By coincidence I came across Jeff Minter’s company Llamasoft and surprisingly discovered that it was still going strong.
Jeff Minter, probably most famous for his somewhat… surreal C64 games (“Attack of the Mutant Camels”, “Revenge of the Mutant Camels” and even “Metagalactic Llamas Battle at the Edge of Time”), apparently has been hacking away on light synthesizers for the past twenty years.
His light synthesizers are complex visualization modules either music-controlled or driven by human interaction. And his latest incarnation, Neon, is actually used in the Xbox 360’s dashboard.
The Neon Light Synthesizer in Action.
Who would have guessed that Llamasoft code would end up in the Xbox 360 firmware?
Given three basic rules (“Each game must be made in less than seven days / by only one person / be based around a central theme (e.g. gravity or swarms)”) some very interesting projects were created. Since then the website has opened up, and everyone is allowed to post their experimental games.
VVVV is a realtime video synthesis framework. It is a Windows only flowgraph based system, which seems to be built on top of DirectX and DirectShow. As seen on the Eno Henze image above, VVVV is also very suitable for creating static pictures.
ChucK is an audio programming language for real-time performance. It is possible to add and modify code without stopping the audio stream, which makes live coding sessions possible. I played a bit around with ChucK in the miniAudicle editor, which can be recommended – the realAudicle (a spectacular OpenGL interfaced IDE) on the other hand proved to be quite unstable.
For a more extreme version of live coding check out Quoth (now this is weird – a Zork-inspired user interface).