Dual displays on a Playstation 2

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At the Revision 2013 demoparty held last weekend, visitors and guests wanting to check out the latest advances in programming old video game consoles got a real treat. [Abyss] took a Playstation 2, connected the composite video out port to a TV and an oscilloscope, and created the first dual display PS2.

From the official video of the demo, the two video signals are generated from a single video out on the PS2. Generating the composite video out is understandably fairly easy, but the second display – an oscilloscope – is driven during the Vblank period in the composite signal. There’s no audio trickery here; video signals are used for video, and audio signals are used for audio.

[Abyss] took first place in the wild demo competition at Revision 2013. Understandably, too, because this is one of the best demos we’ve ever seen. You can check out the official video from [Abyss] after the break, and the wild competition video after the break.

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Put your dev board to work as a demoscene display

If you’re looking for a way to push your comfort zone with that slick new microcontroller you’ve been working with we think [Morgan Gangwere] has the answer. He took his chipKit development board and used it as a demoscene platform.

Demoscene refers to audio and visual demos written to squeeze as much entertainment out of a given platform as possible. We’ve seen demos for a lot of different platforms; for instance, here’s a Propeller chip demo. But this use of the onboard OLED screen brings a smile to our faces. With well under 100 lines of code [Morgan] implemented several different video effects (the music heard in the clip after the break is not being produced by the board). There is a star field which serves as the background. Over the top of it a scrolling message is displayed following a sine wave shape. The speed at which it scrolls is set by the trimpot, which you can see adjusted about 50 seconds into the clip.

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Universal Commodore 64 cartridge speeds up demo production

As a life long lover of his venerable Commodore 64, [Frank] was looking for a way to speed up the development time when writing C64 demos. His solution is a universal C64 cartridge that will connect to a PC over a USB port.

The board is powered by a CLPD and a microcontroller loaded with code from [Frank]‘s previous C64 USB controller adapter. A 16 Mbit flash chip is able to store 31 classic games like Pitfall, Dig Dug, and Lode Runner.

On his Google+ announcement, [Frank] says this is a very early prototype. He plans on reducing the board size to fit inside a standard C64 cartridge, and the firmware for the micro and CLPD aren’t finished yet. That being said, [Frank] does have a board that does what he wants it to do: extremely rapid C64 development.

Check out [Frank]‘s demo after the break of him compiling and re-uploading a simple demo to his cherished computer in just a few seconds. That’s a lot faster than it would take with a 1541 Ultimate or other SD card reader.

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Behind the scenes of a 1K graphics demo

Programmer/designer [Steven Wittens] has posted a fantastic write-up on the black art of producing compact demo code, dissecting his own entry in the 1K JavaScript Demo Contest. The goal is to produce the best JavaScript demo that can be expressed in 1024 characters or less and works reliably across all standards-compliant web browsers.

[Wittens] details several techniques for creating a lot of visual flash in very few bytes, including the use of procedural graphics rather than fixed datasets, exploiting prime numbers to avoid obvious repetitions in movement, and strategically fudging formulas to save space while adding visual interest. These methods are just as applicable to other memory-constrained situations, not just JavaScript — some of the contest entries bear a resemblance to the compact microcontroller demos we’ve previously showcased, except running in your browser window.

The contest runs through September 10th, allowing ample time to come up with something even more clever. Whether he wins or not, we think [Steven] deserves special merit on account of having one of the most stylish blogs in recent memory!

Notacon call for papers

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Notacon has just announced their first round of talk selections. The Cleveland, OH area hacker conference will be celebrating its sixth year April 16th-19th. When we attended this year we saw talks that ranged from circuit bending to the infamous TSA bagcam. Self-taught silicon designer [Jeri Ellsworth] presented on FPGA demoing. [Trixter] covered his demo archiving process. You can find a video archive of this year’s talks here.

We’re really looking forward to the conference. [SigFLUP] is already on the schedule to cover Sega Genesis development. Get your talk in soon though; they’re already handing out space to the knitters.