Art Designer (Pica) Review | A&B Computing - Everygamegoing

A&B Computing

Art Designer
By Pica

Published in A&B Computing 2.01

There are a whole range of art and drawing packages on the market now, ranging from the sophisticated to the downright poor. This one comes towards the poorer end of the spectrum, I'm afraid. On booting the disc a menu is provided from which you can select your option. You can start a picture, load a picture, define characters, save characters and load characters.

If we take the last options first, we have a basic character-defining utility suite. Using this you are able to define any or all of the characters numbered 224 to 252. There is a single 8x8 grid on which you work one character at a time. The list of characters that have been defined is available at the side. However nice this might seem, it is really only of use with the main drawing program. There is no facility for converting to VDU 23 definitions whatsoever. Although you can store and load definitions this too is of little use away from the other program. There is no facility to define two characters as a unit, and no multi- coloured option; basic is the right description, without a doubt.

The main drawing program is also at the very basic end of the spectrum; for one thing there is only one mode available, Mode 2.

Whilst this does give a nice range of colour, there is a distinct lack of resolution as you might guess. There is no "rubber banding" effect so there is little chance to try the position of a line before fixing it and, as deletion is a difficult process requiring re-drawing in the background colour, this is a real problem. The function keys are used to give some effects but as no strip is provided you will have to develop your own. All the other options are called using the CTRL and one of the letter keys.

There is some logic in the choice of these keys, e.g. CTRL-W is wipe screen and CTRL-T writes text to the screeen. The strangest option is CTRL-K which prints a "kestrel" on the screen at the current cursor position. To be honest, this is simply a gimmic and a very strange one at that! Another problem of the package is its wiping of the screen on pressing CTRL-M to return to the menu. You must remember to save the screen (CTRL-S) before taking this action or your picture is lost! It is interesting to note that the only way that a screen is saved is using a *SAVE. This means that each saved screen takes 20K of space on a disc or five minutes on a cassette. Not exactly ideal.

I could go further in my comments about this package and its failings but suffice it to say that this is not a serious drawing program by any means. It is hard to even describe it as a toy!

Dave Carlos

Other BBC/Electron Game Reviews By Dave Carlos

  • Galaxy Raiders Front Cover
    Galaxy Raiders
  • Know Your Own Psi-Q Front Cover
    Know Your Own Psi-Q
  • Number Painter Front Cover
    Number Painter
  • Football Manager Front Cover
    Football Manager
  • Revise GCE/CSE... Mathematics 1 Front Cover
    Revise GCE/CSE... Mathematics 1
  • Dam Busters Front Cover
    Dam Busters
  • Logo Front Cover
  • Osprey Front Cover
  • Time Trucker Front Cover
    Time Trucker
  • Squash Front Cover