Full Motion Video On An 8088


Trixter pulled off this awesome hack, proving that the demoscene is alive and well. It started as a silly joke “well, I can display video on my XT!” , but Trixter thought about it and came up with a way to do it on his Model 5150. The production needs 10MB of disk space, a Soundblaster Pro, a CGA card and monitor. Trixter notes at the end of the page that he’s had to use text mode to get 16 colors out of the CGA instead of the standard 4. Check out the video of the XT being pushed to its limits at his site. (video on Google Video)

[thanks ex-parrot]

27 thoughts on “Full Motion Video On An 8088

  1. “Very First PC”??
    I doubt that as that is a big claim! I have an old ‘AT’ model at home. I thought that came before XT. Or how bout the first Mac. Or ATARI. I’ll stop now.

    Ah well, Very nice by the way. I thought that the XT my aunt gave me was only good for Frameworks II (2).

  2. He claims to have “the original PC” and claims it is a model 5150 (which is the original). If that is the case he is still “cheating” quite a bit with many upgrades. The original 5150 didn’t have any hard drive. It didn’t have CGA graphics, it had monochrome text graphics only. It also had a single one sided floppy drive as storage, with something like 180k of space. And it had only 16kB of memory (not MB). And at that time Creative Labs and the Soundblaster card line wasn’t even a concept. PCs were content with just making beeping noises from their internal speakers for many years before “real” sound cards were invented.

  3. your talking about the original pcs that had 16k and monochrome.. the xt had color and 64k .. thats what competed with the c64 for crying out loud! the only one still with 16k at that point was tandy

  4. That’s one of the coolest and most impressive hacks I’ve ever seen. If only there could be a downloadable video with a much higher resolution, I really want to see it at a decent quality. Maybe it’d be possible somehow to pipe the screen output straight into a tv card of a modern PC and record a screen capture that way? I don’t know how the screen gets rendered on that but it could well be similar to old tvs in which case stealing a signal shouldn’t be too hard.


  5. Markyb said “your talking about the original pcs that had 16k and monochrome.. the xt had color and 64k ..”

    I believe you are right. Which means he doesn’t have the original model 5150 like it says on the page. The 5150 WAS the original with 16k and monochrome.

  6. Actually its the other way round – he started the discussion with “could this be made to work on the Xt?” then went ahead and made it work on the even OLDEr 5150.

    True, its a 5150 with a cga graphics card, soundblaster audio card and a hard drive added onto the stock configuration, but still at the heart is a 5150.

  7. I knew there was a reason I was keeping that Tandy 1000 in the closet!

    BTW, Spinrite can be used to change the interleave of the HD, and if you have a fast enough controler and drive you can get to an interleave of 1:1

    BTW #2… There was a Western Digital RLL controller that would take a Seagate MFM 20Mb drive 32Mb!

  8. If I recall, some of that video and possibly audio are lifted from “9 Fingers” by Spaceballs, an old amiga 500 demo. And that full motion video on the amiga ran from floppy disk! There was never anything quite like the amiga modding scene…
    (nothing against the current demo scene, but some of that stuff on the amiga WAS the birth of “multimedia”)

  9. xorvious: In 9 Fingers (and its predecessor State of the Art) it wasn’t actual full motion video, but converted into a precalculated vector animation “streamed” from the disks. Floppy-packed FMV did appear in A500 demos like 242 by Virtual Dreams though, in all its blocky fullscreen glory. :)

  10. That would be a big no on the video and audio being lifted from 9 fingers. Here’s the original 9 fingers, on video:


    Among other things, 8088 Corruption has full-color and constant motion (9 fingers has to bow out to those chinese characters every once in a while to get back into sync).

    The principles are the same, of course, Trixter never denied that. And there is no doubt that this would be harder to do years ago, than where he had to spend significant time ENCODING the video (that’s where the hard work is, writing that part of it) so that the PC can do it.

  11. Nice, but as others have mentioned it’s not really amazing. Using ‘ANSI’ style colored text as a low-rent graphics mode is hardly a breakthrough, and it’s not really a shock to get music from — ahem — a Soundblaster Pro. If this was an MDA instead of CGA display (perhaps taking advantage of an original green screen with the terribly slow phosphor decay rate…?), with PC speaker hacked sound (also not a huge feat, but would add more cred to this hack), I’d be a little less harsh.

    It’s not awful or anything, mind you.

  12. one thing I don’t see is how he got the DMA sound working. I had a Comodore Colt 8088 and a sound blaster 2 .0 and spent ages trying to get it to work, but all I managed to get was the adlib synthesiser support, never managed to get PCM output/input running. Unless it was just the bath of cards I had or the drivers creative released at the time. I gave up in the end and upgraded to a 286 (386, 486…) and it worked fine in all of them.

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