I added a significant amount of content to my ASCII Art Academy page on my site. I answered there in short what things are. I explain all this stuff in detail in various articles, but I think it is good to have a short and straight forward version on the main Academy home page as well.
Here are some examples:
What is ASCII Art?
ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange and is a text format standard for computers. ASCII art is text art that was created on computers who use this ASCII standard. The text art created on the IBM PC, which use text characters beyond the ASCII standard are also called ASCII, even though it is technically incorrect. The IBM PC become the most widely used computer in the world and people called things ASCII, even if they were not. There is no sense to debate about it, because it won’t change what already happened.
What is 7-Bit ASCII?
The difference between 7-bit and 8-bit ASCII is pretty simple, assuming that you have a keyboard with the latin alphabet. 7-bit only uses characters that you can find on the keyboard. 8-bit uses additional characters that you cannot find on your keyboard, but which exist in “text mode” of the old MS DOS operating system. MS DOS hat 256 characters for text mode. Some of them are control characters and not visible, such as Carriage Return, Line Feed (Line Break), the Tab character or the Escape character. The standard US-ASCII characters are the first 128 characters of the character set, where 97 of them are usable for text and ASCII art.
What is 8-Bit ASCII?
8-bit ASCII art uses primarily characters after the 128 characters of the US-ASCII character set. You cannot find those characters on your keyboard and could only generate them via programming code, special editors (like TheDraw or ACiDDraw) or by pressing the ALT-Key and then type the character code (a number between 128 and 255) on your numeric keypad, while keeping the ALT-Key pressed. Those upper or “higher” characters are suitable for basic graphical elements, such as box borders, corners. Those characters are unique to the IBM PC and MS DOS and are not compatible with other operating systems, such as UNIX, Linux or MAC OS, which might also have an extended character set beyond the 7-bit ASCII standard, for which no standards exist..
What is ANSI?
In 1979, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) passed X3.64-1979 “Additional Controls for Use with the American National Standard Code for Information Interchange”. This standard defines a set of control sequences to manipulate the appearance of the text on the screen of computer terminals, to Bolden text, making it italic or blinking and to add some colors to your text. Microsoft added this standard to their MS-DOS operating system in a device driver called “ANSI.SYS”, which people started simply to refer to as “ANSI”. There are 16 pre-defined foreground colors, where 8 of them could also be used as background color.
The use of ANSI control sequences (called Escape sequences, because they all started with the ESC character) required special editing software, because unlike the 8-Bit upper characters, is there no easy way to generate those sequences by hand. In order for MS DOS to process and interpret those control sequences properly, a special driver had to be loaded, which came with the MS DOS operating system by default. The file for this driver was named “ANSI.SYS“. This is where ANSI got his name from, which is sometimes confusing, because ANSI also stands for the American National Standards Institute, the organization who defined the US-ASCII standard.
I also added examples of the character sets 7-bit and 8-bit and the ANSI color schema. I also added a grid with the mapping of ANSI colors to HTML colors and their ESC sequence code.
New ANSI Tutorial
Another goodie that I finally added was a good and detailed ANSI tutorial by the artist Zerovision of the young ANSI art group called “Blocktronics“. It uses the example of a picture that shows the movie character “Chucky” and how he re-created the picture in ANSI. It explains shading techniques and more in detail, why ZV decided to do this versus something else, etc. Very useful for beginners.
It is funny, but I joined as of today a new computer group. Something that I didn’t do for the past 10 years or so. I thought I am too old for this stuff, but then, it is a revival of an very old group by a bunch of very old guys like me (in terms of Scene life). The group is called “Canadan Pirates Inc.” or CPI. A group with roots in Canada (duh) and some cracker scene history. The revived group does not do any cracking and warez anymore though. It will focus on Music, Intros, Demos and also scene history preservation, something that I already do for a few years now.
I chatted today on Facebook with Rod aka MadMax, co-founder of CPI and he asked me, if I would join. I was in touch with Rod for a while already and also had multiple lengthy phone calls about verious things, mostly whining about the lost past hehe. I said yes, so here I am… new member of CPI.
Well, that’s some news…. I hope you will like the new content. I am out of here now.
Carsten aka Roy/SAC (and CPI)