Last updated: 21/09/06
Marcel Kilgus and Tony Tebby laboured long and hard to give the SMSQ/E operating system for Sinclair QLs and compatible systems access to the high colour graphics we have come to expect of modern computer systems. The system is called GD2 or Graphic Device 2 (also known as "colour drivers").
One popular use of modern high colour systems is Wallpaper - using still pictures as a backdrop for your computer screen. And SMSQ/E has a built in facility for displaying screen picture graphics as wallpaper via the BGIMAGE command. Since I enjoy taking pictures with my digital camera and there are plenty of freeware images out there, I started playing with "pretty pictures" on my system, got a bit carried away, and ended up with nearly 4GB of lovely pictures, so I thought why not make a CD or DVD of them and make them available to QLers?
The DVD has hundreds of these pictures in a selection of the most common screen sizes used by QL systems: 512x256 (QL), 640x480 (VGA), 800x600 (SVGA), 1024x512 (Q40/Q60) and 1024x768 (XGA). These are supplied as Windows .BMP graphics files on the CD (so that they can also be used on Windows systems as wallpaper) and come with a program called BMP having fast machine code routines to convert and view the images on an SMSQ/E system - just view the pictures and select and convert just the ones you want, then use a simple BGIMAGE "filename" command to display the appropriate size of screen for your system. Or use whatever wallpaper software you like to use on your system, e.g. Launchpad front end has the facility to load wallpaper images. Just make sure you use the right size of picture for the screen resolution you use for your SMSQ/E system window, as the BGIMAGE command does not scale pictures - use the wrong size and you end up with a horrible mess of a scrambled up picture.
The DVD is available direct from me at a cost of just 10 pounds and is suitable for use on QL compatible systems able to read QXL.WIN file systems (QPC2, QXL, uQLx, QemuLator for Windows and other systems such as Q40/Q60 if you have QXL.WIN reader software such as QCDEZE) and of course on Windows based systems (if you use, say, QPC2 running on Windows you can use the images in both Windows and QPC2). Note that as the total amount of graphics far exceeds what can be put on a CD-ROM (remember the days when 650MB was an unbelievably large storage capacity?), if you are able to use DVD-ROMs, ask for the DVD, otherwise ask for the collection on 6 CD-ROMs. If outside the UK, contact Q-Celt in Ireland or your local QL software supplier to see if they can get hold of a copy for you to avoid currency conversion costs.
There are hundreds of images on the CD and I've made sure I've only included the best pictures I could find, and many were taken by me anyway, so you can be sure there's no rubbish completely out of focus low resolution pictures! The pictures are all freeware - use them at will as long as you don't profit from them! I've put a few sampler images below - click on the one you'd like to download in 800x600 pixel resolution. Internet Explorer users can save the images directly by right clicking on the downloaded images and selecting the Save option, for example, and most browsers will allow you to save the images without fuss. Use these as you wish, they are just a sampler for the entire collection!
Click on the little pictures or on the links beneath them to load the 800x600 jpeg picture. The 800x600 pictures are from 32KB to 160KB in length, so may take a little while to load if, like me, you are on a dial-up internet connection. I'd love to be able to offer more photos for download here, but haven't got the space. As the pictures are freeware, anyone is welcome to put them on their website for free download.
|Fire - a nice warm picture. A simple subject, which makes for a lovely picture.||The canal running through Ironbridge, an area which came to prominence in the early days of the industrial age, now better known for tourism and lovely scenery. The collection includes quite a few tranquil scenery images.||Caernarfon castle and swing bridge. Wales has a rich history and many such castles to visit. One of many pictures I took around where I live.||Picture of Conwy, looking towards its famous castle.|
|Two dolphins - the collection includes a number of great nature pictures like this.||Forget-me-nots - colourful plant pictures are always nice to use as wallpaper. Plants convey a calmness, while I find the colours cheer me up no end!||GD2 colour splash background, one of a number of colourful textured background images supplied. OK, this one is rather bright, but shows how colourful a QL can be these days!||A jaguar, one of the many great pictures of animals included.|
|Bridge and river in Llanrwst, Wales. Llanrwst is a town near to Betws-Y-Coed, a short distance from the A5 route across north Wales and surrounded by lovely countryside.||Llyn Mymbyr lake near Capel Curig, Snowdonia. Snowdonia is a national park in north Wales and an area of outstanding natural beauty. The rugged mountain views are truly stunning. In Wales, we are blessed with scenery and terrain which makes for wonderful photography.||Menai suspension bridge, designed by famous engineer Thomas Telford. One of the two bridges linking mainland Wales and Anglesey. This picture was taken from the Anglesey side of the Menai Straits, looking towards Bangor with the mountains of Gwynedd in the background.||A lovely night-time picture of a canal in a busy city. The collection includes a set of pictures taken at night which make lovely wallpaper images.|
|Llyn Ogwen lake covered in snow and ice! Llyn Ogwen is a reservoir in a mountainous area above Bethesda and Bangor, an area popular with walkers and climbers.||A small steam train at the Lakeside Railway in Llanberis, North Wales.||An eerie moonlight scene! View the moon through a tree at night and get a simple yet very effective image||Sunrise over the north Wales coastline, taken near Tal-y-bont, Bangor. Dawn and dusk are times which conjure up wonderful pictures!|
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