QUICK ON THE DRAW
WHITE LIGHTNING is an apt name for the games development package released by Oasis Software.
The package is described by the company as "the first true sprite manipulation language". Although some would not agree with the first point, as the ISP SCOPE arrived on the scene much earlier, it has to be admitted that the package provides a powerful graphics utility language which will add a new dimension to games written by amateur programmers.
Sprites are made up of several character segments which can be moved around the screen in unison. Any one of a possible 255 sprites can be set up at any width and height you indicate. The unit of measurement for sprites is one byte and the most common size is four by four. That will produce characters similar to those which can be found on the Commodore and Atari computers.
The White Lightning language is compiler-based and runs Fig-Forth together with a set of commands to handle graphics, sound and input. Oasis has labelled that new sub-set of Forth 'Ideal' and it fills in the holes which the official Forth language leaves on the Spectrum.
If you do not have any knowledge of that esoteric language then the 131-page booklet which accompanies the package explains all the commands in detail.
As well as being able to use Forth and ideal you can incorporate Basic commands into programs. The reason for allowing the use of Basic keywords is that a beginner can be gradually weaned onto Forth code and off Basic. That is a commendable idea and one that works well.
Anyone who wants to write compiled games ought to buy White Lightning. It is easily the most complex games language on the market and produces stunning effects on the screen.