A new Virtual Light Machine by Earx!
At the time of writing this, I am coming up to my first anniversary of CT60
ownership in November. At this point, it might be a good idea to ask what
new and special released have appeared for it in that time?
The initial answer is "Not a lot", so far at least. A handful of intros,
some neat game ports, but not really anything yet that tries to stretch it.
But relief is at hand, as coders slowly struggle to bring new creations to
life, battling the Siamese twin foes of "Lack and time" and "Real life
getting in the way". One such struggle which has lately emerged into
daylight, is that of Earx, and look, he's only gone and coded a brand new
virtual light machine (VLM) for the CT60!
Strictly speaking, it isn't totally a CT60 app as it will work on other
accelerated machines. In this case, the 'minimum' spec is a CT2. However,
to make it really fly, a CT60 is most certainly recommended, and definitely
for anything over and above the complexity of current Whip! modules.
Another interesting thing at this early stage, is the role of a second
person in this work, the previously unknown Christos Zoumpas. I'm sure
we'll learn more of his role in the CT60 VLM as time goes on.
At this stage, it is a very crude and early preview. It uses a system of
plug-in modules very similar to that of its famous precursor Whip! Indeed,
this VLM is touted as partially compatible with Whip! modules, being able
to run several of those. Earx has also been thoughtful enough to supply a
handful of specially coded new modules as well, but more of them in a
It is crude and early to the extent that you have to drag and drop the
modules onto the executable, which is a .gtp file! There is no GUI, no user
controllable options yet, although Earx is working on those things. You
also have to remember to turn the delay cache off on CT60, otherwise there
is a certain lack of fluidity in common with the two early Evolution
intros! After that, things do get a lot better...
A bit about the modules..
Earx bundled four of these with this first beta version, this is their
1. 'Collido' vlm which needs a 100hz SVGA screen to run. This is an
adaption of one of his previous Whip! modules. It does not like either the
fixed frequency 60hz LCD flatscreen connected to my CT60, or my RGB
television which plays host to my CT2 Falcon.
2. 'Galaxy' vlm. This starts as a dot in the middle of the screen, but full
blown galaxies spring out to life according to the volume level. This is
effectively a vlm version of the stellar endpart of the Delta Demo ;-)
3. 'Radial' features a text logo with a blurring 3D light effect like the
endpart of the 'Out' demo. The general brightness level goes up according
to the sound input. From my experience with it, it seems to need a hefty
input to get it really going.
4. 'Geiss' is my personal favourite, and the best new module to date. It
screams "Macintosh screen saver" at you. Fantastically flowing, I tried it
with the new Jean Michel Jarre 'Aero' album, and his flowing style suits
this module down to the ground! Watching that was certainly more
interesting than the "Constant close-up view of some French actresses' pair
of eyes" themed DVD which came with the album!
Geiss goes bonkers!!
There will be a user interface, probably modelled on the successful Whip!
concept, and even more options than that program offered. A lot of these
extras will be contained within the new generation of vlm modules. Earx
talks of alpha layering, channeling, multitasking friendliness, even to the
extent that they can run in a window and be scaled in real time!
There also seems to be a wider range of sound input options than the
traditional microphone headphone jack on the back of the Falcon planned.
You can look forward to soundchip input, and maybe even desktop modfile
players, which would certainly cut out a lot of fumbling for spare audio
cables. Earx has even suggested that the matrix can be played with in order
to place separate sound sources on left and right channels!?
Ultimately. the team is aiming to have channeling and mixing of multiple
plugins simultaneously and even live control and sequencing features.
On my personal wishlist would be some integration of the sound matrix
setting options with the main part of the VLM, as the modules so far
supplied proved to be extremely variable in the level of sound input needed
to see them at their best.
CiH, for Alive Mag,Nov '04