– Hi Naveed ! Welcome to “iamretro.gr” ! We’re glad you are here with us ! Let’s introduce “Algorithm” to our readers, shall we?
Could you please share with us, some info about your studies and current profession ?
– Study is consistant, profession a secret.
– How did you get involved with C64? When and how was your first introduction to a C64 micro? Do you have some fond memories of your first games?…your first demos?…first C64 creations?
– I had my first c64 at around 1990 or so when I was 14 years of age. First memories were the Rambo and Platoon games. Nostalgia galore.
It was probably around 1993 or so when I started to create my own demo’s. The issue here was that I only had a c64 with a tape deck, hence the code was entered on a monitor (where the monitor was initially typed in byte by byte via some book.
It was when I purchased the Action Replay cartridge when I was able to look at other code from demo’s to see how they worked and how IRQ’s were setup (stable etc).
– What are the commitments and the benefits to join a particular demo group ? Why not being a “freelancer”?
– Why C64? Any other particular retro system you are working on? 8bit or 16bit?
– Its really only been C64 and Amiga. And I use PC for coding applications that produce data for these machines. C64 is a really nice system to work on, Large sprites and high pixel color density. (Although would be nice if it had a higher color resolution. Although that can be somewhat bypassed to an extent via color mixing)
– So many graphic modes…HiRes and Multicolor…FLI, IFLI, MUSCU FLI, Interlaced and non interlaced modes…Don’t they cause some frustration? Have you created or being involved in creation of any of them?
I have made use of the following GFX modes on the c64. Some of which I have invented myself.
MUCSU – Minimal CPU time required, Multicolored Unterlayed sprites under a Hires Bitmap Image.
TRI-FLI Alternating lines of FLI in three fields to recreate more color possibilities. I believe this was somewhat realised by someone else previously but not demonstrated to its potential.
SOH-FLI One of the Crest Hires sprite overlay modes. I decided to create a converter for it.
MUSC Similar to MUCSU, but makes uses of $d022/d023 sprite color changes as well.
MUCSU-FLI Hires FLI per line with multicolour sprite underlay.
MCOL-CI Color mixed Multicolor bitmap. Barely no cpu time to create the gfx but limited to 160×200 resolution.
HIRES-CI-FLI Basically two AFLI images merged together, but the converter makes use of mix colors and pal blending per field.
– If you have to classify them in a scale of development progress , what graphic mode is the most developed and made a great progress over the years? Speaking of evolution and progress I mean both the “eye candy (illusion of multiple colors) and the “eye friendly” factors (non-flicker).
MUCSU-FLI is probably the ultimate in GFX quality. It allows FLI per line together with a sprite underlay. It does beat NUFLI and MUFLI in quality, but has a more narrow usable width.
HIRES-CI-FLI was also well received, although that was actually just standard two AFLI images merged together. It was the conversion process that did the magic. (Demonstrated in “Demolicious”)
– My personal favorite is MUCSU FLI. It looks so nice on a real machine. What is yours?
– Non interlaced it is MUCSU-FLI. Interlaced it is HIRES-CI-FLI
– Apart for programming on C64, you released some very useful tools and graphic converters for “Windows” platform. They all are very easy to use. What is the feedback you received from users? Do graphic artists use them to draw with all those colors?
Most of the tools that I had released were merely converters, hence no option to touch these up after. These were probably not much well received. The other tools such as CSAM Super were better received, although again, no edit facility.
– Converted or hand drawn, “pixelated” graphics? What is the most appealing to a “non-scener” observer? Do you think that converted pictures will finally triumph over the hand-made ones?
– Hand drawn images will probably always appeal. Converted images are nice if they are in custom formats and show what the converter is capable of, but as with all Wired images, frowned upon. Not surprising. Pixeling is an art. Getting a PC to generate the image may be nice as proof of concept, but not too interesting all the time.
– Your favorite graphic artists?
– I remember the intro of your “Bad Apple 64” demo. Does the phrase : “When I say something can be done, then it can“, characterize you?
– I believe so. It annoys me sometimes of the narrow minded nature of some individuals who claim that some things are not possible (just because they think they cant be done).
– You are a scener with so many talents…You are a coder, musician, graphician, designer…an one man’s band! What do you enjoy doing most? How do you manage to combine all these abilities?
– Well.. My pixelling skills are very very poor., hence I create converters to do that job. Music Wise, perhaps ok, although the last SID I did was for the first side of the Eclectic demo (which confessionally took only around 10 minutes to put together)
– I will stay to “Bad Apple 64”. Such a nice animation in 170K single sided disk! I can’t help it here…How on heaven’s name, did you manage that?
Its based on cluster tile based vector quantization…Instead of finding optimum 256 characters that would best represent each 8×8 area of the frames, it is iterating the process in order to also find clusters of 2×2 8×8 char blocks that best represent the 16×16 pixel region. In combination to the simple form of the animation with delta, pack rate is very high (although it did use an old version of my encoder) – Strip A Minute uses a more advanced version.
– One year before we are all witnessed “ECLECTIC”…Another great demo with lots of animations combined/followed by real time scenes. First place in Mixed Demo Competition @ Flashback 2014. All these wonders in a two sided disk. Let’s list some effects : Circle Twist, 3D without lasses, Y-Flip, Distorter, Tunnel sequence…Did you use the same techniques with the animation of “Bad Apple 64”?
– The only technique that was similar to the one in “Bad Apple 64” was the sequence after the Y flip part. Again its cluster based VQ but utilising $d016 distortion to hide some of the visible chunk artifacts.
– What’s most spectacular to watch: Real time effects or pre made animations?
– Depends. Most people frown on animations, but animations do not play on its own, they still require code. If the pack rate / quality of the animation is high with decent frame rate, that can also be classed as a technical achievement. But definitely should not be used 100% throughout a production to fake other effects.
– Some sceners seem to be offended with your models, the one you are using in some of your demos (ex. Algodancer 2, Strip-a-Minute)…I personally don’t bother, I really enjoy all your productions. What do you reply to them? “Porn” or “Nude as an artistic expression”?
– Depends. With the exception of “Strip-A-Minute”, most of the sequences would be classed as glamour. “Strip-A-Minute” had a sequence lasting for a second or so which was rather explicit in comparison.
– So many people believe that I waste my time with a system that is no longer in production, that is…I can’t even write the word…dead !…so many of them…Everything that doesn’t include a touch screen or 1000 Gigs of RAM (!) is not worth to mention. What do you want to say to those people?
– Well. Its more interesting to show what a limited system can do. Doing the same on a PC.. Well not really possible, as that machine can almost do anything anyhow (although 4k demo’s etc, are more impressive in my opinion).
– I am a 47 year old Commodore 64 user, and my love for this machine will last for many more years to come. I believe that most of us have more or less the age between 35 to 45 years old. Do you think that Commodore Scene is aging or maturing? Are younger sceners coming to join the ranks of C64 demo scene?
– Unfortunately from what I can see, there does not seem to be any new talent. Most of the other elite are those that were creating demo’s for the last two decades or so and those that have made a comeback from all those years ago.
– Every year we witness more miracles coming out from the magic brown box. More hidden secrets come to light, thanks to great programmers who are “squeezing” its circuits to the maximum limits. What are the most “unbelievable” features you have discovered yourself?
– To be honest, I have not actually discovered any new features, but I have made use of the power of the PC to generate data that would suit the C64 (GFX converters, Compression etc). The sample playback conversion of audio via SID oscillators was probably the first that was released by myself however (FroDigi series). Although ALiH was probably the first to use a similar technique for speech only. (In the demo Chase that Feeling)
– “Innovation”, “Fresh-New ideas”, “Creativity”…Do you think that these terms / expressions are appropriate to use in a description of a Commodore 64, 8-bit computer?
– To create something unique on the C64, the individual needs to also think outside of the box and utilize the power of other devices to create data for the c64.
– Your “Frodigι” series of demos (1-2-3-4-5) make new paths in data compressing, to be more specific, I refer to the sound compression with as minimum as possible quality loss. Could you analyze a bit more your algorithms for our readers? Do they work better on 6581 or 8580 SID chips? What is the difference? What is your ultimate goal? What shall we expect from, let’s say in “Frodigι 10”?
FRODIGI 1 – (Free Running Oscillator Digi) –
– Frodigi 1-4 utilized single speed only playback utilizing my own AWD (Algo Wave Decomposition method). The advantage of this method was that it was able to recreate timbre and accurate pitch playback for more complex audio.
I was in a bit of a shock when I saw that demo from Cyberbrain. Quality was very nice. Then I realised it was quad speed.
Frodigi 5 was the quad speed version of my most up to date FFT based method which demonstrated chord/drums/speech/synth playback instead of only speech. For the haters, yes, I also tried it in the “My Humps” sample that was used in the Cyberbrain demo, and it sounded great.
FRODIGI 5 – FFT Edition – Playback of Digitized audio via SID waveforms
I also created a compo entry on CSDb for people to try and beat my baseline example.. 0 entries..
– I can describe you as an “Explorer” who tends to become a “Compression Master”, isn’t truth?
– Its all a hobby, I like to always create things that are unique tech wise, (although design seems to suck most of the time).
– You are a musician as well. Self taught? Any musical background?
– I don’t have any musical background, but I have done music on PC, Amiga and C64.
– What are your favorite tools? Special trackers?
– No special trackers. For C64, its GoatTracker (although in the old days it was voicetracker by Padua). On Amiga, its the good old protracker, although in my recent demos as well as the unreleased amiga one, I am using my own player.
– Do you like NUVIE format? Will new REU -16MB- capacity boost C64 to higher levels? Do you plan to make something special tailored for REU, in the future? A new video format for C64, perhaps?
– I have no interest in the REU. It defeats the whole objective of creating products for the C64. In just the same way as creating an amiga demo for the 68060 with 16mb ram. Not interested.
– I recently discovered a Dragon’s Lair port for C64 – [ http://dragonslair64.areaaperta.com/ ] – Laser Disc Edition. This REU version with FMV compression seem very promising…What is your opinion for this one? Have you thought of doing something similar?
– The author of this approached me in regards to the frodigi encoded sequences. I believe he is using CSAM super for the encoding of the GFX. Its always nice to see new c64 products coming out.
TileVQ Super – 50fps at 170bytes per frame on C64
– Anything else you want to share with our readers and forgot to ask?
Watch out for forthcoming Amiga demo (OCS 512k) that is actually finished now and will be released at Flashback 2015 that will have something I personally have never seen before in a OCS production. Clue.. 25 fps full pop video full screen overscan with full digitized audio.. arrghh ! have I said too much.
– Take Care and keep Thrilling us all!
If you want to know more about C64 image formats, here are some useful links :