ELECTRONIC COLOURING BOOK
Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Art Package
Standalone Release(s) : 1985: ELECTRONIC COLOURING BOOK, Addison-Wesley, £9.95
Compilation Release(s) : None
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron
Supplier : ADDISON-WESLEY, Finshampstead Road, Wokingham, BERKSHIRE
Disc compatibility : Unknown.
Instructions currently unavailable.
The ELECTRONIC COLOURING BOOK is a clever piece of programming, enabling the user to colour in outline pictures using a palette of thirty-five colours, achieved by combining existing colours. The program loads well and quickly, and presents a Mode 2 screen with the palette displayed on the right hand side. The background can be changed between either black or white. Cursor movement can be effected by either keyboard commands or by joystick, either one offering good control.
The user is now free to select a picture for colouring. There are some eighteen pictures supplied on the tape, four of which are duplicated in both blank and painted versions. The pictures are of a good standard considering the limitations of Mode 2 resolution. It is possible to create your own pictures and save these for colouring but the drawing routine is limited for anything more complex than straight lines. I suspect that the supplied pictures were created on a graphics pad rather than with the program's routine.
Having selected and loaded a picture, the meat of the program is in the painting. This is nicely done with a colour being chosen by 'dipping' the cursor into the palette and then moving it to the section to be filled. The filling is reasonably quick and accurate. One also has the option to correct a painted section by re-filling in the background colour.
The completed picture can be saved to tape for later display. A nice option is the facility to change the screen palette by using the number keys. By entering values, the palette is cycled by use of the VDU 19 command to give even more shades. This is best carried out slowly as a picture can get in quite a mess, though default colours are restored easily.
The documentation supplied is brief but seems to cover all the points adequately. It also includes representations of the pictures supplied on the cassette.
The program does have some faults as it stands. It is possible to clear the screen at any time using the command 'C', but this is accepted without any kind of check! The proximity to the frequently used 'D', for delete, aggravates the problem. Another problem is the colour shades themselves. The colours are mixed in such a way as to cause 'waves' on a domestic television. The results are excellent on a colour monitor but for the majority of users, the screen display will be of a lower standard.
Although the ELECTRONIC COLOURING BOOK is well done, I feel it will not sustain the continued interest which packages such as Acornsoft's PICTURE MAKER are capable of doing. That said, many users, especially younger ones, will find it good fun. The colours are very impressive and the program works well.
Mike Siggins, ELBUG 2. 5
Review (Electron User)
Many years ago, when playing with jigsaws was more fun than VDU codes, I used to love painting by numbers. There were two main problems, however. The first was that I was too impatient to wait for the colours to dry so that they ran together. The other drawback was that each picture could only be painted once, so I couldn't experiment with colours as much as I liked. I would have loved a system which allowed me to dabble, change colours as I wanted and where every new day meant a fresh lot of clean pictures.
Well, rather late for me, but still good fun comes this tape which is compatible with both the Electron and BBC Micro. Although only priced at £9.95 - a modest enough figure nowadays - it contains no fewer than 18 pictures waiting for your artistic talents. The first four each have a file which allows the correct colours to be loaded onto the picture by first loading the picture file itself followed by the colour file. The remaining fourteen pictures do not have this facility, but this gives full rein to your imagination.
By the way, how many colours would you expect your Electron to support? Wrong! There is a palette of 35 available, including greys, pinks and so on and an area is easily filled using machine code. A cursor is moved around the screen, and on moving into the palette can select the painting colour. By then moving the colour to an area, it can easily be filled with the P (paint) key. Similarly, it may be re-coloured by D (delete), selecting another palette colour and then painting once more.
The speed of the fill is quite impressive as is the speed of the cursor. The picture as drawn is not final, as a mode may be selected in which it is possible to add lines exactly as required. Thus the picture of the clown might be improved by the addition of some balloons which can be added easily.
Indeed, it is quite possible and fun to go immediately into drawing mode without loading a picture, and thus create a picture from scratch which can then be coloured using the palette. The finished result can be saved to cassette.
An amusing but not over-useful feature is the facility to randomly alter the colours on a displayed picture, or to cycle through the basic colours in order.
The cassette box claims this program will interest those from six to 96. Well, my three and five year olds would like to be added to that list as they both think it's smashing fun.
I don't think they realise there is quite a large educational content to the program, with much evidence of planning, hand-eye co-ordination and discussion leading to the final polished result. Whether it would be of real practical use in schools on cassette is doubtful. There are so many parts of the program that it cries out to be put on disc for easier access of a particular picture, or for rapid saving of little Johnny's masterpiece. Apart from that reservation, I am most impressed.
Phil Tayler, ELECTRON USER 2. 3