Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 6 / OCTOBER 1987

Antic Prompter

Your next speech goes scrolling by

by Heidi Brumbaugh, Antic Junior Editor

Not to be outdone by Q-Tv's computer prompter, Antic brings you your own type-in prompter software for speeches or lectures given at users group meetings, classes, seminars, etc. This BASIC program works on all 8-bit Atari computers with 32K memory and a disk drive.

If Q-Tv (see story in this issue) can use 8-bit Atari computers to run professional video prompting setups, then it stands to reason that Antic programmers can write type-in programs that will enable your own 8-bit—or ST—to function as a full-featured video prompting system.

Just think how great it will be to have a video prompter for all those presentations you and your friends need to make at users group meetings, classes, seminars, etc. In fact, this could be your opportunity to start a part-time video prompting business in your hometown.


If you're an 8-bit user, type in Listing 1, PROMPTER.BAS, check it with TYPO II and SAVE a copy before you RUN it. (ST users will find the 16-bit version of this program in this issue's ST Resource section.)

Antic Prompter's opening screen demonstrates the program's scrolling ability while telling you how to use the joystick to control the speed and direction of your scrolling text. Pressing any console key—such as [OPTION], [START], etc.—brings up the main menu.

If you already typed in your speech using a word processor such as AtariWriter or PaperClip—but not Letter Perfect—select [3] (Load File) from the menu. Then type the file name and select [4] (Use Teleprompter).

To create a new text file, choose option [1], Screen Editor. This barebones text editor only lets you enter a single screen of text at one time, but later we'll explain how you can merge multiple screens into a larger file.

Use [CONTROL]-[ARROW] key combinations to move around the file and [DELETE] to erase mistakes. There's no insert mode.

The last column is reserved for a right margin. Text will wrap around as you type, which may cause words at the end of a line to appear broken. But after you SAVE the screen, the word-wrap feature will re-justify your text properly.

When you're through typing, press [ESCAPE]. The editor will fill the screen with asterisks as it reads and stores your text.

Now either select [2] from the main menu to SAVE your text to disk for future reference, or go directly to the prompter by pressing [4]. If you want to SAVE your text, do so before using the prompter.

If you couldn't fit the whole speech into the screen editor, SAVE the text to disk, return to the screen editor and finish typing. Then SAVE the text to the same file. When the program offers the choice of either overwriting or appending to the end of the old file, select Append. Then LOAD the entire file and press [4] to begin scrolling.


The program has four main sections: the screen editor, the read/write subroutines, the string parser and the scroller. All sections use Graphics 0 except the scroller, which is in Graphics 2.

Lines 500-640 present the main menu. Lines 1000-1700 contain the prompter. The joystick value is constantly checked, both while sending text to the screen and while waiting for a trigger press. Memory location 764 contains the value of the last key pressed, so it is checked often to see if the user wants to quit.

Lines 1500-1700 determine the scrolling direction and highlight the top line for easier visibility.

Lines 2000-2130 OPEN and read a file, ignoring carriage returns and control characters which would make the display look confusing.

Lines 3000-3999 SAVE text typed into the editor, first making sure the file exists and, if so, whether the user wants to append or overwrite it.

Lines 5300-5630 contain the parser, which organizes the text so that words at the end of screen lines aren't broken apart. First, it determines how many words in T$ (entered from the keyboard or file) will fit on a 20-column line. Then it puts those words into T2$ and pads the rest of the line with spaces.

The screen editor, beginning at line 7000, is limited, but it lets you enter and edit up to 936 characters. The editor OPENs the keyboard for INPUT, then GETs characters until the [ESCAPE] key is pressed. It doesn't let you insert characters, type past the bottom of the screen, or use the last column which is reserved for a margin.

When [ESCAPE] is pressed, the editor finds the last non-space character on the screen. Then it goes to the beginning of screen memory and gets the text you have typed.

Lines 10000-10999 initialize the main variables used in the program.

Error trapping for I/O problems begins at line 20000. After the problem is analyzed, a message is displayed. Control is returned to the section of the program where the error occurred.

Listing 1  PROMPTER.BAS Download