Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

Archive for the ‘Demoscene’ Category

Dev journal, day 30

Posted by Trixter on May 30, 2014

Dev journal, day 30

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Dev journal, day 22

Posted by Trixter on May 22, 2014

Dev journal, day 22

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Dev journal, day 20

Posted by Trixter on May 20, 2014

image

Right first time. Awesome.

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Dev journal, day 19

Posted by Trixter on May 20, 2014

Dev journal, day 19

Before you ask, this *IS* a bug. Always make sure your pointers are normalized, kids!

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Dev journal, day 14

Posted by Trixter on May 14, 2014

1E            PUSH    DS
0E            PUSH    CS
1F            POP     DS
BEFFFF        MOV     SI,FFFF
B800B8        MOV     AX,B800
8EC0          MOV     ES,AX
FC            CLD

Posted in Demoscene, Programming, Vintage Computing | 4 Comments »

Dev journal, Day 1

Posted by Trixter on May 1, 2014

Dev journal, Day 1

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The strangest kind of problem

Posted by Trixter on April 18, 2014

For @party coming up in June of this year, I thought it would be fun to revisit 8088 Corruption with a spiritual sequel.  I designed two new ways to improve the tech and visual quality. I came up with a new disk I/O strategy to deal with the new tech.  I built a new model of handling color for it.  I’ve previewed the results for both monochrome and color test material, and I liked what I saw.

One problem:  I haven’t written a single line of code yet.  It’s all in my head.

At night, as I fall asleep, I “pull it out” and run it through with different test material and “watch” the results.

And with the puzzle solved, I’m “done”, and I no longer have the desire to actually write the code.

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Mixed Feelings

Posted by Trixter on March 22, 2014

If the airlines gods shine on me next week, I will be at NVScene 2014 in San Jose Tuesday through Thursday.  Co-located within the GPU Technology Conference, the entire event is looking to be the most concentrated collection of Very Intelligent People in regards to realtime computer graphics hardware and techniques.

I have mixed feelings about attending events like these, because I am so completely out of my league among these people.  I understand no more than 10% of everything they present or create.  I am looking forward to visiting and staying with friends, but my knowledge and accomplishments are dwarfed in orders of magnitude by every single other attendee.  It’s very intimidating.

That’s all.  No pithy observations or self-help advice in this post, sorry.  My level of anxiety is high enough that, if I weren’t seeing some old friends there, I definitely wouldn’t be going.  I have no business being there.

Posted in Demoscene | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Just keeping it real… like it’s 1991

Posted by Trixter on November 25, 2013

Came across a nice post from Scali with some oldskool and “midskool” analysis on demomaking for very slow PCs. Check out his production as well, which he did for the “1991” demoparty this month.

Scali's OpenBlog™

Last weekend, there was a special demoscene party, the 1991 party, with, obviously, 1991 as a theme. Well, that is just my bag, baby! The focus was mainly on C64 and Amiga, which were the most popular platforms for gaming and demoscene activity in those days. I wanted to do a small production myself as well. I decided to go with a PC production, because of my oldskool code experiments, the PC stuff was in the most mature state. And also, because the PC platforms of those early days have not been explored very much, so it’s still possible to create some refreshing things and work out interesting ideas for early PC.

PCjr

Speaking of early PCs… Because of my early PC escapades, I have come into contact with Trixter a while ago, and we started bouncing ideas back and forth. Trixter’s platform of choice is the PCjr, the…

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Hump Algorithms

Posted by Trixter on August 27, 2013

I have the dumbest first-world problems. The current one: I’ve come up with new ideas for a retroprogramming/demoscene project, ideas that nobody on my platform (4.77MHz 8088) has ever attempted. They’re pretty radical, and on par with 8088 Corruption in terms of code cleverness and impact, except this time, I actually know what I’m doing (as opposed to stumbling into it somewhat by accident with Corruption). Every time I think about what is possible, I get really excited and obsess over implementation details. In my head, it’s all coded and running beautifully, bringing shocks of laughter to other retroprogrammers and demosceners alike.

The problem is, even after weeks of design, it’s still in my head.

What I have planned relies heavily on same tricks as the 8-bit democoding scene, namely lots of tables. Generation of those tables, compared to how they are used, is a highly asymmetric process: It can take hours or days to create the table, whereas using it only costs a few cycles for a memory lookup. This very similar to the process of vector quantization, where coming up with the codebook is an NP-hard problem that there is no universal solution for. To bring my ideas to life, I need to write programs that take advantage of gigs of memory and multiple cores to come up with the tables I need. So why not just write them? What’s stopping me is the dumbest of dumb problems: I simply haven’t written any large, modern, multithreaded applications before. All of my programming over the last 30 years has been either in Pascal, or assembler, using dialects and architectures that aren’t applicable to modern resources any more.

“So pick up a new language, ya moron!” is what all of you just screamed at me. I know, I know. But this is what kills me: It would take me at least a month to pick up a new language, learn its IDE, learn its visual form/component system, and the inevitable learning of how to debug my code when it all goes pants. I’ve been putting it off for at least a decade.  I can do it… but it would take at least a month to ramp up to full speed! And (said in Veruca Salt cadence) I want to code up my idea NOW!

I’m frozen. What a stupid, stupid first-world problem.

I need an algorithm for getting over the hump that can be solved in polynomial time.

Posted in Demoscene, Programming, Vintage Computing | 17 Comments »