SkoolKit 8.2 has been released. Please pop along to the download page, the Python Package Index, the Ubuntu PPA, or the Fedora copr repo to pick up a copy (no mask required).

First up in the list of new features worth talking about is the ability of to produce call graphs. Supplied with a snapshot and a control file, it will spit out a DOT file that can be converted into an image by Graphviz (for example). So if you’ve ever longed for a pictorial representation of which routine calls what in your favourite game, 8.2 might be just what you were looking for.

Still on the subject of, that command has also picked up the ability to read raw memory files, and to read configuration from skoolkit.ini. And still on the subject of call graphs, the new @refs directive (not to be confused with the old !refs skool directive in SkoolKit 1.x) may come in handy for declaring relationships between routines that cannot deduce on its own, i.e. where one indirectly jumps to another.

Elsewhere, the family of SMPL macros has grown by three: #LET defines an integer or string variable that can be accessed via a replacement field; #FORMAT performs a Python-style string formatting operation on a format string containing replacement fields; and #DEFINE defines a new skool macro.

“But we already have @replace for creating new macros!” I hear some of you cry. That is indeed true, and you may carry on using @replace for that purpose, if you wish. But I would urge you to consider using #DEFINE as well, for two reasons in particular. First, with #DEFINE you can define a new macro named #ONE, say, and then define another new macro (#TWO, say) in terms of #ONE. (Try doing that with @replace; it’s tricky, if not impossible.) Second, macros defined by #DEFINE accept replacement fields in their integer arguments, which means you can easily use variables defined by #LET in their parameter strings. If that’s not enough to at least make you want to learn more about the power of #DEFINE, then I don’t know what is.

Finally, the image macros (#FONT, #SCR, #UDG and #UDGARRAY, in case you’d forgotten) now have tindex and alpha parameters for specifying an alternative transparent colour and opaqueness factor on a per-image basis (overriding the defaults). Meaning that even unmasked images can now be given a transparent background.

Of course there are other changes in this release, but we’re out of time here, so you should head over to the changelog if you’re interested. When you’re done, I strongly recommend taking #DEFINE for a spin, and seeing whether it really can put @replace to shame.