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Alive 9

     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!!

Future attractions!
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

Alive 9