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September 94 - LETTERS


The column by Brigham Stevens on game development in develop Issue 17 refers to a Game Development folder on the Bookmark 17 CD. I was unable to locate the folder. Is it me, or was there a production glitch?

Also, is the folder the same one that was on the February Developer CD?
-- Bob Boonstra

There was a production glitch. The folder was on Issue 16's Bookmark CD but was inadvertently removed from Issue 17's CD. We have since restored it (it's in the Tools & Applications folder). We also got the name wrong: it's Games, not Game Development.

And yes, it's the same folder as the one on the Developer CD. The Bookmark CD always contains a subset of the Developer CD Series. Happy gaming!
-- Dave Johnson

In Issue 17 you ask why so many applications lack common sense, and then you go on to list a number of annoyances caused by bad designs. I agree that the items mentioned could be better handled, but I have a similar complaint with develop!

develop , shipped on CD-ROM with Apple DocViewer, is a software product that's produced like a printed document. Things like double-columned pages are extremely difficult to read on a standard Macintosh 13-inch monitor -- you have to scroll down the entire page as you read a single column and then scroll back up and repeat the process. While this orientation makes sense on a printed page, it really bites on my 13-inch monitor. Also, develop is nearly unreadable with its serif typefaces, italics, etc.

Right now you're probably shaking your head and saying that you don't have the money to produce two versions of develop -- one for print and one for CD. If so, then you also know why so many applications lack common sense!
-- Brooks Bell

Certainly time and money do enter into design decisions, even at Apple. But there are still a lot of cases where common sense could be followed without a big hit to the schedule or pocketbook.

Regarding your problem with viewing the CD version of develop on a 13-inch screen, you might try DocViewer's "text" view (the icon in the tool bar that looks like a sheet of paper with writing, just to the left of the scaling pop-up menu). This view gets rid of all special formatting such as double columns. You can still look at illustrations, by clicking the Open button next to the figure caption.

In text view you can change the font size and type of any structural part of the document, using the Format command in the Edit menu. For example, you can choose Body in the Format dialog and change the font of all the body text. (In the normal view, the scaling pop-up menu can be used to magnify everything.)

Thanks for writing and giving us the opportunity to provide these tips. We welcome all gripes!
-- Caroline Rose

The Macintosh Q&A section of develop Issue 16 stated that there's no way to do an automatic checksum digit insertion using QuickDraw GX's glyph metamorphosis tables. I haven't read much about QuickDraw GX's 'mort' tables, but I do know finite state tables. It's quite feasible to build a 12-state table that will generate a checksum digit for a digit-string of any length.The key is to make the checksum be calculated dynamically instead of at the end. This reduces the required number of states to ten, plus beginning and end, which is well within the limits of QuickDraw GX.
-- Mark Cogan Developer Wannabe

You're quite right; you can indeed use morph tables to generate checksums. Other cyclic kinds of calculations are also possible; for example, a morph table could be set up to do pseudo-random selection of letterforms from a font that was designed with five variant forms of A-Z and a-z. When a letter is encountered, it would be replaced with its version from one of the sets. But regardless of the specific glyph, each time a glyph is processed the state advances and eventually loops back to the starting state. This is in general the template for how cyclic effects can be implemented with the QuickDraw GX morph tables.
-- Dave Opstad GX Line Layout Weenie

Regarding Dave Johnson's bio in Issue 16: He's not the only one who plays with the cursor while waiting for the Mac. Here are some other silly things to do:

  • Try to fit the watch inside an empty horizontal scroll bar. It always overlaps one of the lines, either the top or bottom one, so if you move that single pixel that alternates between them, the watch seems to be slipping on its wrist belt.
  • While installing the system, position the counting hand so that it's just touching a horizontal line. Don't overlap the line, and the hand will seem to be cut from its owner, instead of being a ghost unterminated hand.
-- Javier Guerra G.

Dave is not alone in doing watch-cursor push-ups and pull-ups. My personal favorite activity here is trying to find a place where I can do both at once. I remember that the old Font/DA Mover has a spot between two buttons where you can do that nicely.
-- Maarten Hazewinkel

Hot Dawg! I knew there were others out there doing the watch cursor thing. I've heard from a half dozen or so; it's a lot more common than I thought.

I remember doing that with the old Font/DA Mover, too. The progress bar during long Finder operations also worked well. (Nowadays we have movable modal progress windows, so the watch cursor is gone -- the price of progress.)

Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!
-- Dave Johnson

develop is an inspiring magazine. The layout is clean yet warm and inviting. The articles are relevant and the authors are knowlegeable.

The on-line issues of develop are invaluable. This is the best on-line documentation I have seen, period. The articles look great -- just like the magazine. And searching and setting filters is fast. Microsoft's CD comes with a lot of files, but most of it is old, irrelevant, and ugly to read.

I sure appreciate your effort.
-- Brent Foust

We can't thank you enough for taking the time to write. Letters like this keep us going, in more ways than one. We hope you're as happy with the recent changes to our layout; please let us know if not.-- Caroline Rose

WE'RE DYING TO HEAR FROM YOU We welcome timely letters to the editors, especially from readers reacting to articles that we publish in develop . Letters should be addressed to Caroline Rose (or, if technical develop -related questions, to Dave Johnson) at Apple Computer, Inc., One Infinite Loop, M/S 303-4DP, Cupertino, CA 95014 (AppleLink CROSE or JOHNSON.DK). All letters should include your name and company name as well as your address and phone number. Letters may be excerpted or edited for clarity (or to make them say what we wish they did). *


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