The oldest thought which comes to my mind about my first experience with computers shows me at the age of 7-9, in the home of my cousin, the father of whom was computer engineer ... I remember him having a big computer in his room whereas my cousin had a home computer (TI-994A of Texas Instruments). I quickly got my hands on the TI's accompanying book (which probably was in English), and started typing one of the book's program without having a bit of knowledge in BASIC language. Once finsihed, I wrote the famous « Run », and what a miracle, the machine asked me to input some digit, then a second before it multiplied them ... I was amazed and became quickly convinced that programming was the sort of things I really wanted to do again, ignoring that it would become a true hobby!
I had to wait until I passed my Secondary 1 level before to be offered my first computer, an Amstrad CPC 464. I quickly fell in love with simple game development and graphical effects (my first book was one edited by Micro Application which aimed at creating adventure games). Its programs allowed to control for decisions making such as "go west", "go north", "you enter a new room; wat do yo wanna do?" ..., so on so forth). Many computer magasines also published articles that included quick program example about "expert engine" - "logical inference engine" in Science & Vie Micro which I found exciting (without really understanding everything). A couple of years latter or so, I discovered Z80 assembly rogramming language. As did not have an assembler, I had to remember the machine instructions coded in hexa and input them through BASIC (with so-called peek and poke). This approach allowed me to develop some effects ... but my programming documentation was quite empty at that time, no one had Internet, which impeded upon my progresses in this domain ...
As I started my elementary 3 , there was a computer about which many people were telling good things: the Amiga. At the cost of a tremendous work at school (the stick and carrotts incentive!), I could get one Amiga 500 by the end of the same year. That was the beginning of a big adventure ... while I was enrolled as secondary school student, and was programming some graphical effect in Amiga BASIC, I became aware of the demoscene. As far as I remember I met a guy in a video games room located about my college, and who told me that he was a member of the IRIS team of demomakers! Then everything accelerated: I started coding in 68000 assembly language, I met ulrick, Goofy (a graphician) . . . and I did my first prods : a short demo for the first official IRIS megademo, the style of which was a la Shadow Of The Beast. One year later or so I did the demo SpaceDepths (with one zik of ulrick and gfx from Goofy!).
I continued to developing various other visual effects which were never included in demos ... I often postponed the release stage, for I was not very satisfied with the quality of the effets, or also as a conequence of being too much perfectionnist ... and let me confess that finalizing the job involves so much effort that in achieving to code some effect for myself gave me enough satisfaction! I remember of the time when many wanted to implement non-convex 3D. We couldn't figure out how to do this with the Amiga, so we sought efficient algorithms for cuting surfaces. I was unsuccessful until I "hacked" a demo, the code of which revealed that a simple painter algorithme would do the job! (one displays the polygons from the more distant to the closest, with the latters that crash the formers).
Then studying in higher school took me more time than anything else. I doubled one class but worked hard as I knew that that was a necessary condition to get a nice job in the computer industry. I therefore became less productive for a while (... I coded some effect however such as texture mapping on the Amiga 1200 ...), particularly when I had to develop some code for a joint project as a student in ingeneering. I was about 22. The work consisted in tracking some boat racing (la course de voile de l'Edhec) by using real time 3D computer generated images from GPS inforamtion (this was in 1996!).
Just a few more words about that project. We were a small team of people : some of us developed the code for acquiring the boat positions and for "interfacing" the GPS with the radio emissions. Others did the electronic devices of a physical map, and some of us plus the remaining did the 3D real time graphics. It was possible to make this project in 3D as I had done some work on a old 486 PC during the Summer of 1995. This consisted in coding 3D animation in C++ and assembly x86, following the same approach than that used in Doom (the Binary Space Partitionning). On using this techniqe, we were able de display concave boats with complex textures.The other team's members had worked on great visual effects such as water maping ... To put it briefly, the project was quite successful! In this early computer period, algorithms didn't use 3D cards (they were very expensive and not marketed widely), we thus has to develop our 3D engine from A to Z, including pixel ploting so as to display triangles and textures!
Then, my computer projects in the field of numerical art faded away ... once I became engineer for a financial institution (Société Générale) ..., a business not as stimulating as computer graphics, game design or demo making! After a break of ten years out of the demoscene, ulrick offered me to join FRequency, which I accepted. I took that decision not without reserve knowing that demo making is time consuming and rarely compatible with having both a rich family life and having a job that is unlinked to computer graphics. In joining FRequency, I'd like to code a 4k, to build my own synth and tools for the FRequency team (music events generator for syncrhonizing the music with the visual, ... But let us see what I'll be capable of ;). You can also find me on http://code4k.blogspot.com/.
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