Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 7, NO. 1 / MAY 1988

ST Resource

ST Toolbox

Make It Move, Payroll Master

MAKE IT MOVE

Make It Move is an impressive animation design tool, although it is not a drawing program. It lets you define sprite-like objects from NEOchrome or DEGAS .PI1 graphics files. You then can create fairly sophisticated animations with these images.

The package includes two disks containing the programs and a tutorial. Every screen illustration in the 29 page manual is almost too dark to recognize and the manual doesn't tell you how to recode animations on videotape. But it is nicely indexed, and the appendix contains short explanations of each command.

The first program you'll use is OBJECTS.PRG, which lets you select the sprite images for your graphics presentation, but you'll have to draw your artwork before using any of the Make It Move programs. You can load two graphics files into memory at once or use one of the file buffers as a clipboard. Once your artwork is in a file buffer, you select the images with a rectangular "rubber band box" pulled over the desired area of the image. Then you can name each image for reference.

You can change your picture file format easily with OBJECTS.PRG. You can load a NEO file and save it as a DEGAS .PI1 file. Another nice feature is the facility for creating zoom files of a single object. The object can zoom from a small speck to the fullscale image on the horizontal and/or vertical axes. Then you can incorporate the zoom files into your script.

Keep your background simple--it isn't always transparent in your animations. Also, your presentation will use the color palette of the full screen display of your script--which is not necessarily the same as a given object. After you've selected all the objects you want, the file containing them must be stored in a special compressed format which is not the same as the DEGAS Elite compressed format.

Make It Move has very sophisticated scriptwriting facilities. You can display, hide and move your defined objects around the screen at given times, but there's no way to rotate objects other than page-flipping. Make It Move excels in screen wipes and fades. The 13 options range from fading into a given color to digital dissolves in geometric patterns. These options let you create very professional looking productions.

The SCRIPT.PRG program lets you view scripts in segments or in their entirety while constructing your presentation. A separate program, VIEWIT.PRG, lets you view a finished presentation. The VIEWIT.PRG is designed to be copied and distributed for the sole purpose of viewing scripts, but it is not public domain. TOM CASTLE

$59.95, color. Michtron, 576 S. Telegraph Road, Pontiac, MI 48053. (313) 334-5700.

PAYROLL MASTER

I bought an Atari 520ST computer intending to phase out the Apple III that I use at work. My first step was to find a payroll program that does everything the $395 Apple program can do. Royal's Payroll Master not only meets the challenge, but surpasses it. With a retail price of $79.95 and the fact it runs on a stock 520ST, there's no reason not to use Payroll Master for any small to medium-sized business payroll.

The program comes on an unprotected master disk--fantastic, since backup copies are essential. Payroll Master is easy enough that a 350-page manual isn't necessary. If you do have questions, assistance is only a phone call away, and a disk replacement/update service is offered for a minimal charge. The program itself is GEM oriented, and payroll data is memory resident (so execution is fast). Up to 400 employees can be entered.

After a few numbers and mouse clicks, you're done with an employee. You can process everyone, or only selected people. Payroll Master provides user-definable federal, state, city and local tax tables, which you can enter easily. This negates any tax update service (which my Apple needed at over $100 annually). Also, you can add five user-defined deductions. The program supports weekly, biweekly, monthly and semimonthly pay periods, along with hourly, salary and base-plus-commission pay types. Vacation and sick leave are tracked for convenience.

Dragging with your mouse and clicking gives you a check "mask" of your own design so you can use virtually any preprinted paycheck form. Reports included are payroll registers, employee information and month/ quarter/year-end registers. W-2s are printed at the end of the year also.

You can send reports to the printer or a disk file. The "dump report to disk" feature also lets you save the reports as text files. So if you lose your hard copies, you can always bring up the text file for any pay period.

I wish the payroll register was shorter (although I suppose it's possible that I might have missed an obscurely documented alternative format). I need a report with only the check number, employee and net amount, but so much other information is included on this report that it's several pages long. However, I soon learned to overcome this by printing my register report to disk and editing the file before I make a hardcopy.

I also wish that Payroll Master would automatically skip everyone who has already had their paychecks printed for that pay period. I generally have to print checks for different parts of my 40-person staff at different times--and if I just select Print All, duplicate checks for the previously paid employees are printed. In addition, I would sometimes find it helpful if the program had a small ledger system for posting special situations to the accounts involved.

Still, Royal Software has a real winner. Anyone looking to process payrolls effciently, inexpensively and painlessly should look at this program--especially if you have just a single-sided drive and 512K of memory.--FRANK TOMECEK

$79.95. Royal Software, 710 McKinley Street, Eugene, OR 97402. (503) 683-5361.