• Soundtrack
    • Beatslappaz/Punks Music
  • Code and Graphics
    • Dbug
  • Hardware Testing
    • Wietze
    • Havoc

Time Slices (2015)

          _______                   _____ ___               
/_ __(_)___ ___ ___ / ___// (_)_______ _____
/ / / / __ `__ \/ _ \ \__ \/ / / ___/ _ \/ ___/
/ / / / / / / / / __/ ___/ / / / /__/ __(__ )
/_/ /_/_/ /_/ /_/\___/ /____/_/_/\___/\___/____/
I was supposed to be at the first STNICCC1 in December 1990, but because of the flu I was not able to attend.

ST New logo
ST New logo

I was fortunately able to attend the second edition in December 2000, where I entered the competition with two entries, one for the "Commodore 64 revisited" and one for the "STNICCC logo at the most unusual place", which as it happen I both won2).

So we are now in 2015, and this is the third (and probably last) edition, I'm not sure I would be able to attend the 2035 edition without a nurse pushing me in a wheel chair!

Obviously you can't really do more oldskool than this kind of party, so instead of trying to go newschool, I decided to go full retro with a monochrome screen intro showing only one single effect, just trying to add a bit of design fluff to make it less boring.

Originally I was planning to do some fullscreen, and I indeed managed to get a lower and top border, but they were not stable, and I was not able to get them to work on both my STe and MegaSTe, felt risky so I ditched that and just decided to go for more standard style of effects - still full hard synced -.

The development itself has been painful because I could not use emulators:
Neither Steem or Hatari are actually correctly handling timings for monochrome video modes, which means I had to develop and test everything on the real machine.

Thanks to the Cosmos Ex device + VASM + UPX that was actually doable (assemble and compress on the PC, copy to a network share, run on the Atari), but a combination of buggy assembler, dying hardware (SM124 starting to smell like a dying fish after 15 minutes on, STe audio output trashing the samples, ....) made it much more painful that it should have, which explains in part why the demo is not as impressive as I wish it could have been: That just killed the pleasure and I had no patience left.

Which is why it is how it is.

I hope you will enjoy it, if it does, then I guess I should be happy enough :)

Post Party Edit: So everything that could possibly wrong happened, including the STe during the compo not starting in the correct state which resulted in the timings being fubar, generating interesting glitches all over the place.

Some people wondered what happened, some thought it was on purpose, but I guess the result was good enough because in the end it came in first place :)

I hope I can find a way to fix the issues, perhaps people trying the demo should give me their timings: Try the demo on a monochrome screen and tell me how many pressed to the left or to the right you need to get the ok sync position.

With enough samples it should be possible to do something about it :)

And here is a video of the demo in action:

This demo should work on any STE or MegaSTE with 1 megabyte of memory or more,
shoud boot fine from either floppy or hard drive, but it requires a monochrome
screen such as the Atari SM1243.

If the main screen seems unstable, try pressing the left or right arrow keys to
reduce or increase the main sync delay... yeah I know... better safe than sorry.

Special thanks to Wietze and Havoc for testing before the party!

1. ST New International Christmas Coding Competition
2. With an Oric intro for the first one, and some sector fillings on released
games for the second one.
3. Technically the demo runs just fine with the mono to vga adapters, but all the effects that involve generating shades of grey by alternating black and white will flicker like mad. The SM124 has a very high remanence, which almost totally eliminates the problem.