Mucho thanks to Joe Britt for the pix and
||Atari's Virtual Light Machine (VLM), was developed by
Jeff Minter, as a sound to light
hardware/software combo that was intrinsically part of
the Jaguar CD add-on unit. It synthesized interactive
abstract light patterns based on the audio data in the
CD. It has 81 effects, and although it's not a documented
feature, you'll be pleased to know that you can edit the
effect settings on the VLM, although saving them is not
an option, as this feature was used essentially for
debugging. Check out the VLM
Hackers Guide for further customization details. Or:
Learn the History of the VLM.
The VLM graphics are quite spectacular, with the only limitation
being that you must use the realtime audio stream from an
inserted CD. Fortunately, there is a way to overcome this by
modifying the unit to accept an incoming audio feed to facilate
integration into VJ setups.
Joe Britt's custom modification follows:
Basically, I opened up the JagCD and saw that it used a standard
Philips chipset. The decoded raw digital audio is output in a
standard high-speed serial format. I purchased an Analog to
Digital evaluation board made by Crystal for one of their 16-bit
A/D converters for approx $200. The A/D on that eval board
outputs the same format, so it was just a matter of patching in 3
signals (data, data clk, left/right channel clock) where they
would have come out of the CD chipset.
You still have to have a CD in the JagCD, since it thinks that
nothing unusual is going on, but the audio from that CD never
goes anywhere. The audio going into the A/D board gets serialized
by the Crystal part and fed into the JagCD. The VLM sees that
audio instead of the CD audio, and the swirly trippy colors do
their thing. Of course, if you hook up the Jag's audio out, you
hear whatever is being fed into the A/D.
|This shows the back of my A/D box and the connector I
hacked onto the JagCD to connect the two.
||These are pix of the A/D board.
||This shows the JagCD opened up so you can see how the
added connector is hooked up to its circuit board.
The VLM-2 is integrated into the Samsung Extiva N-2000 DVD
player, available Spring 2000.
Like it's predecessor, the VLM-2 generates realtime graphics to
the audio stream of a CD put in the player. It has 100 effects,
and some of them are things that could not even be attempted
using the Jag's old hardwired graphics manipulation hardware.
VLM-2's main aesthetic is based on things that are not normally
considered to be the domain of (at least low-end) graphics
systems - mist, smoke, even fluid surfaces that appear to flow
together and break apart in a natural manner.
If you're feeling in the mood, if you use the analog joystick,
you can "jam" along quite effectively. Although the
interactivity is quite simple - often just colour/feedback
intensity/scale changes - it's surprisingly satisfying. You can
just sit there and kinda "air-guitar" with your thumb
(if that makes any sense) and it looks great on the screen.
The author of the VLM (YAK) recently wrote us, to tell of his
new message board.
and James Kracht recently wrote in to tell us about the VLM
journal, where the latest advances in VLM technology are revealed and
discussed, including the new VLM "Unity".
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