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SillyZone Lightshows

One of the really, really unique things you might have seen on the SillyZone is the Lightshows. Technically, these were made possible by the AVC DLL mod that I created for TFC.

So what is a lightshow anyway?

Normally, when people join a Half-Life multiplayer game server, they expect to play a game, to kill the opponents, to capture the flag, etc. Not true on The SillyZone, at least not when lightshows were going on.

Viewers would have to download one or more additional .wav sound files, which contained the music to be used during the lightshow. In later years, live internet streams were also used. Upon joining the game, their point-of-view would shift away from the corporeal confines of the player's body, and would instead switch to a wide overhead camera. This camera was controlled by myself, by pressing buttons on the keyboard.

Once everyone was ready, the music would start. I controlled every aspect of the lightshow by hand, with a special keyboard configuration file. Every key on my keyboard was mapped to a specific effect, in a specific style or colour. The 100 or so keys on my keyboard turned out to not be enough, so I expanded by also using the buttons on my mouse and even bringing in my gamepad joystick, which added another 16 buttons.

The lightshows could last as long as 60 minutes, but on average lasted about 10-20 minutes, comprising of one or more songs. All manner of effects were used, from beams to glows to flashing and spinning to falling gift boxes. All players connected would see the show in stunning high resolution, in real-time, and precisely timed to match the music by hand.

I want to see!

Here are three videos of three different lightshows, done at around the same time, in December of 2001. These videos do not represent the highest technical mastery I achieved with the lightshows, but they are a happy alternative. I created these videos by taping the output of my computer with a VCR, so the quality leaves much to be desired.


Video 1 -- Music is PPK - Resurrection (Google Video if you prefer)

Video 2 -- Music is Mauro Picotto - Komodo (Google Video if you prefer)

Unfortunatly, the last video got cut off during the record, so it ends abruptly. But there's still over 5 minutes of lightshow goodness.

Video 3 -- Music is Dee Mark - Moonwalker (Google Video if you prefer)

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