From 8 to 16 bits

2009-10-30 at 15:56 | Posted in Computer path | Leave a comment
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It was really like a giant leap for me when I finally manage to save enough money to buy my fist PC, a 286 with 287 at 16 MHz, 1024 Kb of RAM and 40 Megabytes HD. Of course the more immediate thing I noticed was the MHz jump, everything going so ‘fast’. But there was much more to it, for example I was amazed that I could operate with 16 bit integers natively, and with very little overhead even 32 bit integers!, for sure I would never ever going to need more than that, I thought. In spite of all that, there was something even more sweet for me: now I had machine code instructions for multiplication and … even division!, what an incredible thing. It was then that after some more Basic and Assembler I went right to Pascal and some time later to C. Once I learn enough C I never looked back and began developing some games, some IA programs (automatic maze construction, ecosystems on regular square grids of plant-eating worms, 3D puzzle solvers, chess horse problem…), my first 3D engine (it drew only lines, but they were… very straight and… beautiful), some Mandelbrot and Julia set generators, an emergent based electronic circuit simulator… . Then I started to recognize the value of polygons and made my first opaque polygon engine and used it to procedurally generate landscapes very similar to the excellent 8 bit game ‘The Sentinel’. This engine used integer fixed point arithmetic for all 3D operations. A tweaked 320x240x256 mode was used so it looked nice, for those days. And… of course I spent a good amount of time playing games like Scorched Earth, Starcon, Gengis Khan & Bandit Kings of Ancient China, Iron Man, Monkey Island, Loom and many more.

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