Why GavinGraham.com exists

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About me

 

Gavin Graham (2017)
Gavin Graham (2017)

If you’ve landed here then you probably know something about me already. If you’ve come here by chance and don’t know then I suggest you Google “Hamster Weken”. That search won’t tell you much (read: nothing) about me but you will get to see some cute crazy Dutch hamsters from their Albert Heijn Ads.

Let me introduce myself – I’m one of seven billion people on this planet.

I’m in my mid-40’s, Australian, an  IT Professional. I worry and act the fool in equal quantities. I find the humour in the surreal & outlandish. In what seems to be an oxymoron, I’m not a bit fan of people in general. My way describing this is that I hate all humans but at the same time I am enamoured by humanity.

To be a little serious for a moment. The past decade of my life has been rather draining on me emotionally and I have been shackled to depression for all that time. It started as an early mid-life crisis that somehow became the new normal for me. Finally I am starting to turn that around. I’ve finally admitted to needing help with depression and have gone to see a doctor and start medication. I urge you, if you aren’t in a good place yourself then don’t let it go as long as I have. The medication and advice has started to turn me around and could for you too. Please see Beyond Blue if you are an Australian and want to reach out. Please go and have a look at the services availed to you in your country – do yourself a favour for once!

My mid-life crisis (like most, I suppose) is about reclaiming me and my identity from my younger days. Over the years I became lost in who I am and what I do.

 


About this site

Gavin (Gazza) & Jim (Deviet) when we were demo coders.
Gavin (Gazza) & Jim (Deviet) when we were demo coders.

Firstly, it’s about my music both past and present. I’ve had a bit of a revival of my musical “talent” and I thought there was no better way to apply that to the tunes I remember most. There’s more background information and what motivated me to go back to music that can be found here.

I’ve released the efforts of my “Summer of Code” project last year. This project is where now around twenty-two years later, I’ve decided to bust out my old assembly language programming skills and rewrite my music driver  (“sequencer” for those who aren’t in the know) to make an ‘ultimately flexible’ player capable of tricks that I could of only dreamed of all those years ago had I not been so heavily invested in the one I has already written.

There is some odd old computer history floating around that doesn’t have much information on-line as I would like. This is generally true about (for me at least) for old 8-bit computers that were specifically branded for Australia after being imported by some obtuse manufacturer. This is my attempt at preserving some history by adding or collating some historical information.

Lastly, between albums, I have a project of remaking an old Commodore 64 computer game. I started my career as a bedroom coder and I thought it would be good to complete a game. I tried as a kid but never got one to completion. Sure I released demos and music but a complete game alluded me. Programming games back then was a ‘summer of code’ exercise and generally stopped when school went back in. Now, meshing with work and my life is proving to be equally as challenging. I am determined, though. Even if it takes me all year!

Back to the days of yore.

Of all the things I’ve forgotten, I can still write 6502 assembly code. My demo coding days are gone now but I remember them fondly. My site is a tribute to those times when geeks and computers were just considered “weird” to most people.

Nowadays, people wear nerd & geek as badges of honour. Us computer geeks from the 80’s were the turning point for this acceptance. Sure there are other types of geeks (like researchers & scientists) but they weren’t as accessible to the average person –  while not everyone could own their own lab, anyone could own their own computer. People are able to relate more to a computer geek.


Demoscener Profile

Gavindi

Factor-IV

Warriors of Time (adjunct member)

Summary

Then: Coder, hacker by day. Maestro by night – Computer Technician by trade.
Now: Senior IT Operations & Project Manager (ex. UQ); Technology Consultant,
Musician & Independent Games Developer (hobbyist)
Websites: gavingraham.com, graham.ws, spindaball.com, soundcloud.com/gavindi, github.com/gavindi

Background

  • First line of code written was in Atari VCS Basic back circa ‘79-80
  • Wrote simple programs on the TRS-80, Sinclair ZX81 & ZX Spectrum, Dick Smith Wizzard, Apple II, Commodore VIC-20, 64 & Amiga.
  • Entrenched in assembly programming on the Commodore 64 & Amiga.
  • Wrote in turbo pascal a music driver (my 4th iteration) music driver for the original Adlib soundcard on the PC.
  • Along with another local Demoscener, went on a phreaking spree to call other demogroup members internationally.
  • Wrote a time & billing application for tradespeople on the Amiga which I had several field deployed installations & customers.
  • Wrote my final C64 sound driver in 2013 that allowed to complete wavetable-style parameterisation of sounds and supported Dual-SID (6 channel) configurations. This driver had its own bytecode interpreter for both pattern & instrument control complete with looping and conditional branching.

Demoscene Contributions

  • There is some misconception that I was a member of the Warriors of Time. Although I contributed and worked very closely with them and particular association with The Deviet/WoT, I was not a member of their group.
  • Joined a band of NZ, US & AU Demosceners to form Factor-IV  in the Amiga years. We have some output available on the (Amiga Resource list here)
  • Wrote my own sound driver for the C64 and a more advanced one for the Amiga that could even emulate C64 & FM sound synthesis. Approximately 1/10th of my music is listed on AmigaMod & HSVC. The rest, I suspect are now dust however there was a recent recovery of an Amiga Intro demo & music so not all hope is lost.
  • Provided music & coding for several intro/crackscreen/gameloaders.
  • Developed a floating-point math library on both the C64 & Amiga which was used to render mandelbrot’s, 3D Objects & FM Sound Synthesis.
  • Entered discussions with Charles Deenan of Maniacs of Noise (probably still have some correspondence in a box somewhere) where he requested I send a few demo of my C64 music since MoN were considering onboarding extra musicians. Did not pursue for various reasons at the time.
  • Developed a Y-Buffer sprite multiplexor that allowed for a dynamic positioning and sprite quantities. This technique was used in a combined WoT demo and various games/other demos
  • Developed a prototype multiplexor that allowed nine horizontal sprites. However this was barely usable at the time of switching from the C64 to the Amiga.
  • Developed a two-channel sampler player that also allowed for to two SID channels.
  • Released several demos for Factor-4 on the Amiga. Notably, “Paraphernalia-II” was entered at an Australian Demoscene Competition circa 1990. Other smaller demos and intros were made, only some have survived.




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