Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for January 12th, 2009

The Next Big Thing

Posted by Trixter on January 12, 2009

As some followers of a certain thread on pouet might have guessed, the MindCandy crew has started production on MindCandy 3.  This time around we’re mixing the familiar with the unfamiliar:  We’re revisiting the PC — specifically Windows  — but unlike any other demoscene project, we’re doing it all in HD.  That’s right:  MindCandy 3 will be Blu-Ray.

Oh, we’re going to make a DVD available as well, don’t worry.  In fact, we’re tossing around the idea of including the DVD in with the BD, so that there’s only one package to get and you can enjoy the BD when you eventually upgrade your hardware.  Nobody gets left in the cold, and the demos get the proper treatment they deserve.  And it’s one hell of a treatment; thanks to kkapture, we’re able to get clean and pure video from most demos, 60 frames per second, at 720p.  For those who hate interlacing artifacts, this is the fastest progressive video specification HD supports. For some demos (like Into The Pink), the video exceeds what most 2008 machines are capable of.

Work on MindCandy 3 actually began before MindCandy 2 was finished.  In mid-2003, a good friend of the project, Steinar H. Gunderson, worked with us to create “demorender”, which did exactly what it said it did:  Hooked DirectX 8 and 9 calls to grab the data from a frame, dump it through a VFW codec, and then continue, all the while faking the timer so that the demo would be fed a constant timebase.  We were able to capture around 50% of the demos out there when ryg announced kkapture in 2006 and we found that, right off the bat, kkapture did everything our tool did.  We weren’t ready to begin MC3 at that time — and farbrausch is, well, farbrausch — so Steinar contributed the source code of demorender to ryg to fill in a hole or two in kkapture (I believe it was in .wav writing or something but I’d have to check the sources to be sure).

Fast-forward to 2008, and we start to get the MindCandy bug again.  We were in the middle of tossing around ideas to cover, when Blu-Ray finally won the HD format war, and we took that as a sign that that’s what we should target.  The first MindCandy, which was in production from 2000 to 2002, came right at the cusp of the DVD revolution; it was the right product at the right time, and as a result, it did well and the demoscene gained some new converts.  We’re at another cusp:  HD video.  We’re excited to work in that medium and we hope that we can live up to the standards set by MC1 and 2.

While the www.demodvd.org website will remain and start to get updated as we get rolling, I’m moving the Developer’s Blog over here, because this space is an actual blog and not some Python code I slapped together.  I’ll tag them appropriately, for those who want to follow only MindCandy development.

Because part of capturing HD material is making sure you have an HD monitor, I have one now.  Unfortunately, I can’t stand how my 1920-wide window displays a 640-wide skinny little blog in the center, so I will be checking wordpress.com every week to see if they have a theme available with a flexible width that doesn’t royally suck.

Posted in Demoscene, Digital Video, Entertainment, MindCandy | 12 Comments »