Features of Version 3.0
17 different fractal types, including 11 Mandelbrot/Julia pairs and Lindemayer Systems
Divide and conquer algorithms, with fixed point arithmetic
Zoom animation and Julia Set morph batch processing
3-Dimensional Mandelbrot and Julia landscapes
480, 16 colour palettes
Simple but effective image compression
Around 1988, the Fractal Engine started out as a collection of disorganised programs that lacked much in the way of user interfaces. After attending a lecture given by Benoît B. Mandelbrot at the Arnolfini art gallery in Bristol, Daniel W. Grace and Mike B. Harris were inspired to develop a complete Fractal drawing package that gave the user the ability to create their own zoom animation sequences. Written using GFA Basic the software was eventually released as shareware in 1993 appearing on the cover of ST Format issue 42 (from Future Publishing) in January that year. The following month ST Format gave the engine another public appearance with pictures on the front of the magazine and sample zoom pictures inside. Daniel and Mike lacked the time to continue any serious development of the Fractal Engine due to study commitments.
Later however, letters began to trickle in and Daniel found the time to develop a second version also the engine made a third appearance in ST Format (issue 51) in an article on chaos and fractals. Adding new features and addressing some of the short falls of the Atari ST by using 68000 assembler Daniel eventually developed the Fractal Engine v3.0. Due to the lack of interest in the Atari ST it was largely left on the shelf. Mike went on to do his final year project at University of West of England, re-writing some of the Fractal Engine code using C++ under the X-Windows systems. Meanwhile Daniel organised a place at University College Dublin in Ireland so that he could learn how to apply his mathematical and computer skills to business management.
Aside from the 16 colour hardware limitation of the Atari ST. There is one known but rather unfortunate bug in the Fractal Engine that prevents the display of long animation sequences on certain Atari machines/versions of the operating system. This was never resolved as we never got the chance to properly test out the animation on an ST with enough memory.
Here is what some of our users had to say about the Fractal Engine (for reasons of personel privacy we have decided not to give the persons full name.)
"I have been searching for a prog like this for 2 years, ..." Mr W. London.
"Congratulations on producing what I consider to be the best Fractal Generator for the ST." Mr P. Bath.
"I must confess to being very impressed with the program indeed, ...I am therefore sending you ten poundingtons." Mr G. Cambridge.
"I enjoy exploring the world of Fractals and your superb program has proved a valuable addition to my collection." Mr N. Nuneaton.
"Thanks for sending me the F.E.B.2 program, ...most definitely worth the wait." Mr N. Cambridge.
"Have been using your fractal generator ...to great effect." Mr S. West Sussex
"It is going to take a little while before I get completely familiar with the program, but the quality of your programming really shows." Mr C. Liverpool.
"I've not yet come to terms with the palette manipulation - as an octegenarian my thought processes are on the leisurely side - but I'll get there eventually and am having fun doing so!" Mr L. Merseyside.