Your Spectrum
Issue 19, October 1985 - Frontlines & Hacking Away
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So, Sir Clive won't be going to live at Maxwell House after all. Just before the wedding, Robert Maxwell pulled out of the £12 million deal designed to rescue Sinclair Research and left Sir Clive standing at the altar.
A spokesperson for Mr Maxwell's company Hollis told us, "As a culmination of our investigations the company directors, including Mr Maxwell, decided not to recommend the deal to our shareholders." Well, if Sinclair Research was in poor shape before, think what a state it was in afterwards!
It was at this stage that the jilted bride mounted a face-saving exercise. Sir Clive persuaded Dixons to publicise a deal that had been signed between the two companies a full ten days before the Maxwell pull-out. The deal, said to be worth £10 million, means that Dixons takes on a 'very considerable' number of unsold
Spectrums. That way Sinclair's remaining stocks won't be knocked down at give-away prices but bundled into budget deals with other
Parting is such sweet sorrow ...
products that aren't shifting, like the pocket telly. In return, Sinclair has had to delay the launch
of the new 128K Spectrum, code-named the Derby. That's right, it exists, it will have the AY8192 sound chip and should be fully compatible with the 48K Spectrum - though some people have cast doubt on whether that's possible for 100 per cent of programs. Our source tells us that the contract with Dixons expressly forbids the sale of the Derby in this country before Christmas. And though Dixons refused to confirm this, it seems unlikely they'd welcome any moves from Sinclair that would hinder their off-loading of 48K Speccies. You will, however, be able to pick up the new machine in Europe where it won't put the kibosh on the Dixons' deal.
And what has Sinclair Research got to say about all this then? "We can't comment on a hypothetical machine," said a spokesperson. We shall see!
Book begat play begat film begat song begat software - isn't that the way it's supposed to be? Well, Mikro-Gen's got other ideas 'cos their new game's turned the world on its head and commissioned a novel to be written about their new game, Shadow of the Unicorn.
Even more revolutionary - if you care to forget Imagine's abortive attempt at the same thing (Imagine, I've forgotten them already. Ed) - is the new piece of micro- gadgetry you'll need to
Mikro-Plus - refreshes the parts other programs cannot reach.
play the game. It's called the Mikro-Plus and it contains a ROM with 16K of the game burnt in. And as it overlays the current Speccy ROM area, the programmers are free to use the full 64K of the Speccy's memory. The Mikro-Plus looks set to do for software what acorns do for oak trees - no, not fall off!
The complete package is ready to roll at £14.95 but Mikro-Gen will dole out more info over the phone. Call the Wallies there on (nnnn) nnnnnn.
The Copyright Amendment Bill, tagged the FAST Bill after the Federation Against Software Theft which pushed for it, has finally cut through the red-tape and become law.
Up till now the only way to stop the pirates was to nab them under the music or literary copyright acts - software didn't have its own protection. Now though, they can be stung for £2,000 and imprisoned for a maximum of two years.
Meet the Interface 007. No, it's not an add-on to remove the bugs from A View To Kill but another one of those one-press transfer peripherals.
As with the Interface 3, there's no through connector so it'll have to be the last in the line of your peripherals but it does have a reset button to save that poor overworked power supply on the back of your Speccy. Also, you don't have to load in any software before it goes about its business.
It'll save programs to tape, with a choice of
five different tape speeds, but a microdrive loader program is saved in the first program block so putting it back onto drive is a doddle - it's all done for you.
One drawback is that there's no case - the circuit board is open to attack from coffee and paperclips! But at £29.95 it's cheaper than either the Interface 3 or the Mirage Microdriver, so you pays your money and takes your choice! For added info, interface with the people who produce it, ZX-Guaranteed on nnn-nnn nnnn.
How d'you fancy leading a bio-robot on a star trek to a newly created planet, teetering on the very edge of the Galaxy? You know, the normal, everyday, run-of-the-mill sort of stuff for the seasoned adventurer! Well, this is the scenario for the latest offering from Bubble Bus Software, Star Quake - it could prove a space-shattering
STARQUAKE screen Will you throw a wobbly over Star Quake?
experience for you this autumn.
Your mission is to save the rest of the universe from imminent destruction ... whoops, there goes another universe! Be ready for take-off around the middle of October - one way ticket £7.95. Reserve your place now by ringing earth-person, Ann Lovejoy on (nnnn) nnnnnn.
Good news for Avalon addicts, the third in the series has been announced by Hewson Consultants for release in early October. Called Astro-Clones, it is horror-of-horrors, a shoot 'em up! Steve Turner the programmer reckons they're coming back into fashion so he's developed a whole range of new techniques to slot the new game into the adventure movie structure that Avalon pioneered.
One such exciting development is that the body of the Clone has separately animated sections for extra realism. The upper torso, arms and legs all move relative to one another so the Clone can reach for a weapon, turn and fire it and then replace it in the holster when he's through.
If you fancy cloning around, more news can be had from Hewson on (nnnn) nnnnnn. I should Coco!
If you're a fantasy freak, you'll be into Star Wars and its follow-ups. And you'll welcome the news that Lucasfilms, the people behind the flicks, has designed two stunning games for Activision - both of them hits on other computers.
Ballblazer is a 3D split screen ballgame that blasts you into battle against an opponent on a chequerboard pitch. But at the speeds this game's played, the board is the only resemblance to chess.
Perhaps you'd prefer a flight round the planet Fractalus as a fighter
BALLBLAZER screen Ballblazer - a whole new ball game!
pilot, fearlessly fending off an unseen enemy. Your mission is to rescue your comrades from the planet's surface but you're in for a shock if you land near an alien.
You can research release dates by ringing Activision on (nnnn) nnnnn.
Here's MUD in your eye'. MUD stands for Multi-User Dungeon, a mighty many-personed game that's run over the telephone via your modem. And now Firebird has acquired the rights and is making it available to Speccy owners. The program's so complex it'll give you a headache just thinking about it, but once you're into it, prepare to be hooked. MUD logo
Knee deep in MUD!
And that's good news for British Telecom shareholders everywhere. Putting aside the phone bill, you'll have to fork out for units to play the game - and they'll set you back 20p each at six minutes a throw.
If you're not ready for the MUD-slinging just yet and want more info, phone nn-nnn nnnn and boost BT's coffers as you speak.



Spectrum Wargaming
by Owen Bishop and Audrey Bishop
Collins / £9.95

Calling all Spectrum warmongers. Now's your chance to plan and execute all those triumphant campaigns and strategies without suffering the tedium of third-rate wargames software. Owen and Audrey Bishop have come up with a book that offers enough wargaming and programming ammunition to help you on your way to winning the battle.
In true wargaming style, this book of tactics has two 'sides' - or rather, two approaches to the problem. Firstly, there's the direct method - just type in the complete games you're offered and off you go. And though they're certainly pretty good, using them means that you'll miss out on an excellent lesson in software design.
The second path is purely for programmers and it's immensely flexible. A good wargamer will make great demands on the average wargames program and if you're going to meet those demands you'll just have to start programming yourself, simple as that.
Although this is specifically a wargames book you can adapt the tables for other simulations. You can play games from 1066 right into the future with single men or battalions. Here you'll find explanations for almost everything from morale to hidden movement. In fact, the only major omission I could turn up was Zones of Control - the area around a unit - and even this problem is partially solved by the routine Proximity that'll detect nearby units.
You'll find five games and five utilities listed. Each game has two parts - game mechanics and game data. The great flexibility comes from the way you can create or adapt large amounts of data using the utilities. You're given, for example, a Tablemaker, an Armymaker and a Mapmaker all of which speak for themselves. A fourth utility called Datastorer assembles all the files you've created and places them in a single file for use by the game mechanics.
These mechanics are little more than a collection of subroutines, with each game adding new elements. when the Napoleonic campaign is reached, there are twenty- two sub-routines, data, and just nine other lines. At every stage documentation is excellent, explaining computing to wargamers and wargaming to programmers.
In effect, the book supplies a set of building blocks which can be used off the shelf or customised. In one sense the book has little to do with wargames or even the Spectrum for that matter! Instead we are introduced to a set of program modules, all of which are inter- compatible, and easily accessible. In this case good programming design happens to have been applied to wargaming on the Spectrum, and very successfully at that. Computer users may well find that wargaming seems accessible in this form as all the tedium of table writing has gone - and wargamers will probably learn more about program structure than they ever knew before.
For programmers and wargamers alike, this book offers sound tactics, and you'll find that your investment in terms of both time and money will transform you into a victorious wargamer. Battle on chaps!
Ian Beardsmore
BLASTING BASIC slow, but awkward. Compiling to Micro drive is worthwhile though, as Blast will happily access the drives as it needs to, without any instructions from you.
So, what of this claim that Blast can compile 100 per cent of Basic programs? Well, to test it out, I dug out a selection of four of my old Basic programs - some short, and others long - just to see what Blast could do with them. My results were not too promising - two of the programs crashed when executed and the other two, although happily compiled by Blast, didn't seem to show any dramatic increase in speed, and nowhere near the claimed 40 per cent speed increase.
On the B side of the tape comes a bonus in the shape of a toolkit. It includes features such as Copy line, Block move, Search and Replace, Trace and so on. Nothing special in other words. Really, until the bugs are ironed out, I'm not convinced that Blast yet justifies its £25 price tag, even with the freebies.
Tony Samuels
Blast is a compiler, a utility that takes Speccy Basic and turns it into machine code - or that's the theory anyway. A pretty good idea, you're thinking - unfortunately, it isn't quite that simple. Others have tried to write compilers before but nobody seems to have quite got it right yet. The major failing of the packages on the market is their inability to compile certain instructions.
So, what's all the fuss about Blast for? Well, its major selling point is that it claims to compile 100 per cent of Basic programs. So, how, one wonders, does it manage it? Well, you can compile your programs using Blast in two forms. Firstly, it'll compile to machine code but the coding isn't very efficient and it'll use up more memory than the original program. So, its other option is to compile to a
language called P Code that uses up less memory but still has to be interpreted in the same way as Basic. But, it is faster than Basic though slower than machine code, so it's most useful when compiling really lengthy programs where space is at a premium.
Both machine code and P Code require some 5K of Blast to be present when the code is called, so if you're compiling a short Basic program then you'll probably find that the program will grow in size by quite a large amount.
If either the program to be compiled or the compiled code is too large to fit in memory then Blast can be instructed to take its source code from tape or Microdrive rather than RAM. The compiled program can also be written to any of these three. Compiling via tape is not only very

Hacker cartoon
Prepare to POKE where you've never POKEd before! Don't hide your hacking hints - hurl them at Andy Pennell, Your Spectrum, 14 Rathbone Place, London W1P 1DE.
Hello to all you hacking hacks! Now's the time for your monthly dose of hacking hints. First let's take a look at the game of the TV show Airwolf. M. Rai has supplied a way of tunnelling into this one. You may have to dig hard, but it's worth it for such a high-flying game! Firstly, create some headers, so get a blank tape, then enter:

SAVE "aw1" CODE 24000,41535

Save only the header to tape - stop recording during the gap before the main bit. Next, try it again with:

SAVE "aw2" CODE 23296,256

again only saving the header. Now position the original Airwolf tape to the start of the long headerless code, the one after the screen, and do


Now RUN this, and play the first header you created, stopping the tape when it's done. Then, play the Airwolf tape, that is the long part. Be sharp, as you should catch the tape just as it finishes, as the next bit follows straight on. Next, play the second header you created and re- start the Airwolf tape to load the small bit of code - at last it's all there! Now go on an' butcher it! Try these POKEs for starters. POKE 45982,0 for infinite lives, 58317,0 to stop gravity affecting the chopper, and 44665,0 to stop your Bonus decreasing. RANDOMIZE USR 59091 will start the game for you and after all that, it should be worth playing!
Everyone has to start hacking somewhere, and Nige Bareham's first successful attempt got him into Planetoids, an early version of Asteroids. Here's what he did. Load the first program, stop the tape and reset the machine. Next, MERGE the second program, and insert POKE VAL "26744", NOT PI to stop the alien ships firing bombs, or POKE VAL "24373", NOT PI for a very different effect! (Exactly what is a
mystery!) Reach for the stars and find out!
If Booty's the game that's giving you grief, Alan Garner has a swashbuckling routine to get you infinite lives:

10 CLEAR 26879: LOAD "" SCREEN$: LOAD "" CODE 26880
20 RANDOMIZE USR 26880: POKE 58294,4

Run this, and play the original, it'll ignore the normal loader program. Get to it, and beat those pirates!
Steven Bennet's not short of a few ideas. He sent in lots of juicy POKEs - the first one's for Ah Diddums. Remember Imagine, do you? POKE 25924,0 makes the train wait forever, POKE 26278,0 makes the ball go on and on ... POKE 25701,0 keeps the jack-in- the-box out of the box!, and POKE 24786,0 will give you infinite lives.
Next he tells us how to disable the nasties in Software Projects' Orion - try POKE 37319,201. You can do the same in Zip Zap with POKE 54065,0. Now, Steven has come up with some interesting snippets! He's found two lengthy messages in Warlock of Firetop Mountain and Psytron. Try these for starters ... "We apologize for the game being boring but we were only given three weeks to write it." "Return of the Things coming soon ... Oh no, not again!", or the romantic interlude, "Dear Fiona, you are too precious for mere words, but maybe 'I love you' will do." It's amazing what can be unearthed in the bowels of these programs if you dig deep enough!
John Whyte's been hacking around in Icon's Bug Eyes, and has found you can get infinite lives by running the following program and playing the original tape.

30 POKE 36037,201
40 LET L=USR 36000
50 POKE 43393,0
60 RAND USR 42200

For those of you wishing to imitate the Fall Guy, alias Lee Majors ... you'll find it easier with Andrew Gibson's little program.

10 CLEAR 24100: LOAD "" CODE 64100
20 RAND USR 65100
30 LOAD "" CODE: POKE 43896,2
40 RAND USR 41200

This'll alter the game so that you only have to jump two carriages to get into the next screen, but it only works after the first screen. So get jumping!
OK folks, in the words of somebody just a little bit more famous than me, it's good-bye from me and it's a big hello to him ... yes, I'm leaving this column in the trusty hands of Chris Wood as of next month, so send him some juicy hacks to sink his keyboard into! I'll still be hanging around in Frontlines with my Microdriving hints, so don't desert me - get those letters off now!
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