January 30, 10

Static Mirror installation for Hidden Door festival

I have a pleasure to announce that I am a part of the Hidden Door Festival - the event is happening during this weekend at Roxy Art Club, Edinburgh.

I got commissioned to make an interactive installation that I've called Static Mirror. So, if you're Edinburger – come along to see the exceptional maze full of art and bands performing live, otherwise just enjoy my piece on-line.

Hidden Door installation live

Click the image above to activate (webcam required.) There's a accompanying noise, so mute the sound if you are i.e. at work.
© 2010 Tomek Augustyn. All rights reserved.

If you're looking for a deeper meaning, please read the artist's statement.

Coming out of the underground club, Tomek brings the idea of interactive VJing into a gallery space by confronting visitors with the imagination they might have about themselves.
He asks the old question – “Do our bodies exist for real or are we just a bunch of particles bound together by invisible forces as a temporal form of expression?”
The answer could be found by observing the nature of static noise reflection – as long as you move, you are.

On a technical note, the piece uses my HiSlope (alpha) video processing engine (shortly available as open-source.)

You can also press '/' to play with the manual controls and '\' to view the stats for the camera.

06:11 PM | | 2 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,
December 18, 09

Pump my snowman

tictoc xmas 2009

Christmas trees up! We've just created this funky game at tictoc – go, give it a try... or pump yourself.

AS3 developers - try to find all the cheats and beat (pump) us up! (I mean highscores of course.)

05:30 PM | | 0 Comments | Tags: , , ,
November 14, 09

Nostalgia in Parts

The nostalgia definitely came back. With the recent re-release of the C64 emulator for iPhone I felt that I am somehow thrown back into C64 world again – the only difference is that I am twice as old as I used to be when being active on C64 demoscene and it feels a bit tight. Some time ago I bumped into this amazing ICU64 project - realtime debugging/hacking tool by Mathfigure. Do you remember Matrix the movie?

The first part

I sooooo wanted to have all that working in AS3, that I have resurrected FC64 – low level C64 emulator written by Claus Wahlers (Codeazur) with Darron Shall. The code was moved to GitHub recently, so I just had forked it and thus give it its new life.

Let's roll with a small demo.

FC64 player

Click to activate and watch this (very buggy here but interesting) part from Parts, great demo from 1995 by Oxyron.
Red and green indicate memory write/read, grayscale map represents memory values.
Click on the map and use mouse wheel or +/- keys to zoom in and out.
(Memory debugger idea shamefully borrowed from Mathfigure.)

The demo itself doesn't play nicely with FC64 and it's quiet as there's still a lot of work to do on the emulator, but just pay attention the memory snapshot – discover how data is being populated in the memory. The image of girl's face is decompressed and overwrites BASIC area.

I am kind of quietly hoping to get other (ex-)demosceners involved to cooperate and improve FC64 as there's loads to do. The most important thing is to re-enable the SID (maybe using Ralph's TinySID alchemy port) as there are traces of early SID implementation in the FC64 source.
There's another idea for a secret project involving KickAssembler, but shhhh for now...

...and yet another part of the same story

Yes, there is more to it. I am supposed to work on the HTML/CSS templates for the new, cool (web2.0) version of Intros C64 - the biggest online C64 cracking intros repository. The design (also be me) has been approved a year ago, and I am somehow in stuck in the middle - need to work out the roadmap.

Anyway, I wrote a tiny a little bookmarklet to enable live preview of the intros, here are two example links:

Dynamic Duo 3D stars
Dynamic Duo (pictured above)

And the Bookmarklet itself - just drag the link to your toolbar and use on Intros C64 site (you have to select an intro first - get the view with the comments).

06:30 PM | | 0 Comments | Tags: , , , , , , ,
November 09, 09

Dig it like it's gold

Phew... the waiting is finally over! Just got my hands onto the fresh re-release of the C64 emulator for iPhone/iPod Touch from Manomio. After long months of impatience, the Retro vs Apple war has calmed down - the app is back in the Apple store. I missed the previous release by seconds, it was immediately pulled out from the store after discovery of hidden BASIC interpreter (nota bene by Microsoft – was that a real reason?)

C64 emulator for iPhone by Manomio

After trying out all the games must say I felt a little bit disappointed – where are the classics like Bruce Lee and International Karate? They were there before!
We've got 8 games instead: Arctic Shipwreck (one of the first filled vector graphics on C64 in 1983!), Dragon's Den, Jupiter Lander, International Basketball/Soccer/Tennis, Jack Attack and Lemans. I'd love to see Boulder Dash, Pit Stop, Spy vs Spy and other exciting titles. There's some hope with the new Apple in-app purchases though, but the question is how much we would need to pay for a game?

Me likes

  • Retro coolness – concept and detailed graphics, it's all sweet and shiny
  • Overall performance is great (worked well on my 1st gen iPod Touch)

Me picky

  • Default selection of games could be much better (more classic titles!)
  • Touch joystick controls a bit too sensitive (it's a bit funny to learn how to drive for the first time), adjusting it would be a nice feature
  • The screen highlight in the landscape mode is a bit too bright, it should be adjustable

Me thinks

  • The game area is covered too much by the monitor frame in the portrait view but I understand the reason for it
  • It would be nice to add some demoscene productions, at least one one-file demo/dentro should be included with 1.2 release!
  • SID emulation quality hard to estimate, most of the games from 80s didn't have fancy music/sfx
  • Maybe use Vice engine instead of Frodo, it's still under active development and has more features explanation
  • I would add another landscape mode: 384x271 px (full C64 screen including borders)

Another thing I need to say is that I am totally against Apple's policy of controlling the content of my very own device, my dream is that one day (wishful thinking) I will be free to to upload and run any kind of binary data in the C64 emulator. Imagine going further and having real hacking like this on your pocket friend! For pure fun.

But to be realistic, I guess it would have to be Android.

Thanks Manomio!

UPDATE
The guy known as DNA is trying to re-enable BASIC as he believes it's not been completely removed (which might be true as some games may still use it.) He had succeeded to enable keyboard before by using SSH on the jailbroken device.
Fingers crossed for DNA!

On another hand, Stuart Carnie – one of the iPhone C64 app developers, posted a video of working emulator (which was based on Vice and Frodo). I'll be trying to get my hands on that.

10:52 PM | | 0 Comments | Tags: ,
August 02, 09

Machines are looking for Michael Jackson

Today passes my 5th year of living and working in the UK... feeling in sort of a nostalgic/festive mood, did some cool VJing last nite and decided to spend semi-hangovery afternoon doing some (softcore) flashcoding. I got some good feedback and suggestions (thanks you know who) to my recent Terminator Salvation "machine vision" experiment and decided to explore that area a bit further.

This time I've managed to add "the real face tracking" ported from OpenCV by Masakazu "Mash" Ohtsuka (with some great optimizations by Quasimondo) to my video processing framework (codename HiSlope) which should be hopefully released within a couple of weeks (still need to do some important/major refactoring). Follow me on twitter.com/blog2t for updates.

So I was looking for some perfect video to use for testing... couldn't think of anything really. Then suddenly the spirit of Michael Jackson (RIP) came to me and whispered into my ear: "Black or white?" – and it was all clear then :)

Enough words, click the image to sing along.

Terminator Machine Vision plus Michael Jackson's Black or White mashup by Og2t

I found this video particularly challenging – with loads of head banging and different races (skin tones, facial hair etc.) – which actually makes a perfect source material for testing.

And again, I am really surprised by the final result – it's still not the fastest (I am getting 20 FPS in browser and about 35 FPS in standalone projector) but the main task is achieved.

The filters' settings were optimized for the video, so if you switch to the webcam mode you probably won't get your eyes detected (there's still a bit of work for me to do on it – that's why I am not releasing the sources yet), but do try to play with sliders, especially with HSBC (no, not the bank, it's Hue, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast) – enable it by clicking the checkbox on the left) and Eye Finder – enable debug and adjust blur and fuziness.

So, where's Michael? He's wandering somewhere in that black puma's outfit, fighting with racism. Watch out!

05:05 PM | | 21 Comments | Tags: , , , , ,
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