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Campbell Systems
Not Known
1983
Utility: Graphics
£6.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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38,40
Peter Freebrey
Chris Bourne

Campbell Systems is probably better known for its database and filing programs, but Drawmaster certainly offers a host of features. The program autoRUNs on LOADing to display a blank work screen with a two-line information window at the bottom (showing the current mode of the 'pen': Trans(parent), Draw, Erase or Over and the current attributes: BRIGHT, PAPER and INK (FLASH is not included - as is fairly obvious from the display). The x and y pixel co-ordinates are indicated in normal Spectrum fashion - that's 0,0 in the bottom left corner - and there's no way of using the bottom two lines of the display (which, of course, is the information window). Also shown are the current Line and Column (standard character cells) and pressing the 'Q' key gives what's called 'Menu' - in fact, a guide to which keys do what (a useful system of quick reference, and you can't lose it!).

The direction of the 'pen' movement is controlled by keys '1' to '8', normal cursor directions and keys I to '4' are the diagonals. Caps Shift with one of these cursor keys moves the cursor eight pixels (in the Draw mode this would give you a dot every eight pixels) and allows rapid movement of the cursor. Key 'Z' gives fine control, with the cursor moving one pixel at a time (accompanied by a beep) and with the x and y co-ordinates being updated continuously. Other movement modes update the co-ordinates only when you stop.

Drawmaster has several interesting features. You can define a particular point called 'X' (marks the spot - geddit?) on the screen and Draw lines or Arcs to it from any cursor position. You can draw from the cursor in any of the eight specified directions and they'll continue on until hitting another pixel - or, alternatively, the edge of the screen.

The Window commands are also useful. They'll let you define a rectangular window, store this for future use, recall it, paint it with current PAPER colour, or re-define its position on the screen. Drawmaster can also Rescale any image and draw it elsewhere on the screen, either larger or smaller. In fact, the program's quick reference guide was obtained by copying normal Spectrum text and reducing it to 75 per cent of normal size. It's a time-consuming process, but one that greatly enhances the scope of the toolkit. To reduce or enlarge a portion of the screen - create a window around it, then use the Clear Window command to quickly erase the original once it's been copied.

Text can be placed on the screen, but while in 'text' mode remember not to overwrite line 22 - the screen will scroll! Circles can be drawn at a specified radius about the cursor and, of course, there's the usual Fill command. The program allows screens to be SAVEd or LOADed to or from tape, but there are no user-defined graphics facilities available.

Time Taken: 2 hrs. Verdict: Drawmaster was almost painful to use, and I can't recommend it for the construction of accurate pictures. The program would have been greatly improved if all the flashy commands were removed and replaced with a 'magnify' facility and maybe a Melbourne Draw-type attribute control. Peter Shaw

Not Rated

Screenshot Text

Drawmaster was a very difficult program to use. It had all sorts of mega-amazing features, but most of them seemed pretty pointless to me. For example, there's a command called 'Hop' which allows you to draw dotted lines, and pressing the 'U' key changes all the INK to black, and all the PAPER to 'dull' white. Wowee!

Adding colour is not as easy as it may at first seem. Drawmaster has no special features to handle the attributes (colour) alone - they have to be stuck on when you alter the display file. It makes design work difficult if you always have to bear in mind the effect of colour at the same time as creating the shapes themselves.

The finished flag - messy maybe, but I was getting more and more frustrated with a program that was getting very awkward to manipulate. If you're reading this out in Korea, please don't send letters of complaint about the state of your flag - I did my best!