After having read my
advice about using 'editing' characters, I am sure that a few of you
have tried this in one of the other text modes. If so, you will have
found that the characters are displayed on the screen rather than
perform their editing function. This is because GRAPHICS 1 and GRAPHICS
2 are specialised display modes, whereas GRAPHICS 0 is primarily used
for program input, and so has full use of the editor. If you wish to
save memory by not using a host of POSITION statements, the answer is
very simple. Call the GRAPHICS mode that you require, then fool the
operating system into thinking it is in GRAPHICS 0 by POKE 87,0. This
will allow you full use of the editing facilities. The only problem is
that the OS believes that it has a 40 by 24 screen to work with when, in
actual fact, it has a good deal less. This is a minor problem as you,
the programmer, will make allowances for it.
I am sure that some
people who read this column use a NEC 8023 printer. I, and the Editor,
would love to see a NEC(ATARI) user group started so that we can find
out more about this wonderful graphics printer and how to use it to the
full. Any offers of help to myself or Les please. For those who are
interested, this is my first sojourn away from my trusty typewriter to
using TINYTEXT (courtesy of PAGE 6) via the Blackthorn interface and,
after a few faltering steps, I think I am doing quite well.
I recently received a
letter from Paul Pratt asking about tutorials for a beginner. I think
that leaving out the manuals was a terrible mistake by ATARI and I hope
they change this practice for the expected forthcoming sales drive.
(Some chance! Ed.) The following recommendations are only my opinion and
may differ from yours according to your needs. Please, before you
purchase anything (program or book)
make sure that you peruse it well.
For the outright beginner
'ATARI BASIC, a self teaching guide' - Albrecht (the Wiley manual) is
still an excellent choice, even if it is based on the 400/800. So too is
the ATARI basic reference manual. XL guides are in short supply so,
although I have not read it, 'Getting started' (600XL) - P. Goode must
be worth considering. Next would come a good memory map, `Mapping the
ATARI' - Compute, or the cheaper `Master Memory Map' - R Sharer. If you
have not been able to afford the price of American magazines, then you
could consider the series of Compute books, a compilation of past ATARI
articles. Then you could progress on to the 'Technical Notes' and 'De Re
ATARI'. Beware of books with games listings and programs of 50 games,
you will find far superior listings in magazines.
Software is another
league. Do you want a tutorial that is not hidden in a game, or do you
want a game that you have to decipher to find out what is happening? The
BAUG tutorials show you the how and why, then it is up to your
imagination and willingness to use the information. The same goes for
the Tricky Tutorials. In my opinion, the first 6 are great but the
latest ones I find a bit arty and they rely heavily on machine code.
Once you have worked
through that lot, you will be at the stage where you want utilities and
as that is too big an area, I will now sign off.
Don't forget to write. It is
your letters that provide the inspiration!
Write to Mark at BAUG SOFTWARE,
P.O.BOX 10, BELFAST, BT10 0DB