8-Bit Software Online Conversion

8-bit Software (c) Duncan Webster January 1992 Issue 18 Jan/Feb 1992 PROGRAMMERS RETURN Reviewer: 4RR Program: Miles/Gallon Once in use this was very good as a graphical way of seeing how ones M.P.G. is. Fortunately it was easy to input all details as there is a lack of error trapping which would normally cause some head scratching over lost data. I liked the way all the data can be saved (clever to use the registration number as the file name) which means now I can do away with all my scraps of paper with quantities and mileages on them. Reviewer: 4RR Program: ROM Music This was the program for me on Issue 17. Both files loaded into my Sideways ROM slot without any difficulty. However what a delight it was to find that not only did it contain the music data, but also ROM calls in which to alter and see the playing tune. There are 13 *calls of which I still haven't found the use of 5. I would be grateful if someone has found the syntax for FORGET, FINISHON, FINISHOFF, KEEP and RESYNC to write in. One final disappointment was that my playing version of TAKE ON ME didn't finish correctly, and at the end of the tune it started to read the data in the BASIC rom and naturally that comes out as rubbish!!! Did anybody else experience that? *8BS editors note* Actually I didn't realise that any extra *commands were implemented. If anyone can provide me with a complete list I would be happy to present a full list next issue. Reviewer: 4RR Program: Birdie Animation I was surprised at the effect of this clever animation and found it just as entertaining watching the flight path taken. Perhaps the sound of wings flapping or the rush of winds high up the mountains could be added. Reviewer: 4RR Program: Polish Christmas What a pity I don't own a MASTER as I would have liked to listen to the offerings, especially as the short piece about a typical Polish Christmas was so interesting. Many congratulations for this article. *8BS editors note* Actually these tunes would not have worked whether you had a master computer or not as I copied the files over to the issue disc with the wrong command (as Chris Richardson so kindly pointed out). A million apologies to all members. Will keep this for next year and I will hopefully get it right then! Reviewer: 483 Program: Satellite Havac Excellent game, the sound and graphics give it a "Star-Wars" type atmosphere. Perhaps the sound effect for firing could be made different from the one for moving (but keep the moving sound the same, it's great). One bug is that when a satellite has been destroyed in the same place as the next one is about to arrive, it makes it invisible. The laser beam sometimes removes the edges of the satellites and some of the stars when you fire and miss, which could be improved upon. Also the explosions look too much like the stars at the moment, which could also do with changing. If the presentation were to be improved in these ways, it would be perfect. Lastly, missing out the routine to change the colour of the satellite all the time would both speed up the game and reduce the response-time to the keyboard, which is one of the game's main drawbacks at present. Definitely one of the best games I've yet seen in 8BS. Reviewer: 483 Program: Memory Dump 1.00 Providing an option to choose which ROM to read data from if above &8000 would be very useful. Could this program be made the basis for a disassembler? Reviewer: 2GJ Program: Miles per Gallon This looks a vast improvement over the previous similar program, much more manageable and more user-friendly. This one I have already included on my own home budget disc and it will be used regularly. Great! Reviewer: 2GJ Program: ROM Music I had some problems here, but maybe it's my set-up. I tried them on a Watford ROM/RAM board in my 'B' and it loaded easily, then with *TAKEOM it began. But as soon as I tried other keypresses it corrupted. I have had problems before using this SWR, so I've removed and dumped it now, so maybe the software isn't at fault. I'll never know now! Reviewer: 2GJ Program: Mix Editor and Mix-Run Builder This looks very interesting, but as you stated in the magazine notes, it isn't a lot of good to the beginner and I'm afraid that I don't know enough about how to use it. Any chance of there being a skimpy manual or anything? Anyone out there care to write an idiot-guide to it? Reviewer: C83 Program: Search for Sanity I found this game very amusing to play. Text games are usualy really boring and they make you want to fall asleep just reading through the text. I think this game is brilliant and hope to see more like it in the future! Reviewer: C83 Program: Satellite Havac Another one of Mr Shakoors games. Brilliant gameplay and good graphics. I think it would have been better if there were different types of satellites etc. Reviewer: C83 Program: Catalogue Saver An invaluable utility. A great help for DFS files as I'm always deleting files I don't want to. Let's have some more utilities like it. Reviewer: 0E7 Program: Sound MixEd As you say in your comments one needs a full course on this before one can operate with any success. If I ever have the time I may explore more fully. Reviewer: 0E7 Program: Miles per Gallon As you say this is not very well error trapped. I would definitely prefer to get a decimal output with a decimal input. This does not occur with figures over 1K and I do not like to stop and have to do a mental conversion. On the graph the DATE scales are rather confusing and are definitely more so when the graph plots overwrite the graphics. Could not the graph plots be confined to a seperate window to eliminate this problem? Reviewer: 0E7 Program: Satellite Havac Very slow response to keyboard and left to guesswork as to where aim is. If this can be speeded up it will be vastly improved but some method of aiming on target required. Reviewer: 72B Program: Miles per Gallon 1. Liked the simple data entry, with fewest possible key presses 2. Didn't like: a. pressing 'r' instead of 'R' took you out of program b. only last 10 entries shown on chart and list c. 'oldest' entry on right, newest entry on left of chart 3. Would prefer: a. 2.c above reversed b. ability to scroll entries, both list and chart c. more entries visible, at expense of colour, if necessary. Reviewer: Y80 Program: Archiver/De-archiver In the P.C. world, we use a similar utility to this called PKzip which crunches files down to sometimes half their original size. The files can then be unzipped whenever you need them. The utility is especially useful if you need to fit many programs on a floppy to take somewhere with you and need to save as much disk space as possible. A few improvements maybe? - Ask for the source drive, then display a catalogue, then input the file to use, then ask for the DESTINATION drive! ... or - Introduce a menu system: 1. Catalogue of compressed files 2. Select drive 3. Compress file(s) 4. Decompress file(s) 5. Exit Option 1 would be especially useful; when files are compressed, why not stick a few bytes at the beginning of the compressed file that could be identified by the program, so a catalogue of compressed files and their contents could be displayed on screen. ie: Compressed file : C.8BIT File length : &6A01 No. of files : 4 Catalogue: $.Rename2 $.menu $.!boot T.treetxt Archiver is very useful. I was hoping that there was something similar available for the beeb. Now there is. Cheers! *8BS Editors Note* Most of your suggested improvements have already been thought of by Andrew and are available in ARC3.0 resident on this issue disc. Reviewer: Y80 Program: Search for Sanity Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggghhhhhhhh, you are completely hatstand John! This game is sheer brilliance. Knock, Knock John - Welcome to the funnyfarm ... Reviewer: L1L Program: Slatter Yet another great program from a man who must spend a lot of time at the keyboard to keep churning out programs at this rate. Having not played Tetris this is a new style of game for me and it is although simple, also very addictive. Even though blocks can pass through each other this doesn't seem to distract from the game play more that slightly. Reviewer: L1L Program: Archiver All in all a good little utility. I've been meaning to type out similar programs from magazine listings, but they are always increadibly long and the final product at the end of all that effort is usually less than satisfying. To receive one on the monthly disk was great. Especially when it worked first go with no problems at all. It is extremely useful I daresay for people with only single sided disk systems (also 40T systems). Although a little lacking in speed, it is simple and easy to use and as suggested provides one with time for a quick break. It would also be useful for PD libraries who wish to cater for low capacity disk formats and perhaps bumper issue disks. Also, how much actual disk space does it save, besides actually saving filename space? Reviewer: L1L Program: Chemistry Test/Database Good practice for students. One thing which I thought of, relating to my own personal experience at high school level a few years ago. That is, in higher levels of schooling and at university a periodic table is always supplied for ready reference, but in the earlier years of highschool chemistry, students are expected to memorise, for example, the first 20 or 30 elements. The other elements on the table tend to be memorised through commonly coming across them in other areas, eg. cesium in refering to reactivity of metals and periodic trends. Hence, a useful addition to the program would be to add a couple of other options to the test menu. That is, to take the quiz from say the first 10 elements, then the first 20 or 30 elements and finally as is, elements from the full table.