8-BIT SOFTWARE ISSUE 21 - DOCUMENTATION
- DISK MAGAZINE -
The disk magazine this month contains no Teletext articles. As usual, all
articles can be printed by pressing "P" before entering their article
code, e.g. P101 <RETURN> to print the introduction and news.
Members will no doubt be accustomed by now to my annoying habit of
interrupting articles with ideas of my own, and replying to all messages
whether I know anything about it or not. For the sake of clarity,
everything inserted by me is enclosed in square brackets ( [...] ). My
replies to messages are indicated by two hyphens.
The articles are as follows:
-Introduction / News
A whole variety of important or interesting information
-Results / Discussion
An analysis of the results received so far from the questionnaire in
issue 20, and discussion of what changes 8BS is/will be/won't be
making as a result. Also the list of members' interests so that you
can contact other members who share your interests
-Comments / Accounts
Members' responses to issue 20 and the software featured in it,
followed by a brief outline of 8-Bit Software's expenses and income
(for the enlightenment of those who disapprove of the 50p charge)
-About this issue
You're reading it, I hope
-How to present programs
An article by Steven Flintham (15A) explaining one way of
presenting a neat-looking menu - hopefully the first of a lengthy
series. The example programs mentioned are in the software menu
An article by M.T. Farnworth (16C) outlining methods of finding
cheats in complex machine code games, sample listing included
-Introduction to C
An article about C by Stephen Mumford (127); you don't need a
C compiler or even any technical knowledge to read this!
My response to the fairly high score that "Hardware info"
received in the questionnaire
This contains the usual hotch-potch of useful and/or interesting
information, with less adverts this time (!). Actually most of the
messages seem to be from me for some reason. Any messages to you
specifically should be at the end of it
-Sprite Handler Instructions
The complete (extremely lengthy) guide to the game designer with
which Power Raider was created. The actual Sprite Handling
routines themselves are held within the file POWCODE from side 2
of issue 20 - if you read this manual carefully enough you should
be able to work out where. At present the system, even with this
manual as a reference, requires a detailed knowledge of assembler
and a fair amount of guesswork to use. However, M.T.F will soon
(hopefully) provide assorted utility programs and a beginner's
guide to using the system - then everyone can write a game like
The instructions for Hugh Williams' DIRlock utility (see below)
-Letterhead Designer Instrux
Instructions for Steven Flintham's high-quality Letterhead
printer (see below)
-Welsh Boys' PD Catalogue
The catalogue with the wide selection and the low, low prices
needed to smash other PD libraries out of existence. Send off
your order now!
- SOFTWARE -
The software menu is split up into a number of sections. Please note that
a great deal of the software in this issue has been archived, so if you
don't take the trouble to de-archive it you are missing a lot! (De-arching
instrux at the end).
IMPORTANT: As always, some of the software included will need additional
disk space in order to run, for source files and output files etc. For
example, the demonstration letterhead from Steven Flintham's programs can
be printed from the 8BS menu, but the programs will need to be copied onto
another disk in order to create your own letterheads. However, all the
games, music and demonstration programs WILL run from the 8BS menu.
Two ROM images supplied by John Carpenter of Resolve Communications are
included, but not mentioned in the menu programs. Their filenames are
ARCHIVE and DEARCHI, and they are advanced archiving programs which not
only combine files, but can also compress them considerably, as well as
running very fast. Simply load the ROMs into SRAM if you have it,
initialise as normal, and *HELP for information. N.B. do not attempt to
use the ROMs under ADFS until you have a directory loaded in (i.e. do "*."
first). I would very much like to use these ROMs for archiving software on
8BS issues in the future, but as not everyone has SRAM I can't! (That is a
little hint to BBC B owners without sideways RAM).
Two games by Sattar Shakoor (1K1) are featured: Satellite Havoc II, which
is a scrolling shoot-'em-up, and Loopy Loop II, a two-player version of
the game on issue 20. M.T.Farnworth has supplied Jackpot, which
incorporates some of the routines used by Power Raider and the Sprite
Handler, and Roy Dickens has sent Letter Guess, which, as well as being a
fun game, can help children to learn the alphabet. Full instructions are
included in each program.
Two tunes this month - J.S. Bach's Little Prelude by Theo Gray, and a tiny
(but rather fun) version of "Ghostbusters" from Mad Rabbit PD's MR-17
This extensive suite of programs, written by Steven Flintham, provides
extremely high quality output. One example letterhead is supplied
ready-to-print. Refer to the separate instructions file for full details.
This section of the menu contains, firstly, options to load both of the
demonstration screen layouts for Steven Flintham's Presenting Programs
article. Note that both the fonts mentioned ("Bold0" and "NewFont") are
also on side two of the disk.
It also contains an option to load in and execute the object code of Hugh
Williams' DIRlock utility, which occupies &900-&AFF (see separate instrux
file). This has been developed for ADFS (hence there is little point
running it from the 8BS menu), to overcome problems such as those faced by
the XBI disks. However note that the utility will not work with more
recent BBC PD disks featured in the XBI disks, as these overwrite the area
of memory used by the utility. The source code (DIRcode) is also included,
so that you can re-assemble the code at a different memory location if you
Finally, this section contains the Number Converter by Chris Richardson
(2J3), which will convert a number in decimal, binary or hex to all three.
Full instructions are in the program.
This option will load up the Archiver program version 1.8 by Andrew Black.
The archives on this disk are as follows:
C.FntyDes contains a suite of programs (supplied by John Carpenter (53B)
of Resolve Communications) which either designs or helps you to play (I'm
not sure which) a "Fighting Fantasy"-type game. The presentation is
excellent and some instrutions are included.
C.Hacker contains several programs. Firstly there is a utility which
allows you to make a backup copy of disks protected using the 41-track
method (such as Repton 2 and other Superior Software games). Please note
that it is illegal to use this software to make copies other than for your
Secondly there are two Econet-related programs, PrimeSc and EcoScan.
Consult the REM statements at the start of each for details. Finally,
there is "Hacker", a very interesting little program that a friend of mine
found buried in a protected directory on an Econet.
C.TypTutr contains the best PD touch-typing tutor I have yet seen. This is
partly a joke (because none of you seem able to type in any text to
submit), and partly serious - because the ability to touch-type can be
very useful. If you really want to learn, be determined - keep going and
don't cheat. To select a lesson at the start, use up/down cursor keys and
RETURN. Start at the first lesson!
C.UtlsEtc contains the following software, all supplied by Resolve
This utility is intended to convert data stored in BASIC format (i.e.
backwards) into standard ASCII.
This is a quite complex program allowing you to edit and test sound
This program is designed to prevent you overwriting an existing file
accidentally. It will come up with a warning message whenever you try to
write to a file that already exists.
This is a simple game with full instructions included.
This program will convert a MODE 7 screen (like the old 8BS menu screen)
into a series of BASIC lines that you can incorporate into your own
programs (like the new 8BS menu). This has a number of advantages; it
saves filenames, reduces disk access, and also lets you reduce the size of
the program by replacing consecutive identical lines with FOR...NEXT
loops. I know similar utilities were included with Rafael Jay's X-TEL and
on Andy Nibb's Masterdisk 4, but the X-TEL one doesn't work properly and
the Masterdisk one is copyright. Actually Tel>BAS doesn't work totally
either, but it's better than the X-TEL one.
This is the MODE 7 screen editor which was supplied with the Fantasy
Designer (see above); it is written in BASIC and so a little sluggish in
operation, but otherwise very good. I still use X-TEL myself because I'm
used to it (and the fonts included are brilliant).
HOW TO DE-ARCHIVE SOFTWARE
You will first have to copy each archive from side 2 of this disk
(filenames above) onto a separate blank DFS disk. Then load up the
de-archiver from the 8BS Software Menu. Insert the disk with the archive
on, and tell the program which drive it is in. Then choose "Decompress",
enter the appropriate filename and wait; dearchive times for archives are
displayed, but most archives take around five minutes.
Once the process is complete, quit the archiver. The disk you are using
should now contain the original archive PLUS all the dearchived software.
There should be a !BOOT file; *EXEC !BOOT <RETURN> to either read
information or start up the software. In the case of C.UtlsEtc, there is
no !BOOT file; information on each file is above, and they can all (I
think) be started up by CH."<filename>" <RETURN>.
If you have any problems de-archiving software please get in touch.
If anyone is wondering why we are back to using archiver 1.8, there seems
to be something up with my copy of 3.0; Chris Richardson has kindly sent
me a new copy, but I haven't time to test it and re-archive the software,
since the issue is already late.