Code Notes – Lantern Of D’gamma

Back to the Apple II for another episode in the Code Notes series dear reader and, whilst the previous outing took a look at something which was at least reasonably representative of the various Apple II intros out there which utilise the platform’s bitmapped graphics, this time we’re going to consider a release that uses the text-based display mode.


Lantern Of D’Gamma by The Six Pack

An Apple II crack intro released in 1985
(No on-screen credits for the intro available)

Your correspondent has been wondering if this release should classified as a crack intro or crack screen, generally speaking it’s a static message but with an effect which works by selecting a character in the screen memory at random and toggling the appropriate bit to invert it. Either way the result is almost hypnotic to watch and therefore rather enjoyable, although the constant white noise style sound being generated with the Apple II’s beeper is less appealing!

Lantern Of D'Gamma (Apple II)

This is, it has to be noted, an incredibly easy piece of code to write and your correspondent has already duplicated it with a reasonable level of accuracy in under ten minutes[1]. And whilst the C64 intros of 1985 may have been reasonably simple and using ripped assets of the kind which have previously offended the author’s delicate if somewhat irrational sensibilities, they were still more technically involved productions and it wouldn’t take more than a year before the evolution into stand-alone demos similar to the ones that we’ve previously been covering had occured.

Despite a little research, your correspondent still isn’t entirely sure why intro and later demo coding didn’t progress on the Apple II in the same way as happened with the C64 or indeed other 8-bit platforms, although it might in part perhaps be down to the more fragmented nature of the platform? Before development even starts a programmer has to consider which model they are going to target, decide on which third party graphics or sound add-ons to utilise, work out how much memory they’ll need and so forth, all of which that’s far more complicated than dealing with a platform like the C64 especially for what are in essence programs written for fun.

Your correspondent isn’t sure of his conclusions of course, so perhaps there are Apple II owners reading who can shed a little light on the topic…?

[1] It was probably closer to five minutes dear reader, the only time-consuming part was converting the pseudo random number generator which was found within the forums at demo scene website Pouet.

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