ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN MICROPENDIUM P.O. Box 1343 Round Rock TX 78680 Phone 512-255-1512 Internet [email protected]
MICROREVIEWS for January 1995 MICROPENDIUM by Charles Good
REMINDERS and FORGET ME KNOTS by Alfred Malcolm
I guess Micropendium's publisher John Koloen and I both recognize new and interesting 99/4A software when we see it. We both received these programs independently at about the same time. While John was preparing to publish the basic listings and the author's doc file in the November 1994 issue of his Magazine I was busy writing the following review. What follows, therefore, is a Micropendium review of software already published in Micropendium.
Imagine this. Every time you turn on your 99/4A computer and select extended basic you are immediately presented with a full screen of monthly reminders showing all the important birthdays, holidays, appointments, TI user group meeting dates, etc for the current month. Press the "any key" and you get a screen showing all the important events for the current day of the month. Press the "any key" again and you get your usual startup menu (BOOT or Funnelweb) of commonly used TI software immediately available on your ramdisk or boot disk. If you are in a big hurry you can press FCTN/9 at the first (monthly reminders) screen to bypass the daily reminder and go directly to your application menu. In either case, every time you boot up your computer, the 99/4A will never let you forget!
"Reminders" and "Forget Me Knots" are the two extended basic programs that allow this to happen. You enter your monthly and daily notes into the computer using Forget Me Knots. These daily and monthly notes are saved as separate DV80 files. If you change the name of the Reminders program to LOAD, Reminders will read your notes each time you turn on your computer. To work this magic exactly as I described in the preceeding paragraph all you need is this software and a computer clock such as PGRAM clock, Myarc HFDC clock, MBP card, or Triple tech card. It also helps to have a ramdisk or hard drive so that REMINDERS will always automatically be there right after XB is selected.
You can use Forget Me Knots as a stand alone application even if you don't have a computer clock or ramdisk. From within Forget Me Knots you can read screens of previously saved monthly and daily reminders by manually entering the month, day, and year. Forget Me Knot allows you to spice up screen displays of your text notes with nice borders other graphic patterns. The results look very professional.
The only similar 99/4A software I am familiar with is Remind Me. If you have Remind Me daily reminder files, these can be converted to Forget Me Knot format from within Forget Me Knot. For a stand alone appointment calendar application I prefer Remind Me over Forget Me Knots. Remind Me provides an on screen calendar display of the current (or any) month, something that Forget Me Knots doesn't do. However, Remind Me cannot be programmed to run another application. When you exit Remind Me you are back at the TI color bar screen. The unique feature of Reminders and Forget Me Knots is the automatic display of time specific reminders at the beginning of each session with your 99/4A.
Reminders and Forget Me Knots are public domain. To obtain your copy you can either type in the Basic listings from the November 1994 issue of Micropendium, or send the author a disk and paid return mailer and a donation for his user group, or send me $1 and I will then send it to you on a SSSD disk. The author requests that if you find the program useful you send a donation to his user group, the British Columbia UG, whose address is given in the software documentation.
WINDOWS FOR THE TI by John Bull
No, this isn't the Microsoft graphical interface found on a lot of IBM compatible computers. It is assembly software that allows the XB programmer to place multiple text windows on screen without destroying the appearence of the rest of the screen. When you remove the window the original screen, which was stored in memory, is restored.
You can have up to 6 of these text windows and their underlying screen stored in memory. The text windows may all be on screen at once overlaping each other, or you can display the windows a few at a time. Call links let you determine the size and position of each window. If you have ever seen the Funnelweb configure utility you know what I am talking about in terms of overlaping text windows appearing and disappearing from the screen.
The idea of text windows in extended basic is not new. This can be done in 80 columns (if you have an 80 column card or a Geneve) using Alexander Hulpke's X80. Windows can be done on a 40 column 99/4A system using The Missing Link. The nice thing about John Bull's software is that, unlike TML, it is free. Windows For the TI is public domain and comes on a SSSD disk. To get the software send $1 to either John Bull or myself and we will mail it to you. Your money pays for the SSSD disk and postage.
ATTACK OF THE CREEPERS by Ian J. Howle
In his letter to me Ian writes: "I have just finished writing this game program in TMS9900 assembly language. It has taken a little over a year to develop. I would like to put this in the public domain so that everybody can enjoy it....Could you put this in your library and distribute it to anyone who is interested."
This is a "make your man climb ladders from the bottom up through several screens to the top of the maze" game. The game comes as EA5 files with an optional extended basic loader. I don't usually get excited about arcade games with fast action but little strategy. I must admit, however, that this game has held my attention for several days now. This is mainly due to the very complicated joystick action required to finish the game. The scenerio is this: The creepers have attacked your mineral mine and completely suprised your defenses. You have to escape from the bottom of the mine to the surface where a spaceship awaits. Along the way you have to make sure that you don't come in contact with creepers (they look like spiders) as they move through the mine and that you don't fall off one of the many narrow ledges in the mine.
You need a really good responsive joystick to succeed in this game. The official TI "wired remote controllers" really aren't good enough. I have had best luck with a prostick. This game has the most complicated sequence of joystick movements I have ever encountered in a TI game. Of course if you move the stick up/down your man moves up/down the ladders and if you move the stick left/right your man walks along the ledges in those directions, and if you press the fire button he shoots his gun in the direction he faces. But there are more possible types of man moves, most of which require a particular sequence of stick and firebutton actions. Your man can be made to move left/right at double speed in order to to run away from a creeper and then turn around and fire. He can slide under obstacles and come to a rapid stop. He can also jump left or right either short distances or long distances. Jumps are used to get up and down from one ledge to another in the mine.
Part of the fun is figuring out the complete repertoire of movements your man can make and the exact sequence of joystick movements need for each type of movement. Without giving away any significant secrets I can tell you that two of these man movements requre a specific sequence of three joystick actions. First you do this with the joystick, then do that with the joystick, then do the third thing with the joystick at which point your man will make his move. If you mess up on any one of the three joystick actions either the wrong thing happens or nothing happens.
Once you have figured out how to get your man to do this and that it is still a challenge to predetermine which action to take in a given situation. There are two levels of difficulty, and the easier of the two usually gives you plenty of time to think about what to do next. Should you jump short or long to get across a gap to the next ledge? Should you go down in order to later go up? A fair amount of strategy is required. The harder level of difficulty gives you less time to think because you have many more creepers to contend with. I havn't managed to get very far under these harder conditions. Nevertheless I find this a highly entertaining arcade game.
Send me $1 and I'll send you the game on a SSSD disk. Include an extra $1 and I will send Ian's source code on a second DSSD disk.
PICTURE SHOW by Bruce Harrison
Here is another of Bruce's simple and useful public domain utilities. It is designed for people who do not own TI Artist. My user group software library has lots of disks full of TI Artist pictures. How do you view these pictures? Well, you can load each picture into MaxRLE, but you have to know and type in the picture file name. Or you can use one of several "slide show" programs to display all the pictures on the disk, but such programs don't tell you the file name of the pictures you are viewing and you only see each picture for a few seconds. Or, you can use Picture Show, the most full featured TIA picture display utility anywhere.
Picture Show is an EA5 assembly language program with an XB
loader. Once loaded, it asks you for a drive number (1-9 or A-Z) and
then displays on screen the file names of all TI Artist pictures
(names ending in "_P") on that disk. Other types of files on the same
disk are ignored. Use the arrow keys to move the cursor next to a
picture name, press There are North American and European versions of Picture Show,
each on a separate DSSD disk filled with a nice selection of sample
full color TIA pictures. Accuracy of the automatic timing feature is
based on whether you have 60 cycle or 50 cycle electricity, hence the
need for two versions. I'll send you either version if you send me $1
($2 for both). Each version comes with Bruce's user friendly
Alfred Malcolm (Reminders and Forget Me Knots author), 216 10th Ave.,
New Westminster, British Columbia Canada V3L-2B2.
John Bull (XB Windows author), 409 Blue Valley Lane, Knoxville TN
37922. Phone 615-694-4750.
Ian J. Howle (Attack of the Creepers author), 3707 SW Southern St.,
Seattle WA 98126. Phone 206-938-4065.
Bruce Harrison (Picture Show author), 5705 40th Place, Hyattsville MD
20781. Phone 301-277-3467
Charles Good (your humble reviewer and sender of $1 software), P.O.
Box 647, Venedocia OH 45894. Phone 419-667-3131. Internet
Return to the MICROREVIEWS page
There are North American and European versions of Picture Show, each on a separate DSSD disk filled with a nice selection of sample full color TIA pictures. Accuracy of the automatic timing feature is based on whether you have 60 cycle or 50 cycle electricity, hence the need for two versions. I'll send you either version if you send me $1 ($2 for both). Each version comes with Bruce's user friendly instructions.
Alfred Malcolm (Reminders and Forget Me Knots author), 216 10th Ave., New Westminster, British Columbia Canada V3L-2B2.
John Bull (XB Windows author), 409 Blue Valley Lane, Knoxville TN 37922. Phone 615-694-4750.
Ian J. Howle (Attack of the Creepers author), 3707 SW Southern St., Seattle WA 98126. Phone 206-938-4065.
Bruce Harrison (Picture Show author), 5705 40th Place, Hyattsville MD 20781. Phone 301-277-3467
Charles Good (your humble reviewer and sender of $1 software), P.O. Box 647, Venedocia OH 45894. Phone 419-667-3131. Internet [email protected]
Return to the MICROREVIEWS page