WHAT'S LEFT FOR THE C64 DEMO CODER?
Written by T.M.R of Cosine
There are two things I've learned about the C64 scene after the twelve years I've been involved. One is that you should never try to predict the future of demos. The other is that every C64 coder I've ever met has no idea what the word "impossible" means. As a result of not paying attention to these two rules, I've found myself looking at effects that I had previously stated would never be done on a C64. Despite this, I'm going to have another couple of goes at predicting the future.
First off the Doom routines. We have already seen the four by four pixel 16 colour type even with animated textures in "Mathematica" or with joystick code in "Obscene Code", but the next step will be to get the resolution higher. Light have already done a 20 by 10 character FLI based Wolfenstein routine in "Brutal Comeback", and Oxyron have moved large texture mapped blocks around on the other axis at normal resolution with a good frame rate in "Dawnfall"; so why not a Doom routine mapped onto an eight by three sprite vertically expanded area?
The squaring off of the pixels that vertical expansion gives is perfect for rotation and so on; the only drawback would be the colours. But Oxyron's routine shows that it's possible to do good texturing with only three colours. If the textures are well designed, a floor and ceiling effect could be added, as well with a bitmap.
Another routine I haven't seen done yet is texturemap and lightsourcing. Oxyron (in "The Masque") and Profik (in "Mergezo Anyag 3") have both done a texture mapeed cube (with chunky 4 by 4 pixels again) but it should be possible to add lighting to these cubes as they spin. Alternatively, the same vertically expanded sprites idea as for the Doom clone could be applied, which would also make it possible to swing the cube around the screen. Or even the side borders!
There have been some texture mapped tunnels recently in "Lameness Rules" and so on, but one extension of this that I would like to see is a Mode 7 emulator. For the uninitiated, Mode 7 is a graphics mode on the Super Famicom that allows it to take a picture, tilt it in perspective, and rotate and shift the tilted image. Games like Mario Kart and F-Zero take advantage of this mode to a great degree. No-Name have done one that has a repeated tile (with a mandelbrot on it in "Obscene Code") but so far nobody has done one that can use a large area.
On a purely bug driven level I expect that someone will figure out how to combine the brilliant FLI flex and overlay routines that Crest did in "Krestology". This would give an IFLI picture with an interlaced character based logo that can position any line of itself anywhere over the screen. It may even be possible to split the colours of the character logo a bit to give it a bit more detail.
Speaking of FLI, I've seen that there are now utilities that allow you to edit a sprite column down the gre band of an FLI picture. What may happen next is that someone figures out how to put two more sprite columns on either side of this in the sideborders and produce what looks like an FLI picture with a screen fourty six characters wide. Crest have already done a scroller in the sides with a similar colouring effect (in "Avantgarde") but there's not been a picture displayer that can do the same trick.
Well, that's a few suggestions. All the above ideas are copyright, and the payment for their use should be sent to the usual address!
This article originally appeared in issue 16 of Driven.