The Amstrad CPC 464 User Guide (Sigma) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User

The Amstrad CPC 464 User Guide
By Sigma Technical Press
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #3

The Amstrad CPC 464 User Guide

Writing a computer book is difficult. So many things depend on a knowledge of other areas of computing. Some topics are quite difficult; most beginners have trouble understanding arrays. Other topics, such as the use of PRINT, whilst being quite simple, have a lot of fiddly bits which need explaining. The Advanced CPC464 User Guide handles all these problems admirably. There is a small amount of referring forwards but this cannot be avoided.

In addition to teaching the reader how to use commands, The Advanced User Guide teaches techniques. This is particularly true of the maths chapter. Books often just give a list of all the commands avaliable and leave it at that. The Advanced User Guide goes further. It covers use of standard formulae, simulation and recursion. The author has obviously had some technical backup, and takes a brief look at the insides of the machine from the software point of view, with a section on the memory map.

My one major critisim of the book is its name. While it is an advanced version of the user's guide, it is not a guide for advanced users in the style of the BBC Advanced User's Guide. The Beeb version is full of machine code explanations and tricks with the Operating System - more along the lines of Amsoft's Concise Firmware Handbook, SOFT 158. The CPC version will however still be of value and teach the most experienced programmer new tricks. The examples are not the usual lame demonstrations of how to use BASIC, but the kind of useful things which you itch to type in on first seeing them. A plus point in this respect is that the examples are very short - while some people may enjoy typing in listings I find it a chore and only do it for the end result.

The Advanced CPC 464 User Guide should soon establish itself as one of the better books for our machine.