The Resource Creator

The AMOS Professional interface provides a vast range of facilities for generating attractive dialogue boxes and selectors on the screen. These items can be created from a set of pre-defined components held in a "resource bank". The Interface normally uses the existing resources assigned to the Editor screen, and all of these graphics and messages can be accessed immediately.

In addition to these resources, there is an invaluable Resource Creator available on the Accessories Disc, allowing you to define your own messages and import your own graphics from any IFF picture. It is even possible to replace the Editor screen with your own customised version!

The standard resources are held in the "AMOS_System/AMOSPro.Editor_Resource" file, and they are loaded automatically when AMOS Professional loads. If this file is replaced by your own version, the appearance of the Editor screen will be transformed, but please take care. The sizes and positions of all the Editor objects must remain as set, or your personalised Editor will not work! Prepare for accidents by keeping a copy of the original resources somewhere safe before you make any changes.

The Resource Creator Main Menu

On entry to the Resource Creator, a simple Main menu screen is presented, which can be moved anywhere over the current display by dragging its title zone with the left mouse button. Here is a list of the Main Menu options.

[Create New Bank]
This erases the current resource bank, and removes the source picture from memory.

[Load Bank]
When this option is selected, a file selector is opened, and a request is made for a filename. This new resource bank can now be loaded into memory. If graphic elements have previously been defined in the bank, their original source picture will be loaded automatically. If this file is not available from the current disc, you will be asked to insert the appropriate disc. Obviously, it is sensible to keep the resource and image files on the same disc, and avoid the tedious process of swapping over discs.

[Grab Bank]
There is an automatic facility for grabbing a Resource Bank, and this is explained at the end of this Chapter.

[Save Bank]
This option is used to save a resource bank as an ".Abk" file on the disc. The file can then be loaded into the main AMOS Professional program, and allocated to an Interface program with a simple call to the RESOURCE BANK command.

[Save Bank As]
This saves the existing resource bank under a new name.

[Edit Graphic Elements]
All the components used to construct the objects on the screen are created here. These objects can be displayed subsequently using the LIne, BOx and UNpack commands from an Interface program. You may also use the RESOURCE UNPACK instruction from the main AMOS Professional program. This option offers a working screen and sub-menu, which is fully explained below.

[Edit Text Strings]
This is used to enter the list of text strings that are to be used for the various on-screen messages. These messages can be accessed using the MEssage function from an Interface program, or the AMOS Professional RESOURCE$ option. A full explanation of the text editing options appears below.

This will discard the current resource bank completely, and return to AMOS Professional. If any changes have been made, you will be asked to confirm your actions before being allowed to quit.

Editing Graphic Elements

Resource elements can be grabbed directly from a normal IFF screen. Any screen can be used for this purpose, including Hires and interlace mode screens. When the [Edit Graphic Elements] option is chosen, a selection box appears containing all of the current objects displayed on screen, with a summary of information about each one. The format of this summary is as follows:

Item-no            - Type             : Size

The item-no refers to the index number of the object that has been created, the type is one of four possible categories of object, described next, and the size of the object is given as explained below.

The four possibilities for the category of object are an element, a horizontal line, a vertical line or a box. There follows a brief explanation of each of these types of resource objects.

This is a simple picture that can be displayed on the screen by using the UNpack command. The width of a resource element must be at least eight pixels, and it may be increased by multiples of eight only. The height of an element can be as tall as required.

Horizontal Line
Resource lines are constructed by arranging a group of three components on screen. One component represents the Start of the line, another the Middle and the third is for the End of the line. Each element is made up of at least eight pixels, and since there are three different components, the Resource Creator will only allow you to grab these lines in steps of 8*3, or 24 units wide. Obviously, only one each of the Start and End components is possible, and AMOS Professional will repeat the Middle section of the line automatically.

So if you think of the Start, Middle and End components as being represented by their initial letters, the horizontal line could be displayed in any of the following ways:


Vertical Line
These are similar to their horizontal equivalents, except that vertical lines are displayed from top to bottom rather than from left to right. So if the three components are represented as Start, Middle and End, they would appear like this:


Boxes are simply a rectangular arrangement of the components of lines. Each box is constructed from nine separate images that may be used to generate a great variety of different shapes. Look at the following schematic diagram:

123 first line of Box
456 second line of Box
789 third line of Box

If you remember how the Middle component of a line can be repeated, the above components could be reconstructed to create a Box like this:


Creating an Object

When you click on the name of an object in the selection window, it becomes highlighted. A flashing panel will now appear over the image of the highlighted object on the screen.

When creating an object it is important to note down the various definitions. This written reminder will be invaluable when you return to AMOS Professional and try to use the new objects in a real Interface program!

Here are the options for creating an object:

[Grab One Element]
The source picture is brought to the front of the display, and you may now position the pointer over any selected part of the picture to create an item by clicking on a corner of the area to be grabbed and dragging a box around it, using the left mouse button. When this button is released, the box can be positioned directly over the object, using the mouse. Another click on the left mouse button grabs it into memory.

As you work, an instant read-out of the current settings is given, making it easy to fine-tune objects to their optimum size. Mistakes are of no importance, and you may abort the operation at any time by pressing the right mouse button. Please note that the colour of the highlighted box can be changed by pressing the [Spacebar] key. The colour shift becomes visible when you next move the mouse.

Once an object has been grabbed in this way, it will be added to the list of elements in the selection window. If you click on it, it will be shown on the screen at its current position, enclosed by a flashing bar.

[Grab Horiz Line]
This option is used to grab a group of three elements for the Start, Middle and End components of a horizontal line. All that needs to be done is to drag a box around the line, as explained above, and the Resource Editor will take care of everything else automatically. The line will be divided into the three components and stored in the memory bank accordingly. It can now be called directly with a LIne command to generate lines of any length.

Since each line is created in the manner that is explained above, the width of the line must be an exact multiple of 24. The Resource Editor will take this into account when objects are grabbed, but there are no such limitations with regard to the original position of your horizontal lines. These can be grabbed from any part of the source picture.

[Grab Vert Line]
Similarly, this grabs three elements for a vertical line. As with horizontal lines, the entire process is automated. Simply position the mouse pointer over the top left-hand corner of the proposed line, hold down the left mouse button and drag a box around the required image. When the button is released, you may re-position the box as required, and click once again on the left mouse button to load it into memory.

Note that the width of vertical lines must be a multiple of eight, and that the height must be divisible by three. This is managed by the Resource Creator automatically, so there is no danger of grabbing a wrongly dimensioned line.

[Grab a Box]
Similarly, use this option to grab a group of nine component elements to make up a box. The box can then be displayed using a BOx command from an Interface program. The width of this box may be increased in steps of 24, and the height must be an exact multiple of three.

This returns you to the Main menu.

Use this option to delete the currently highlighted element, which will be removed from the selection window.

This erases all resource graphics elements from memory, and you will be asked to confirm you decision before proceeding.

[Change Picture]
You are allowed to change the source picture without changing the position of the various elements, on condition that the new image must be exactly the same size as the original picture.

Editing text strings

To end this guided tour of the Resource Creator facilities, the options provided by [Edit Text Strings] are examined.

This sub-menu allows you to enter a list of pre-defined standard messages into the Resource Bank. These messages can then be accessed from an Interface program using the MEssage command, or from a main AMOS Professional program, with a RESOURCE$ instruction.

The Text String menu contains a large selection window that can be scrolled vertically, using the slider bar on the right-hand side. Each item can be individually selected with the mouse, and edited directly on the screen.

The [CLEAR] button erases all message strings from memory, whereas [EXIT] will return you to the Main menu.

Entering a new text string is extremely easy, and the following steps should be taken:

The editing of text strings takes place in an attractive dialogue box, and characters are typed using all of the normal editing commands.

To save your new text into memory, press the Return key twice.

The following keyboard short-cuts have been assigned to these operations, to make the editing of text strings even faster:

ReturnReplace the existing text string at the current position by new text, completely erasing the original entry.
F1Insert text into a new position in the list, moving all of the existing entries one place down.
DelErase the current line and completely remove it from the message list.
EscAbort the operation and return to the selection window.

Automatic Bank grabbing

Similarly to the Sample Bank and Object Bank editors, AMOS Professional provides an automatic method of grabbing a bank with the Resource Creator. Supposing you are working on a program, and you decide to create a Resource Bank. The following steps should be followed:

The advantage of this automatic system is that it very fast, because it suppresses the saving of a bank from the edited program, the need to load and save it from the Editor and then re-load it from the edited program.