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ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rosetta McLeod
Chris Bourne

Picture Logic is really a version of Logo, the simple program riling language suitable for young children The idea behind this program involves the use of an arrow displayed on the screen (Picture Logic's version of the Logo Turtle), which the user moves around to create geometric patterns and pictures.

In order to tell the arrowhead what to do, the cold needs to analyse what he or she would have to do to make a path of the same shape Careful thought is therefore required, before the arrowhead can he given appropriate instructions.

In common with all Logo type software, Picture Logic's most significant feature is that it is interactive. The child should be able to see the effect of commands at once, so that he or she can see right away if the instructions given to the computer produced the expected pattern. In this program, however there's a delay of quite a few seconds between the command being entered and the response appearing on the screen, which can be rather frustrating for a young child. This delay can be slightly reduced, although not completely eliminated, if the arrowhead is 'hidden' rather than displayed continually. Unfortunately the package has been programmed in BASIC, which partly accounts for its lack of speed.

Another problem is that each line of a multi-line procedure has to be ENTERED separately. This results in each line being cleared from the screen as the subsequent instruction line is ENTERED. It would have been better if an entire procedure could be typed onto the screen and then ENTERED as a block after the END statement A further shortcoming is that the maximum angle that can be turned right or left is 180 degrees, which is rather limiting in that the child is not able to see the relationship between turning right through 90 degrees and turning left through 270 degrees. (Incidentally. the error trapping routine used to check that you haven't attempted to turn through more than 180 degrees is also used to govern movement.)

Having said that, however, there are a number of excellent touches to the program. A scale facility has been incorporated, which makes the program easier to use with very young children, and a HELP facility gives access to a list of all the commands available and an optional explanation of the effect of each command. The HELP facility is not global, however, and cannot be accessed from any point in the program which limits its usefulness.

Picture Logic comes complete with two excellent booklets: one, a User Manual, aimed at the adult and the other a book of guidance for the child's use, which is beautifully laid out and details the various stages in using the software in simple terms. This booklet also contains Challenges for the child to complete as a way of reinforcing learning.

Though expensive, this is a very professional and thorough package, which should be enjoyed by every child interested in computing.


Control keys: the child uses the keyboard to enter Logo-type commands, such as FD 60 which draws a line 60 units long from the position which the arrow is occupying in the direction it is pointing (Forwards)
Keyboard play: very slow
Use of Colour: black and white only
Graphics: clearly drawn
General Rating: The slowness of the response to commands spoils an otherwise excellent program. The documentation is of a high standard, but the programming detracts from the advantages of the language it seeks to emulate - LOGO.

Not Rated