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Submitted by Jari Komppa, posted on September 28, 2001

Image Description, by Jari Komppa

Sorry for such a quick textmode IOTD follow-up.

What happened was that someone posted some matrix-trailer-inna-textmode production, and I figured that my textmode renderer probably would look better (although it's far from perfect - aalib for instance makes much better results)... so I downloaded some mpeg software simulation group sources and made an mpeg player for textmode. Then I talked about this on #coders for a bit and someone tossed the idea that I could make an avi player.

... "yeah right", I said ...

Anyway, then I was bored again and glanced at the DirectShow API and figured I might actually do it. The result is here - windows media player that outputs in NT console. It can play almost everything windows media player can, so yes, if you have a DivX codec installed, you can watch DivX AVIs with this, in textmode.

The images:
  • top left, Unreal Technology Demo (mpg)
  • top right, 'show our power' assembly01 winner animation (mpg)
  • bottom left, 'Lapsuus', assembly01 winner demo (DivX avi)
  • bottom right, Max Payne E3 2001 video (wmv)
  • The binaries can be found on

    Unfortunately I won't be releasing the source, since it's such an ugly mess. The ascii art renderer source can, however, be downloaded from my site.

    Image of the Day Gallery


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    Archive Notice: This thread is old and no longer active. It is here for reference purposes. This thread was created on an older version of the flipcode forums, before the site closed in 2005. Please keep that in mind as you view this thread, as many of the topics and opinions may be outdated.

    September 28, 2001, 11:52 AM

    Sick, totally sick, but I like it :-)



    September 28, 2001, 11:56 AM

    Things don't have to have the greatest graphics to be amazing.

    Although you probably wouldn't want to watch a movie like that, it's still very interesting work that you've done, and the images seem to be presented very well in text.

    Well done


    September 28, 2001, 11:59 AM

    Some people have waaay too much time on their hands!-)


    September 28, 2001, 12:16 PM

    This is twisted cool!


    September 28, 2001, 12:22 PM

    I "watched" final fantacy with it some weeks ago.. =D
    I didn't actualy pay much attention, just left it playing


    September 28, 2001, 12:27 PM

    wicked, totaly freaky, I must say. Ha DBZ episodes look 'awsome' on it, especially when you make the window smaller, fine details really come out. Oh and the World of Warcraft trailers look awsome too in it, imagine if dos text games started out with those graphics, what a world we'd be in now.

    awsomly done,


    September 28, 2001, 12:29 PM

    ANSI? No color? =(

    Ok, maybe I'm asking for just a little bit TOO much.

    Jari Komppa

    September 28, 2001, 12:33 PM

    It still does have the block-color mode, if you want color..

    Alexander Blach

    September 28, 2001, 12:33 PM

    You just HAVE to watch your favourite Futurama episode with that player. Cool - in a way.

    With a custom font and some colors it would be even better.

    Maybe you say "yeah, right" again and... you know :-)

    Alexander Blach

    September 28, 2001, 12:35 PM

    btw.. you really enjoy the beauty of colours after such a textmode session..

    Alexander Blach

    September 28, 2001, 12:37 PM

    alright, I take that back... I just discovered the option menu (press "h")


    September 28, 2001, 12:51 PM

    Holy smokes! Great for a wearable computer with text only output.


    September 28, 2001, 01:33 PM

    Must say...this is some pretty good stuff.

    Jari Komppa

    September 28, 2001, 01:45 PM

    Thanks for the comments.

    Couple hints, when watching avis in asciiart mode:
    - Use desaturate filter. The ascii art mode only reads the green component; desaturation combines rg and b.
    - Increase contrast. Many avis I've tried don't have truly black "black" color. Increase contrast until you have black on your screen.
    - Feel free to try other options =)
    - Notice that you can select areas on the console (it'll blink but it'll work). If you want a screen capture, select the whole screen, wait until the point you want to capture, and press 'enter'. Then open your favorite notepad-replacement and paste.

    Have fun =)


    September 28, 2001, 01:48 PM

    I was thinking of making a program that did this, looks like many people have beat me to it.


    September 28, 2001, 02:52 PM

    Great you should call the guys that make mobile phones and tell them about this.

    Luke Hodorowicz

    September 28, 2001, 03:02 PM

    Sweet. Very cool.


    Joakim Hårsman

    September 28, 2001, 03:15 PM

    Jari, seriously you're just too cool. Twisted, but good stuff :)


    September 28, 2001, 03:18 PM

    Very cool. I just watched the Steve Ballmer "Monkey Boy" video with it, it worked well.


    September 28, 2001, 03:49 PM

    You know, this looks just like what the ascii lib in SDL can do, i've been seeing a lot of these text rendering engines lately.


    September 28, 2001, 04:22 PM

    I take it it's not possible to modify the text font in an NT console? If not, that's a shame. I once wrote a textmode renderer that was effectively 160x100 with 4 shades (black, dark grey, light grey, white) - it looked real nice ;)

    Looks really good though.

    dan ogles

    September 28, 2001, 04:31 PM

    Awesome! I fired up Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on DivX and was suprised how clear it came out (although the subtitles didn't fare too well ;).

    Very cool!


    September 28, 2001, 04:49 PM

    Ooh...I should pay a little more attention. Mmm...color.


    September 28, 2001, 04:50 PM

    Heh, I was completely able to pick out Max Payne. Good job.


    September 28, 2001, 05:25 PM

    Jenna Jameson pr0n is awesome on this thing...


    September 28, 2001, 05:52 PM

    i'm the guy with this "matrix-trailer-inna-textmode production".
    And this iotd threw me away... All the time after our ASCII-Trailer, i've like to see the full matrix movie in ascii... now it's possible for everyone :)
    for now i can't say anymore...


    September 28, 2001, 09:07 PM

    This iotd is awesome :o) I am currently watching the matrix with it (damn I seen that movie way too many times). Only thing the program needs is a way of skipping..... so I get get to the part with all the columns or the part with the machine gun and the helicopter...

    Anyway very cool work. It's amazing how ppl are now amazed by programs that degrade quality rather than increase :o)


    September 28, 2001, 11:15 PM



    September 29, 2001, 12:20 AM

    BTW, you mentioned that it displays text on "an NT console". I wanted to let you know that it's worked fine for me on Windows 98 and ME as well, if you didn't know that already.

    Jari Komppa

    September 29, 2001, 03:19 AM

    arB - I just checked some matrix trailer with textmedia and yes, it's a very, very hard clip to make look good in textmode. The movie itself should work better, actually =)

    Vorteks - I know. It's still a NT console app, not a dos app running under emulation. There are slight differences (such as 'framebuffer' access)

    Tristan - if I find the time, I'll look into skipping

    Pants - As expected.. =)

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