SCREEN ARTISTS CAN BE FAST ON THE DRAW
MELBOURNE DRAW program for the 48K Spectrum gives you a utility which permits the sketching of pictures on the screen using a cursor. The pictures can be saved, loaded and manipulated using this design aid.
The program will also enable you to create graphics and characters in your own programs.
When first loaded the ease of use of the package is not apparent. You are faced with a long menu and, when you select the edit picture mode, you will be faced with a black papered screen and some status worth below.
Before you can start drawing you must clear the screen paper so that it is white. Then, according to the 20-page manual with the cassette, you should see a cursor near the middle of the screen. The manual fails to inform you, however, that the cursor is only one pixel wide and if you wear spectacles you may take some time to hunt for it.
Once you have drawn a picture you will be able to manipulate the result.
You can change attributes, flash various parts of the screen, invert parts of your picture, and scroll parts. Once you have finished you can save the result on to tape.
The impression we gained from looking at the booklet and the material written on the back of the display box was that the fantastic graphics which you can create, if you are clever enough, can be used in your own programs. That produces visions of little animated figures which make up the main part of your games.
The only real benefit we could find was to put SCREENs at the beginning of the games. That could be done just as easily by writing a program to draw a design and then SAVE it directly. Admittedly the magnification, scroll, flash and attribute options are useful but if you are designing a screen you can do without them.
Melbourne Draw may be of interest to artists or professional software houses who want quick graphics results. It can be obtained from Melbourne House, 131 Trafalgar Road, London SE10. It costs £8.95, which is expensive for such a utility.