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What is the sense of fantasy computers?

category: general [glöplog]
We have a 512b demo that actually requires an additional 17k "player".

And how many kilobytes of code are in the ROM chips of your computer? Why is that not considered to be player code?
We have a 512b demo that actually requires an additional 17k "player".

hey this argument leads nowhere. OpenGL and Win32 API is gigabytes of shit that's just preinstalled and available, you could argue on the same basis that windows 4k intros aren't legit

And it's a winner. Is that fair?

Same is true for every combined compo ever.

newschool gfx? my 4k executable gfx has a much harsher limitation than your 15h path traced 3d scene.

combined 4k/64k intro? watch me lose to someone with a factor 16 of executable size available.
added on the 2023-09-11 23:05:32 by NR4 NR4
If you don't like a compos' rules, don't release to it. :)
added on the 2023-09-11 23:07:54 by NR4 NR4
OK OK people, I was honestly asking if this was fair. It wasn’t rhetorical at all. It was not meant as in “this is not fair”. It was a question. Got my answer.
That said, I don’t think there should be “combined” sizecoding compos, it just makes no sense.
And yes, I also used to wonder similarly about GLSL vs DOS…
added on the 2023-09-11 23:41:51 by 4gentE 4gentE
It's probably also not fair to have Amiga and C64 in the same compo, yet this happens at some parties. It's simply not possible to have dedicated compos for every combination of platform and size. The line has to be drawn somewhere, and different parties draw the line in different places.
@Saga Musix : yeah, it’s a fine line party orgas have to thread. Not an easy task at all.
added on the 2023-09-12 00:13:37 by 4gentE 4gentE
The size limit thing is domain specific. If you have a programming environment which has one-character statement that produces untz untz and hypnoglow, it's not fair. But most sizecoding platforms, including JS and pico-8, are comparable.
added on the 2023-09-12 07:45:32 by Preacher Preacher
Both the C64 and the 8-bit AVR linux implementations were done by emulating an ARM processor so that should be possible on pico-8.

It was RISC-V on the C64. The AVR variant I didn't check yet. The last thing I did on AVR was snoring detection incl. an IFFT 20 years ago. It always was a fight with RAM. :)

So... Here we have an example of "combined 512b compo when using a fantasy console" problem.

We have a 512b demo that actually requires an additional 17k "player".
And it's a winner. Is that fair?

I did the same for Demodulation. ;) Or a while back I did a 512B JS for Notlicht (Nordlicht online variant). Ofc you get all combinations of easy/difficult to handle gfx/sound/calculations/speed/size and a platform popularity on top mixed into a compo. And for the last Lovebyte the orgas added slides with some information about the platform to help getting a glimpse of the difficulties involved with creating a particular prod additional to having separate compos anyway. But you still get a bunch of classic platforms in one and at least 4 different fantasy console/browser platforms in another.

BTW don't miss superogues seminar at Evoke 2023 about the different platforms for sizecoding.

The only problem I can see is that MicroW8 uses compressed executables.

But with a bigger code footprint from the start. To get an idea of "effect/sound compressability" we might analyze superogues different ports of his intros.

@Saga Musix:
The line has to be drawn somewhere, and different parties draw the line in different places.

And one can choose in advance where to release a prod depending on the rules and expected competition by other prods.

And one can choose the platform as well.
So, is the answer to "What is the sense of fantasy computers?" that they are useful for people who want to get the aesthetics of 8-bit machines without having to deal with the limitations of those platforms?
You get a limited audio/video with a 64-bit processor and FPU?

Bonus fantasy computer: Pimp My Spectrum
Comletely unproblematic compo-wise since the emulator size is included and it is in the host platforms category instead of some "oldschool" compo.
added on the 2023-09-12 16:25:00 by bore bore
The rise of the fantasy computer is yet another proof that the future has been cancelled.
added on the 2023-09-12 17:37:52 by 4gentE 4gentE
The rise of the fantasy computer is yet another proof that the future has been cancelled.

they are literally the result of technological progress, what are you talking about??
added on the 2023-09-12 18:38:33 by lynn lynn
they are literally the result of technological progress, what are you talking about??

IDK, culture?
Fantasy computer can be seen akin to Virtual Analog Synthesizer. They had a good run too. Retro as opposed to vintage.
added on the 2023-09-12 18:51:47 by 4gentE 4gentE
they are literally the result of technological progress

If they are trying to simulate the capabilities of older technology, wouldn't that be technological regress?
added on the 2023-09-12 20:19:24 by bore bore
The rise of the fantasy computer

Oh give me a break. The lofty heights the fantasy computer has risen to include the game jam crowd doing quick fun projects, and a niche within the demoscene which itself is a niche. What a megatrend for the ages.

the future has been cancelled

I wonder if we can pinpoint when this happened. Was it the first time someone decided use a sampler from 1988 to sample a Winstons record from 1969?
added on the 2023-09-13 08:45:28 by jobe jobe
Oh give me a break.

@jobe : haha of course fantasy computer is nothing more than a fun toy and a niche inside a niche. I like these toys. There is certainly no need for “big” and pathetic words like “the rise of…” and “future cancelled”.

They (fantasy consoles) and their very concept just happen to fit so nicely into definition of postmodern hyperreal, “copy without original” Baudrillard-esque theory, that it seemed like a no brainer to invoke the “big words” for fun.
added on the 2023-09-13 09:34:34 by 4gentE 4gentE
The fantasy in fantasy computers is they're supposed to represent the kind of machine you thought you were buying in the '80s. Where you dreamed of making a fast-paced game in the simple language that came built-in, rather than the reality of BASIC being too slow and 90% of the users not moving over to assembly language.

Personally I think this is where the new hardware retro computers miss a trick, sticking to marginally faster CPUs out of some dedication to the past that only a small amount of the user base will really be able to take advantage of again. Meanwhile the fantasy consoles have a healthy user base at all skill levels continuing to make things.
added on the 2023-09-13 14:16:03 by 4mat 4mat
Speaking of hardware retro computers, I kinda like AgonLight2. Don’t have one myself, tho.
added on the 2023-09-13 14:42:30 by 4gentE 4gentE
Fantasy Computers are so scene.

There are some really fun ones with large color palettes and great sound while still being 8 bit machines.
And some beginners can easily code in simple languages with.

Of course they are a toy in my humble opinion. Asking for the sense of a toy is like asking for a sense of any hobby.
I see a problem here. Fantasy computer is a good thing given it has a built-in limitation on how many instructions one can execute in a frame cycle. In a TIC-80 there is no such limitation. As a result I can not run TIC-80 programs reliably on any computer I have. Because nothing stops cartridge author to write a routine with unlimited complexity, that gets invoked on each videoframe. No matter how fast and new my computers are, they will always be behind.

Buy a new computer whats the problem, you say. No. Demoscene is not about this. Lets do it differently. I got a few solutions to make fantasy computers work reliably on various hardware:

1. Built-in benchmark tool. You still can consume unlimited resources each frame, but this tool will allow you to measure how many instructions last routine consumed and how bad your perfomance will be. This is a way I am going to go, if your fantasy computer lack this one, I will code it for you.

2. A counter that count how many instructions are executed since last frame. Different instructions has different weight. When counter reaches some fixed value, it drops/pauses the routine and write screen buffer on screen as it is. This is more like it always has been with real retro gear. You know, CRT beam does not wait for you, it draws image on screen anyway.
added on the 2023-09-14 15:09:44 by nikhotmsk nikhotmsk
That very same problem exists with MS-DOS entries. It's not unique to fantasy computers.
TIC-80 is truly bizarre, a PC in a Lua disguise. Pico-8 got it right at least with regard to a limit on the number of interpreter cycles, but I'm wondering if for example a memory movement and a division are accounted the same cost. In that case it would also be truly bizarre. It seems unnatural to me (in a demoscene sense) to lower the difficulties and challenges, instead of raising them. :-)
added on the 2023-09-14 15:36:22 by bifat bifat
Again, I think the TIC-80 makes a lot more sense if you consider that it's primarily meant for making quick little projects for game jams, and we've just decided to start doing demoscene stuff on it as well :)
added on the 2023-09-14 16:28:29 by jobe jobe
It's also not a problem as long as compo organizers don't think that the low resolution with 16-colour palette makes them comparable to 8-bit machines and put them in the oldschool compo.
added on the 2023-09-14 19:20:46 by bore bore


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