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Submitted by Jari Komppa, posted on April 26, 2002

Image Description, by Jari Komppa

What you're seeing in the picture is the UI of my little project called HORS. HORS is a musicdisk interface.

The HORS project started in 1994. !Cube, a friend of mine, was in something like four groups at the time, and wanted a short group name to release his MOD music under, and decided to form DEE. Nitro joined DEE as well as the second musician and they recruited me, Sol, to write a musicdisk interface.

Musicdisks at the time were mostly one to two disks (1.4 megs per disk) of size, and a 'proper' music disk was considered to be one with a graphical interface. Most musicdisk interfaces out there were obviously weekend hacks, just showing a picture and changing tune when a key was pressed. We felt that this was no fun, and planned something slightly bigger. HORS 1.0 was coded in 1994 by me, and it was the largest, and last, pascal project I wrote. Running in 640x480 (most if not all of the mainstream graphics applications were 320x200 at the time), it included lots of assembler hacks to get around turbo pascals' limitations.

After the success of DEE ONE we sat down and planned a monster. (Ever read the jargon file? Look up 'second-system effect'). The moster was to be called HORS 2.0, and it was to include interesting things like the mouse followers (nice idea that was stolen from the original 'discworld' game), scroller at the bottom, scrollable information panel (versus the fadeout/fadein in original HORS), among other things. Six months to the project I realized that I spent more time fighting with turbo pascal's and real mode's limitations than with the actual building.

So I checked watcom C out, and never looked back. My transition to C happened completely in one weekend; originally I thought I'd still go and write some smaller tools with pascal, but I couldn't see any reason after working with C for a while.

So HORS 2.0 ended up being my first C project. At about 12000 lines and 12 months of work (while finishing up with highschool and other stuff) it is the largest personal 'solo' project I've done.

So finally at the end of '96 HORS 2.0 was about to be finished and we started building DEE TWO, and it was released in january 1997, and it was very well received by the audience. As an example, DemoNews, newsletter by the then-active hornet archive, said the following:
"_____The Good... Dee Musicdisk Two by Dee. Excellent. Download now! [cut] '****+' Slam! This is how a music disk should be done. Absolutely the best interface I've seen for a music disk since Epidemic. Not only that, but the interface is configurable... you can actually use it for your own productions. The music kicks ass. If you only download a couple music disks this year, be sure that one of them is Dee Musicdisk Two!" -- DemoNews # 141 - 02 February 1997
We got tons of fan mail about it; best bits can be found in praise_dee.txt included in the distribution.

While waiting for my military service to begin (which is mandatory in finland) I made 'koivis', a hypercardish presentation of my highschool, partially to show that it's possible using HORS with no code changes whatsoever. While I was in the army we released DEE 2:42, DEE 3 and DEE PI, along with a Trauma demo at assembly, and couple of invitation intros to different parties. All in all, I personally released more scene stuff during my military year than most scene people do in all their lives. =) Later on we released all dubius sound tracks as one HORS disk.

After that years passed. I've had this idea of porting HORS to windows for some time now - it wouldn't run under emulation due to the VESA mode used and also because the music player by Tremor isn't exactly emulation-friendly. However, after getting some fan mail after a long time, and also being on vacation, I started going through the HORS sources and figured they wouldn't be too hard to port.

After 6 hours of hacking I had sound, graphics, controls and mouse running. Some 10-12 hours of finishing touches later here it is.

When you listen to the DEE disks and read all the stuff contained within, do remember that most of the information is very old. There are some things I would have wanted to change, as did Nitro and others, but I thought that it might be better to just let it be this way. Running the DEE disks on current hardware is a nostalgia trip for us; let it be like that for the rest of you as well.

The music player used is FMOD, which I only had to misuse very slightly in order to get it to work the way I wanted it (I checked with Firelight to make sure my hack was ok). For graphics I used SDL, which in my opinion is the sanest way to do 2d graphics on current hardware. Due to some hacks I had to do HORS now requires a bit more CPU power than it used to (it used to run just fine on pentium 100MHz; now I'd recommend 300+MHz).

As for the final 'key feature' list:
  • 640x480x256 graphics mode with minimal display memory changes and no blinking mousecursors (everything else ran in 320x200 back then)
  • Mouse cursor with clock and mouse followers
  • Greeting scroller on bottom
  • Tune selector
  • Tune info box (with real bpm counter)
  • Fancy channel-based volumebars (with panning and note display)
  • Information viewer (with hyperlinks, images, background image, different fonts, links in images, text wrapping around the images or centered images, font rendering styles and colors, all through HTMLish renderer)
  • Compressed file library system
  • Note dots (showing pan, volume, note instead of channel-based view)
  • Mandelbrot explorer
  • Julia explorer
  • 3d IFS fractal renderer
  • Nibbles (worms) game with 25 levels
  • Own, specific, paleted image format
  • Runtime palette reorganization and quantization
  • Musicdisk change on the fly
  • Plus probably others that I just can't remember right now.

    Yes, I used to have far too much free time on my hands =)

    Special thanks go to Joachim Fenkes for the superlative beta testing he did.

    HORS can be downloaded from my site at as either separate engine package (if you have the old musicdisks) or as a whopping 22 megabyte package that contains all the data ever released with this interface.

    ps. Remember the text mode demo competition!

    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.

    April 27, 2002, 05:12 PM

    >> Main problem with MODs (And derivatives) tho, is that it's hard to make music that sounds, well, non-MOD.

    I find that is a definite problem, though its rarely a _real_ problem for me because I love that "mod sound".

    However, there is no real reason a mod needs to sound like a mod.

    Microsofts direct music, plays essentially MIDIs with samples... And in my simplistic understanding of mods, thats essentially what they are.

    Many commercial games have used direct music quite effectively to produce music of all types, even orchastrated stuff.

    (Homeworld had greatmusic, I couldnt even tell what it was for the longest time.. (it is direct music) I know there is more games have used it just as effectively but none are comming to mind at the moment)

    Too bad its such an unwieldy beast of a program to compose for, its really a powerful tool.

    >> Interactive music is something we havent seen (heard?) Enough of recently.

    So true.

    I am still waiting anxiously for an indipendant group to release a formidable alternative to direct music. Something not so restrictive, and hopefully easier to use!

    They [Microsoft] rams so many damn features into some of there tools that you cant figure out what there original purpose is some times :P

    -- Interactive music.

    Thats where its at :P


    April 27, 2002, 05:45 PM

    you all know what? no one needs baxton if we have all those nice people around here in who talk much bigger bullshit

    i like the thing, even if i can't listen to the sound on my crappy machine.. it was fun to read:)


    April 28, 2002, 12:22 AM

    Here is a suggestion on how to improve flipcode IOTD forums:

    Maybe it would be possible to open up a new forum like they have on for pimping and previewing your project screenshots.

    Anybody who has something to show off can then post and upload an image with a request for commments. If that is too difficult from Kurt's side, post with a link to another server with the image. Though it would be nice if you could see the image _within_ the post. People can get comments and suggestions on projects in progress, or brag about the projects they finished.

    IOTD could be saved for truly exceptional projects. I'm not sure who the editors should be. Or perhaps users of the pimping forums vote on who they think deserved to be on the IOTD.

    While I have nothing but respect for IOTD posters, its seems that the quality both the projects and feed back is highly inconsitant. This makes people more reluctant to spend their time looking over it or giving valuable comments.


    Jonathan Fischer

    April 28, 2002, 12:39 AM

    For once, I agree with Mr. BAXTON here. :)


    Jari Komppa

    April 28, 2002, 02:40 AM

    <i>IOTD could be saved for truly exceptional projects</i>

    A very hard thing to classify. A game made within 18 hours is, in a way, an exceptional project, but so is realtime raytracer using only vertex programs. If mr. baxton were to choose, they both would probably suck and wouldn't be 'exceptional'.

    Whatever you do, people will STILL flame the posts, will STILL post those stupid first posts, and most certainly mr. baxton will continue trolling.

    <i>While I have nothing but respect for IOTD posters, its seems that the quality both the projects and feed back is highly inconsitant.</i>

    Hey, that's life! The whole POINT of the IOTD is, and I quote,
    <i>"Care for a free plug? Have you got an image you'd like to see posted here for other visitors to check out? Snap a shot of something you're working on (anything!) and if its cool (and relevant for developers), we'll post it up here along with your name and the description for all the world to see."</i>

    Before you tear that apart, I will do it myself.

    <i>"Snap a shot of something you're working on (anything!)"</i>

    Someone already posted a picture of himself juggling torches with flipcode t-shirt on. That, IMO, was pretty cool, although it had little to do with anything.

    <i>"if its cool (and relevant for developers), we'll post it"</i>

    The coolness and relevance is for Kurt to decide, not you. By saying that the IOTD was 'wasted', you're saying that Kurt isn't doing his job. I think that's pretty selfish of you, considering all the work he has done for your enjoyment without pay.


    April 28, 2002, 04:49 AM

    ofcourse i didnt bother,
    you said MOD and thats protracker modules :) you wanted to say tracked music you shouldve you wrote yourself in a stupid way, i didnt.



    April 28, 2002, 09:42 AM

    Weird! Around that time I too was experimenting with 3d filled polygons and a year later i wrote a texture mapper. But is was on my old Atari ST in 68k asm. Ahhhh :)))

    Paul Hope

    April 28, 2002, 12:11 PM

    "Awesome to see your representing your country in a good way!

    (Unlike us Canadians. And our military... and our people.... Grrrr....)"

    How can you be so heartless and talk about our military when 3 Canadian soldiers were killed by an American that dropped a bomb on them in Afghanistan.

    Maybe you shouldn't call yourself Canadian.


    April 28, 2002, 01:58 PM

    Noone but the truly pretentious runs around demanding we refer to tracked songs by their format.
    Not only was it stated in teh link, but understood by most trackers, that it is perfectly OK to refer to a tracked song as a mod until clarification is required.
    "I track mods in XM format." It does work. It is legit, despite the hairs you want to split.


    April 28, 2002, 02:00 PM

    Boy, this is a throwback to old times:)
    It always warms my heart to know that more people than me think the tracker scene isnt quite as dead as some want it to be.
    Nicely done, though I have one problem. Nearly every time I bring the cursor against the right edge of the screen, the program craps out completely. Seems to only happen on the very rightmost border.(Running WinME)
    The music in the disks are exceptional!


    April 28, 2002, 02:44 PM

    Quite ugly.

    Hiro Protagonist

    April 28, 2002, 09:14 PM

    That was the funniest thing I've read in a long time.
    (And sadly true as well)



    April 28, 2002, 10:43 PM

    running win-me -most lame words of teh year


    April 28, 2002, 10:44 PM

    very ugly

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