What can you do with a Coupé when you’ve got it? Well, you can load up a Speccy game. Erm... What if you want to do something in mode 4, 128 colour mode? Here’s the answer: FLASH! And what’s Flash!? It’s none other than Bo Jangeborg’s amazing art package that comes in the SAM box!! A week away from completion Richard Eddy pops the question: ‘Whasis Flash stuff all about then, Bo?’ and listened...
‘The main idea behind Flash! was to create an ideal art utility for the first time user to be able to explore the graphic capabilities of SAM. Additionally it has to be able to be used as a professional package.’
‘Flash! can be used in all four graphics modes on the Sam, that’s the normal Spectrum mode, mode two is another Speccy mode but without attribute colour clash, mode three is an 80 colour hi-res mode, and the really arty mode is four where there are 128 colours available on a resolution of 256 x 192. Did you know that I had a hand in the 128 colour mode? Oh yes! Mode four was originally going to have just 64 colours available. But I suggested to Bruce Gordon that 128 colours would make it a lot better and give more scope in the use of Flash! Effectively what he did was to cram more information on the chips then was ever thought possible!’
Here he is! The man himself: Bo Jangeborg! A chap of Scandinavian origin, he’s a bit ovva Speccy legend, having created four amazing products: The two stunning Fairlight 3D arcade adventures and both versions of The Artist. Seen here creating another ‘masterpiece’. Erm, yeah — very good Bo.
‘It has taken four months to develop Flash!, I’ve been working on it since July using a prototype SAM originally, which was just a load of printed circuit boards strapped together with wires hanging out all over the place.’
‘A lot of Flash! has been based on a previous product of mine called The Artist II (spiffo art package — Art Ed). Flash! operates using a combination of icons and pull-down windows. Along the top of the screen is a string of icons relating to brushes, lines, zooming, painting etc, and from each comes a pull down menu offering further options. For example, from the brush icon the menu allows you to select types of brush or even a spray can. And there’s full access to the palette of 128 colours allowing you to select 16 to use on screen.’
Any revolutionary elements in Flash? ‘Well, I don’t know about revolutionary, but there are a couple of good functions. One allows you to start in one mode of the SAM and switch to another mode without losing your picture — the SAM just converts the image to meet the mode’s requirements. The second element that is impressive, is being able to load in any Atari ST disk with Neochrome or Degas Elite (two swank 16-bit bit programs) pictures on it. The file just loads straight into Flash! (operating in mode four), and there’s the picture.’
‘There’s also a simple animation routine which can be used. What you can do is to create a series of six images, all in slightly different stages of animation and then program in a sequence to ‘flick’ through all six. The effect is animation, but it’s only a tester; it can’t be used effectively for creating demos.’
‘And there’s a font editor which lets you amend the SAM font to your own design. What do I actually think of the SAM? Well, it’s very good, excellent value and on the graphics level it’s easily comparable to the Atari ST or Amiga — hardly any difference at all!
‘Am I pleased with Flash!? Oh yes, very pleased indeed. It’s not my ideal art package, because to create that would take years! And besides, I have other work too! I may update it later and maybe Flash! II will be released. I would like to do a SAM game — the possibilities of a dedicated SAM game are enormous! But I’ve just got so much work to do!’. Sigh...