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An illuminating experience

Illuminatus is a new multimedia authoring package from RM which can be used to create sophisticated on-screen productions. Typically a multimedia production consists of a number of "pages" which may be linked together in various ways. Each page can contain text, pictures, sounds, animations or video clips in any combination, all of which may be created from scratch or imported from other packages such as CD-Rom encyclopedias or clip-art collections.

Illuminatus is a powerful package which runs only on the more modern machines. Because it has so many options, children using it will require substantial support in the early stages of their learning curve. It would thus be nice if there were simplified versions of the software (like the green, yellow, red and blue "layered" versions of many other of the programs in RM's Windowbox PCs) to give greater support and to limit the options available to beginners.

The package is well organised with a page-view screen for planning the structure of the production. There, an icon is created for each page and each icon is numbered to facilitate navigation.

Once the structure has been set up, double clicking on the icon for any page opens a window where the layout is designed. This involves adding frames of text or pictures, and buttons to move between pages, activate sounds or animations or end the show.

Since the package relies on importing files it is necessary for users to have a good understanding of the Nimbus file-handling. This could limit its accessibility for most pupils, let alone their teachers. Perhaps Windows95, when it arrives, will resolve this problem.

* Illuminatus

Special education version from Research Machines Multimedia authoring program on3.5-inch discs for Research Machines and IBM and compatible computers. Requires Multimedia PC(486 preferred) but will playback on a 386. Pounds 89Research Machines, Hitchin Court, New Mill House, 183 Milton Park, Abingdon 0X14 4SE.Tel: 01235 826000

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