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Blue Period by Paradox (Atari) [web]

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Blue Period
by Paradox
Outline 2011



    -   -  - - -- --- ---- --------------------------> Requirements
    
    Atari STE, MegaSTE or Falcon compatible computer
    2MB RAM
    Colour monitor or TV set
    
    -   -  - - -- --- ---- -----------------------------> Tested on
    
    Atari MegaSTE, 16MHz Cache On, 8MHz Cache off, TOS 2.06
    Atari 1040 STE, TOS 1.06, 4MB RAM
    Atari Falcon030, 25MHz, 16MHz, RGB and VGA Monitor, TOS 4.04
    
    -   -  - - -- --- ---- ----------------------> The story behind
    
    On Outline 2011, late thursday evening when 505 arrived, we
    debated about a potential entry for the Outline demo compo as
    we were afraid of little to no entries.
    We briefly browsed The Paranoid's harddisk and identified a few
    unused effects that were not planned for any specific release
    yet technically mature enough to be included.
    Dan and 505 made a brief concept of what effects would run in
    what order, ukko agreed to donate a logo while RA donated his
    31 greyscale displayer.
    Dan started to work on graphics, 505 started to work on music,
    RA started to work on his 31 greyscale mode. Dan had already
    thought about a simple yet unique layout and decided to go for
    a demo all in blue, similar to Picasso's "blue period".

    Putting together went well until saturday around noon. All of a
    sudden, the final effect would no longer run on the Falcon. 
    Trying to debug it failed, the effect itself seemed error free,
    so the effect was isolated and ran on the STE, where it crashed
    all of a sudden, too. An assumption about a potential collision
    between the BLiTTER and music replayer interrupts was turned 
    into code and it worked.
    Instead, the effect before that now started to crash. Again, 
    the code was modified in the same manner and it worked.
    As a result, the first effect now started to crash that had
    successfully run through dozends of times while putting the 
    demo together. Debugging almost failed as the effect was a bit
    different but late afternoon, we found it and solved it.

    Saturday evening we realized that the final effect flickered
    like mad on the real STE of 505 and had no more time to fix it.
    We talked to TheMatch and asked to play the demo on the Falcon
    instead of the STE. He agreed and when we tried it, it worked
    fine on his Falcon with RGB monitor, even though the display
    quality was sort of low.
    
    In the actual competition, the screen stayed dark.
    
    After explaining that the demo runs on 60Hz even on RGB,
    D-Force assumed that the converter box used to connect the
    Falcon/RGB to the video beamer wasn't capable of 60Hz. We
    proposed to run the demo on VGA, they recabled their Falcon to
    the beamer and finally, it worked.
    
    We even won.
    
    -   -  - - -- --- ---- -------------------------------> Credits
    
    Soundtrack and timing:                                      505
    Graphics, effect sequence, design:                          Dan
    Final Paradox logo:                                  ukko/Live!
    31 Shades displayer and picture converter:                   RA
    All other code:                                    The Paranoid
    
    Music editor and replayer:                                 gwEm

    Credits background ("virus") from the wonderful Blendercookie
    tutorials. Demo engine initially provided by Evil of DHS, even
    though it has been modified a lot since. C2p based on the work
    of Scy and Llama of .tSCc., ultra of Orb and Kalms of TBL.
    
    -   -  - - -- --- ---- -----------------> The effects in detail
    
    Title picture
    No effect, just an old-school logo by Dan.
    
    BLiTTER Radial Blur
    This really is a pure BLiTTER effect. The CPU only drags the
    logo over the chunky buffer, the BLiTTER performs the zooming
    and the overlay. Oh, and the oldest effect in the demo.
    
    Credits screen
    RA's 31 greyscale/shades of blue mode might be unspectacular
    but works miraculously well on high detail pictures.
    
    Max2p Extreme Tunnel
    Maximum 2 Planar is a concept we first tried in the Alternative
    Party 2008 Invitro but haven't released any effects based on
    the concept since. This time we do (m2px).
    No more blocky backgrounds behind chunky effects.
    No more rectangular windows around chunky effects.
    Only m2px allows to freely combine a low resolution (160 x 100)
    pixel effect with a full resolution (320 x 200) pixel
    background in all colours along with a low resolution (160 x
    100) overlay mask that allows to set up 8 levels of interaction
    between fore- and background.
    Only Paradox makes it possible.
    
    Greetings screen
    RA's 31 greyscale/shades of blue mode might be unspectacular
    but works miraculously well on low detail pictures, too.
    
    Circle Interference
    Based on a bet with ultra of Orb. He showed this effect to me a
    couple of years ago using double pixel mode and a slightly
    reduced window. I said i could beat him using the BLiTTER. He
    said i couldn't.
    It took me a few years but now i managed to beat him.
    Runs in full resolution (320 x 200) in a window larger than what
    low resolution (160 x 100) would allow: 192 x 138 pixels.
    
    Paradox Logo
    ukko of Live! makes his appearance.
    
    Busy Bee
    BLiTTER based rectangle replace the 3D dots in old-school ST
    screens and the cubes in new-school PC demos.
    Lightning fast, of course.
    
    -   -  - - -- --- ---- -------------> Why the lame ugly delay ?
    
    The demo was put together, designed, synced and debugged live
    during the Outline 2011. It turned out that the demo wasn't
    working properly on real STEs and required more than 2MB RAM.
    It was also slightly out of sync on STEs while it wasn't on the
    Falcon.
    We didn't want to release it that way.
    Gladly, Outline organizers accept two weeks of post-processing.

    -   -  - - -- --- ---- ---------------> Why the lame ugly 2MB ?
    
    Because we reorganized all the buffers, combined everything we
    stumbled over and still need about 1020KB of RAM, which is a
    little more than an executable can use on a 1MB STE.
    However, we're out of time by now and would need to ice-pack a
    lot of data buffers and unpack at the right time to make sure
    the demo runs fully synchronized to the music. Or we would need
    to load data into RAM during the demo, which would mean similar
    effort. Since we need to release this weekend, we decided to go
    for a 2MB version and simply postpone the 1MB version a bit.
    But this one will be released, too.
    
    So simply switch your emulator to 2MB and there you go.
    
    Oh, you want to run it on the real thing ?
    And your STE only has 1MB ?
    Seriously ?
    Then go buy 4MB in SIMMs on a yard sale for two euros and enjoy
    a much more powerful STE along with being able to run the demo.
    Or simply wait another week or maybe two.

    -   -  - - -- --- ---- -------------> A few words about Outline
    
    We enjoyed Outline a lot.
    We really did.
    Again, Outline was a terribly cool party with the friendliest
    host you can imagine. Always cheerful, always helpful, always
    constructive. Also, Outline was (almost) a Paradox group
    meeting as we only missed Zweckform this time.
    
    We were sort of sad to read D-Force's reaction to the feedback
    he got. We have the utmost respect for the people behind the
    beamer, the compo-system, the deadlines and the presentation
    during such a party and we are sad to read that D-Force
    encountered all the negative feedback while everyone else
    involved in the party seemed to have gotten the positive
    feedback.
    We are also sorry that the presentation of our demo didn't work
    out the first time, but TheMatch test ran it on his TV set as
    he, of course, can't test it on the Beamer. Nobody could have
    imagined that the beamer equipment would refuse to display PAL
    60Hz. We certainly didn't blame D-Force or TheMatch for it.
    On the contrary, we were grateful for their patience with us
    extending deadlines a couple of times and then handing in a
    demo that wouldn't run properly the first time.
    Also, we know D-Force is the man that solves problems. He
    always does. You have a problem, you approach D-Force as you
    can be sure that he solves it.
    Unfortunately, this seems to have meant that D-Force is the man
    to solve problems without receiving any praise for it.
    Which is sad.
    Which we would like to correct.
    We just wanted to use this opportunity to thank D-Force for his
    great work during the previous Outline parties and hope to see
    him next time relaxed, in a good mood and enjoying the party.
    
    Once again, thanks to all Outline organizers, the people behind
    the bar, in the kitchen, outside, inside, behind the compo-
    desk, behind the party network system, behind the power cables,
    taking orders for pizzas, awarding Atari sceners for their
    effort or the most popular demo and so on ... You get the idea.
    Thanks.
    We really appreciate your effort.

    -   -  - - -- --- ---- ---------------------------> Final words
    
    Thanks for watching the little compo-filler.
    Let's see what we can come up with next.
    We haven't really reached the limit of the STE yet,but we're
    getting close.
    Some competition would of course spice up working on STE demos
    a lot. RNO entered the ring and is a respectable opponent.
    Positive/Arm's tech shows skill as well as style in the latest
    96k.
    
    But where's your demo ... ?
    
    
    
    The Paranoid of Paradox   -   2011-06-17
    Alive on a dead machine. That's paradox!