Reviewed by Ron Collins
I spent the last hour looking over GoDOS with SuperZAP. Sol has done some really amazing things. First, he borrowed from the Coleco SmartBASIC interface just enough to make the system recognizable to our system ROMs and also familiar enough to US for easy use. He has added a massive amount of new command syntax and capability. I saw references to turning speech on and off, setting mouse speed, drawing and erasing circles, blocks, etc. Accessing the colors of text/borders/screens is also a piece of cake now.
Still not enough?
He has added enough other stuff to the software that makes it really useful. My best description of it, based on what I saw with the block editor and my own trials to date is that GoBASIC is a super modified version of SmartBASIC blended expertly with the finest sound and graphics capabilities of LOGO. I think (a proposed) online RLE viewer might be a bit easier to realize under GoDOS. The pull-down menus are also quite nice... as is the ability to change character fonts on demand....
I have finally been able to compare the two programs... GoBASIC and French SmartBASIC+. There is NO comparison! The beta release from Sol and Tony is... astounding!
While you are waiting for GoDOS to become generally available, which should be any day now, you might as well dust off your LOGO tape and play with the demos. Many of the GoBASIC graphics commands are similar to LOGO commands. Remember, "sprites" in Basic are the same entity as "turtles" in LOGO; it's just always been so much more complicated to use them in Basic. That's a thing of the past. The more comfortable you are with LOGO features, such as hiding turtles, rotating them, and changing their shapes, the easier it will be to jump into the GoBASIC sprite-handling commands.
You won't believe how flexible the fonts are, too... you can change fonts to any of six sets already in memory, or you can use your own; and you can easily rotate them, reverse them, or display them in mirror-image, and place them anywhere you like, even scrolling them in windows. I've tried before to describe this, but you just have to see it.
The documentation has been the major holdup in getting GoDOS distributed, and even though TSF has been working steadily on it, it's still on the skimpy side. Knowing Sol and Tony, I am positive that they will write reams about GoDOS and GoBASIC eventually, but at this moment we have to make do with descriptions of the commands (Which is why I really appreciate the early PD releases by other parties!).
The doc files on the commands are thorough and clear, though. We have included in this issue several of the files from the doc disk, so you can get a general idea even before viewing GoBASIC. There are over 300 of them, so we didn't have room for all of them in one issue (We'll run more next month).