Laser show software evolution pt.1

If you expect some laser show software comparison here, I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed. This article is about laser software evolution.

It’s because it’s really subjective what kind of software you like. For example, someone likes many features with many options while doing live shows while other clients like simplicity more. My goal here is to give you some points, why we’ve developed our Moncha and Fiesta products as they are now. And you can check if our software philosophy is the one you like to start using them.

Laser Drawer

I’ve stared my laser show life using so-called LSD software. The acronym stands for Laser Drawer although it was developed in times when this narcotic was used a lot (well, 90’s…). It was developed for DOS operating system (for younger guys, you can check MS-DOS to find out what’s that) and it was able to use only 640kB of memory (should be enough for everybody).

Live Mode

What I always liked about the software was the live mode. The workspace was divided in the banks and each bank used about 40 laser show scenes. Generally, you were not able to create music synchronized shows here (no timeline). My colleague Marian has used it to do music synchronized shows for our former prime minister. The synchronization was actually a big clock on his table and he has got one paper with the list of scenes and times, when to trigger them. Well it must have been really romantic.

Laser projector or just LSP

The follower of the LSD software was LSP and it was basically the same product. The only difference was the operating system – LSP was running on Windows (and we’ve developed probably the world first USB device for it).

Anyway, the positive thing about the software was the organization of the workspace. I think it’s just logical to have the workspace separated into banks and scenes and you can trigger them using your keyboard (or later Midi). Also the side panel with live settings is great to immediately change size, position or any other important drawing setting. I’m not sure if we were the first one to use this organization system, but that’s the right way to go.

And the beat stop

Another thing I’ve used a lot in LSD is the immediate scan rate change (switch between 100 and 30%). It is a detail, but it’s so great for music sequences, when the beat suddenly stops. And it’s available till now in Fiesta using (tilde) button. The history of this function is actually nothing to be proud of. The key was used to turn on the laser preview on your screen and since the computers were not so powerful, it was lowering the scan rate of the output too :). I suppose, lot of good ideas are based on inability to do things right :)…