CPCWiki forum

General Category => Applications => Topic started by: arnoldemu on 13:22, 03 December 17

Title: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: arnoldemu on 13:22, 03 December 17
Hi,

@Comsoft6128 sent me some examples of what Microdesign Plus can do. I think some have been available before, but there may be some not seen before. I scanned it at the highest resolution I could but the images are in two pieces.

Can anyone help join them and rotate them together so they can be uploaded to the wiki?

They are tiff files ~84MB zip uploaded to the url below temporarily. Please don't go mad or it'll upset Markus who hosts the cpctech pages.

http://cpctech.cpc-live.com/mdpexample.zip

I'd appreciate the help fixing them up. Thank you.


Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: SRS on 00:17, 04 December 17
like this ?

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:26, 04 December 17
You should see the originals!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Gryzor on 14:53, 06 December 17
Oooh I wonder if the rate still goes - I could get myself quite a few T34s! Did that include shipping too, though?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Bryce on 14:57, 06 December 17
Oooh I wonder if the rate still goes - I could get myself quite a few T34s! Did that include shipping too, though?

Being Irish, I'd go for the tonne of Potatoes instead :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Gryzor on 15:14, 06 December 17
Yes, but comrade, think of all the potatoes you can produce when the war is over and you convert the proud T34 into a combine tractor! For glory!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Bryce on 15:34, 06 December 17
No time for war, I'm too busy eating spuds :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 22:54, 19 May 18
And this is an example of MicroDesign clip-art, in strip format, from Goldmark Systems printed using a Canon BJ10 EX back in 94. The 9-pin version was used, after modification, in the advert for MD+ in the last issue of Amstrad Computer User - see the image from SRS at the beginning of this thread. This has been scanned in at 300 DPI. To get an idea of how detailed this is, download the file and look at it using Windows Photo Viewer or similar.
Update 5/7/18:
This graphic was also used on the front cover of the October 1995 issue of WACCI magazine, see here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:Wacci_093.jpg (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:Wacci_093.jpg)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:03, 20 May 18
This MD file in 64K landscape format dates from 92 and used the Rombo Vidi as the source for the larger images. Printed using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer. Again to view it properly I would suggest using Windows Photo Viewer.


 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:25, 21 May 18
1991.
64K Portrait format. Original mode 2 image grabbed from TV news broadcast using Rombo Vidi then converted to MD format.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 07:41, 22 May 18
This was drawn by my brother while studying at the Glasgow College of Building and Printing back in the early 80's. Converted to MD format by Goldmark Systems or Creative Technology (unfortunately I can't remember which) in 92. The image was based on the Japanese legend of the Kamikaze, the "Divine Wind" which blew an invading Mongol fleet to its destruction in the 13th century. However, the Wikipedia entry for this event shows that only male gods were linked to this.
The original file was too large for a single A4 MD page and was "cut" into two files - KamiA and KamiB. Printed using a Canon BJ10 EX inkjet.

A short video showing this file being loaded into MicroDesign is available here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/applications/desktop-environment-system-microdesign-youtube-video/ (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/applications/desktop-environment-system-microdesign-youtube-video/)

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:43, 23 May 18
Here is the previous image merged with a new MD file to create a magazine ready advert, I think this one was used in WACCI magazine. This is a photocopy, the original is long gone and sadly I have no way of printing off a new copy.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 11:00, 24 May 18
1991.
64K Portrait format. This was free clip-art to demonstrate some of the fonts available for MD+. Printed using a Star LC-10 9 pin printer. All original MD file names conformed to the Amsdos 8 character limit, the "Wonder of Windows" means I can now expand them to make them a little clearer.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GOB on 19:05, 24 May 18
I think it will be better to post .png than destructive .jpg, no ?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: robcfg on 20:23, 24 May 18
Yes, but most probably the forum software will not allow posting such heavy files.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:57, 24 May 18
Hi Guys,

Thanks for the input.
Two questions:

1. What advantage is there in using png instead of jpeg files?

2. Is there a recommended file format for use in the Forum?

Cheers,

Peter
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Duke on 23:07, 24 May 18
1. What advantage is there in using png instead of jpeg files?
PNG use lossless compression.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 23:13, 24 May 18
Thanks for the reply Duke.

Would this mean that the png file would be of a visibly higher quality or would the difference be negligible?

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Duke on 23:19, 24 May 18
Thanks for the reply Duke.

Would this mean that the png file would be of a visibly higher quality or would the difference be negligible?
It depends on the compression level of the jpeg file (how big the loss is/smeared pixels). Generally you would have better quality when zooming in on highres PNG images, however it can be negligible in many  cases.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:41, 25 May 18
This file came from the original release of MicroDesign by Siren Software in 1988. Printed using draft quality. Does anyone know what it is?

Wiki page on Siren can be found here:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Siren_Software (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Siren_Software)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:53, 26 May 18
Promotional leaflet for the original MD from Siren Software - 1988. The programmer, Simon Hargreaves, was a winner of one of the Amsoft software competitions - see page 106 of the November 85 issue of Amstrad Computer User.
Most of the MD files in this post are displayed at a low resolution, to view them at a higher resolution download them and use WPV or similar.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:11, 26 May 18
64K Portrait file included in the WACCI library, from 1991? All images mode 2 from Rombo Vidi. Printed using Star LC-10 9 pin printer. A full page this size could take up to 1 and a 1/2 hours to print. Again best viewed by downloading the file and using Windows Photo Viewer.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:13, 27 May 18
1991.
64K Portrait format. Free clip-art poster to demonstrate what was possible using MD+.
Hardware: 6128 Plus, Rombo Rombox, Rombo Vidi, 3.5 B drive and Star LC-10 printer.
Both these converted Mode 2 images are from history documentaries, probably BBC.
If possible images were grabbed in real time as opposed to videotape, even with a good quality VCR  there was a reduction in quality from tape.
The information for the text underneath these images would have came from the documentaries. However, decades later,  it seems to me that it is extremely unlikely that the Aztecs would have had the time or inclination to depict the downfall of their city-states before the Conquistadores and smallpox wiped them out. Also, the figure on the right looks more like an Aztec warrior/priest/leader than a Spanish soldier. If anyone can throw some light on this image I would appreciate it.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 13:59, 27 May 18
I really want to use this prog but it's kind hard for me.
I'll give it a try again in near future.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 07:56, 28 May 18
1990.
64K Landscape format. Office use.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 14:45, 28 May 18
Holy shit!
This looks so professional  :o
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:54, 28 May 18
Thanks VincentGR,

The CPC with the right software/hardware was just as capable of the quality printed output usually associated with the 16 Bits or early PC's of the late eighties or early nineties. The main drawback was the lack of memory, using a nine pin printer the above image took at least an hour and a half to print. Later when the ink-jets became available that was reduced to about ten or fifteen minutes per copy. The best option was to print a master copy and then photocopy as many copies as necessary for distribution.

Cheers,

Peter
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 16:59, 28 May 18
I had a Star LC200 on my Amiga and didn't took so long.
Never had a chance to test it on my CPC and I really needed that.
I think that I did some printing though running a CPC emulator on my Amiga back then.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:57, 29 May 18
1991.
Another design for the WACCI library. 64K landscape format.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:58, 30 May 18
1991.
64K Portrait format.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 11:18, 30 May 18
A youtube video with some basic functions would be much appreciated  :P
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 11:45, 30 May 18
Yes I have thought about that. The DES video will be first but will incorporate a little of MD+ and some other software. Later there will be a second video focussing on MD+ only.
The CPC's here have been repaired, the software checked (amazing what you forget after 20 years) and the outline for the video is complete.
What is slowing down the process is cold hard cash.
I did not anticipate the high cost of the required external hardware to produce a video. :o
The necessary pennies/pounds/gold bars are slowly being collected but this will take months. However, when I have enough and the video is finished the members of CPCWiki will be the first to know.

Cheers,

Peter
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 11:53, 30 May 18
Fantastic.
You could use an emulator for a better picture though but I feel you for the love of the real thing.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:49, 31 May 18
1991.
This one is for any Trent Reznor fans out there. 64K portrait format.  Image from the "Head Like A Hole" video, grabbed using Rombo Vidi, spheres from an Amstrad Action type-in?   Can't remember, probably.  Printed using the Star LC-10.
Source video is available on YouTube.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:46, 01 June 18
1992.
64k Landscape format. Star LC-10 - draft quality.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:19, 02 June 18
Cover page for The Basic Idea, by Sean McManus, reviewed in issue 104 of Amstrad Action. 1994.  A4 size portrait format, printed using the Canon BJ10 EX.

Information for Sean is here:

http://www.sean.co.uk/books/amstrad/index.shtm (http://www.sean.co.uk/books/amstrad/index.shtm)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:41, 04 June 18
Promotional leaflet from Siren Software from 1988 for MD Extra.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:14, 05 June 18
1990.
Two Rombo Vidi mode 2 images converted to MD format. This is interesting because of its low quality. If you look closely stray pixels/pixel debris is obvious in both the images. Each of the figures is poorly defined and could have been tidied up quite easily. Adding a vertical pixel line to the top right of the image would have helped to outline the wall that should be clearly visible. Less than an hours work and this file could have been much improved. Nul points!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:14, 07 June 18
Mode 2 clip-art created using Advanced Art Studio then converted to MD format. Landscape, printed using the Star LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:39, 09 June 18
1994.
This is two mode 2 Rombo screens converted to MD format and then "stitched" together to form one large graphic. A4 portrait format, printed using Star LC-10. 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 13:25, 10 June 18
1996.
This poster (A4 portrait) pokes fun at the IBM "Solutions for a small planet" marketing campaign from the mid nineties. Printed using Canon BJ10-EX.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 11:13, 11 June 18

Now this is a puzzle. This poster hung above my desk for over a decade as an aide-memoire. The top table shows the predefined key commands from Arnors Utopia Rom that were/are very useful.
The middle and bottom tables show other predefined keys from another Rom or Roms and no longer appear to work. I thought at first some of them might operate from command mode in Protext but no joy. Also they are a mix of Amsdos and CPM commands which seems more than a little unusual.
Does anyone recognise these key combinations or have any ideas?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:16, 12 June 18
Original on disc help file from Siren Software 1988. A4 portrait, draft quality.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 14:43, 13 June 18
This is MD+ hardcopy from a customer in NZ, it dates from 94. It shows the floorplan he designed for the factory that he was then working in. Apologies for the poor quality but this is from the original 24 year old letter. 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: robcfg on 18:41, 13 June 18
I think is awesome to have real designs of that time, excellent work!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 19:16, 13 June 18
nailed it
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 23:41, 13 June 18
Many thanks for the kind comments.
Yes, a little CPC archaeology at work here.
I am trying to avoid using my files exclusively as I would like to show the various ways that MD+ was put to work by its users back then. There are a few other MD files from customers on disc here but at the moment I have no way to print them. Mmm.
BTW - if anyone would like a copy of any of the MD files that have been displayed just send me a SAE and 3" or 3.5" disc.
Cheers,

Peter



Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 23:38, 14 June 18
64K Landscape format, printed using Star-LC10. Mode 2 image from Rombo Vidi. 92/93?
Another mess. The mass of pixels surrounding the main image could have easily been removed giving much better definition and adding a few pixels to the fingers of the each hand would have improved them as well. Tsk! Tsk!
This image again comes from a BBC documentary, this time on the Opium Wars. It is a small part of an illustration from the 19th century French magazine "Le Petit Journal Supplément Illustré". The full illustration and background information is available to view here:

https://ocw.mit.edu/ans7870/21f/21f.027/boxer_uprising/bx_essay02.html

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:28, 15 June 18
Sample letter to customer, 92. Large clip-art files licensed from Creative Technology Ltd. 64K A4 portrait format. Star LC-10.  Early days, no fax number or email address.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 00:41, 17 June 18
64K Landscape format. Image from Rombo Vidi. Star LC-10 printer.  The converted mode 2 screen in the centre of the design is from the (very) long running BBC2 news and current affairs programme “Newsnight.” At the end of each programme the front page for some of the next days newspapers were displayed. This headline refers to an event that took place in 1988 but the MD+ design is dated 1991 so it seems likely the original 17K screen was stored on 3.5" Romdos D20 disk until that year.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:58, 18 June 18
“Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us.”
― H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds  1898

This was drawn by my brother in 1984. It shows a Martian fighting machine destroying a small boat before manoeuvring to attack nearby British warships. The design of the tripod is taken from the 1978 album cover of Jeff Wayne's The War of the Worlds.
This is the high resolution strip format - 4/5 strips make up one full A4 portrait page. The 5 files that make up this particular page total 98K in size. Strip format is possibly the highest resolution ever seen on the CPC and when combined with a good printer can produce excellent results.
The original drawing is long gone but because it was scanned and converted in 92 this MD+ file still exists on CPC disc.  If printed off and then photocopied up to A3 size this makes a good poster - stepping ("the Jaggies") is barely visible.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:45, 20 June 18
This is the modified version of the previous design, from 93. Only two copies were made, one for myself and one for my then business partner in Kent. It was created during the development of, the sadly never finished, MicroDesign 2 CPC. At that time, 92/93, Stop Press was our only commercial competition. The text on the "foot" of the Tripod is the MD Hitech font, the text on the boat is the standard default MD writing font. Printed using the Star LC-10 printer. To examine this properly I would recommend downloading it.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 00:27, 22 June 18
Poster for office use from 1990. The large fonts (approximately 72 point) used in this file are from the MD Extra disc released by Siren Software in 1988. Landscape format. Printed using the Star LC-10 9-pin printer set for 240 DPI (Quadruple density) output. MD+ may be the only CPC program that was capable of this but possibly Qualitas Plus or the Brunword MK4 module also had this as an option. Possibly.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GUNHED on 03:21, 22 June 18
Don't want to get off-topic. However... which kind of printers do you use?
Me? I use the HP Deskjet 500 with the CPC, it's an ink printer with very nice resolution :-) Ok, had to write my own driver, but it works :-)

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 03:51, 22 June 18
Hi GUNHED,

All of the hardcopy displayed in this thread are scans from the originals from 20+ years ago. Each was stored in its own plastic sleeve and these sleeves were kept in two large folders.
During my CPC years (88-99) I had three printers: Amstrad DMP 2160 - adequate but not great, the Star LC-10 - excellent output + very reliable and the Canon BJ10-EX - superb (up to 300 DPI) output and much quicker than the LC-10.
Interesting that you still have a working printer, I made the stupid (very) mistake of throwing out the Canon about 10 years ago. This is something I now bitterly regret, especially as it was still working. I no longer have a printer for the 6128 and 6128 Plus, Bollocks! 
When did you write your driver? I never knew anyone that used the Deskjet with the CPC during the nineties.

Cheers,

Peter


EDIT 16/8/18.

The following links on these printers are available here:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad/Schneider_Printer_Models (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad/Schneider_Printer_Models)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Star_Printers (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Star_Printers)


https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hqQJaNzN9IcC&pg=PA331&lpg=PA331&dq=canon+bj+10ex+review&source=bl&ots=w8DekBJoYb&sig=y0-CAZ1ysqFWp0L0YE7yZI5Qhyo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiD5ZfY_PDcAhXCMewKHRR0CF84FBDoATAEegQIBhAB#v=onepage&q=canon%20bj%2010ex%20review&f=false (https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=hqQJaNzN9IcC&pg=PA331&lpg=PA331&dq=canon+bj+10ex+review&source=bl&ots=w8DekBJoYb&sig=y0-CAZ1ysqFWp0L0YE7yZI5Qhyo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiD5ZfY_PDcAhXCMewKHRR0CF84FBDoATAEegQIBhAB#v=onepage&q=canon%20bj%2010ex%20review&f=false)

http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=308 (http://www.hpmuseum.net/display_item.php?hw=308)

https://techcrunch.com/2010/05/04/gadgets-of-days-gone-by-hp-deskjet-500/?guccounter=1 (https://techcrunch.com/2010/05/04/gadgets-of-days-gone-by-hp-deskjet-500/?guccounter=1)



Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GUNHED on 16:01, 22 June 18
Oh dear ... got that Deskjet 500 in the 90ies and it was very cheap, I got a discount from a friend, so it was only about $1000 (back the day that was cheap!). Since it's not Epson compatible without an extra cartridge (which provides lesser quality then HP mode) I decided to write own drivers for HP Level "something" printer language. That was for Prowort and G-Paint, also some other stuff.
Back the day every printer was delivered with a nice handbook which did explain all the control codes, theresfore it was relatively easy to write a driver. Protext (CP/M version) actually helps to define control codes and make it very easy too.

Of course if I need to print something today I use the printer on the PC most of the time because I need to save the ink cartridges for the HP (they don't make em any longer I guess).

Hard to get a parallel or serial printer anyway :-//
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 16:58, 22 June 18
I have a Canon i560 with parallel support that worked fine with my Amiga before the head got faulty  :picard:
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 22:36, 23 June 18
Deskjet 500 - not a cheap printer at all but marvellous printed output.
In the local government department that I worked in in the early nineties I think we only had two in the entire (large) head office, the rest of the department had to make do with whatever rattling 9 pin (later 24 pin) machines were going cheap that week.

On the subject of printer drivers, I know that Creative Technology wrote drivers for the 500 for Microdesign 2 and MicroDesign 3 on the PCW as did Locomotive software for LocoScript. Arnor may have written one for PCW Protext but I'm not sure. I have what I think is one of the later versions of CPM Protext somewhere so will have a look at it one day.

Cheers.

Peter

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: tjohnson on 23:21, 23 June 18
Wow I remember the HP Deskjet 500 my father bought one, it could print colour but you had to remove the black cartridge to install the colour which them made black by mixing all the colours together.  It was great compared to the previous 9 pin dot matrix we had.  By today's standards very very slow, but built to last.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:47, 24 June 18

I guess this file dates from 92.  64K landscape format.  Rombo Vidi again, images are converted mode 2 screens.  Printed using the Star LC-10, the amount of ink used in this type of design (large black areas) would rapidly wear out the printer ribbon. 
This poster probably took longer to print than it took to make!
:o
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:49, 25 June 18
Another design from a MD+ user. 92/93(?). There could be a cover letter somewhere but if so I haven't found it yet. This file might be related to the development of the VideoMaster unit when we were looking at producing something that would improve on the abysmal performance of the MP2. Apologies for the quality but it dates from 25+ years ago and I had to scan it at 200 DPI as the 300 DPI file was too large to display in the Forum. Probably best to download it and use Windows photo viewer.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 11:43, 25 June 18
DAMN  :o


This is goooood!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 13:36, 25 June 18

All credit to the MD+ user that created this design. It's not a scan. Whoever created this copied the info from CWTA, manually typed the text and then created the graphic element himself using MD. As the text handling options in MD were poor and in MD+ only slightly better, this would have taken quite some time.  The quickest way would have been to write the text using any CPC word processor, save as ASCII and them import into MD+ using the file conversion menu. The last stage would involve merging the text and graphics components on the layout or design pages. Not a 5 minute job.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 14:15, 25 June 18
I know, I tried to type in there and it was a nightmare.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GUNHED on 17:52, 25 June 18
Now I really want to do something with MD!!! Did MD2 ever get out?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:16, 25 June 18
Unfortunately not GUNHED. Alan Sugar's goons came calling and made my business partner an "offer he couldn't refuse" - nothing to do with a horse's head in a bed(!) - but the more mundane task of writing the word processor for the ill fated PcW16.  :(
This meant that development on MD2 CPC ceased abruptly.
As you can imagine, my thoughts on this, even today, are emotive. >:(
To be quite frank - if Amstrad had made a similar offer to me, I would also have went their way, but lacking the necessary skill set (programming) that was never going to happen.
Bottom line - Blame Amstrad!

I still have the Beta test versions of MD2 CPC and will, one day, have a good look at them but at the moment I have different priorities.

What I can tell you about MD2 CPC is that it had full typesetting (including autoflow), direct import of PCW MD2 files and we were looking to utilise the 256K memory packs that were then still available to increase the resolution of the MD page.

Cheers,

Peter
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GUNHED on 19:19, 25 June 18
The 'Like' is for you post, not for what happens.
I'm really sorry to hear.  :(
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:31, 25 June 18
It's cool, it was a long time ago and I don't hold grudges against Alan Sugar or his goons (said thru gritted teeth) ;D



Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: robcfg on 20:43, 25 June 18
I’d make a dump or copy of the MD2 disks, just in case...  ;)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:50, 25 June 18
Good point Rob,
At the moment the disks (12) are kept in a cupboard well away from any sources of magnetism but backing them up is the sensible option.

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 07:50, 26 June 18
Clip art converted to MD format.
These files are either from Stop Press or one of the clip art discs released by Goldmark Systems.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:31, 26 June 18
More designs from MD+ users. These were normally printed off at 1/4 scale to maximise the number that could be displayed per page. The hardcopy was then stored in folders to remind me what the files on disc were. The 8 character Amsdos file name limit often resulted in file names like this - cstmr1 (instead of customer1) - not the easiest to understand when looked at months or years later, so keeping a hardcopy record was the best option.
Irfanview was used to modify this file as the original scanned file was too large.  Again, I would suggest downloading the file to examine. Also, does anyone know what the function of a H.R. Interface is?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:11, 27 June 18
1991.
Aside from the slightly pompous title of this design (isn't 27 year old hindsight wonderful), I am quite happy with this file. All the dense background pixel material has been removed leaving three strong images for use.
As ever, these are mode 2 converted to MD format.
Background to the Scottish artist, Peter Howson, can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Howson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Howson)

And while looking thru his website this morning I found the original 1991 Scottish Television programme the images were grabbed from!

Video is here (scroll to the bottom of the page):

https://peterhowson.co.uk/works/ (https://peterhowson.co.uk/works/)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 00:02, 28 June 18
Recommended reading.

http://www.riscos.com/support/users/budgetdtp/chap10.htm#l0092 (http://www.riscos.com/support/users/budgetdtp/chap10.htm#l0092)

This chapter on printers is from the 1992 book "Budget DTP ON RISC OS". Although the book is for the Acorn Archimedes most of the information is still applicable to the CPC and to MD+ in particular and is well worth checking out.

Cheers,

Peter



 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:11, 28 June 18
More converted clip art from Stop Press or Goldmark Systems. As these were converted over 25 years ago one or two pieces may have came from other sources (PD libraries) but in 2018 I have no way of knowing which, if any.  Microsoft Paint was used to remove the name of the person in the banner in the bottom centre of the page as apparently they still live at that address.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 21:01, 28 June 18
Oh, the second in the first row is amazing  ;D
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:53, 28 June 18
Understood.

Hoplite?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 21:58, 28 June 18
Yes!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 11:24, 29 June 18
These are some of the font sets that came with the original MicroDesign from Siren Software, released in 1988. Supplementary font sets - MD Extra - were also released that year by Siren. Later other sets were released or converted to MD format, including the fonts for Windows 3.1 - that conversion was done by a MD+ user and as you can imagine was never an "official" release!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:36, 29 June 18
Converted clip art. Again sourced from Stop Press, Goldmark Sytems, WACCI  or other PD libraries. These files were (and still are) stored on 3.5" Romdos D20 disks, in user areas 1 - 10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:14, 30 June 18
1994.
More files from MD+ users. The two large 100 Squadron RAF badges look like they have been scanned and are in the high resolution strip format - stepping is minimal even when magnified.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:54, 01 July 18
This dates from 91. 64K landscape format, printed using the Star LC-10. Images taken from BBC2 Sunday afternoon political programme "On The Record". The cartoons were created by the NZ born cartoonist Les Gibbard. I often digitised cartoons or, were possible, line drawings as these would give the clearest possible image(s).

N.B.
Cleanie = Cleansing Department                       E H = Environmental Health Department

Background information on Les Gibbard can be found here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Gibbard (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Gibbard)

And here:
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/oct/20/les-gibbard-obituary (https://www.theguardian.com/media/2010/oct/20/les-gibbard-obituary)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:16, 02 July 18
More font sets, fill patterns and borders. From the original release of MicroDesign by Siren Software in 1988.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:04, 03 July 18
Photocopy of A5 advert for WACCI magazine, February 95.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 19:23, 03 July 18
I have that expression most of the times, like him in the picture...
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:25, 03 July 18
Then MD+ should take it away........................ ;D
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:07, 04 July 18
This dates from 1990.
I made this when I worked in the Glasgow City Council Cleansing Department H.O. In total there were 3 editions. It takes a humorous look at some of the issues affecting the department at that time. After printing the mastercopy I photocopied 20 further copies and used the internal mail system to send them to the various sections and depots of the department. It was generally well received but there were one or two negative comments. Which I ignored.
From the CPC perspective what is interesting here is that the image in the centre of the screen is not a MD file. It is a standard 17k screen file printed using the Advanced Art Studio or the Vidi Rom. A MD template was made up for the text and box lines, printed off and then fed back into the printer for the screen file to be added. This process took far longer/was more difficult than expected and was so frustrating I never attempted it again.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: tjohnson on 21:25, 04 July 18
Looks great, i really wanted this sort of power to publish this sort of thing back in the day and messed around with lots of art packages but never got to dtp on the amstrad, now we take it for granted but then everything is moving online so less demand for printed materials these days. Which isn't always good.   My company, mentioning no names recently issued a comms in some flashy Web based thing,  however it was completely form completely form over function function and about the most frustrating way to receive information, terrible .   I'm sure the younger staff thought it was great.  Looked wonderful of you like that sort of thing.

Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 22:32, 04 July 18
Good point. Pre-net most of the communication of detailed information was done in print. In fact I had email (via the wonderful CPC) at home long before we had it in common use in the council office. So up to the mid to late nineties most of the offices I worked in functioned on a diet of paper instructions and faxes.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:17, 05 July 18
Edition 2 and some background info. 1989. 64k portrait format, printed using the Star LC-10. This was created using the original MicroDesign not MicroDesign Plus. As there was no ASCII import option in the original MD this meant that the text was typed directly onto the design page. As a consequence a page like this was very slow to assemble.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:16, 06 July 18
Edition 1 and cover page. 1989.
The 1st image/large graphic of the coast of the UK and Ireland was originally from MD2 PCW and came from the "Maps Libraries" collection licensed from Creative Technology Ltd.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:50, 07 July 18
6 converted 17k screens created by an Amstrad Action type-in. 1994.  Photocopies of the originals - these two files are still on disc but at the moment I have no way of printing them off.
If I remember correctly each time the Basic program was finished (took 10/15 minutes) the final graphic was displayed with the Ready prompt but no save option.
The DES App "Camera" which sat in memory (waiting for the right key-press) was then used to take a screenshot and save the graphic to disc. 
Irfanview was used to increase the contrast of these scans as the photocopies were not best quality.
Landscape format, printed using Star LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:01, 08 July 18
Stop Press Cut files converted to MD format, from Goldmark Systems. 1993. The subject matter is unusual but someone must have expressed an interest in these. This scan came from a low quality photocopy tidied up using Paint.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: VincentGR on 18:35, 08 July 18
Oh, Harrier Attack  :P
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:14, 08 July 18
Ha Ha :)


Good point!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 07:38, 09 July 18
Another two files from a MD+ user. Printed at 1/2 size. 94/95? Again I am not sure what the circuit diagram on the right is for.
Any ideas?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 06:39, 10 July 18
Review, by Jill Lawson, of the original MicroDesign released by Siren Software in 1988.
This page in the Wiki by MacDeath on Jill Lawson and her history with the CPC is
well worth viewing:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Jill_Lawson (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Jill_Lawson)

Unfortunately the link at the bottom of the page to the mini-biography appears to be broken.
Any suggestions on how to fix this?

For clarity I would suggest downloading the two files and using Windows Photo Viewer to magnify the text.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:39, 12 July 18
1991.
This is the cartoon character "Fidi Dido" used in a television advert for 7 UP in the early nineties. Image captured using Rombo Vidi, printed using the Star LC-10.
Information on the development and use of the character can be found here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fido_Dido (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fido_Dido)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:43, 12 July 18
And this is the short TV ad the image was grabbed from:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0yk9FACBzU (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0yk9FACBzU)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:43, 13 July 18
This design was for home use and dates from 1988. Back then the radio might have had push buttons (!) but it certainly didn't have the luxury of a digital display to let me know where to find a particular radio station.  The design itself is rubbish but it did give me the info I needed which is what mattered. 64K landscape, printed using the Amstrad DMP 2160.

AAFN (The YANKS) is the American Armed Forces Network.
The REDS was the Radio Moscow World Service which became the Voice of Russia in 1993.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:01, 15 July 18
This humorous poster was for office use and dates from 1989. Printed using the Amstrad DMP 2160. It was created using the original MicroDesign and two of the large headline fonts from MicroDesign Extra -  so is limited to a text only format. It would have been much improved by having the "And Remember!" component originating from a speech bubble from a large digitised graphic (say a cartoon character or a human face) as I did later with some other designs. But in 1989 the upgraded MicroDesign Plus with its Screen and Stop Press import and conversion menus, wasn't even on the horizon. So all the text you can eat!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:14, 18 July 18
MicroDesign - The French Experience.
The original MicroDesign was marketed in France as "Oxford PAO".

The link below leads to a detailed article by Philippe & Gilles Rimauro, on the history of the French CPC fanzine "Quasar". It shows how Oxford PAO and other CPC software/hardware was used in the making of the magazine.
Some of the scans/graphics are the best output from the Dart Scanner I have ever seen.

Check them out at:

http://quasar.cpcscene.net/doku.php?id=makingof:makingof (http://quasar.cpcscene.net/doku.php?id=makingof:makingof)

Google translate does a reasonable job with the article but for
English readers best to copy and paste the above directly into Google as the link takes you to the original French page.

Some more background:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php?title=Quasar_CPC&mobileaction=toggle_view_mobile (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php?title=Quasar_CPC&mobileaction=toggle_view_mobile)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php?title=OffseT&mobileaction=toggle_view_mobile (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php?title=OffseT&mobileaction=toggle_view_mobile)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Futurs%27 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Futurs%27)


http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Dart_Scanner_for_DMP-Printers (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Dart_Scanner_for_DMP-Printers)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:28, 19 July 18
A5 advert in WACCI magazine, November 94.
Printed using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer.
Brief history of WACCI can be found here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/WACCI (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/WACCI)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 23:31, 20 July 18
The French Experience (PT2)

Phillipe Rimauro has kindly provided a link to the gallery of all the Dart scanned images, converted to MD/Oxford PAO format, that were used in Quasar magazine. Again these are well worth looking at:

http://quasar.cpcscene.net/doku.php?id=illustrations

Some examples are below.
The last one might ring a few bells.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 22:31, 21 July 18
More Stop Press clip art, converted to MD format 92/93.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:40, 23 July 18
Helpsheet for Customer Services Section, 1992. After a few months the various copies in the office were covered in written notations and this necessitated updating the design two or three times a year. 64K landscape format, printed using STAR LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:55, 24 July 18
1991.
This design is for anyone who has ever had the "pleasure" of working in a customer orientated workplace.  ;D
Landscape format, printed using the Star LC-10.
Best viewed by downloading and using Windows Photo Viewer.


Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 22:57, 25 July 18
I made this for a friend who was (still is) a fan of the English rock band "The Sisters Of Mercy". The title is the name of the last track on side one of the 1985 "First and Last and Always" album - real vinyl!
Dates from 94/95? Portrait format, printed using the Canon BJ10-EX.
I used the Raven file previously stored on disc and found a suitably gothic style font that seemed appropriate for the poster. I thought the poster was quite satisfactory until it was pointed out to me that there was. One. Small. Problem.  The correct spelling should have been ..........................Marian, not Marianne, oops :doh:
I still have this copy, the (hastily) amended/correct version was later printed off and posted (yes snail mail ) to London.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 23:05, 26 July 18
Advert in WACCI magazine. 92?
Printed in portrait format (A5 scale) using the STAR LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 22:47, 27 July 18
This is a Stop Press page of small clip art converted to MicroDesign format. I think this is from the "Extra Extra" disc released by Medway about a year after the initial release of Stop Press.

A note on clip art.
Clip art was generally not distributed as individual files but as “pages” of clip art each containing many small graphics/files. The reason for this is quite simple. On a 3” disc the directory is limited to 64 entries per side and it would be inefficient to save small clip art graphics (usually 1 to 6K) as individual files as this would quickly fill the directory, and could leave up to 100k free on each side of the disc which was then no longer available for storage. On Romdos D20 format 3.5” disks with 256 directory entries and a capacity of 792K it made even less sense to store small clip art as separate files.
So using the page format greatly increased the number of files available while reducing the disc space used.

The most practical solution in Stop Press or MicroDesign when using one piece of clip art, would be to load the page, select (copy to memory) the clip art required, and then delete the page (from memory not disc).
This might sound laborious/time consuming but in practice it could be done in just a few seconds.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:37, 30 July 18
From 92.  256K strip format. Printed using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer. This scan is from a photocopy of the original. Again this was made during the development of the, never finished, MicroDesign 2 CPC. The graphic is from the UK maps library of large clip art licensed from Creative Technology Ltd.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:06, 31 July 18
Humorous poster from 91 again using the artwork of cartoonist Les Gibbard.
This one has an exact date when it was made, 22/9/91.
64K Landscape format, printed using the Star LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:47, 02 August 18
This dates from 91 and (blown up to A3 size) was made to hang on the wall at my 30th birthday party. As you can see I wasn't enamoured with the ageing process taking me to the ripe old age of 30. I am even less enamoured with it now :o .
The image on the left is clip art, the image on the right is a Rombo mode 2 digitised grab.
64K landscape format printed using the Star LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:50, 03 August 18
1995.
Shakespeare on the CPC.
Who needs a Kindle or E-book reader when you have a 3 or 3.5 inch drive?


Logo and Heading created using MicroDesign Plus, body of text is Protext.
Printed using the Canon BJ10-ex inkjet printer.


Even as ASCII files these are large for the CPC:
Julius Ceasar - 130K, Hamlet - 193K, Love's Labour's Lost - 140K and The Merchant of Venice - 134K.

Interestingly enough prices have went down in recent years, The Collected Works Of Shakespeare is now yours (Mobi version) for £1.50 from Amazon ;D

To best view, download file and use Windows Photo Viewer.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 06:57, 05 August 18
1994.
The Desktop Environment System programmers guide.
64K Portrait format, printed using the Canon BJ10-ex.
The 17K mode 2 CPC screen in the centre of the page was captured using the DES App "Camera" and then converted to MD format for use in this file.
DES was reviewed in issue 102 (March 94) of Amstrad Action.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: tjohnson on 08:30, 05 August 18
Interesting that there were still commercial products being sold relatively late.  What was the size of the market back on 94?

Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:34, 05 August 18
I can't comment on the market as a whole but I was in contact with MJC Supplies, OJ Software, Goldmark Systems and Q3 software at that time. The impression that I remember from them was of slowly declining sales for all serious software. MJC Supplies went into liquidation May(?) that year but in a conversation I had with the owner of the company he pointed out to me that his sales on the Atari and Amiga were way down. Remember that by 94 it was a saturated market and there were no new CPC computers being produced therefore no new customers.

Sales for new disc and ROM software were still commercially viable right up to 95 when Amstrad Action ceased publication. Without that last outlet for reviews and advertising there was no point in producing anything new for the CPC, as simple and as sad as that.


 :(
 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: tjohnson on 11:58, 05 August 18
Good point, I hadn't thought about that. Most of what i got was as a result of Amstrad Action, i had a subscription to that for a while but that lapsed and i stopped reading as newer and better computer stuff came out.

Im not entirely sure which year i left the amstrad for pastures new, i reckon about 1991 or 92.  My bro got an amiga at some point before then but i was never allowed to touch that, i bought a gx4000 but that bombed as we all know, then i bought a very expensive 386 pc before the 486 came out.  Both Amstrad 464 and 6128 got sold along with all the games and stuff.

Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: zeropolis79 on 01:42, 06 August 18
Promotional leaflet for the original MD from Siren Software - 1988. The programmer, Simon Hargreaves, was a winner of one of the Amsoft software competitions - see page 106 of the November 85 issue of Amstrad Computer User.
Most of the MD files in this post are displayed at a low resolution, to view them at a higher resolution download them and use WPV or similar.
I was just thinking that.. I think one of my discs has a copy of the Micro Draft version.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:34, 06 August 18
I would very much like to see that.
If I send you a 3" or 3.5" disc and SAE could you copy it for me?

Cheers,

Peter
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 07:16, 08 August 18
Instructions for Goldmark Systems MicroDesign Pageprinter for inkjets. Probably the only computer program in history that used the Blue Danube as an audio prompt. I'm not sure if the debugged version ever saw the light of day.

The program was reviewed on page 21 of the February 93 issue of Amstrad Action.

Info on Goldmark is here:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Goldmark_Systems (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Goldmark_Systems)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 12:52, 09 August 18
This is the leaflet that was issued with the two 3" discs or one 3.5" Romdos D20 disk for the British Isles Maps Library. Licensed from Creative Technology (MicroDesign) Ltd, these were originally PCW files converted to MicroDesign CPC strip format files. Reviewed in issue 103 (April 94) of Amstrad Action.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:40, 10 August 18
Front Cover for MicroDesign Plus manual.
Printed using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer set for quadruple density output.
World graphic in centre of page is the loading screen from original release of MicroDesign by Siren Software in 1988.
The enhanced Plus version was released in 1992 and reviewed in issue 90 of Amstrad Computer User and issue 85 of Amstrad Action. All enhancements were by programmer and WACCI member J. Harpur. He also published two articles in Amstrad Action (issues 80 and 81) on modifying the Advanced Art Studio to run with the much larger capacity 3.5" B drives and Romdos.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:24, 13 August 18
The next two scans are photocopies of the 2nd and 3rd on disc help files from the original release of MicroDesign by Siren Software in 1988. Apologies for the 25 year old crossed-out paragraphs in the 2nd scan but the functions described were replaced in MD+ by superior menu options and were therefore redundant.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:36, 13 August 18
.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 07:56, 15 August 18
This is the cover page for the Rom version of ProPrint, the Protext print enhancer. Programmed by Graham Denyer, it was released in 1993.
A4 portrait format, printed using the Canon BJ 10-ex inkjet printer.
The disc version of ProPrint was reviewed in issue 94 of Amstrad Action. A further review, ProPrint v Pro-Ext (from Sentinel Software) was in issue 95 and the last review (ProPrint Rom) was in issue 99.

Some more info is here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php?title=ProPrint&mobileaction=toggle_view_mobile (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php?title=ProPrint&mobileaction=toggle_view_mobile)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:31, 16 August 18
Half page (A5) advert in WACCI magazine. From 1994.
The text component and border were created using ProPrint, the graphics (CampurSoft logo, magnifying glass and credit cards) by MD+. This Ad was made by Graham Denyer and would require two passes thru the 24 pin Star LC-20 printer to merge the text and graphics.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GUNHED on 16:57, 16 August 18
The quality is just awesome, now imagine a more modern laser printer, that would shake the PC.  :) :) :)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:40, 18 August 18
This is the leaflet that was issued with the discs for the World Maps Library. Licensed from Creative Technology (MicroDesign) Ltd, as with the British maps these were originally PCW files converted to MicroDesign CPC strip format files. Text and graphics both produced by MD+. Reviewed in issue 105 (June 94) of Amstrad Action.
Not bad for an 8-Bit machine running at 4MHz with a memory of 128k.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Gryzor on 15:04, 20 August 18
Thanks for sharing all those tidbits. Each one of them interesting in its own right and, indeed, the quality is great!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 13:33, 21 August 18
Instructions for Videomaster. Reviewed in issue 88 (January 93) of Amstrad Action.
The main body of text was written using Protext and then converted to MD format.
Wiki page is here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Videomaster (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Videomaster)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:01, 22 August 18
Advert in the March 91 issue of the French magazine "Amstrad Cent Pour Cent" for Oxford PAO. Marketed by Duchet Computers operating from Chepstow, England.
Info for Amstrad Cent Pour Cent and Duchet Computers is here:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad_Cent_Pour_Cent (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad_Cent_Pour_Cent)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Duchet_Computers (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Duchet_Computers)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:18, 23 August 18
Humorous poster from 89 made using the original MicroDesign from Siren Software, the world map used was included on the disc.  64K landscape format printed using the Amstrad DMP 2160 printer. The text for Greenland and Antartica was included merely to fill in the blank areas - not because I thought there were many politicians lurking there ;D
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:15, 25 August 18
This is a review of the original MicroDesign from Siren Software. From "Computing with the Amstrad CPC" May 1988.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:22, 27 August 18
1992.
Tryouts 1 - Fill patterns.

64K Portrait and landscape formats, printed using the Star LC-10 set for high quality.

Both these files, though not pixel dense (very large black areas), would have taken about 40 minutes to print at high quality. The draft versions about 10 - 15 minutes. 

The first image uses eight different patterns, the second image uses two.

These were made to see how fill patterns could be used with larger designs and what the  printed output would look like.  In the first image the letter H is left blank/white and in the second the centre circle area is black - these were included for comparison.

Back in 1992, depending on the quality of the printer, what you could see on the screen was sometimes quite different from the final hardcopy.

There are other comparative files like these but unfortunately I can no longer print them off
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:51, 29 August 18
From 95. This poster is an example of mirrored (flipped) text using one of the large font sets from MicroDesign Extra released in 1988 by Siren Software. This poster and many others like it were were available from myself, WACCI and other PD libraries to give users some idea of what was possible using the program. Pre-internet, with the exception of the Aspects Bulletin Board, there was no other way for a CPC MD user to get free material like this. In total, over a five year period, almost 15MB of MD files were released into the Public Domain for users to access. These files ranged from small clip art, converted mode 2 screens, converted PCW MD2 files, to full size A4 designs.

A4 Landscape printed using Canon BJ-10 inkjet printer.

Wiki page on Bulletin Boards is here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Bulletin_boards (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Bulletin_boards)

Edit 2/9/18

Clip art could also be acquired using the Dart scanner and the Rombo Vidi digitiser.

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 22:06, 30 August 18
Advert in WACCI magazine 1993. Graphic element produced by David Carter of Penguin Software who also created, amongst other quality productions, the Amiga Graphics slideshows.
64K A4 Portrait format, printed using the Star LC-10 printer.

Wiki page for David is here:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Pixel (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Pixel)

2in1 the CPM utility which created a dual-format PC/CPC 3.5" disk for transfer of files between the two systems was made obsolete as soon as the superb DosCopy by Face Hugger (Andreas Stroiczek) arrived in the UK.

Wiki page for 2in1 is here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/2_in_1#Manual (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/2_in_1#Manual)

Wiki page for Face Hugger is here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Face_Hugger (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Face_Hugger)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GUNHED on 23:33, 30 August 18
2in1 the CPM utility which created a dual format PC/CPC 3.5" disk for transfer of files between the two systems ...


WoW, a dual fomat! That's awesome! Sadly I missed it back the day.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 06:52, 31 August 18
Yes the dual-format was very useful but I don't think sub-directories were utilised. It was the same with DosCopy but if I remember correctly that utility could read native MS-DOS disks without the need for a dual-format. What I definitely do remember is that DosCopy, when blown onto Rom, became an essential piece of software. It is in my "all time top five" selection of Rom software.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:01, 01 September 18
Stop Press converted clip art from Goldmark Systems, originally from 1988. Goldmark sold clip art discs for Stop Press from 1988 onwards and when MD+ was released in 1992 promptly converted their libraries over to MicroDesign format. Clip art for these discs was sourced from the Atari ST, Mac and PC. Quality was variable and on initial release the discs were overpriced at about £10 each, this was reduced later to £6. In 94/95(?) when ComSoft purchased the rights to the software and remaining stock from Goldmark these (MD) libraries were released into the Public Domain.

In 2018 I think maybe a fifth Troll could be added to the existing four at the top of the page.....
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:57, 10 September 18
1991.
This is the Electronic Hovel which is a pun on the expression "Electronic Cottage".
The video out component from the 6128 was provided by the poor quality MP3 which was later replaced by the Videomaster. The later (1994) version of this system utilised a 6128 and a 6128 Plus. Two manual phono/rca switching boxes and a coaxial switching box were needed to make this work efficiently.
In practice I found that a maximum of three peripherals could be added to the expansion port, any more than that and the computer would continually reset.
The graphic element is converted Stop Press clip art.
64K Landscape format printed using the Star LC-10.

Any questions?

Edit:
Having had a look at the 94 version I see that two 6128 Plus machines and one 6128 were used. The A4 hardcopy for that is very poor quality but pretty sure that there is a good condition A3 somewhere. When I find it I will have it reduced to A4 and then scanned for display in the thread.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Gryzor on 15:21, 10 September 18
So much material! Thanks :)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:33, 10 September 18
Cheers Gryzor,

Not too many left and at the moment I have no way of printing off the designs from other users, but that might change in the future.   


Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: robcfg on 17:12, 10 September 18
What is the problem? Maybe we can help you.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:42, 10 September 18
Thanks for the offer Rob,

The problem is one of criminal stupidity..........
About a decade ago during a clear out I threw out my perfectly good Canon BJ 10-EX as I thought I would never use it again :picard2:
Aargh!

Ho Hum. We live and learn etc.
What I'm thinking about doing some time in the mid future is to purchase a reconditioned model and take it from there. Getting some HQ scans of one D.Trump and turning him into the two faced god Janus (complete with speech bubbles) would be a good starting point ;D

The design below is a simplified version of the design above and contains one or two minor inaccuracies but was made to give me a rough idea of the cabling involved. This was important as most of it was contained out of sight in piping and in a purpose built storage unit and could be a nightmare when it came to replacing sections.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:09, 14 September 18
1995.
ComSoft product list.
Logo and heading by MD+, body of text is Protext.

Nirvana, Colourdump 3, Stardump and Page Printer were originally Goldmark System programs.
ParaDos and Xexor are by Richard Wilson (Executioner) creator of WinApe and I still use both of these outstanding programs.
Route Planner was written by Richard Fairhurst (ChaRleyTroniC) owner of Robot PD and Technical Writer for Amstrad Action.
Model Universe was originally from Arnor and unusually was not written in house but by an independent programmer.

Info on selected products is below:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/RoutePlanner (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/RoutePlanner)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Soft-Lok (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Soft-Lok)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Nirvana (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Nirvana)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Goldmark_Systems (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Goldmark_Systems)


http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Executioner (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Executioner)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Model_Universe (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Model_Universe)

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Campursoft_ROM_Board (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Campursoft_ROM_Board)

http://www.sean.co.uk/books/amstrad/index.shtm (http://www.sean.co.uk/books/amstrad/index.shtm)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:53, 15 September 18
1995.
The Amsdos Protext Suite.
Logo and heading by MD+, body of text is Protext.



Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 11:23, 17 September 18
1995.
ComSoft product list. Logo and heading by MD+, body of text is Protext.
PCW Protext and other CPM programs.
Although CPM Protext was primarily for PCW owners it was also used by some CPC customers.

Link to Arnor Ltd is here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Arnor (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Arnor)

WACCO Software:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/WACCO (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/WACCO)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:59, 19 September 18
1992.
The banal but essential documentation required for record keeping.  Each text box was made using the (R)ectangle function on the Design page and then each row was (C)opied in the layout page to fill the A4 page with the required columns and rows of boxes. MicroDesign was particularly good for this type of work and pages like this could be made in about 10 - 15 minutes.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:03, 22 September 18
1992/93?
I made this flyer for a friend who ran an Aikido club in Glasgow. Some kind of problem occurred when printing this particular copy, as shown by the unfinished horizontal circle.
Printed using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer. 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:57, 24 September 18
1991/92?
This uses the headline 2 and headline 5 fonts from MicroDesign Extra released by Siren Software in 1988. The font text is taken directly from the lyrics of the title track of the 1980 "Freedom of Choice" album by American new wave/electronic band Devo. (Yeah, the guys in the boilersuits and red hats.)
 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:40, 26 September 18
Loading screen for Microdesign Plus. When I get the time (!) I will load the 17K screen into Advanced Art Studio and revise the date shown from 1992 to "1992 - 2018"  :D
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 07:01, 28 September 18
1991.
64K Landscape format, printed using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer.
This file consists of two mode 2 Rombo Vidi screens converted to MD format, trimmed and then merged to form one larger graphic. All background pixel material has been removed to enhance image definition.
The screen grabs used were of a television presenter who was once voted the "the most hated man on television" in the UK due to his smug TV persona and the regular humiliation of members of the public in his "Candid Camera" style programmes.
BUT!..........27 years later and by the power of Wikipedia....... it turns out that he raised nearly £100 million for charity and off screen was quite different from his professional TV personality.
Which I hadn't a clue about when the file below was made.


Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:48, 01 October 18

From 12/6/18.
"Now this is a puzzle. This poster hung above my desk for over a decade as an aide-memoire. The top table shows the predefined key commands from Arnors Utopia Rom that were/are very useful.
The middle and bottom tables show other predefined keys from another Rom or Roms and no longer appear to work. I thought at first some of them might operate from command mode in Protext but no joy. Also they are a mix of Amsdos and CPM commands which seems more than a little unusual.
Does anyone recognise these key combinations or have any ideas?"


Update 1/10/18.
Mystery now solved courtesy of the Brittania Rombox repaired by Bryce.
The PKEY function is located on the Maxidos Rom and gives access to all the commands listed in tables 2 and 3. I'm not sure if these commands were ever part of the original Maxidos or were added later but they can be accessed from Amsdos and also from within the DES Rom menu.

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:32, 02 October 18
1993.
This is an example of reversed type (ink inversion) and rotated text. The text has been rotated 180 degrees and uses one of the font sets from the original (1988) release of MicroDesign by Siren Software.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:52, 04 October 18
Letter from 1991.
Sylvester the Cat discovers the CPC 6128.

64K Portrait format, printed using the Star LC-10 printer.
Mode 2 screen grabbed from one of the "Looney Tunes" cartoons.
The speech bubble was created by using the circle and triangle functions on the design page and then removing the background pixels contained within them. The text is the standard MD font and each individual character can be treated as a small graphic and moved anywhere on the design page.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:09, 06 October 18
First (p)review of Microdesign from Siren Software - December 87/January 88 edition (issue 28) of Amstrad Action.

DTP on the CPC - page 1.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:10, 06 October 18
DTP on the CPC - page 2.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:29, 07 October 18
Letter page from May 1988 edition (issue 32) of Amstrad Action.

Unhappy/irate MicroDesign user responding to the review in issue 28.
"DTP or not DTP" - this user makes a number of accurate and valid points in his letter.

Page 1.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:32, 07 October 18
Page 2.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:13, 08 October 18
1991.
Short letter to a friend.
64K Portrait format, printed using the Star LC-10.
Can't remember where the graphic at the top of the page came from, probably converted Stop Press clip art.
Cassette and Mixtapes - remember them?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 13:48, 12 October 18
1990/91?
Four Rombo Vidi screens converted to MD format. The top two come from a documentary on Punk and New Wave music, the bottom left from a documentary on the English civil war and the bottom right is, well....you know.
Top left screen is Hugh Cornwell, then the lead singer in the rock band "The Stranglers" and the top right screen is a headline from the magazine New Musical Express and probably dates from the early eighties.
I often printed digitised images to compare the screen and hard-copy versions, what looked good on the CPC screen was often not quite the same on paper.
The top right and bottom left images are full screen conversions, the top left and bottom right images have been trimmed to fit the MicroDesign page. A standard screen file when converted to MD format covered 25% of the page.
64K Landscape format, printed using the Star LC-10 printer.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 11:20, 14 October 18
1991.
One for workaholics everywhere............
Humorous poster for office use.
64K Landscape format, printed using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer.
This design uses two of the large font sets from MicroDesign Extra released by Siren Software in 1988.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:53, 17 October 18
1993/94?
One for dog lovers everywhere....
Stop Press clip art from Goldmark Systems converted to MD format.
Draft quality.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Gryzor on 14:52, 19 October 18
This last post with the clipart reminded me of the ads I was seeing in ST Format ca 94 or 95 (publishing year, I just read them a few months back), by which time the ST was all but dead but people kept pushing "600MB of games and apps!" that consisted 95% of fillers. It seemed quite interesting to me that there were ads about PD disks containing sets of such clipart - 'dogs', 'women', 'dinosaurs' etc. I guess it was *something* back then!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:41, 19 October 18
That's right Gryzor.
I had completely forgotten about that, not just the Atari but the Amiga and the PC as well. Back then I used to buy the main mags for each of these machines to see if there were any programs/hardware that could be "borrowed" and adapted for the CPC.
All of the magazines carried adverts for "PD" disks that looked slightly dubious - "Dodgy Data Done Daily" as opposed to the top quality programs you were supposed to get. No doubt some were good but I think there was certainly a lot of filler there.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:00, 20 October 18
1993.
Sanitized letter to a friend. This is a mix of clip art from the PCW (the hand) and CPC Stop Press (the angry man and the devil) converted to MD format.
64K Landscape format, printed using  the Star LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 11:07, 21 October 18
1989.
64K Landscape format, printed using the Amstrad DMP 2160 printer.

This humorous poster was made in response to a friends suggestion that I was a "Big-head".
Back then, as I possessed an Ego bigger than the Sun, he may very well have been correct.
I'll let you decide...........
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 12:58, 22 October 18
Improvements - Part 1.

This is a letter that I sent to Rombo Productions and their response.
Considering that MD wasn't even their program I have to say the customer support provided was superb. Some other CPC companies of the time could have learned a lesson from them.

A little info is here:

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Rombo_Productions (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Rombo_Productions)

And here:

http://www.stone-oakvalley-studios.com/0009_14_dashboard_index.php (http://www.stone-oakvalley-studios.com/0009_14_dashboard_index.php)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:10, 23 October 18
1991.
Newsnight design (previously seen in the thread) under construction. The MicroDesign default filing option loaded converted 17K screens or other graphic files into the centre of the A4 page. This saved a great deal of time when fixing a file to the page - no need to count the number of pixels from the boundary of the converted screen to the left/right or top/bottom of the A4 page. Although this was the default it was easy using Ctrl/Shift and cursor keys to move the converted screen anywhere on the MD page before finally loading the file.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:42, 24 October 18
1991.
Office use.
Helpsheet for Customer Services Section.
This document was for users of the IBM AS400 Bulk (large items) uplift program.
The AS400 was a text only multi-user system and each item for uplift was allocated an abbreviated 1 to 3 letter code thereby speeding up input into the Bulk uplift database.
Some codes that were added later, in the mid nineties, include: COM -computer, MON - monitor and PRI - printer.  Previous to that your old Spectrum or C64 ended up in the domestic refuse bin.
This was another document that required updating every few months as items were added or removed. 
64K Portrait format, printed using STAR LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:08, 25 October 18
1993.
Long before Moonpig.com cornered the market in personalised cards, there was the CPC!
:o Trigger warning for individuals of a sensitive nature - the following design contains a pornographic image :o

Sanitised (no juicy details for you lot) birthday "card" to a close friend.
64K Portrait format, printed using the Star LC-10.

For Non-UK readers Moonpig Wiki page is here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonpig (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moonpig)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: GUNHED on 18:25, 25 October 18
 :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:20, 27 October 18
"It is quite easy to summarise MicroDesign's DTP capabilities. It doesn't have any."
1991 Amstrad Action comparative review of the four commercial DTP programs then available for the CPC.

Mmm.....well.....yes, I'd say that was a pretty accurate assessment.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:18, 28 October 18
1992.
This invoice was sent a few months after the UK release of MicroDesign Plus. Once a template like this was finished it was saved to disc and then later adapted for whatever company or individual was necessary.
This example would have looked just a little more professional if Deutschmark had been spelt correctly ::)

64K Portrait format, printed using the Star LC-10.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:05, 29 October 18
1991.
"Happy" Halloween............and here is a little macabre MD Memento Mori for this All Hallows Eve.
The skull graphic (Previously seen in the "AGE30" design) is a Rombo Vidi mode 2 grab from a music video but at the moment I'll be damned (ouch!) if I can remember which one - The Shamen, Front 242?  Maybe.
6
4K Portrait format, printed using the Star LC-10 9-pin printer.

LINKS:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memento_mori)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanitas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanitas)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samhain)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:23, 30 October 18
1991.
The Osprey graphic is a converted mode 2 loading screen from a CPC personal finance program. Unfortunately I can't remember which - Money Manager, Home Finance? There was an Amsoft Osprey educational program but I'm sure it doesn't come from that. Any ideas?


Update 20/2/2019
I have found the original file - it is the loading screen for "Bank Balancer" from Osprey Software
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:52, 31 October 18
1992.
First review of the enhanced MicroDesign Plus, in the last issue of Amstrad Computer User. Though positive it reads a little like a press release.

Page 1.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:55, 31 October 18
Page 2.

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:57, 31 October 18
Advert in same issue.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:26, 01 November 18
1985.
And in the beginning (1)......

Thanks to Zeropolis, Micro-Draft, the precursor to MicroDesign, has now been found but as yet I have no information if Amsoft or some other company released it.
After the release of MicroDesign by Siren Software, Simon Hargreaves and Nik Holmes went on to form Creative Technology (MicroDesign) Ltd. Amongst many other programs they released MicroDesign 2 and MicroDesign 3 for the PCW.  Also released was MD2 for the PC
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:21, 02 November 18
1988.

Better than the 16-Bits?
Read the extract below and see what you think.

For anyone wondering how the CPC and MicroDesign could produce such HQ printed output, the extract (grey box) from an article on Deluxe Paint 2, is essential reading.
The original article is from issue 12 of the Advanced Computer Entertainment magazine and was written by Brian Larkman, Contributing Editor at Future Publishing.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:55, 02 November 18
1989.
This is the pixel scale file from the original release of MD by Siren Software. It was used to position graphic files accurately on the MD page. Printed using the DMP 2160 set for draft quality.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:43, 03 November 18
1992/93?

Unfinished design using mode 2 Vidi screen. Knowing me, the speech bubble was probably for something crude, vulgar and puerile ::)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 13:34, 05 November 18
1995
And speaking of the crude, vulgar and puerile - most of this page contains converted mode 2 screens, printed at 1/4 scale, of some of the infamous characters from the "Viz" comic founded in 1979 and still being published on a monthly basis.
These Vidi grabs come from the TV cartoon versions from 1994.
Due to the small size of these images it would be best to download the jpg and use Window Photo Viewer.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Gryzor on 14:05, 05 November 18
Can I ask you a favor? These are lovely and interesting for the most part, but 3.6MB for a 2-bit image is a bit too much... For instance, just saving it to gif saved 1,7MB and of course I don't think it really needs to be at such a size.


Thanks!
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 14:16, 05 November 18
Of course. I have already been looking at reducing file size but haven't worked my way thru all the "modern" filetypes yet. The PNG copy of this file came in at 6.89MB, the TIF was 10.8MB :o
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: Gryzor on 07:01, 06 November 18
Yes, PNG doesn't result int a reduced image size - tried that too. But gif is perfectly nice for a black-and-white image, and of course it could do with a resize...


Thanks :)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:34, 01 December 18
This is page 5 of the MicroDesign Plus manual.

There is something interesting in the MicroDesign Page Dimensions table.

Hint:
Strip format measures 7 inches (17.78 cm) horizontally X 2 inches (5.08 cm) vertically on the physical CPC screen.

Any ideas?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 12:42, 02 December 18
A question:

If both Stop Press (518016 pixels) and MicroDesign (522240 pixels) full A4 pages are Mode 2 -  what Mode is the 1/4 A4 page MD strip format at 491520 pixels?

The middle window in the screen below is strip format - 1920 pixels in width x 256 in height - 4 of these make up one full A4 page.

Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:05, 03 December 18
UPDATE:

I seem to be losing pixels somewhere - now having counted the number of pixels in strip format I come to the figure of 1912 pixels in width as opposed to the 1920 quoted in the manual. Mmm.
Even so, this appears to be a much higher resolution than Mode 2.
Possibly the highest resolution ever seen on the CPC.

I'm not sure how this was possible, does anyone have any thoughts or ideas on this?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:09, 17 December 18
1992
Christmas "card" for a friend.


 :o  Trigger warning for individuals that prefer their Christmas to be traditional -  the following design contains characters, vulgar images and rude language from the British cultural highpoint  ???   that is the satirical comic "Viz". :o 

As awareness of Viz comic is likely to be minimal outside the UK I have included the following links below which will help in giving context:

http://viz.co.uk (http://viz.co.uk)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viz_(comics (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viz_(comics))
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_the_Sexist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sid_the_Sexist)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fat_Slags (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fat_Slags)

The television cartoon versions of Sid The Sexist and The Fat Slags (from which the Vidi grabs were taken from) were both broadcast by Channel 4 in 1992 and are available on YouTube.

64K Portrait format.
The large font is from MD Extra by Siren Software and the Santa graphics are converted Stop Press clip-art.

Software:  MicroDesign Plus, Vidi Rom.
Hardware:  6128 Plus, Rombo Vidi Digitiser and Star LC-10 9 pin printer.

I made card this for a friend who, at that time, was sharing a flat in the city of Leeds with two other students. My humorous nickname for them was the "Thin Slags" -  strangely, neither of them seemed particularly impressed by this moniker. 
She liked the card - they didn't.
Oh well.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:06, 19 December 18
1992
Two converted Stop Press screens.

An interesting quirk of Stop Press, when saving a 17K screen, is that it saves the program menu bar at the top of the screen as well as the large window/work area (known as the "canvas") that here displays the clip art.
When screens were loaded back into Stop Press the menu bar was automatically stripped during the loading process and only the canvas area was displayed. 
I think this clip art is by Tecnation and is from the "Extra! Extra!" utilities disc released in the same (?) year as Stop Press.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:33, 22 December 18
As fax transmission was implemented for the PCW but not the CPC it was necessary to print off a letter or document first and then use a dedicated fax machine. Buying the Panasonic Panafax telephone/fax machine was my solution to this irritating problem.
The machine pictured was used for sending/receiving technical documentation, screen shots, customer orders, bulk orders from other businesses and anything else that, pre-net, required speed.
An excellent machine (it still works), it also has a speaker mode that made it possible to continue to use the CPC while carrying on a telephone conversation.
The fact that is very similar in colour to the 6128 had no ??? impact at all on my decision to purchase it.

The fax below was sent to Ness Boubekri(?) at the French magazine "Amstrad Cent Pour Cent" in 1992 or 1993.

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad_Cent_Pour_Cent (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad_Cent_Pour_Cent)

64K Portrait format.
Heading is by MD+, the text is a Protext file converted to MicroDesign format.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 17:10, 23 December 18
1994.
256K high resolution strip format map of Europe. Part of the "World Maps Library" disc licensed from Creative Technology. This particular map consists of three separate strip files that required to be printed in three operations.
Reviewed in issue 105 (June 94) of Amstrad Action.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 16:40, 24 December 18
1992/93.
Raw material 1.
Converted Rombo Vidi Digitiser mode 2 screens printed at 1/4 scale. Typically, converted screens were reduced from 17K to about 9K in size.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 15:37, 31 December 18
1994.
Raw material 2.

Nineteen converted 17k screens created by an Amstrad Action type-in. Portrait format, printed at 1/4 scale using the Star LC-10 9 pin printer. It was necessary to print off copies like this as the file names (shape1, shape2 etc) were/are of little use when looked at months or years later.
I wish I could remember the program that was used to create these, does anyone have any idea?
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 10:31, 02 January 19
1991/92?
Office use.

A little background.

The IBM AS400 midrange computer was used by many Scottish local councils back in the nineties as the main computer for large scale data processing - in Glasgow some of the bespoke programs written for it were used by the Personnel, Stores, Training, Finance departments and it was also used by the vehicle workshops for maintenance records.
While the AS400 was a multi-user system there wasn't even a hint of a GUI - no Windows style interface or GUI of any description - and forget mice - text and data input was via the keyboard only - using the tab keys to navigate. On some programs keyboard macros were implemented which , depending on the application, speeded up input from the user in the relevant text and data fields. All in a lovely shade of Green.
The MD file below was made in response to problems with the layout (known then as the screen mask) of the fields for the new Bulk Uplift program.
As previously mentioned input was keyboard only and for this particular program input started at the top left of the screen and finished at the bottom right.

But.

Amongst other problems (far too boring to detail) the call type was defined by the refuse types (chargeable/non-chargeable) and in the original screen layout this required the user to tab back up the screen to fill in that field!

Not good, not good at all.

So was this bad programming?
Nope - bad communication.

The programmers were given an initial spec and once the program was completed and then in daily use, their contact with users was minimal. Mmm.

Anyway once the design below was accepted, the changes were implemented within a few weeks and input to the program was made easier.
I have included a few AS400 photos for context.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:45, 10 January 19
1992.
This is the 256K Hi-Res map of the counties of the UK and Ireland.

It is part of the British Isles Maps Library licensed from Creative Technology (MicroDesign) Ltd.
These were originally PCW files converted to MicroDesign CPC strip format.
On the 128K CPC's, as with the 256K PCW computers, this design would be assembled from 4/5 strip files loaded sequentially and then printed to give one complete A4 page.
On the 512K PCW's these files would again be loaded as strip files but the larger memory of these machines enabled the complete design to be held in memory as one MicroDesign2 256K page - which could be modified/loaded/saved as required.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 18:25, 14 January 19
1992.
This is the 256K Hi-Res map of Ireland, again this file is part
of the British Isles Maps Library licensed from Creative Technology (MicroDesign) Ltd.
This particular design consists of three strip format files - IRELAND1.DR, IRELAND2.DR and IRELAND3.

Printed using the Star LC-10 9-pin dot matrix printer.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 20:58, 26 January 19
1993/94?
Raw material 3.
64K Landscape and Portrait formats.
These shapes were created by Amstrad Action type-ins or possibly a PD software program. The Ellipse file reminds me of Eye.Bas (?) which drew an eye (very slowly) that filled the whole of the standard screen and then moved the pupil from left to right - when used with the Videomaster and a large screen TV the effect was quite disconcerting.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 13:48, 29 January 19
1990/91 (?)

And in the beginning (2)......

The original MicroDesign released in 1988 had no text import function. This was a major program defect.
Text could be added to the MD page by using the "Write" option but this was not a practical solution for anyone wishing to create a large body of text.
The program outlined in the scan below was written by WACCI member J. Harpur and provided the solution to this irritating problem - it was now possible to create large documents, using any of the CPC word-processors, and transfer the text to MicroDesign. A version of the program was later incorporated as one of the options in the MicroDesign Plus file conversion menu.

Info on WACCI is here:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/WACCI (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/WACCI)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 19:42, 04 February 19
1992

This is the MicroDesign Plus text conversion menu - the much improved version of the file outlined in the previous post.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 21:33, 07 February 19
1992 - 1996
MicroDesign Label printing.
Labels could either be printed using the Portrait or Strip formats - Strip format allowed for two high resolution labels to be printed but for convenience/speed (six labels per page) the Portrait format was my preferred choice.  Note that the two last photographs show tractor fed label sheets - these were for dot matrix printers only.  The other photographs show sheets of labels that could be used in dot matrix or ink jet printers. When printing using ink jet printers care had to be taken as the labels were less absorbent than paper and this could lead to smudging. The labels were a standard size and fitted both 3" discs and 3.5" disks.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 14:37, 15 February 19
1992 - 1995 (?)
Raw Material (4)
Rombo Vidi Mode 2 screens loaded into MicroDesign Plus ready for conversion to MD format (.DR) files. Mode 1 screens could be converted/used but for best resolution Mode 2 was essential.

Gibard2 is by NZ cartoonist Les Gibbard - see earlier in the thread.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Gibbard

Girl 1 - Don't remember the source video for this one.

Jason 1 and 2 are the same image grabbed from the 1963 film "Jason and the Argonauts"  and was compulsory Saturday afternoon viewing on BBC2 for what felt like decades. If I remember correctly the screen file from Vidi grabs saved the inks (black or white) in a format which was the reverse of the default MD file so a file inversion option was included prior to saving as a MicroDesign file.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_and_the_Argonauts_(1963_film)

I think that  Laibach 1 and 2  are from a music video by the Slovenian pranksters Laibach , who are known for their use of totalitarian imagery - music videos were a good source of striking/unusual images due to the need of these videos to make a strong impact on the viewer in three or four minutes.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laibach

Oldtown - I really like this but I don't think its one of mine.

These files are just a sample of the 400 plus CPC 17K screen files (mostly mode 2 but some mode 1) that I have on Romdos D20 disks that I hope to transfer to the PC world in the near future.  When they become available on IMGUR (thanks Gryzor) I will post a link in the Forum so that they will be available to anyone in the CPC community.
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 13:02, 06 March 19
1994
Mode 2 Rombo Vidi screen converted using MicroDesign Plus then loaded into the main MicroDesign program ready for manipulation. This photo shows the Design page - the bottom window which normally displays the current icon set or large font options has been removed (using Ctrl/Shift/Esc) to increase the work area.


Update 9/4/19
A short video showing some simple MicroDesign functions can be found here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5GKEzNZvjQ&t=17s (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5GKEzNZvjQ&t=17s)
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 09:11, 10 June 19
This 27 minute video displays 23 files from MicroDesign Plus users. Some interesting pre 1995 designs here.
Not emulated - original hardware and software.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9vDrmpZKi0 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9vDrmpZKi0)



 
Title: Re: MicroDesign Plus
Post by: ComSoft6128 on 08:13, 24 June 19
This 11 minute video shows various scans (in strip format) from MD Plus users and the Aspects Bulletin Board.
Usually a large hi-res graphic would consist of between 2-4 "strips" which could make up to a full A4 page in size.
Interestingly some of these files do not appear to be hi-res but as I know nothing about the original source
material I can't really comment on them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEA8TeMYSSE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEA8TeMYSSE)