Review: Fleur #2
Written by Adok
Month of release: Dec'98
RAR-packed size: 1,770,512 bytes
Related URL: http://fleur.scene-hu.com
Main editor: ezah/dilemma
Co-editors: dfj/dinasty, d-lee/exceed/hjb, szum/cryogen
Design: baste/exceed, immortal rat/astral/profuse/br
Music: sed/dilemma, carlos/breeze/beep
Text: aron/contact, cousman/platoon, nap, sed/dma, eclipse/knights, psychic symphony, inferno, rod/mandula, and the editors.
After nine months, the Fleur staff's second baby was born. Fleur, the first English-language diskmag from Hungary, was one of the most promising new international scene magazines in 1998. Can this second issue live up to the high expectations?
Since Fleur #1, the staff has grown and become more international. Szum/Cryogen, from Poland, was the editor of the English corner of Dragon till its third issue, then switched to Fleur. You might remember the trouble this created in the Polish scene, as false rumours were spread that said Szum had taken all English articles from Dragon with him, which would be the reason why Dragon #4 was delayed. In the meantime this has been cleared up, and after reading Dragon #4 it should become ovious that the reasons for this delay were different.
Rumours also claim that the former Cream-maineditor Coctail/NUMB/Obnoxious from Germany joined the Fleur staff after reading Fleur #2.
According to the votesheet, Fleur #3 is planned to be released in June or July 1999. Deadline for submissions is the end of May.
The interface basically reminds of Fleur #1, but the disturbing keyboard bug has been fixed. The mag works fine both in DOS and in Win95 on my PC. First the title screen slowly fades in. It was drawn by Baste/Exceed and shows a half-naked woman on the left with a simple Fleur logo on the right. This style of title picture reminds me of Shine #3, which also consists of a human character, a logo and a white background.
Having pressed ESC, you get to the main menu. The screen layout is roughly the same as in most diskmags. On the top, there is a narrow bar with no other purpose but looking good. In the center, the text is displayed in a fixed-width font which reminds of Hugi and Shine. One special thing about Fleur's interface is the status bar, which is not a plain bar but a circle that indicates your position in the current article just in the way referendum results, indicating how many percent of the people signed the possible answers, are often displayed in magazines. This status circle is located in the top-left corner of the text-window. Due to Fleur's text design, however, texts usually do not intersect the circle, except the article about hidden parts in demos which is hence hard to read. There is no background graphic behind the text, but on the bottom of the screen a very nice panel graphic by Immortal Rat is displayed.
The mag is entirely controlled by keyboard. A little weird is that you can scroll in the articles with up/down, but only select the headlines on the current page in the main menu and have to use left/right for scrolling. The 's' button allows you to save the current article to disk as a text file, and in the coding compo article you can also save an example program by pressing 'c'.
There is no closing picture but a gallery with several nice pictures.
Fleur #2 has a total of 320 kbyte of articles, among them some long interviews. Here is the exact table of contents with (mostly) original spelling:
Our Corner Editorial Credits Contacting First Fleur coding compo The usage of da mag News and rumors C-64 news Charts Foreword to the charts World charts Hungarian charts Polish charts Voter's list Articles Why are there so few diskmags? - Reaction About our winning at Antiq'98 Pixelizing, quitting the scene - From Hawaii Where are the hungarians? What about creativity?! Amigagroups on pc Some words about ten... What is a diskmag today? Mail-swapping outside Poland Photoshop vs. art - Reaction Advantages of chaos Musicdisks Portuguese scene report Words The next sound standard Covers and paper-art Oh mum! I know 3lite dudes!!! Little polish scene report - august'98 Hidden parts Reviews Scenest-Rage'98 by Aron Scenest-Rage'98 by d-lee Assembly'98 Summer Encounter'98 Antiq'98 Evoke'98 Cache'98 Autumn Pulse Riprap Interviews Atx/Chrome Byter/Blasphemy HP/Micropyle/PSOH Illusion/PCS Manka/Autopsy Orome/Ai/Talent/Procreation/Darkage Rod/Mandula Szum/Cryogen Tudor/The Black Lotus Visualize/Pulse/Radio/Jamm R. Party-Side Upcoming events Evoke'98 party report Evoke picture 1-6 Pinaaaaaaaaaaaa (picture)
Let's take a quick look at the most interesting articles.
Ezah welcomes us to the second issue of Fleur in his editorial. He summarizes the feedback on issue 1 he has received, and states that because of the lack of articles he already thought Fleur #2 would never be released. But four weeks before the actual release d-lee started sending in some articles, and the thing began to roll. Furthermore, he wants to make clear that Fleur is no production of the two groups Dilemma and Dinasty, as stated in Fleur #1, but by the whole scene. In fact dfj was the only Dinasty member who contributed to this issue, and even he did not write a lot. So he asks the other diskmag editors just to write in their news corners that Fleur #2 has been released, unrelated to any group. Finally he hopes the birth Fleur #3 will not take nine months again and encourages the readers to submit articles.
"First Fleur coding compo": Fleur now also organizes a Size Coding Competition. Your task is to draw a rectangular snail in mode 13h. The idea came from TomCat/Abaddon. Fleur's coder, nap, organizes the compo. Deadline is March. You can always check the Fleur homepage for current pre-results. I think the task is interesting, as it even encouraged me to write an entry.
The news corner contains mainly news about Hungarian groups. Its size is 10 kbyte, and if you are not involved in the Hungarian scene you can discover new things there. By contrast, the C64 news corner, written by dfj, is tiny (700 bytes), and the main message is that not much has happened in the C64 scene. The only things worth mentioning are the release of "Our darkness" at Mekka & Symposium '98, which is "definitely the demo of the year", and that Assembly '98 was really bad as regards the C64 releases; admittedly, Panic released the demo "Speedway 2", but as dfj says this is a "typical boring" Panic demo although it contains some "cool effects". When saved to disk, this article gets the filename dfjsuxx.txt. I hope this does not mean that dfj was depressed or another member of the Fleur staff was angry with him!
Charts: 76 people voted. Most come from Hungary or Poland. Only eight voters are from other places of the earth. So Fleur # 2 contains only Polish and Hungarian charts apart from the world charts, as a minimum of 10 voters is required for a country to have its own local charts section in Fleur. In the world charts, usually the top 15 votees are listed, whereas in the country charts this number is 10. The categories are: demos, intros, groups, coders, graphicians, musicians, modellers, mailswappers, artdisks, musicdisks, diskmags, and parties. I think most votes were collected before July 1998.
Articles: Cousman/Platoon reacts to the article "Why are there so few diskmags?" from Fleur #1. First Cousman states that he cannot understand Ezah's complaining, as he can enjoy "so many mags", for example the English ones he mentioned in his article and all those Hungarian zines. But then Cousman gets to the real point: In his opinion there are too few English-language magazines and too many diskmags in local languages, which contributes to splitting the scene. That is not good, as in his opinion the scene should be "one big community and not a bunch of split weirdos".
An interesting detail in Fleur #2 is that the articles are sorted neither randomly nor by their subjects, but alphabetically by their authors' names. So after Cousman's article, three articles by d-lee follow. He describes Exceed's success at Antiq '98 with their demo Riprap, forwards a letter he got from TS, a graffiti writer from Hawaii who sometimes made graphics for Exceed, and searches the Hornet Charts for Hungarian names and productions in "Where are the hungarians?". The articles are about interesting topics (not just the x-th essay about mailswapping) and mainly refreshing to read.
Eclipse/Knights rambles about 3D in demos in his article "What about creativity?!". Next comes main editor Ezah. His first article, "Amigagroups on pc", fits the opinion that Eclipse stated in his article well. He points out that many ex-Amiga groups that are now active on PC mostly do demos filled with boring 3D scenes, and begs them to make them "more and more interesting". Well.
The next article, "Some words about ten...", is more interesting. Ezah states his opinion of The E-Mag Network, which is negative, as he is not keen on reading the same articles in different mags. Furthermore, he thinks no one will send a mag articles if he knows that they will be published in other mags, too, as you usually support a diskmag because you find it nice. He concludes: "Gosh if I send an article to Hugi then maybe it will be published in other mags too." Well, it wouldn't. As stated in the Legal Stuff, we at Hugi have the policy not to give any articles away without the author's permission; the authors keep the copyright of their articles. But in general Ezah's reservation is right. All the same, it has already been more than a month from now (January 1999) that the last article was exchanged in The E-Mag Network. T.E.N. is rather developing to a platform for diskmag editors to exchange their experiences and hints, and to work on projects together. It will not matter if Fleur doesn't join T.E.N., but it would not be bad either if it did. No mag is forced to publish the articles sent to T.E.N., and neither has any mag been kicked out from T.E.N. yet for not posting articles to it. T.E.N. is just a nice platform for diskmag editors to discuss. - Ezah also uses the opportunity to state his opinion about Hugi #11, which he likes "very much", but he is not fond of the idea to use the same 20 questions in each interview. No prob mate, we have already fixed that!
To my mind the most interesting article in Fleur #2 is "What is a diskmag today?", in which Ezah deals with a similar problem as I did in "Newsletters vs. Diskmags vs. Online-mags" in Hugi #13. It is interesting that although each article was written indepently, we came to two almost the same conclusions! Ezah thinks a diskmag, which is released not so often, should only contain quality articles from "all of us, sceners". That is why he removed the advert and the message section in this issue and also considered taking the news section away. Fleur is not planned to be a newspaper because if you read a newspaper you usually throw it into the trashcan afterwards, but if you grab a book you will take care of it and maybe read it again after some time. So he hopes that Fleur is a book for its readers.
Finally Ezah explains why he has stopped mailswapping: 95% of his contacts came from Poland, many of them were beginners and wrote only a few lines to him, and when Ezah did more mistakes in an English test than usually, he came to the conclusion that it had come from his contacts' bad English, which had had a negative effect on him. Secondly, many sendings have get lost, and thirdly, he works quite hard at his workplace, and when he arrives, he has too little time for mailswapping as he also has other scene activities.
Let's skip some articles and resume with "The next sound standard". Here, sed/Dilemma reviews some soundcards, which has become important as the GUS is not built any more. Nevertheless Gus PnP gets the highest rating together with Core Dynasonix. "Covers and paper-art" by Szum deals with a rather new aspect of swapping (at least there have not been many articles in international magazines yet that dealt with it), namely how to design your disk-covers. Very interesting. The next two articles, "Oh mum! I know 3lite dudes!!!" and the "Little polish scene report", were written by Szum, too, but the most interesting article involving Szum is certainly the interview with him. It is long and personal.
The last text in the "articles" part is the Hidden Part List, which was once maintained by Phoenix/DC5 and gets now updated by Rod/Mandula. That's the article with the sloppy design I mentioned above while talking about Fleur's interface.
Next comes something we do not have in Hugi yet, apart from the diskmags corner and mSW's articles about The Party 8 releases in this issue: Reviews. They are mainly sorted by the parties whose stuff is reviewed, but there is also a special article in which Ezah writes about some of the best demos and intros by Pulse. He plans to do that in every issue with another group. Interesting corner.
Finally, there is a big bunch of interviews, and a party report about Evoke'98 by d-lee coming along with six unique photos.
Yes, Fleur is definitely one of the best diskmags at the moment. Although its interface is not the most beautiful one, you can look at it without being harmed, and although the text amount is not the largest one, you can read many interesting articles in a comprehensible English. Ezah has a sensible understanding of what a diskmag should be like, and I hope he will be able to make some of his ideas come true in Fleur.