Mathtest History

Mathtest 1.0 screen shot
The "TEST" explodes in Version 1.0.
Here are some brief notes on the history of Mathtest.

Mathtest began as a little GW-BASIC project when I was just done with 5th Grade. The game consisted of a text screen which posted a multiplication problem, and then a CGA graphics screen where the player had to hit the "TEST" with a flashing block. This game element of Mathtest has remained to today's version; hence, the idea of hitting the word "TEST" came from a 5th Grade perspective.

I re-vamped Mathtest 1.0 a couple of years later when I was at Jason Lee Middle School in Tacoma, WA. Still written in GW-BASIC, it now displayed a title page, and let the user choose multiplication or division. More sound and music was added. Since I remembered how much I liked Davidson's Math Blaster from 4th Grade at Grant Elementary, the user interface of some parts of Mathtest 1.0 looked similar. By the time of completion, I ported Mathtest to QuickBasic 2.0.

Mathtest 1.0 screen shot
Mathtest 1.0 title screen
At this time, I was getting interested in Shareware software. This was the time that dozens of Shareware companies sent out catalogs for all the latest user-supported software for $5 a 360K disk. My favorite was Public Brand Software. I was interested in submitting Mathtest for Shareware distribution.

So, Mathtest 2.00 was written in QuickBasic 2.0 and completed around my Freshman year at Stadium High School, 1990. This new version used a proportional font generator that I had just finished writing, which seemed to make the user interface look better. (Much of that font generator still exists in Version 3.6.) Bitmapped graphics animated five different "TEST" explosions, and I added the laser blaster on the hill game. I also made a registered user's manual with First Publisher and printed it on my 9-pin dot-matrix printer.

Then, during my Freshman year at Pacific Lutheran University, Mathtest 2.0 was becoming quite useless because it was targeted for machines ranging from 4.77-MHz XT PC's to 25-MHz 386 SX machines. It ran too fast on my 40-MHz 386. So, using an interrupt timer handler, I got Mathtest 3.0 to run at the same speed on any PC. I used QuickBasic 4.5 to write Mathtest 3.0 and changed the graphics to display in 16 colors.

Mathtest 3.5 featured an improved user interface, a practice mode, and drill modes which, by default, displayed several math problems before a game appeared. In addition, Mathtest 3.5 was freeware rather than Shareware.

A couple of Mathtest users made great suggestions for improvements to make Mathtest more useful. As a result, Mathtest 3.6 has a revised method for keeping track of scores, a review mode, and larger numbers.

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