A Nascom computer fitted with the Advanced Video Controller (AVC)
offers tremendous potential for use of graphics, as the many thousands
of owners will now be aware. Use of graphics is made particluarly
simple by the provision of a wide range of instructions for use in ROM
BASIC or Nascom Extended BASIC (XBASIC), and now in Nascom Pascal.
The AVC is fitted as standard to all Nascom and Lucas LX computers
supplied with CP/M as original operating system, and this also
provides in these machines a 25 line by 80 column text display. Up
till now, however, to use the graphics it has been necessary to write
your own programs.
There are many uses of computer graphics in the fields of drawing and
design – technical illustration, layouts, general arrangements,
detailed drawings, manuals, teaching aids etc. Typical minicomputer
based computer aided draughting and design (CAD) systems can cost from
around £30000 to £250000. With LOTTI Nascom Microcomputers has
developed a full-feature, practical low cost design system. A typical
system with all the hardware (including a plotter) and software would
cost under £3000. The AVC is used to produce graphic output on one
(colour or monochrome) monitor, while the second displays command and
menu text generated from the normal Nascom video display. You can
move a cross-hair cursor around the screen using the cursor control
keys, and can specify points, lines, circles, arcs and polygons. Any
shape may be stored on disc and then recalled, either for use in its
own right or to become a part of a larger drawing. Magnification,
rotation and slanting can be performed, and output can be sent to a
matrix graphics printer and plotter.
LOTTI is designed for ease of use and versatility at a very low price.
While the system cannot claim to rival £250000 sytems it does
represent a useful tool for many applications. We are getting a
terrific response to the information released on the product so far,
and a few evaluation copies are out on trial. The first release is
planned for October/November, with further developments to follow.
The package will be on display at Compec, and it is hoped to include a
detailed article in the next issue of Nascom News.