PAW Graphics Disk (Gilsoft) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

PAW Graphics Disk
By Gilsoft
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #69

PAW Graphics Disk

The Professional Adventure Writer is probably the best commercially-available adventure creator system around but is restricted as you can only create your games on disk and they had to be text-only... Until now. Those Welsh Wizards of Adventure at Gilsoft have written a package that allows you to add graphics to your PAW games.

You can add graphics to any "PAWed" game which has 2.5K or more free memory (so the software patch has room to be added). Graphics are loaded off disk a la Magnetic Scrolls or ADLAN so that you can still use nearly all the memory for writing the adventure proper. The graphic window can be anything from two lines deep to twenty (to give you an idea, GAC's graphic screen is 17 lines deep). Unlike GAC, though, the graphics must be drawn using an art package such as Advanced Art Studio - you could also use Gilsoft's Illustrator package. Graphics and text are displayed in the Amstrad's 4-colour, 40-column mode 1. Unfortunately, this is the only mode possible and there is not a split mode.

The package is easy to use. You just draw the pictures, write a small text file (simple to do as the manual is very helpful) and then use two CPM programs to first convert the art files to PAW format and then to add the graphics patch to the executable game (The .COM file). As the second program works on the executable adventure then in theory you could add graphics to other people's PAW games as well!

Although the above all seems great, the package does have some major flaws. Graphics files on the disk are not compressed, for a start - a 12-line picture takes up 8K whereas a 17-line graphic uses 11K. You can use both sides of your disks but still you can't have any more than 25 graphics when you take into consideration the adventure itself takes up about 40K. The problem is that if there is no graphic for a certain location then the graphic window is just left blank and no text flows into it. The average PAW game has 70 locations, so that's a lot of locations without graphics. If only graphics files were somehow compressed so that more could be put on a disk, then this would be avoided.

There are a couple of other minor complaints - you cannot turn the graphics off in a game and you need different graphics for the PCW and CPC versions of a game.

PAW Graphics is a great idea but it's a shame that more thought was not put into it. Compressing the graphics and allowing text to scroll into the graphic window would make the package a lot better.

The Balrog

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