BBC PD Menu Creation Utility

By Dave E

Originally published in EUG #67


The BBC PD Menu Creation Utility is a rather small BASIC program that will build an on-screen menu for you, in the BBC PD style, and then save it as a Mode 1 picture file.

"What use is that?" you may ask. Well, the program is somewhat unique in that it uses a very small font, and it produces a two-column display. Therefore, with a few adaptations to what is displayed on screen, you could use it for any of your own discs which are stuffed full of games and utilities.

We recommend following the short brief instructions to understand what the program does, and how it does it, then experimenting with the final picture produced, rather than playing about with the program itself.

Upon loading, the program gives you six options. Enter Data, Load Data, Save Data, Enter Centred Title, Enter Filename, or Create Screen.

1. Enter Data

This is the option for creation of a whole new menu system. You need to have made a list of the titles of all of the titles of the programs on your disc, and you need to have a minimum of 30 files. (Other than that you would not need to use this utility to build a small menu and it would be better to poach a menu from EUG or a similar disc!)

Select this option and simply follow the on-screen prompts to build up your menu, pressing the Z and X keys to advance or decrease the entry selected. Press RETURN to edit any entry. Press F to return to the main menu.

The program will allow you to enter long program names, but it is best to try and keep them short else the menu created can end up looking messy.

2. Load Data

If you have already created your list of programs using the Enter Data option then you can load it in, providing you have saved it of course, using this option. You will be asked for the filename and need to type it in to continue.

3. Save Data

Once you have entered the data for your menu screen, we would recommend saving it with this option before continuing. Once you have decided to Create Screen, the program will 'lose' all of your data if you do not do so. When you choose to save, a file will be created on Drive 0 simply containing all the information you have typed in. This file can then be re-loaded back into the program using the Load Data option. The file is not needed for the created menu and once you are happy that a screen has been created to your satisfaction, you can *DELETE it from the disc.

4. Enter Centered Title

The title of the disc (e.g. GAMES #1) can be entered here, and will be prominently displayed at the head of the created menu. This information is not saved so needs to be done afresh if you have used the Load Data option to load in previously saved data.

5. Enter Filename

This is the name of the screen (e.g. $.MENUB) which will be created on Drive 0 after the screen has been constructed. This information is not saved so needs to be done afresh if you have used the Load Data option to load in previously saved data.

6. Create Screen

Select this final option to create the menu screen with all of the information you have inputted. The screen usually takes approx. 1 minute to build up. You may find that the ultimate screen has a few titles which overlap from one column to another which of course does not look very professional and which you will probably want to change. If so, restart the program (because you remembered to Save Data before building up the screen, didn't you?) and put in abbreviated versions of these titles.

After the screen is finished, press SPACE to save it to disc. It will be specified with the filename you entered under Enter Filename.

The program is a bit rough and ready and may be improved in the future but I suspect that even in its current form it will be of use to more than a few people out there!