Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade; Shoot-'Em-Up; DEFENDER-style
Author : Neil Raine
Standalone Release(s) : 1984: PICTURE MAKER, Acornsoft, £9.20
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+, Master 128
Supplier : ACORNSOFT, 4A Market Hill, CAMBRIDGE CB2 3NJ
Disc compatibility : ADFS 1D00, CDFS 1D00, DFS 1D00
Instructions currently unavailable.
The PICTURE MAKER, from Acornsoft, is a utility that enables the creation of complex screen displays. The pictures and designs possible are very impressive as proved by the demonstration files supplied. It is supplied in the usual Acorn card box with a comprehensive manual.
The PICTURE MAKER operates at two levels, Catalogue and Picture. The former takes care of housekeeping tasks including filing, naming, free memory and asterisk commands. The latter is concerned with actual creation of the 'units' around which the program is based. A unit can be anything from a single line up to a full screen picture. The program enables the user to draw and then manipulate units into other pictures, as each unit can be saved in its own right. This removes the need present in most graphics packages to save pictures as a whole. Now, the user can select elements as required from cassette and combine them to create new designs.
The Picture level includes a wide range of facilities including single points, full and dotted lines, triangles, arcs, sectors, circles, fill and text. These are all well implemented with the possibility to correct any mistakes. Although the delete command again fails to ask for confirmation, the effect here is to delete only the last element drawn, not the whole picture. It is only possible to draw in either Mode 4 or 5 due to the size of the program. This limits the colours provided for drawing but by using another supplied program, described later, all sixteen colours are available.
Shapes can be drawn and then filled with relative ease. Some very impressive shapes can be built up and then shrunk, expanded and distorted at will. The potential is enormous, limited only by the creative skills of the user. Text can be drawn at any size, angle or shape and slanted to give italic characters. The standard of text is not brilliant, as the larger shapes tend to emphasise the jagged edges of the normal fonts. Nevertheless, the scope is there.
PICTURE MAKER does not stop at creating units and pictures. Further programs are supplied to enable the units to be displayed in different modes and colours and to use the units in your own programs. The Showpic program enables a picture saved from Drawpic to be displayed in higher resolution or with more colours. Full instructions are provided for this, the only restriction being that large units from Drawpic may not fit into the 20K graphics modes. Datapic and Picdata deal with transferring pictures into data for incorporating in BASIC programs and then producing pictures from such data.
The documentation is very well written and gives a comprehensive guide to all the facilities available. It also has a clear tutorial section for each feature which makes this package, which is complex in places, easy to learn and use.
PICTURE MAKER is a fine piece of work, providing some very complex and sophisticated features with the minimum of fuss. This program is certainly worth the money and recommended.
Mike Siggins, ELBUG 2. 3