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Charset Editor (Pravetz-8D/Oric Atmos)
Charset Editor (Znakov Redaktor) is an utility, written by Borislav Zahariev, which allows the user to edit the character set of the Oric Atmos computer and instantly preview it on the screen. The program was provided as a type-in listing, at the pages in one of the issues of the first bulgarian computer magazine - "Computer za Vas". It was published for the bulgarian Oric clone, the Pravetz-8D, in an era when the computer was still relatively new and there were not much utilities available for it. The interface is entirely keyboard driven and written in bulgarian. With the I, J, K and M keys, the character for edit can be choosen. E edits the character. Arrows scroll inside the character. Z and X keys set/delete a point respectively. With the A and S keys, a whole line can be drawn/cleared. Q and W keys are for set/delete of whole column. RETURN confirms the character. When the character is confirmed, the resulted edit can be seen on the screen immediately. The editor allows not only the standard charset to be modified, but also the alternative set, which was rarely used on the Oric, mainly for low resolution graphics simulation. After the user have modified all the characters he wants, he can save the result on tape with the press of CTRL-S combination. Or previously saved character set can be loaded with CTRL-L. The program is exited with press of the CTRL-Q combination.
The source code, written entirely in BASIC is very compact and only 91 lines long, including the comments. The program except the editing capabilities, also outputs directly the new defined pattern byte. This values can be written down and used for later in programs, without the need to save the whole character set. Also, the address of the character is shown, so the user can know exactly which cell with what value to POKE in order to have the modified character. Also the characters are shown in grid, where their address can be easily calculated, according to the values written on the rows and the column. When developing for the Oric, I mostly used Personal Paint and later converting the graphics to Oric character set data with my own written programs. But with the Charset Editor, the modified letters are directly previewed on the 8 bit computer screen, which sometime differ from what looks like on the pixel editor screen. Also for multicharacter figures and sprites, the usage of the editor is a plus. The BASIC program can be used for educational and further software development purposes. Despite the availablity of more complex utilites for the Oric and other machines, the Charset Editor is nice historical software piece, preserved for the use of the Oric fans around.
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