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Just because we haven't been updating this website doesn't mean we weren't busy! So, what happened since the last news item?
Arkos Tracker 2 replay routine for the ST
As you can read from the tracker's website, \"Arkos Tracker 2 is the evolution of STarKos (an Amstrad CPC Tracker) and Arkos Tracker 1 (A Windows-only Tracker)\". Its author (Targhan) publically asked if anyone would take up on the task of making a ST version of the player since the Amstrad CPC and the ST share pretty much the same sound chip (AY-3-8912 vs YM2149F). GGN was intrigued at the possibilities this opened, primarily since this would enable people to compose tunes on PC (or Mac) and play directly on ST. So he overcame his fears (and disgust!) for the Z80 CPU and started on a port of the player code to good old MC68000. The details of this are probably good enough for an article of their own so I'll save it for now.
After a few days of staring at instruction manuals, register descriptions and trying code in simulators he had a working prototype that could play tunes that took a whopping 6 scanlines of CPU! Hooray! After a few optimisation passes, the CPU usage dropped down to about 3.5 scanlines (worst case). Which is great, but what to do with it?
That's when XiA came into the picture*. The tracker did seem nice to use for him and pretty soon he started composing chiptunes again, something he hasn't done in a few years! Around this time the Outline demoparty was looming and we had nothing to show. On a whim GGN started mashing around some visualisations for one of XiA's tunes, thinking it would be enough for a small entry. This was 3 days before the party started! Around that point XiA started throwing assets and code at GGN that he and his lovely wife Acca had prepared in the past. They all looked lovely, so how could those not be used? Lots of effort, bug fixing and contributions by TiNKer at the party and we had something that resembled a demo on our hands! We called it \"LovelYM\", it ranked 3rd place out of 5, and you can view/download it on Pouet as usual. As a final remark, the initial design document for the demo was to show a raster bar to indicate how much CPU time the replay routine took, so we think we exceeded those expectations by far!
As for Outline itself - we had a blast once again. GGN, Showaddywaddy, TiNKer, SPKR, Havoc, D-Force, TheMatch, Beetle, Tronic, CiH, Felice, Lisu, JAC!, they were all present to keep the Atari flag up in the party and the compos :). And of course not forgetting people from other platforms like the Guideline folks (Numtek, TheBat), Alpha C who took care of the compos, and too many other people to mention here.
As expected, it wouldn't be a proper party without D-Bug coding! So Showaddywaddy wore his Grazey hat and ripped a few musics for the good of humanity, while GGN succeeded in adding SID voice support for Arkos Tracker! The results are publically on Github, so you are all invited to check it out and use it in your projects!
Finally, GGN and Showaddywaddy and his friend Gaz spent a few hours walking around in rainy Amsterdam after the party - good times!
After an exhausting party like Outline, surely we wouldn't attempt to do anything other any time soon, right? You would guess wrong!
To keep it short, we did yet another demo with XiA! And documented the process here. GGN and Shw were again present at the party (wooo, two parties in the same year - madness!) and, as expected, good times ensued! Shw was almost thrown in the river because of World Cup shenanigans (namely, England beating Sweden during the party), GGN beat everyone at the gaming compo yet again (yawn!), and the GGN/XiA/Acca demo scoring first place at the Twist compo. No idea how this happened but as usual you can see the result for yourself on Pouet. Enjoy!
Okay, so surely that was it for us for 2018? Two parties, two demos? Ehhh, nope!
Nordlicht demoparty was holding a 512 byte executable compo. And GGN walked into Arvenius (AKA wysiwtf) of Titan during Outline, who is one of the organisers of Nordlicht. An entry was promised, so something had to be done about it!
pLOLsma was written as a part in The Twist demo, but was left out for various reasons. The core code was written by GGN during the flight to Sweden in about 1 hour, and was beaten into submission 2 hours past the deadline for Nordlicht remote entries. No regrets, it is what it is, the promise was not broken :).
Time jump to yesterday, when we finally mustered enough courage to release a sister site/blog/soapbox/whatever into the wild. Beyond Brown had been stewing over a slow fire for a few years now. It was meant to be for our entertainment, jotting down things or writing a few words that were not fitting to other online mediums (forums etc). But over time word got out and people asked about something more public. So here we are. We still think it needs a lot more content (one major reason for not releasing it earlier) but at least people have an easier way to access whatever content is there.
The observant among you must be screaming right now. \"Fine, but what does all this has to do with D-Bug??????\". So nice of you to ask! GGN and Shw have been talking lately and thought that we might as well start producing a few CDs again! First up will be a demo compilation, and then who knows...
Stay tuned for the future - it's coming soon-ish!
* Well, it was a bit earlier than that, but the narrative sounds better this way!