Notemaker demo II by Poison

Dec 17, 05:30 PM by SanderFocus

‘A time-based PETSCII animation’? I have problems finding a good brief description to this wonderful piece of art. Nonetheless, Radek ‘Poison’ Stypczynski, an experienced demoscener who’s found his path in a creative living for many years, still utilizes the C64 for projects like this one.
Demoscene insiders might know this particular way of (dis)playing a time-based letter is originally based on Super Writer by Sodan from 1986. (thanks to Rambones for pointing out). The tool basically records what you type and the end result is a fast rendition of the recording accompanied by some music. However, this tool was pretty much forgotten and not used by anyone for decades, and moreover – never in a creative way like Poison did.

Poison used it for animated illustrations made of ‘PETSCII’ (a color text-mode, using the available letters and specials characters as a graphical elements, basically the c64 brother of ascii with 16 colors). It’s a tedious and secure job, resembling a stage performance in a way, as it’s a one-take film. These kind of restrictions were solved in very creative ways of animating.
It combines a few unexpected techniques which are truly authentic to the c64. The aesthetics of Poison’s PETSCII art combined with fresh approach on the display tool he used, makes this work really special.

Poison was so kind to give some insight into the piece and its background.

[8bit today] The name suggests there’s at least one more ‘Notemaker-demo’ on the market, are you planning to publish more of these releases?

[poison] Yes, there’s a whole disk full of them which I have given a copy of to Frantic/Hack N’ Trade, you should contact him if you want to get hold of the rest of them. Right now I am not planning any further releases of notemaker demos but who knows what will happen the day I unpack my system from the boxes that has been keeping it for the last couple of years.

[8bit today] Can you tell us more about the process and time involved on creating this piece?

[poison] The notemaker stuff was made when I was a student at the academy of arts in Umeå, during the first winter there. I wanted to make my own releases made with various note-editors that where available in my old-school stash of discs. I prefer to make PETSCII graphics. The reason for this is that it’s much more fun to hammer the keyboard than it is to pixel with the joystick or draw with the mouse. I always enjoyed the kind of editors that record your cursor movements and the effects when you mistype something or just fool around with the cursor. The idea came up when I was thinking of ways to get my PETSCII graphics a suitable framing. I didn’t really have any coder to help me out with a slideshow so I thought I’d might as well make them myself in the form of notemaker demo. As a result I came to present the making of the picture itself.
I used to sit around in the studio and make associative drawings freehand listening to music and smoking and then leave the computer on overnight when I was home sleeping. In the morning I’d come back, stumble over it, see where I’d left off and continue from there. I’d do this for two, three days and then the memory would be full of recorded cursor movements. Forcing me to start over with a new note. I had quite a lot of fun doing this and it became like an addiction to get them finished in order to see them replayed. Three days of work in a couple of minutes…

[8bit today] You’re an artist and have an active creative life. What role does 8bit/c64 play in your life, is it a structural part?

[poison] Today the C64 is still playing a big part in what I do. I keep referring to the visual landscape of the C64 in my work by using similar pallette containing strong colours and sharp contrast. I also try to keep my work within a system that gives me some kind of limitations to work against. Lately I have been cutting masking-tape and using that as a way to simplify shapes and ofcourse to be able to play with the composition of the pictures. I still ask people if they are familiar with the C64 when they visit my studio or an exhibition in order to find mutual references. I haven’t really stopped doing C64 graphics, I just do it by hand nowadays…’

Some of his other works:
From his Trailblazer serie
Seperate work, from his Trailblazer serie.

Vietnamese language lessons Acrylics on canvas, 2005
‘Vietnamese language lessons’, Acrylics on canvas, 2005. From his Made in Vietnam serie.

Original file on csdb.
Commodore 64 emulator for PC or for MAC.

Poison demoscene profile
His website



I think you meant “time-lapse”, not “time-based” :)

Gargaj, 17.12.08  [link]

a real writer / TG 1541 is not the first. the first writer is super writer by Sodan.

rambones, 17.12.08  [link]

You should have seen the reaction of the people at the LCP party in Linköping when he entered the democompo with this monster letter. First they were like.. “wtf is this? this is just made in one of those 80’s lettermakers”, and then a minute later they were all screaming wildly and almost falling off the chairs in shock/ecstacy. According to me, Poison is the king of petscii graphics on c64 and ive been saying that for 15 years or so now. Some of his petscii graphics, especially from the 90’s, are just.. unimitable. Thanks for putting the spotlight on it Sander.

Jucke, 17.12.08  [link]

Absolutely brilliant!

(and this is a nice blog indeed)

Oxbow, 19.12.08  [link]

Awesome.. keep up the good work!

Jaffa, 20.12.08  [link]


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