I feel like writing about mapping today, texture mapping indeed. Ok, let’s make things clearer first. At the beginning objects were flat, in other words in 2D, then we had objects in 3D. That already was one revolution for computer users of the 80s ! The early objects were quite plain, changing size or colors on each side but you could not expect a lot more at that time…
Then mapping was born… but on PC ! Like some advanced effects such as voxels or bumpmapping, to name a few, it was long time believed that it could not be ported to such limited computers as the Atari ST but needless to say that some coders didn’t think so ! 🙂
Unlike a simple cube, a mapped cube is « wrapped » or covered by some « texture » that is to say a sort of painted motive looking like metal, wood or rock… As a consequence the object looks a lot more beautiful and consistent but it is also a lot harder to make it move smoothly as the motive on its sides « moves » along. Here is a first screenshot :
As far as I know the picture above shows one of the very first attempts at a mapped cube as can be seen in the Flip-O demo by Oxygene and Diamond Design (1993). To be honest this cube only rotates forward and backward hence we can suppose that it is not fully mapped. Besides some rumors think this is actually a trick and not a real effect but we are not going to start a debate here. 🙂
With that other example, taken from the Pandemonium demo by Chaos, mapping is undoubtedly on all sides as we can see this dice rotate. Sure it ends up quite slow but for 1992 it was purely insane and very impressive !
In the Rumpelkammer demo by Stax we are offered another fully mapped cube even tho it doesn’t look any impressive nowadays. Yet it still remains an early and successful fully mapped object as you could see almost none in 1993.
It’s a big mapped cube that welcomes us in Synergy’s Megademo demo by Synergy (1993). Roll that dice to choose your destination, one screen per side. Have a closer look at that great demo in my coup de coeur.
At the beginning of the new millenium coders went on working more evolved mapped cubes making them bigger, smoother, prettier and even mixing them with other objects like a torus in the 2003 Fantasia demo by Dune and Sector One.
Come to think about it and you will see that most of the time the object shown is a cube. In the 1999 Suretrip demo by Checkpoint we meet a couple of original examples like this cube whose sides are individually moving. Yes each side features a moving motive, like an independent TV screen (unfortunately the colors used are pretty ugly). Another example is that cube seen… from inside as if we were trapped in it (see screenshot below).
Checkpoint again took us another step forward in 2013 with their 2014 Thunderdome demo which features two incredible mapped objets, first a wizard and then a record player. Both look stunning and they keep moving as you can see in the video below.
Time to pay tribute to Ben from democrew Overlanders who brought us a master demonstration in his screen for the Nostalgic-O demo by Oxygene. This is undoubtedly the best part of the whole demo. Sit back and get ready for a retro trip back to 1999.
This is the inside of the mapped box I wrote about some lines above :
I had to end up this article with the revolutionary mapped character and record player of the Thunderome demo. Both look so astounding that they still leave me speechless !