Gamemaker 2 (Holly Computers) Review | Acorn User - Everygamegoing

Acorn User

Gamemaker 2
By Holly Computers
Acorn Electron

Published in Acorn User #041

Sprites Spring Into Life

Gamemaker 2 is unusual in having been written especially for the Electron, and should therefore have taken account of the slower clock rate to keep the final speed up.

This package is something of a departure from other sprite programs in being entirely menu-driven, a good thing as it makes the program easy to use.

The only problem with the package is the limited memory available, which necessitated the use of sub-menus in more than one of the sections of the program. This means occasionally that options are displayed that are not actually available - though it's something you soon get used to, however.

Gamemaker 2

Apart from the sprite designer and your own games programs themselves, all work is carried out in Mode 4, which makes for easy reading. Six options are available from the main menu:

Image maker
Sprite viewer
Input tape-file
Output tape-file
Game-user 2 and
Prompts (on).

Image maker handles the definition of images and not that of sprites, and important distinction, as two different images may be assigned to a single sprite, allowing simple animation. Up to 48 images may be created, of the standard 8 x 8 pixel size. A maximum image size of 16 x 24 is also possible, but with fewer images available.

This makes the system very flexible and it will cope with most of the sprite shapes you might want to design.

The Sprite view allows you to assign your defined images to a total of 32 sprites (less if they are large). An interesting facility within this section of the program is the ability to view both images assigned to any sprite and alternate between them via the keyboard, thus stimulating the animation you will be able to provide in your own program.

Files of sprites may be stored on tape and recalled later for use by the second program within the package, by selecting the appropriate options from the menu.

The prompts provided on screen may be turned off once you become totally familiar with the system.

The second part of the package is User2. This is the machine code control program which gives life to the sprites you created with Maker2 and resides at &1B00, leaving only about 6K for your program.

However, a lot of facilities are provided by the package, so that collision detection, and so on, will require very little extra Basic. All the sprite control commands take the general form *GMts (.). The first lower-case character gives the type of command, the second the number of the sprite to which it refers and the optional comma indicated that further parameters will follow. It's a very economical and easy to use format.

The Gamemaker 2 manual is well written and comprehensive and, all in all, the package is highly recommended.

As far as I can see, it works perfectly on the model B as well!

Simon Williams

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