Yearly Archives: 2005


Download the Beta Preview Now

I’ve been messing about fixing little things and putting off releasing it for days now, and I could go on like that for ever. So I’ve decided just to go for it:
(REMOVED – newer version released)

A Sourceforge account is set up and I’ll be uploading there for future versions, but at the moment the source code isn’t quite ready to be released so I’m hosting the file here so as to not break their conditions.

No installer, no text files, just one executable to unzip and run. You need the .NET framework installed so if you don’t have it download it from the Windows Update page at Microsoft (it’s only been tested on v1.1). So, start it up, load an image, click on the text tab, maybe maximise the form, adjust the sliders a little then “File/Save as an Image…” and you’re done.

Remember: This isn’t an update of the old Ascii Generator, it’s a whole new program that looks and works differently. Many of the old features haven’t been carried over yet, and some of the more unnecessary ones will not be added. The main thing missing is the automatic ASCII ramp optimisation for the current font – at the moment it’s making do with a rough version of a ramp for Lucidia Console, which is why other fonts look a little off.

Reasons to use this over the old program:

    Text brightness, text contrast, and other effects can be altered on the Text tab in real-time. No more going back and forth clicking ‘Edit’ and trying different settings.
    The output can be resized and saved as an image automatically.

Leave comments/bugs/etc here or at the Sourceforge page.


Be ready

http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/downloads/framework1_1/

All Users: Check to See If You Have the .NET Framework Installed

You can check to see if you already have the .NET Framework 1.1 installed by clicking Start on your Windows desktop, selecting Control Panel, and then double-clicking the Add or Remove Programs icon. When that window appears, scroll through the list of applications. If you see Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 listed, the latest version is already installed and you do not need to install it again.

Note: Non-developers need to install the .NET Framework 1.1 to run applications developed using the .NET Framework 1.1.

In most cases, the creator of an application will alert you if you need to install the .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable to run the application.

:siren: You need to install the .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable to run the application. :siren:

However, with the number of .NET Framework-connected applications on the market growing rapidly, we encourage you to install the latest version of the .NET Framework 1.1 Redistributable if you haven’t already.

General Users: Install Through Windows Update

If you only want to run applications built using the .NET Framework 1.1, download the .NET Framework 1.1 from Microsoft Windows Update.


Update

You know how on the old site the example output for the program were all resized and processed in another program? Well, I’ll never have to do that again. Here’s some more samples, once again actual untouched output but this time the output image has first been resized to 75% by the program. Click:

I need to work out a nice interface to do it (possibly on a new dialog?), but it didn’t take much code and worked far better then I hoped.


Update

  • Calculating accurate width and height for a font – done*
  • Save as an image – basic saving done (will eventually be able output a resized image in the program)
  • Register sourceforge project – done

* - In C++Builder I just needed to call a function, literally one line of code. In dotNET after several days of experimenting, I eventually managed it by wrapping several API functions. Sometimes I wonder why I switched.


Updating

Moved the Stretch/Sharpen/Unsharp mask options onto the tab with the output text and – get this – it now works in real time. I.e. uncheck the Sharpen option, and you’ll instantly see the output image without sharpening applied. It’s pretty sexy.

Also, playing around with the unsharp mask and blurring multiple times seems to improve the output a lot. I’m still trying to work out just how many times is best (maybe have that as an option…?)


Update

The problem with the new conversion code has been fixed and the output is looking very nice. If I could have found it before spending several days porting the original code it would have been even better.

Finished the code to apply 3×3 convolution matrices to the output image, and replaced the old sharpening code with a matrix. Eventually the user will be able to enter a custom matrix to be used (i.e. for blurring/alternate sharpening/edge detection/mean removal etc). I’ve also got an unsharpening mask working, but it’s a little disappointing (2xoriginal – blurred, right?).

Aside from that, there’s lots of little things done that are hardly worth mentioning (drag drop image onto the form/executable, resizeable form so you can go full screen or use it in 800×600 mode, validation…)


Update

Finally got .NET working properly again, but I’ve been a little distracted setting myself up a Linux server on a spare computer. I had a quick go at running ASCGEN using Mono, and I think that I’ll be able to get it working after a couple of more days banging my head against the monitor. Fingers crossed, and we’ll cross platform support right from the start.

Anyway, program-wise I’ve changed the GUI layout (again), and I’m getting to the stage where I’m more or less happy with the design.