Syntax Infinity

by wolf_ on 13-04-2009, 22:03
Topic: Software
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In the past few days, the annual demo party Breakpoint took place in an idyllic village called Bingen Am Rhein, Germany. While these parties typically feature PC, Amiga and C64 content, sometimes an MSX-production manages to squeeze itself in! You may recall there was an entry for the 2007-edition of this event. This year, an MSX2-demo manages to reach 5th in the ranking of the Console/Real Wild category, leaving behind ten other demos: Syntax Infinity, by Traktor and Tulou.

The demo itself is of a style which you may recognize from the likes of Bandwagon and dvik&joyrex: separate full-screen effects of the type that would've been regarded as impossible in our own 90's era. The specifications of this fresh new product are: MSX2, 128KB, 50Hz. According to the supplied text file, an emulator won't do for this one, high time to try it on your real MSX2!

Relevant link: Pouet - Syntax Infinity

Comments (61)

By wolf_

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13-04-2009, 22:40

bluemsx/msx2 seems to go fine on this one, openmsx/tR is a bit of a crummy biscuit.. Tongue

Very stylish, gents! Gotta find out the logic behind all this.. mmm..

By Latok

msx guru (3636)

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13-04-2009, 22:49

This is ART! ^_______________^

By Latok

msx guru (3636)

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13-04-2009, 22:54

Hell, it's even better than Susan Boyle!

By Ivan

Ascended (9061)

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13-04-2009, 23:02

Nice demo!!!

By Manuel

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13-04-2009, 23:34

wolf, as they say, it is supposed to run on a 50Hz MSX2. The turboR doesn't qualify for that in any case.

Very original demo for what we're used to on MSX2. One downside: it's not as colourful as I'd expect on MSX2. Except from some minor glitches, it seems to run pretty well on openMSX, if you ask me. I haven't run it on real MSX2 yet, though and I haven't seen any movie of it yet either. Tomorrow! Smile

(When I run it on openMSX/turboR, there's not that much different with MSX2, actually... on Z80 mode of course.)

By Latok

msx guru (3636)

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13-04-2009, 23:37

Demo works just fine both on my turbor and my 8245.

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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14-04-2009, 00:13

Very nice demo indeed, may be the best MSX2 demo ever.

Although all warnings I ran it in an emulator, blueMSX/MSX2 and it seemed to work just fine. If anyone find anything that emulators don't do correctly, let us know so we can improve.

By wolf_

Ambassador_ (9734)

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14-04-2009, 00:29

After giving catapult some severe slapping, it agreed to work again. This demo in openmsx/8250 seems to work with no prob.

By Yukio

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14-04-2009, 00:42

Interesting.
Later, I should check this ...

By dvik

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14-04-2009, 06:15

Watched it again and yeah, it's really impressive. Great use of different screen modes, screen 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7. Great tempo and nice synchronization to the music.

By far the best MSX2 demo, nothing comes even close (well perhaps sphere, but that's it)

By Hydlide

Master (171)

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14-04-2009, 11:18

I've uploaded to YouTube for others to watch without the explicit download of an AVI file. (of course, link to authors' site is there too)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_cLAF7nIUjs

MSX.org should embed more movies like that, to be honest..

By Manuel

Ascended (15287)

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14-04-2009, 11:34

Thanks for the video! Well, it seems that openMSX doesn't do a bad job at all. There aren't really any clear glitches AFAICS. I guess the same goes for blueMSX.

If there are, please list them here, so we can work on it (as dvik also said).

By PAC

Guardian (5087)

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14-04-2009, 11:48

Great! The world of demos is always awesome, I really like to see stuff like this. Anyway I keep thinking FM sound would be points in favour in the jury report although I also love PSG sounds! Tongue

By Latok

msx guru (3636)

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14-04-2009, 12:23

I agree with dvik. This is the best MSX2 demo ever. It hits you in the face.........HARD!! Love it Cool

By Yukio

Paragon (1541)

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14-04-2009, 13:00

YouTube - Traktor&Tulou Syntax Infinity
Exibições: 3

And two five stars marks!!!
This means that two out of three persons gave five stars marks to the video ...

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6150)

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14-04-2009, 13:10

The most noticeable thing is that a good majority of the effects are in tile modes (screen 2 and 3).
Only the 3d parts and the static screens are in bitmap (apart for two raster tricks).

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5251)

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14-04-2009, 14:46

Great to see, that finally someone understands that MSX2 demo can be more than just set of VDP tricks! There has been a gap between MSX1 and MSX2 demos that this one fills very nicely! I also always enjoy when music & effects are in sync.

Great job! Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

By SLotman

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14-04-2009, 16:04

Very cool Smile

By spl

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14-04-2009, 19:41

Just working but also just returned from the BREAKPOINT (YES, I WAS THERE!!!), I wanted to this post, but well, it's now here. Oustanding demo, it should be the first or one of the three best demos of the Other/Real Wild competition.

I wasn't with my MSX, because of the weight, but I was present in the Unnoficial Tracking Compo with a classic 8 bit - 4 channel AMIGA mod song. I was placed last, but with more than a half points than the first. But well, no problem, this was my first demoparty abroad, almost nobody knews me, and also, I wanted to be there with something risk (In 2009 it's not easy to find somebody doing a 4 channel MOD). Tomorrow I will start to upload the more than 350 modules I've done since 1996.

I didn't pass the preselection for the "most-of-them-drum-n bass, -morebass- and-1or2-note-bass-techno songs most of them made-by-the-penis" official Streaming compo. XD No problem, I will upload it also. It was a 16 channel module song converted to MP3, and even I am the author, with more music, more experimental and even more classical german electronic experience than most of the selected songs Big smile. It's a pity also that there is only a unified official compo and another unified but unnoficial module compo. I think categories must return.

Anyway, hope more MSX will be present at next demoparties. I'll try to help with my music!! Smile

PS: I have 2 unfinished songs (one was meant to be at the streaming compo at Breakpoint) made with Music Module and Moonblaster, with live electronical drumming by me (usb drumkit for PC, although). Hope I will be in another demoparty for show them.

By wolf_

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14-04-2009, 19:52

Pre-selection is usually crap, and you'll fall victim of some idiot with a brain the size of a carbuncle. I guess the venue has decent amplification, but if you're having bad luck then the organizers bring their own amps/speakers. Typically they boost the bass to kingdom-come. Been there, endured that. BA-team

By ren

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15-04-2009, 00:45

Followed Breakpoint quite closely, but overlooked this fab. MSX production so far.
Yup, tasty indeed! Nice chompin' soundtrack Smile

There's 1 thing missing running in bluemsx & openmsx (winxp):
@ 01.15 in the video, you witness a big explosion flashing white-red, not there in the emu's (blackness instead).

Nitpicky: at the end, the part with the 2 moving/rotating blocks, openMSX shows some artifacts (stray white pixels) (0.7.0 SDLGL(-PP))
Nitpicky2: The scrolling of the greetings at the end could be a bit smoother in openMSX (perhaps blueMSX benefits here because of the vsync)

Will perfect scroll be possible anyway? I tend to use the scroll in part 2 of the FAC 5 demo as a measure.
As I remember it on real MSX, this scroll is totally smooth (not?). It's quite ok with vsync on in blueMSX, but not perfect yet (my hardware is quite decent/shouldn't be the bottleneck) Smile

By dvik

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15-04-2009, 01:00

The vsync in blueMSX is doing a pretty good job compensating for mismatching refresh rates between emulated VDP and PC display. Basically what it does is an interpolation of consecutive frames to compensate for the different frame rates. Most of the time the result is quite good and you don't get the artifacts you get otherwise. In blueMSX I get the best and smoothest result when I use an LCD monitor at 60Hz (never tried 50Hz). Using a 100Hz CRT seems to give less good result. It also depends a bit on your PC. One drawback with the vsync is that if the emulation lags (because of background applications or something) you get small glitches, but if the computer is fast enough the result is pretty good.

And thanks for pointing out the bugs in the emulators Smile

By hap

Paragon (2017)

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15-04-2009, 12:38

Niceness. Smile
I like the music being in sync with the animation, rarely seen on MSX demos.

By Latok

msx guru (3636)

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15-04-2009, 13:03

Sphere did that as well Smile And some others........

By wolf_

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15-04-2009, 14:25

UU's, RNFF's and MJTT's cutscenes did so as well Tongue

By JohnHassink

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15-04-2009, 15:23

...and so does the Deep Dungeon introduction. Big smile

I hope to be able to watch this demo soon. The comments make me very curious.

By Samor

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15-04-2009, 22:16

I like the "messed up" psg music Smile

By esau

Rookie (19)

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15-04-2009, 23:33

There are 2 bugs I get in BlueMSX, the explosion-picture is missing as mentioned, and also one frame from the animation at the beginning "spills over" unto the SyntaxInfinity-picture for some reason. I have no idea why this happens. This might seem like nitpicking but if you've spent all this energy and time making the demo you want everyone to watch it correctly. Anyway, thanks and we're glad you liked it! And there's definitely more that can be done on msx2. But next time I'll have to use vortextracker or something, I don't want to write another song in a text-editor Smile

By Whizzy

Master (197)

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15-04-2009, 23:41

I just HAD to download this, i could not believe that the youtube video is really an MSX2...

But,, OMG.. this is incredible !

By Latok

msx guru (3636)

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16-04-2009, 09:50

About watching this demo in an emulator: I did it as well and it's really a different experience. And I'm under the impression the MSX scene is more and more an emulator scene. More so than other retro scenes. Definitely not good. So kick out your wife and kid to make space and get your real MSX pumping!

By Imanok

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16-04-2009, 10:38

Amen! Wink

By msd

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16-04-2009, 13:39

My 1chipmsx really needs a vga 50hz fix Tongue

By wouter_

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16-04-2009, 14:51

@esau: Any idea why openMSX / blueMSX are having problems with that explosion-picture? Any unusual tricks you're doing there? I'd like to fix this in openMSX (and I'm sure dvik will want to fix it in blueMSX). So any information you can give could potentially save me a lot of debugging effort. If you wish, feel free to join our IRC channel: #openmsx at irc.freenode.net.

By Altruist

Supporter (1)

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16-04-2009, 16:44

The other bug is even more disturbing as it distorts the Syntax Infinity logo made by Frost. I saw a screen shot on http://www.passionmsx.org/ which displays the logo with ugly black lines. :( Both bugs are pretty strange, because there is nothing "tricky" with the code.

By Huey

Prophet (2642)

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16-04-2009, 16:50

Those line are the ones form the intro. Probably sprites?

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6150)

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16-04-2009, 17:12

Demos like this are the one of the (sadly) few reasons for emulators to continue improving.
I had the feeling that lately both openmsx and bluemsx have a bit relaxed their attention on accuracy to focus on other (in any case welcome) features (e.g. in bluemsx, from v2.7 to v2.8 some buges appeared in the VDP of msx2+ machines).

By esau

Rookie (19)

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16-04-2009, 17:28

@wouter: Nothing special going on as far as I can tell. Basically what it does is: Sets up a graphic2-screen, unpacks the image to vram, then sets registers 23 and 18 for the shaking each frame and sets a new palette each frame. All of which are used heavily throughout the demo. I'll try to stop by IRC sometime soon!

Additionally on emulation: I'm not trying to get anyone to stop using emulators, it's just.. hmm, for me it's like this: If an emu isn't 100.00000% accurate, I don't want to use it out of sheer principles, but more importantly when you run something (especially demos) on a real msx/c64/amiga/whatever, you know and FEEL that there's an actual z80/6510/68000 and vdp/vic-chip/blitter in there working their asses off too put all that stuff on the monitor. And there are brick wall limitations on real hardware, when you emulate there's a "fictional wall" put in to make a pc resemble a slower machine. A totally different feeling. Or maybe it's just me being a romantic Smile

And the endscroller is a smooth, 50 fps, 8 pixels / frame scroller. Not really a challenge Smile

By esau

Rookie (19)

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16-04-2009, 17:34

@Huey: No, they're lines drawn with the vdp line-command, which for some reason are drawn in the wrong page in vram when the animation restarts.

And if you want to post screenshots of the demo anywhere, you DON'T use buggy screens! This is punishable. Severely.

By dvik

Prophet (2200)

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16-04-2009, 17:40

@esau: I completely agree with you. I'm not that happy with how emus run our demos either. What I find most annoying with emulators is that full frame rate demos (such as this one) don't play particularly smooth, and in most emus you see a sweeping split because of frame rate mismatch, and on the one emu that addresses this issue, you get a blurry effect instead. I prefer the latter but its definitely the real thing. On top of that you have the real defects, like the once you pointed out, but even with those addressed, an emu doesn't compare with a real MSX.

For me there are two sides though, from an emu developers perspective I'd like to get as much feedback as possible to (well quite unlikely perhaps) reach 100.0000% accuracy, but as a demo developer I really like people to see them on real hardware.

By PAC

Guardian (5087)

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16-04-2009, 19:52

Here a new video with the reactionsin situ. Good impressions...Big smile

www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKedNGNKbOk

By hap

Paragon (2017)

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16-04-2009, 21:04

esau, your 2nd point about knowing it's real chips working their asses off, well-worded, I get that feeling too. And yes, you (we) are being a romantic. Smile

By Latok

msx guru (3636)

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16-04-2009, 22:55

I sometimes put on my MSX machines for an hour just to smell them Wink Especially my 8245 smells great after an hour of gaming........So yes, well said esau, I totally agree!!

By killimolli

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17-04-2009, 08:39

Absolutely fantastic demo. Simply the best BP 09 production. Fantastic music, direction, sync and code. That "twister" effect was my favorite.

I really hope that we can see more Traktor/Tulou MSX prods in the future!

By Yukio

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17-04-2009, 14:59

EVPON , the link to the second video is even better than the first one on the NET ... It is a incredible production for MSX2 and up systems!

By sd_snatcher

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17-04-2009, 23:45

Excellent demo, very impressive! Congratulations!

By Yukio

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18-04-2009, 01:15

I liked the shadow and light effects ... very neat!

It should be possible to introduce another interesting features on the MSX scene.
I imagine how good will be a demonstration that use the cloud effects on MSX2!!!

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6150)

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18-04-2009, 08:59

dvik, manuel
are you going to (fully) support this demo in the forthcoming versions of blue/open msx?

By Manuel

Ascended (15287)

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18-04-2009, 12:13

ARTRAG: Wouter is currently investigating (with the help of Bore, one of the authors, see above) what the problem could be. It's not simple, that I can tell you...

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6150)

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18-04-2009, 14:55

eheheh
I think that ATM stay not emulated only hard things

By dvik

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18-04-2009, 17:33

I'm sure the demo will work in next versions of the emulator. We already know what's causing the bugs, its just a matter of finding the correct solution.

By evulopah

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18-04-2009, 21:15

By Manuel

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18-04-2009, 23:07

dvik and wouter worked together to find the problem with the lines and they got that fixed Smile Here's the openMSX commit: http://openmsx.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/openmsx?view=rev&revision=9589

Thanks dvik, wouter and Bore! Now for the other problems... :)

(Missing explosion image is already partly investigated by Wouter, at least. Not sure what the latest state of affairs is with regard to that one...)

By dvik

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19-04-2009, 03:22

The passionmsx screenshots are updated with (I think) the updated blueMSX, so as Manuel said, on to the explosion. That one is working in blueMSX now too, but more tests are needed to see if the fix is actually correct.

By Manuel

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21-04-2009, 23:45

OK, the solution for the explosion is done! Thanks Wouter and dvik. The problem was that accidentally the VR bit was changed, causing another bug (?) to get masked making it work on a real MSX. openMSX didn't emulate this VR bit yet, but now it does... For more info: http://openmsx.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/openmsx?view=rev&revision=9615

Except for the stray pixels, any more things that aren't correctly emulated in this demo?

By ARTRAG

Enlighted (6150)

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22-04-2009, 12:07

Good!
Question: if the image get scrambled, can the VR bit be used to simulate some distortion/noise effect in demos?

By killimolli

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25-04-2009, 14:50

Im no much about MSX and the screen modes, however is That "twister in sync" effect use somekind of "high resolution mode" ?

What i've seen is only youtube BP live version of this. And im not gonna watch this with emulators. When blue/openmsx emulators can do cycle-exact emulation so i can watch this without any clitch?

Maybe esau/traktor made this on purpose. The demo partially works with emulators. Is that legendary "VR Bit" that causes blue/openmsx emulators to not emulate that nuclear screen? Wink

I really like the music, is there anyway to get it so i can transfer it to my cellphone?

By dvik

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25-04-2009, 17:50

The demo is not hard to emulate. blueMSX and openMSX are almost cycle accurate, but for this demo its not really needed. The two bugs are really edge cases. The first bug was a small error in the line engine that was exposed because the demo did a good optimization that most users of the line engine doesn't do. The other is more or less a bug in the demo itself, or rather using a mode that is not recommended on MSX, so no game or demo until now have been using this mode.

With those two things fixed, blueMSX are emulating the demo very well. As I mentioned in some earlier post and what others also have said, a real MSX always look a bit nicer, but when it comes to accuracy in the emulation there is really not an issue running this demo.

both blueMSX and openMSX have fixed these two bugs and they will be available in the next version of respective emulator.

By Edwin

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25-04-2009, 23:42

killimolli> to answer you question, yes, that part runs in hi-res mode (512x192 x 16 cols).

By JohnHassink

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27-04-2009, 00:28

I really like the music, is there anyway to get it so i can transfer it to my cellphone?
If you think the sound as generated through emulation is good enough, you could capture that.
For instance with blueMSX use left [CTRL] + [F-7] to start recording (under the "File" menu).
The .wav you'll get will ofcourse be HUGE so it might be handy to "convert" that to MP3.

By esau

Rookie (19)

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29-04-2009, 01:14

We certainly did not create bugs on purpose, our approach was simply; If it works on the real machines, and not in emulators, it's not our problem anymore. Anyway, I think Bore did his best to aid dvik and wouter in tracking down the problems. Very nice work guys, I love this opensource-ish collaborative thing you have here.

As for the music an audiodump from an emulator should do nicely. I've only tried it in bluemsx and it emulates the PSG almost perfectly. There are microscopic differences in this tune on bluemsx, but I guess I'm the only one who can hear it since I've listened to it a million times on my MSX. I usually put mp3-versions of our demo-soundtracks online after releasing a demo, but I don't have a line-in anymore in my pc.

By killimolli

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29-04-2009, 19:37

What will we see, when sdw/noice and traktor/tulou unite?

It will be a...well msx2 demo that again does not work with the emulators.
Because of....strange coding tricks.

-killimolli

My MSX profile