• Goog Blog

  • by Goog

Hi, I'm Goog. Creator and founder of CommodoreServer.com, the Comet64 Internet Modem and the Portland Commodore Users Group in Portland, Oregon USA (PDXCUG.org). I am excited about all things Commodore, but my passion lies with the Commodore 64.


Screencasts with a Real Commodore 64

The future is here - screencasting from a real Commodore 64 to multiple viewers, in real time. I'll show you a few ideas for using the new screencast feature of CommodoreServer.

I am just amazed.  Streaming your Commodore 64 screen to others in real time seems crazy and you might ask "why?" But there are several applications where this is quite useful.

We've been using the screencast utility for a little over a month now.  Screencasting is proving to be very useful on CommodoreServer.  We initially used it as a way to show things going on at PDXCUG meetings, but even in our daily Commodore hacking time, we've been using it to code in real time, while getting feedback from others in the chat rooms.

Actually, what started out as an idea for remote desktop, ended up morphing into a screencast.  The software will work in either mode, but as of the current release, it only focuses on the screencast.  The ability to remotely type on a Commodore 64 is a strange experience.  But I'll save that for a future post.

Uses of Screencasting

"Pair programming" is a common method in agile development.  Interestingly enough, some of us practice agile when working on our Commodore projects (including this screencast project itself).  Screencasts are useful in this because pair programming won't work unless both programmers can see the screen at the same time.  In a distributed team, a screencast may be the only way to pair up.

Screencast of the game Labyrinth
Screencast session in Vice - Playing the game Labyrinth while 5 others watch.

We've also played some games while others were watching.  While the screencast can't yet do many of the advanced screen tricks (like raster effects, sprites, and sound), it can be very useful to play simple games.  One such game is Labyrinth, which does a lot of full-screen drawing.  In fact, it provided an idea to do some RLE compression to make the screens draw faster.  Even broadcasting the game at 2400 baud made it feel close to the real thing.  As the screencasting matures, some of these things will be possible in the future.  As of the first release, it does all text, color, and border/background colors.  I'm looking forward to showing sprites, as one of the games I'm working on uses sprites and the viewers can't see them yet.

Another great example for screencasting is code reviews.  If you write a program on your Commodore 64, you can get peers to look at it with you and give you feedback while you're showing it.  We also found it useful to go through some of our disks and show off various programs from our past.

Lastly, screencasts are great to just demo your program.  We used it to show an existing BASIC program that is going to be converted to a multi-player game right here on CommodoreServer.  The demo worked great as it was broadcast to the audience.  People got to ask questions about it and provide ideas for the online version.

Screencasting a demo in VICE
Screencast session in Vice v2.4 - The screencaster is demoing a program on the top left and the other five are viewing in real time.

I am excited about the screencasting feature and will use it whenever I can.  Expect to see some live screencasts at various events, including our monthly online PDXCUG meetings, CommVEx and ECCC, to name a few.  Screencasting is here to stay and will provide a useful tool for anyone.

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core 7/7/2014

awesome. nice work.