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RM Nimbus GUI for Python

Project description


RM Nimbus GUI for Python


Nimbusinator is a graphical user-interface package for Python that mimicks the graphics and text drivers of the RM Nimbus PC186. It is not an emulation of the Nimbus itself. This means you get the best of both worlds: Cutting-edge Python computing power, beautifully presented in up to 16 colours!

Quick Start Animation

Disclaimer: Nimbusinator is a tribute project and is in no way linked to or endorsed by RM plc.

Read the docs for full details


To implement a Nimbus user interface all you need to do is import the Nimbus and Command classes, like this:

from nimbusinator.nimbus import Nimbus
from nimbusinator.command import Command

Then create one object of each, and bind the Command object to the Nimbus object:

nim = Nimbus()
cmd = Command(nim)

To display the screen, call the boot method on the Nimbus object. By default, you'll see the famous blue "Welcome Screen" before control is released back to your program. To skip the Welcome Screen simply pass the argument skip_welcome_screen=True when calling boot, like this:

# Boot the Nimbus with Welcome Screen
# Boot the Nimbus without Welcome Screen  

Note that the original Welcome Screen reported the memory status of the computer (in kilobytes!), alongside the RM firmware version and machine serial number. Nimbusinator also displays memory status (but in units of Megabytes) and uses your Python version as the firmware version and your OS release number as the serial number. It also uses information from your runtime environment to simulate a short DOS-like boot sequence before finally releasing control back to your application. All the while you can enjoy the dulcet tones of an imaginary floppy drive.

To bring the Nimbus programming experience into the 21st century, the API - although Pythonic - has been modelled on the syntax of RM Basic. For example, in RM Basic to write a greeting in big, red letters in the bottom-left corner of the screen you would use the PLOT command:

PLOT "Hi kittens!", 10, 10 BRUSH 2 SIZE 4

And in Python with Nimbusinator you can write the same instruction like this:

cmd.plot('Hi kittens!', (10, 10), brush=2, size=4)

It is recommended to read the RM Basic manual to get familiar with the original commands and how graphics and text were handled on the Nimbus (see links below).

To cleanly exit your application, call the shutdown method on the Nimbus object:

# Always do this before your app quits:


Nimbusinator is technically cross-platform but there are differences in the way PyGame's dependencies are installed between operating systems. So far I have only tested installation on Ubuntu 19.04 (see below). If you have tested PyGame successfully on other platforms please drop the magic formula in the issues and I'll add it below.

Ubuntu 19.04

# Install dependencies for pygame and simpleaudio:
sudo apt-get install -y python3-dev libasound2-dev python3-setuptools python3-numpy python3-opengl libsdl-image1.2-dev libsdl-mixer1.2-dev libsdl-ttf2.0-dev libsmpeg-dev libsdl1.2-dev libportmidi-dev libswscale-dev libavformat-dev libavcodec-dev libtiff5-dev libx11-6 libx11-dev fluid-soundfont-gm timgm6mb-soundfont xfonts-base xfonts-100dpi xfonts-75dpi xfonts-cyrillic fontconfig fonts-freefont-ttf libfreetype6-dev

# Then activate your Python env and install:
pip install nimbusinator


from nimbusinator.nimbus import Nimbus
from nimbusinator.command import Command

if __name__ == '__main__': 
    # Create and bind nimbusinator objects:
    nim = Nimbus()
    cmd = Command(nim)
    nim.boot()          # Boot the Nimbus
    cmd.set_mode(40)    # Low resolution mode
    cmd.set_border(1)   # Dark blue border
    cmd.set_paper(9)    # Light blue paper
    cmd.cls()           # Clear screen
    cmd.plonk_logo((8, 110))    # Show Nimbus logo
    # Display a message in cyan with shadowing
    cmd.plot('Greetings!!!', (65, 155), size=2, brush=0)
    cmd.plot('Greetings!!!', (66, 156), size=2, brush=13)
    # Wait 5 seconds then shutdown


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