VLM Hacker's Guide

The Code:

press 1+3+*+0 while there are no menus on the screen. This brings up the trigger editor. From here, press up, down repeatedly until a new menu appears. This will get you into the sub-effect editor.

The basic idea.

The VLM can be a complicated thing if you don't grasp what's going on within it.

The main thing you should learn first is the waveforms. Experiment with waveforms by adding them to effects of your choice. Once you know your waveforms, you should go ahead with the triggers. What am I talking about? I'll explain.


You set waveforms onto effects to control the way they move. If I'm editing something, and I want the main object to move around the screen, then I'll attach a waveform onto that effect (probably destination position X, Y, in the objects source function menu) via the "*" button. Once you've pressed a number, you can adjust the amplitude of the waveform by pressing left and right on the D-pad. You won't see any meter or anything, but it does work. If I want something to rotate, but I don't want it to spin furiously, I'll set a wavefrom on the rotate effect and then press left until it spins at just the right amount.

The way you tell how a wavefrom will make your object move is simple. Select the sub-effect that you want to work on (such as ring of pixels, polygon object..etc.), and then select "Source Waves". There you will see a blue box that shows the waveform that your arrow is pointing to. In this box, the waveform moves from right to left. The left side of the box is where the waveform is "read". The left side of the box reads the wave's present position. So if I add a subtle waveform with minor rises and drops, then the effect that is connected to that waveform will have more subtle movements than ones with rapid changes.

When in the wave editor, you can alter the current wave by pressing left and right on the joypad to move the wave around, or "A" and "C" to decide the amplitude of the wave. Use high amplitudes for things that you want to change rapidly, such as color changes. Use the slower ones for the ones you want to move at a slower pace.

Here's a list of the different waveforms that you can select:

Button # 1: Sine Wave
A roller coaster-like wave. It produces smooth transitions from one direction to another.

Button # 2: Sawtooth Wave
This wave goes up and down like the Sine Wave, but doesn't have smooth transitions from one direction to another. When it reaches it's highest point, it immediately starts down.

Button # 3: Square Wave
If you want an effect to go one extreme to the other, than this is the wave for it. It may appear jerky on certain effects because there is no in-between, only highs and lows.

Button # 4: Ramp Wave
This wave start at the bottom, goes to the top, and starts over. There is no ride down for the wave, just a continuous upward motion.

Button # 5: Rectified Sine Wave
This is a mixture of a Sine Wave and a Sawtooth Wave. There is a smooth transition from up-to-down, but an immediate transition from down-to-up.

Button # 6: Noise Wave
Noise is basically a scrambled up waveform. When the wave is read in the box, the effect will jump around because the dots aren't in order like the other waves.

Button # 7: Constant
Use this to make the current waveform stop moving from left to right. If you want an effect that occurs only on a trigger, then you must learn how to use constant waveforms (Sine waves most of the time).

Button # 8: User Control Y
This wave allows the effect to be controlled with the up and down directions on the joypad.

Button # 9: User control X
Used for controlling the effect with left and right.


Triggers control when a waveform is used by an effect. In the attach waveforms box (via the "*" button in the desired effect), the bottom row of numbers is for the triggers, while the top is for the waveforms. To connect a waveform to a trigger, press "#", the trigger (number) of your choice, and then "#". You'll know when your trigger is set when your number is highlighted. This is a bit buggy, but you get the idea.

You can edit triggers 1 through 5 in the edit triggers menu (when you put in the first code). These are easily editable. To set the trigger width, use the up and down directions to define the span of your trigger. Move your red area by using right and left. If you want a trigger to respond to the highs, move this to the right of the spectrum. Lows are on the left end. To edit the minimum level of the trigger, just move the red line up or down. If you only want your trigger to respond to big highs, set it on the right side of the spectrum, and up a ways from the bottom. If you want your trigger to respond often, then set it near the bottom.

Trigger numbers 6-8 are not editable because they are buttons C,B, and A on the Jaguar controller.

How To Do's:

Get softer music to show up better on the VLM:

Enter the Edit Spectrum and Triggers. Bring the trigger minimum to the very bottom of the spectrum.

Get the Letters VLM on the screen:

On a polygon object, edit the choice of thang. The VLM letters will appear in some form. Then edit the X and Y amplitudes to fine-tune the size of the letters.

Control an effect with the controller:

Go into the Edit Waveforms and press '8' (Y) or '9'(X) on a waveform (1-8). Then attach this waveform to the desired effect.

Use 'B' button to control effects:

Go to the waveform editor. Choose an unused slot and decide whether you want 'B' to control side-to-side or up-and-down motions (using both is wacky). If you want side-to-side, press '9' for the user control X wave. Then set this on the desired effect's X axis. Do the same for an up-and-down motion, but use the '8' wave. Next, set this wave onto the effect via the attach waveforms (*). Type in the waveform number that you've set out for user control. Then type # and then '7'.

For more control over the effect when you push the button, use another waveform with your use control X or Y...such as a Sawtooth wave.

Note: for use with the 'C' and 'A' buttons, do the same thing, but use the # '6' or '8'.

Make a controlled ring of pixels (by default) move on it's own:

Go to the sub-effect and remove the waveforms from the radius and number of iterations effects. Adjust the radius and number of iterations how you'd like.

Make a polygon object quit flashing:

Remove trigger selections from the trigger mask control. Now you can experiment with a poly object on-screen full-time.

Create a parallax-like effect with a 3D starfield:

Remove waveforms from the dest. Pos. Z. Remove the waveforms from the rotational overall phase in the sym generator. Add waveforms to the destination position X and or Y in the source function.

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This VLM Hacker's guide was put together by Wes Powell. Please send comments/questions to him.