It IS possible, believe it or not, to become so jaded with the screen drawing process, so familiar with the types and options, that you just want to hit a key and do something else until the final images are safe on disk. To do this, start Fractint with the BATCH=yes parameter. To set up a batch run with the parameters required for a particular image you might:
Another approach to batch mode calculations, using "FILENAME=" and resume, is described later.
When modifying a parameter file entry generated by the [B] command, the only parameters you must add for a batch mode run are "BATCH=yes", and "VIDEO=xxx" to select a video mode. You might want to also add "SAVENAME=[name]" to name the result as something other than the default FRACT001.GIF. Or, you might find it easier to leave the generated parameter file unchanged and add these parameters by using a command like:
fractint @myname.par/myentry batch=y video=AF3 savename=mygif
"BATCH=yes" tells Fractint to run in batch mode -- that is, Fractint draws the image using whatever other parameters you specified, then acts as if you had hit [S] to save the image, then exits to DOS.
"FILENAME=" can be used with "BATCH=yes" to resume calculation of an incomplete image. For instance, you might interactively find an image you like; then select some slow options (a high resolution disk video mode, distance estimator method, high maxiter, or whatever); start the calculation; then interrupt immediately with a [S]ave. Rename the save file (fract001.gif if it is the first in the session and you didn't name it with the [X] options or "savename=") to xxx.gif. Later you can run Fractint in batch mode to finish the job: fractint batch=yes filename=xxx savename=xxx
"SAVETIME=nnn" is useful with long batch calculations, to store a checkpoint every nnn minutes. If you start a many hour calculation with say "savetime=60", and a power failure occurs during the calculation, you'll have lost at most an hour of work on the image. You can resume calculation from the save file as above. Automatic saves triggered by SAVETIME do not increment the save file name. The same file is overwritten by each auto save until the image completes. But note that Fractint does not directly over-write save files. Instead, each save operation writes a temporary file FRACTINT.TMP, then deletes the prior save file, then renames FRACTINT.TMP to be the new save file. This protects against power failures which occur during a save operation - if such a power failure occurs, the prior save file is intact and there's a harmless incomplete FRACTINT.TMP on your disk.
If you want to spread a many-hour image over multiple bits of free machine time you could use a command like: fractint batch=yes filename=xxx savename=xxx savetime=60 video=F3 While this batch is running, hit [S] (almost any key actually) to tell fractint to save what it has done so far and give your machine back. A status code of 2 is returned by fractint to the batch file. Kick off the batch again when you have another time slice for it. When the savetime parameter is negative, Fractint will save the image after the requested time and exit. This is useful in batch files where you want to generate several images with a time limit on each image.
While running a batch file, pressing any key will cause Fractint to exit with an errorlevel = 2. Any error that interrupts an image save to disk will cause an exit with errorlevel = 2. Any error that prevents an image from being generated will cause an exit with errorlevel = 1.
The SAVETIME= parameter, and batch resumes of partial calculations, only work with fractal types which can be resumed. See "Interrupting and Resuming" for information about non-resumable types.