pico 8

Recently, I’ve fallen in love with Pico-8. It has completely replaced Processing as my go-to tool for creating toys in code. If you’re of the same vintage as me (i.e. you lived through the 8-bit era and your year of birth seems distressingly far down web forms), then you might get a kick out of it too. Here are some of the reasons I like it so much.

1. It has everything you need

It’s got a built-in editors for code, sound effects, music and levels. You can construct an entire game without ever leaving the application.

2. It’s web-aware

With the touch of a button1, you can generate a gif of your program as it’s running. A small, perfectly-sized gif that’s perfect for tweeting. Speaking of which…

3. < 140 characters to do cool things

The #pico8 hashtag on Twitter has some great examples of the things people are doing with Pico-8. In less than 140 characters, you can have an entire program.

4. It reminds me of the good old days

I still remember sitting in front of a Commodore 64 for hours and typing out a program from Commodore User Magazine. It was a great way of learning a language and, looking back I realise, a great way of teaching patience. Well, the Pico-8 Fanzine also has a

  1. or well, two. One to start the recording, one to stop it. ↩︎

Hello Processing! →

A short online lecture on how to start doing interesting things with Processing. So well done.

Guitar Hero 2 and OS X

I think my previous post on Guitar Hero 2 gave some idea of how disappointed I was by this game. So why the hell did I go out and re-buy it for the Xbox 360?

Well, apart from the high-definition graphics (very important in a game like this) and the way it’s an easy 500 achievement points, there’s one very big reason why I got it: the Guitar. It plays beautifully, it’s based on an Explorer and it’s USB.

Guitar Hero X-Plorer on OS X

Naturally, I plugged it into my Macbook before it even went near the 360. OS X recognised it, but the 360 controller drivers from Pref360 didn’t work. No worries, it was only a matter of time. Well, the new version of the Pref360 drivers adds support for the Guitar Hero controller.

So now I can play Frets on Fire on my Macbook, which is fantastic. But I really want to see if this can be used as an input controller for Max/MSP or Processing. Then the fun can really begin.

New Project: Cinema Verite

I’m working on a new project: Cinema Verite.

Using processing (a powerful programming language with a lot of media capabilities), I’m ripping apart some of my favourite movies and putting them back together again. By taking screenshots at every second of the movie and laying them out flat - one image per second, sixty images per row - you get a completely different view of the movie.

So yeah, check it out, if you like that kind of thing.

Processing 1.0 (BETA) →

Processing 1.0 (BETA)
Processing - the visual programming language - is finally into Beta. Well worth checking out.