THE ADVANCED OCP ART STUDIO by Richard Karsmakers
Rainbird has launched quite a lot of programs already, but now
they have also published an application package called "The
Advanced OCP Art Studio" (OCP stands for Oxford Computer
Publishing), a drawing program. Programmed by Chris Hinsley of
Realms, the package is said to be comprehensive and user
Working with the program does get some time to get used to.
People used to "Degas" (or "Degas Elite") or "Neochrome" will
find that most conventions have changed in "Art Studio" - all
drawing options are represented by icons with on-screen help
messages. This setup requires some throrough studying of the
manual, but once you're used to the program I don't think it will
be much of a problem anymore to work with it successfully.
The program works on two screens; an option screen (with grid,
view window, toolbox icons, and some more) and a drawing screen.
If you have a megabyte of memory, the user has access to 10
Of course, "Art Studio" offers all the basic options for drawing:
Draw, Line, Triangle (not present in e.g. "Degas Elite"), Box,
Circle, Spray, Copy, Fill & Outline (grid only features - nothing
like it can be found in "Degas Elite" either). Extensive brush
options have also been included (e.g. capture a brush from the
screen, set brush size, brush storage, brush storage scroll -
useful when you have several brushes stored - and insert/delete
brush. Some advanced picture manipulations are also implemented:
Vertical Flip, Horizontal Flip, Rotate Right, Magnify, Rescale,
Smooth Grid, Scrolling and view. The only options that I miss
here are the advanced options met in several other drawing
programs: Bulge ("Art Director"), Distort ("Degas Elite") and all
bend options (sin, cos, log, whatever - even regularly). Further,
a text option (a bit like the one included in "Art Director") is
included as well as a map option (allows the user to design map
segements and the including tables representing landscapes for
One of the special features of "Art Studio" is the ability to use
it as a sprite development tool - and afterwards animating these
as well. The demo supplied on the program disk shows you what you
can do with some minutes of "Art Studio" work, and also lets you
see something about the animation features. I suppose "Art
Studio" is by now the best sprite development tool available.
"The OCP Art Studio" works with .NEO format files.
Conclusion: The "Art Studio" package is well designed and
features an original concept. The manual is truly excellent
(including an index - that't the way these manuals shoudl always
be!), but I still missed some options (advanced options and
options to load in all known picture formats, for example. Also,
I think a 'regular' text option should have been included (using
the standard system fonts or any fonts loaded using GEMVDI). It
has some nice options for professional artists, though.
The game currently sells at $24.95 and can be purchased through
Upper St Martins Lane
London WC2H 9DL
Many thanks to Ms. Sue Winslow for sending the package for review
purposes. No thanks to the Dutch customs who intercepted it and
made me pay too high amounts of income tax!
JINXTER by Richard Karsmakers
If there was one thing I did not expect to be finished within at
least another half year, it must have been the new Magnetic
Scrolls Adventure "Jinxter" (popularly called 'the sequel to
The Guild of Thieves' - but it has nothing to do with it).
"Guild" took almost one year to appear after the first rumours,
but "Jinxter" was demonstrated at the PCW in London in September
and that means only three months difference (let's hope that
Telecom will do the same with Dick Special, Carrier Command,
What's there to say about this new adventure? I feel that every
descriptions would be but a slight effort to describe this
humurous, absurd and fantastic adventure. Let me quote the back
of the packaging (just beneath some screenshots that took care
that this very packaging is now soaking wet with fluids dropping
from the corners of my mouth - perhaps also from my nose):
JUST WHEN A MAN THINKS HIS LUCK IS RUNNING OUT...
...things start getting even worse. He gets run over by a bus.
Sprayed with cheese sandwich by a supernatural being. Smashed
against a tunnel by a speeding train. He falls from two thousand
feet into an artificial waterfall. he gets drunk, drowned and
cursed. Het gets incinerated, widdled on, folded, bent, spindled,
mutilated and generally mucked about with. And in return?
In return he gets the leading role in a perplexing, hilarious
race against time and chance, set in a jinxed land menaced by the
impending death of good fortune.
Who are we talking about? Who is holding this box? You guessed
Look on the bright side. It could be your luckiest move yet.
"Jinxter" comes from Magnetic Scrolls, authors if international
award-winning adventures "The Pawn" and "The Guild of Thieves".
It's more than a collection of crossword puzzles; it's a whole
universe, where things behave as they do in the real world...with
some alarming exceptions.
Don't expect tiresome trolls, obvious orcs, silly spells and wet,
wimpish witches in "Jinxter". Infuriating, enchanting, absurd and
hilarious by turns, "Jinxter" will surprise you with every move
you make. But don't forget: Every silver lining has a cloud...
JINXTER - SOME PEOPLE HAVE ALL THE LUCK.
This package quote is typical for the humour, use of excellent
English and setup of the game - as we're used from the Magnetic
I suppose the people behind "Jinxter" must have been heavily
inspired by any of the Doug Adams books/adventures, since the
refined and subtle humour of both "The Pawn" and "The Guild of
Thieves" has been replaced by a more explicit and sometimes even
absurd kind of humour - most players will be laughing quite a bit
playing this adventure.
Target of the game is to reassemble the Bracelet of Turani.
According to leading Guardian Les Wossname, 62, Aquitania can
expect: Plagues of bats, mice and toads and a lot more evil if
the Bracelet of Turani is not reassembled and united again with
the wossnames. Suspected is a rebel organisation of Ms Jannedor
Nasty, 186. All details about this can be read in "The
Independent Guardian" (newspaper annex hintbook) that comes with
the game. It all sounds like a couple-of-minutes-job, but it
turns out to be 'quite a tough job', as one of the figures in the
game will put it - someone that you'll definately meet after
being run over by a colossal bus.
Unfortunately, "Jinxter" starts with a really bad picture (lousy
in comparison with the other artwork): You're in a bus. If you
have displayed the remarkable initiative of showing your bus
ticket to the inspector and if you also happen to get out at the
right place, you arrive at your home. So much for starters (also
because I couldn't get any further myself).
Drawing a conclusion is but a simple task: The parser is still
excellent (though they seem to have de-included the word
'pocket'), the plot involves quite some puzzles (with the accent
on humour rather than difficulty), and there's indeed plenty of
humour (spread over the adventure like a thick layer of peanut
cheese). The strongest points of the game are its stunning
graphics (except for the aforementioned picture) and its
entertaining use of the English language. I have not seen all
graphics yet (of course not - I only saw three or four pics), but
the screenshots on the back seem to promise even a lot more.
Just like the other Magnetic Scrolls products, "Jinxter" will run
on any ST system (including monochrome systems).
The packaging lacks the usual poster, but this time includes a
beer mat (complete with the first 'Back of a beer mat
competition'), a kinda newspaper (also useable as hintbook), some
classified and urgent (Oh yeah?) documents (containing fake
burning spots, circles of coffeecups and some notes) and the
usual stuff (adventure guide to the Atari ST and the like).
Rainbird deserves a special prize for packaging, together with
Psygnosis: They justify the somewhat hefty price of £24.95 of
most of both companies' products.
Authors: Magnetic Scrolls
Graphics: 10- ('-' because of the bad first
Price: 89.50 Dutch guilders or
Value for money: 8
Thanks to Homesoft for sending the package for review purposes.
Note to Ms. Sue Winslow: Please read the 'note' at the end of the
"Bubble Bobble" review!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.