September 1987 MAGazine Volume 3 Number 9

Table Of Contents

Club events and updates

By AUDREY MCCALLA

At our August general meeting Charles Williams demonstrated the use of the Club's recently purchased DigiView video digitizer and camera and software. This addition to the Hardware Library is available to all members for only $2.00 per day, so don't hesitate to take an opportunity to try it out.

In the remainder of the meeting Ed Bilson illustrated the use of the graphics software package Sculpt 3-D. For a more detailed description of the program see Ed's article elsewhere in this newsletter.

The people from the C-64 store, located in Barlett, have offered to demonstrate the new Hewlett-Packard laser printer at our September general meeting. They will be bringing along some desktop publishing and word processing software, possibly City Desk and WordPerfect. They indicated that if the Amiga 2000 is available they will be displaying it also. This is shaping up to be a most informative meeting, and we hope to see you all there!

September's Calendar of Events

Saturday September 12 1:00 PM - The Memphis Amiga Group's general meeting will be held at the State Technical Institute at 5983 Macon Cove in the meeting room of the Mid-South Microcomputer Resource Centre on the second floor of the Freeman Building, (between the library and the cafeteria). For more information about the meeting please call Audrey at (901) 755-4641.

Saturday September 19 1:00 PM - The Hardware and Sound SIGs will hold a joint meeting at the home of Don Lockard. As you might guess, the topic will be interfacing midi devices to the Amiga. For more information about the meeting please call Don at (901) 696-2249.

Akey on the A500

By BRIAN AKEY

The Amiga 500 is one of the new additions to the Amiga family. It is a single unit (cpu, keyboard, disk drive). The 500 should compete well with the Atari STs. With the 512K (clock) add-on the 500 is a 1 meg machine. It has PC compatible serial and parallel ports and all other Amiga 1000 ports. The small change in connectors is the mono composite output instead of the 1000's color composite which enables the 500 to produce all 4096 colors in shades of gray. This was done for use with inexpensive green composite monitors. The 500 has the 86 pin connector but on the wrong side so 'new equipment' is needed. The 500's disk drive is just as noisy as the 1000's. The motherboard is redesigned and the buss is the same but the 500 has added a Fat Agnes and Gary LSI chips. The chip count is very low and even has fewer chips than an EGA PC graphics card. 1.2 is in rom and does not look any different; the rom is a single 256K unit. The 500 has the new keyboard (which is PC compatible) and is very nice. In many respects it is a 1000 without the detachable keyboard. It has some new things and with the smaller price should sell Amigas easily. The 500 is made in the USA while the power supply and mouse are foreign made. I am very enthusiastic about the Amigas and I think that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it come to software and hardware.

Dview Hints

Using DigiView
hints garnered from various sources

Lighting can be a big problem for users of the DigiView digitizer. To get the best results from a low cost video camera, you'll need lots of light, but lots of light can produce hot spots on your subject and your resulting image. Some simple additions to your digitizing tools can help resolve a lot of your lighting problems.

If you plan to digitize something like a photograph or magazine cover, a piece of anti-glare glass will serve a dual purpose. One, it will reduce or eliminate the hot-spots that are common on glossy paper, and two, when laid over the photo it will help keep the paper flat and in focus across its surface.

If you're shooting a three dimensional object like a statue, you'll likely want to black out the background. In addition to concentrating attention on your subject, the black background will be extemely helpful if you plan to extract the object's image from the picture for use in an animation. A square yard of black felt from a local fabric store should cost less than $5 and the uneven fluffy finish will scatter whatever light isn't absorbed by the black surface.

Both of these methods attempt to solve the lighting problem at the object rather than the camera or light source. The professional photographer will probably resort to polarizers on the lights and/or camera lens. But a cheaper though similar solution would be to place ordinary window screen in front of your lights to reduce glare. Or while you're at the fabric store you might invest in some gauzey or other very porous material to soften the lights. If you do use cloth be sure to keep it a safe distance from the lamp. Floodlamps get HOT and a fire can result if you're not careful.

Sculpt 3-D IN DEPTH

By ED BILSON

For those of you that have used the David Wecker Ray Tracing Program and have had to describe your scene via a script file and then wait hours for the results, Sculpt 3-D is for you.

Sculpt 3-D lets you build your object on screen in a wire frame type model. An observers location is selected and then a light source is positioned in the scene. Next, a target position is selected. This is usually the center of the object. We can now view the scene in one of four modes: wire frame, picture, snapshot, or photo. "Wire frame" is just what it implies. It gives you a perspective view of your wire frame object. This is the fastest viewing mode available, usually within seconds. Next, is the "picture" mode, this mode is also very fast, usually a minute or less depending on the complexity of your object. The picture mode yields a solid object without shading. It is the mode suggested for use when transferring a scene to one of the paint programs. The last two viewing modes are called "snapshot" and "photograph". Snapshot produces a picture with shading, but no shadows. It takes an hour or so to produce, one scan line at a time. Photo takes the longest of any of the viewing modes, six hours or more, but it gives the best results. Just like any of the paint or drawing programs Sculpt 3-D likes lots of memory, your limited to low res with 512K.

Since Sculpt 3-D is not a bootable disk you will need to boot up with Workbench. Any printing of scenes is done via the "Workbench GraphicDump".

Objects are built on the Tri-View screen or with a script file written in ED. The Tri-View consist of three separate windows each with its own drag bar and sizing gadget. A point or surface created in one window, also appears in the two other windows. This three window or view drawing is called "orthographic projection". To those of you who are not familiar with orthographic projection, its a method used to view an object from two or more planes a top view, a front view, and side view. These different windows allow Sculpt to determine what can and can't be seen from any observer position. Each window has many gadgets to help in the drawing of objects.

Move Tri-View: These gadgets (one on each side of the window) moves the object within the window.

Expand Tri-view: Expands the window making the object appear smaller.

Contract Tri-View: You guessed it, makes the window smaller therefore making the object larger.

Center Tri-View: Centers the cursor in the window. The cursor is like the pointer you move with your mouse, but is made up of a short horizontal and vertical line broken in the middle.

Edge Builder: Connects any three selected vertices with lines, there by creating a surface. Any and all surfaces are made up of a series of triangles. A square would consist of two triangles.

Select: One of the ways available to select vertices. When clicking on this gadget, any of the vertices visible in the window becomes highlighted. They change from purple to yellow.

Grabber: This gadget lets you move any selected vertices.

Rotate: There are two, one to rotate selected vertices around the cursor clockwise and of course the other rotates the vertices counter clockwise. Each click on the gadget rotates the vertices 5 degrees. If you hold down the left Amiga key while clicking on the gadget, it rotates the vertices one degree at a time. The right rotates the vertices 90 degrees.

Reverse: This gadget changes the view of the object. The first window is normally a downward view. Pressing this gadget will make it an upward view.

Lets start by making simple box. Begin in the first window, move the cursor to the upper left hand corner and press left mouse button and then without moving the mouse press the right button. A yellow vertex will appear. Now move the cursor to lower left corner and make another vertex. Do the same in the lower right. Now select the "Edge Builder" gadget, the three vertices will now be connected by lines. Three vertices and three lines make a surface. Move the cursor back to the vertex in the lower left corner and double click it with left mouse button, it will turn from yellow to purple. The purple color lets you know that this vertex is deselected and any commands will not affect it. Now move the cursor to the upper right corner, make a vertex and than build your edges. You now have a square.

Next look at the window just below, you will see two to four vertices depending how well you lines them up vertically. They will be lined up in a row with what looks like a single line connecting them. Select the extrude tool from the menu option found at the top of the main window. This will activate the grabber gadget. Move the cursor slowly upwards, you will see your original set of vertices follow the cursor leaving behind another set. Stop when you like. Looking at the three windows you will see a box from the top, front, and side. Of course this is the hard way to make box. All that was necessary was to select "Add Cube" from the menu. The documentation is well written and very easy to follow. I have enjoyed using Sculpt 3-D and feel sure others will too. The disk is not copy protected. Sculpt 3-D lists for $99.95, but I've seen it advertised for $60.00.

As with most programs I've used, theirs always a few more features I wished it had. Like maybe a extra disk with more textures on it. It would also be nice if you could type in vertex coordinates.

REPRINTS

Reprints of MAGzine are available for $1.00 per copy from the Memphis Amiga Group, Box 381462, Memphis, TN 38183-1462.

Permission to reprint articles from MAGazine in a non-profit journal is hereby granted provided that such publication does not conflict with applicable copyright laws and that the following statement is included above the article: "The following article previously appeared in MAGazine, a publication of the Memphis Amiga Group, Box 381462, Memphis, TN, 38183-1462."

Permission to reprint portions of MAGazine in a commercial publication must be applied for by writing the Memphis Amiga Group at the above address.

Back issues are available at the rate of $2.00 per copy.

Welcome!

We would like to welcome Mr. Jerry Stewart to our ranks. Jerry is a professional programmer who is interested in all types of computers. He has worked with mainframes, minis, and micros of various kinds and owns several personal computers including an Apple ][, a Commodore 64, a Kaypro 10, and a CompuPro.

OOPS!

One of our members has been telling this story lately. It seems our friend decided to call one of the local Amiga dealers to ask when the new Amiga 2000 would be in town so that he could look it over. The gentleman on the other end of the line told him to come on down, that the 2000 was in and on display. Our hero rushed to get dressed, hopped into his car and drove right over. He was welcomed at the door by the salesman he'd spoken to on the phone who, babbling in typical salsmaneese, guided him to the Amiga display area. The salesman proudly waved his hand toward the machine on the table... It was a PC-10.

Software Snatches

by Eve Eastings

The folks responsible for that great spreadsheet, Maxiplan Plus, have introduced two new products. The first is called Nimbus and its a small-business accounting system. The package boasts a single entry system to generate invoices, balance sheets and income statements which promises to be easier to use than other similar systems. Its from Oxxi and it lists for under $150.

Oxxi Benchmark Modula-2, entices Modula-2 programmers away from TDI's product with a simplified yet versatile programming environment similar to that of Turbo Pascal. The $199 package includes an EMACS-like editor, a linker, compiler, libraries and utilities. The linker and compiler are accessible from the editor to make debugging easier. Oxxi claims an average compile speed of 10,000 lines/minute with bursts of up to 30,000 l/m. Additional libraries and utility packages which add standard C routines and simplified Amiga graphics functions are scheduled for release this September. For more information write Oxxi at P.O. Box 4000, Fullerton, CA 92634 or call (710) 999-6710.

City Desk is a new product from MicroSearch Inc. (list price $149) that on first look seems to out perform its predecessor and chief competitor PageSetter. It seems especially easy to use. Its pluses include support for PostScript laser printers, the HP LaserJet, and Okidata's Laserline, as well as the standard Amiga printers found in preferences. Its minuses include a weak text editor (made up for by its support of most Amiga word processors), and its reputedly a memory hog, allowing only 2 or 3 pages on a 512k machine.

Though the ad didn't fully explain its features, ICONizer, seems to be a program that makes icons for programs, data, and directories that lack them. The program costs $29.95 plus $3 for shipping and handling from Royal Software, P.O.Box 8908-156, Salem, OR 97303-0890.

ABACUS, long a supporter of the C-64 and 128, has announced that its plunging into the Amiga market in a big way. First into publication are the books "Amiga BASIC Inside and Out" ($24.95) and "Amiga Tricks and Tips" ($19.95). Also due soon are "Amiga for Beginners" ($16.95) and "Amiga Machine Language" ($19.95), both promised for October or November. ABACUS is also offering a line of software for the Amiga. Two word processors called TextPro ($79.95) and BeckerText ($150) have been released. DataRetrieve ($79.95) is a full-featured database which includes password protection for your data.. AssemPro ($99.95) is an assembler package for the developer which includes an integrated editor, debugger, and disassembler. ABACUS is at 2201 Kalamazoo S.E., P.O. Box 7219, Grand Rapids, MI 49510.

Other new software noted: Guild of Thieves, Business Card Maker, Arazok's Tomb, Forms in Flight, Silver, AiRT, Amiga Motion, B-Paint, RISK!.

Library Talk

By RON MCCALLA

Let me begin by thanking several Club members who contributed programs, pictures, sound files, or entire disks of material for inclusion in our library this past month. Because of Don Lockard, Charles Williams, Gary Lingle, and Bobby Gray, we have well over two dozen new disks to add to our MAG and Fish libraries. MAG disks 40 through 42 consist of several Aegis Videoscape 3-D animations including El Gato, Red Baron, The City, Merlin and more. Disks 43 through 49 are collections of IFF picture files grouped according to content: Cartoons, Classics, Nudes 1, Nudes 2, SciFi & Fantasy, Digitized Pics, and Miscellaneous. Disk # 50 is the True BASIC Demo disk which has dozens of sample BASIC programs of games and utilities and a crippled version of the True BASIC interpreter for you to try out.

We have been asked by Fred Fish to remove FF disk #80 from our collection and recall any copies that may be extant. If you have said disk, please return it to us for exchange of another disk from his collection. It seems Mr. Fish unknowingly included a commercial product on this disk.

A condensed list of our MAG library follows. As usual, the more complete MAG library description will be given out at the general meeting. A list of available Fish disks can be found in a recent issue of Amazing Computing magazine.

In progress: Three more disks are nearing completion. One is another general utilities disk which includes DiskX (a sector editor), DiskMan2 (a very nice directory utility), Eless (a faster Dir command), and whatever else we can squeeze in. Another is to be Games-06 but is only half full (so send me some more stuff to fill it out!). It already boasts a shareware version of PacMan worthy of commercial sale. The third is to be a Sonix song and instrument disk; some of the songs collected so far are almost unbelievable with digitized riffs and voices. We're also working on more picture disks and another Programmer's Utilities disk. If you have any public domain or shareware programs you wish to donate to the library, please upload them to our BBS: The DUCK Pond, at (901) 755-5330, or send them to The MAG Library, P.O.Box 381462, Memphis Tn 38183-1462.

To order MAG or FF disks, call Ron at (901) 755-4641 at least 48 hours before the next scheduled general meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group for delivery at the meeting.

Memphis Amiga Group Disk Library --- Aug '87

Serial Number Title
MAG-01 ABasiC programs
MAG-02 Addison's Games 1
MAG-03 AmigaBasic programs
MAG-04 Demos-01
MAG-05 Fonts
MAG-06 Games-01
MAG-07 Icons
MAG-08 Telecommunications
MAG-09 Utilities-01
MAG-10 PSound
MAG-11 Printer Drivers
MAG-12 Music Studio Songs
MAG-13 CGI Demo
MAG-14 Aegis Impact Demos
MAG-15 Aegis Animator Demos
MAG-16 Programming
MAG-17 Hardware
MAG-18 Editors
MAG-19 DMCS Instruments
MAG-20 DMCS Music
MAG-21 Ray Tracing Pics & Progs
MAG-22 Aladdin Magazine Demo
MAG-23 AegisAnimations-02
MAG-24 Deluxe Videos
MAG-25 Demos-02
MAG-26 Utilities-02
MAG-27 Games-02
MAG-28 PCLO Demo
MAG-29 MaxiPlan Plus Oemo
MAG-30 Aladdin Magazine Demo #2
MAG-31 Demos-03
MAG-32 Bard's Tale Cheat Disk
MAG-33 Games-03: LARN, etc.
MAG-34 Games-04: HACK_game
MAG-35 Games-05
MAG-36 Arazok's Tomb Demo
MAG-37 Telecomm-02
MAG-38 Utilitles-03
MAG-39 Graphics utilities
MAG-40 VideoScape 3-D Demos
MAG-41 VideoScape 3-D Demos 2
MAG-42 VideoScape 3-D Demos 3
MAG-43 Cartoon Pics
MAG-44 Classic Pics
MAG-45 Nudes 1
MAG-46 Nudes 2
MAG-47 SciFi and Fantasy
MAG-48 Digitized Pics
MAG-49 Miscellaneous Pics
MAG-50 True BASIC Demo

MAGazine is published monthly by the Memphis Amiga Group, a nonprofit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga.

More Rumors

by The Unknown Amigoid

Back in late June or early July each official Commodore user group received a letter from Commodore's Pete Baczor hinting at a future offer to be made to all recognized user groups and their members. At that time he described the offer as "WOW!!" but he gave absolutely no details about the offer. A few weeks later dealers and user group presidents received a bit more information describing the program. It seems each member of the user group would receive a mailing describing a special discount on software purchased with the Amiga 500. Actually there were to be two packages the A500 purchaser could choose from. Pack A consisted of $599 worth of creativity and entertainment software. Pack B would contain over $1175 of productivity and business titles. User group members who purchased an A500 could choose either of the two packages and pay only $99 for pack A or $199 for pack B. The program was to run from August 15 through October 31, 1987.

Well, its late August now and as yet I've not received my official letter from Commodore stating the details of this offer! Rumor has it that problems getting the A500s and some of the software to the dealers have delayed things, but that the special offer is to go through as otherwise planned. (Perhaps you'll have already received your notice before you read this.)

Although the first letters from Commodore gave no details as to the exact products to be included in the two packages, later word from multiple sources say that pack A will definitely include: Aegis Animator, Deluxe Paint II, Marble Madness, PageSetter, TextCraft Plus, and an Epyx 500XJ joystick. Pack B will include: CLImate, Deluxe Video, Diga, MaxiPlan 500, PageSetter Deluxe, Superbase Personal, and Word Perfect. It sounds as though Commodore is finally getting aggressive.

A while back the Software Publishers Association presented awards for best computer software in several categories. Though the Amiga is a relative newcomer and lacks the broad user base of such machines as the IBM and its ilk, many of the awards wen to Amiga specific software. Among the winners were: Deluxe Paint II (Best New Version of an Existing Program), Defender of the Crown (Best Graphics in a 16 or 32 bit machine), Instant Music (Best Sound Software), Mean 18 (Best Simulation), Chessmaster 2000 (Best Entertainment Program), Leather Goddesses of Phobos (Best Packaging). Now how about a round of applause for all the great Amiga software authors out there!

Looks like the guys at Commodore in charge of producing the official Amiga genlock waited a bit too late to get their product to the general public. A recent publication announced Mimetics' own version of the genlock called ImaGen. It appears to do much the same stuff as its competitor but sells for a good deal less, around $150.

There have been several C-64 emulators promised or rumored for the Amiga. Most notable was the one promised from Software Kingdom. It was originally to be software-only with a price of about $60. Later the price rose to well over $100 and a hardware add-on had to be included; further its emulation success rate was reputedly low and it was slow. Now we're seeing ads for an emulator in the $90 price range from a retailer called InterComputing (2100 N. Hwy 360, Suite 2101, Grand Prairie, TX 75050-1015, 1-800-531-4747). The ad says 90-125% speed, high compatibility, will run GEOS and FSII, supports RGB, joystick, lightpen, and 1541 plugged into the Amiga serial port (with whose cable? and can you use your own Amiga disks?). I wonder if this is the same product or a new attempt? No brand name is mentioned in the ad.

The makers of Word Perfect are offering a special discount to teachers and college students. Their Amigatized word processor can be ordered directly from them at the super-reduced rate of $99! The product lists for $395, though it can be found from mail order houses for less than $250. To get their software at this price WPCorp asks the buyer to send a photo-copy of his/her school ID, social security number, credit card number, and name of local dealer plus the buyer must sign a form promising not to resell the item! If you're interested in taking them up on this offer, copies of the form are available from your local user group. The Word Perfect Corporation isn't making it easy but it sounds like a good deal otherwise. There have been a lot of users making a lot of noise on the services about the new Word Perfect word processor. It seems those who came from IBMish machines to the Amiga are raving over Word Perfect's capabilities and praising its similarity to the IBM version. Those who prefer Workbench to CLI, however, are complaining that it is too much like the IBM version and not mousey enough. Another problem reported from early purchasers was the disk media failure rate. Rumored to be as high as 80% in some markets. This problem has been noted by the manufacturer and is being (or perhaps by now, has been) remedied.

If you've bought the Maxiplan Plus or Maxiplan 500 spreadsheet since June 1st and didn't get version 1.8, you're entitled to a free update. Mail in your registration card and dated sales receipt to Oxxi, Inc., P.O.Box 4000, Fullerton, CA 92634. Other registered owners who purchased pre-1.8 versions of Maxiplan Plus may order the newest version for $25 plus a $4 SAH charge. To upgrade from the original Maxiplan (not the Plus version) to Maxiplan Plus version 1.8, send $50 plus $4 SAH.

SubLogic has announced another update for Flight Simulator II. Bug fixes include San Francisco ILS, and improvement of the dual-pilot/modem operation mode. Send your original disk to SubLogic Corporation, 713 Edgebrook Drive, Champaign, IL 61820.

SCULPT 3-D MENU BAR

PROJECT

EDIT

TOOLS

OBSERVER

WORLD

[Graphic: WIRE FRAME VIEW OF LAMP BY ED BILSON]

[Graphic: PAINTED VIEW OF SAME LAMP BY ED BILSON]

Memphis Amiga Group Income & Expense Statement June-August, 1987

Date
1987
Description Debit
(Deposit)
Credit
(Checks)
Balance
5-27 Balance from previous statement $ $ $ 620.80
6-12 Deposit-Cash-Disk Sales 71.00 691.80
7-11 Deposit-Lingle-Check-Dues 20.00 711.80
7-11 Deposit-Schwartz-Check-Dues 20.00 731.80
7-11 Deposit-Cash-Disk Sales 62.00 793.80
8-01 Deposit-Williams-Check-Dues 20.00 813.80
8-01 Deposit-Akey-Check-Dues 20.00 833.80
8-01 Deposit-McCalla-Check-Dues 20.00 853.80
8-01 Deposit-Akey-Check-Disks 15.00 868.80
8-07 Check-Digiview,Camera,Stand,Stamps,Copies 448.55 420.25
8-08 Deposit-Burford-Check-Disks 21.50 441.75
8-08 Deposit-Doss-Check-Dues 20.00 461.75
8-08 Deposit-Vineyard-Check-Dues 20.00 481.75
8-08 Deposit-Akey-Check-Disks 15.00 496.75
8-08 Deposit-Jones-Check-Dues 20.00 516.75
8-08 Deposit-Harris-Cash-Dues 20.00 536.75
8-08 Deposit-Cash-Disk Sales 61.50 598.25
8-08 Check-Disks,Fish Disks,Photocopies 160.74 437.51

Prepared by Dr. Alan Schwartz
Vice-President & Treasurer

Memphis Amiga Group - Public Domain Disk Order

===========================================================================================

Use this form (or a copy of it) when ordering MAG Library and Fred Fish disks.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


NAME: ____________________________________________________________  DATE: _________________

ADDRESS:___________________________________________________________________________________

CITY: _______________________________________  STATE: ___________  ZIP: ___________________

PHONE: ______________________________________


     Disk(s) ordered

MAG # __________  MAG # ___________  MAG # ___________  MAG # ___________  MAG # __________

FISH # _________  FISH # __________  FISH # __________  FISH # __________  FISH # _________


Number of MAG disks ordered __________ time $3.00 each  = $ _____________

Number of FISH disks ordered _________ time $4.00 each  = $ _____________

_________  I will pick up my disks at our next general meeting.

_________  Please ship disks to me at above address.


Shipping - TOTAL number of disks ordered times $.50 each  = $ ___________


                                   TOTAL AMOUNT ENCLOSED  = $ ___________


Mail this form along with your check to:  MAG Library
                                          Box 381462
                                          Germantown, TN 38183-1462

Please make checks payable to MEMPHIS AMIGA GROUP.