Leaving summertime behind

This demo received 4th place in the Sundown 2007 Oldschool Demo competition, out of, um, 4 entries. I could blame that on the not-quite-optimal projector settings it got shown under, or (more likely) the intense competition from the other entries. But actually I won’t, and instead I’ll sit contented in the knowledge that I got to explore some new concepts and techniques in Spectrum demo coding, without really knowing how they’d turn out, and managed to get them to a state where they didn’t totally suck. (Provided you’re willing to use a bit of imagination.)

The plan was to create something approaching a lo-fi YouTube-stylee home movie of scenes from a summer day – but with all visuals generated in real time, of course, as per the usual demoscene custom – drawing on the already-lo-fi graphics of the Spectrum, some crafty image processing, and some fine photos taken by Natalie (whose Flickr stream I previously plundered for Gallions Reach). And now, in a post-modern self-referential ironic twist (or something), you can watch it as a YouTube video.

Some techy trivia: With the exception of the sky part, the images were rendered as 24-bit RGB and then converted to the required 128-colour palette on the fly. (Which means that if you were to disassemble the binary, you’d find the complete full-colour photos in there, albeit at stupidly low resolution of course. It’s probably not worth it…) Along the way there’s some random noise added, which is essential to the look of the demo (trust me on this, okay…) and theoretically ought to actually improve the image quality, because the extent to which it flip-flops between palette colours is weighted according to how close a match they are. Finally, the dandelion consists of 100 particles, each individually plotted with its own velocity.

5 Responses to “Leaving summertime behind”

  1. Bruno Florindo says:

    Thanks for the explanation. Although I’m not a coder, I really appreciate everything you do for the Spectrum, especially when it’s related to audio and video. I’m still struggling with that program you developed to convert digitised audio (because I’m a newbie). I’m also hoping that you could, one day, develop a small player so that MB02 and DivIDE users can play digitised video files! :D 5Khz audio quality is more than enough, imo. :) Or maybe a simple .mod player (who needs mp3?). I’m also trying to find the original demo where you showed digitised video, but I’ve had no luck. I look forward to see your next programs. Cheers.

  2. Hey Matt,

    I might have said it before but I am deeply sorry about the projector situation. Almost all demos suffered because the colour saturation seemed to be terrible on the projector. Yellows were mustard coloured, and Cyans were dirty aquamarine. I had faith that the projector would be ok as it had been fine for the previous two parties. I think it was just overused, so I am very very sorry indeed about this, and will hire a better condition projector next year.

    I did try to get an emergency replacement but unfortunately it didn’t have the brightness required to light up the huge screen. After asking a few people, the problem was acknowledged but made to not be a big deal.

    I certainly appreciate the quality of the production and voted it up. I only wish that the projector could do the same!


  3. matt says:

    No worries at all Ruairi – I really enjoyed putting this together, and it was just great to see it part of an excellent compo at an equally excellent party! Thinking about it, I guess my plan all along was that people would have to work at seeing the visuals to some degree (and, hopefully, mess around with perception / suggestion in a Rorschach-test kind of way to make it look more impressive than it actually was…), so the fact that it was *somewhere* along the continuum between ‘cold clinical perfection’ and ‘indecipherable noise’ was fine by me :-)

  4. [...] matt.west.co.tt » Blog Archive » Leaving summertime behind Matt Releases his latest Spectrum composition – nice one Matt! (tags: spectrum demo) [...]

  5. elfh says:

    wonderful music here, i keep listening it over and over. visuals are aslo captivating. thank you!

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