Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Sweating the small stuff

Posted by Trixter on January 13, 2008

I formally committed to a talk at Block Party 2008 and informally committed to a wild compo entry.  The former I must deliver on; the latter I want to deliver on.  I’m just so high-strung about both that I’m not so sure about the latter.

My idea for a wild compo entry was an old-school style megademo for a stock IBM PC with CGA.  (To date, there has been only one, by Sourcerers, back in 1989.)  By “stock”, I mean no hard drive, no sound blaster… just a floppy drive and the PC speaker.  But nothing is as simple as it sounds, and so I find myself in the following thought process:

  1. A megademo will need sound, or else it will not impress.
  2. The sound engine must not impact the onscreen full-framerate effects, and must use the PC speaker.
  3. The only type of sound engine that could do such a thing is a simple arpeggiator.
  4. There are no trackers that can write or play such music, especially using 60Hz as a timebase (most MOD-style trackers use 50Hz).
  5. I will have to create such a playback engine, and hope I can optimize it to work in a handful of scanlines.
  6. I must write a tracker to create the data that will be used to test such an engine.

So tonight I found myself writing a PC Speaker tracker.  I’m calling it “BeeperTracker” so that the initials can be “bt” to deliberately avoid being called “st” because that would be sacrilegious. Tonight’s accomplishment? Spending 2 hours writing docs (planning) and 1 hour populating a frequency table with the twelfth root of 2.

I’m so screwed.

2 Responses to “Sweating the small stuff”

  1. holograph said

    Sounds like fun :-)

  2. phoenix said

    if you manage to keep yourself unstrung and get beepertracker close enough to done, you know i’m all about contributing music (and ideas). here’s hoping you pull through!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: