Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Utilities; Master The Art of SOUND and GRAPHICS
Author : Unknown
Standalone Release(s) : 1983: ELECTRON AID, Dynabyte, £6.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : DYNABYTE, 31 Topcliffe Mews, Wide Lane, Morley, LEEDS
Disc compatibility : ADFS 1D00, CDFS 1D00, DFS 1D00
"The ELECTRON AID package is an extremely useful and powerful two program utility which simplifies some of the more difficult aspects of programming the Acorn Electron. The programs come complete with comprehensive documentation and a user key strip.
CHARACTER - Easily defines/edits large multi coloured characters.
SOUNDLAB - Make full use of your computer's sound and envelope commands."
Enables you to define and edit multicoloured characters in blocks of up to 8 x 3 (max. 128 characters) using up to three chosen foreground colours and one background colour. Characters previously loaded into memory can also be recalled and edited. VDU23 statements are automatically generated and can be saved for later use. The program also shows your character as it would actually appear on the screen making it possible to achieve the desired results.
Clearly displays all parameters for up to 7 envelope and 15 sound commands simultaneously as desired. Envelope pitch parameters can be easily altered EVEN when envelopes are in use allowing changes to be heard as you make them. Envelopes already defined by another program can be read out of RAM and played or fine tuned to your own requirements. Soundlab fully supports all the Electron's sound commands and will help you to achieve just the sound effect you want.
The required program is run from an index by typing CHAIN"INDEX". Alternatively, any one program can be CHAINed individually.
Instructions' Source : ELECTRON AID (Dynabyte) Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User)
This super utility program actually contains a suite of two very helpful and easy-to-use facilities for the Electron. The loading program presents the user with the option to select Character or Soundlab. The first allows the user to define up to 128 different characters (if PAGE is reset as appropriate), while the second encourages constructive use of sound ENVELOPES with various SOUND statements. Neither, of course, allows the user to do anything that cannot be done anyway with help from the User Guide, but these utilities are extremely user-friendly.
On selecting Character the user replies to various screen prompts in order to select Mode (all available), and foreground and background colours. Once this is selected the option to start from scratch, or whether to redefine an existing shape, is offered.
One way in which this may be of considerable use is animation. A figure may be defined as one ASCII character and then copied to a second. The second can then be edited to allow the slight changes necessary for smooth animation. Both versions of the shape thus remain available for recall.
Single key entry is provided, with the number keys controlling the various colours, editing and so on. Key 8 will even list on screen the VDU23 lines, which can then be copied for future use.
A similar approach has been used in Soundlab, with a very fun approach to that bewildering world of envelopes. There are pre-set ENVELOPES - up to seven can be programmed - and up to fifteen sound commands may also be accessed. They are easily tested, using single key again, or edited by use of the number keys and cursor control. The sound controls are shown on screen in the format &FC, A, P, D while the ENVELOPE is shown, although not those numbers which are merely there for BBC compatibility.
Any ENVELOPE may be paired with any SOUND statement to gain an insight into the possibilities. In addition the whole range of SOUND commands can be played one after the other, which in my case always sounded pretty ghastly. Again, no more is gained than can be learned from the User Guide, but the program does all the work for you and shows you your current pieces on screen. The listings of any good sounds produced may be obtained for future use.
I found this to be a fascinating program to work with, but I must warn you that it soon becomes almost as addictive as your favourite games.
Phil Tayler, ELECTRON USER 1.11