Sunday, December 4, 2016

End-of-the-Year Hiatus and 2016 Retrospective

The end of the year is approaching with big footsteps, and that means Ancient Wonderworld is going into its traditional end-of-the-year hiatus as I'm spending the month of December working on a new Doppelplusungut trash punk album in a remote studio far out in the middle of nowhere.

Looking back, I think it's been a good year for Ancient Wonderworld. Haven't posted as much as in the previous years, yet I believe the blog has benefitted from a stronger focus on the core topics: Chiptune, 8/16-bit demoscene (with a special love for sizecoding productions), and the history of creative computing.

At times I have contemplated stopping with this project altogether because it seems like a lot of work for a limited impact. But then I noticed that the blog now has an average 250-300 views per day, a nearly tenfold increase from last year. That's not just a decent number for a little niche blog that does barely any outside promotion. It also means that there are appearantly quite a few people out there who do care about Ancient Wonderworld. So thanks and cheers to all you readers out there, you're the number one reason that keeps me going!

On a personal level, it's been a good and productive year for me as well. Aside from improving and extending HoustonTracker 2, I spent a lot of time advancing my 1-bit driver coding skills. For the first half of the year, I mostly dabbled in digital mixing, developing a new "multi-core" technique which allows for reasonably accurate rendering of a sizeable number of volume levels on the ZX Spectrum beeper and other 1-bit devices.

Fluidcore, a 4-channel wavetable player for ZX Spectrum beeper

These experiments eventually cumulated in the zbmod engine, a 3-channel routine which can play back PCM samples of arbitrary length with a total of 21 volume levels, and qed68, which does the same with 4 channels/24 levels on the TI-92 Plus and compatible graphing calculators. In the process, I also disovered how to implement simple low- and hi-pass filters in 1-bit.

Later on, I turned my focus onto more traditional 1-bit techniques again, for a number of reasons. Digital 1-bit techniques are very powerful, but they consume a lot of RAM, and are extremely tedious to write. On top of that, they are surprisinly unflexible, since the technique ties up a several registers for jump calculation, and rules out the use of self-modifying code. All in all, it's a pretty lousy representation of the "digital minimalism" I'm striving for. So, back to the basics. One thing I did was to take Zilogat0r's classic Squeeker routine (which introspec kindly reverse-engineered earlier this year) and enhance it with drums and duty envelopes. The resulting Squeeker Plus engine is certainly my personal favourite from this year. I later mated the Squeeker technique with Shiru's Phaser method, creating the strikingly powerful, yet nearly unusable Phase Squeek engine.

I stuck with the Phaser technique for a while, gradually simplifying the algorithm in the process. This yielded some significant speed gains, which allowed me to implement several new tricks. These simplifications actually went so far that at one point, the phaser algorithm became interchangeable with the standard threshold technique (the one used in Tritone type engines). Somehow, this was quite a revelation to me! In my perception, 1-bit synthesis is now transitioning from mainly trying to emulate other synthesis types¹ (programmable sound chip synthesis, pulse code modulation) into becoming a type in its own right: Binary modulation synthesis, if you will.

As my engines were becoming pretty much impossible to support in the existing 1-bit trackers and XM converters, Shiru suggested the creation of a dedicated, customizable music markup language to facilitate music composition for these tools. I was more than happy to follow up on this, as it provided a nice opportunity to finally acquire some proper C++ coding skills. Dubbed MDAL (the Music Data Abstraction Language), the project has now progressed into a usable beta stage, although the standard is by no means finalized and there is a lot of work left to do. I'm intending to continue on this next year.

The most fun thing this year was probably the "discovery" of the fabled 5th sound channel on Gameboy. On April 1st, I posted this video on youtube:


Of course everybody thought it was fake. Until I posted the actual ROM. And the head scratching commenced... Sure, it's a trick, but a pretty convincing one. It's basically an application the good old "pulse interleaving" 1-bit method on the second pulse channel of the DMG. I intended this mainly as a friendly nudge to the Gameboy scene. The point is that in my opinion, the Gameboy music scene has been somewhat standing still in the last 10 years, resting on the success of LSDJ and Nanoloop. While these are without a doubt absolutely brilliant tools, they don't push the Gameboy to the limits by any means. I really want to see more experimentation with DMG sound in the future, however I don't want to do it myself, since I'm not an expert in Gameboy programming and I don't have the time to become one.

Last but not least, I also took some time to bring my decade-old web coding skills up to HTML5 standards, and tackle the long overdue rewrite of my website. While I think that CSS is as awful and frustrating to use as ever, I'm pretty proud of the new, minimalistic and responsive layout.

Coding certainly took precedence over writing music for me in 2016. As a consequence, I played only one show this year (to a wonderful audience at the Vintage Computing Festival Berlin). I did, however, hold several talks on 1-bit music and HoustonTracker 2, which is an activity I enjoy a lot and would like to continue in the future. So if you would invite me for a talk, presentation, or workshop, please get in touch, either by commenting below or dropping me a mail at utz at my home domain. Aside from the things mentioned, I also like to talk on the topic of early computer music history, if that's more your thing. Of course I'm still open for shows as well, and I hope to do more next year.

Anyway, thanks again for reading, and see you all back in 2017!

¹ With the exception of Pulse Frequency Modulation, which has been a 1-bit exclusive right from the start.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

[album] Third Laser by little-scale

Thrash44 Records has put out an album with previously unreleased Nanoloop 2.2 material from Australia's chip master little-scale. Float through space on those trademark lush pads being pitched against hypnotic, pulsating beats. This might just be my favourite little-scale release to date.

Monday, November 28, 2016

[album] OBOLE II by CYMBA

The folks from Cymba have been working really hard to create their own unique flavour of chipmusic that doesn't sound anything like chipmusic at all. Dark, evil, slightly acidic techno running off 4 Gameboy Advance. OBOLE II is one 12-inch vinyl that shouldn't be missing in your collection, if you ask me.

[demo] Electric Night by Dune and SMFX

Here's the winner of this year's Atari Falcon demo compo at Silly Venture. It could have benefitted from a more tight pacing in my opinion, but otherwise it's undoubtedly a top notch Falcon prod with great style. I especially dig the underwater scene.


download/discuss

[demo] Abeyance by Satori

Zden's latest audiovisual glitch assault in 256 bytes. Appearantly it ran at Compusphere, but wasn't ranked due to lack of competitors.


download/discuss

Saturday, November 26, 2016

AWW Link List Restored

Finally got around to restoring the "Ancient Wonderworld Recommends" link list (in the lower left sidebar), which was destroyed by an update of the Blogger software a couple of months ago.

I've mostly kept the list as it was for now, just removed a couple of dead links and added a select few new sites instead, like the sizecoding.org wiki, and the Pterodactyl Squad netlabel, which should have been on the list right from the start. I've also removed the World of Spectrum forums, because with the way the new management is treating some users there, I can no longer unreservedly recommend the site.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is this: I'm aware the current list is a mess, and a rather arbitray one on top of that. My plan is to split it up into different categories eventually (chiptune archives, forums, people, netlabels, blogs, etc) and, most importantly, to add more items. So, if you have any suggestions, feel free post them in the comments! Proposals should generally be 8/16-bit coding/chiptune/demoscene/computer history/lo-fi related, of course.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

[album] NMLSTYL by Animal Style

Animal Style has released a new, blasting chip prog album. Features hard-rocking guitars, sweet Gameboy melodies, and excellent drumming from Rob Martino.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

4mat on Chipmod History

Chiptune pioneer 4mat put up a great talk about the early days of Amiga chip mod tracking, with a focus on the techniques that came to define this format. A highly recommended watch.

Friday, November 18, 2016

0day Exploit Using NSF Files

You thought .nsf files are just harmless NES music files and nothing bad could ever come from them? Well, think again. Security researcher Chris Evans has just revealed a zeroday exploit on Linux involving the use of specially crafted .nsfs.

The actual vulnerability is found in an old version of gstreamer which is still widely being used. What's happening is that the internal emulator that is used to execute the 6502 code contained in the .nsf doesn't verify the ROM size, which, in conjunction with the use of bankswitching, can lead to the emulator breaking out of its virtual memory and start writing to the heap.

Meanwhile, Battleofthebits user b00daw has found that the problematic gstreamer code is currently used by the Jabber/XMPP client Gajim, which means the vulnerability can possibly be exploited on non-Linux systems as well.

Long story short, if you still have gstreamer plugins from the 0.10 release running somewhere, you might want to run an update.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

[demo] VCS Demos from Silly Venture

So last weekend the mightiest of all Atari demoparties took place once again in Gdańsk, Poland. And y'all probably know what that means: Lot's of fresh Atari demos!

Well, when it comes to Atari machines, the 2600 (aka VCS) holds a special place in my heart. It's not just about those growly, detuned TIA sounds. The really fascinating thing about the 2600 is that allows programmers access to the hardware in a much more direct way than almost any other platform out there. Which, in conjunction with the otherwise extremely limited specs, often leads to very unique stylistic choices, such as incorporating very blocky, rough graphics with very intricate colour schemes.

Ok, enough blabla, let's look at the VCS demos from Silly Venture 2k16.


Mr. Caterpillar and the Tale of the Turquoise Twisters by Genesis Project


Shadow and Mermaid - when these two get together, the result is rarely ever disappointing. So here's their latest prod: Simple, but awwww... so cute! Look at that little caterpillar! And hey, it all fits into an 8k ROM. 3rd place in the VCS compo.


download/discuss



rotor by Flush


A bit rough around the edges, but hey: That music sounds pretty damn good for VCS - great to see TIAtracker being put to good use. Also, props for releasing the source. 2nd place in the compo.

download/discuss



Chiphead by altair


Ziphead on Atari VCS? U kiddin me mate? That's one impressive feat. It could have benefitted from some more horses, though ;) Anyway, well deserved first place in the compo.


download/discuss

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

TMDC19 Announced


For the 19th time, the legendary Text Mode Demo Contest is awaiting your submissions. Deadline is December 12th, as usual. There were some rule changes from last year, so make sure you check those before you start to hack away.

The above invite is available for download here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Stella at 20 - An Atari 2600 Retrospective


On the 20th birthday of the Atari 2600 VCS, AtariAge member Glenn Saunders gathered a group of Atari legends to celebrate the occasion. He filmed the event, thereby creating the "Stella at 20" documentary.

Previously only available on VHS, the original footage comprises nearly 14 hours worth of material, including interviews with Nolan Bushnell (Atari founder), Al Acorn (Atari co-founder), Joe Decuir, Steve Mayer, Ron Milner (2600 designers), David Crane (Pitfall, Freeway), Carol Shaw (River Raid), Al Miller, Larry Kaplan (Activision co-founders), and many more.

Curtesey of Glenn Saunders, the entire 14 hours of this fantastic piece of computing history are now available on Archive.org.

[demo] kaliskop by Kuemmel

Neat 256 byte MS-DOS demo by Kuemmel, based on an algorithm proposed by fractal researcher Kali. Gotta love that crazy music, too! The prod scored 4th place in the combined demo compo at Demosplash.


download/discuss

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

[album] Goto80 - 80864

Staying on the topic of Commodore for a bit... so what happens if a C64 and an 808 drum machine meet in the hands of one of the most creative chiptuners of all time? Well, this happens:



The vinyl is almost sold out, so you better be quick if you want one.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

[album] F13 by lpower

Ha, I had no idea that lpower is still around! But here he is, back on Pterodactyl Squad with a beast of an eerie game soundtrack. Classic horrorchip at it's best, in the spirit of legendary soundtracks such as the one from Friday the 13th, or the Castlevania series.

The game itself is to be released next year, so for now I suggest you grab the full download and additional artwork from the release page at PTE. There's also a limited edition cassette release available through lpower's bandcamp.

[demo] Total by Extend

Another stunning masterpiece from X Party. Due to an organizational screw-up, this ended up ranking 18th. No doubt it should actually have ended up in the top three. It's my favourite from the party, in any case. While lft's Lunatic wins in terms of design, this one just kills the show with it's fresh ideas and unique style. Also, gotta love that skull pic.


download/discuss

[album] Bud Melvin - Shaking Like Milk

Breaking news: Banjo-wielding chiptune caballero Bud Melvin takes on The Cure! These tracks were created for a liveset for the recent Pulsewave edition. He should work on that British accent though... just kidding, it's a great tribute that stays very faithful to the originals.


full album download

Monday, October 31, 2016

[demo] Lunatico by lft

Fantastic new C64 demo by the legendary lft, which took the 2nd place at X Party. It's not just that the graphics, music, and effects are all top notch - I have rarely ever seen such a coherently styled production on the C64. And yes, all code, graphics, and music in this double-disk demo are made by a single person.


download/discuss

Thursday, October 27, 2016

[album] Dot Matrix Machiavelli by Plain Flavored

Plain Flavored has got some fresh Gameboy bleeps out. Dark, melodic, break-ish material makes for a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Soviet InterNyet

Victor M. Glushkov

Benjamin Peters, professor of communications at Tulsa University, has published an extremely interesting essay titled "The Soviet InterNyet". The article outlines the Soviet efforts of constructing a nationwide computer network under the name OGAS (All-State Automated System for the Gathering and Processing of Information for the Accounting, Planning, and Governance of the National Economy). OGAS would have been a worthy rival to the United States' ARPANET, but due to resistance from Soviet party apparatchiks (and to the great disappointment of the mastermind behind the project, Victor M. Glushkov, pictured above), it never materialized.

Monday, October 17, 2016

[album] Unknown Command by Dr. Zilog

What? There's a new Dr. Zilog album out since June and I've missed it completely? This is outrage! Been a huge fan of this guy ever since his massive debut "The Satellite of Love" back in 2007.

And I'm happy to say that he really outdid himself with this one. "Unknown Command" is, in my opinion, his best work so far. Chipmetal at it's finest, check it out (and buy the tape)!

Version Check Is Back

One month later and Google still hasn't restored those link lists it destroyed in a recent Blogger update. So I've finally resurrected the chiptracker version check by hand. Also took the opportunity to update a few things that had fallen under the table - SNES GSS link now redirects to a backup github repository since the original Google Code project page is gone, Schism Tracker now links to the in-development branch rather than the outdated 2012 release, and the one and only cross-platform TED music editor knaecketraecker is finally listed.

Next thing to be restored is the blog roll, hopefully I'll get around to that soon.

[demo] broken sun by Desire

It's autumn and the leaves pixels are turning yellow, orange, and red... Props to HellMood for bringing us these lovely seasonal greetings in 64 bytes.


download/discuss

Monday, October 10, 2016

[demo] Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by louigi

Y'all must be missing your fix of demos here on Ancient Wonderworld, no? Ok, so here's a demo... that isn't a demo. First place at Deadline's animation compo for a reason, hehehe...


download/discuss

[album] The Essay that took too long to write by TheOfficialLobst

Dug out this lovely little bag of ModPlug treats from chiptune newcomer TheOfficialLobst on Soundcloud. It may have some rough edges here and there, but overall it's well worth a listen, I think.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Version Check and Link List Broken

You may have noticed that the tracker version check and "IP recommends" lists have mysteriously disappeared. Rest assured that this is not intentional. Supposedly the disappearance is caused by a bug introduced by a recent update of the Blogger software, and supposedly Google is working hard to fix it, though they sure are taking their time with it. Well, at least they don't claim it's a feature, like Soundcloud did with Groups.

Anyway, I'll wait a few more days to see if this gets fixed, not really in the mood to rebuild these lists by hand.

[album] Treasure Buster OST by Norrin_Radd

Staying on the topic of game soundtracks, here's a new one from Norrin_Radd, comprised of a massive onslaught of highly energetic tunes in (accurately emulated) Sega Genesis/Megadrive FM style. Blast processing!

[album] Pururnmi OST by Kulor

New Kulor album, horray! This is the soundtrack for an unfinished platformer game that Kulor was working on from 2006-2012. The XM soundtrack, which is based an imaginary sound chip configuration, has survived however. And now we can finally enjoy these joyful, cosy tunes as a proper album release.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

[demo] 256 Byte Prods from Function 2016

There was a massive onslaught of 256 byte MS-DOS prods at Function this year. Seems the sizecoding.org project is showing it's first fruits. Anyway, time to check out some of the highlights from the compo.


Alien satellite by Transistor Core

Even though it may not be on par with some of the crazy 3D stuff people are pulling off in 256 bytes nowadays, I quite enjoy Transistor Core's unique take on it. Terenc's sizetros really have a distinct style that is easily recognizable. 11th place in the compo.


download/discuss


Malware by Satori

Not exactly a serious contender for the win, but a very fun prod. It's got skulls, it's got glitches, it's got PC Speaker sound - what more could you possibly want? 10th place in the compo.


download/discuss


kaneda by sensenstahl

They ain't callin' it #sensenstahlism for nothing. Another mindblowingly beautiful prod from the grandmaster of 256 byte style. 7th place in the compo, should have placed higher in my opinion.

download/discuss


Spinception by Desire

Hellmood at it again... I don't think I've ever seen a bad prod from this guy. It's hard to describe what's going on this one, so just have a look for yourselves. 6th place.

download/discuss


You are invaded by Kuemmel

This one got some serious balls. Well, actually just one ball, but it's huge!
Enough for 5th place anyway.

download/discuss


Autopilot by Digimind

Didn't this guy totally blow everybody's mind at last year's Function already? Well, here he goes with another top notch production. 3rd place this time.

download/discuss


Atraktor by Řrřola

After 3 years of absence from the scene, sizecoding legend Řrřola makes a stunning comeback. I'm incredibly pleased to see he's still going strong. This is the winner of the compo, btw.


download/discuss

[podcast] istota ssąca 56

Ubunoir's Istota ssąca #56 is out. I believe I've never mentioned this awesome podcast on here before, so time to give a shout out to one of the most respected institutions of lo-fi electronic underground music. If you're into weird and quirky stuff, then you're in for a treat.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

[album] Spontaneous Compression by YM DIGITAL



YM DIGITAL (aka Yerzmyey and Factor6) have released a new album. "Spontaneous Compression" contains nine all-around great oldschool gems, all digi tunes made on Atari ST. With it's often rather mellow mood, this might easily be my favourite YM Digital release yet.

Note there's no bandcamp streaming for this one. As is appropriate for an oldschool release, it's distributed the oldschool way - via the band's website. Source MOD files are available as well.

Friday, September 2, 2016

[soft] HoustonTracker 2.20 Released

Got a new HoustonTracker version ready! It features some interesting new effects, improved speed control, and comes with a savestate manager utility for importing tracks from older HT versions. Check out the video below for a little demonstration of the new features.


Get HT 2.20 at irrlichtproject.de/houston.

[album] Proyek Pembangunan Semesta Paralel by remedmatika

Very happy to see a new release from one of the most unique chiptune artists out there. "Proyek Pembangunan Semesta Paralel" consists of two wonderfully dreamy, soothing NES works which I can't describe as anything other than beautiful. Remedmatika has been on my list of favourite chippers for a long time, but he's really outdone himself with this release in terms of quality and intricacy of the tracks included. Too bad there's just two of them.

Friday, August 26, 2016

[demo] Line Feed by Defence Force

A demo for the Oric? Now that's something you don't see every... wait what? It's not for the Oric computer, you say? Oh, wow, it's for the Oric MPC40 line printer! Now, while line printers might be counted as one of the oldest demo platforms around, it's always refreshing to see someone give it a try, and needless to say, it's an art that's become super-rare in our days. Second place in the wild compo at Solskogen, by the way.


download/discuss

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

[album] Tufty's 1-Bit Mechanistic Now Available as CD/Musicdisk


Tufty's magic ZX Spectrum beeper album is now available on CD. So head over to the bandcamp page and grab one while they last!

Also, you can now enjoy these 1-bit classics in musicdisk format (or rather, musictape), to be run on actual ZX Spectrum hardware. Coded by yours truly ;)


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

[demo] Ancient Wonderworld's Amiga Summer Favourites

Round two of clearing the backlog of great demos that have been released in the recent months. Today, I'll be taking a look at 3 of my favourite new Amigaaaaaaaaa demos.

Exhibit A: "Omnimetatheorem", a very solid 64k intro for Amiga AGA by Software Failure. While the "transparent polygon" effect is nothing new on AGA, the facts that this is a 64k AND was put together by a single person (ham) makes it worthwhile. Second place in Euskal's combined intro compo.


download/discuss


So you think you need AGA to do threeedeeee? Well, have a look at "e255" by Bomb, Sanity, and Dreamdealers, then. This demo for the classic Amiga 500 (with harddrive support, 1MB chipram, and 1.5MB slowram, though a final version for lower specs has been promised) is not just pretty impressive in terms of it's code, but is also fresh-looking and super stylish. Well-deserved first place at Evoke's "alternative demo" compo.


download/discuss


Last but by no means least, I've got another AGA prod here. This one is by no other than the mighty Ephidrena, making a comeback after 4 years of absence from the scene. Well-paced, timeless visuals, superb music, and first place at Solskogen's oldskool demo compo, here's "Neonsky".


download/discuss

Sunday, August 21, 2016

New Sizecoding Wiki

Several legendary figures from the MS-DOS and sizecoding scenes got together to bring you sizecoding.org, a wiki about x86 sizecoding.

I've only delved into it a little bit, but from what I've seen I can say that there's already a wealth of information there, and it's extremely well presented. Plenty of good stuff both for size-coding beginners and advanced x86 cracks can be found.

My only hope is that eventually some content about sizecoding on non-x86 platforms will be added. Well, seems anyone can sign up for an account there, so it's possible... In any case, massive props to trixter, HellMood, and qkumba for this excellent project!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

[album] DUBCTR by Goto80

A new, interactive A/V release by Goto80, with cody by 4mat and pixel art by ilkke. Also includes a load of remixes, appearently. This release comes in a unique format - as a cartridge for the C64, that is. Unfortunately the cart is already sold out two days after it's release, so for the time being your only choice is to enjoy the beautiful, quirky and diverse audio-visual treat on bandcamp. Btw the bc page includes video captures, so head over there rather than simply relying on the embed below.

SNDH Archive v4.6 Released

A new version of the SNDH Atari ST music collection is out. A whooping 345 new tunes have been added, including some high-class material by Quartet, gwEm, and 505, as well as Mad Max' legendary "Bittner" tune.

Grab it at sndh.atari.org!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

[demo] Darkweb, speaCore, and FireWave 16b by Desire

Ok, time for an attempt to start digging through the massive backlog of great demoscene productions that have stacked up over the course of the recent months so far.

I'll make a start by looking at HellMood's latest MS-DOS size-coding works. HellMood seems to have taken a liking to the humble PC Speaker lately, which of course yields some massive bonus points from me.


First up, we have "speaCore", a digital XTC trip in 128 bytes. Now here's your summer hit!


download/discuss


Happyness overload anyone? Well, then have a look at "Darkweb" instead. This 32-byter certainly lives up to it's sinister name.


download/discuss


32 bytes? Man, screw this bloatware... 16 bytes should be enough for anyone. Exhibit 3: FireWave 16b.


download/discuss

Lofi Techno Jam #1 by Pulselooper

Here we have Pulselooper looping some pulses again... this time, he squeezes out an awesome 26 minute dark techno live set made with a GBA SP running Nanoloop 2.7, and a Teenage Engineering PO-12. The perfect sum... oh wait, it's winter in Brazil right now.


Lossless audio is up for grabs on archive.org.

Also, this is the 600th post here on Ancient Wonderworld, yay!

Friday, August 12, 2016

[album] Neon Dreams by Dya

A very lovely debut release from Dya, ranging from super-chill and layed-back to highly energetic. VGM-inspired music with a twist.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

[album] Toxic Chicken - Escape

This one couldn't be more different from the one from the previous post. Toxic Chicken is once again spreading warmth and happiness to the world with his new release, "Escape". I heavily recommend you partake in the joyous journey of this unique and kind hum... err I mean galline being.

The album is up for free on bandcamp, so grab it before the downloads run out!


[album] ODOS 55 LP

Wow, seems clickrates are up by 150% since I last posted something on here! I should take a break from posting more often... just kidding.

To make up for the lack of posts lately, I've got two great new summer releases here that need some love. First, one from the dark side. ΟΔΟΣ 55 (Route 55) are a sci-fi/synth punk band from Athens which has been around for a few years now. So far, they've grown on me with every album they put out, and their new LP (untitled like all their releases) is my absolute favourite yet. Once again, they paint a dystopian view of the future that is at least as pitch-black as the cover suggests. Too bad the limited editon vinyl is already listed as sold-out on eirkti records.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Floppotron 2.0

Some people just don't know when to stop.


(Yeah, chances are you've seen this already, since it's gone viral by now. But it's just too funny...)

20 Years HVSC


The High Voltage SID Collection celebrates its 20th anniversary with an exclusive musicdisk, featuring works by celticdesign, Hein, Jellica, Laxity, Linus, psycho8580, and many more. Needless to say, the collection itself has also been updated. With the addition of 1022 new files, it now features over 48000 SIDs.

download 20 Years HVSC musicdisk
download HVSC #65

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

[demo/album] The Chiperia Project Issue #5

Yeah I know, I'm massively behind on all the great demoscene releases of the past month. This is partly due to me having been on vacation, but also due to lack of motivation in recent times. But fear not, I have no plans on giving up Ancient Wonderworld for now.

Anyway, time to start clearing the backlog. Mid June saw the release of another installment in the Chiperia musicdisk series for the classic Amiga computer. And once again, it is an absolutely top-notch collection of original Amiga chiptunes (in the original sense of the word), made by some of the best musicians in the scene. I'm simply amazed how these folks can keep up such a consistently high quality.


download/discuss

Sega Saturn Reverse-Engineered

Dr Abrasive aka jhl has succeeded in reverse-engineering the CD loading process of the Sega Saturn, something that has not been done in the over 20 years since the console was released. Congratulations for this incredible feat!

Here's a video by cTrix, with Dr Abrasive talking a little about the work he's done and the potential that's opening up as a consequence.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

[demo] 30 Years Amstrad Megademo by benediction ^ Dirty Minds ^ Futurs

The name might be a bit misleading as the Amstrad CPC has been around for 32 years already. However, this prod specifically honours the birth of the CPC 6128, which is indeed turning 30 in August. Either way, there's nothing wrong at all with the scene getting together for a megademo for "the best 8-bit computer of all times". And what a massive beast it is. Loads of material, featuring both classical oldskool and bleeding edge fx. Thumbs up!


download/discuss

Saturday, June 25, 2016

[soft] TIATracker v1.0 Released

Hi folks, I'm back from my little summer vacation so you can expect activity on here to pick up again in the coming days.

Today I'm very pleased to announce the release of TIATracker, an open-source, cross-dev music editor for the Atari VCS/2600 console. Anyone who has ever tried making music for the VCS is probably aware of the problems surrounding that matter. Up to now, the only reasonable possibility was to hand-code music in assembly language, usually by using Paul Slocum's driver. There were several attempts at creating a TIA tracker, but they all eventually got stuck in early alpha.

Therefore, I can't stress enough what an outstanding achievement this tool constitutes. Written by Andre "Kylearan" Wichmann, TIAtracker runs on all major platforms that support the QT library.

Haven't gotten around to playing much with it yet, but I did manage to build it under Linux after a bit of head-scratching. Had to install the qjson libraries, then force makefile creation with "qmake -qt=qt5 TIATracker.pro".

Anyway, here's a screenie:



Downloads, source and documentation are available via the link above.

Friday, June 3, 2016

MOnSter 6502 - A Giant 6502 CPU

Now here's a seriously cool project - a giant replica of the MOS 6502 CPU that visualizes it's data flows with a lot of LEDs!

Incredible as it may seem, it is a fully working NMOS 6502 implementation (minus a few bugs that the developers aim to iron out in the next revision of the board), albeit running at just about 400 KHz due to the capacitance of the transistors used.


More information on monster6502.com.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

[album] Zombie Moroder by Pablito el drito

It's been rather silent around this guy for a long time (at least nothing appeared on my radar). But here he is: Pablito el drito with a new vinyl release! And I'm glad to say his music is as good as ever. Not sure what this is made with, I assume there was at least some Nanolooping involved.

The label seems to be rather elusive and doesn't have a proper website as far as I can tell, so I guess in order to get this release, you'll have to mail them at info@vpsrecords.com.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

[demo] Timelord by RSi

Baudsurfer outdoing himself again with this stylish new 256 byte prod. Great to see the man explore a new concept. Uses some code by ryg of Farbrausch, so props to him as well. This might just have won the 256b compo at qbparty, had it not been lost by the organizers.


download/discuss

Update: If you don't fancy the botched Youtube render and your PC doesn't have enough HP to run this, there's now a hi-res .avi version available for direct download as well.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

[soft] Pixel Polizei - An 8-Bit Image Verification Tool


A new, handy tool for 8-bit pixel artists has appeared. Made by marq of Fit (with some help by Dr. TerrorZ and Pepto), Pixel Polizei is a Java utility that lets you verify if a pixel image made with a generic editor adheres to the limitations of a multitude of target platforms. It also allows conversion into those platform's native formats. Target platforms include the Amstrad CPC, C64, C264 series, MSX, Oric, and ZX Spectrum.

[demo] ringz hd and disco 64b by Desire

Seems HellMood is on a roll! First up, a very funky tunnel in 256 bytes:



download/discuss

Now if the above wasn't funky enough for you, then how about this lovely 64 byte disco ball?



download/discuss

The above prods took 3rd and 4th place in the combined 256b compo at qbparty, respectively.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

[album] 0407 by Goto80

New Goto80 cassette out on Data Airlines! Hype hype hype!

Friday, May 13, 2016

[demo] Liquid Sky II by Desire

Not sure what to make of Outline's 128 byte compo this year. There were a lot of technically impressive prods again, but somehow a number of them didn't really do the trick for me for various reasons (code recycling and lack of polish, to name a few).

So of all the prods in the compo, I'll give this one by HellMood of Desire a shout out. Not exactly a new effect either, but it's so nicely soothing with the music. Enjoy.


download/discuss

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

[demo] Rain by Life on Mars

A unique, wonderfully dark ZX Spectrum production by introspec, diver, and sq, with music by Mister Beep. Yes, that means it's probably the first ZX demo to actually demonstrate a fully interlaced beeper music/graphics driver combination. Second place it Multimatograf's 8-bit demo compo, and extra thumbs up from me for the dark, meditative theme, which is remniscent of some of the great works by skrju and C.P.U.


download/discuss

Saturday, April 30, 2016

100th Birthday of Claude Shannon

CC-BY Tekniska museet
Today is the 100th birthday of Claude E. Shannon, also known as the "father of information theory". For the occasion, the IEEE has republished an excellent portrait of the man from 1992. Well worth the read.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

6x Gameboy Live Jam by Cymba

Sometimes, one Gameboy (Advance) just isn't enough. So here's "Live Tool 01", a squelching acid live jam performed on 5 GBAs and one GB classic. Brought to you by French-British collective Cymba.

[demo] Topomorph 16b by Desire

16(!) bytes of MS-DOS crazyness by HellMood of Desire.


download/discuss

Friday, April 22, 2016

[album] Pokey Nights by Warlord

Just when you think there's no more hope for the world (of chiptune), a great release is just around the corner. So, without further ado, here's the master of the trail-blazing arpeggio, Warlord, with a brand-new Atari 8-bit release. Rarely ever has the Pokey chip sounded so good!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

[demo] We are Demo by Fairlight, Offence, and Noice

Well, I guess you've all seen this one by now, but just in case, here's the winner of this year's oldskool compo at Revision.


download/discuss

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

[demo] Be No Sqr by Psidum, Sim, and Slimeball

Now here's something you don't see every day: A new demo for the SEGA Master System. And not only that, it's easily one of the best productions I have seen so far on this platform.

Be No Sqr is running in the SMS Power Anniversary Coding Competition. Placements aren't in yet, as voting is open for a few more days.


download/discuss

Friday, April 8, 2016

[demo] Harder, Better, Manic, Miner by Hooy-Program

A cute little 4K ZX Spectrum intro by Gasman. Nothing really spectacular to see here in terms of effects, but the pacing and music is nice, and overall this prod feels very well rounded. In other words, the art direction is pretty solid. 2nd place in the oldskool intro compo at Revision.


download/discuss

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

[album] Black by Zan

Russian chipper Zan (not to be confused with Zan-zan-zawa-veia) brings us this excellent EP full of driving LSDJ beats. Dark and heavy stuff, certainly dark enough to do the album title justice!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

[demo] nautilus dreaming by sensenstahl

video


Some stunning new 256 byte #sensenstahlism. Since there was no sizecoding compo at Revision, this little prod ran in Wild, where it took 5th place.

download/discuss

[hardware] Retroleum Nebula - A ZX Spectrum ULA Replacement


As our beloved 8-bitters are getting older, things are inevitably going to break at some point. For generic small components this isn't much of an issue, but some of the custom ICs from back in the day are increasingly hard, if not impossible to come by nowadays.

The ZX Spectrum ULA chip falls into the latter category, as it has been out of production for decades. So Spectrum fans will be delighted to hear that Phil Ruston and Alessandro Dorigatti from Retroleum have created a CPLD replacement module for the 48K ULA. Titled the Nebula, it aims to provide full compatibility with the 6Cxxx series ULA, meaning it should work with most if not all Spectrum 48K models. An outstanding achievement that deserves a round of applause in my opinion!

Monday, April 4, 2016

[demo] LED there be light! by project #lighthouse

Time to post some of the great releases from Revision! Let's start with project #lighthouse, a massive LED installation at Kiel University. The idea to light up a huge building is of course nothing new, but project #lighthouse nevertheless takes the whole Blinkenlights idea to a new level. Needless to say, this production won the wild compo at Revision. Well, see for yourself.


discuss

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

[demo] Defender of the 8-bits by D.T.A. Software Studio

Today we've got something you don't see every day: A demo for the SAM Coupé. Seems showing SAM demos at Forever is slowly becoming a tradition. In any case, this year D.T.A. finally scored 1st place in the (alternative) 8-bit compo.


download/discuss

Monday, March 21, 2016

[demo] Tailwind by Gemba Boys

Yippee, a new ZX Spectrum demo from Gemba Boys! Fast pacing, superb graphics, slick 3D code, and excellent music make for a well-deserved first place at Forever 2016.


download/discuss

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Battle of the Bits Kickstarter


Battle of the Bits, the number one place for chipmusic competitions and more, is running a kickstarter to fund the future development of the site. Chip in if you can because BotB is awesome!

[demo] SaboTagE by Paradox

Almost 10 years in the making, here's a new Atari STE demo by Paradox. SaboTagE tells a story set in a not-too-distant post-apocalyptic future, where global communication is controlled by a few mega-corporations (huh? I thought that was already the case...). The story itself could have been more developed in my opinion (especially the ending falls somewhat flat compared to the grand opening), but top-notch music, quality graphics, and never-before seen effects make for an overall very solid release.


download/discuss

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[tools] Slocum Tracker


Yay, a new tool for making music on the Atari VCS/2600! Slocum Tracker is essentially a web-based graphical front-end for Paul Slocum's "Music Kit 2.0". Slocum Tracker doesn't feature any sound (yet?), so you still need to compile'n'run the binary to check the result. But it's obviously still an improvement over having to hard-code the music in asm.

The project is open source, source code is available on the author's github.

Friday, March 11, 2016

[album] Glimt by Frequent

Frequent^Ephidrena has put together an EP with some old, previously unreleased Buzz/Gravis Ultrasound material, remastered in 24-bit quality. Three layed-back, slightly chippy down-tempo IDM tracks, and one absolutely stunning ambient/electronica piece.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

[tools] New 1tracker Version 0.23 Released


My favourite 1-bit music editor, 1tracker, has gotten some updates recently that are worth noting. The changes might appear subtle at first glance, but they significantly improve the workflow and user experience in my opinion.

You can now create blocks (by hitting Space, which formerly just set a marker), and name them with Ctrl+F. Blocks will be displayed in a list at the right side of the main window, and can be navigated with Home/End. Blocks can be marked for copy/paste with Ctrl+A (or Ctrl+L to select a single channel within the block).

As a bonus, there's also a new experimental engine included.

Download 1tracker for Windows
download source

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

[album] Quanta by Pulselooper and tMt

Two of my favourite artists teaming up here! Needless to say that I'm absolutely psyched about this release. Quanta comprises two half-hour sets of dark, mystic ambient, combined with quirky, hypnotic beats. A truly transcendal listening experience.



Audiophiles might want to grab the full HQ download. There's also a beautiful promo video:


[album] aTTraction by Yerzmyey


Two great new releases in one day - we're getting spoiled! First up, we've got some new Atari music from Yerzmyey. It's mostly digital stuff made on Falcon and TT, but there's a couple of 16-bit tracks and an XL bonus in there as well. Classic 90s cheese, with a few more unusual pieces thrown in.

download

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

[album] Biteration I: Genesis of Consequence by Inverse Phase

Some new Sega FM radness by Inverse Phase. Biteration I isn't so much about recreating "dat classic Sega feel", as it is about moving forward in terms of style. Also, disclaimer: Since some of the tracks were originally made for a poop-themed game, the album contains a lot of lovely fart noises.

There are plans to release this album on an actual cartridge, so head over to the bandcamp page and pre-order one if you'd like to support that project.

Friday, March 4, 2016

[album] Eins by Tronimal

A fresh and unique take on 1-bit music, here's Tronimal's ZX Spectrum debut. Dark, apocalyptic soundscapes with driving beats and witty (German language) vocals - a perfect soundtrack for the impending doomsday.

Monday, February 29, 2016

[album] Mega Man 4 Remade by RushJet1

The long awaited Mega Man 4 remake by RushJet1 is here! To be honest, it's been here for a few days, but I didn't find out about it until now :o Well, you probably know the drill - if there's on person in the world who can improve on the already excellent Mega Man soundtracks, it's NES wizard RushJet1. The conversions are very true to the originals, but go the extra mile to really polish up the sound design.

[album] s/t by City Guys

Never heard of City Guys before, but boy am I glad I checked out their latest, self-titled release. Super-slick SEGA Genesis/Megadrive flavoured FM funk!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

[album] Goodbye Joe by Please Lose Battle

French band Please Lose Battle has released a new EP on Cheapbeats. This is their first official release featuring the full 2a03+bass+drums line-up. Chiprock done right! CDs, digital downloads, and cool t-shirts are available from the Cheapbeats bandcamp.

Friday, February 26, 2016

[album] Boundarymen Vol. 1 by HOFFMAN_IV

Newcomer Hoffman_iv presents us his impressive debut album. Very well composed prog-chip material, check it out!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Multipaint: A New Graphics Editor for C64/ZX/MSX



Multipaint is a new, open-source, cross-platform pixel graphics editor, created by Tero Heikkinen aka DrTerrorZ. Inspired by Deluxe Paint from Amiga, Multipaint targets the ZX Spectrum, MSX-1, and C64 home computers. On the latter, both hi-res and multi-color modes are suppored.

Multipaint is written in Java and should run on all major OSes with a Java Runtime installed. More details, downloads, and the source code can be found on the project website.

Friday, February 19, 2016

HoustonTracker 2.10 Released

Good news for all 1-bit music fans: I've just released version 2.10 of HoustonTracker, the #1 editor for Texas Instruments graphing calculators. The new version features an improved sound driver, several new effects, better keyhandling, and of course various bugfixes. For a full list of changes, check the dev thread on 1-bit forum.

download HT v2.10
new demo tune
project page

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

irrlichtproject.de Back Online

Just a short personal note: My website, irrlichtproject.de, is up and running again after a prolongued downtime. My apologies to everyone would couldn't access the content in the past days.

By the way, the site recently got a major overhaul, and now features an all new, (hopefully) mobile-friendly layout, as well as lots of new content. Check it out, and let me know about your thoughts, suggestions, and bug finds in the comments.

[album] polybius by kriegsmammut

There's some weird new release on Pterodactyl Squad. Simple Gameboy tunes set against an eerie noise backdrop. Not quite sure what to make of this. On the one hand, it's very unique and intriguing, and somewhat remniscent of the works by Army of 2600 in it's lo-fi grittyness. On the other hand, I feel like the album would have benefitted from a little more intricacy, and a slightly better recording quality would have helped transport the overall mood. Well, you decide. I'd say if you're into strangeness and outsider music, then this is definately worth checking out.



A free download is available on the Pterodactyl Squad website.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Kittenrock Chipmusic.org Favorites

Jellica from Kittenrock has put together an awesome mix with his favourite tracks from chipmusic.org. Nearly 1½ hours of the quirkiest beats, space-iest pads, and lofi-est noises!



download + full tracklist

Saturday, February 6, 2016

[album] Hykayat, L’exil accidentel by Hassan K


The long awaited new album from electro-metal-fusion wizard Hassan K is out! Quite a bit darker and more metal oriented than it's predecessor Talab, Hykayat is no less of a masterpiece. Sinister guitar riffs, driven by fast, intricate beats blend in perfectly with freaky solos and absurd electronic breaks. Highly recommended!

Download, stream, and most importantly, buy the vinyl on Darling Dada.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Malware Museum Opens on Archive.org


Don't you miss the glorious past when computer viruses were mostly just annoying, yet harmless mischief? Well, now you can relive the good old days of 80s and 90s malware at the new, virtual Malware Museum, courtesy of Archive.org. Check out all those strange, sometimes even funny or stylish remnants from the dark side, safely contained in an online DOSBox emulation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

[demo] Orb Mega Demo Delux 2016 Edition by Orb

10 years after their ground-breaking "Orb MegaDemo", the guys from Orb decided to give this legendary VIC-20 classic a little make-over. Well, little make-over is a slight understatement, perhaps. Besides the obvious extra polish, there are also 6 new effects as well several new tunes and screens.

Read up on some technical details here if you're curious.


download/discuss

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

[album] Duke Flex Ain't Dead by Duke Flux

Hey homies check out this dope release that you can listen to while scratching your ballsack even if you don't have a ballsack (but only if you listen in shorts, taps aff, as adviced by releasing netlabel CalmDownKidder)! Srsly! This kid is going places, even if it's just the next detox clinic. So buy this album and give him all your money, yo!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Ultimate Oldschool PC Font Pack Released

Textmode wizard VileR has released a massive font pack, featuring 81 different character sets of classic textmode, system, and BIOS fonts from oldschool IBM PCs and compatibles. All fonts are available as TrueType (.ttf) and bitmap fonts (.fon), and some of the sets even have extended Unicode support added.

Read up on the details, check out the previews, and most importantly download the font pack from the official project website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

[demo] Ocean by DESiRE

Are you getting sick of those dark winter days? I'm sure this brand-new 64 byte MS-DOS prod from HellMood will brighten your mood!


There's a 32 byte version (without sound) as well.
download/discuss

Friday, January 15, 2016

[album] Venture Kid OST by Norrin Radd

Chipmetal legend Norrin Radd brings us this excellent and highly polished new soundtrack for a soon-to-be-released NES style game. Made in the spirit of Konami and Capcom classics.



The composer also recently made a video series explaining his unique composition methods.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

[album] #yolocauste by Violence Et Honnêteté

Some evil electro-punk from Switzerland to get you in the right mood for 2016. Available as minidisc stuffed into a teddy bear :o


Monday, January 11, 2016

[demo] Futura by RSI

Hello everybody, welcome back to Ancient Wonderworld and a belated Happy 2016!

We start off the year with some new 3D madness in 256 bytes, from the mighty Baudsurfer. 1st place in the Combined 256b compo at SynchroNY.

Btw starting now I'll use the group name RSI for Baudsurfer's prods. So far I have not done so considering the controversy regarding said name. My apologies to everybody who might be offended, but I simply don't care enough.


download/discuss