Home Computing Weekly

Activity Centre

Author: B.J.
Publisher: Argus Press
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Home Computing Weekly #120

Having been flipped by Triangle from the same company, I eagerly loaded Activity Centre. The packaging seemed to herald a musical wordprocessor with hi-resolution graphics and animation. This I gotta see!

I suppose I had very high expectations, but I was disappointed. The tag "word processor" is a bit optimistic. It's more a musical graphics package which permits text at the same time. Nevertheless, the possibilities of such a package are quite interesting. It could be used for educational quizzes, adventure games, etc. Minus the music and animation it could be used for poster design. Unfortunately Activity Centre proved not up to the quiz or games idea. It can't react to text, onJy display it.

The graphics section allows text circles, boxes, and lines, freehand or joining two points. There is a copy command - useful - and a fill command which only fills rectangular areas - useless. Try filling a circle using oblongs! The animation section allows you to design two sprites and create a 50 step movement path. By moving both sprites together you can produce a moving bird with flapping wings. The music section involves loading a different program module. It gives the standard range of tempo, pitch and duration control; but for only one voice.

The biggest irritation is that it is all very slow, particularly the graphics routines, loading pages and switching from graphics to music and back. Overall I suppose it offers quite a lot at a reasonable price if you've got the patience.


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