B for… Bumpmapping

Bumpmapping is the name of an effect that couldn’t be done on Atari ST for a very long time (indeed it was first seen in 1997 ie about 12 years after the creation of this computer). We all thought that our computer wasn’t powerful enough to produce this kind of effect. But coders didn’t think so and they proved right in the end !

This effect usually consists of a still screen showing a motive swept by light sources. In other words fancy a sort of car plate and a flashlight. As the light goes from left to right, it highlights the bumps and hollows of the painted motive. I hope that the following screenshot will make things a little clearer for you.

The very first bumpmapping on Atari ST in Bugblatterbeast (1997). At that time it was a real treat ! Thanks a lot to the coders of  tSCc !

Quite few variations were seen unfortunately and indeed not so many coders dared create this effect. It is actually not so easy to give birth to a decent  bumpmapping. Make it too small, slow, messy or hard to read and it will lose all interest. I could give you some examples of not-so-good looking ones but it would not be nice to their creators…

This bumpmapping features not one but three light sources ! Taken from Posh by Checkpoint. (2003)
As always with DHS every effect comes with style and so does the  bumpmapping to be found in the  Sweety demo. (1999)

The bumpmapping that you could see above is pretty original since it is repeated on the right side of the screen as thumbnails. Sure the main motive is quite simple but the screen design adds a major « plus » to it. This is an excerpt from the great Odd Stuff demo by Sector One and  Dune. (2003)

We stop for a very short egotrip with the bumpmapping featured in the 1999 Breath demo by  Mystic Bytes. I was responsible for all the pictures you can see in this production even tho I have to confess that I am really not satisfied with the overall design.

My favorite bumpmapping comes from 2012 Drone demo by DHS. Not only the effect is much bigger than usual (see the above video to spot the difference) but also it is scrolling vertically while being synchronized with music : classy !

Kudos to Paradox for daring mixing two effects in one : a particle effect (an article will deal with this effect) and a bumpmapping effect. Sure the end result is a bit small but it looks really great. Taken from the Paracon 6 invitation. (2004)

Last but not least let’s enjoy a very impressive bumpmapping effect met in 2015 Sea of Colour by Dead Hackers Society. Here it is displayed in true color, understand that this awesome screen features thousands of colours instead of the otherwise so limited 16 color display of the Atari ST. Hats up DHS ! This demo will be featured in my coups de coeur soon !

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