Submitted by Dan Dooré on Monday, May 21, 2018 - 23:19.
|Show Report, Guide To Printer-Buying
|Legend Of Eshan Reviewed - Twice!
|2 Player Strategy/Puzzle Game
|Very Hi-Res Screens On Sam!
|Image Processing On The Cheap
|Plots Mathematical Functions
|Text Pinched Off The Internet
|Music Done On E-Tracker
|Amiga Module Files
|Playable Demo Of Thrust Clone - see Games that weren't
|Displays Text At Any Angle
BM Editorial Summer, my fellow SAMers, is without doubt here. The weather of last Saturday's show gave a subtle hint but that was in Gloucester, not Monifieth, and so doesn't count. More about that fine day later though. No, summer can only be pronounced well and truly with us now that I've had my traditional overdose of UV rays in good old Monifieth; today was that day, and so summer is here. Hurrah! and dig out UFOrb for another summer of ambience! The month of May also traditionally brings Highers, A-Levels, and all the piddly little ones which seem important at the time. Then you realise that a Standard Grade in English qualifies you only for membership of the human race and wish you hadn't wasted so many sunny hours studying useless and unimportant things. But hey, I'm not bitter - they've put all _my_ exams in June now, for maximum summer disruption. I'll take this opportunity to wish those of you currently sitting your exams the best of luck, and hope to see some of you at Dundee Uni next year. By which time they'll hopefully get some air-conditioning... BM Editorial A rather important event took place in the weeks since I last spoke to you - I refer of course to the 2nd Gloucester SAM and Spectrum Show. For more details of this historic occasion, flick forward a few pages, but for now I'd like to thank all of you who took the trouble to nip down and see what it was all about. The people I spoke to seemed most impressed by everything, and that includes both visitors and stand-holders alike. As yet, there is no 3rd Show planned, but who knows - perhaps we can all go down and revel and delight this time in 1995...? We shall no doubt be publicising such a show 8.5 seconds after Bob Brenchley decides it would be worth having, so don't worry about missing it! On a very dull note indeed, I'm getting a little bored with right-justified text all the time, and so to liven up my tedious existence a little, I'm going to throw caution to the wind and have (gasp!) JAGGY BORDERS! I apologise in advance for any undue inconvenience, lack of sleep or downright terror this may cause. - BRIAN BM News Legend of Eshan, the SAM's first Role Playing Game, is now out, and you can buy as many copies as you wish. Should you wish to purchase 10 copies of said item, we shall throw in a free label for any blank disc you might have lying around. No. Wait. Stop everything a moment. This is just getting SILLY! You wouldn't believe the thing about low-flying antelopes I was thinking about writing. Right. That's better. I shall continue now.... You can buy Legend... from FRED for £14.99, with £2 off for FRED subscribers (that's £12.99). We have some reviews of it in the letters section, so you might like to jump there after this. Possibly you always do that anyway, and in any case who am I to order your FRED perusing? The game is, as I have said, an RPG, and has been compared, very favourably I might add, to the Speccy classic Lords of Midnight (which I have never played and probably never will). BM News I can't say I'm a huge fan of RPG games. I've just bought a couple for my Amiga, as they were selling very cheaply - an A1200, well reviewed game for £5.99? 'Course I bought it! I have to admit that I've played it for a total time of about 8 minutes now. £6 well spent, I say! No doubt I'd be instantly hooked on Legend of Eshan, but as Colin hasn't lobbed a copy in my direction I can't comment. It does look pretty cool though (the one screenshot I've seen, that is!). Now some news which will have half of you saying "Happy happy joy joy!" and the other half crying into their pints - Commodore Business Machines, the company responsible for the C64 and of course the Amiga, target of many a SAM owners abuse, has gone under. Or gone into voluntary liquidation, whatever that may mean. Colin told me it was bad though (between giggles), so thinks are looking pretty darned serious for the Amiga, and the CD32 which seemed a roaring success in the UK at least. It just goes to show that it's not the computer but the marketing behind it that determines whether or not the machine survives. BM News Something which is bound to cheer a few of you up is the news that West Coast have produced another, brand new SAM! Called the SAM Elite, this is basically a normal SAM with a built in printer interface, and a slightly enhanced ROM. Don't get in a panic about having to shell out £15 for this ROM though, as it's only to handle the aforementioned printer interface. Bundled with 6 games, this package is aimed at people upgrading from consoles to a real computer! The games: * Tetris * Astroball * Quizball * Frog Squad * Soul Magician * Dragon Tiles which you can obtain from West Coast for £5 if you really want them. You'll probably have seen most of them before though. BM News It should be stressed that this is not a new computer, but a new package. Your existing SAM is not now obsolete and out of date, so please don't phone up asking how they could do it to such a loyal market! If you know anybody who's looking for a SAM, tell them about the SAM Elite. It costs £200, and has a disc drive and of course 512k RAM. Phone [redacted] (Format) for more details. ***** West Coast have declared Lemmings to be "the best licence for the SAM yet released." So to celebrate this, you can get Lemmings now for the special price of £29.99! Oh all right, £19.99... (Still £18 for subscribers, though!). MR EVEN SKINTER: buying a printer! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ with Matt Round Yes, it's another buyer's-guide article for all you people who, like me, occasionally have more money than sense! You'd think the guy in the local computer shop would love it when I went to buy things, but ever since I mentioned the SAM he hasn't been the same - apparently he used to be a dealer, and it didn't go too well, so he now turns slightly pale if it's mentioned! After simultaneously saving my eyesight and emptying my bank account by buying a new TV, the next thing on the shopping list was a new printer to replace the Citizen 120-D I bought with my SAM. I liked having a printer that's compatible with just about everything, and using the NLQ fonts in the PCG DTP pack gave quite good results, but it was time for it to make way for something much better... MR Guide to Printers I had around £230 to spend, which meant I had to make a choice between the two types of printer in that range: * 24-pin Colour Several manufacturers make these (Star, Seikosha, Panasonic etc.), and all are basically the same and cost £200-250. The resolution is quite high, but as with all ribbon-using printers it's not easy to get dark, even print. You can do good colour screen dumps with the right software, and some have a few scalable fonts built-in, so if you've got a versatile word-processor you can set it up to use those. Running costs are low, especially if you don't use colour much. Dot-matrix printers tend to be quite large and 'clunky', and colour ones are no exception! MR Guide to Printers * Inkjet/Bubblejet These printers work by squirting ink at the paper, and have made monochrome 24-pin printers virtually extinct. They're smaller, much quieter (the only noise is from the mechanics of moving the paper and the print-head) and give a deep, even blackness, but are more expensive to run (ink cartridges are £12-17, which works out at approx. 5p per page). Lots of manufacturers make them (there's the Epson Stylus 800, Star SJ48 and one from Olivetti that looks like a bread-bin!), but only two good 'uns were available in my local shop: MR Guide to Printers 1. Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 310 (portable). A while back, HP surprised everyone by producing cheap, high-quality printers rather than the expensive, high-quality ones they'd been flogging to gullible corporations. There's a wide range of Deskjets, and older models are around at lower prices. All produce 300dpi (dots per inch) output, and features include several fonts, but of course you'd have to specially configure a word-processor to make use of such things. The DJ500C offers great colour at £300 or so (again, you'd need special software to make full use of it), and the mono DJs with built-in sheet-feeders are around the £260 mark. The printer my local shop was trying to get me to buy was the DJ portable, for £233 (expect to pay £20 less mail order). This doesn't have a sheet-feeder, but is compact and offers the same quality as the other models. I was tempted by it (I've used Deskjets before and was quite impressed), especially when I heard that a colour kit would be available for around £60. MR Guide to Printers 2. Canon BJ-10SX. This is another printer which can be made portable by installing a rechargeable battery pack. The print-head is incorporated into the ink cartridge, which may seem wasteful but ensures you never end up with a worn-out print-head! It can emulate the IBM Proprinter X24E, Canon BJ-130e or Epson LQ-510, uses 360dpi resolution, and doesn't have a sheet-feeder. There are no scalable fonts, but the sharpness of the output is superb, so this is very much the kind of printer which really shines when used with things like Windows (which generates fonts itself and merely uses the printer as a dumb graphics-drawer). Costs £210. I ruled out the 24-pin colour printers almost immediately. Yes, colour screen dumps would be nice, but I'd had enough of screeching dot-matrix printers, messy output and big, clumsy machines... I wanted something that isn't the printer equivalent of an Eastern-bloc diesel tractor! MR Guide to Printers Choosing between the others was far more difficult. I knew I couldn't go wrong with the Deskjet 310, and could upgrade to colour, but liked the higher resolution of the Canon. In the end, I decided by thinking about what it had to print from. I wanted to use it with my SAM, and although Wordmaster is reconfigurable (it's really only a Spectrum program, but unfortunately is still the only 'proper' word-processor on SAM). I'd like to be able to use programs which assume you're using an Epson FX compatible printer. I may be getting a PC in the future, so I also wanted to be able to get good results from Windows applications. The Canon BJ-10SX offers limited Epson FX emulation (things like bold, underline, italics etc. are OK, graphics compatibility is patchy) and superb 360dpi output, so I handed £210 to a spotty trainee and walked away with a rather small box... MR Guide to Printers It's now a fortnight later, and I think I made the right choice. It takes up very little room on my desk, the design is lovely, and the top cover keeps the dust out. It took a long time to set the DIP switches (you have to work out which mode, font, etc.); I ended up opting for Epson LQ emulation, which means I get limited FX compatibility (but to use the very high resolution graphics modes I'd have to change the settings). The two fonts available in LQ mode, Roman and Sans Serif, are nicely designed, and the resolution is even better than I'd hoped for- you really have to strain your eyes to find anything remotely resembling a jagged edge! I only have one gripe - it causes nasty crashes if connected to the mains when my SAM is already on... even my electric heater has never managed that! MR Guide to Printers So, if you don't want colour, and don't want to have to write your own word-processor, the Canon BJ-10sx is a good buy, and gives you quality only bettered by good laser printers. Matt Round/'Malevolent' STOP PRESS(!): Screendumps from Flash! and SAMPaint *WON'T* work, but the DUMP utility in MasterBASIC works unaltered. So you CAN do graphics without special routines, but it costs a fortune in ink and is at the resolution you'd get from a 9-pin dot-matrix! ***** COLIN'S NOTE: We are working on the SAMPaint compatibility problems with Canon printers, and we'll let you know as soon as we get something sorted out. Also, for best results you should load SAMPaint from MasterDOS or SAMDos, but NOT MasterBASIC. BM Comment On Printers I may as well throw my tuppence worth into this printer thing. I've got a Canon BJ-10ex, which is just the not-so-snazzy version of Matt's 10sx. I've found the print quality to be superb from my word-processing, and one of my computing lecturers thought it was a laser printer's output. The printer outputs an internal font, so you won't lose any quality due to the SAM's relatively low resolution. What happens is the SAM sends a message, "Print the letter 'A'" and the printer squirts ink onto the paper in the shape of the letter A which it had programmed in. All this happens very quietly and at 83 characters per second which is fast for Letter Quality, but dot-matrix printers can often go twice as fast as this with a corresponding drop in quality. I must say that I've never actually printed any screens from the SAM on it, so can't comment there. Any other FRED readers with Canons like to let us know how they've fared? CM APRIL AWAY In true tradition of my good self getting itchy feet around holiday time, the first two weeks in April were to represent a petit-break from Scotland whilst I run amock in various other cities in Britain. After doing two exams on 30th March followed by a small celebration, I managed to struggle onto a London bound train early the next afternoon. First stop : Essex, Thursday night. After JUST making the last tubes in London, arriving in Essex in the pouring rain did make me think twice about the trip. Especially when I remembered pulling out of Dundee in the blindingly bright sunshine..! There was a little bit of running about a train station - along platforms and up and down bridges to find the right train, but it's the end result that matters, and of course, I did finally make it. CM Boring article ctd To explain what I was doing in Essex : a good friend of mine from Dundee, Allan, was staying with his sister in Essex for a couple of weeks so we thought we'd meet up for a few days. The quick-thinking of you will realise that I travelled 600 miles just to see a friend who lives 6 miles along the road. But hey - that's just me I guess....! As I always am when I leave Scotland, I was appalled by the early licencing hours - on Friday we were thrown out of the pub by 10.30! We'd only been out for half an hour! Naturally, being so close to London, we did try to go in and "paint the town red" but even for Scotsmen, there's only so much you can do in a weekend! Still it was a great weekend - and an especially good start to the fortnight ahead. Monday morning and Swansea was calling. Being myself, at everyone and everything's beck and call - I got on a train. CM Yawn - where was I? Wales, that's right... As usual, from the train journey into Swansea itself you can see the old SAMCo building and it was very nice to see that the big SAM Computers Ltd sign still hung proud on the outside wall of the building - maybe one day I should create a video of places like MGT, SAMCo, Blue Alpha, FORMAT, FRED etc etc... then again, maybe the demand would be far from high! I spent the bulk of the first day getting organized for the week or so I planned to stay in Wales - as well as phoning up everyone warning them of my arrival. First night in Swansea was spent with Charles Gill (SAMCo repairs person - you might remember him as "Charlene Hill"...). Perhaps I should have rephrased that as "First evening." He's still doing well at college and I was pleased to hear that he still uses his SAM and MIGHT one day even contribute to FRED (shock horror!). We were also accompanied that night by his delightful lady-friend Emma - who has too much money for her own good! CM ZZZZZzzzzzzzzz The Colin Macdonald sleep-inducing story continues with Tuesday where I was in the company of Paul Jenkins - employee of SAMCo, SAMTech and most recently, Blue Alpha. Unfortunately for us all, Paul has been brain-washed by Nilltendo and bought a !@#$. Although he did reluctantly put his SAM up for auction and allegedly received several thousand pounds for it. With the money he bought a whole two games for his Nilltendo. In the true Swansea experience, Tuesday night was spent on Paul's couch - nice to see Paul's partying habits haven't changed! At the time I was down he didn't have a job but the latest grapevine rumours say that he has now found a company willing to employ him - and it doesn't have SAM in it's name!! Ever-willing to run up everyone's phone bill I phoned Adrian and Mark at their new Blue Alpha office. A brief car journey later and I was standing in the upteenth office to see SAMs built and despatched - albeit "quite" a cold office, it's certainly big - they've even got a map showing how to get around their office! CM Zzzzz After being driven back to the centre of Swansea, I made one of my bi-annual visits to see Bruce. Although he himself doesn't really have anything to do with the SAM these days he was very interested in how everything was coming along and what everyone was doing to continue supporting "his baby". Naturally, he was very pleased at seeing Lemmings being finally released and had he not been sent a complimentary copy, he would have ordered one... Thursday was spent up at Blue Alpha again - hey, it's a nice place! Anyway, rather than play computer golf and Witching Hour which we did on my last visit in September, we did spend a lot of time talking about how and where everything was going. We did make the mistake of going to a local pub for lunch. However, it seems the word local is very true - when three strangers walk in and the one with the Scottish accent orders three cokes we got some very threatening looks. A hasty exit was made. CM April visit I did consider printing a joke about Adrian trying to show off and then accidentally stumble into the bin (hence a kicked the bucket line), but it would lose a lot in translation. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent mainly with Charles and Paul again - a mixture of films, snooker and curries. There are some mildy amusing stories to be told about that weekend, but unfortunately, they've got nothing to do with SAM (well, it was my holiday...) and would probably sound pretty dull when retold. Monday : Adrian, Mark, Paul and myself went to the big ECTS (European Computer Trade Show) in London and saw the latest in cutting edge technology....or rather, a lot of very hot air and promises that no-one will keep. Still, it kept us amused for a short period of time! CM April Showers On Tuesday my other six monthly visit was completed - this time to Bob and Jenny at FORMAT in Gloucester. This was spent talking shop, as well as beating Bob at "Soul Magician" which appeared on FRED43! Well, I would have looked pretty silly if I'd been beaten at a game that had appeared on FRED wouldn't I? And then, on Wednesday it was time for me to hit the home straight and head for Dundee. It was terrible - I had no money, the weather was dreadful, I had to go back to College. Oh yes - and it was my birthday on the Friday (15th incidentally) so everyone else took me out and brightened up the end of the week. Isn't life terrible. I should apologize now for the delays a lot of things experienced as a result of my fortnight away - but the pressure of terminal exams (I did actually pass I found out yesterday - shock of the century!) was just too much and in order to save my sanity a break was DEFINITELY in order. And now, back to Brian. BM Soul Magician Level Codes Yes. It's a hard life being a FRED staff member. We get forced on weekends down to Gloucester, one of which I shall tell you all about after some level codes for our FRED 43 giveaway Soul Magician. Thanks to Stu Sullivan for these (the rest will appear next issue, Stu). 1 ABBASDEFGH 13 JRLMYVOQZN 25 FTRSTWSLGT 2 GFGFHSLBVT 14 FNCJCAXPQE 26 KRAISZJOMV 3 QCMSPAQXEV 15 IVENNGGYYK 27 MBDJKYNDAP 4 XKZEDTUJDG 16 HRRXSKIZNN 28 RZMTGOMCKD 5 NYMPJKBWZY 17 HSOZZWZRQQ 29 PKDMORVEPM 6 SQVVHHYULZ 18 IVKDRHSBFB 30 KOWSFRCDGY 7 IWRMRFHMJY 19 BZUFDXJNAE 31 RBVCYYZHFC 8 ELZUDYMYWE 20 BJXBPTHIOE 32 NKKGSMQRTB 9 EVZEYXPZHD 21 DSTSEYDJGJ 33 FHZCIVTRWJ 10 FCDJORSMJU 22 KPTMBRPRRS 34 CDDUWHXNUE 11 GTOXXYHSTT 23 ZTXSAMRYXS 35 HWFSONMDXG 12 XRENKJVTVF 24 YQPJWNUZJR BM Lemmings Codes/Adventure Column No, don't worry - we're not going to spoil the fun of this FRED- tastic game. I'd just like to remind some of you that we don't actually need the level codes sent in - being the publishers, FRED does, believe it or not, HAVE a list of them already... Thanks to those of you who took the trouble to send some in, but it really isn't necessary. ***** Before I get round to writing my Gloucester report, (and yes, I know I do keep putting it off, but I'll get on to it eventually) here is the first in a series of adventure game columns by Alex Jones who no doubt knows all about the show as he was there. Good on you Alex, and take it away..... AJ Adventure Help Column by Alex Jones _____________________ Welcome to the first adventure help section to appear in FRED. When the Sam Adventure Club ceased publication I thought it would be a good idea to continue the help section in a similar vein to David Haire who did such a good job for SAC. I am neither an expert adventure player nor a fountain of all knowledge on adventure games so to make a success of this column I need as much feedback as I can get from all you adventure gamers out there - assuming of course that there are others besides myself who subscribe to FRED! I hope that you will send me any hints and/or solutions to any games no matter how old and also any requests for help in any adventure you are currently stuck in. You'll find my address at the end of this section AJ Adventure Column To get started here is the first part of the solution to "DAYS OF SORCERY" You start in a small hut. Go northeast to the village square, then east into the village hall. Listen to Gorath, then go west. You will find you have now volunteered to investigate the mists. Go north and east to the cemetery, and take the shovel. Go west, south, and northwest three times into the forest, then go north, northwest, south, west, and south to the witch's cottage. Ask her about the wizard, she will give you a collar and tell you to bring back her cat before she will help you. Go north, west, and northwest. Examine the trees to find a quiver. Go north to the clearing, then continue north twice, east and north. Take the fallen branch you will find there. AJ Adventure Column Go west twice and north to the crossroads, then continue west twice, south and east to the edge of the lake. Dig there and you will find an oil lamp. Go west, north and east twice to the crossroads, then continue north twice, east, south, east three times and then north to the south gate of the city. Wait for the leper and ask him about the city, he will tell you of a secret entrance. Follow the leper to the clearing, then examine the grass (which is not mentioned in the location description) to find a trapdoor ***************** OK, that should get you started I'll continue with the solution next issue. Now for some help wanted. I'll start with some requests of my own and hopefully next month will see some of your questions, hints, tips etc. printed. AJ Adventure Column 1) In the "JADE STONE" how do you get past the robbers without losing all your possessions? 2) In "PENELESS" how do you get past the troll? How do you open the iron door? ******************* That's about it for my first attempt, as I said earlier the success of this column depends on how many subscribers to FRED play adventures and how many of these are willing to make the effort and write in. The address for your letters is as follows:- [redacted] BM At Last! Show Report All right. You've been patient people, so here's the full, only slightly censored version of our Gloucester expedition and show. First of all, I'll introduce our merry little band. You know Colin and myself, but probably not our kind volunteer for driving Gavin Jack or our beer-seeking, mobile phone-wielding, "U Are The Best Thing"-singing companion Allan Dalgarno (whose surname I've just had to take a complete guess at. Sorry if it's wrong Allan!). Neither of them has the slightest involvement in SAM affairs, but we needed somebody to drive us down and help with the reduction of Gloucester's alcohol supplies so down they came! We left bonnie Dundee at about 10:45pm on Friday night, after giving Gav time to study for an imminent exam. This gave the three of us a chance to sample the wares of a couple of Dundee pubs (which was a totally new experience, honest) and make a few people very jealous of our weekend (and car - we got a shot of a nice big red Peugot 405. Joy!) BM Show Report And so, armed with only five packets of Spearmint Polos (brill sweets - try a packet) and four Red Bulls (to give us wings!) the epic journey began. Stereo on, all psyched up and ready to go, we started towards Perth, and Colin and I promptly tried to get some sleep. Well, it was late, and we are both usually tucked up in bed by 8:30 on Friday nights, so you can understand.... After what seemed like mere minutes (approx 400,000,000 of them) we arrived in Gloucester. And did we find red carpets? Streets lined with cheering crowds? Did we 'eck. We did find that all the fast food places were closed for 2 more hours, though, which was just perfect. After listening to tapes in the car and watching the staff blowtorch rejected gherkins of the tarmac for what seemed like days, MacDonalds opened. Hurrah! we cried, (or words to that effect) and strode in, only to be told that we couldn't get any hamburgers or Big Macs until 10:30. Smart. Being the naive young fools we were, we ordered the MacD breakfast. For the first and last time in my life. Oh dear. BM Show Report It was not good. The egg looked like a tapeworm with jaundice (not that I'd know or anything). Yuck. Moving swiftly on, we hurried onwards to the show venue. I had been told that this was a village hall, but the place was actually a fair size. It wasn't Wembley, but it was bigger than I expected from the term "village hall." Luckily there no bars in the place so we got some sense out of Colin... After meeting a couple of people (I'll give mentions later) it was time for a swift trip to the bathroom to get washed and change my by now none too pleasant clothes into the official FRED outfit - a Ren & Stimpy "Happy Happy Joy Joy!" T-shirt. Joy! That phrase, I may add, quickly became the official slogan of the trip. And indeed why not? There were literally lots of people at the show, and many names with which you will all undoubtedly be familiar. Just some of BM Show Report the companies there were FRED, FORMAT, Steve's Software, Blue Alpha, West Coast, Revelation, SD Software, Flexipage, Bill Richardson, Woodpecker Discs, ZAT, and a few Spectrum stands. There were a couple of SAM PD stands, including one - I could never work out who was running it - attended by apparently AXE and Derek Morgan in turns. Or something. There was a Speccy games bring and buy sale, plus numerous "general" things, like a stall selling CDs. A refreshments counter was an important part of the proceedings - I may not have yet mentioned that this was one very hot April day. Easily 20 degrees centigrade, probably a lot more. Hot. We are lucky to get that in July up here (although today and yesterday have been excellent here - suntan time folks!). The show, to put it simply, was busy. At the All-Format shows I've been to (yes, both of them!) things usually tailed off about 1:00pm or earlier, We did think this one was doing the same, but it must have been a lunchtime thing. BM Show Report The afternoon was almost as busy as the morning. Most unexpected, but hardly unwelcome! Having a stand right next to the entrance can't have hurt the FRED coffers much either... So. How did FRED do at the show? Well, I think Colin covered the various costs involved, which hopefully means FRED plus guests will be at the next show - providing Bob Brenchley (who very kindly let me have his copy of the CTW with the letter I did for Colin in it - thanks Bob) decides that another one would be feasible, of course. I think they're considering one for next Easter, but needless to say advance tickets are NOT available yet! I think the other companies present did pretty well; in the SAM world nobody's going to become millionaires, but provided people can come out in the black there's no reason why the SAM can't go on and on and on and on and on.... BM Show Report Thanks to everybody who turned up to the show. We all appreciate the bit of effort. It was very hectic, and I kept being introduced to people all the time, trying to keep several conversations on the go at once. I'll therefore apologise to anybody who felt they were abruptly abandoned in mid-flow, although I hope I didn't do that too often! There were a couple of people who couldn't make it to the show, but hundreds did get there. Big hellos to: AXE (cheers for the mods and disc box - tres chic) Graham Burtenshaw (the world's #1 SAMPaint demonstrator) Simon Cooke (sorry I missed your little doobrie) Stefan Drissen (how did the trip back go? Good polos, yeah?) Bob Brenchley (thanks for organising such an excel. show) Mark Hall (glad to hear you got rid of a few SAMs) Derek Morgan (PD getting bigger I hope) Steve Taylor (surely sick to death of Driver hints & tips) Tim Paveley (who waited about a month before announcing himself) BM Show Report Robert Pain (we demand a letter, Rob. Get to it!) Marc Broster (I'll get that sprite down to you, honest!) Wayne Coles (keep working on Gallium, and who knows?) Craig Turberfield (I still say Genesis are crap, but never mind) Andrew Watkins Stu Sullivan Alex Jones David Handley Steve Nutting Roger Jowett and everybody else I spoke to. I'm sorry if your name doesn't appear here, but I've spent ages trying to remember who else I met and my mind's just gone blank. Before I finish, let me offer my fullest apologies for not living up to the image of the typical computer fanatic! I know many of you expected a long-haired, bespectacled, death-metal T-Shirted shortish youth. I may make an effort for another show! BM This Again This is the last time we'll be mentioning this, but it is quite important so it's worth bringing up this third time - I am giving up my editing FRED, and we need somebody to take over the responsibility. We need somebody who's at least capable at written English, but it's not a problem if you're not educated to Degree standard journalism! The most important pre-requisite is probably enthusiasm about computing in general, and of course the SAM itself. A small capability in SAM Basic will be helpful to say the least, but you don't need to be a machine code genius. You MUST be able to spare the time. We can't stress this enough. If you think you're capable of filling this post, and it isn't yet filled, (otherwise why'd I waste time and energy writing this?) then get in touch. You know the number - [redacted]. You can also write, perhaps including a sample review or editorial, or a sample rundown of the disc contents. Show us what you've got! BM Disc Contents ATOMS by Andrew Collier is a 2 player game, and while I've seen a few versions on the Amiga, this is the first on the SAM. You have to place atoms on the board, each player placing one at a time. The object is to get the whole board displaying your colour, or to wipe out the other player, whichever happens first. When it's your turn, you place an atom on a square. Depending on its capacity, it will either explode, or increase by one. The corner squares explode with the second atom placed, the edges with the third, and the middle ones with the fourth. When they explode, squares "leak" their colour (yours or your opponents) onto the surrounding ones, also increasing their contents. Chain reactions can occur in this way, which is kind of cool! It's good fun just trying to get the whole board exploding, although it takes SAM a while to work out what it should be doing...! INTERLACED is a couple of interlaced (Gasp!) screens sent in by David Simmons. They are rather impressive... BM Disc Contents GFX UTILS has some graphics effects by Matt Round, which perform various tasks that SAMPaint doesn't have. And there aren't many of them! Matt has written his own information thing, so read that for more details. 2D GRAPH is a program by Tim "E-Mail King" Paveley which plots graphs of mathematical functions. You can use the mouse or joystick keys to move around his WIMP system. There's a built in biorythm thing which predicts that I'll have a physical peak in 6 days. Whether or not that means I'll be able to get out of bed before noon or not, I'm not yet sure... NET this month contains a text file which I think the aforementioned E-Mail King Tim sent me. It is deeply satirical rather than belly laugh material, so don't worry if you don't see the joke. If you've done any Computing at Uni or have a wide general knowledge about computer systems you'll probably get it. But maybe not. In which case, humour me and don't complain! BM Disc Contents The E-TUNES were sent in by Bob Brunsden and are Bob-alised versions of easy-listening things. I think Whiter Shade of Pale is a stunning song, which is partially why he gets a section to himself. Hey, I'm the editor (for now) - I'm allowed these little indulgences! MODULES is back - tell me, what do you all think of these? Has the novelty worn off or are you hungry for more? Four lovely tunes this ish, sent in by the author of the excellent player program, Stefan Drissen. RETROS is Matt Round's demo of what will hopefully turn out to be a FRED published game. That hasn't been decided yet, but whatever happens, I guarantee you'll keep coming back to this bundle of everything addictive ever invented. You use keys 6,7 and 0 (left right and fire if you have one of those new-fangled joy-stick things) to move your ship left, right and upwards. The goal is to collec the little flashing thingies and then escape out the top of the screen. This is one very hard game! BM Disc Contents ANNOYANCE is a game from Dan Doore (BANZAI) and is for mouse or keyboard owners. His original version was mouse only, which among other things meant that I couldn't test it (being a rodentless young tyke). This one works with cursors and "," though, so I was able to see for myself where the name comes from! I think it's best if you play it yourself... In Bits N Bobs, we have three things: DATA MANAGER by Paul Crompton, which is a small database program. It's menu driven, and so shouldn't provide too many problems in the usage area. Pressing ESC will return you to the program's front menu. DISC COPY by David Handley is a disc copier which lets you copy from any specific sector in any specific track (or is it the other way around?) to another one further up. Handy for corrupted discs, I'd imagine. Finally, CPRINT by Ben Hockley is a procedure which allows you to print text at ANY coordinate on the screen! Well smart. BM Still Going... This issue of FRED is, as the great Confucious may well have said were he presented with a copy, blimmin' big. To compensate for this, FRED 46 will be out three months late. No it won't. Just me being funny again, ha ha ha. Magazines of this sort are what we like to produce, and to do so we need articles. If you have something to write about that is perhaps too long to put in a letter, then send it along and we'll see what we can do. Similarly, we are once again in dire need of contributions. Usually when we put in heart-felt appeals for programs we get a flood of them for the first fortnight after publication, then they dry up completely, and we're stuck again! We are in constant need of proggies, tunes, games, screens and also letters! EVERYTHING in fact! Help! Remember - you get a bit of dosh for main menu things. BM Credits Editor: Brian "Thank **** - finished at last" McConnell "Thankee-kindly, your lordship sir"s to: Bob Brunsden Paul Crompton Matt Round David Handley Andrew Collier Ben Hockley David Simmons Alex Jones Tim Paveley Stefan Drissen Banzai Andrew Hodgkinson Wayne Coles Jon Hampton Write cheques / send stuff to: [redacted]
Letters & Reviews
Letter from Andrew Watkins Dear Colin and/or Brian, I would like to say that I did not think it would be possible to get Lemmings this good on the SAM! After playing the Spectrum demo of the game a couple of years ago, I was not sure what to expect. Everyone responsible has done a great job - the game is identical to the 16-BIT versions. Looking to the future, I for one would buy Oh No! More Lemmings! on the SAM if you are considering it. Now that the main game has been written it should not take too long. Forgive me if I'm talking rubbish though, I write as somebody with a very limited knowledge of programming. Reply to Andrew Watkins I was considering making this a letters section from only those who attended the show. I changed my mind about this though, because we've only got two letters from show-attendees and that would not make for a stunning Letters section. I will however let Andrew Watkins get his letter in first as a reward for going to the show [woah, what a reward! We're so jealous! - The rest of the letters section]. We're glad you like Lemmings, and while we can't really say it's identical to the 16-BIT versions (there are no sampled screams), we appreciate the comment! Oh No! More Lemmings! IS a possibility, but at the moment it's no more than that. It very well could become a reality, but unfortunately Psygnosis are not too eager to give us any more licences until Lemmings sales get into double figures (ahem). You readers may be getting sick of us telling you to buy Lemmings all the time, but this is the game that could make the SAM. Please buy it - we guarantee you won't be disappointed. - BRIAN Letter/Plea from Mark Sturdy Dear Colin and Brian, Please find enclosed a promotional issue of CRASHED, the new general interest SAM/Spectrum fanzine. It is in essence a cut- down version of the forthcoming first proper issue, sent out to various SAM- and Spectrum-related companies. I would be grateful if you could give CRASHED a quick mention in your news section, and perhaps send the odd review copy of your stuff...? CRASHED [redacted] Reply to Mark Sturdy Hi Mark. Nice solid looking name you've got there. (Sorry! :o) ) CRASHED is, as you will know if you bothered reading any of the previous page at all, a new magazine for the SAM and Spectrum. The preview issue which Mark sent up was a slightly thin 12 pages long, although I expect the real thing will be (Coke?) a bit thicker. This preview consisted of a news column, a list of important SAM and Spectrum addresses for easy reference, a couple of (Spectrum) reviews, a techy page with some twiddly bits of mainly irrelevant (to SAM people, anyway) but interesting tips. The highlight of the magazine is a very interesting interview with the editor of that once great, but now dead, magazine Your Sinclair - Mr Jonathan Nash (used to be Jon Pillar). Most intriguing. - BRIAN Letter from Wayne Coles Dear Colin or Brian, First of all, thanks for including my INNOCENT demo on FRED #43. I was well chuffed all day (and I still am) but my programming has progressed quite a bit since I did that and I cringed at the amount of blank space on screen. Anyway, I've just started work on an arcade type game (a shoot em up, to be exact) which desperately needs a good graphic artist. I've been told that if a publisher likes the look of a game (ie you!) they will get in touch with a graphic artist and musician to help with the game - is this right? Reply to Wayne Coles This letter is from another show-attender. Can you spot the pattern emerging, readers? I imagine the questions asked in this letter will be ones to which a good deal of you would like to hear the answers, so here they are: Unless a publisher specifically commissions a programmer to start on a game, it's up to the programmer to convince him that the project is worthwhile. To do this, any games sent in for possible publishing should be as far finished as possible. Don't worry about cosmetics until they're the only thing left to be added. A good game will be able to impress on gameplay merits alone in the hands of any half-decent prospective publisher. It is not fair to expect a publisher to organise graphics and music on the basis of a tiny but stunning demo, only to find that the "finished" game is not worth publishing. For this reason, FRED likes to see prospective releases in pretty advanced states. Finally, Wayne, we were both impressed by Gallium; BUT we'd like to see a little bit more before getting others involved. - BRIAN Letter from Gordon Henderson Dear Brian, I have had a problem with a database program I wrote about ten years ago for a club membership list on a SPECTRUM/OPUS setup: when I wanted to change the printer layout I LISTed the program and changed the printer statements. When I returned to run the program I always found some records had been corrupted. When I read Scott Inwood's letter in FRED 43 it occurred to me that my problem might be the NMI button which I used to access the listing. I have now added an item to the menu which LISTs the program without the use of the NMI button and the problem has vanished. Thank you Scott, I am very indebted to you! I would now like to know if I can put a POKE into the program to disable the NMI button in case I press it by mistake. Can anybody help? Reply to Gordon Henderson Well, to the best of my knowledge you were not at the show Gordon, so I'm sorry but I can't help you. No, you know I wouldn't do a thing like that. Not your joyous, giving, caring sharing editor! What you've got here is a Non-Maskable Interrupt - NMI. This simply means that when it sends a message to the processor, "Hey! Some bloke's pressing me!", the processor cannot ignore, or MASK it, and so it must act on the interrupt. You can program it to do whatever you like, and that includes carrying on as normal, but you cannot stop the button from interrupting the processor. Not as far as I know, anyway. Somebody like Steve Taylor can probably write a program to effectively banish your NMI to the Middle East, but I can't. I guess the best solution is to sellotape a sharp spike to your NMI so that you soon learn not to press it... - BRIAN DN Legend of Eshan Review by Dean Nicholas Revelation Software: £14.99, but £12.99 to FRED subbers NOTE:- needs 512k to run. This new game from Revelation is the first of its kind on SAM. I am, of course, talking about an RPG. There was going to be The Tower from FRED, but that project was scrapped. Now we have a replacement. Anyone who has played Lords of Midnight or Doomdark's Revenge will feel right at home in this game; the methods used are extremely similar.But this is on SAM, so it should be better, right? Lets see... Upon loading up, you are greeted with a small text screen laying out the basic plot and what your aims are.Then you are taken into the game itself. At first, you control two people. These are Eshan the Legend (the hero of the game) and Barton the Marshall. Obviously, you can recruit more people as you progress further in the game. There are also many more weapons available for the taking. DN Legend of Eshan Review Another thing that strikes you is the graphics. They are nicely drawn and well coloured. The game is controlled using either a mouse or keys, and the group of icons to the left of the main screen. They include fight, a small map (included on paper is a more detailed map), night/day, sleep, and the extremely important load/save - with 16,384 locations, the game would be impossible without that! There are two ways to complete this game. The first one is to rescue Avorell the Noble, who has been captured by Barquin the Witchking, then return him to his castle. Or, you could simply destroy the Witchking himself (not as easy as it sounds!) In the same fashion, there are two ways to lose the game. If Eshan dies, then the game is over. If the Castle of Avorell is captured, then the game is also over. This game is extremely challenging.You will probably get frustrated sometimes by it, but will still come back for more. DN Legend of Eshan Review It has an extremely addictive quality about it.The most annoying thing is when somebody like Eshan loses his horse, he becomes incredibly slow. However, this really is a great game. Now, onto the bad points: sound, or rather lack of it. At the start there is a nice tune, but in the game this just disappears. I realise that this is because of the size and complexity of the game, but a few sound effects would have been nice. Also, nights take a long time, but this cannot be helped. Now, onto the subject of tips. I believe that in the game I am currently playing, I am quite far. I have rescued Avorell, and we are heading back to his castle. I am commanding about 25 men, mainly Orcs! This is because I have found the Ring of Persuasion! Where? Well, I'll just say near the forest of Maranell. Also, don't forget to visit Kol for something good... DN Legend of Eshan Review Back to the review,its final verdict time. GRAPHICS:88% SOUND:20% ADDICTIVNESS:90% VALUE FOR MONEY:90% LASTING ABILITY:95% VERDICT:94% A really great game, I hope we continue to see more of these on the SAM! MR Legend of Eshan Review by Matt Round Product: Legend of Eshan Author: John Eyre Publisher: Revelation Price: £14.99 (£12.99) Requires: 512K I think Colin must be turning into some kind of psychic Santa(!) - on the very day I was considering ordering this game, it arrived in the mail for me to review! Along with the rather fetching green disk was a matching instruction leaflet (colour coordination, eh?) with information on one side and a map on the other. Being one of those impatient people whose religion forbids them to properly read manuals before proceeding, I booted up the game and entered the land of Avinell... MR Legend of Eshan Review To cut a long story short, there's a bad-guy who's kidnapped a good-guy, and you have to kick some butt. The game consists of a series of moves; you make yours during the day, the bad-guys move at night. You initially have only two characters, Eshan and Barton, and so must recruit others. Characters are often accompanied by several hundred warriors, and many have a home fort of some kind. You could classify this as a war-game, but the setting and characters lift it above being simply about the maths of pitting imaginary armies against each other; it's probably best described as a 'strategy-adventure'. You get a perspective view of one of the 8 possible directions, showing trees, buildings, mountains and so on, along with close-ups of any objects or characters which are right in front of you. The scroll at the bottom of the screen displays information. A row of buttons controls direction and movement, and icons perform all other operations (SAVEing & LOADing, looking at the map, selecting a character etc.). Control is via a pointer, using joystick, cursor keys or mouse. MR Legend of Eshan Review So, you go about playing the game by selecting your characters, looking around, moving them, and perhaps trying some recruiting or attacking. As you move a character, the sun moves across the sky until time is up and night has fallen. When you've done everything you click on the NIGHT/DAY icon and wait a short while as the computer works out the nocturnal goings-on. Before I move onto what I think of the game, I'm going to have to mention the similarity to Lords of Midnight. The story's different, the graphics are different, and much of the gameplay is different, but the core of the game clearly comes from the old Speccy classic. In a way that's a shame because even with just a few more superficial changes it could've avoided direct comparison, but Eshan is clearly superior. If you've played LoM you'll have a slight headstart, but don't be put off if you've never seen a similar game. MR Legend of Eshan Review It took me a while to get into the game, mainly because of the 'fog-of-war' approach it takes; the only views you get are through the eyes of your characters, so you have to be able to keep track of things and coordinate the troops largely by recognising parts of the countryside. There is a map in the game which shows the position of the current character, and the map on the instruction leaflet is good, but you generally rely on looking around. Those who like their strategy games to be 'transparent', like a game of chess, with a clear overview of the proceedings, may find it awkward, but I like it - you have to explore and navigate as if you're really there, and can get quite immersed in the game. The perspective view is excellent (it's clear without being too 'cartoony'), with everything shrinking nicely into the distance. The graphics for the characters are quite varied and good, the screen layout is uncluttered, and the font used is ornate but readable. MR Legend of Eshan Review The only graphics I don't like are the plain night-time screen, and the title screen, which is a bit timid (it would've been nice to have a bolder logo and perhaps have the story scrolling up the screen). The only sound is from a couple of reasonable tunes by the prolific Andy Monk. As with SAMPaint, Driver and Lemmings, it's best to use a mouse. I know everyone keeps saying this, but I very strongly recommend that you get one if you haven't already. With keyboard or joystick selecting things is a little fiddly. For example, to change to another character (which is something you have to do several times each turn) you have to click on the appropriate icon, then click on the character you want, then click on OK. In a game you play for several hours it adds up to a lot of faffing about! MR Legend of Eshan Review Basically, I'm impressed. As often happens, I had fairly low expectations, and was surprised to find how polished the game is. All the recent big releases have had bugs of some sort, but so far all I've found in this game is a typing error or two! John Eyre obviously knows his way round a Z80, and has put in a lot of effort. Neil Holmes' graphics aren't stunning, but apart from the occasional bit of dull design he's done a good job. It's simply a good game, and I look forward to a sequel! Isn't it about time FRED or Revelation released some rubbish? After all the great reviews for SAMPaint, Driver, Lemmings and now this, it's getting difficult to think of ways to praise products without sounding like Colin's either paying out vast sums of money or threatening to publish some dodgy photos! OVERALL MARKS: 92% for mouse owners, 81% for the rodentless. Matt Round/'Malevolent'