If Geodesic has endeavoured to released a unique product for the Amiga, they have succeeded. The Amiga has always been strong in both video and audio. From the beginning many companies, Commodore included, have mated audio with video on the Amiga platform in the form of animation formats, games and multimedia authoring software. MindEYE seeks to instead mate video with audio. Through a combination of software and hardware, mindEYE creates moving images from sound.
MindEYE consists of a small piece of hardware which connects by a supplied cable to your Amiga's joystick port. This small box has, on its rear, the 9-pin port to connect to your Amiga and a 3.5mm stereo jack audio input to connect to your audio equipment's line out. This cable you have to supply yourself, or you can use the built-in microphone on the unit's front panel. Also in the front of the hardware are two knobs for adjusting the gain and threshold levels and two small LED's to show the bass and treble level of the audio input. The package comes with a comprehensive manual and will come with a tutorial video when it is completed.
Not much to say about installation. Plug the hardware into your joystick port, hook up your audio source to the audio input (if applicable), and copy the eyedir directory from the program disk to your hard drive (if running from the hard drive) or just start the program from the floppy. Then just start the Eye program and it is off and running. Setting up the hardware then just involves turning up the gain knob until the two LED's start flashing on the front of the unit. The software includes a scope to allow finer adjustments of the sensitivity of the hardware and software. This is important since the bass and treble levels are used to trigger program options called "visuals" to generate animated screens.
Once started, mindEYE greets you with a program that looks distinctly 1.3 but this is because it can run on a 1.3 to 3.x Amiga with OCS, ECS and AGA supported in the latest version of the software. This can put people off, but since this software is geared toward use live in clubs, concerts, and videos it is not a problem since in those settings the use of the extensive keyboard controls rather than a GUI is required. In fact, many options are only available via keyboard.
The program starts in "evolve" mode. That is, the program changes the options on its own, continually changing faders, visuals (the "sound responsive pattern generation scheme"), blankers, scrolling, background pictures (IFF), color cycling, and brushes (IFF). This allows the uninitiated to be treated to a continually changing display. To really use this software though, you have to learn how all of these elements go together and how to access them through the keyboard. To assist this, the manual has 5 tutorials to get you started. Built-in help facilities help show you how your keyboard input is changing the modifiers which affect the different screen elements, from blanking speed to scroll type. Since the user has control over the sensitivity of the hardware, the sensitivity of the software, the visual elements used, and the audio source, the animated screens that mindEYE can generate are infinite. MindEYE is even thoughtful to include the ability to freeze the screen with the space bar to allow any Amiga screen grabber program to save any you find interesting to disk. Below are some I got from my AGA A1200, two using pictures I took as backgrounds. One is my Amiga setup and the other is the inside of my Amiga 2000. Can you tell which is which? The third image is created entirely from mindEYE's visuals.
Though the learning curve is quite steep, this product does what it does well. It is nothing new to see an Amiga doing full screen, real-time animation, but to realize that the Amiga is creating the animation itself is nothing short of amazing. This system is capable of creating some stunning and active screens which move and change to the beat of the music or whatever other sound source you choose.
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTSAmiga, Floppy Drive (Required)
Accelerator, AGA Amiga, Hard Drive