February 1988 MAGazine Volume 4 Number 2

Table Of Contents

February's Calendar of Events

Saturday, February 13, 1988-1 PM - The February general meeting will be held in JENNING'S HALL in ROOM J-2 located on the campus of State Technical Institute of Memphis. Please note that this is a NEW ROOM for our meetings. If you are not sure where Jenning's Hall is, go to the desk at the Mid-South Microcomputer Resource Center and they will direct you. Anyone interested in the Amiga is cordially invited to attend. Call Alan at 901-755-6622 for details.

NEW OFFICERS FOR 1988

by Dr. Alan Schwartz

At our general meeting in January, 1988, officer's for the new year were elected. First an amendment to our bylaws was voted on. We are changing from three officer's to five. The new format will include the president, the vice-president, the secretary-treasurer, the librarian, and the newsletter editor. All have voting priviledges on the Executive Committee. The new officer's respectively are Dr. Alan Schwartz, Tom Jones, Scott Hudson, David Head, and Ed Bilson.

That meeting brought us the unfortunate information that Audrey and Ron McCalla were moving out of Memphis. We wish them the best of luck in their new home in Birmingham, Alabama. They have promised to try to make as many meetings as they can. Knowing Ron and Audrey as I do, I am sure that they will start an Amiga group in that area. The two of them were constantly working to make our group be one of the best.

They very generously left us "The Duck Pond," an oustanding bulletin board, that has been taken over by Broadus and JoAnne Weatherall.

Our new vice-president, Tom Jones, will be contacting everyone about joining our "special interest groups." Along with sound, graphics, and hardware, we are starting a business group, which will be headed by John and Sean Kiss. If you have any suggestions for other groups call Tom and we will try to start them.

We hope to have our new "name badges" at the February meeting. They will be on a table at each meeting for members to clip on and wear at that meeting. At the end of each meeting, we ask that you please return them to the table, and an officer will be responsible for making sure that they are at every meeting. One of the main benefits we hope for with these are that everyone will get to know each other by name. As we continue adding new members, they will be able to get to know everyone else much more easily.

MAGazine

MAGazine
Memphis Amiga Group
Box 381462
Memphis, TN 38183-1462

MAGazine is published monthly by the Memphis Amiga Group (MAG), a nonprofit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga. Membership in the Memphis Amiga Group is available for an annual fee of $20 per family. Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1988 are:

President
Dr. Alan Schwartz
(901) 755-6622

Vice President
Tom Jones
(901) 353-2294

Secretary/Treasurer
Scott Hudson
(901) 794-8914

Librarian
David Head
(901) 377-7568

MAGazine Editor
Edward Bilson
(901) 794-2936

AMIGA

An Amiga 1000 was spotted in the background of some scenes in the movie, Three Men and a Baby.

Review - Donald Duck's Playground

A Review by Ron McCalla

When I was in the local Games 'n' Gadgets the other day, they were having a sale on selected software. One of the sale items was a children's educational game from Sierra Software called Donald Duck's Playground. I'd seen the Commodore 64 version and found it one of the best educational programs around so thought I'd take a chance. Besides, I collect duck stuff and this was a good chance to add another item to my collection. (Now if they would just port over Howard the Duck on Volcano Island to the Amiga...)

Donald Duck's Playground is aimed at kids from 7 to 11 years of age and it's supposed to teach them change-making while entertaining them with some mild arcade style games and cute animation. Actually, the games themselves teach quite a bit too, about such things as pattern-matching and planning. The premise of DD's Playground is that Donald must earn money to buy equipment for Duckburg's new playground. The jobs that Donald finds are the parts of this program that are most like arcade games, although they are very much slower than an adult action game.

The game comes in a rather slick looking box. The picture on the cover is very attractive. (I had hopes that the graphics of the game itself might approach the cover graphics.) Inside there is a relatively thick manual explaining game play. As I said earlier, I had seen the C64 version and found it simple and fun to play, whether it came with such a booklet or not I don't remember but I hadn't needed one for it and wondered why Sierra thought such a book was necessary for a kid's game. Ignoring the book, I kickstarted my Amiga and then stuck a backup copy of the game disk (made with Marauder) into DF0. Well, there was the first surprise. The disk wouldn't boot. Apparently its a slave disk. So I stuck it in DF1 and dug out my backup workbench disk (get the feeling I don't like working with originals?), found the appropriate icons and got the program going. The title screen started up after a relatively quick load and a little tune played while Donald's nephews play leap-frog across the bottom of the screen. If you don't interrupt the titles by pressing the space bar, the program continues with credits and then a brief explanation of the object of the game. Pressing the space bar loads a screen to choose player difficulty level and then you (as Donald) are placed in the center of Duckburg, ready to set to work.

On this screen you are supposed to select a job for Donald by pointing with the mouse and clicking. Donald will dutifully waddle over to the place you selected but not until you get him in the door will the program load up the job's play screen. In some cases I found this difficult to do, finding the right place to point and click so that Donald would go through the door far enough to make the program proceed to the next screen. I decided the joystick was a much better tool to make Donald go where I wanted him to go. The manual, which seems to be written for the IBM only mentions the joystick and the numeric keypad as movement controls. Anyway with the joystick, Donald waddled much less drunkenly into whatever doorway I directed him.

Once inside one of four businesses, Donald must select a duration of employment and then set about the specified task. At McDuck Airlines he must sort baggage according to destination. At AmQuack Railroad he controls switches to direct trains to the desired depots. At the market he catches produce and drops it in bins. In a toy store he places toys on shelves by type. He is payed according to number of tasks completed in the specified time and then can walk to the other side of the street to buy items for the playground from any of three stores run by Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy.

This is where the change-making part comes in. After he has selected an item and taken it to the check-out counter, Donald must drag the appropriate coins from his pile to the cash register. If he pays too much be must drag change back from the register. When he's finished, a message appears on the screen saying the item will be delivered to the playground.

After selecting at least one item for the playground, Donald can follow the sign at the northwest edge of main street to the playground and watch one of Donald's nephews, Louie, play. You can move Louie around in the same way you moved Donald on main street and make him play with any of the equipment thus far delivered. I had the most difficulty with this part of the game. In the C64 version, there was a single screen into which all the equipment was placed and you could shuffle the stuff around to create something useful. After buying my first piece of playground equipment (a tire-swing) and going to the park to view it, I couldn't find it. After consulting the manual, I found out there were four different playground screens and, although the manual didn't say this, you had to walk Louie around to find the other three screens. On the third one I looked at, I found the swing. I marched Louie over to it, clicked the button, and Louie hopped in and began swinging back and forth.

When you get tired of this, you can march Donald back to main street and he can repeat the whole process again until he has earned and payed for all the available items for the playground.

I think the concept of this game is great, but I remember the C64 version as being simpler and therefore better for a kid to sit down and play successfully the first time. Perhaps, though, if I hadn't expected things to be exactly like the C64 version, I wouldn't have been so critical. Still there are many things about this program that are just plain not right. Primarily, this amounts to poor use of the Amiga. This game is apparently a direct port from an IBM version. The graphics are no better than IBM's and the sound, though probably better than the IBM sound, is very poor. The train sounds like it has asthma. I bought the Amiga for its graphics and sound and am always severly disappointed when a program doesn't make full use of its capabilities. The programmers have tried to Amigatise this program by including pull-down windows for selecting some options, rather than using the function keys as any IBMer would normally do (and as the manual says you must do). If they went to that much trouble, why couldn't they get the mouse to work well as a movement control? Using the mouse is especially painful on the change-making screen where you must use the mouse-pointer to drag the joystick-pointer over to the coins so that it can drag the coins to the register! The program works well with the joystick, so don't get me wrong, the program is quite playable, just not with the mouse. The manual is generally good but it could have used some diagrams of the major screens to explain some things. A separate card describes the use of the Amiga's mouse for most functions but some Amiga specific features are left out, such as the use of the HELP key.

All in all I think the game is disappointing for its poor usse of the Amiga's capabilities. It could have been a lot better executed. Its one of the best educational programs around on any machine though, so I woud still recommend it for anyone with young children.

PRESIDENT REPORT

by Dr. Alan Schwartz

The February meeting is shaping up to be a good one. The new officers will be taking their positions for the first time. We certainly want to help them out in any way possible, so please volunteer to help in anyway you can. Our success as a user's group will largely be dependent on the efforts of all members.

We have had several members offer to demonstrate new software. These include Time Bandits, the Amiga Survivor Kit (developed by David Head), King of Chicago, Galaxy Invasion, and Intro-CAD. If you have something to show, please bring it with you and demo it. We will have plenty of memory this time, since Ed Bilson will be bringing his Star Board with him.

EDITOR/ED

Is there a 3000 in your future? Recently Motorola introduced a second generation 68020 microprocessor called the oh thirty short for 68030. And than to go along with the oh thirty and speed things up even more they came up with the 68882 floating point co-processor to replace the 68881.

Boy would it be nice to have a 16 or 20 MHz machine so you could finish your work and get on to something important, like playing all those games.

When will the 3000 be available? Soon I hope, lets all write Commodore Amiga, Inc. and maybe we can get something started.

On a recent business trip to Phoneix I had a chance to visit a computer store that advertises regularly in Amiga World, but because of editorial policy their name can not be mentioned.

I went there primarily to get a demonstration of "X-CAD Designer" which is a $500.00 2d cad package.

The first thing I noticed on entering there store was that all they sold were Amiga's or Amiga related products. There store was 30 or 40 feet deep and on the wall behind the counters which were full of third party hardware products, were all the most popular software programs. Along the opposite wall was a row of desks where one 1000, two 500s, and three 2000s resided. I felt like the proverbial kid in a candy store.

After I introduced myself and explained that I would like a demonstration of X-CAD the salesman took if off the wall and broke the seal. We then went looking for a machine with 2 meg of memory and two disk drives. After trying the three 2000s (only 1 meg.) he went to counter and got a starboard 2 and put it on the 1000. Needless to say I felt right at home.

Any program that takes 2 meg to operate, you would expect it to take forever to load, but it didn't. After fooling around for about 20 minutes trying to draw some lines or circles, I finally took a look at the doc's, but to no avail because 30 minutes later all I had accomplished was a bunch of circles and didn't know how I got those. The program is so powerful and has so many options that it requires the execution of the proper sequence of 3 or 4 steps to draw something. I thanked the salesman and told him the jury was still out on this one.

I spent the rest of the hour looking around. There was a membership application form on the counter, I mentioned to salesman I see you have a user's group here in Phoenix, were upon he replied "oh that's one of three, the small one, it only has 100 members." I then I spotted the magazine rack and thought why not get something to read on the plane. There were two magazines new to me, one from England the other from a user's group in California. So I bought them along with a copy of Amazing. I'll bring them to the next meeting so you can have a look. That's it for now!

I NEED HELP

ARTICLES REVIEWS EDITORIALS

HELP!!

REPRINTS

Reprints of MAGazine 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 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 Ammiga Group at the above address.

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

Library

by David Head, Club Librarian

It seems like this past year came and went in a hurry. Our library has grown from a couple dozen or so disks to well over a hundred. We all have Ron McCalla to thank for this. I can tell you from just a couple weeks experience that Ron has put a tremendous amount of work and effort into the library along with everything else he and Audrey have done for our club.

There have been a couple of changes that everyone needs to know about. First, the address to send your disk orders to has been changed. It is on the new order form included with your news letter. We have LOWERED the price of the MAG disks from $3.00 to only $2.00 each. In return, we will no longer be trading in blank disks for credit towards MAG disks. Fred Fish disks are still $4.00 each. To encourage contributions to the library from everyone we will trade a MAG disk of your choice to anyone who donates a disk with useful public domain or shareware software on it that is not already in the library. Blank disks are still $1.50 each, we tried to lower the price but were unable at this time. The dollars value has fallen in Japan and as a result disk prices are going up. Last of all, the rental on the "Digiview Kit" has increased from $2.00 to $2.50. This was done to help maintain the kit with its rental fees instead of the treasury so we can look into adding additional hardware to the library.

Following are brief descriptions of the three newest disks added to the library:

MAG-000 "MAG Disk Catalog" this disk contains a disk file directory for every MAG and Fred Fish disk in the library. It will be updated every time a disk is added to our collection. The shareware program "Directory Master ver. 1.1" is included and is used to maintain the MAG and Fred Fish catalogs.

MAG-079 "Formula One" interactive demo of Electronic arts up and coming new game "Ferrari Formula One". Great graphics and sound effects.

MAG-080 "Amiga Survival Kit" on this disk are several utilities and online DOS manuals that will make using the CLI a little easier for everyone. Also included is the MAG Disk Description Catalog. This disk will be updated with each new MAG disk description and when any new utilities become available that will enhance the usefulness of the disk. We will be giving each new member a free copy of this disk when they pay their dues. All current members can also obtain one free copy by ordering it on the MAG Disk Order form and requesting MAG-080 and marking it Free copy. Updates and additional copies will be available at the current MAG disk price at time of order.

That's about all for this month, lets all work together to make our library grow. Call me to order disks at least 48 hours before the MAG general meetings and I will have them available at the meeting for you to pickup.

P.S. Don't forget to rent the Digiview Kit. It is usually available whenever you need it and is easy to use.

Membership list of the Memphis Amiga Group as of February 1, 1988

PLEASE PAY DUES BY THE SECOND SATURDAY OF THE MONTH ON YOUR EXPIRE DATE

LAST NAME FIRST NAME CITY ST ZIP EXPIRE M#
Akey Brian Sycamore IL 60178 AUG 88 32
Barr Marc J. Memphis TN 38104 NOV 88 41
Bilson Edward Memphis TN 38115 JAN 89 19
Broughton Kevin W. New York NY 09223-5366 JAN 89 55
Burford Tim Memphis TN 38118 FEB 88 23
Burns Keith Cordova TN 38018 SEP 88 12
Davidson Al Memphis TN 38125 AUG 88 5
Doss Leonard & Mary Ann Memphis TN 38119 AUG 88 9
Echols Steve Memphis TN 38116 DEC 88 49
Eifert Todd Memphis TN 38152 AUG 88 2
Gray Bobby Brighton TN 38011 FEB 88 24
Grimes Tim McLemoresville TN 38235 NOV 88 46
Harris Mike Millington TN 38053 AUG 88 6
Harvey Eugene Memphis TN 38126 NOV 88 47
Head David & Deborah Memphis TN 38134 JAN 89 21
Holbrook Mark Cordova TN 38018 MAY 88 29
Hollingsworth Jim Memphis TN 38115 SEP 88 33
Hooker Bill Memphis TN 38134 NOV 88 42
Hoover J. Michael Bartlett TN 38134 DEC 88 52
Hudson Scott Memphis TN 38115 JUN 88 30
Jefferson Tom Barlett TN 38134 NOV 88 45
Jennings Ron Carson CA 90746 MAR 88 27
Johnson Richard Memphis TN 38127 SEP 88 38
Jones Tom Memphis TN 38128 AUG 88 8
Karpov Victor Memphis TN 38115 OCT 88 39
Kiss Sean & John Memphis TN 38118 FEB 89 25
Kligel Joe Memphis TN 38128 SEP 88 11
Leeson Michael Memphis TN 38115 FEB 88 26
Lendennie Benny & Diane Colliervile TN 38017 DEC 88 50
Lingle Garry Memphis TN 38115 JUN 88 31
Lloyd William D. Memphis TN 38116 NOV 88 40
Lockard Don Alamo TN 38001 AUG 88 7
McCalla Ron & Audrey Hover AL 35226 AUG 88 1
Michael Stephen Cordova TN 38018 APR 88 28
Nichols Steve Memphis TN 38115 NOV 88 44
Norton Gene Cookeville TN 38501 AUG 88 4
Reese Warren E. Smyrna TN 37167 DEC 88 48
Schechter Robert Bethlehem PA 18017 SEP 88 36
Schwartz Dr. Alan Memphis TN 38187 AUG 88 3
Stewart Jerry Paris TN 38242 SEP 88 34
Stockton Mark Cordova TN 38018 DEC 88 51
Thomason Tom Millington TN 38053 NOV 88 43
Vineyard Charles W. Memphis TN 38118 AUG 88 10
Wade Norman Memphis TN 38104 SEP 88 13
Wallace Michael S. Marion AR 72364 SEP 88 35
Walp Len Memphis TN 38128 DEC 88 53
Weatherall Broadus Memphis TN 38111 JAN 89 22
Williams Charles Wilson AR 72395 AUG 88 37
Witt Patt Memphis TN 38111 JAN 88 54

MAG OFFICERS FOR 1988

Dr. Alan Schwartz President
Tom Jones Vice President
Scott Hudson Secretary/Treasurer
Ed Bilson MAGazine Editor
David Head Librarian

The DUCK Pond
BBS-24 hrs.
(ask for Howard)
(901) 761-3729