One Channel Beeper
Everyone who owned a 16k or 48k ZX Spectrum knew not to expect great things from the sound after all there wasn’t any dedicated sound hardware on the machine at all just a very basic beeper that produced single channel and very limited sound such as the following:
Not very good eh?
Over time musicians developed their own routines and music engines to produce some spectacular musical effects on the humble 48k Spectrum. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll already be aware of some of these, Agent-X and Trantor are both good examples of what can be done on the simple 48k beeper.
The current musical maestro for programming amazing music using only the beeper is a talented geezer by the name of Mister Beep and here’s one of his most recent tracks from the album Monophonic Generator:
One of the things that Spectrum owners though were impossible and only existed in the realms of the Commodore C64 was fancy loading effects. Commodore games used to play music and do fun things while loading games all we Spectrum owners got was a static screen. Lovely stuff!
In 1988 Players released Joe Blade II and this allowed us Spectrum owners to play a Pacman clone while the main game was loading. It was extremely basic but at last something thought incapable on the Spectrum had been done but would we ever see loading music? Animation? Nifty effects?
No, not while the Spectrum was in it’s hayday but as the Spectrum scene has continued to live on an thrive industrious coders have been able to do remarkable things.
Ahh.. the tape loading era
Now this is one extremely impressive demo and goes to prove that loading music, animation and nifty effects could all be done while loading on the ZX Spectrum.
The demo was done by evilpaul in 2009 for the the sundown demo party and it came first in the Old School Competition. You can read more about it on his blog.
*Ok, so we didn’t really discover any technical secrets but we have had fun!