Your Spectrum
Issue 12, March 1985 - Frontlines
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If you're bored with software that repeatedly crashes through loading errors, never fear - Sir Clive has now introduced hardware that can be crashed!
The Sinclair C5 is claimed to be "a new power in personal transport" and the "vehicle of the future". Its actual constituent parts are a 'squirrel- cage' electric motor (the basic design of which originated in the late nineteenth century and has been used in washing machines ever since!), a lead-acid battery (of similarly venerable antecedents), a welded pressed-steel frame (not conceptually unadjacent to that employed in any early '50s NSU motorcycle) and, oh yes, bodywork that profiles as the largest polypropylene
injection moulding ever mass-produced.
The Sinclair C5 will retail at only £399, which is the same price as the Sinclair QL, but waiting for the emergence of an 'infinite lives' POKE may well be worthwhile before considering purchase. Expert criticisms of its safety and stability abound; at its launch, motorcycle stunt rider and leading road safety campaigner Dave Taylor was impolitely requested to desist from demonstrating the C5's tendency to climb onto two wheels instead of its usual three (before falling over completely!).
Fourteen years may be old enough to drive a Sinclair C5 on the main roads without suitable safety measures (such as helmet, safety belt and so on) ... but it could also be old enough to die in one!
Author of smash software hits like Monty Mole and Potty Pigeon, Tony Crowther, has signed up with Quicksilva to produce two games for 1985.
Tony's not actually leaving his company, Wizard Developments, but he and his partner Roger Taylor are passing on distribution rights to QS for their next two earth- shattering games. Unfortunately, their first game is being written for the Commie 64, but if you keep everything crossed the next one's bound to be something for the Speccy.
If you're into amazing graphics and you want Tony Crowther and Roger Taylor writing for your Spectrum, give QS a ring on (nnnn) nnnnn and tell 'em.
Meanwhile, it's a warm cheerio to original QS members Caroline Hayon and Mark Eyles - they've decided to move on to pastures new. Let's just hope that the new-styled Quicksilva is as good as the old!
Following Sinclair Research's manic secrecy over the Spectrum+, it's somewhat surprising to already be hearing rumours about a second Spectrum derivative. But with a possible release date of mid-1985, this version of the machine is planned to be fully portable and compatible with all existing Spectrum software.
The low-down on this new micro is that it's aimed at the Spectrum owner who can't bear to be without it at any time and, in particular, the business user. So far unnamed, it's supposed that it will incorporate Sinclair Research Flat Screen technology, though it'll no doubt plug into a normal TV. Reports are that Sinclair Research is currently
devoting much of its energy towards developing the Flat Screen TV into something suitable for it - say about five by six inches. The reincarnation may also have a built-in Microdrive, although it's not yet clear whether it will include all the features of the Interface 1 (RS232 interface, networking facility, and so on).
Current speculation seems to suggest that the new machine will resemble the American version of the Spectrum, incorporating a similar keyboard, but with hard-topped keys; the Microdrive replaces the cartridge slot on the right-hand side of the American Timex 2000. It's presumed that the flat screen will fold down over the keyboard, making it ideally
suitable for carrying around in a briefcase.
The memory will consist of new CMOS chips which use very little power, thus allowing the machine to run for long periods on the batteries; the battery power source will probably be the type already used in the Flat Screen TV, though it's not known if these will be rechargeable.
The price of the machine is predicted to be around £300. As Nigel Searle, Sinclair Research MD, stated in an interview with YS late last year, any business machine produced by the company would bear the QL logo - it will be interesting to see how the new micro fares. To QL or not QL?

John Durst / Sunshine Publications

Author John Durst tells us right from the start that the object of the exercise is to discuss the Spectrum display, machine code techniques and animated sprites; nothing covered in this book calls for the addition of peripherals.
Chapter one goes into all the things you'll need to know to help you program well in machine code on the Spectrum.
ROM routines have an important part to play in machine code programming and Durst explains the Save routine thoroughly, detailing how the header information is stored and how to play various tricks with it.
In fact, as you can tell from the title, graphics play an important part in Durst's book. He talks about the character set and provides us with various routines to make it appear twice, four and
even eight times its normal size, and others to make it bold, extra tall and extra wide. There are still more routines which turn characters on either side or upside down!
Soon, we're getting very in-depth about sprites and animation. The first four sprite routines are none too impressive, but they do get better. The author talks of the Matte process - which does get a little confusing - but despite all that, at the end of it you're left with a pretty good sprite system.
Here, and not a moment too soon, Durst adds some colour to the subject in the form of a number of attribute handling routines.
The last few chapters give details on interrupt routines and what can be done with them, plus a tutorial on how to produce sound effects. They also set out to explain how to write efficient machine code.
For £6.95, this is one of the best attempts at the subject I've seen so far.

Tony Samuels
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