068A was my entrance to the demoscene, and my first ever 64k intro. I developed the rendering system, worked on the graphics, and created the synth used to generate the music in realtime (see Omedae below).
The production placed first in the "Newskool Demo" category at Syntax 2017, Australia's largest demoscene gathering (referred to as a demoparty).
On Sunday 10th December at 9pm AEST, I will be joining Ferris of the group Logicoma to go through the technology behind the demo. I also plan on posting a writeup on this site afterwards.
64k intros (see my writeup on the demoscene), have to include a software synthesizer to create music, as it's not possible to embed a full song saved as an mp3 or similar in an executable and have it come in at less than 64kib in size.
Omeda, developed in mid-2017, is MONAD's synthesizer. It comes in three components: the editor, the VSTi, and the replayer.
The editor is a tool, written in C# with WPF, that allows editing a node graph. This node graph is then converted to a flat format and sent to the VSTi, written in mixed-mode C++, which exists in a DAW, to tell it how to synthesize sounds. When exporting a demo, the replayer is embedded in the demo executable file along with the song and instrument data. It then plays the song in realtime.
In order to create 64k intros (see my writeup on the demoscene), it is beneficial to have a 'tool' that allows you to quickly iterate on the intro, and do things like manage animations.
Mostly completed in mid-2017, Functor is MONAD's graphical tool. While the UI, created with WPF, is relatively simple, Functor is actually a very powerful piece of software - it features a custom declarative language (parsed with a custom recursive descent parser) called PDL, used to declare graphic pipelines and shader interaction, and also integrates with a tracker for animating properties. Additionally, Functor has an export feature which compiles the project to an executable, and optionally compresses it.
Functor itself is written in C# 7 and WPF, while the backend 'player' is written in C++ with OpenGL.
When I first learnt about the demoscene in late 2016, I knew absolutely nothing about realtime rendering. Throughout the development of Functor, I have learnt about OpenGL, shaders, how the graphics card works, how post-processing works, rendering techniques, and more - as a result, it has been a very valuable experience.
Originally created for a school IT assignment, The Mysterious Mister E is a short film about censorship and oppressive governments. It follows the story of Mister E, an enigmatic vigilante courier.
In the film, I largely focused on storyline and cinematics (although due to limited time I was unable to polish these completely). I tried to create a storyline which was open to interpretation and made the watcher think, while also being immersive and interesting.
After submitting the assignment, I also submitted the short film to Screen It!, an annual high-school film competition run by the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACME). I was humbled to win the national senior animation category.
The short film, with both real-time and animated components, was quite ambitious. Throughout the project, I learnt many advanced concepts in Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere, the former of which was used for most animation. Additionally, the project taught me many important things about cinematography and story-telling, which I am now using in the demoscene.
In mid-2016, Microsoft announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux, a project which aimed to allow running Linux-compatible software on Windows without a virtual machine.
Very early on, I created a small utility for WSL, which allowed 'linking' a command on Windows to one on Linux (that is, running the command on Windows actually runs it on Linux). This became Slinky.
Slinky is a small utility written in Bash and Batch, and so far has gotten some attention from people in CODE Network and on Hacker News (although I have not been particularly vigilante about advertising it). Nowadays it is largely unmaintained, but that is primarily because it works, and works well.
CODE Network is a large community of developers primarily in Brisbane. Mid-2016, they had a challenge to create a new site for them.
Toxic Spanner was a project to create a programming language that could be 'compiled' to circuitry in the game Minecraft, called 'redstone'. This was comprised of a macro language called MCA, a compiler, and a library and framework to create complex systems in the language.
The compiler was developed in NodeJS, and used JISON for parsing. It would then emit output in a format called 'MCIL', which was converted to Minecraft blocks by a separate program.
Unfortunately, the project was discontinued before the library or framework were completed, largely due to not having time due to other commitments. Despite this, the project (especially the compiler) were a good learning experience, and many of the techniques learnt were beneficial to future projects, such as Functor.
The Problem was a bug tracker project created by myself and two friends for a school IT assignment. Designed to be locally hosted, it allowed administrators to create bug sections and configure many different settings, while users could comment on and upvote bugs.
The site, which was primarily designed by myself, was inspired by Google's Material design specification, and utilized various modern HTML/CSS features. On the backend, the site was written in PHP, using my LimePHP framework (which was initially developed for Mozzo). Various performance enhancements were made to LimePHP, allowing The Problem to be very fast and lightweight.
After some progress on the library, I ended up being too busy with schoolwork to continue development and had to stop. Despite this, developing this library helped me learn many of the concepts in rendering.
In early 2015 I created a custom server written in NodeJS for Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, with the purpose of allowing the Artemis community to customize and build new features for the game, while also being suitable for the MMO community (which the official game server was not).
This project involved reverse-engineering the Artemis server protocol and behaviour. Through the efforts of this project and others (artemis-glitter and ArtClientLib, the latter of which had already reverse-engineered large parts of the protocol), the Artemis Nerds group was formed, with the primary goal of comprehensively documenting many of the games protocols.
While the custom Artemis server is now discontinued, and Artemis Nerds is rather inactive, throughout this project I learnt about the principles of reverse-engineering, game servers, working with a remote team, and how to compromise on team decisions.
Potential was a game I created and developed for a school IT assignment. The assignment, which put an emphasis on technology rather than enjoyability, challenged us to create a game that would teach the player a skill. The skill I chose? Hand-eye coordination.
Unfortunately, as the game contained copyrighted music from a similar game called VVVVVV, I am unable to release it online. The source code is available on Github, however.
This game was one of the projects that initially got me interested in game development, particularly rendering. Many of the techniques I learned here made their way into Larwan, my tree-based rendering engine, and then the demoscene.
Falling Star was one of my first forays into animation and video production. It was a short film, created in Adobe Flash, for a school media assignment.
The project taught me various things about animating and rendering, including the basics of keyframing, boning and dirty rendering.
Mozzo was an ambitious project to develop a social network aggregator, capable of bringing in data from many different social networks and displaying them together. The project was created by a friend and I, however most of the work on the site was done by myself.
The site's frontend was written in modern responsive HTML/CSS, and the backend in PHP. For this project I took some of the framework code I had developed for Playzone and turned it into a proper PHP framework, called LimePHP. This framework provided many features such as templating, routing, database handling, package managing, and lazy-loaded modules. It was later improved for, and used by, The Problem.
Mozzo was my third entry to the Young ICT Explorers competition, submitted to the much more competitive year 10-12 category. Unfortunately it did not place, likely due to it's incompletion at competition time (we had only had time to properly implement and test one social network, Facebook).
Originally the plan was to continue mozzo and attempt to get it out to the world, however both members of our team became too busy with school to continue work on it.
A friend and I started working on Glass, a search engine written in PHP, in early 2014. Glass was primarily created as a learning experience for us, and was designed to be slick and easy to use.
In order to develop Glass, I created a custom web crawler written in PHP. This involved learning about crawling and scraping fundamentals. Additionally, I implemented various algorithms for searching, including PageRank and some of my own. Most of the user interface was developed by my friend, and the backend by myself.
Playzone was my second entry to the Young ICT Explorers competition, a Brisbane-based ICT competition for high-schoolers run by SAP. It was an ambitious social network focused around online Flash games. It offered user-submittable games, customizable profiles, and a powerful admin system.
Throughout the project I developed a basic PHP framework, which would later become LimePHP (see mozzo and The Problem). This project taught me many of the basics and principles in designing web frameworks, administration and permission systems, and social networks. Playzone achieved second place in the year 8-9 category of YICTE.
Cubepals, a game created for an IT assignment in mid-2013, was my first foray into game development. The assignment's task was to create a game that young children could play in order to learn some skill - in this case, puzzle and problem solving. The premise of the game was simple - get all of the cubes onto the buttons of their respective colours. This was made more complicated by walls that couldn't be dragged through, walls that would only open when a cube was on a button, and trampolines that would make a cube jump.
ReEarth was a project completed by a friend and I for a school SOSE assignment in late 2012. The site provided information on renewable energies such as solar and biogas, and also provided a couple of learning objects for interactive learning of the subjects.
The site was primarily written in PHP, with a custom simple CMS that would pull info from text files. The learning objects were created in Adobe Flash. This project taught me a lot about designing CMS's and full-stack websites with PHP, as well as the basics of creating content in Flash, both of which were beneficial to me in future projects.
Wordwiki was my first ever entry to the Young ICT Explorers competition, a Brisbane-based ICT competition for high-schoolers run by SAP. It was a simple wiki-like dictionary, where users where able to search for and add words or definitions.
The project achieved 2nd place in the year 8-9 category at YICTE, and development was stopped soon after due to interests in different projects. Unfortunately I no longer have the source code for it.
In order to fill a hole I saw in simple software to backup USBs, I created Speedsync in early 2012. This was a simple program written in C# and WinForms that allowed two locations to be synced, a USB to be automatically synced when plugged in, and more.
The software reached a suitable feature and stability level later that year, and so development was stopped. While I personally do not still use Speedsync, I know of at least one friend who used it up until recently.