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                              Jason Compton 

In a "Who's Who in Amiga Products" list, you probably wouldn't find Todd
Sprague and Tahoe Software recognized among the ranks of Dave Haynie of
Scala and Tim Jenison of Newtek.

But keep in mind that Tahoe's QuickText was only released a few months

QuickText 2.0, so the manual tells us, evolved out of a fairly
straightforward, no-frills video text scroller program written 6 years ago
for a high school TV news program.  It has evolved into a presentation
system in its own right-albeit one a bit rough around the edges.

The working environment of QuickText revolves around layers of "screens",
on which you can place IFF pictures in up to HAM6 (The author tells me
HAM8 support has been added, but it's not in my version) as backgrounds,
add text, change colors, etc.  A background animation can be substituted
for the picture.

Text handling exploits all of the features of the standard Amiga font
system (bold, italic, shadow, etc), but does not extend to specialized
proprietary fonts.  Each text block is catalogued for easy editing after
the fact.  Variables can be used in text blocks and updated in real-time,
most useful for scoreboard displays.

Screens can be added at will, with six standard wipe patterns for
transitions.  Each screen can have its own set of characteristics
(high/low res, interlaced/non, and palette information).  On-screen
doodling is supported, and may be recorded for playback at a later time.
A clock may be brought up on the screen and started/stopped at will.

ARexx support is extensive, offering 61 commands for QuickText's more
useful or repetitive features.

A rather bizarre side feature is the ability to generate stereograms out
of the present screen.

The command box for QuickText is not unlike the system used by Brilliance,
a pulled-down screen that can be dismissed with a right mouse button
click.  Not pretty, but effective, the option layout is logical and gets
the job done.

No, QuickText is no Scala MM300.  There is no support for integrating
sound, for starters.  It does multitask, but does not seem to get along
well with terminal programs (both NComm and Terminus, using any of three
serial devices, cause a system crash if running concurrently with
QuickText.)  The interface could use some polishing as well, as the text
for some buttons bleeds over the edge of the buttons themselves.

At present, the program is NTSC only, although PAL support is imminent.
The machine requirements other than that are bare minimum-a 512k Amiga
with 1.3 will suffice, but of course is not recommended.

QuickText is what it is-a program designed to work best in either a
kiosk-video board environment, or as an effect and title generator
combined with a genlock (hence scoreboard and clock, and text scroll
options).  Based on the demo disk and videotape, I have no doubts that in
the right hands, QuickText can become a powerful tool for these ends-and
if you bring your own soundtrack, for generating presentations as well.

Tahoe offers a demo disk and short demo tape.  Contact them for details,
or grab the demo disk from any Aminet site, in biz/demo, as

QuickText 2.0 is US$60.

Tahoe Software, Etc.
PO Box 9236
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158
(800) 939-4919 voice (US only)
(916) 649-8935 voice