nicolas @ uucidl


October 16, 2010 by nicolas, filed under works

Rbrch is a contemplative piece with an aquatic theme.


Each is about 1.5MB big and written in C. Both audio and visuals are generated.

Just contact me if it does not appear to run properly.

Requirements: SSE2, accelerated OpenGL graphics, an audio card.


Although you really should download and run the executable.


Rbrch was originally made as a gift for someone’s birthday. A demo meant as a sort of relaxing bubble, away from the urban greyness.

Care was taken in making it work on most basic computers, hence the absence of shaders and an attempt at detecting how fast the machine runs the particle system during the initial blank screen.


  • Uses the code base I cowrote for LN2’s.
  • PortAudio provides the audio interface
  • GLUT,GLEW provides the display interface
  • stb_image for image loading

Hope you liked it!

post-LSV notes, Frank Bolero and Knos

April 26, 2010 by nicolas, tagged live visuals, music and tpolm, filed under works

Frank Bolero and Knos, LSV 7010-04-25

The TPOLM Lazy Sunday Video was an absolute blast, with lots of nice live performances and visual works.

Esem’ music for instance felt satisfying on so many levels. Machinedrum’s was full of vigor. Sense’s and Frank Bolero’s were full of romanticism.

Magic happened amongst the technical difficulties in the visual department. I was particularly curious about Nebogeo’s live coding with his programming language, fluxus. Magic also happened with the video signal manipulation devices that Jdigittl had built for the occasion.

2010-04-26, 2010-05-02: the lazy sunday radio (audio only, so) actually kept playing for a week, each TPOLM DJ handing the station over to the next one in a different time zone. The sunday never really ended.

I participated in the form of visuals for the swedish musician Frank Bolero:

It was an honor and a great pleasure to do visuals on such a moody soundtrack.

You will soon be able to get all of these performances at

During the afterparty, I also did a 2h long live visuals improvisation on a dj set by alkama:

Continue reading...

game concept: addiction to information

July 1, 2009 by nicolas, tagged videogames and hedonism, filed under works

Learning vs Creating. A delicate balance.

Supergame Bakedown 2008

As 2008 started, I decided to participate in a month-long game creation competition. While it was not a high-profile competition with promises of prizes and fame, I saw it as an opportunity to commit myself to make a game.

Making a game.

It came to me as I wondered how to develop one of those ideas I can’t quite express with precision.

In particular, one which has obsessed me a great deal these past two years is our relationship with the acquisition of new information (knowledge) and especially its conflict with the act of creation.

A demo did not appear to be the best medium for it. Interactivity would help to convey the emotions I was familiar with. Or so I hoped!

The idea of the game very shortly put is to tell the story of the relationship between mankind and information.

It’s about translating the pleasure of learning new facts, new beliefs. These could be truthful or not, important or trivial. The matter is not about truth but about the emotion of learning.

Another idea I wanted to convey is the addiction we sometimes develop towards this acquisition of knowledge, especially as civilization evolves and let us grasp an ever expanding world of information.

And finally, central to the concept was the idea that creation serves as a counterpart to the acquisition of knowledge. The painful, yet necessary behaviour of translating knowledge into new forms.

Continue reading...

8bit live visuals: Looking For The Perfect Hit

March 1, 2009 by nicolas, tagged live visuals, pce and tpolm, filed under works

A mesure que l’heure avancait, le bar devenait paradoxalement moins bruyant, ses fauteuils plus comfortables. Une très légère lumière blanche provenait du sol. Elle était immédiatement absorbée par l’épais tissus pourpre des murs. A l’extrémité du bar les sourcils fins d’une créature suivaient l’horizontale: un dieu égyptien fait cuisinier d’un bar à tapas. Salade de rat, confiture de pates, buddha anglais. Et Lee “Scratch” Perry mixant aux platines avec Shiva en guise de M.C.

Attablés, cinq philosophes allemands longilignes, vêtus de cols roulés et discutant la dialectique du contact des corps.

Somewhat irregularly, TPOLM organizes an internet event called Lazy Sunday Radio.

What started in 2000 from a commune in downtown Helsinki with Moomins mixing vinyls and live tracks over the net, has become more and more fierceful with each issue. We now feature mixes, live performances, visuals and even occasionally an actual event in a “real” location in addition to the internet radio.

A Lazy Sunday Radio usually gets organized within a short period: a wake up call is sufficient to bring in all the musical talents in the TPOLM roster (and beyond) .. each very intent to provide music for their own one hour long slot.

So in this early 2006 I caught myself promising to do live visuals for the next Lazy Sunday RadioVideo.

For this issue was going to be different: we were going to broadcast visuals for the first time in addition to live music.

I had nothing. Nothing ready at all. We needed to produce a video signal, mix it with the live audio then re-encode it back to the internet radio.

Within two weeks, I thought, what could I use to perform visuals on and that could be captured as video? Well, my PC-Engine DUO-R could do. And with a multitap + 2 pads, I should have more than enough combinations to play with. Plus 2D does not actually require having costy 3d models or textures.

At the time, I was inspired for designing the controls by the one-man 8-bit remix orchestra named Duracell. I took from him the idea of using a series of button presses to advance in a pre-recorded sequence. A great way to produce complex output from a very simple input. And I still envy his energy on stage.

So I got myself a few .html and .txt files describing the PC-Engine’s CPU, Video controller and joypad I/O, fired a compiler and started writing a C++ program which, in lieu of an assembler or compiler, would create a sort of visual instrument as a ready-to-burn rom.

In the end I managed to produce one hour of visuals, recorded in full glory here as an .nsv file.

It was a challenging, tiring experience.. but I was hooked!

Later on (in the above video) I decided to capture another performance as video, entering it in the Breakpoint’06 wild demo competition. It did not go as I expected, as it wasn’t shown in the end in the competition, but nonetheless it’s a good, compact example of the sort of visuals I would achieve.

The soundtrack is a remix of Pushing Buttons, a track I made in 2005 in an attempt to interpret the platform videogame genre.. I still don’t know if I hate or like this genre, however it got a peculiar rhythm to it.

I liked especially the combination of joypad-controlled scrolling and a glitchy tile-copying effect that together would spread a stream of tiles like a spray can would. Two individually simple effects which surprised me when they started interacting. Likewise, deactivating the display synchronization produces very sharp visuals.

After a while, and a couple other live visual instruments behind
me, I decided share the instrument itself as a PCE rom

A visual instrument one could play on. A visual toy controlled with its two joypads. Auto-fire capable joypads, which require a cable twiddling ritual before use!

Joypads are inviting; their buttons like to be mashed and pushed.


64k-intro: Walking on Four

July 1, 2006 by nicolas, tagged in64k, filed under works

The following is a web edition of my original report written in 2006-07-01



In September 2005, even before the release of Clothing Like A T-Shirt Saying I Wish I already had set my mind on releasing short intros for the next events of the year. Namely, the Saturne Party 6 in Paris, and the bcnparty101[9] in Barcelona. It turned out the cancellation of the former was actually beneficial to the overall project, since going back to work on an intro immediately after another one proved a bit too optimistic.

After some hectic crunch-time programming for the streamMega[10] party, I needed, or thought I needed a bit of rest. The code base also had suffered through the ordeal and some housekeeping needed to be done to clean up and package independent parts for later works.

So I cleaned up the mess, branched out the code, and started working again on it for the next effort.

In the end, after roughly 67 hours of work with a great deal taken by debugging, Walking On Four was released in the 64kb intro competition at bcnparty101[9], on 2006.11.05.

Maybe all I needed was a reason to visit the intoxicating city of Barcelona, and its illustrious inhabitants.


Starting with a fast moving red loading bar, it then displays the very same effect that ended Clothing Like A Tshirt saying I Wish, arrows going up and down diagonally across the screen.

But we notice a slight ghosting of the whole picture.

The soundtrack is distinctively electronic. The pad section is playing a seemingly aimless minor harmony, and the rhythmic section, consisting of just a bass drum and a click, is animated along a long
rhythm difficult to apprehend at first.

As the synthetic pads slowly fade-in, stripes, almost calligraphic drawings start appearing and drawing themselves below the frame. The
grey on dark drawings do not appear to mean anything, and appear one after another, as pieces of entangled ribbons.

Very quickly the original arrows disappear, and after a short display of the ribbons alone, a distorted pink plane of particles jumps in and out of the screen, locally swelling.

Around the 45 seconds mark, the display spreads and saturate into almost homogeneous whiteness. But slowly ripples back in to display another similar screen: transparent ribbons like in the first half, but on top of which a rotating, block of pink lights, pulsating with the underlying rhythm of the music.

With time, ripples form and emerge from the block of light. Saturated, harsh-looking ripples coming from the center of the screen towards its sides, like a suggested tunnel.

In the end, around the 90 seconds mark, the title “walking on four -” appears on a black display, followed in an unusual down to up order, with “!=” then “BCN 7005” as each new beat of the now almost alone rhythm resonates in.

Stay with us as we will cover its design and implementation.

Continue reading...