FRACTAL FROLICS by The Fractal Farm Possibly the most devastating response to my recent fractal request came from the appropriately-named Fractal Farm, an outfit consisting of Thomas Rushton who handles algorithms and Jonathan Scott who does the coding. They sent in a C90 packed with stuff, a selection of which is printed below. The first three are pretty short, but the fourth will take a little effort. And look - no hex! Chaos This produces randomly generated fractal patterns, the shapes of which depend on three numbers which are entered when the program is run. These should be between -2 and +2. The guys at the Farm recommend trying phone numbers. For example, 0.01, 0.631 and 0.1433. As with all fractal programs, it takes ages to run but pretty patterns start appearing almost straight away. Crystals This program demonstrates the growth of a crystal using a highly scientific technique which I won't go into now, and it shows (it sez ere) how small imperfections can go on to trigger larger ones. Knock it in and see what happens. Fern A classic example of a naturally occurring fractal is a fern. Each leaf is a replica of the main plant, and branching off from the stem of the leaf are lots of even smaller copies. This means that realistic ferns can be easily drawn on the Speccy, and here's a program to do it. All you have to do is type in a couple of branch angles (0-90 degrees would be sensible) and then wait. Landscapes This is the longest program, probably because it gives the most elaborate results. It draws 3D wire-frame landscapes which can be shaped by altering a range of probabilities. On running the program, a short menu pops up. Pressing 1 or 2 draws a landscape (mini or full) and 3 lets you alter the probabilities. What's happening here is that each x and y value on the grid on which the landscapes are drawn is assigned a probability - the higher the value, the more likely a piece of land will appear on it. There are two screens, one for x values and one for y, which can be swopped between by pressing X and Y. The cursor keys are used to increase or decrease the values at each position up to a maximum limit. The amount of unused probability, as it were, is shown on the right of the screen - it must all be used up before this section can be left. Sounds a bit fiddly, I know, but the results are excellent. The Fractal Farm boys have announced the impending arrival of a second tape-full, so watch this space. All right, you can stop now.