Contents of the BIGMAN.DOC file
2 Good 4 Words
BSX MANDELBROT SYSTEM
This is not your father's Mandelbrot system
(C) 1988 BSX International
806 Park Ridge Rd.
Durham, NC 27713
BSX's No-License Nonsense Statement!
This software is provided "as is" with no guarantees of any kind. You,
the user, are permitted and encouraged to distribute it and use it freely
with no obligation to pay any fees to BSX International, with the fol-
1) Under no circumstances should you distribute versions of this code
which have been altered in any way without the permission of BSX Inter-
2) Under no circumstances should you remove the copyright notices from
the code or from the documentation which is provided with it.
If you find this program to be a blast, you ought to send along a
806 Park Ridge Rd. Apt. A8
Durham, NC 27713
Make checks payable to Robert Roberds.
All donations welcome. They'll get you a BSX catalog!
BSX'S MANDELBROT SYSTEM
This system contains the following utilities:
BIGMAN.EXE -The complete system.
IBM PC,XT,AT,PS/2 or compatible.
256K RAM at the very least.
8087, 80287, or 80387 numeric copressor.
EGA or VGA card with 256K of memory (for viewing pictures).
Microsoft Mouse or compatible (for viewing pictures).
Pre-Documentation "Don't Panic" Reassurance:
Look, it's real easy. These dox are nice, and you oughtta skim them.
But we gotta tell you: It's a true gut to use BIGMAN.
0. What BIGMAN offers
EGA and mouse support: high resolution and ease of use.
Use of numeric coprocessor for increased speed.
No need for EGA or mouse when computing pictures, so you can use
your stick-in-the-mud boss's monochrome Model 80 to compute pix
when he is not looking, then take the pix home and look at
them on your old EGA 8088 system.
"Zoom in" capability.
Both two- and three-dimensional display of Mandelbrot pictures.
Data compression of pictures takes place "on the fly", eliminating
the need for a lot of scratch disk space.
One hell of a good-looking author (OK, we're strecthing things here).
It's a product of BSX International, which means the user can call us
up and ask any questions at any time, or drop in for a few beers
and some pizza.
Read my lips: No registration fee!
Using BIGMAN is a simple as hell. There is only one program. Just type
and you'll see the "hello" screen. Any keystrike or mouse action will
take you to the main menu. Once here, you'll have seven choices, which
you can select either with the keyboard or the mouse:
1) Create New Picture:
You will be sent to the data entry screen. You must enter the picture
title, the x and y coordinates for the upper left hand corner of the pic-
ture, and the side size for the picture. Of course, the side must be
positive, and the title should just be letters and digits, since it will
be used for a filename (don't use < > . ? ! *, etc.). If you're puzzled
about this x, y, side stuff, then the next section, on the Mandelbrot
set, will explain all.
2) Resume Old Picture:
Here you are given the oppurtunity to resume work on a picture that
you halted computation on before, cuz you desperately needed the computer
to play THEXDER or something. Just pick the filename from the menu, and
it'll chug until completion (or until you halt it again). The .STA file
that accompanies the .DAT file contains all the info BIGMAN needs to
resume where you left off.
After beginning a new picture or resuming an old one, the computation
screen will come up. This will tell you the picture title and the line
most recent of the 640 vertical lines (numbered 0-639) that has been com-
puted. Hit Q if you wish to halt computation before completion, but be
aware that it still won't halt until the current line is done; i.e., it
won't be instantaneous.
Also, we've found that some clueless users have thought that quitting
nuked a picture; that you either have to run one to completion or blow
it off. No no no. A "quitted" program can be resumed where you left off
with the Resume Old Picture option from the Main Menu. So chill out. And
you can view uncompleted pictures just fine, too.
3) Show Picture 2-D:
This option is only available if your system has a 256K EGA or a VGA
video display card and a mouse. Show 2-D puts the picture on the screen
in 640x350 16-color mode. Partial pictures are fine, too. Once the
picture is displayed you can:
GRAB: This is what really allows BIGMAN to blow the freeking doors off
of all the other Mandelbrot systems out there. By clicking the mouse at
the point where you want the top left corner, then dragging the mouse
right and releasing the left button where you want the right side, you
can draw a little box on the picture. If you think that box would make a
pretty cool picture itself, you click on GRAB to make the box's x, y and
side values the defaults the next time you choose Create New Picture. Get
it? This feature lets you zoom in.
EXIT: Kicks you back to the main menu.
4) Show Picture 3-D:
Ever read that stuff about how fractals are the greatest thing since
the Pill and how they can be used to simulate nature? Well, Show 3-D lets
you do just that. It depicts the picture data as a three-dimensional
landscape. Give it a shot. This requires a mouse, too.
EXIT: Kicks you back to the main menu.
5) Change Directory:
This way you can change directory and drive. This is too cool if,
say, you want to look at a file on floppy and then compute one your hard
disk. Or you can change directories on the same disk. Whatever.
This choice will give you a help screen, with most of the above info.
This kicks you back to DOS, where all the fun is.
The pictures and the stats on them (x, y, side,last line done, and title)
are stored in two files, title.DAT (10000-75000 bytes when the pic is
done), and title.STA (less than 50 bytes). KEEP THEM TOGETHER. That's all
you gotta know about the picture files.
Final note of advice: It's easy. Choices are labelled. And remember,
when in doubt, hit ESC.
II. What the Hell IS the Mandelbrot Set?
In the complex number plane lies a really weird set of numbers which,
when repeatedly subjected to the test z:=z**2 + number, never attain a
magnitude greater than 2. There are also numbers near the set which take
a range of iterations before failing the test. By assigning colors to
pixels according to the number of iterations, you can get great looking
pictures. You will be astounded by the infinite complexity and beauty of
this stuff. For a good picture of the whole set, try x=-2.0, y=1.5, and
side=3.0. That should help you get yer bearings. BIGMAN uses a maximum
of 200 iterations, but it can still seem kinda slow. It you don't like
it,do it yerself with a pencil and paper. You'll be whistling a different
tune multo rapido, I can tell you.
A BIGMAN picture is a square in the number plane, though the aspect
ratio makes it a rectangle on the screen. The x coordinate is along the
real axis, the y along the imaginary. The set is a fractal construct, so
the ability to resolve complexity is limited by your computer, not by the
How low can yew go? Well, you have about 15 significant digits or so,
so you oughtta be able to get down to tiny side values, enabling you to
look for great little patterns and hidden messages like "I buried Paul"
or "We Do It Like You'd Do It When We Do It Like We Do It At Burger
King" or "Dan Quayle Could Eat No Tail, His Wife Could Eat No Meat".
III. Examples of How to Use BIGMAN
Ok, say you wanna look at the picture with x=-0.2, y=1.13, side=0.2
(this is a nice one). You start up BIGMAN and select Create New Picture.
The data entry screen comes up. You enter MYPIC for the title (you're
notorious for yer lack of imagination). You enter -0.2, 1.13, and 0.2 for
the x, y, and side. You hit the End key and Bang-Zoom! yer at the compu-
tation screen. It sez Picture being worked on: MYPIC. Under that it
shows the current completed scanline (it mite take a sec for this to
appear). You sit there with a slack expression for a while, then go to
watch a little TV.
"Judas H. Priest!" you are heard to exclaim. "I forgot the boss wants
the figures on the Dingledangle account first thing tomorrow morning! Oh
no oh no oh no." You sprint back to the computer, stepping on the cat's
tail in the process -"Mreeeeeeer!" he hollers- and see that BIGMAN isn't
done yet. RELAX! All you do is hit "q" and the execution halts then and
there, as soon as the current line is done. You choose Exit and get the
When yer done, you decide to go back to BIGMAN. You choose Resume Old
picture and pick MYPIC and it cranks. You can always halt it again.
When MYPIC is done, you wanna look at it. You pick Show Picture 2-D
and select MYPIC. BLIP yer monitor goze into EGA16 mode and here comes
the picture. When it's all drawn out you see a nifty little area that you
think might make a cool picture in and of itself. You click the left
button when the mouse pointer is where you'd like the top left corner.
You pull right and release where you'd like the right side. Easy. You
click on GRAB and hear a little tone. You EXIT. You choose Create New
Picture and see that all you gotta enter is the title (you pick YERPIC)
because the x, y, and side are filled with the coordinates from the box
you made in MYPIC. You hit the End key and Bang-Zoom! yer at the compu-
Oooh, I almost forgot: you can look at a picture which has not been
computed to completion. It just won't fill the whole screen.
Final note: It's real, real easy. We included all this documentation
because that tiny fraction of computer users who are truly clueless might
require it. But for the rest of U, BIGMAN should be a real easy, real
fun and real educational gizmo. Gopher it.
I'd like to thank:
Benoit Mandelbrot -For discovering this stuff.
Vernon Huang -For whining about how little BIGMAN did, until I
buckled down and added his suggestions.
The woman who drives the RX-7 and has really short pants -For reasons
I think you
DGB -Cuz. And I still don't believe there's such a thing as the
"Duke equestrian team". May you always be able to find a dime
when you really need one.
EVERYONE out there who has sent donations to BSX International and its
predecessor, Bigsoft Industries -For making all this possible.
V. Version Update Info
Version 4.1 released 19 Nov. 88. User now prompted to confirm if it
is OK to overwrite an existing picture when its name is given in Create
New Picture. Little window now used for "bad directory" message for the
Change Directory feature. ASM code changed so that it now calculates the
color itself. Color changes made in calculation screen (big deal). The
opening screen now describes BIGMAN as "Public Domain" instead of as
"shareware", because it is. Change directory screen now displays the
current directory. Miscellaneous 4.0 bugs fixed. 3-D drawing speeded
up even more.
Version 4.0 released 18 Nov. 88. Color scheme modified to make geeks
really happy. Data compression used in disk storage. NOTE: Pre-4.0 pic-
tures are incompatible with BIGMAN 4.0. Also, improved checking for lack
of sufficient disk space before beginning or creating new pictures. Oh,
as well; improved (taller) Show 3-D display. 3-D drawing sped up more.
Version 3.0 released 12 Nov. 88. Mouse-only viewing scheme, def**ked
3-D drawing, faster 2-D drawing, Change Directory feature enhanced, and
check made for crowded disk when computing pix. Free disk space is now
displayed at the main menu. Color assignment scheme changed to make geeks
exclaim "Oh, NEET!".
Version 2.0 released 20 October 88. SHOW 3-D mode added, and failsafe
put in to keep program from crashing when clueless fools damage or lose
their .STA files. Opening screen added and help screen altered.
Version 1.2 released 25 July 88. Improved, tightened 8087 ASM code
used for iteration calculations. Speed increase of 15-20%.
Version 1.1 released 27 June 88. Better choice prompting, addition of
Change Directory feature, and addition of BSX ZIP code in help screen.
Also, that odious screen restore thing that caused some systems to hang
until issued a mode co80 has been annihilated.
VI. User Support
Got a question, wanna make a comment, or have you even found a BUG in
BIGMAN? Just call the BSX user support line at (919) 493-4875. This is
a voice number, but if you call and ask we'll be willing to set up the
BSX BBS right away for your filemongering pleasure at that same number.
No, you don't have to be a "registered user" of BIGMAN. We don't require
registration, nor even offer it, because it is a violation of the share-
ware concept. Were PCPursuitable on node NCRTP.
So drop us a line, won't U?
"The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rollah"
Durham, North Carolina
"The taste is gonna move ya when ya pop it in yer mouth."