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The low down on Yamilo

By Chris Williams. Published: 1st Jun 2004, 20:06:11 | Permalink | Printable

TXP coder replies to email

In a previous article, we mentioned The Xperience's recently unearthed 20KB demo 'Yamílo', which is hosted by AcornArcade. Whereas we accused the digital art'n'coding group of being too afraid to reply to email, it turns out that team player skandor suffered a hard disc failure and has spent the past few weeks salvaging the resultant wreck. Aww.

Now, for those new to the class, TXP are best known for their Blu demo, which weighs in at 64K and includes a nosebleed techno sound track and an assortment of cunning visual 2D and 3D effects to show what a StrongARM RiscPC is suitably capable of. It also included the famous line, "did you know that the Acorn scene is this planet's lamest scene?" and a good old fashioned snubbing of other demo coding groups from the Acorn era, thus cementing TXP's somewhat arrogant but cool reputation.

Call me sentimental or merely inanely biased, but TXP's demos were one of the best things to come out of the Acorn era and taught a few people that having an attitude and being proud of what you do is OK. So it was a pleasure to eventually hear from Tim "skandor" Juretzki, and with answers to some annoying questions I tend to save especially for people like John Cartmell.

"Why didn't we release Yamílo although it was more or less finished 4-5 years ago? I'm afraid I don't know exactly," Tim admitted. "One of my favourite effects (the infinite plasma zoom) was coded in around 1995, most of the other routines were added until 1999, but we didn't manage to finish the real-time sound systems which was meant to be part of the demo. The idea was to pre-calculate samples and part of the score so that effects, high-quality samples and soundtrack would fit in a single 40 KB file. Unfortunately, the Acorn scene grew smaller and smaller and so did our motivation."

Tim continued: "A few weeks ago, I felt that the Acorn scene would be more interested in a released 20KB demo without soundtrack than in an unreleased 40KB demo with half-finished soundtrack, so I decided to release the demo on acornarcade.com. Maybe we'll publish a revisited version on our web pages one day, but that's all but speculation.

Spinal cord effect from Yamilo"The most impressive effect in Yamílo most probably is the shaded 'spinal column' near the end of the show. I think it doesn't look too bad, but it's not a very complex routine - just some kind of voxelspace being projected onto a squirming tube. The plasma zoom is much more interesting from a coder's point of view as it was somewhat challenging to get it run at full frame rate on ARM710 machines. There's a more refined version of it withering on my RiscPC hard disk (imagine 3D plasma dust you can navigate through with mouse movements), but its public birth is highly improbable at the moment."

Now that next generation RISC OS computers are upon us, and upon our desks, we're still waiting for that Iyonix or Omega enhanced demo.


Yamílo download - zip file, has a thing about Sundays TXP website - demo downloads, plus source code and other goodies

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It's a shame if people do feel the scene has shrunk so much since the days when we had tXp, Icebird, Nutters, DFi and Kulture amongst the more prolific teams producing complete productions and a number of new groups, making it look like a real renaissance. I had hoped that the Iyonix release would kick-start the scene again, though maybe our increasing awareness of exactly what a PC is capable of is inhibiting coders, who'll never acheive some of the 3d effects you can see in all sorts of PC games. Still, it was never about simple polygonal effects with textures and bump maps - the effects that still stand out are those which warp create infinitely high resolution objects by generating effects directly from an equation rather than from a discrete polygon map. So you end up with a lot of tunnels, but DFi's morphing tunnel effect (in K2, I think it was) is still stunning.

Question is, I guess, what would it take to get a scene kicked off again?

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 2/6/04 8:13PM
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The "cool" factor? Maybe hardware is just too fast, so amazing effects aren't so amazing when they run in real time. Maybe it's all been done before.

I need a fair bit of cool factor before my exam tomorrow :(

 is a RISC OS Userjohn on 3/6/04 1:39AM
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Fired up Yamílo last night, and I must say the most impressive bits in it are the infinite resolution sprites and textures. It's purely done to save space, as they're all generated on the fly (rather than storing specific resolution maps), but it's very effective - even makes you forget you're watching in 640x480 on some of the faster moving effects.

Anyway, I was really wondering if we needed some sort of competition, like Evolution. Many of the old demo conventions used to be multi-platform - are they still going?

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 3/6/04 4:05PM
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erm, I cant get on to acorn Arcade? anyone else with a problem?

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 14/6/04 1:40PM
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Iconbar and all sub-sites seem to be down. :-(

 is a RISC OS UserGrek1 on 14/6/04 2:49PM
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