Volume 5, Number 9
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Editorial, page 4
Information Inundation and the LaserDisc - Randal L. Kottwitz is looking to the future after seeing a Sony display of LaserDisc in operation. Powered by the Z-80 workhorse of the day the demonstration of was the interactive book Master Cooking, by Pierre Franey. Sadly we were unable to locate a copy of the interactive booking in its LaserDisc format.
The editorial ends with a question on the possibility,
Indeed, the principal information appliance in the home of the future may well be known as laserdisc rather than computer.
Indeed, where would multimedia capability be without the substantial storage and transmission capacity required to distribute audio and video. While this article was written in 1982, it took almost a decade for this portent to materialize with Dragon's Lair and American Laser Games' Mad Dog McCree.
Input, page 6
K-Byters, Another Programming Challenge,
Now we have a new challenge for you as well: "K-Byters." A K-Byter is a BASIC program which fits into 1K (1024) bytes of program memory. There aren't any restrictions on the nature of the program, other than its size. It can be a graphics display, a game, a mini-adventure, or anything your imagination and programming skills can create.
Proof that the demoscene has been alive and well for decades. It may take a while to find these gems but I am sure that they are living on the net somewhere. My preference is for a mini-adventure game where you can rove the randomly generated country side killing orcs and demons. One can dream.
Entertainment Tomorrow, page 12
The Computer Goes to Hollywood gives a guide to the development of digital entertainment in the movies. The cost of developing animations has always been a major factor in developing cartoons. Things all started with the Golden Age of Cartoons pioneered by Walt Disney. Like print media, the End of the Golden Age was marked by poor quality and shortcuts.
Digital production techniques come into their own in the mid-1980s thanks to computer drawing and mild automation. Digital paint boxes, in particular KoalaPad, programmed drawing algorithms and animated electronic mattes culminated in explosive movie going. The three big ones come to mind... The Black Hole, Star Wars, and of course the amazing Tron.
Some of the big names mentioned include, Edwin Catmull, Marvin Minsky and Ivan Sutherland.
Ivan was an interesting character and is the type of genius that makes almost everybody bar Stephen Hawking feel inferior. Ivan wrote the revolutionary program Sketchpad. Modern CAD software are derived from concepts developed in Sketchpad. If that isn't enough, modern graphical user interfaces and object orientated programming also stems from this program. Sketchpad was created as Ivan's Ph.D at MIT. Two interesting academic papers discussing this program are covered here;
- Stechpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System, Ivan Sutherland
- Computer Aided Design: A Statement of Objectives, Douglas T. Ross
Leaping forward to modern graphics the article then goes on to describe a number of dead-end technologies of the future.
We speculate about interactive movie theaters of the future - combinations of computer flight simulators, arcade video games, and conventional wide-screen movies.
Article, Page 15
The Big Crash by R. J. Green. This hilarious article looks into the life of a middle aged hacker looking to be the first person to program an Atari microcomputer to crash. His wife is concerned. The shrink is called in.
My God, it's killed him, she screamed.
Program "Escape from the Dungeons of the Gods"
By Ray Sato, page 26