Dancing Mikromat - Function 2022 Demoscene

Friday, September 10, 2022 » programming

I have been following the products of demoscene parties for years, especially in Hungary. Not every year, but in every third or fourth years I am attending to one of Hungarian party. Four weeks before the start of Function 2022 demoscene party I've decided that I am going to submit some compos to demoscene party that celebrates his twentieth birthday this year. Two are more like compofillers and one is a more serious product. What I have wanted to do for a long time is to take an old machine from the past, adding to it some today's improvement and a little more spectacular demoscene spice. Years ago I've bought an good old Mikromat on one of Hungarian bidding website. It's a Hungarian-made logical cybernetics game from 1966 (about Mikromat you can find lots of information on the bottom links). So I have picked up my Mikromat enhanced it by Arduino and spiced it up with kind of spectacular "demoscene spice". So way was born the Dancing Mikromat.

The Dancing Mikromat is actually an original Mikromat that is programmed with an Arduino Duemilanove. An end of original wires (thicker) that belong to Mikromat are connected from below side of Mikromat. The other end of original wire is connected to an new, modern wire (thinner). I was lucky because on the original wire there is a little hole at the end of metal part. The needle of modern wire fits exactly in this hole. ツ. The other needle of new wire was connected to the breadboard. The 5V pin of Arduino Duemilanove feeds the lights and relays on Mikromat because they are not LEDs but mini bulbs so they need more voltage as the normal pins have. The digital pins are outputs that are connected one by one to PNP transistors. When a PNP transistor gets sign from the digital PIN it feeds on his other leg through the hybrid (original-new-connected) wire one of bulb or relay. So way there is twelve output (four red bulbs, four relays, four blue bulbs) on Mikromat. The bulbs lights up that's clear, the relay as it hits gives nice relay-sound. The red buttons are currently not in usage. With this method there is twelve pure outputs that can be controlled one by one with digital pins.
The source code can be download at bottom. It has actually two section. The first one a hard-coded demo made by own taste. When the Arduino starts it plays always this demo section first. The second part is kind of simple AI. So the Mikromat randomly generates the dance of light and relays. The Arduino Duemilanove can be controlled from a power bank through USB cable (operating voltage 7-12V). So every part (Arduino, USB cable, breadboard, all wires and power bank) can be hidden under the Mikromat.
When the Mikromat has started to dance then I've created a video about it for the demoscene show. It was released in Wild Demo/Animation category. The compo received nice applause from the participiants during the compoevening and finally it was ranked to 5th place.

Working materials:
Source code of Dancing Mikromat
Photos about creation
Short video about Dancing Mikromat
Mikromat on HUNGS

Demoscene links:
Official page of Function 2022 Demoscene Party
Wild/Animation Prods
Video on Demozoo
Official result

External links:
Mikromat on Wiki
A jövő múltja - Exhibition
Mikromat, the cybernetics construction kit
Woynarovich Ferenc – Introducing of Mikromat
Kovács Mihály – Hungarian first informatic teacher - NJSZT

Rise of Metal Butterfly [music]
LuckyBot [freestyle graphics]

Microkey Primo Logical Game

Friday, Jan 06, 2022 » programming

Like in case of the Hungarian TVC Computer fan group, a similar group was formed around a great old Hungarian computer: Primo Microkey on FB. It's fun to read on FB lot of members got a feeling to revive the social life of this retro computer as well, but this year it's still not as much popular as the TVC Computer Group. In the last december I've decided I am going to get to know better the Primo Microkey, at least writing some simple application on it. As usually I did not wanted to invest so much energy so I figured out some easy fun game. Actually I have spent a long weekend to get to know better the Primo's BASIC specialities (of course ASM were needed much more time) and created this logical game: Count the Matched Mutant Aliens.

I've held the retro feelings, in manner you surely know when 20-25 years ago you bought a cartridge or cassette with a fascinating title and nice cover on it, but the game actually was a boring, bad-written action game, or even worst it was instead of action game a memory game (quite famous story about the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game). So my title suggests more but gives less. It's a simple logical game where you have to count the mutants with identical shape. As you go forward in the game, the table expands and the number of mutants increases this way it requires more focus. In FB group there was initiation for Primo game development competition, but actually nobody signed for it, except maybe me. No conclusion.
The game was written in Notepad++, and was emulated during the development in 8-bit Ultimo Emulator. Books, other information on Primo Homeserver website.

The game in BAS format with commented source code
8-bit Primo Microkey - Ultimo Emulator
Primo Microkey Facebook Private Group
The best everything about Primo Microkey - Primo Microkey Homeserver

Videoton TV-Computer Competition

Friday, Jan 08, 2021 » programming

Two years ago some of eager TVC fans have started to organize an online competition: creating new retro games for the old Hungarian Videoton TV-Computer. The theme and styles of games or even playful demos does not matter, but the participation and fun is the main purpose. Mostly programmers or hobbysts were just children or even teenegers in the golden age of TVC around 1986. The competition is simple. You submit your TVC game that must be run in one of TVC model and the members of TVC FB Group help you in testing and after-fixing your game. Then the mass vote from the submitted game list.
As I knew the TVC I had always in my mind to get back slightly to age of TVC world. I have decided in 2019 I am going to develop some not so complicated game. The main barrier is like always the time that is never enough. From this consideration I have choosed the TVC BASIC programming language to implement my easy logic game (for a practicable recap of the ASSEMBLY I would have been needed much more energy). My BASIC based result was the Multetris 2020 game. The game is about to reach 86 points with the elimination of the rows. The player has three options to fill the holes on the table and has some magic that may help to reach more points.

A nice photo with some of TVC games from 2020 including Multetris 2020.

The game in BAS format with commented source code
Videoton TV-Computer
Videoton TV Computer - TVC Facebook Private Group
The best everything about Videoton TV-Computer
Multetris 2020 - Game for Videoton TV Computer
Gaming on a Hungarian Home Computer
List of Game for 2020 TVC Competition

HUNGS - Home of Hungarian TV Pongs

Wednesday, Jan 01, 2020 » interesting

Several years ago I've started to collect the Hungarian old machines (vintage computers and TV pongs). As I spend my daily life in Hungary in order I have specialized myself only into the Hungarian vintage machines within that the TV Pongs. In the beginning of video games era very few personal machine or even computer was available in '70 and '80 years in Hungary. The TV Pongs were just created and licenced by three companies in Hungary during the Soviet Socialist time, but many enthusiastic amateur tried to create his own TV Pong machine. Mostly technical mens, mechanist, radio amateurs, students, hobby clubs. Of course not for sale only for own purpose.
From this period of golden age several homemade TV Pong was created and todays this TV Pongs are usually somewhere in basement, in loft or unfortunately on midden. The most times, the number of this machines are mainly limited to one piece that makes them unique and even very valuable of his own existence. From this purpose I have created a minimalist webpage that works as a little exhibition and it shows the collected Hungarian TV Pongs from a bygone era.

Go to HUNGS!

eBook - Novels from the Future [HU]

Monday, May 15, 2019 » books

Today I've published my first novel book: Novels from the Future [availabe only Hungarian] using the great self-publishing service: Publishdrive. The novel is a short story collection that contains 28 separated novels, that’s characters are mostly ordinary people with everyday feelings and emotions, but his stories already take place in a not too far future, partly from today’s changed environment. Today’s prototypes, experimental inventions and technologies have been widespread, integrated into our daily life. We use them, we are happy to have them, they make our life easier but sometimes cause annoyance and divide people’s thinking. One thing is certain, the stories force some emotions from the people. My different novels were inspired by daily life and looking into the near future with curiosity and some kind of prophecy.

The reader can get to know that how can a police-check happen in a self-driving car with drunk driver, what effect can a 3D printed message have for a highschool boy, how could be look like news about opening the first zoo with genetically manipulated animals. Stories about disadvantage of e-paper, negative effect of wearing non-trendy gadgets. Near mainstream stories, some different style novels are also included that are farther away from the subject or even abstract thought-provoking but somehow linked to the future.

Each story can be interpreted as an intellectual game. The reader can get into the character’s skin and feelings, see things with his eyes, and at the end of each novel the reader can imagine and consider the vision for some long moments what the near future may hold. The most novels are only a few pages, in all 22 pieces, so the book can be a good relaxation, chill out during road-trips, travelling to the workplace, lunch hours or even before bedtime.

Get the eBook!