The Atari Hall Of Fame: Iridis, Founding Member
Having followed the evolution of TRS-80 software quality from poor to not-so-bad, I expected to have to go through the same evolution when I upgraded to an Atari 800. The people at The Code Works have proven me wrong. They publish an ongoing "Atari/Tutorial" called IRIDIS which, in this reviewers opinion, is quickly bound for Atari stardom.
I tried numerous times to write this review to cover everything about IRIDIS that I thought deserved to be covered. Each time I thought of more things that I should have included. Eventually, out of desperation, I ended up making this outline so that I wouldn't forget anything. Then I thought, "aha(!), they (as in you) don't want to wade through unecessary verbosity (what you're reading now), so I'll just give them my outline." So, without any further unecessary ado (what you're reading now), here's that outline:
Details: 2-4 programs each 'issue" (so far).
16K needed for each program for cassette, 24K for disk.
Each issue consists of one cassette/disk and 1 user's guide.
A User's What?
The User's Guide is a booklet (32-56 pages) containing:
Listings of each program.
Complete explanations of each listing, including an explanation of every line and every variable, and averaging 3½ pages long in the first issue, ten in the second. And ten very understandable pages at that!
Hacker's Delight: explanations of various Atari mysteries, such as display lists and 23 very interesting memory locations in the midst of the Atari memory jungle.
Novice Notes: for those of you who thought "so what?" or "huh?" to the description of Hacker's Delight, Novicer Notes explains, in very simple terms, such things as bit patterns (3½ pages) and string manipulation (2½ pages).
Oddments: "Facts, Fancies, and Rumors."
The Oracle: questions to the editor.
So what are these programs, anyway?
CLOCK: a clock with hands, and ticking, and chimes, and everything!
ZAP: a one player "chase" game.
LOGO: an interesting demo program.
POLYGONS: an even more interesting demo (remember Spirograph? Well...)
FONTEDIT: design your own Atari character sets with this feature packed character set (or "font") editor. Work with an 8X enlargement of a character, and see it in it's regular size at the same time. Fonts can be saved to tape or disk, and can be used in your own programs using an included BASIC subroutine.
KNOTWORK: an interactive demo program involving "celtic interlace" and using a custom designed font. This one tends to defy a simple description, so I'll leave it as a (pleasant) surprise.
For those people sick of sending away for programs and then having to wait for weeks before finally receiving them, you might be pleased to know that I mail ordered both IRIDIS' and received them both in about a week! Keep up the good work Code Works.
What's your point? (As if I haven't already guessed)
Buy these programs. IRIDIS 2 should be as much a part of your programming library as your BASIC cartridge is. IRIDIS 1 also contains some valuable programming techniques that can be adapted easily to your own programs, and the programs are fun to use, besides. Although I realize it is impossible to completely convey my own admiration of IRIDIS in the length of this review, take it from an old hand; IRIDIS is, and promises to be in the future, one of the major works ever to be published for the Atari 800.