Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Source



I just found this one again, watched it and felt like writting something about it. It's a kind of demos without much code or special effects but just the usual thing that is called art (minimalism, ambience, noise or anything else). In the past when I was hungry for codepr0n, when I tried to watch such kind of demos I either pressed esc and/or gave bad critics on demoscene sites. Nowadays I seem to enjoy those strange demos more and generally when I start watching I am aware that I don't have to expect a classic demo style rather something weird I'd feel like diving into.

It's a scrolling text that is hidden by a rubber bar and scanlines on the screen are displaced randomly bearing noisy patterns. It's like there is something important on the text but we can't totally see it. I can relate to keywords in the text which motivates me to try to fully read and understand it. Later, buzzwords from the text scroll up. The message is fuzzy to read but are the specific words enough to get a meaning? Or is it that there is no real meaning in the text, totally randomly written, yet our dedication to words and sense makes us understand something that is not there?

As much as I am thinking it, it gets more interesting. The second time I have watched it it had the same effect on me, I was totally sucked into it, it has some great atmosphere or something in the text had me stuck there? I don't know. I just felt like writting about this demo (someone wouldn't call this a demo). Btw,. it was originally for ZX Spectrum but there is a PC executable now that everyone can download and watch without the need of an emulator.

Check it here!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Action Doom

It seems that I spend a lot of time playing doom WADs, so here is another one :P

What can I say about Scuba Steve's Action Doom? In fact I have played it years ago and remembered it again and tried to replay it again to stare at it's level design and art. I think it is the most genuine doom WAD ever, a marvelous idea, yet it's a bit unplayable at some points.




What we have here is taking the doom engine (zdoom actually) to create an action based game similar to metal slug and contra. The work is astounding, several of the textures, weapons, screens and objects seem to be pixeled and the quality is great (unlike other gfx enhanced WADs where they are mostly taken from other FPS), the gameplay is linear in a sense of walking forward like in action games and if you want to play all the levels you have to not select the very easy difficulty. In the normal difficulty if you are hit by a bullet you die. Just like in 2d action games. And both you and the enemies shoot bullets which float like spheres in the air, yeah just like 2d games. Crazy idea but it gets too difficult at some places where the area is small or there is some tank or cannon which needs many hits to be destroyed,, just like metal slug and contra, but here it needs way too much bullets.



What can I say? It's a wonderfull technical and artistic work as a WAD, there are different paths to take in the 2nd level either driving a boat, jumping over cars in the highway (once you fall off you die, this was extremely hard even with save :P), there are coin ops you can actually play, a super mario world secret, alien bosses inspired from contra, laboratories containing farming aliens in containers, various jokes and references, even great music that is module based I think and not midi, there is a great amount of cool stuff in it and you can only see a very tiny ammount in these screenshots. Freakin amazing stuff!!!




Also check the youtube link of the 1st level to get an idea. What can I say? A WAD of great quality which is although is annoying to play. Will Scuba Steve make Action Doom 2 in the same quality but maybe more playable? (I'd suggest that when you are hit by a bullet and die to continue from that point with a life less instead of starting the whole level from the beginning. That would still be like an action game, wouldn't it?)

Monday, 24 December 2007

More WADs


I've just finished Community Chest 3. I have to say that while the detail and amount of work are very high, it started bugging me near the end. The levels are too big and it's getting too hard near the end that I had to IDDQD in order to finish it (Not that I wouldn't be able to win by pressing the save key every 5 seconds :P). I am playing B2B right now and I'd have to say my favorite recent megaWADs in order are B2B>1monster>CC3. At least in terms of how much I enjoyed playing not detail or amount of work. In the CC3 screenshot above you can see my Doom SNES and XBOX =)


Back 2 Basics by Espi. IT ROCKS!!! Pure oldschool Doom 1 gameplay with some great looking areas, not extremely detail but I like minimalism and here the use of texture and architecture looks great, episode 2 replacing with a great looking sky and simple gameplay that I purely enjoyed. The two screenshots just above and below are from this one.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Trilby: The Art of Theft



I was quite happy to play the new game release by Yahtzee featuring the Trilby character. In the past I started playing his adventure games created with AGS engine (in the future I plan to write some articles about his adventure games and other AGS games in general) and also his action adventure games (flashback like) that always kept me playing not just for the gameplay but especially for the story/atmosphere he very well plants into his games. When I download a game from Yahtzee I know that I can't be disattisfied.

Art of Theft is an action adventure game similar to his 1213 series but with a stealth based gameplay. Personally these kind of games, while I find them clever, frustrate me a lot because I am too inpatient and have to start all over again. In few words, you must steal some houses without being noticed or tripping onto the laser alarms or zap too many guards with your umbrella. And you get to know that if you are spotted more than e.g. 3 times, Trilby throws a smoke bomb and dissapears. And then you have to play the same stage from the beginning. Someone needs patience with this kind of games and if he doesn't own any he plays more recklessly each time he looses :P

Still, because I was too curious to finish the game and there is also a nice conspiracy story build in the scenario, I did managed to break my nerves and it wasn't as hard as I first thought. Playing the game again from the beginning, I am getting better while I discover that it's not that hard to finish the levels with a perfect mark (which is a Trilby hat :). After finishing the game, there is also a challenge to play all levels non stop with a greater yet limited number of watches and umbrella zaps. I don't know if I'll have the patience for this..

Yet if you learn to play well, it gets quite fun! Finishing a level in less time, without any guard/alarm noticing you, no zaps used and getting as much loot as possible gives you better marks (C,B,A and a hat for the best) which either gives you reputation points or reveals more surprises at the end of the game. Gaining enough reputation points you can buy various moves/tricks, like rolling down, climbing on the ceiling, more zaps/watches, better door/safe unlock abilities and quite more stuff I haven't bought yet. There is even a wardrobe where you can get several new outfits as a bonus :)

You will love it, especially if you are patient enough and enjoy stealth games. I did like it while I am not used to play such games!

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Sequential by Andromeda



I recently watched this demo in youtube and I liked it very much. It has something unique compared to several other still good Amiga demos. Something that makes this demo very special to remain in my mind.

Usually, I enjoy most Amiga trackmos for their code, music and transitions but most of them look the same. They bare some usual characteristics that make you think this is a genuine Amiga demo but you feel like you have seen that somewhere before. There is always a glenz cube, a dot sphere, flat polygons, transitions using those flat polygons that hide parts of the screen, the same sine scrollers, shadebobs, cooper effects, similar minimalistic color design, the same dot effects, etc. Well, I always applaud these demos since they are very well coded and designed, yet they all look the same.

Sequential starts with a very nice presentation with jelly letters and bubbles and there are at least 3 effects/parts that are very unique and haven't seen them somewhere else before. There are still polygons, vectorballs and lines yet it's not only the more unique 3d objects they build but also the special way they are used here. I loved to see a nice smooth flat shaded magnet attracting some vector balls upon it's surface and was especially astonished by the combination of lines and vector balls to form a plant that looses it's seeds as it waves around in the air. I think every screen in this demo is unique, like the flat rollercoaster, mirror cube, the electric plasma sphere, even the regular 3d wireframe show which now has unique objects, not the predictable ones.

I like the demos which instead of showing the regular cube, tetrahedron, dodecahedron objects, they show human like objects like a hammer, a keyboard, a computer chip, a bottle, etc. Why doesn't everyone try to think of more original parts instead of copying screens and ideas we have seen before? I guess I should ask the same about my own demos. Sometimes it's the urge of newer coders to create demoparts resembling those made by our scene grandfathers. Or maybe lack of time before the deadline to think of something more original. And other reasons too..

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

The Man from Earth



Yesterday I laid back in the couch to watch some movie with my brother and we have randomly selected The Man from Earth. Judging from the poster and the genre it was not what anyone would expect. Yet I was immersed from the very beginning and wondered if it will be similar to this all the way till the end. I loved it and I am gonna watch it once again more carefully!

I think this is a kind of movie that a specific group of people will like and the opposite group will get bored of it. There are people out there who get sattisfied by the inner substance of things while others stare at the package/external beauty. The movie starts with a man who packs his stuff and says goodbye to his close friends as he decides to leave his homeplace. Everybody wonders what the reason for that decision is and the man while hesitant at first decides to reveal his secret. His origins goes way back in the Cro-Magnion age, who as a caveman for some unknown biological reason does not age over 35 years old. He has lived through all human history under diferrent identities accumulating knowledge and wisdom from different places and times. Of course nobody believes him at first.

Later, this emerges into a thrilling dialogue with his friends (Who are professors of anthropology, history, religion and similar fields that match the story) combining philosophy, history, religion, psychology, being a wonderful mix between scepticism and belief. It's really interesting to observe how people react to his story, their change from disbelief to belief, their anger, their bore, their hypothetical questions that challenge the reliability of his story, their feelings, their primary beliefs being challenged. "How would you react if I just told you that I am a caveman who has survived for 14000 years till this moment?" is the first hypothetical question that the protagonist raises to carefully start this conversation. Really, people's attempt to find flaws in his story and the challenging hypothesis that the protagoinst shares remind me very much of John Titor's timetraveller story. Hmm,. the protagonist is also named John in all his IDs..

While someone would expect the plot to shift from the philosophical forum under the influence of Johny Walker to some kind of action/different setting (maybe a visual flight from the beginning of John's past till today?) it ends up in the same room where the caveman reveals more about his story to his friends while being challenged to the bone. Boring? Fascinating!

If you like philosophy and you can enjoy the inner essence and atmosphere of a told story without expecting something external to please your senses then this is for you!

Sunday, 9 December 2007

1 monster megawad

It's finally here!

Each map contains one single monster type. I especially enjoyed the first imp map, the shotgun troopers and chaingunners maps, the first demon map and the cacodemon one. There are 25 levels (Few monsters share more than one map) with lot's of action and interesting details and textures. I really enjoyed beating the crap out of this map!



At the same period I am (still) playing Community Chest 3. It's a huge megawad finished by various members of the doom community and each map is unique in detail and size (sometimes I am tired running around specific confusing maps though) and there are several good maps with great surprises either in design or gameplay. I might post some more screenshots and details when I finish playing this one. The screenshot below is from CC3 and not from 1MW, while above you can see a screenshot of the cacodemon only map with a very atmospheric archway.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

What the bleep do we know!?




I have just finished watching the documentary "What the bleep do we know!?" and I was totally fascinated!!!

I am currently reading the skeptic reviews and the controversy around this one. Well, there may be several inconsistencies in this one and I do agree that the film sometimes goes into conclusions that might be a bit far fetched, though it really helps me to see reality under a different viewport. I know I will be heavy thinking upon the concepts and ideas discussed in this one and I am still curious to see their second "Into the rabbit hole" documentary and also another film suggested called "The Secret".

Normally I would fill 50 screens of blog text if I was going to deeply analyze all the things in the documentary plus my arising thoughts, though I'll just recommend you to watch this film with an open mind.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Geeks

I should be writting something here. It's hard to get the motivation and I don't want to push myself but somehow I feel I have to fill this blog with 2-3 starting posts so that it doesn't feel empty. So,. I'll start by posting my favorite funny videos having to do with geeks or computers in general, even though I had something different in my mind at first. Maybe next time.




Atari geeks. LOL!





Qbasic nerd. Just like the above..





LOL Internet.





The IT Crowd anti-piracy add.





OMG teh internet is down!!!







Documentary about teh geeks. LOL, hilarious!

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Plasma!!!

Plasma fun? Well, I couldn't find a more appropriate name. The "Quest For Fun" blogname/account was already taken and so I made up my mind with something from the demoscene that is quite fun and then the word fun itself :)

Plasma stands for a lot of things from physics, space, tv screens and demo effects. However only the last one matches my initial idea of this blog. It's the most common effect I have coded in my demos and looks similar to a kind of animated plasmas from physics, thus how the name came in.

In this blog I will write about everything that I feel like it's fun like demos, games, software, music, movies, girls, etc. Everything that happens in my PC and I'd like to share with you. Think of it like an almost review blog of oldschool and newschool demos, games, Doom WADs, funny or interesting or scary or weird videos, my favorite celebrities, commercial or demo music that I like, youtube videos, weird pictures, anything media like that happens to play in my PC and wish to write about it. Sort of like that!

In the youtube video you can see some trippy plasma effects. I don't know if they are captured from a physics experiment or are generated on a computer but they are quite more complex and beatiful than any plasma effect I have coded in the past. This post is just to start this blog, something relevant to it's name..

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

"Hackers" and words

What comes into your mind when you hear the word "hacker"?

Even if you don't like the new definition of the term, isn't it what still comes into your mind? Isn't that what you are expected to understand when most other people use it and expect to be meaning when you use it in your everyday life?

Once upon a time there were some people who called themselves hackers because they either enjoyed computer programming or being really good at finding unconventional solutions to algorithm problems and add here every old good definition you may think of. Even before that, you didn't even need to sit in front of a computer to be considered a hacker. Hacking was the true spirit of playfulness, cleverness, creativity, invention and exploration regardless the kind of the activity. You might get it by also reading this article.

Nowadays, it seems that any computer activity that has enough coolness factor is capable of acquiring the "hacking" title. And usually what feels like "cool" to most of the people has something to do with criminality, destruction, arrogance, rebellism, etc. As a result, your modern hacker has to especially be a network security breaker but sometimes (for some people) also a software piracy cracker, maybe a virus writer or anyone else who engages into similar activities I haven't mentioned here. The motives and ethics don't make any difference for my definition here. Whether it's a script kiddie, some 1337 d00d, a network spy or anyone who thinks that he is fighting some sort of system by defacing websites, they are all activities bearing the same big ammount of "coolness" and actually controversy. And hacking is the act of performing those "cool" things. And there is a scene specializing into computer network security breaking which calls itself the "hacking scene".

When you hear the word "hacker", the thing I've just described in the previous paragraph would come in your mind first.

Even if you prefer the old definition what do you understand when someone comes and tells you "Do you know how to perform hacking?". Axing a furniture? Showing some programming tricks? Nope. The guy awaits that you break into some computer network and hopefully even replace a webpage with some sick prank telling jokes about the administrator's incompetence.

And even if you try to preserve the old definition, how would you describe to your boss in few words that some intruder broke the network security on your computer at work? Wouldn't that be something like "Shit!!! Someone hacked on my computer..".

The new definition is a part of our modern culture.



I have to admit that I wenr through some kind of fixation with the whole hacker definition controversy since a long. And someone would wonder why do I care? Pioneers of the early computer history who use to call themselves hackers because of their cleverness and technical expertise WOULD have to care because people would misunderstand them thinking they are "computer criminals" or something. These people breathed the spirit in hacking and it could be quite annoying to observe the history changing when the narrow definition were popularized through mass media in the eighties. I was only 3 years old when the deviation begun and only in the late eighties I bought my first computer. By then already, I would have only known and heared the late definition. So, since I never went through both channels of history, why am I still obsessed about it?

Because I had the sense that something is terribly wrong here. And I didn't need to know that there was an original definition of "hacking" to understand that then. Reading the history of the true hacking pioneers that had absolutely nothing to do with security breaking activities and how the whole confusion arised, was only a nice piece of information to clear up some things in my mind at that time. But there was something else bothering me. The thing was how could someone ever feel respect about the so called hacking scene with the modern definition of "hacking" at mind.

I could actually never get it. What would be so "cool" and "respectful" about breaking into computer networks with the main focus to vandalize a website, talking with leet language, saying naughty things about the administrator's mother and thinking it's all done for the sole purpose of fighting some sort of system or showing your friends how leet you are. Why producing such chaos and stupidity over the internet? What was so.. so.... respectful about that? Why was everyone talking about "hackers" and adoring them so much? Why would I ever have to feel respect about these acts???

The power of language.

The answer in a small sentence. And the fact which annoyed me (especially when I've learned more behind the term "hacker")

The breaking into computer networks and vandalizing webpages activity formed a community. It has it's own history. They called themselves "hackers" because in the early eighties the mass media decided for some reason to use the term to describe only a narrow side of the whole meaning of hacking, this of "illegal computer activities". Some youngsters were attracted by the new image of the "hacker" and used the term for their computer security breaking activities. A whole new culture was born. Having nothing to do with the old definition and history of it. BUT..

..they acquired the old respect and awe of the old definition. Just by using the same word for naming theirselves and their activities.

A nice analogy would be that of anarchy. I don't know much and haven't read anything about it but I think it came into a theoritical state at first. Some people wished to be individuals, not following the mass or depend on religion or authority or whatever is the meaning of anarchism is anyways (as I haven't read much to know). What comes into your mind when you hear the word "anarchy" however? Maybe that every sicko can decide when it's time to stand up and break stores and burn cars in the city to enrage in a fight without any true reason? That's what I think. Even though it might not be what I think about anarchy, I simply can't feel any respect and tolerate such actions whether these people are called "anarchists" or whatever.

That's what I felt about the so called "hacking" scene and the "hackers" as we all know them from the movies. Can you see the analogy? I didn't cared if anyone baring the label "hacker" was supposed to be ultimately respected. It felt so blatantly wrong to feel respect about someone who brings chaos on the net for no true reason. But everyone was talking about how great these bunch of people were and how they were fighting about ideals and stuff. Was I blind? No. It was the history of the true hacking pioneers, misused by the new definition, adding a fraction of coolness and rebellist destruction that everyone seems to adore..

It was dissapointing to argue about that in the past. And since I wasn't yet aware of the different meanings of the term, I meaned different things for some with the use of it. Someone even accused me that it was me who helped raising up the confusion and supporting the false image of the mass media about hacking. When I said "I don't like what the so called hackers do here. No respect about breaking into security networks to do their dirty works. How can someone adore that mess?" they understood "I don't like the activities of those computer enthousiasts experimenting with things and acquiring knowledge. What they do is illegal!". Obviously it's just words and how everyone understands them. Now see the deviation in understanding words brought.

Whoever controls language, controls the future.



Words can do more. They can create a new culture. A whole new generation might grow up with the feelings they afford. They are stuck in our heads. They change the way we see the world forever. Even if words are just identifications of what is really there, removing the word would be like forcing a whole generation to remove their feelings about the thing that is.

Two little stories..

In a little country just above Greece, some people decided to call themselves Macedonians. Though, Macedonia is a greek region of land known from ancient history. Long before their version of history. Of course, this brought up several reactions and only greeks still disagree with the name and use something like FYROM or Skopje or whatever. Once upon I was in contact with some fellow scener from that little country and decided to ask his opinion about this matter. His answer was rather interesting but what he insisted on, is that Macedonia was the name of their region of land since a long and even older people than him had been living with that in mind. How nice would it be if someone suddenly disagreed with that and forced you to remove the name and thus the feeling and definition you have been raised with?

Instanbul was once the capital of the Byzantine Empire. It was called Constantinopole before it was captured. Since I was never been raised in the city, my early life and feeling never connected with either the old or the new name of the city and so I couldn't care less. There are two greek soccer teams named AEK and PAOK. K stands for Constantinopole really (Ok,. in greek it's K not C). I only laughed out loud by some request from Turkey to change them to AEI and PAOI. Who would dare to force me undo from my memory the way the greek soccer teams sound since the first time I ever watched a football match?

I am not going to judge whose side of story is right or not here. The most important thing is how the sounding, feeling and definition of certain words remain in our subconscious forever. Imagine being born among them. Imagine them having an important meaning in your life. Imagine someone trying to remove them or their definition from your mind.

Now imagine someone who was born in the nineties. For some reasons he was amazed by the new so called "hacking" community. For other reasons, he didn't felt that something is very wrong here as me, but thought it was cool to be called a "hacker" and take part in "hacking" activities. It was a way of life for him, to make pranks, deface websites and think how cool he is. He needed self-respect, admirance, to feel that he is doing something unique and different, maybe escape from (or fight) reality. It had an impact on him, the way the mass media portrayed it had an impact on him. And calling himself a "hacker" was everything! Manifests, hacker ethics, hacktivism, a whole new culture that formed his personality.

Imagine me arguing with him that this shouldn't be called hacking.

Now imagine the early pioneers of computer history, grown up with the definition and spirit of the word hacking, not as a specialized community but as a diferrent way of thinking, experimenting, inventing, problem solving, analyzing, learning, enjoying their activities. And imagine the time when everything went to hell. When someone for some or no apparent reason posted something or released a film on TV that created mass hysteria and popularized the network breaking security trend. And then several youngsters, not aware of the old history of true hacking, used the term as it was first presented on TV in their own new fashion, new culture. Calling themselves "hackers". Imagine how pissed the pioneers would feel about this confusion. Being unable to do anything to change it.

Those are the two sides of the story. Would you force anyone to change their definition? The one that was grown up in their mind and feelings since youth?

It's a dileema. And with this one I've decided to quit. I can't insist on that anymore. The "hacking" scene with the new definition exists. It has it's own history, ethics, culture, community no matter if I find their acts controversial. In fact I cared more about the later rather than the name itself. The name just added into the confusion. And I respect the old true hackers with their one unfortunatelly lost definition. They still are true hackers.

Whatever the name for anything is, there is true spirit in hacking and true controversy in "hacking". One word for two different worlds.

It will take so long since I'll get fixated with the same matter again. I feel like this article says everything I wanted to say in a way I like.

p.s. Strangely enough, after searching for similar terms in wikipedia, I encounter one splitting hacking in 3 parts. The breaking security hacking (new version), academic hacking (old pioneers of computer history) and hobbyist hacking (younger computer enthousiasts). I am happy to see the demoscene community mentioned in the last one :)

Monday, 4 June 2007

My beloved 386 and the fire effect :P

Yey!

My newschool desktop PC motherboard is severely sick. Searching in my old junk for the possibility to find at least a Pentium 2 or better motherboard&CPU so that I can continue working on modern compilers, I stumbled upon my old 386. It still has a Gravis Ultra Sound in it! I watched some demos. I even reconsidered my old dream, to optimize some effects and maybe code an oldschool 386 demo. I guess, I'll just have it there and during my free time I'll give it a go.

I even have some old code of a fire routine there in the HD. Done years ago when I first wanted to teach myself X86 assembly. The old code was predictable,. and slow. My friend Antitec helped me optimize it in an old Pentium in the gas station where he was once working. It was fun! A bit later (still years ago) I tried a neat trick I thought which is simply to do the blur algorithm with 32 bit registers, 4 pixels at once. I suppose that the pixel gradient goes from 0 to 63 and so I can safely read a 32bit from memory and add three more of them without overflowing to the left, shift them by two on the right for the division by four and then AND the 32bit register with 0x3F3F3F3F so that I zero the overflow on the right. 4 pixels at once!

; out of inner loop
MOV AX, Blurbuffer
MOV DS, AX
MOV ES, AX
MOV EBX,0x3F3F3F3F

; inner loop
MOV EAX,[DI-1]
ADD EAX,[DI+1]
ADD EAX,[DI-320]
ADD EAX,[DI+320]
SHR EAX,2
AND EAX,EBX
STOSD
; Unroll inner loop for 80 times (one scanline)


It does the work for 4 pixels at once and still looks like a per pixel blur! It actually works well!!! (Originally, I thought it would just produce junk or blocky pixels and would be hard to maintain). This way in my 386DX40 with a Tseng Labs ET4000 able to display 320*200*8bpp at 85fps, I got this fire somewhere to 35fps (exactly two frames, I haven't implemented a timer yet to now exactly, rather than the lousy raster CPU meter).

Taking in advance the data alignment, I tried to both experiment with code alignment (doesn't gain too much) and data alignment. Normally, it would be great if the DI-1 and DI+1 would be DI-4 and DI+4 in the code above because it really gains some speed, but this produces a little garbage near the pixels. I tried other variations and keeping only one with -4 or +4 and the other as it was original, worked a bit better in how it looks with just changing the direction of the fire a bit. My last one must be DI-1, DI, DI+4 and DI+320 and the fire goes upwards and maybe a bit to the right iirc.

Anyways, that's not the matter. I have another good idea to try. To have another buffer in memory that describes the condition of pixel blocks. Let's say for blocks of 8*8 or 16*16 pixels. When I'll be having some bobs moving on the screen, a flame or a burning wireframe cube for example, not every region of the screen has to be blurred. While writting a bob or line in the blobbuffer, I could also make two shifts on the coordinates of the pixel I am writting to know where in the gridbuffer it is located, then I will write a non zero number there. To indicate that in which block of the blobbuffer something has been recently written. Only the blobbuffer blocks whose grid number is currently not zero will be processed for either blurring and writting to the vram. And at each frame, I will decrease the value of every element in the gridbuffer. So, if a pixel of the bob was there in that buffer, it will set a defined number (let's say 16), and we suppose that if it doesn't return to that block, decreasing each time the number, after 16 frames that aera will be totally blurred and be black again. It's hard to explain and maybe it produces some artifacts (except if I put a bigger define than 16) and also you'd say is slower (but if I write few nicely blurred bobs or the few line pixels of the wireframe cube, for very few pixels I'd also have to write something on the grid buffer, maybe gaining more than wasting) but maybe this way I expect to achieve full frame rate (70fps) for this. Maybe I could just show a fire cube in a smaller screen area but I want something moving all over the screen and looking like a fullscreen blur (but not necessary updating and blurring the same screen blocks all the time :)

Other than that, I was thinking of some other assembly optimization ideas or parts where I can improve things, but they won't gain me much speed more than a good trick ;)

I also tried this 32bit at once trick on other effects were possible. Like a software per pixel plasma to get a bit more than full frame rate, even though a bit less if I have to make the plasma looking a bit better or more complex. But it works for the moment, I'll just have to fix that or use some ModeX tricks and go for a fake translucent one!

Maybe the next thing I'd like to code is a 3d starfield or a rotozoomer. And a precalculated spherical mapping too. Always wishing to make them as fast as possible.

But I am dreaming of my first oldschool PC demo (I am wondering why isn't there an oldschool PC coding scene as there is a C64 or CPC scene). I will use the GUS. Found some players out there. For the little 386, I need not to loose speed on some lousy Sound Blaster player. First time I have seen Second Reality running so well on a 386 and that's because of my good VGA card and the GUS gaining a lot of speed in that. I'll prefer to use GUS for an old PC that needs some power and SB for my 486.

Maybe it doesn't make any sense to you out there, but I simply love doing this. Optimizing oldschool PCs was an old dream of mine that I only recently had the chance to fulfill. A waste of time? One day I'd like to write an essay called "The meaning of useless." =)