Sunday, 27 January 2008

Damn Interesting

My blog is about everything I like, from beer and women to websites :)
This is the first entry of this kind here and only rarely I will be motivated to include websites when they really deserve it.

So what is Damn Interesting? It does look like a blog at first sight, though it's one where several people contribute. What made me bookmark this site at first was the discovery of this article which dives into the insight that "mentally disordered" people might be thinking more logically than "normal" people who seem to be living an illusion they call reality. But that's not what I want to say about the site though read the article asap!

What's interesting about damn interesting is that it contains articles of scientific nature that are damn interesting because they offer insightful stories and strange facts you don't happen to read every day. What I mean is that the selected subjects are a bit not so known or heard to most people, even those who fiddle around scientific sites, yet each of the article is so inspiring and shares such rare facts I haven't heard before that drives me to read more and even more. In a nutshell, those little known facts and stories about history and science you don't happen to encounter every day, which although tend to be rather insightful. It's the selection and the narration. It's Damn Interesting!!! =)

You won't stop reading article after article. One of my favorite sites! Visit ASAP!!!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

The Shrine

The AtariXL scene produces maybe the most impressive demos I have ever seen running on an 8bit machine. I was wondering why this machine can display 4 times more complex 3ds than the C64 for example who share the same CPU but it is 1.5 times slower than the XL. Those demos usually use the 320kb memory expansion where there may be a possibility for cheating by precalculating lot's of data. That would be one explanation for this.

One of the most impressive demos I have seen recently on the XL is The Shrine by laresistance. You can also watch a youtube video of the real thing running this beauty! Simply stunning!!!

Of course the XL demos mostly use a smooth shade of a single color, either blue, red or green, producing great shades for polygon lighting or other newschool 2d effects. Most of the times they use big pixels of 4*4 size (Or it is 2*4 in a pixel width that occures in a 160*200 resolution (I don't know if the XL also shares this resolution but the pixel width looks like C64 multicolor or the Mode 0 of CPC)). Maybe there is a video mode that makes it easier to output such pixel block, much easier and less CPU wasting than the ways used in C64 or CPC to achieve this? Who knows..

But then we can see some great smooth fullscreen crosszooms (also used in a fractal zoomer) but the quality of the 3d scenes is stunning! We can see a 3d sierpinski gasket, shaded, with proper polygon clipping rotating in your face with a fairly good speed, which is an object that is stunning for an 8bit. Even in Amiga/AtariST 16bit demos it's not too common to see such 3d models in demos. Usually you see cubes, pyramids and 3d models with 10-20 polygons, not 80 in your face! Not even the later scenes where a background, a great floor mapper and some 3d structures like a zigurat, an easter island head or the stonehedge are combined together to create an outworld environment. I also like the environment mapped spike object with the reflection on the floor in the beginning. Simply awesome code for an 8bit and not only!!!

But maybe there is a secret magic in the atari hardware and lot'sa memory that makes this possible :)