ICEart and MiceArt Programs

Damon Chaplin has kindly given permission for the ArtIce (v1.1) and MiceArt (v1.2) programs to be released as freeware now.

Formerly published by Eidersoft, these programs are intended for use with the ICE (Icon Controlled Environment) system. Artice v1.1 is for the original ICE system, while MiceArt v1.2 is for use with the mouse version of ICE.

Both versions come with PDF manuals.

I don’t have a copy of ICE to ensure these actually work! If anyone is able to check them, we could do with a screen shot if possible to add to the QL Wiki.

Both Artice and MiceArt can be downloaded from the Graphics page on my website:

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/graphics/index.html

QL World Magazine Scans

Thanks to the hard work of Klaus Frank in Denmark, I’ve been able to add further scanned copies of QL World magazine to the Magazines Page on the QL Home Page.

This means we now have a pretty complete collection of the PDFs up to the end of 1991.

Download the PDF files from:

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/mags/index.html

It is worth mentioning that scanned copies of QL Today magazines are also available online, from Urs König’s website. The English editions may be downloaded from:

http://sinclairql.net/qlt/index_english.htm

while the German language editions may be downloaded from:

http://www.sinclairql.net/qlt/index_deutsch.htm

Qombi

Qombi is a new game from Per Witte. It runs on modes 16 to 33 GD2 colour systems only and needs just under 1MB of fast disk space and 1MB RAM with a minimum screen resolution of 512 x 384 pixels.

The rules are pretty easy to pick up, but here they are:

There are 81 cards. Each card has four attributes: Shape, Number, Colour, and Fill. Each attribute has three different “states”: The shapes are Ovals, Diamonds, and Rectangles. Numbers are One, Two and Three. Colours are Red, Green, and Blue. The fills are Full, Shaded, and Empty.

Initially, 12 cards are laid out on the table. If you can make up one or

more tricks, you can remove those cards. After one or more tricks have

been removed, You can replenish the table repeatedly, until the deck is

exhausted.

A trick is any three cards that have from zero to three attributes in common, with all the remaining attributes being different.

Points are given for each trick removed: one for each difference, two for each similarity. The points double for each extra trick removed without replenishing. Replenishing costs three points, unless you remove all the cards from the table in one turn.

If you get stuck and cannot remove any tricks from a full table, you can

select one or more cards and have them replaced. Each card replaced costs three points.

You can choose to play a timed game, it which case you start off with 20 extra points. However, each minute used, costs one point.

No news yet on a release date at the time of writing, sadly.

SuQcess and Q-CoCo Updates

Not many new features but lots of internal improvements. The Sort Key can be set from the DATA menu. A bug in locating the edited and sorted record from View is fixed. Better detection of Read-Only media. Updated ReadMe and Help files.

QCoCo is now version 1.63.

Supports the new binary _thb files next to the ascii _thm theme files. APPLY needs a Confirm or Undo action. RESET can reset the current theme or to the startup theme. A new Theme Viewer (by PJW) is included showing the colours and hex  numbers. Incomplete themes should not crash the program and are automatically  completed through the SYNCHRO option. Invalid, referenced and 3D items are marked when Viewing the colours. Can be started with a theme as CMD$ which overrides the config item. Updated ReadMe file.

Download them from Bob’s site at http://members.upc.nl/b.spelten/ql/

Wallpaper Program

Recent versions of SMSQ/E from about version 3.00 feature high colour and high resolution screens along with the new Window Manager. This makes them very suitable for displaying colourful and attractive background images behind your program windows.

These images are called wallpaper. SBASIC provides a convenient to use command called BGIMAGE which lets you display saved screens as background wallpaper. With the wealth and variety of free images available on the internet as JPEG, GIF and PNG files, for example, I decided to write a program which converts these images to the type of QL screens which the BGIMAGE command can use.

My Wallpaper program uses David Westbury’s PHGTK toolkit which shoulders the burden of the work in converting these files and resizing images to fit your system or emulator’s screen. It can convert the graphics to mode 16 (Aurora and QPC2), mode 32 (QPC2, SMSQmulator and QXL), or mode 33 (Q40, Q60, Q68 and possibly even a registered QemuLator with its own customised mode 33 version of SMSQ/E).

Simply select a JPEG, PNG or GIF file using the pointer driven file selection menu, then select whether it needs to be rotated, and how to resize the image (e.g. preserve aspect ratio, stretch, crop) and wait a few seconds for the conversion to take place. Small previews help you view the screens. Once the conversion is done, you can see a preview in full-screen mode, apply it as a BGIMAGE wallpaper, save as a screen in the current screen mode for future use and even get help editing your boot program to add or amend a BGIMAGE command so that the wallpaper is loaded at startup.

The program can even select a background colour to use in place of wallpaper if you wish (e.g. apply a dark background colour late at night to save your eyes from a bright screen).

The downside of using wallpaper on a high-colour system is the amount of memory it takes. On a 16-bit colour system such as QPC2 each pixel needs two bytes of memory, so a 1024×768 pixel display in mode 32 or 33 could need up to 1,572,864 bytes just to hold the uncompressed wallpaper – at the time of writing SMSQ/E does not support compressed wallpaper screen images. Couple this with the copious amounts of memory needed during conversion, and you can see that you will need to set your emulator to have quite a generous amount of memory! So, the Wallpaper program lets you choose whether the graphics are converted more quickly in RAM, or as files on your hard disk if you keep running out of memory.

The Wallpaper program uses the system palette so will follow whatever colour theme you’ve applied to your system (colour themes can be designed using the Q-CoCo program from Wolfgang Uhlig and Bob Spelten Jr.)

A Quill _doc file is included which explains a lot about wallpaper on SMSQ/E systems,the file formats used, the BGIMAGE command, use of programs such as Photon and so on.

Download the Wallpaper software and a few example graphic files from

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/graphics/index.html

MDI/FDI Device Driver Updates

Martin Head has issued an update to his MDI and FDI (microdrive and floppy disk image) software. The version numbers for this update are:

MDI version 1.08
FDI 1 version 1.06
FDI 2 version 2.04

Martin reports:

“All three have had the same updates.

There are not any changes to the actual device driver, Just some tidying up of the SuperBASIC extension commands parameter checking and error handling.

Function versions of the MOUNT, UNMOUNT, and the MAKE commands have been added.

And the UNMOUNT command now tries to tidy up after itself, by closing any open files on the selected drive, and removing the physical definition block of the drive before closing the image file.”

Download these updates from:

http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/utils/index.html

New Super Gold Cards

Tetroid in Russia reports that havinbg secured a supply of some EP1810 chips, he is now able to offer a limited number of Super Gold Card clones via his SellMyRetro.com store.

The unit has a switch-mode power supply which imposes less power drain on the system. The battery backed clock now uses a small standard battery which is easier to find and replace. A single floppy drive connector allows up to three disk drives to be connected, which may be DD (720KB), HD (1.4MB), or ED (3.2MB) types.

It has 4MB RAM and a 24MHz 68020 processor on board.

The Super Gold Card clone costs $199.99 (US dollar) plus shipping costs.

Freeware Updates

I’ve added a number of other toolkits to the Toolkits page on my site – thanks to Rich Mellor for sending me a compilation of such software to add to my site. Some of these are QL software I’ve never seen before and will no doubt some in useful to BASIC programmers.

ECman is a screen extinguishing and video memory manipulation toolkit, with eight extensions from Jacques Tripodi.

Factorial Extension is an extension to return the factorial of an integer number, while Fract is an extension to return the fractional part of a floating point number. NDIM is a function to return the number of dimensions of an array. LWCUPC consists of extensions to convert strings to lower case and upper case. PTRRTP consists of four extensions for Polar to Rectangular and Rectangular to Polar conversion. REV$ is a function which reverses the characters of a string. SGN% is an extension function which returns the sign of a given number, -1 indicates negative, 0 means zero and +1 means it’s a positive number. SWAP is an extension to swap the values of two variables, e.g. SWAP variable1,variable2. TRIM$ is an extension to remove spaces from both ends of a string. TRUE% and FALSE% are extensions which return 1 and 0 respectively. Triprodro extensions TRINT, PROUND and DROUND for rounding off numbers. All by Bruno Coativy.

WIPE is an extension by Peter Beule to quickly clear the QL screen to black. This only works on a standard 32K QL screen.

LEVEL2% is a function which tests for the presence of level 2 drivers on a device attached to a given channel number. This helps you determine in software whether the device supports directories or not. Stand-alone extension based on a similar function in Norman Dunbar’s DJToolkit. Assembler source included.

Toolfin is a financial tools package, with several extensions to aid financial calculations. Original package in Spanish with machine-translated English document. Author is Felix Alonso.

QSound v1.31 contains the latest EPROM version for the ABC QSound interface. The sound examples may be run on the QL-emulator, provided the sound extension has been activated (SND_EXT).

Psion Chess

I’ve added an executable version of the original Psion Chess program for the QL to the games page on my site. This is a version modified by Jochen Hassler, which runs as a standard EXEC file on screen mode 4 systems. It can be run in QPC2 high colour modes by issuing a QPC_QLSCREMU4 command before executing CHESS_EXE. Even the 3D chessboard display works. And the program can be started from Launchpad.http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/games/index.html

Aehnlich

I came across an interesting little toolkit which I’ve added to my site. “Similarity” or “Sounds like” software is a toolkit for string search and comparison, providing experimental functions for Levenshtein Distance (a string metric for measuring the difference between two sequences), Soundex (conversion of a word into number sequence to aid matching of strings despite minor differences in spelling) and Phonem (conversion of words into sequences of sounds, almost phonetic). Provides the sources and three extensions plus a test program and instructions in German, with a machine translated English text file translation. The author is Ralf Biedermann. The software is a 10kilobyte download from http://www.dilwyn.me.uk/tk/index.html