Reviewed by Aliena

Developer: R Tape
Genre: Utility
Platform: Spectrum 48K
Language: BASIC

UDG-O-METER
BEEPER ABUSE
IMAGINATION
CRAP FACTOR
ArtyPants.tap (Spectrum 48K Tape Image (Original R Tape version))ArtyPants 1.1.tap (Spectrum 48K Tape Image (Myke-P Modified version))rtap-cityscape.rzx (Spectrum 48K Recording (Cityscape by Myke-P))
Loader

Back in the 80s I had a copy of Melbourne Draw for the ZX Spectrum. It was a relatively simple paint package that enabled me to design graphics for UDGs and loading SCREEN$, colour them in using INK/PAPER attributes and save them to tape for editing later. It did the job but was probably the Microsoft Paint to The Artist or OCP Art Studio's Photoshop*.

* I never got to use the latter two as, having been wowed by the intro to Shadow Of The Beast, I begged my parents for an Amiga and moved on to DPaint II.

Arty Pants, on the other hand, is sort of like an Etch-a-Sketch™ with added Spectrum Attributes. Instead of tactile knob-twiddling fun, however, we've got QAOP controls as well as unmemorable keys (1-4) to control the INK, PAPER, BRIGHT and FLASH attributes.

Neon Clouds Over Cryptic Beach Hut - R Tape

Like an Etch-a-Sketch™ you can't take your 'pen' off the 'paper' and so you're drawing in one continuous line which, given the limited controls, makes drawing anything remotely good a bit of a chore.

Incredibly R Tape has managed to make a flawed drawing concept even less usable thanks to a few bugs:

  • Attribute blocks seem to be offset by about +4x,y from the current PLOT position making it difficult to finely control PAPER/INK combinations
  • Once PAPER has been changed from 7 (White) it's not possible to set the PAPER to that colour again
  • A typo on the undocumented "Clear sceen (sic)" option

He's obviously more talented/dedicated/free-form/masochistic than me as he managed to get this striking image, entitled; "Neon Clouds Over Cryptic Beach Hut," out of it.

City Scape WIP by Myke-P

You may have noticed that the submission date on this entry is May, whereas I'm only just reviewing this at the end of June with no less than 5 other entries in between?

That's because, for the life of me, I couldn't draw anything with the attribute offset 'bug' even though I'd intricately planned what I was going to draw in advance in Paint Shop Pro and printed it out on grid-paper!

In the end I resorted to 'fixing' Arty Pants (as v1.1) with the following changes:

  • Line 10: Started the cursor at 0,0, rather than 25,25
  • Line 102/103: Replaced the calculation on line 100/101** to set the attributes based on the actual PLOT position
  • Line 50-80, 95 and 800/801: Added 'jump' function to toggle the pixel step-size between 1 and 8
  • Line 300: Corrected the typo on the undocumented "Clear screen" option
  • Line 500/502: Altered PAPER colour cycling routine to include 7 (White)
  • Line 600-701: Altered BRIGHT/FLASH toggle routines for non-POKE'd calculation

City Scape Final by Myke-P

** Albeit with a slower BASIC version, using PRINT and OVER, as I couldn't figure out R Tape's PEEK calculations!

Finally, after a month of pain, I was able to produce this embarrassingly simplistic landscape - simply entitled; "City Scape." I had to make extensive use of the RZX rollback feature in FUSE in order to get it finished and, even then, made a number of pixel/attribute mistakes and completely forgot my intended BRIGHT variations until I was half-way through the second layer of buildings.

To say that this is an experience I never want to repeat is somewhat of an understatement so congratulations are in order for R Tape who, I think it's fair to say, has set a new benchmark in crap!

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