill! BM Revolting Cocks - Linger Ficken Good The other tracks worth special attention are Creep, because it's superb, and the title track because it is WEIRD. For the most part it consists of a jazz riff (quite a cool little chap as well) with the most anarchic spoken accompaniment I've heard in a long time. It ends with a couple of young girls singing "It's a RevCo world..." for about a minute. Strange! I can recommend this album. 8 out of 10. No wrestling or comix this month. Bummer huh? Come on Bunj and Daz H - get writing! Your public needs ya! Me go bye-bye.
Letters & Reviews
Letter from Robert van der Veeke For those at FRED, Hello again! Thanks for placing my pictures in FRED #38, but one thing - WHERE WAS MY NAME IN FRED 38? Alright I'll be calm now (I don't need that nice white jacket with those funny sleeves on it!). The real reason I am writing this letter is because I am now the proud owner of an Amiga 2000 which I bought second hand for the amazingly low price of £75. It has a hard disc, 1 meg memory and a second 3.5" disc drive. See what I mean by amazingly low? A few issues ago one of you mentioned a program to convert Amiga screens to SAM format, so my question is how can I get hold of that nice program? Why? It's quite simple: Flash! is a nice program, but it's a bit hard to use. On the Amiga there are lots of art packages which are much better than Flash. See my point...? BM Reply to Robert van der Veeke I really must apologise, not only to Robert but to everybody whose screens have been used in FRED but to whom no credit has been given. The reason for this is that I write the main magazine before compiling the screens so that I know I'm actually going to have enough room for the magazine. Only once this has been written and compressed do I know how much disc space is going to be available to put the screens on, and so I can't give credits in the main magazine. Okay, yes, maybe I could go back and re-edit and re-compile the main magazine once I've done this, but it's usually such a relief to have finished another issue that this task takes on the appeal of a 12000 word essay on Russian politics. From now on, I think it might be best if I gave credits in the actual screen section. Once again, sorry to all our artists! There is a secondary reason for not giving credits: often screens are either digitised or sent in by somebody other than the original artist (I know that Robert's stuff was all his own original work, but this is not the case with all screens). BM Reply to Robert van der Veeke The Amiga Screen convertor is going nowhere fast, unfortunately. I know how useful this would prove to many people. All is not lost though - you can of course buy SAMPaint! This is not only comparable with DPaint in terms of features and options, it's also only about a quarter of the price. It makes Flash! look as appealing as the PLOT command in BASIC for producing screens and graphics, and is basically just an amazing art package. By the Robert, if you could send us that report of the show in Holland, we'd really appreciate it. - BRIAN Letter from Wayne Coles Dear Colin or Brian, I was extremely pleased to find a review of my first game (Trident Adventure) on issue 39 of FRED magazine, written by Bunj Wobl. Some nice things were said about it but in the end it received only 4/10. The reviewer said it would have been reviewed more favourably if it was only half the price. So, never let it be said that I don't listen to critics. If anyone orders it and mentions FRED in their letter they can buy it for only £2.00 including p+p - that's half price! I'd appreciate it if you could mention this in an issue of FRED. Cheques/P.O.s payable to Wayne Coles, letters addressed to: [redacted] Letter from Douglas Murdoch Dear Brian and Colin, Do not fear, your Guardian Angel is here! (Well at that's an original opening line I s'pose). After reading your plea for more contributions, I've come up with the perfect solution. This solution takes the form of a small plastic diskette I've enclosed with the words "The Crap Demo" written on it. By simply sticking "The Crap Demo" onto FRED, you should suddenly find thousands of contributions arriving by the bucketload with letters promising to send in regular contributions as long as you don't put any more of my "work" onto FRED. If that doesn't work, you could threaten to publish the "Crap Games Trilogy" featuring such delights as Advanced Modern Art Simulator, Advanced Football Manager Simulator, or perhaps even Letter from Douglas Murdoch Advanced Sound Making Simulator, with over 3 different drum beat variations (E-Tracker look out!). If it STILL looks like FRED could be forced to go bi-monthly (sob) then why not threaten to put me in charge of converting the next big licence - Advanced Flashback Simulator? If this cunningly conceived plan doesn't work, then Bert the flying purple guinea pig doesn't exist (and he does you know, despite Dr Fitzpatrick, my psychiatrist, saying that it's all just a figment of my imagination. Poor guy, all this psychiatring must have sent him quite mad...). PS Are you still happy to hear ideas for games (even from completely hatstand lunatics who believe that they're chipmunks from the planet Quibble?) PPS Don't worry, I don't really believe I'm from Quibble (but I do have a cousin who used to live there). BM Reply to Douglas Murdoch Well. Erm, thanks Doug. Great plan! There is just one small problem. Thing is, if we publish the Crap Demo, and then the Crap Games Trilogy, it may indeed get us hundreds of contributions, but it would more probably just stop everybody from re-subscribing and so only you would ever read it, and hence only you would ever be in a position to send in contributions, and the mag would become slightly less good, if you get my meaning. I don't know though. Maybe that's where Colin and I have been going wrong - maybe you readers all secretly WANT crap demos, and also belong to some strange S & M club? We are always on the lookout for game ideas, graphics, musicians, etc., yes, so even if you are two bits short of a byte, get in touch (and we can discuss the relative fashion merits of wearing socks as gloves and saying "Half past cider? Not much rain then today, I'll wager!" at regular intervals. - BRIAN Letter from Phil Glover Dear Colin and fellow FRED helpers, Thanks for issue 39, which is well up to the standard I've come to expect. A good mixture of material, demos and games, and with plenty of encouraging news of SAM software. Even if SAM sales don't improve, at least we'll have loads of software to enjoy. I really hope that other SAM owners decide to buy Lemmings if it's as good as reported. After using a PC at work and having seen the prices of PC software, SAM Lemmings is very fairly priced, considering the royalties involved. Good luck with the game and your other titles. As you may know, the SAM Adventure Club disc magazine, which I edit, will cease publication in December, with issue 13. The club will continue, though, and I'd be happy to try and give advice to any FRED readers who may be stuck in a SAM adventure, as long as they send me an SAE for reply. I'll soon be starting work on my own attempts at adventure-writing (YOU HAVE BEEN Letter from Phil Glover WARNED!). I know that arcade-gamers think that adventure games are played by rather odd people, but it has its own fascination, and helps widen the range of SAM software. I'd like to see the widest possible range of software on SAM, so there's something to appeal to all tastes. We'll still be selling all of our discs as back issues, and there's a good chance that we'll publish more club discs on an irregular basis, when the fancy takes us. I'll also do my best to to let all SAM magazines know what happens on the adventure scene as and when news happens. I'd be only too pleased to hear from any of your readers who are interested in adventures if they think I may be of help in any way. All the best, and merry Christmas! BM Reply to Phil Glover Sorry to hear you've closed the magazine, Phil. I was never much of an adventure gamer, but I know that a lot of people get a lot out of them. I myself found that I spent too long trying to discover the right word rather than solving problems so the whole thing revolved around sitting down with a good thesaurus. Lemmings is of course extremely good value for money, and the SAM version is (of course) by far the best version of all, no other game comes close, it's great, buy it, etc etc. We need your money!!!!!!! Readers who are interested in adventuring can find Phil at: [redacted] Letter from Carol Brooksbank I discovered recently that there is a bug in the multiple copy printing routine of STYLE WRITER. If you ask for, say, 10 copies, you get 1 copy and 9 blank sheets of paper. This is because the variables set up at the printing menu are not all preserved as they should be by the printing routine, and after the first copy all you get are form feeds. It can be put right, though. Load the program (it doesn't matter whether you load the colour or monochrome version). Use CNTRL-B to exit to BASIC. Edit line 1700 to read: 1700 IF q=201 THEN delfunc:message"PLEASE WAIT":lastline: INPUT :prmenu: LET xprin=PRIN, xlast=LAST, xpic$=PICTURE$, xnl$=NLQ$: FOR cop=1 to copies: LET PRIN =xprin, LAST=xlast, PICTURE$=xpic$, NLQ$=xnl$: prfile: NEXT cop: insfunc While you're in BASIC you can, if you like, customise the printer codes found in the DATA statements between lines 3200 and 3360 so that the default codes on loading the program will Letter from Carol Brooksbank be the ones you require. You have four codes in a sequence, and if your sequence requires less than four numbers, you must fill the sequence up with -1 for each unused one. (The codes for a true A4 page length for instance are 27,67,70,-1). Now put your working disc of Style Writer in drive 1 and, still in BASIC, type RS and the customised copy will be saved. BM Reply to Carol Brooksbank Thanks Carol. I'm sure other readers will agree that Carol must surely take the award "Most Thorough Beta Tester Ever" This lady find the bugs and produce code to fix them before most people get their discs out the jiffy bags! I can think of a certain SAM game with a definite Persian influence that should have been shipped down to Carol... - BRIAN Letter from Brian Lycett As the sun gives its final burst of light before setting over the horizon, and the evening wind whips up into a frenzy stimulating howls from the canine predators out in the vast prairies, the animals outside are sleeping restlessly. It's time to cuddle up in a nice comfortable chair by the firplace in my log cabin, and to type out this letter, protected from the harsh elements by the strong wooden walls of my home. All I want to say is that time isn't static. It may seem to go slowly, for certain phases of time to seem to be eternal, but time progresses as does society and technology. We've all lived through a decade wherein the eight bit computer was the most popular games machine, but now it's past us. The fashion of the new phase in time is, unfortunately, the console. It's no good wanting the eight bits to become dominant again: they won't. Letter from Brian Lycett It's just asking for us to take a step backwards technology- wise. This is no good, you should want us to progress faster in this respect. It may seem unfair to the SAM, a computer that could, with a bit of support from software houses, easily match the capabilities of other home computers. But, as I've said: time and society advance. But the problem is the future. If so many people are being raised on the home console, who's going to design and program the computers of the future? Our generation is the first and last to be given the opportunity to develop programming habits. Computers like the Amiga have no "attractive", easily accessable languages. The PC however, has many true languages (Pascal, C) but it is my experience that only the people who were born to program, as it were, can actually get the machines to do what they want. Letter from Brian Lycett For example, in my A level computer science group, there are a dozen students, only three of which (including my good self) can actually do interesting things on Turbo Pascal. And of course, all three of us learnt to program on the good old Spectrum (and the group contains perhaps the only two people in Northampton to own a SAM). The rest are console people. If this is what it's like now, what's going to happen when we need software written for missions to colonise/explore the Solar System? I am looking towards a career in Artificial Intelligence, but if it wasn't for the good old SAM here, I wouldn't be able to do it. That doesn't mean that I want the University to have a network of SAM's instead of PC's. I can't wait to use the latest in computing technology. Finally, I'm going to keep my SAM: it's great fun to program on. Letter from Brian Lycett So I'd like to see some games for it. A good idea would be a version of the game Eric and the Floaters/ Dynablaster/ Bomber Man: the multiplayer game where you try and kill aliens / player 2 with bombs in a maze type thing. It could be easily written on GamesMaster and released on budget for around three pounds. Well, I must get up to close the rattling shutters and tend to the horses. Goodnight. Brian Lycett. BM Reply to Brian Lycett Yup. Got it in one. The sad truth is that kids of today are becoming used to computers in a completely "closed" environment. By that I mean a Megadrive with a game in it is limited to playing that game. On a SAM, PC, Amiga, whatever, you can play games, draw pictures, write music, and of course, program. The option to program a console simply isn't there even if the child did want to do so. The future isn't completely bleak though. Computer Science courses at universities and colleges all specify that no former knowledge is needed (though it undoubtedly does help - some people on my course are struggling already) and teach programming from the very basics upwards. There is an advantage in that "properly" taught programmers don't have all the little habits that self-taught people sometimes develop. As people become more used to computers, but less able to actually program them, academic courses are going to adapt to reflect this. Remember GSCE or Standard Grade computing? A complete doddle for computer-literate people, excluding console owners. BM Reply to Brian Lycett Something else - computers are, in theory, becoming more and more user friendly. Having spent the past three months wrestling with Unix I'd say that that's extremely debatable, but never mind. It's not inconceivable that someday computers will become able to actually generate programs themselves, given all the necessary program specifications. Who knows? I have to take issue with the way you claim that Amigas have no accessable programming languages but PCs have both C and Pascal. Sorry to be pedantic and nit-picky, but Lattice C and HiSpeed Pascal for the Amiga are both highly thought of packages amongst Amiga owners. The Amiga OS was WRITTEN in C! (I think...) This is a SAM magazine so I won't go on about that. I could, but that would simply descend into the old "my computer's better than yours" situation. So I won't. Really, the matter's over. Finished. Never to be brought up again. Ever. - BRIAN
THE ADVENTURER- A Text Adventure Creator for the SAM Coupe. Designed, Programmed and Tested by: Cameron Patterson, [redacted] The system involves 2 BASIC programs. The player, and the creator/editor which includes a play routine. ________________________________________________________PLAYER__ All adventures have a suffix on their filename (.adv) from which they can be recognised. You are given a directory of all the adventures on the disk, and you should type the name without the suffix. eg to load Sesame.adv you would enter SESAME (This is the convention throughout the system). You will then be welcomed to the adventure. The commands you can use can be listed by HELP, but briefly: NORTH, EAST, SOUTH, WEST - Move in direction if possible. DROP/TAKE/GET - Drop/Take an item in the location. LOOK - Redescribe the location. QUIT - Quit the adventure. INVENTORY - Display what you are carrying. HELP - List Commands. USE - To solve problems: eg Dragon blocks Path..... USE SWORD! Throughout the adventures only the 1st letter of your 1st command is scanned, so I, inv, INVENT would all translate as (I)NVENTORY. Also for all commands involving an object (TAKE/DROP/USE) the object is selected from a list of possibles, using the CURSORS. ________________________________________________CREATOR/EDITOR__ When you load this program you get the ----MAIN MENU---- 1) Play Adventure - See PLAYER instructions above. 2) Edit/Create Adventure - Brings up the EDIT menu. 3) Help Pages - Brings up a brief help section, similar to this. X) Exit Program - Drop out of the Program. ----EDIT MENU---- 1) Create New Adventure - Asks if you're sure because it wipes the memory. (You may need to re-BOOT first) 2) Load Old Adventure - Shows adventures and asks for filename. 3) Test Current Adventure - Same as player except after DEATH you can return to the adventure before your death. 4) Save Adventure - Asks for filename and then if protection wanted. Protection stops people loading up your game (Option 2) and viewing or cheating in the game. The game is still able to be played. 5) Alter Current Adventure - Brings up the ALTER menu. 0) Exit - Returns to the MAIN menu. ----ALTER MENU---- 1) Add a Room - Adds a room to adventure and asks for information about the room (see later), and local INSTANT DEATH items (also see later). 2) Edit a Room - Edit any of the information about the room. 3) Edit Item Descs. - The Adventure's items are entered here. 4) Edit Death Messages - You can die in many ways. The reason for your death will be printed. These are the messages that will be printed. You can alter them here. 5) Details & Adv. Naming Menu - Brings up DETAILS & NAMES menu. 6) Printer Options - You can elect to print out a specified room and all its' details, or all other adventure details. Also helpful for translating into a new version? 0) Exit - Returns to EDIT menu. ----DETAILS & NAMING MENU---- 1) Name Adventure and Programmer - Here the name of the adventure and of its' author are entered. 2) Start & Completion Messages - The messages sent to the player before the adventure begins, and on completing it. 3) Global Death Items - global INSTANT DEATH items (see later). 4) Select Endroom - This is the last room of the Adventure. When entered,the end message & congratulations appear. 5) Number of Inventory Items - Allocates how many items a player can hold in their inventory during the game. 6) Items in Inventory at Start of the Game - Chooses the items the player holds at the beginning of the game. 0) Exit - Returns to the ALTER menu. !!! SEE LATERS !!! GLOBAL/LOCAL INSTANT DEATH ITEMS - These are items that if USEd cause instant death. LOCAL is confined to a particular room, where GLOBAL is effective over the entire adventure. INFORMATION ABOUT THE ROOM - This is the data for each room: DESCRIPTION - Description of the Location. ROOMS(NESW) - What room number is in the specified direction. If all set to 0, player is trapped or has died. (You are prompted for which.) ITEMS HERE - You can have 10 items in room. Select from list. HAVE A LOCK?- Whether a lock in this location or not. If not then the following can be disregarded....... UNLOCK ITEMS- Items that when used UNLOCK room. You can have 1 or 2. If 2, then asked if either or both needed. DIREC.LOCKED- Directions chosen which are invisible and unable to be taken until unlock occurs. UNAVAIL.OBJS- These items (from ITEMS HERE) can be seen but not taken until unlock occurs. DISAPP.ITEMS- These items (from ITEMS HERE) can be seen & taken until unlock occurs,when they disappear from room. HIDDEN ITEMS- These items cannot be seen or taken until unlock. LOCKED MESS.- Extra Description printed when room is locked. UNLOCK MESS.- Extra Description printed after unlock occurs. It can be printed just once after unlock or whenever the room is consequently entered. __________________________________________________DESIGN_HINTS__ This is the method I recommend, designing on paper first: -Design a map of the rooms and their numbers -Make an item list and mark where they are to be found -Mark on where locks are and what to use to remove them -Decide which items cause Instant Death, and where -Start to enter the adventure, beginning with the items and reasons for death, then all Adventure Details, then the rooms. If you wish to conceal that there is a lock in a room then: DO NOT have Unavailable objects & DO NOT print a locked message. I have enjoyed writing this program, and continuing to develop it. Any comments, suggestions or ideas to the address at the top please. GO ON, WRITE YOUR OWN ADVENTURES. -Cameron.