Category Archives: ANSI experiments

Josh Renaud experiments with new ways to use ANSI art, such as parallax animation or tilesets.

The college basketball bracket … in ANSI

Title screen for “Bracket Browse,” an informational BBS door that lets you explore the NCAA tournament bracket.

Eleven years ago, when I worked as a designer of news and sports pages at a daily newspaper, I created a system to automate the production of our college basketball brackets in print. One year prior, data journalist Aaron Bycoffe pointed out on Twitter that NCAA.com was using a nice, clean JSON feed to power its basketball bracket.

I resolved to write a script that could parse the feed, and output the content we needed for our bracket as InDesign tagged text. It took a lot of work to set up, but I succeeded. I remember that first Selection Sunday, breathing a sigh of relief that my code worked.

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Revisiting my ANSI tile map

A screenshot from my revised ANSI tile map, as it appears on my BBS, Guardian of Forever.

Nearly 10 years ago, my daughter Jadzia wanted me to make a game called “Jewel Mountain.” One of my early ANSI experiments for the game was to make an RPG-style tile map in ANSI.

When I started it years ago, my initial idea was to adapt 16×16 pixel-art tiles to sprites made of ANSI text, and implement the map in 132×60 mode, since it’s higher “resolution” and the characters are square rather than rectangular. I made a working version of this years ago and some of you probably saw it. But eventually I regretted those design choices: The 132×60 terminal mode isn’t commonly used by most folks; and the 16×16 sprite size was just too big.

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New ANSImation: Star Trek: The Trouble With The Rangifer Tarandus

In December, I created a new ANSI animation for the holidays called “Star Trek: The Trouble With The Rangifer Tarandus”, which was released in Blocktronics’ “Darker Image #2” artpack.

Here’s a video version of the ANSImation:

But (as always), the best way to view this is to use SyncTerm to connect to my BBS, Guardian of Forever, and watch it there.

So far, each of my ANSImations have been a way to try a new technique in ANSI, whether that’s parallax scrolling, perspective transforms, or whatever. This time was no exception.

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New ANSImation: Star Wars opening crawl

Screen shot of the later version of the opening crawl for “Star Wars.”

When Star Wars debuted in 1977, the first sequence audiences took in was the iconic opening crawl: a wall of yellow text rolling up the screen, shrinking toward a vanish point in the distance.

Screen capture of an opening crawl from a Flash Gordon serial.

This crawl was George Lucas’ homage to the old Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s (which inspired many other parts of Star Wars visual style). Since then, the crawl has become a common trope cribbed by TV shows, computer games, and others.

When I was thinking of ideas I might contribute to Blocktronics’ “Detention Block AA-23” Star Wars artpack, making an ANSI version of the crawl was one of my first thoughts.

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New parallax ANSImation: Millennium Falcon dodging asteroids

I want to push boundaries.

That’s what the original Star Wars films did. Industrial Light & Magic revolutionized special effects with novel new techniques for motion control and amazing model work.

When I work on ANSI projects now, I try to think about ways to do things in ANSI that weren’t possible in the 1990s because of low bandwidth or limited processing power.

How about parallax ANSImation? Well, I cooked up a new one for Blocktronics’ new artpack “Detention Block AA-23” (download). It features the Millennium Falcon dodging asteroids. Check it out:

Want to know how it came to be? Keep reading.

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Detention Block AA-23

Is today the 40th anniversary of the original release of “Star Wars”? Blocktronics is all over it.

The ANSI supergroup’s new artpack “Detention Block AA-23” landed today, and amazingly I contributed a few pieces!

The first is a new parallax ANSImation of the Millennium Falcon dodging asteroids, inspired by the scene from “The Empire Strikes Back.”

The second is an ANSI adaptation of Star Wars’ iconic opening crawl.

Finally I snuck in two 80×23 images from “Empire Strikes Back”: Luke and Vader’s saber battle, and Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

Anyway, this is the most ANSI I’ve ever contributed to an artpack. I hope you’ll check out the pack, because there is so much other can’t-miss, awesome work from Blocktronics’ rock stars.