Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 10, NO. 2 / FEBRUARY 1984 / PAGE 245

The PM Animator. (computer graphics software) (evaluation) Arthur Leyenberger.

From Don't Ask Software (the folks who brought you S.A.M., the Software Automated Mouth) comes a new product called The PM Animator. The PM Animator is a set of software tools that allows you to create and then incorporate player/missile graphics routines into your Basic programs. Although no programming experience is required to use this system, some familiarity with Basic will help.

There are two editors in the PM Animator system. The Grafix Editor allows you to create the images that you want to incorporate into your Basic programs. Up to 16 images can be created and stored in one file. These images are a series of graphics frames, each one slightly different from the previous one. When viewed sequentially, they appear to be animated, much like the individual frames of a movie.

It is really quite easy to edit the graphics images. The player is created pixel by pixel within an exploded view window. Also provided are three other windows of normal size. Typically, the previous, current, and next images in sequence are displayed to allow you to work on the current image.

The File Editor allows you customize the sequencing of the files created with the Grafix Editor. In addition to being able to view and manipulate multicolor player sequences, you can also edit, append and copy various parts of your files to create the animation sequence you desire. The File Editor is in the form of a 5 by 10 cell spreadsheet that may contain up to 50 separate frames.

Once you have created the animation frames and sequences, there are machine language subroutines for use in incorporating the graphics into your Basic program. These routines are called by simple USR statements and allow you to load ASCII data quickly, clear areas of memory, and move players horizontally and vertically.

The documentation consists of a 79-page owner's manual and tutorial. The first six chapters are devoted to teaching the fundamentals of PM graphics to anyone, even those who are novices at programming. The next five chapters deal with the various features of this powerful graphics development tool. Finally, the last four chapters cover such advanced animation techniques as creating motion multiple players and multi-colored players.

The PM Animator sells for $45 and is a useful tool for creating player/missile graphics images. It is not a game, but a utility that will greatly aid the serious programmer with the task of creating and animating graphics sequences. A Request

In the movie "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," Dom DeLuise plays a character named Melvin P. Thorpe, otherwise called, "The Watchdog." He is an evangelical television personality who is constantly on the lookout for corruption and evil-doers. Like Melvin, I feel like a watchdog on the prowl for software that is reasonably priced and of high quality.

Programs that deliver more bang for the buck. If you happen to run across software for the Atari that you think meets these criteria, write and tell me about it. Remember, the watchdog never sleeps. Relisting The Unlistable, Reprise

In the September 1983 Outpost column appeared a program written by Ernie Rice of Summit, NJ, which allowed an unlistable program to become listable again. As it stands, it works just fine. Unfortunately, however, Ernie had not enclosed the original expression in the extra set of parenthesis, which would make it work with the original delister code run in the September 1983 Outpost.

We have gotten many calls from folks desperate to re-list code protected in the original fashion.

Thanks once again to Ernie, Listing 1 is a program that will make the originally unlistable program re-listable. This time, Ernie used a different technique to undo the process, which resulted in an even shorter bit of code. There is however, one caveat: If the program you are trying to make listable does not contain any variables, the procedure will not work.

When the program in Listing 1 is run, it asks you for a filename of the unlistable code. Be sure to specify the complete filename, such as "D1:NEATPROG.BAS". The file will then be read into the computer and written back out to the disk under the original name.

As usual, Ernie Rice may be contacted at (201) 277-6785 and welcomes comments, questions, and suggestions on this particular technique or programming in general. Be sure to ask him about his fine line of utility products for the Atari. He is not bashful, and will be glad to tell you all about them.

That's about it. Another exciting adventure into the world of Atari computers. Amid rumors of Atari's imminent demise, you can bet your bippy that I will support the machines until my last breath. Atari computers truly represent the Zeitgeist in home computing.

Products: Don't Ask Software The PM Animator (computer program)