Posts Tagged ‘ascii art’

ASCII PacMan (Pac-Man) for Linux and FreeBSD / Play online ASCII Pacman

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Reading Time: 2minutes
ASCII Pacman image

Since just few days ago it was the birthday of Pac-Man game (The abolute classic game among ’80s arcardes).
I decided to try to look if there is an ASCII Pacman available somewhere.
Luckily there are number of ASCII versions of the classic arcade PacMan for both Linux and FreeBSD, I thought,it doesn’t worth the time to check if ASCII Pacman is also available for Windows OS.
For all the ASCII game fans out there I’ve installed ASCII PacMan FreeBSD version on the Play Cool FreeBSD ASCII games free page From there you can play a number of cool ascii art games online via telnet, the reasons I took the time to add the ASCII Pacman to the list of possible games to play is that it’s a shame that the list misses one of the most notable games if not the most notable ever made.

For Linux I’ve found three version of ASCII Pacman:

1. The best looking one is probablyASCII Pacman Linux clone game available on
You can download ASCII Pac-Man 0.9.1 from here

I’ve included 2 files with instructions on installation and usage of the game. I saw that as a completely necessery since,the game controls of the elsely nice looking game are hard to get. To play the game you will need to use the game controls:
z,x – to move right and left and m,k for up and down .

2. A bit more ugly and less interactive is another version of ASCII PacMan called:
Pac-Man for Console or simply Console Pacman

This two compiled without any troubles on my Debian GNU/Linux squeeze/sid Linux .
Unfortunately the up-mentioned ascii version of pacman won’t work on FreeBSD

3. The ASCII Pacman that is running and compatible with FreeBSD is calledPacman ASCII and herein is it’s home page

PacMan ascii is a way less sophisticated, so don’t expect too much of it. Originally Pacman ASCII was a project by some French guy in with the main task to learn C++.
Anyways he did a good job, since his little ascii pacman game is compatible with FreeBSD as well.
You can download ASCII Pacman for FreeBSD here

I did some minor modifications to few of the ASCII Pacman .cpp files in order to change the default help and game language from French to English, since French would be cryptic to most of the non-french users.

Create ASCII Art Text banners in GNU / Linux console and terminal with figlet and toilet

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Reading Time: 4minutes

Create fun and colorful text ASCII art banner logos on Linux (figlet and toilet)

As an old school hobbyist, I'm a kind of ASCII art freak. Free Software is just great for this text / console maniacs like me, who spend their youth years in a DOS (Disk Opearting System) command prompt.
For long time, I'm researching the cool programs which has to do somehow with ASCII Art, in that relation I decided to write few ones of figlet and toilettwo nice programs capable of generating ASCII art text beautiful banners based on a typed in text string. Obviously toilet developer Sam Hocevar had a great sense of humor 🙂

To play with figlet and toilet install them, according to (rpm or deb based package manager on distro) with yum / apt-get.

yum -y install toilet figlet

apt-get --yes install toilet figlet

There are no native tool packages for Slackware, so Slackaware Linux users need to compile figlet from source code – available on figlet's home page

Once figlet and toilet are installed, here is few sample use cases;

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ figlet hello world!             

figlet ascii art banner hello world

hipo@noah:~/Desktop$ figlet -f script Merrcy Christmas

figlet merry christmas text in ascii art with script font linux

Plenty of figlet font examples are available on Figlet's website example section – very cool stuff btw 🙂 To take a quick look on all fonts available for toilet – ascii art banner creation. Type in your console tty or terminal; for i in $(dpkg -L toilet-fonts|grep -i /usr/share/figlet); do toilet -f $(echo $i|sed -e "s#.tlf##g" -e "s#/usr/share/figlet/##g") test; done

On below picture, I made a screenshot of my gnome terminal with most fonts installed by toilet-fonts (fonts package).

ascii art banner create generate program linux figlet toilet with fonts on debian linux screenshot pic - how to create ascii banners linux

There are about 150 fonts, most of which needs to be downloaded and installed manually. A quick search online led me to a fonts collection of 263 figlet ascii art fonts – you can download a mirror of the file here. To aid up toilet and  with those 263 extra fonts (on Debian) do; wget cd /usr/share/figlets unzip Note: you have to have installed unzip in advance, unzip is not in default install, so if you don't have it fetch it with; apt-get install --yes unzip toilet and figlet are partially compatible, between each other so most fonts should work okay on both.

figlet supports, also simple formatting of ASCII art banner, here is few examples with formatting; a.) format to center  

$ figlet -c bla bla

figlet centered ascii art text bla bla screenshot

b.) format to left

figlet ascii art banner left formatted text debian gnu linux

c. right formatting

figlet ascii art banner right formatted ascii art text debian linux generator

d. format to terminal width By default text that figlet generates is to suit for 80 rows terminals, normally on higher resolution in gnome-terminal and other Linux environments, terminals are not dimensioned 80×25, thus it is useful for longer sentences text to display text in accordance to terminal size;

figlet ascii art banner sentence phrase to terminal width banner debian gnu linux

The cool thing and advantage of toilet over figlet is toilet can print out ASCII art banners in colors – very very cool stuff; To quickly test all filters issue; for i in $(toilet -F list|awk '{ print $1 }'|grep -v Available|sed -e 's#"##g'); do toilet -F $i pC-fREAK; done Change text pC-fREAK with whatever you like;

> using toilet to create funny ascii-art banners linux pc-freak logo pictures

Very nice use of toilet or figlet, can be if it is placed to produce some nice message in ASCII banner on each user login. Other nice fun applications  is together with cowsay.

apt-cache show cowsay|grep -i description -A 5 Description: A configurable talking cow Cowsay (or cowthink) will turn text into happy ASCII cows, with speech (or thought) balloons. If you don't like cows, ASCII art is available to replace it with some other creatures (Tux, the BSD daemon, dragons, and a plethora of animals, from a turkey to an elephant in a snake).

In case interested in using cowsay on system logins, I suggest you check out my tiny cowrand script which uses cowsay and shows random cow ASCII art picture on each user login.

Also a good use if you're Christian is to combine, some nice Holy Scriptures  verse in text ascii with  some encouraging daily bible phrase from verse or fortune.

Apart from fun, common use of ASCII art slogans is in e-mail or blog comments ASCII art signatures, also they are certainly good for creating unusual (text) advertisements and even can be used to save printer ink:) cause text generated in ASCII art logo is not massive like most text fonts are 🙂 Last but not least  ASCII art banners are useful in generation of ASCII slogans as an art; after all ASCII art is one of innovative arts of 21st century 🙂

BB – A must see ASCII Art Audio / Video portable demo for Linux, FreeBSD, UNIX and DOS

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Reading Time: 5minutes

bb Audio Visual ASCII art Linux FreeBSD demonstration old school demo logo

I know and I have enjoyed BB – Portable Demo for already a decade.
I'm sure many newbies to the Free And Open Source (FOSS) realm don't know or heard of bb's existence as nowdays ASCII art is not so well known among youngsters. Hence this short post aims to raise some awareness of the existence of this already OLD but GOLD – awesome! text console / terminal demonstation BB 🙂

bb is pretty much in the spirit of Oldschool Assembly DOS demo scene dominating the geeks dome in the late 80's and yearly 90's.

Historically bb used to be one of the main stunning things one could show to a fellow GNU / Linux new comer.

For the year 2000, seeing all this awesome ASCII video demo running on free Operating System like GNU / Linux was a big think.
The fact that such an advanced ASCII art was distributed freely for an OS which used to exist since only (6 / 7 years) was really outstanding of its time.

BB text ascii art Linux demo entry screen characters matrix

I still remember how much I was amazed seeing a plain ascii video stream was possible only Linux. Moreover the minimal requirements of bb were quite low for its time – it worked on mostly all PCs one can find at the time.

BB's minimum requirements to work with no chops is just an old 486/66 DX2 CPU Mhz with few megas of memory (32MB of memory was more than enough to run it)

BB text sacii art Linux demo entry screen char matrix

A very unique feature of bb was it was the first Linux demo that succesfully run simultaneously playing on two monitor screens as one can read on the project website.
Unfortunately I didn't owned two monitors back in the day so never ever had the opportunity to see it running on two screens.
Anyhow I've seen it runnign somewhere on some of the Linux install fests visited some years ago…

The demo was developed by 4 man group ppl – the AA group the same digital artists are also the guys behind the AA Project.

AA Lib mascot logo :)

The main aim of AA-lib was to make possible (Doom, Second Reality, X windows) to run rendered in plain ASCII art text.

The project succeeded in a lot of his goals already as there is already existent such an ascii art ports of large games like QUAKE! Be sure to check this awesome project too AAquake ascii quake page is here
, as well as video and pictures could be viewed under a plain console Linux tty or in terminal (via SSH 🙂 )

Thanks to AA-Lib even text mode doom exists.

bb as well as aa-lib has ports for most modern Linux distros in that number one can easily get rpm or deb packages for most of distros.
On Slackware Linux you should compile it from source. Though compilation should be a straightfoward process, not that i tried it myself but I remember a close friend of mine (a great Slackware devotee) who was the one to show me the demo for a first time on his Slackware box.

1. Installing bb on Debian Linux

Debian Linux users like me are privileged as for already many years a Debian package of bb is maintaned thanks to Uwe Herman

Hence for anyone willing to enjoy bb install it by running:

debian:~# apt-get --yes install bb
ho@debian:~$ bb

If you're running a X server the aa-lib will immediately run with its X server compiled support:

Running BB Music Screesnhot

2. Installing BB demo on FreeBSD

On FreeBSD, bb demo has a port to install it run:

freebsd# cd /usr/ports/misc/bb freebsd# make install clean ...

Here is good time to say that even though in most of the machines, I've tested the demo I had on some of the hosts problems with sound due to buggy sound drivers.
As of time of writting hopefully on most machines there will be no troubles as most of the Linux sb drivers are better supported by ALSA.

Everyone interested in both Free Software and ASCII art knows well how big in significance is the AA-lib project for the historical development and attraction for new hackers to the Linux dome.
In that sense AAlib head developer Jan HubickaBy the way Jan Hubicka is also the author of another Linux tool called xaos. Xaos is a tool to deal with some kind of advanced higher mathematics stuff called fractals.

XAOS Screenshot Debian Squeeze Linux

Unfortunately I don't know a bit for fractal maths and what the purpose of the tool is but as you can see on the shot it looks nice running 🙂

Here are also, lot of the major BB parts in shots:

Running bb music screen screenshot Linux Debian 6 Squeeze

BB AScii fire Linux shot

bb demo ascii art fractals

BB demo ascii art back head and description of the dev

bb demo ascii zebra Linux screenshot

bb demo cannon gun shot

BB demo ring screenshot

BB demo spots Debian shot

BB developer head shot 2

BB developer profile shot

bb game ascii invaders demo

Linux extremist BB demo

BB demo zoomed text ascii art text

BB Demo thanks for watching screen

For those on MS-Windows OS platform, here is the demo 🙂

BB ASCII Demo standard size running in Linux (With sound)

Enjoy ! 🙂

AEWAN – a nice advanced GNU / Linux console ASCII art text editor

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Reading Time: 4minutes

I'm a guy fascinated by ASCII art, since the very early days I saw a piece of this awesome digital art.

As time passed and computers went to be used mostly  graphics resolution, ASCII art loose its huge popularity from the early DOS and BBS (internet primordial days).

However, this kind  of art is still higly valued by true computer geeks.
In that manner of thoughts, lately I'm researching widely on ASCII art tools and ASCII art open source tools available for Linux.
Last time I check what is available for 'ASCII job' was before 5 years time. Recently I decided to review once again and see if there are new software for doing ascii manipulations on Linux and this is how this article got born.

My attention was caught by aewan (ASCII-art Editor Without A Name), while searching for ASCII keyword description packages with:

apt-cache search ascii

Aewan project official website is on sourceforge check it out here

Here is the complete description of the Debian package:

hipo@noah:~$ apt-cache show aewan|grep -i description -A 5
Description: ASCII-art Editor Without A Name
aewan is an ASCII art editor with support for multiple layers that can be
edited individually, colors, rectangular copy and paste, and intelligent
horizontal and vertical flipping (converts '\' to '/', etc). It produces
both stand-alone art files and an easy-to-parse format for integration
into your terminal applications.

I installed it to give it a try:

noah:~# apt-get --yes install aewan
Selecting previously deselected package aewan.
(Reading database ... 388522 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking aewan (from .../aewan_1.0.01-3_amd64.deb) ...
Processing triggers for man-db ...
Setting up aewan (1.0.01-3) ...

aewan package provides three executable binaries:

noah:~# dpkg -L aewan|grep -i /bin/ /usr/bin/aecat

1. aewan binary is the ascii-art editor itself

2. aecat is utility to display an aewan documents (aewan format saved files)3. aemakeflictool to produce an animation from an aewan document

Next I ran it in plain console tty  to check how it is like:

hipo@noah:~$ aewan

Below are screenshots to give you an idea how powerful aewan ASCII art editor is:

AEWAN ASCII art editor entry information screen Debian GNU / Linux shot

Aewan immediate entry screen after start up

Aewan ASCII art editor Linux showing the major functionality of aewan on Debian GNU / Linux Squeeze

Aewan ASCII art editor – all of the supported tool functions

As you can see from the shot the editor is very feature rich. I was stunned to find out it even supports layers (in ASCII!!) (w0w!). 
It even has a Layers Manager (like GIMP) 🙂

To create my first ASCII art I used the:



This however didn't immediately show the prompt, where I can type  the ascii characters to draw my picture. In order to be able to draw inside the editor, its necessary to open at least one layer, through using the menu:

Add Layer (defaults)

then the interactive ASCII art editor appeared.

While an ASCII art is created with the editor you can select the color of the input characters by using Drawing Color menu seen in the above screenshot.

aewan drawing color choose color Linux shot

I've played few minutes and created a sample ascii art, just to test the color and editor "look & feel", my conclusions are the editor chars drawing is awesome.

Aewan ascii art produced on my Debian GNU / Linux host

All the commands available via menus are also accessible via a shortcut key combinations:

Aewan Linux Ascii art editor quick key shortcut commands

aewan controls are just great and definitely over-shadows every other text editor I used to draw an ASCII art so far.
Once saved the ASCII art, are by default saved in a plain gzipped ascii text. You can therefore simply zcat the the saves;
Don't expect zcat to show you the ascii as they're displayed in aewan, zcat-ing it will instead  display just the stored meta data; the meta data is interpreted and displayed properly only with aecat command.

aewan aecat displaying properly previously saved ascii art picture

I've checked online for rpm builds too and such are available, so installing on Fedora, CentOS, SuSE etc. is up to downloading the right distro / hardware architecture rpm package and running:

# rpm -ivh aewan*.rpm

On the official website, there are also instructions to compile from source, Slackware users and users of other distros which doesn't have a package build should compile manually with the usual:

$ tar -zxf aewan-1.0.01.tar.gz
$ cd aewan-1.0.01
$ ./configure
$ make
$ su -c "make install"

For those inrested to make animations with aemakeflic you need to first save a multiple layers of pictures. The idea of creating ASCII art video is pretty much like the old school way to make animation "draw every scene" and movie it. Once all different scene layers of the ASCII art animation are prepared one could use  aemakeflic to export all the ASCII layers as common video.

aemakeflic has the ability to export the ASCII animation in a runnable shell script to display the animation. The other way aemakeflic can be used is to produce a picture in kind of text format showing the video whether seen with  less cmd.
Making ASCII animation takes a lot of time and effort. Since i'm too lazy and I lack the time I haven't tested this functionality. Anyways I've seen some ascii videos on telnet  to remote hosts (some past time); therefore I guess they were made using aewan and later animated with aemakeflic.

I will close this post with a nice colorful ASCII art, made with aewan (picture is taken from the project page):

Aewan Flipping Selection Screenshot

Converting JPEG Images to ASCII Art text (picture) in Microsoft Windows (2000 / XP / Vista / 7)

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Reading Time: 4minutes

A friend of mine, just mentioned about a program ASCIIPic – capable of converting graphic images in JPEG to plain text ASCII in Microsoft Windows OSes.
Yesterday I blogged about caca-utils (img2txt) – console tool to convert picture graphics to plain text ASCII , so knowing of the Windows freeware ASCIIPic existence catched my attention and I decided to give it a try to get idea what is situation with Images to ASCII text convertion in Windows? 🙂.

1. Generating ASCII from JPEG images with ASCII Pic

As I don't have a Microsoft Windows OS at hand, I downloaded it and run it on my Debian notebook with WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator) MS-Windows emulator.

For my surprise the program run succesfuly its GUI interface and worked pretty smooth even emulated on Linux.

ASCII Pic 2.0 JPG PNG GIF to ASCII text MS Windows Convertor screenshot

As of time of writting, the latest version of the freeware program available is 2.0. You see in above screenshot the program is pretty intutive to use. You select an Input file, an Output file and you're ready to Process the image to TXT.
One small note to make here is the program couldn't recognize as Input files images in PNG or GIF formats, it seems the only image formats the program recognizes as input are JPEG and BMP.

ASCII Pic Windows image to ASCII program picture shot

The converted images to ASCII results are quite unsatisfactory, I tried converting few pictures originally in size 1024×768 but the produced ASCII was messy huge (the program didn't automatically set height / width dimensions to 60×80 and therefore, when I revied the produced pictures, they were very ugly and hardly readable. It could be the same image looks better if reviewed in MS-Windows Notepad but I seriously doubt that …

I thought some improvement to the produced ASCII image might be possible from the app options so I played around with the Zoom, Negation, Brightness and Monochrome options, none of them had a drastic change on the output. Using any of the program options didn't make the output TXT "image" to look closer riginal JPEGs..

ASCII Pic 2.0 Windows picture to ASCII Program options screenshot

ASCII Pic official website contains a number of other tiny tools, like WinKill and RemoteShut, however most of the tools are already too obslete and useless just like ASCII Pic

If I have to compare ASCIIPic produced ASCII Images to libcaca's Linux img2txt, asciipic's ASCII images are a piece of crap.

2. jp2a command line tool image to ASCII generator

As of time of writting a good alternative program I found for Windows is jp2a
jp2a is a free GPL-ed software available for all major operating system architectures Linux, BSD, Mac OS X, Windows.
jp2a is a command line tool and lacks any GUI interface but if compared to ASCII Pic the output ASCII image is awesome.

jp2a Windows binary can be downloaded from here , also I've made a mirror of windows jp2a bin in case if it disappears here

3. ASCII Generator 2 (asc2gen) – Windows GUI Images to ASCII generator

ASC 2 Gen is actually the best I can find program to convert images to ascii in Win as of time of writting.
Just like img2txt it generates pretty decent looking text images.

ASC2Gen failed to run emulated on my Linux host with wine version 1.0.1, hence to test it I used a a Windows host via teamviewer.

Below are few screenshots illustrating most of the options ASCII2GEN provides:

asc2gen Microsoft Windows image to ascii generator inverted penguins screenshot

asc2gen penguins in inverted color set (black color text background)

ASC2Gen backhead penguins ascii picture screenshot

ASC2GEN flipped backhed generated image to ASCII

ascii2gen generate images to ascii in colors Microsoft Windows shot

Picture to ASCII text converted with ASCII colors

Dithering Windows image to ascii text generated picture ASCII

ascii2gen dithering level option shot

asc2gen jpeg, png, gif to plain text ascii brightness contrast screenshot pic

asc2gen contrast / brigthness atune shot

ascii2gen penguins converted images to plain text inverted with capital letters for picture

asc2gen save as options shot

Something else nice is it supports a lot of image file formats as input including (BMP and GIF) images.
I've also made a mirror of asc2gen v. 2.0.0 here

While researching online, I found plenty of other Image to ASCII geneartors, however as I didn't tested them I can't say if they are  better ones.
Anyways I will be happy to hear if anyone knows other good ASCII generator alternative progs for Winblows?

Watch Star Wars in Ascii via a telnet connection! :)

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Reading Time: < 1minute
By accident, I’ve come across! You might be wondering what is so special with it? 😉 Well some crazy guy seems to have recreated a whole Star Wars movie in ascii art!!! 😉

To kill some time and enjoy some great ascii telnet to with a telnet client (movie shows great also even using a regular Windows telnet client).

As I’m a great ascii fan I enjoy a lot, hope more people will take the time to watch the re-created Star Wars Movie in ASCII !. I’m eager to see if someone knows of any similar kind of movies, demos or all kind of stuff streamed via telnet 🙂

To give you an idea on what you will see by telnetting to, here is a short chop video: