ZX Word Issue 40 Contents Letters

QL News

A halt in production

A HALT to QL production was called recently because output had exceeded demand.

Julian Goldsmith, a spokesman for Sinclair Research, confirms that production is at a standstill but says that 'the measure is only short-term'.

Searle: not worried by lack of success

Previously, Sir Clive Sinclair had been predicting that 200,000 QLs would be sold this year but generous estimates have put the total sold at 60,000 covering the period since it was launched.

The company is now looking for sales abroad and has converted much of its English stockpile for foreign markets, two of which are Spain and the United States. Goldsmith says: "Spain is a big market and we have a 75 percent share of it."

The introduction of the QL into the States has also provoked a lot of interest. The company says that it has received over 26,000 enquiries about the QL and that the machine should have a strong future in the States. Former Sinclair managing director Nigel Searle is co-ordinating the marketing operation.

Searle is eminently qualified to spearhead the attack on the US. He has had eight years experience of the American way of life and three of those where spent as managing director of Sinclair US in Boston.

He is not worried by the relative lack of success so far encountered by the company. He said, at a meeting of manufacturers and distributors before he left Britain, that before they had joined Timex they had sold almost 25,000 computers on the American market. The company was optimistic that it could sell at least 50,000 machines this year.

Putting zap into the QL

WHAT IS claimed to be the first arcade game launched for the QL is Zapper from Eidersoft.

Ken Browning, company head, describes it as 'nothing new' but adds that it contains 'super-smooth sprite graphics and looks a bit like Galaxians'.

The game was written by Janko Mrfic-Flogel, a 16year-old Yugoslavian who is still at school. He has managed to squeeze 11 levels, with 18 aliens on screen at the same time, onto the QL.

Janko is also the author of QL Caverns, an arcade platform game from Sinclair Research. The game contains 50 locations and uses levels and ladders in a similar way to Jet Set Willy.

A new company called Westway is also getting into the act with an arcade game called EVA.

The game bears similarities to Jet Pac but involves building a matter transporter while dodging energy bolts. Both QL Caverns and EVA are reviewed in QL Software Scene.

Intelligent Sketchpad

A COMPREHENSIVE graphic design package has been launched by Sigma Research.

Sketchpad is software-based and can be obtained on microdrive. It is similar to the Talent GraphiQL but does not allow the creation and manipulation of graphic textures. The package does, however, allow the usual pixel, line, arc, fill, and text functions.

Sigma Research claims that one of the most advanced features of Sketchpad is its ability to store display in a compact data file which only contains those section of the screen which hay been used for drawing. That makes the package faster load than others on the market.

More information about Sketchpad can be obtained from Sigma Research, Cambridge.

All aboard for Exchange

THE ROM-based version of the Psion application software should be available by the middle of the year.

The package, called Exchange, will include integrated versions of Abacus, Archive, Easel and Quill. It will plug into the memory expansion bus at the side of the computer and not into the ROM slot at the back.

Sinclair has yet to decide whether to produce a new version of the QL incorporating Exchange onboard. Such a move would depend on how well the add-on ROM was received.

Quest for brain games

HARDWARE manufacturer Quest has entered the games and utility market.

The releases include a card game, an adventure and a sprite designer. In Blackjack the computer plays the part of the banker with three randomly generated packs of cards. Full colour graphics are used and the company claims that every permutation of the casino game is possible.

Quest - The Adventure was originally a game for the Apricot PC. The company has transferred it to the QL and says that the colour and graphics have been enhanced on the new version. The game involves navigating a sailing ship around an uncharted ocean, collecting treasure and keeping the morale of the crew high.

The sprite designer, Zappit, allows the user to develop up to 99 sprites which can be on the screen at the same time and manipulated through SuperBasic, without the use of PEEK or POKE.

All the packages are available on microdrive but Quest intends to produce disc versions in the near future. Blackjack is priced at £19.95. Quest - The Adventure and Zappit cost £14.95.

ZX Word Issue 40 Contents Letters

Sinclair User
July 1985