Yuliya Parshina-Kottas is a recent graduate of ITP, NYU. After a decade of working as an animator and designer for children's television, advertising, and multimedia museum exhibits, she is venturing bravely into the world of user experience, interaction design, and creative coding. See more of her work at www.parshina.com
The final step was to add accessibility preferences to the algorithm. I converted the collected light, crowd, and noise data into a 0-2 (low, medium, high) score and added it to the main JSON data file by assigning the numbers to the MapMaker app graph nodes. In the Wayfinder prototype, simple drop-down menus allow users to define their ideal navigational environment.
Working on the Accessible Wayfinding project was a wonderful introduction to the world of computer science, which I am now eager to explore and conquer. I walked away with a better understanding of, and immense admiration for, the creative process involved in designing an algorithm. Through conversations with various members of the Met staff, I learned a lot about the issues of wayfinding and accessibility in a world-class museum like the Met. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be immersed in a topic of great personal meaning, and develop it from a concept to a functional prototype.
I can't wait to see this project evolve in the hands of the next generation of interns and volunteers. I hope my work will serve as fertile ground for many conversations, experimentations, and innovations to take root.
fix the term "Image Instructions" - Image-based instructions, maybe.
Well, this is how I went about doing it. Cory Arcangel shared his process , inviting others to build what he built and learn from it. In that spirit I'd like to share, in detail, my experience translating his imageinstructionsto a final piece. If all goes well, you will have one of these:
Cory's instructions for creating SMC are pretty good if you have an idea of all the tools. Read them first to get a handle on what exactly you will be doing. I will try and fill in details I learned along the way.
explanation, links. (oh, I see you explain some of this stuff later, so that's probably fine.)
If you are in NYC and don't mind paying twice the going price, 8-bit and up and and Video Games NY both sell NES systems and cartridges. I wanted to start right away, but would have to wait anyway for the EPROM programmer and chips, so I opted to grab all my materials off of eBay.I bought every copy of Super Mario Bros I could find under $10, along with all the other hardware in the materials list.
I would just say you ordered your materials from e-bay, without the other details in that sentence.
Getting the NES and Super Mario cartridges was easy.The harder part was figuring out just what tools would work best today. Clouds was made over 10 years ago - Windows XP was the OS of choice, and many desktop computers and even laptops came with serial ports. It took a lot of digging but a bunch of awesome folks on the NESDev and NintendoAge forums were able to show me what programmers would work for replacing the chip in SMB. I settled on the GQ-4x programmer, as it was USB and still supported by the manufacturer. If you get this working with a different programmer please let me know (comment or via @jedahan) and i'll update this post.
So the last three things needed were EPROM (Eraseable Programmable Read-Only Memory) chips of the right size and voltage to replace in the SMB cartridges, sockets to replace chips when mistakes were made, and a UV eraser for the
When I read SMB, it sounds like a technical term, I don't think "Super Mario Brothers," because of all the other jargon.
same reason.All could be found on eBay. These chips are kind of fascinatingly simple. When the 27c256 (28-pin, 256kb memory) chips arrived, they all had a window and you could see the strands of (silicon?).
I was super excited to see, in a world of black boxes, the actual memory and how to erase it. It highlighted just how much more accessible computer technology used to be.
The way these old chips work is that you write data through the pins on the bottom, and to erase an EPROM literally blast the memory with tons of UV light.
In these old chips, data is written through the bottom pins . To erase an EPROM , you must blast the memory with tons of UV light.
So there are a lot of cheap chip tanning beds that have nice timers and drawers so that you don't accidentally get sunburned erasing chips.
There are a lot of cheap chip tanning beds with nice timers and drawers, to avoid getting your erasing chips "sunburned".
As far as sockets go, make sure to go with half-height sockets.They are more expensive but necessary if you want to fit this in any slot-loading NES, and stay as true to the original piece as possible.
Setting up the software
The GQ-4x software only runs on Windows, so make sure you have a machine with Windows. If you are on OSX or Linux, you can use Virtualbox to run Windows XP. I documented how to get Virtualbox and Windows working with the gq-4x on my personal blog.
I wasn't quite sure which file to burn on the chip, but that's why I got a UV eraser and lots of spare EPROM chips. It was time to make some mistakes learn new things!
I like the crossed-out "make more mistakes"!
Open up the GQ-4x burning software and load the .hex file. If the chip verification passes, we are ready to modify the cartridge.
Hacking the Cartridge
Disassemble the cartridge. There should be 2 large chips, 1 small chip, and a resistor. The small chip is a 10GEN lockout chip, which is needed to run any game on an official NES. The two large chips are the actual game, and should be labeled CHR and PRG. CHR is the character data. It contains all the sprites that are used to draw Mario, Goombas, and what we are after — the clouds. (More trivia: The clouds and the bushes use the same sprite, just a different color. Memory was super limited in those days, so artists had to be thrifty with their pixels). The PRG chip houses all the code —from when to play sounds effects to how high Mario jumps. This is what Cory had re-written and we programmed onto a chip.
So now that we know the layout of the land, it's time to dive right in. Desolder the PRG chip. A desoldering iron is super helpful here. Just be patient and hold back if you see burn marks or black smoke. We do not want to have the tracings peel off the board, or our new chip won't connect properly.
Pop in the cartridge and, fingers crossed, you too can enter a Zen-like state, watching clouds pass by.
(If it doesn't work, don't worry! Try erasing the chip in the UV eraser for 5 minutes and burning a different file from the zip archive. Make sure your solder joints look good! Tweet @jedahanor @metmedialabor comment here if you have trouble and we will help!)
Remaking the art
OK so we have a working cartridge, but we ain't done yet. We gotta open up a hole in the top of the case to fit the new socket + PRG combo, and cover the window so that the sun or other light doesn't erase the chip! Cory did this with a piece of masking tape, and if you are trying to be as original as possible do the same!
pic of original and your copy
Copying Super Mario Clouds was interesting - while modifying the cartridge I found myself trying to make the cuts look close the original. It was fun to try and emulate Cory's writing style on the label which looked more like CLOUDP than CLOUDS. It got me thinking about where the art lives - is it the projection, or the cartridge, the code, the concept or somewhere else? In the gallery the cartridge itself was hidden from view but for some reason I wanted my copy to be indistinguishable from the original.
So Cory had come to the met for a completely unrelated event a few weeks ago, and I got to chat shop a bit with him about the project. It turns out, the original piece had a bug, and the version we downloaded from Cory's site has the bug fixed. So the edition (of 5) that is on tour actually has the wrong sprite in it. If you want to really be indistinguishable, make sure to use the old code! One of the lovely, unique features of code is that it is a living medium.
So I have three questions for you, dear reader, and would greatly appreciate answers to any of them:
What did you learn today?
What needs clarification?
What piece of art/code would you like us to re-create next?
Don UPlease follow up with us in the comments section below!
IMax started a lab which acts as an incubator / investor / brainstorming space for using the IMax technology in innovative ways. Among other things, they are looking for interesting partners to make cool stuff with. I wonder what crazy project could come of this.