March 1991 MAGazine Volume 7 Number 3

Table Of Contents

The MARCH General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday, March 9 from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the New Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis. This month's theme will be music and guest Greg Henderson is scheduled to bring 2 Mirage keyboards to be hooked up with Spirit's Pro-Midi interface. Briam Akey will demo Bars and Pipes.

The Gamers SIG, will have its first meeting on the same date, in the same place from noon until the General Meeting starts. Call Mike Amos for details.

The Video SIG will meet either Thursday, March 14 or Friday, March 15 at 7:00 pm at Joe Sanders' house. A final date will be set at the General Meeting. The VIdeo meeting will be about EDITING. For details call Joe Sanders.

Lots of new things in store this month, including the introduction of diskMAGazine, a newsletter companion disk, available only at the General Meeting.

Coming in April, connecting portable computers to the Amiga.

From the President's CLI

by Brian Akey

Club News

This last month was interesting. I tried some new things. I hope to use the Amiga in more facets of the meeting. At the next meeting I would like to digitize everyone for new picture ID's and for a picture member database. Someone will greet you at the door and take your picture and ask a few questions. I would also like to have the group do more things that would make people feel more comfortable. I would like people in the group to ask and answer questions from other members. Maybe we should get a list of people who are good at certain programs and including them in the group address database.

We are still looking at the CI-ram and maybe the Supra Ram. If you want the CI-ram, have some money ready at the next meeting. See you then.

In The News

For the electronic wizards in the group both AC's TECH and Amazing Computing have hardware kits. An 8bit (256 grey scale) video digitizer in TECH, page 26, and how to adapt a Mattel Power Glove to the Amiga on page 82. Amazing Computing has a kit to add up to 4 parallel and 4 serial ports on you Amiga, page 61.

There are two new harddrive interfaces, starblazer ($300 with 2meg) by Mast for a SCSI harddrive and up to 8meg of memory or ICD's IDE harddrive interface ($160). IDE is mostly used on IBM's and the drives are very cheap, $150 for 30meg.

Oxxi has a new audio digitizer, it's stereo with 56k samples and comes with Audiomaster III software. Last but not least, GVP has a presentation program called Scala.


MAGazine is published monthly by the Memphis Amiga Group (MAG), a non-profit organization offering assistance to fellow Amiga owners and those interested in the Amiga. Membership in MAG is available for a new member fee of $20 per family, renewable at $15 per year, if renewed before membership lapses.

Please submit all news. reviews, ads, articles, complaints, suggestions, and loose change to:

c/o Charles Williams
13 Lake Drive
Wilson, AR 72395

MAG Meetings

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) holds general meetings the second Saturday of each month in the New Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis (see map at left).

The first meeting of the Gamers' SIG will be held in the New Auditorium from noon until 1 pm, Saturday, March 9 (the hour before the General Meeting).

There will be an officers lunch meeting at Gridley's in the formal dining room from 11 to 11:30, Saturday, March 9. For information call Brian Akey at (901) 278-6354

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1991

Brian Akey
(901) 278-6354

Vice President
Donnie Webb
(901) 363-8025

Todd Rooks
(901) 373-0198

Raymond Ginn
(901) 353-4504

Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003
Shane Russell
(901) 795-0622

MAGazine Editor
Charles Williams
(501) 655-8777

MAGazine Printing & Distribution
Terry A. Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Hardware Rentals

FutureSound audio digitizer kit - $1 per day
DigiView video digitizer kit - $2 per day
(Hardware rentals are for Members Only)
A variety of Amiga specific videotapes are also available from the club's hardware library.

Disk Sales

MAG library and Fred FISH disks are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 75¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarians
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003 or Shane Russell (901) 795-0622
OR see Bill or Shane at the next MAG general meeting.

New Deadlines for Dues

In order to help bring some consistency to our bookkeeping and make it easier to keep up with memberships, we are changing the deadline for membership renewals. From now on, you must renew on or before the second Saturday of the month your membership expires. If you do this, the renewal fee is $15 per year. If you wait and renew at a later time, you must pay the new member fee of $20.

MAG Classified ADS


Distant Suns, with registration card & updated program disk - $35. Yale Bright Star Catalog, for use with Distant Suns - $9. Skymap, level 1, 2 disk set, for use with Distant Suns - $12.50. Vista, w/registration card & update 1.02 and Vista 2.0 alpha, 68020/68881 & 2 meg required - $50. Call Ed Bilson (901) 794-2936.

Transcript word processor, includes spell checker, by Gold Disk - $12. Call Charles Williams (501) 655-8777, or see me at the March meeting.

Your Classified AD here FREE to members only. Contact:

Charles Williams
13 Lake Drive
Wilson AR 72395.

Fish Disks 441-450

Disk 441

Deksid A disk and file hexadecimal editor. Useful for editing binary files. DiskPrint Prints labels for 3.5" disks, primarily for PD library disks. Dme Version 1.42 of Matt's text editor.

Disk 442

ToolMangager With ToolManager you can add your own programs to the tools of the 2.0 Workbench. Requires Workbench 2.0. UUCP An implementation of uucp for the Amiga, including mail and news. Part 1 and 2 are on this disk, and part 3 is on disk 443.

Disk 443

DICE Dillon's Integrated C Environment. A C frontend, preprocessor, C compiler, assembler, linker, and support libraries. UUCP An implementation of uucp for the Amiga, including mail and news. Parts 1 and 2 are on disk 442, and part 3 is on this disk.

Disk 444

ChinaChallenge A game similar to Shanghai or Mahjong. EliteBBS An online message and file handling system. MissileCmd A fast Missile Command game written in assembly. RegExpLib Shared library that implements regular expression pattern matching. UltraF-4 Demo version of a super graphic based floppy format program that can format four floppy disks at the same time.

Disk 445

MWTape A tape handler which uses scsi.device to implement serial access to typical streaming tape devices. OptMouse A program which allows you to use a Mouse Systems M3 serial mouse on the Amiga. Tar A port of a UNIX tar clone that can work with the TAPE: handler (also on this disk) to read and write UNIX tar compatible tapes. TurboText An almost fully operational demonstration copy of a new sophisticated text editor for the Amiga. This demo version does not allow saving or printing of documents and limits the size of cut and paste operations. UUCP A bug fix for UUCP 1.08 released on disks 442 and 443, which had already been finalized at the time this fix reached me so could not be included there. Fixes a serious bug in uucico.

Disk 446

CanonBJ A printer driver for the Canon BJ series of printers. Faster and supports more graphic and text modes than the strandard Commodore driver. GamePort A toolkit with link time and shared libraries that allow easy access to the GamePort device. Input A toolkit with link time and shared libraries that allow easy access to the Input device. PointerLib A disk based shared library which provides programmers with easy access to custom pointers and a consistent user selected busy pointer. Post An excellent PostScript interpreter for the Amiga which implements the full Adobe language. Requires Arp library V39+ and ConMan V1.3+.

Disk 447

AmiBack Demo version of a new backup utility. Demo version does not have restore, compare, or scheduler. Requires AmigaDOS 2.0. BackPac Demo version of a new backup program. DFC Disk Format and Copy program. A nice, general purpose, disk formatter and copier. FlashBack Demo version of a new backup utility. Fully functional version except for the restore operation. SMan A Mandelbrot generation program. TCL Port of Tool Command Language, a simple textual language.

Disk 448

AmigaPet Another cute screen hack. FifoDev FIFO: is like PIPE: but is based on fifo.library rather than its own implementation. Mkid A program identifier database package that provides a logical extension to "ctags". NightMare A handy little program that uses "shock" techniques to scare people. OnTime Holds up a task until a given time and then releases it to run. PicToANSI Converts a one bit plane 320x200 IFF picture to a file that displays the picture on any ANSI compatible terminal. SolitaireX A solitaire game. ST2Amiga A program to convert Atari ST format relocatable executables to Amiga format relocatable executables to Amiga format relocatable executables, for subsequent loading into the ReSource disassembler and conversion to Amiga. Swish A small simple screen hack.

Disk 449

Globulus Demo version of a new arcade game that is reminiscent of the old Q-bert game. Handshake A full featured VT52/VT100/VT220 terminal emulator. Iff2Ansi Turns any two-color low-res IFF picture into ANSI text that can be displayed on any ANSI compatible terminal. Shazam A picture viewer for Dynamic HiRes images created with Macro Paint, the 4096 color high resolution paint program from Lake Forest Logic. WonderSound Wondersound is an additive harmonic instrument design tool.

Disk 450

AmyVsWalker Another cute animation from Eric Schwartz. MinRexx A simple ARexx interface which can be easily patched into almost any program. Tabu Quarter inch cartridge (QIC) tape backup uitility. Works with Microbotics HardFrame. UUCP A bug fix for UUCP 1.08 released on disks 442 and 443, which had already been finalized at the time this fix reached me so could not be included there. Includes a new getty and some bug fixes.

(Beginning this month, there will be complete current Fish Disk listings on the new monthly diskMAGazine. You can only get your copy of diskMAGazine at the General Meeting. For complete Fish Disk descriptions and more in-depth articles, reviews, and game hints pick up your copy at the General Meeting Saturday, March 9.)

Future Wars Walkthru Continued

Copyright © 1990 by Paul J. Grant

You will be deposited in an air terminal. A bored security guard will prevent you from going up to the plane, so you must distract him. Go down the stairs at the bottom of the screen, and EXAMINE the fuse box and fuses on the left. USE your fuses with the fuses in the box, replacing the burnt out middle one, then save the game. Go back upstairs. The guard is now watching television, and if you move just behind him, you can sneak up to the escalator to the plane. This may take more than one try. On the plane, you will be taken captive by the Crughons (there is no way to avoid this at all), and wind up in a tiny cell.

Crughons are among the dumbest race in the galaxy because they don't take any of your inventory (and how you can continue to conceal a lance on your person is beyond me). Timing here is a bit dicey, so save again. USE your key on the air vent to remove the grate, then USE the gas canister on the vent, and finally USE the newspaper on the vent to keep the gas from blowing back in your face. If done correctly, you will have killed all your Crughon captors, and the cell door will open. You can go into the next room, but before you can do anything much there, Earth command will rescue you, and take you before the Council, where you will be sentenced to death as a Crughon spy. What?


When last we saw our intrepid window washer cum planetary savior, he was about to be executed as a Crughon spy. Fortunately, Lo'ann shows up in the nick of time to save him. And with the help of the documents (remember the documents?) you brought back, uh, forward, oh, never mind. Anyway, they've been decoded, and the Crughon plot to destroy Earth's defenses by planting a bomb in the past before the defenses are built has been revealed. One time bomb has already gone off. You helped Lo'ann foil the plot in medieval land where you first met. Now, the council needs a volunteer to accompany Lo'ann to the distant past, and to foil the third and last sabotage scheme. Three guesses who volunteers.

You are sent back to the dawn of creation (or thereabouts), and end up in a cave. Head down to Lo'ann, and she will give you an air pistol. Follow her to the left, then save the game. The entire plain below you is swarming with Crughons! Your only hope is to wipe them out in one real nasty arcade sequence which will have the pure strategists in the bleachers screaming for the programmers' blood.

I, upon seeing the shape of things to come, immediately handed control of the mouse to my fourteen year old son, who has much more practice in such matters. To kill the Crughons, simply position the cursor over the tiny scurrying figures, and hit the fire button on your mouse. Be especially quick to blast the ones surrounded with red boxes marked DANGER, because those are firing back at you, and they are not firing to wound.

After the first wave, the remaining horde will converge towards the center. Pick off those on both the left and right sides to keep them from the center, and they won't become DANGERs. At some point, the Crughon commander will come out on a floating platform. Be sure to get him quickly, too. This may take more than one try; it took my son, Deadshot, four tries. Learn patience and persevere.

After all the Crughons are blasted, one will -- with his dying breath -- shoot Lo'ann. EXAMINE her once to find she is still alive. EXAMINE her twice and you will find an invisibility pill. EXAMINE her three times and you will find her pendant, which you can USE on her to send her back to the future, where she can be healed. You will then proceed alone to the Crughon spaceship.

By the ramp is a dead Crughon. EXAMINE him and find a magnetic card. Then, go up the ram to the cockpit/bridge. USE the card in the card reader on the back wall, then OPERATE the suspended animation case in the foreground. The lid will raise. TAKE the garment, and USE the garment on the video camera, protecting yourself from prying eyes. Click on the case a few times and you will lie down. OPERATE the case, and the lid will come down. While you're in suspended animation, the ship will return to the Crughon base. Save your game before it lands in the hangar!

Timing is everything in the next section, and the odds are you'll have to try this more than once in order to succeed. When the ship lands, you'll wake up. Immediately move to the rear wall of the cabin. As the door opens, about halfway through its cycle, USE the invisibility pill on yourself. Two guards will enter. As soon as the second guard is inside, slip out the door. You will automatically go down the ramp. Move just past the guard at the foot of the ramp, go towards the bottom of the screen, and go left behind the boxes. If you time everything right, you will be hidden by the boxes when the pill wears off. If you make even one mistake, you're doomed as doomed can be, and must restore.

EXAMINE and OPERATE the big box at the lower left, and you will find it to be a perfect hiding place. You will be taken to a storage room. Your pendant is a telepathic interface, which will tell you that the only way you can thwart the Crughons is to reprogram the master computer. Easy, right? There are only three problems: (1) you are a window washer, not a programmer; (2) you don't know where the computer is; and (3) you have only six minutes of real time to reprogram the computer and escape from the ship. Actually, problems (1) and (2) are minor. Problem (3) throws two of your worst nightmares at you: a maze AND an arcade sequence. Save before you take another step if you value your sanity.

When you go through the storage compartment door, you will find yourself in a corridor. In addition to ladders (which are evrywhere), there are also holes blasted in the floor in inconvenient locations. This maze comprises 18 screens, each screen showing two levels of corridors, three screens across and eight screens down. The computer room is on the lowest level in the middle screen. I found the best way to map the maze was to click both mouse buttons (as if I were going to save the game) as soon as entered a new screen. That paused the clock's countdown while I sketched each block. This is not difficult to map, thank goodness, but the route to the bottom is a tad circuitous, to say the least. On top of that, the mouse interface is not the most user-friendly, and I found there were times I had to click wildly in order to get the stupid hero to go up or down a ladder. Try to maintain an even strain throughout this sequence. Practice until you can get from the top to the bottom in under three minutes. My best time was 2:40.

When you get to the computer room, move quickly as you can to the console on the left. USE the magnetic card in the console and the rest will take care of itself. You've saved the day, so now you can save youself and get off this ship before the fleet leaves without you. The escape door, marked with several prominent arrows, is located on the top corridor on the left-most of the three screens on the fourth level from the top. With a little practice, you should get there in plenty of time. Once you do, the rest of the game is automatic. Congrats!


For those who are hopelessly confused by mazes, here is the exact route down to the computer room, and back up to the hangar for your escape.


Go one screen right, down the ladder, one screen right, down, then slightly right, and down again. Go one screen left and down the ladder, one screen right, down, then to the right, and down again. Go one screen left, down twice, one screen left, down four times, one screen right, and up twice. Go one screen right, up three times, then go to the right, and go down five times. Go one screen left and down, then one screen right, and down. Finally, go two screens left, down, once screen right, and you're at the computer room.


Go one screen left and up, two screens right and up, one screen left and up, one screen right and up five times. Go to the left and down three times, one screen left and down twice, one screen left, and up four times. Now, go one screen right and up, one screen left and up, and right to the door with the arrows pointing to it. You're safe!

FUTURE WARS is published by Interplay Productions and distributed by Mediagenic. This walk-thru is copyright (c) 1990 by Paul J. Grant. All rights reserved.

(This second half of the Future Wars walkthru is continued from the February issue of MAGazine. For the entire walkthru, get issue ONE of diskMAGazine at the March General Meeting.)

Midnight Reviews

I have returned to remedy the plague of bad reviews that have arrived in my domain. So, fair warning to those inadequate reviewers out there that I will once again control my domain.

Game F-19 Stealth Fighter
Publisher Microprose
Type flight simulator
Price about 45 dollars

Not hard drive installable

SPEED Excellent

F-19 is the long awaited Amiga Version of the original C64 game from 3 years ago, and the question is was it worth the wait. Well, Midnight says maybe. F-19 graphics are good but have an ST feel to them, never more than 12 or so colors on the screen at a time. However, they seem to be adequate, and all gauges and instruments are easy to read. Now sound may be the worst part of this program, because there almost isn't any. It has the basic sounds from lesser machines of beeps, buzz, and static. The intro tune sounds OK but is played in MONO!

Speed is F-19's strongest feature, update time is very quick with several updates per second. And the detail of the ground has no noticeable effect on speed. Nice! Playability is good with 4 areas and an apparently limitless amount of randomly generated missions. Missions may included, for example, take out a radar installation, photographing a missile boat and landing on an Aircraft Carrier. The missions are complex enough to make them interesting, but easy enough to keep you playing. F-19 is a good effort but by no means pushes the limits of the Amiga. It has excellent speed and good playability, if you're into flight simulators, Midnight says "Pick this one up".

The Midnight Rating: ** 91 ** (out of a possible 100) Midnight Has Spoken.

More Fish; Listings for 451-460

Disk 451

'Liner A shareware outliner whose function is to create outlines for notes or export to other programs. Requires DOS 2.0. Convert Converts 39 different image formats into CBM standard 24 bit IFF files for display on devices such as Black Belt Systems HAM-E product. ProDrivers AmigaDOS 1.3 printer drivers for the IBM 4201 and 4202 series of printers. RCS The Revision Control System (RCS) manages multiple revisions of text files. RRamDisk Another recoverable ram disk. SnoopDos A utility for monitoring AmigaDOS calls.

Disk 452

Budget A program to help with managing personal finances FLODemo Floorplan Construction Set demo. Fully function except the Save IFF function is disabled. ImageLab A program which performs image processing on IFF pictures. MandelPAUG A version of MandFXP with complete online help, a fully implemented Mandelbrot and Julia set "movie mode", and many improvements in the user interface.

Disk 453

AmigaTration A "Concentration" like game for the Amiga. Lemmings Demo version of an enchanting new game from Psygnosis ProjMot A Projectile Motion plotter. Quick A utility program specifically targeted at hard drive users to eliminate the frustration of launching programs on the Amiga.

Disk 454

Decigel A software fix for programs that use instructions which are priviledged on the 68010/020/030. Enforcer Enforcer uses the MMU to build a shroud of protection over anything that is not legal memory. Redaktu A PostScript program which runs on PixelScript to edit other PostScript programs. Several examples and a detailed explanation are included. StillStore A program designed for freelance, corporate, and broadcast television. It loads and displays IFF images of any resolution interchangeably from a list file or as inputted directly (I.E. random access). The user may easily skip forward or backward one or more pictures in the list. A "generic" display is always just a few seconds away. The program can be used "on air" with no concern that a pull down menu will suddenly appear in the viewable area. It also provides for a precise cue for changing windows or screens. Vortex A universal accented character converter for Amiga, IBM-PC, MacIntosh, and C64 files written in most west european languages. Works with either ASCII or Word Perfect files.

Disk 455

AngusCopy A disk copy program with intuition user interface. ConvMacF Converts MacIntosh type 1 Adboe fonts to a format usable on the Amiga. MemMon A small memory monitor. Vlt VLT is both a VT100 emulator and a Tektronix (4014 plus subset of 4105) emulator.

Disk 456

CheatSheet A compilation of cheats, hints, backdoors, helpful bugs, passwords, codes, solves, and walkthroughs for over 150 Amiga games. February 1st, 1991 edition. CManual Parts 1 and 2 of a complete C manual for the Amiga. When unpacked, the manual and examples nearly fill up four standard Amiga floppies. Because of its size, it is distributed on two library disks, parts 1 and 2 on disk 456 and parts 3 and 4 on disk 457.

Disk 457

CManual Parts 3 and 4 of a complete C manual for the Amiga. Parts 1 and 2 are on disk 456 and parts 3 and 4 on disk 457. Line A shell written to enhance the barebones CLI. QuickReq An "Ask utility" to replace the "ask" command from AmigaDOS.

Disk 458

ATCopy A program to copy files from the Amiga side of a system equipped with a PC/AT bridge board, to the PC side, using wildcards. Csh Version 4.02a of a csh like shell derived from Matt Dillon's shell, version 2.07. GIFMachine A program that will convert CompuServe GIF image files into IFF SHAM and 24bit ILBMs. TeXify A package of ARexx scrips, for CygnusEd users, which allows total control of AmigaTex from within CED.

Disk 459

AmiDock An Amiga version of the NeXT's "dock". Provides you with a number of buttons on the WorkBench screen that, when pressed, will launch other programs. These buttons are fully configurable to run any program you want. Conquest Lore of Conquest is a war game similar in concept to the board game Risk. This is a two-player game. Rxgen An ARexx library that allows you to call any function of almost any Amiga library from an ARexx program. XprZmodem An Amiga shared library which provides ZModem file transfer capability to any XPR-compatible communications program. Zoom A fast and efficient floppy disk archiving utility based on the data compression / decompression algorithms used by lh.library.

Disk 460

JMenu This program allows an AmigaDOS script to display a menu, wait for the user to make a selection either with the mouse or the keyboard, and return the selection back to the script through an environment variable. It can also immediately execute any valid AmigaDOS command based upon the menu selection. NetHack A screen oriented fantasy game. ShadowMaker Demo version of an Intuition based Font shadow generator. In seconds you can convert your favorite fonts into color fonts with professional video shadows built right in.

COMAL an alternative to BASIC

by David Warman

Speed. When people start looking at alternatives to BASIC, one of the first things they look at is speed. This is natural, since the faster the language the faster programs will run. How does COMAL do in the speed category? Let's find out.

There is usually a tradeoff between speed and user-friendliness in computer languages, with the higher level languages such as BASIC being slower than low level languages. While it can't match compiled languages such as C and Assembly for speed, COMAL does VERY well for a high level interpreted language, and still has a higher degree of user-friendliness than BASIC.

The reason for COMAL's speed is in the way it interprets the source program. BASIC uses a two step process: the editor phase and the run-time phase. COMAL uses a three step process: editor, scan, and run-time phases. Let's compare what happens in each phase in COMAL and BASIC.

As you are entering a BASIC program, the BASIC editor really doesn't do very much besides tokenizing the keywords. In addition to tokenization, COMAL also checks the line for syntax errors and reports them immediately to the programmer. This doesn't improve program execution speed any, but does greatly reduce debugging time. Another time saving factor is that COMAL internally converts all operations to Reverse Polish Notation. But the main advantage COMAL employs in the editor phase is in the way variable and other names are handled. When you type a variable name (or PROC, FUNC, or label name) COMAL looks up the name in the Name Table and adds it if it doesn't already exist. The Name Table is a list containing all the names used in the program and pointers to their actual location in RAM. For example:

1540 IF score>20 THEN game'over

This line contains two names: the variable "score" and the PRO-Cedure call "game'over". Each name is stored once in the Name Table and is NOT stored in 0hthe program itself. In the above line each name is represented by a two-byte integer (one byte in C64 Power Driver) which points to its offset from the start of the name table. This is why even long variable names only use two bytes each time they are referenced. When the program is run COMAL reads the two-byte offset to go directly to the proper place in the Name Table to find the RAM location of the name. In contrast, BASIC stores all variable in ASCII form in the program, and when the program is run it reads the first two bytes of the name, then searches through its entire Variable Table to find a match. If no match is found, it creates a zero or null value variable, which requires a memory move. This happens every time a variable is needed in a running program!

COMAL's second phase is the SCAN, which is completely lacking in BASIC. This is a pre-pass that is performed right before a program is run. During the scan phase, the entire program is checked for structure defects, and any errors are reported, along with the matching line number. This means the program will not run if there is a FOR without an ENDFOR, a REPEAT without an UNTIL, etc. Next, all branches are calculated and the ACTUAL ADDRESS of each branch is placed in the program code! This includes not only PROCedure calls, but multi-line IFs, CASEs, and loops -- any place where the program flow is redirected to another location. In line 1540 above, the memory location at which the PROCedure "game'over" starts will be placed into the program in each line where "game'over" is called. This saves an enormous amount of time when the program is run. You can also implement the scan phase by simply typing SCAN in immediate mode, which will report all structure errors in the program. Even in very long programs the scan phase never takes longer than a second or so.

The final phase is the run-time interpreter. At this time a lot of COMAL's work is already done, whereas BASIC's is just beginning. The target line numbers of BASIC's GOTOs and GOSUBS are stored in the program as two-byte integers. When a running program encounters such a branch, it must begin searching through the BASIC listing either from the beginning of the program or from the current line, depending on whether the branch is backwards or forwards, until it finds the matching line number. In COMAL, the exact address of the branch has already been placed into the code, so it simply jumps right to it. The same principle applies to variables -- BASIC must search through the Variable Table every time a variable is used; COMAL uses the Name Table offset to go straight to where the name is stored.

BASIC also must convert all numeric constants in the program to binary and build up all string constants by searching for the closing quote every time the constants are encountered. As strings are generated they pile up on old strings until the bottom of the strings hits the top of the arrays, triggering the dreaded garbage collection. COMAL converts all constants once in the editor phase, which, in addition to increasing run-time speed, eliminates any need for garbage collection. BASIC checks each line for structure and syntax errors each time it is executed. COMAL performs all syntax and structure checking once in the editor and scan phases.

In the end, COMAL and BASIC do much the same thing, but BASIC puts most of its work on the run-time interpreter, while COMAL puts most of the work on the compiler (editor and scanner), leaving the interpreter to just run the program. BASIC compilers like Blitz! do much the same thing as COMAL does in its compiler phase, but at the cost of loss interactivity. Once you've compiled the program you must recompile the source every time you make a change. Even in compiled BASIC programs, the BASIC ROM routines are still used to run the program, and garbage collection is still a problem since BASIC's string routines are also used. The result is that COMAL programs run at about the same speed as compiled BASIC programs.

COMAL has support areas on People/Link (/GO COMAL) and QuantumLink (CIN/Computing Support Groups/Programmers' Workshop/COMAL).

This text file is from a COMAL column that appears in the ?SYNTAX ERROR newsletter and/or on the BBS of the Dayton Area Commodore Users Group (DACUG) in Dayton Ohio. It is aimed mainly towards beginning COMAL programmers. While most of the examples in the article refer specifically to the C-64 Power Driver implementation of COMAL, they should work unchanged with all or nearly all other versions of COMAL, including Amiga COMAL.


There is a new BBS that CBM employees have put online to test the waters. It is a User Group Support BBS that CBM will consider giving full support to if there is adequate response. All it takes to make this fly, is a call to that BBS to sign up. If enough interest is shown, CBM will support it. If no interest is shown, CBM will drop the idea faster than you can say "PLUS FOUR". Show your interest and call this BBS today and it will assure you that it will be there when you need it. There is already quite a response.

The number is (215) 431-2153 8,N,1. You may set up for ASCII, ANSI or SkyPix (tm) graphics. (SkyPix (tm) is a rather spectacular graphics show for those of you who never tried it).

MAGmembers Newsletter Insert

Akey Brian L. Memphis TN 38107 OCT 92
Amos Mike Bartlett TN 38134 JUL 91
Andrews Freddie L. Memphis TN 38128 JAN 92
Barron Sonny Memphis TN 38135 JAN 92
Bilson Edward Memphis TN 38115 JAN 92
Bowers William Memphis TN 38118 MAY 92
Brown Scott Memphis TN 38122 APR 91
Browning Donald, Jr. Memphis TN 38111 JAN 92
Buckner Phillip G. Memphis TN 38107 DEC 91
Burns Keith Cordova TN 38018 NOV 91
Campbell Terry A. Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 92
Chiego John & Sara Memphis TN 38119 OCT 91
Clark Bonnie Memphis TN 38128 AUG 91
Corbin Jack Memphis TN 38133 APR 91
Crighton Jr. Robert Millington TN 38053 APR 91
Dahms Michael K. Memphis TN 38127 OCT 91
Deschamps Joseph Jackson TN 38305 SEP 91
Dickey Milton E. Collierville TN 38017 NOV 91
Echols Steve Memphis TN 38116 DEC 91
Fanelli Daniel R. Germantown TN 38139 FEB 92
Franklin Shelley Memphis TN 38120 MAR 91
Gamble Stephen A. Memphis TN 38111 OCT 91
Ginn Raymond Memphis TN 38127 DEC 92
Glover Steven Cordova TN 38018 JAN 92
Grimes Tim McLemoresville TN 38235 NOV 91
Henson Tim Memphis TN 38107 OCT 91
Hoffman Walter K. Memphis TN 38122 JAN 92
Hooker Bill Memphis TN 38134 NOV 91
Hudson Scott Memphis TN 38115 JUN 91
Jones Tom Memphis TN 38128 DEC 91
Karpov Victor Memphis TN 38115 OCT 91
Keith Roy, Sylvia, Lisa Rosemark TN 38053 FEB 92
Kelly James Memphis TN 38127 JUN 91
Lambert Davis Memphis TN 38128 MAR 91
Lanier Jonathan Bartlett TN 38134 DEC 91
Lockard Don Alamo TN 38001 JAN 92
Lownes Robert Bartlett TN 38133 OCT 91
Martin Chris Memphis TN 38128 JAN 92
McCalla Ron & Audrey Hoover AL 35226 DEC 99
Mills Chris AUG 91
Montgomery John Bartlett TN 38134 FEB 92
Morgan Yvonne & Charles Memphis TN 38168 SEP 91
Nabors Eddie Batesville MS 38606 SEP 91
Norman Joe R. Dyersburg TN 38024 JAN 92
Parker Anthony MAR 91
Piraino Martin & Patricia Memphis TN 38134 AUG 91
Pittman James MAR 91
Plunk David G. Memphis TN JUL 91
Reagan Alan Memphis TN 38104 NOV 91
Richardson Charles Memphis TN 38128 APR 91
Rooks Todd Memphis TN 38134 MAY 92
Russell Shane Memphis TN 38115 JUL 92
Sanders Joe Memphis TN 38134 Jan 92
Services Data Tech Memphis TN 38133 NOV 91
Shimasaki Manuel S. Memphis TN 38134 DEC 91
Spain David Bartlett TN 38135 MAY 91
Stevens Ken Millington TN 38053 MAY 91
Stokes Paul Eads TN 38028 NOV 91
Swiley Robert Memphis TN 38134 OCT 91
Turner Allen Jackson TN 38301 DEC 91
Vineyard Charles W. Memphis TN 38118 AUG 91
Walker Jim Memphis TN 38128 JAN 92
Wallace Michael S. Marion AR 72364 SEP 91
Walp Len Memphis TN 38128 JAN 92
Weatherall Broadus & JoAnne Memphis TN 38111 JAN 92
Webb Donnie Memphis TN 38118 JAN 92
White Walter T., III Memphis TN 38125 DEC 91
Williams Charles Wilson AR 72395 DEC 92
Winfield Kenneth Memphis TN 38128 DEC 91
Wyatt Joel Shawn Jackson TN 38301 DEC 91
Yarbrough Eddie Southaven MS 38671 APR 91

Name & Address Changes or Corrections

Please help me get accurate information on all members. If you know someone on the members list that we don't have a complete address for please let me know. Send name and address information, updates, or changes to:

Charles Williams
13 Lake Drive
Wilson, AR 72395

March Meeting

Music with Bars and Pipes and the first issue of diskMAGazine, the companion disk for the MAG newsletter, MAGazine. First meeting of Gamers SIG the hour (noon to 1pm) before the General Meeting, New Auditorium. Officers lunch meeting at Gridley's 11 to 11:30 am. All of the above on Satruday, March 9.

News About Dues

When paying dues, please send your check to:

MAG Dues
c/o Ramond Ginn
2304 Dells Ave.
Memphis, TN 38127

The Duck Pond BBS

(901) 761-3729
Memphis, Tennessee
300, 1200, 2400 baud - 24 hrs.

(Temporarily Off-Line)
Birmingham, Alabama
300, 1200, 2400, 9600 baud

For MAG hardware rentals
and MAG software orders
call Bill Bowers at (901) 360-0003
OR Shane Russell at (901) 795-0622