Mail Archives: djgpp/1997/08/07/22:12:36

Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 6 Aug 1997 11:31:17 +0200
From: Jan Hubicka <hubicka AT horac DOT ta DOT jcu DOT cz>
To: djgpp-announce AT delorie DOT com
Subject: AA-lib - an ascii art GFX library
Mime-Version: 1.0

Why such library?

   I vote for simplicity. There are many problems of various kinds with
video cards, low frequency monitors, crashing graphical apps... AA-lib
IS the solution. It works on a terminal of any kind, it is fast and
portable, it gives to you standard API. It gives to your old hardware
more power!

Supports: dos (VGA + MDA), stdio, curses, slang, X11, gpm, linux-console

What does this software do then ?

   AA-lib is a low level gfx library just as many other libraries are.
The main difference is that AA-lib does not require graphics device. In
fact, there is no graphical output possible. AA-lib replaces those
old-fashioned output methods with powerful ascii-art renderer. Now my
linux boots with a nice penguin logo at secondary display (yes! Like
Win95 does:) AA-lib API is designed to be similar to other graphics
libraries. Learning a new API would be a piece of cake!

Where to find AA-lib

   Just join our mailing list: `aa AT horac DOT ta DOT jcu DOT cz'.

   All programs covered under AA-project can be obtained at

   Or just browse our homepage at `'. A ton of
examples of ascii-art generated by aalib, pointers to other AA-Project
resources etc.

How this all started

   Once upon a time we've (my friend Kamil and I) bought two old
Herculeses as secondary monitors. We didn't know for that time that our
Diamond Stealths 64 cards would become obsolete soon. The next day we
downloaded the logo of Linux Texas Users Group - nice silly penguin
looking like a cowboy! It was so exciting logo ... we decided that we
couldn't live without it and we wanted to see it at boot time as a logo
on our secondary monitors. There was a small problem - Hercules doesn't
support color graphics. So we decided to convert the penguin image to
ascii art using netpbm tools.

   The output was very ugly because the converting algorithm was
absolutly stupid.  During the night I designed a new convertor that
used a font bitmap to creat an aproximation table. The output wasn't
very good since the algorithm wasn't tuned so well. Many months this
small piece of code was waiting on my disc for the day "D". Meanwhile I
started a new project XaoS (a fractal zoomer) with my friend Thomas.
And then I got an idea: Ascii Art Mandelbrots!  I was really impressed
by the result! XaoS was faster, portable and looking much better than
ever before. I found a new way to go ...


                               dT8  8Tb
                              dT 8  8 Tb
                             dT  8  8  Tb
                           dT    8  8    Tb
                          dT     8  8     Tb
   Three goals of AA-Project:

  1. Port all important software (like Doom, Second Reality, X windows
     etc..) on AA-lib.

  2. Port AA-lib on all available platforms (mainly ZX-Spectrum and

  3. Force IBM to start manufacturing MDA cards again.

   AA-project was started by Jan Hubicka. In that times just a few
people knew about it. Then a new demo named BB has been relased to show
the power of AA-lib technology. Now the project is freely available and
anyone can help.

                   Have you browsed my www pages? Look at:
      Koules-the game for Svgalib,X11 and OS/2,  Xonix-the game for X11
      czech documentation for linux index, original 2D computer art and
              funny 100 years old photos and articles are there!

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