Ten Years, Two Demos, One Demoparty

At the recent Sundown demoparty I released two new Ate Bit demos – one for PC and one for ZX Spectrum.

0xAnniversary

First up is the PC demo, 0xAnniversary. The title is a pun on the the hexadecimal code for the number 10, which can be written as 0xa, and the fact that this year marks the 10 year anniversary of Ate Bit. To make it even more poignant, our first demo was released 10 years ago at the first ever Sundown.

0xAnniversary was written fairly quickly over a period of about five weeks. The demo was written mainly from scratch but borrowed a few key bits of code (mostly texture and shader loading) from AteBitVJ. Music is by 4mat.

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Omega Balls – Realtime Graphics Shot Breakdown

Here’s a realtime audio-visual experiment that I made recently. It’s a bunch of glowing balls, synced to the majesty of 4Mat’s track, “Omega”.

A few people have asked me how I made it. The short answer is that the video was rendered in real-time in my AteBitVJ app and captured using Fraps. I thought I’d take things a bit further and explain how the scene is constructed by doing a shot breakdown on a layer by layer basis.
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Demos We Care About

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Demos We Care About is a daily feed of demos that someone, somewhere, cares about. The goal is to share the best, most interesting, most loved demos to a wider audience. There are two in fact two main audiences for the feed – demosceners who want reminding of the best that the scene has to offer, and then there’s the wider audience of non-demosceners who might not normally get to see these works.

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Is this Animal Romantics?

Last week saw the release of Animal Romantics, a browser-based audio visuals project created by myself, Raquel Meyers and Goto80. The project is essentially a music video for a song but, unlike a streaming video on YouTube, the whole thing plays in realtime in your browser. The great advantage of realtime here is that the video can be tweaked and customised by the viewer – there is a selection of audio remixes available, each with slightly different visuals, and the user can enter their own text messages that get displayed during the show. These remixes can then be shared to others with a custom URL.

The piece was released at the pl4int3xt pavilion at the Wrong art biennial in Sao Paulo. You can also jump straight to the Chipflip, where the piece is hosted.

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Quick and simple Javascript debugging for webpages

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I was recently trying to debug some Javascript code in a webpage that was having problems on certain combinations of OS/browsers and I needed to quickly find out why. The difficult bit was that it was my test users who were having trouble, not me, so I couldn’t just jump on their machine and debug the issue. Firstly I started peppering the code with console.log() (the classic printf debugging technique) output and then getting the users to email me the output from the browser’s Javascript console. This worked.. to an extent. It relies on your user’s ability to activate the console and reliably copy+paste the output into an email. Some users are fine with this, but with others you might as well be asking them to perform a heart transplant. And then there’s another class of users: the ones on iOS or Android who don’t even have a console(!)

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AteBitVJ spotted in the wild

Two weeks ago, at the Sundown demoparty in southern England, I took AteBitVJ out for a spin. Actually, it was two spins.. VJing for Hoffman and then Savannah, both of Unstable Label. Both played pretty hard breaks, with Hoffman demonstrating his awesome PT-1210 software running on dual Amigas.

Unfortunately there isn’t much footage of AteBitVJ in action other than this video showing Hoffman in action, with my visuals in the background. <crime reporter>If you have any photos or videos of the event, please don’t hesitate to send them in</crime reporter>

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Demoscene at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

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On Saturday the June 29th, at 11am, in a small basement room at Edinburgh’s Traverse theatre I gave a talk on the demoscene at the 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival. Entitled “An Introduction To The Demoscene – The Best Digital Art You’ve Never Seen”, I discussed the origins of the demoscene in the early 80’s software cracking scene and how those roots have evolved into the modern scene that we see today. I also showed a handful of outstanding demos too. The theatre turned out to be a great venue for a demoshow – dark and quiet, with comfortable seats, a good projector and sound system and no distractions.

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AteBitVJ Screenshot Thursday

Time for some pictures of AteBitVJ in action! I thought I would spend an hour or two creating some examples of what this new VJing software can do. All of these images were taken live in AteBitVJ and are presented here without any post-processing whatsoever. If only you could see how much better they look when running at 60fps.. ;)

For those who don’t already know, AteBitVJ is a new breed of procedural VJ software that doesn’t rely on pre-built VJ loops. The system runs on a moderately powerful Windows PC and is not only highly configurable but also fully controllable via the usual suspects of MIDI, OSC and audio. It’s currently still in development, but I’m always looking for Beta testers.

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Layers and layers and more layers..

I recently posted a new video of AteBitVJ up onto Vimeo. It’s an interesting one because it shows how a single, pretty basic effect can be made into something much more by applying a few layers of effects. I’m a big believer that you can really easily improve your real-time visual effects by applying some simple post-processing, and I thought it might be nice to delve behind the scenes into how I go about doing that.

So, first off, here’s the video:

It’s recorded live from AteBitVJ with FRAPS in a single take – no external post-processing or editing involved. Unfortunately the video compression hasn’t been particularly kind here and you can see some ugly compression artifacts. Luckily, the screen shots in this post will be lossless! The audio is provided by 4mat and is called “Spun Gold”. It’s one of my favourite tracks from his 2012 album, Origins.

The base layer for this video is a pretty simple effect – audio FFT data from the track represented as an infinitely scrolling 3D landscape. By itself this effect can look quite nice, but I wanted to get some more out of it. I started out by zooming in and cropping so that it fills most of the frame:
1-FFT Landscape
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A bit more textmode fun

One of the reasons I wanted to use a canvas (rather than tables of characters) for my textmode library is that is allows you to easily mix in normal 2D graphics and use effects like transparency. This post is a quick example to show how this sort of thing can work. Click on the image below to see what it looks like and then I’ll delve into the method behind it:

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