Review: Heroin #1
Written by Adok
Month of release: December'98
RAR-packed size: 725,333 bytes
Related URL: http://www.heroin.net
Main editor: pyromaniac/beyond
Design: jamon/hyperopia, sky/xography
"Heroin - the first dose" is a new chartsmag by the US-American group Beyond. It was under construction for more than half a year. When I got a beta version in late spring, the interface was already finished, and the texts differed only in detail from those in the final version. The reason for the delay of the mag's release was mainly that the music was not finished. In the future the staff plan to release new issues of Heroin consistenly, but it comes down to how many votes they receive by the readers.
The interface uses Indoor Music System 0.6 and runs in a VESA mode, although it apparently could have also been done under standard VGA, as the title picture is 320x200x256 and the background graphic (640x480) could have been realized with 16 colours, too. It worked fine on my PC both under DOS and Win95.
After Jamon's title screen, which slowly fades out, you get to the main menu with a cool transitional effect. The main screen is divided vertically into three parts, as in most diskmags: On the top you see the "Heroin" logo, in the middle the table of content is displayed in a nice box, and on the bottom there are the buttons for scrolling and quitting. A little confusing is that Sky (the graphician) has also drawn buttons for selecting the previous/next article, which you cannot click at though, and a nice-looking status bar background, which is not used by the interface's code though.
The mouse cursor looks like an injection, which contributes to the stylish atmosphere. Having selected a section, the text is displayed. There are two fonts. One of them is used for the adverts; it's similar to the standard ASCII charset. The other one appears in the other texts. It reminded me of the Windows font "MS Line Draw", and to be honest, although it is well-readable, I do not like it because it looks slightly plump and sterile.
What is great is the transitional effects between the text-pages. After all the fading and scrolling effects we are accustomed to in other diskmags, watching them is a cool new experience.
Heroin is a pure chartsmag. That means it consists only of an Editorial, the Credits, Messages, Adverts, News, and the Charts themselves. In total there is 80 kbyte of text.
The brief Editorial by Pyromaniac tells us that the staff hope that by releasing this chartsmag, "it will serve as a friendly forum for competition between groups to strive to be number one." They also think about "setting up a section of the charts in which we count votes from people's area of expertise", e.g. by taking all the votes for coders by fellow coders and putting them in their own chart. Depending on the amount of positive feedback, they are also considering programming future issues under Win95/98.
After the Credits and Messages, the Adverts follow, which make up 70% of the total text-amount of the mag. We have the same situation as in most other diskmags: 90% of the swappers are from Poland.
The News (8 kbyte) are not so interesting, for they describe the standings of the scene as they were in June.
Finally let's get to the Charts themselves. In contrast to other mags, whose voter-lists are dominated by one country, there have been 103 voters from all over the world. Also two Indians voted. Actually I had not known that there was a PC demoscene in India before I saw the beta-version of Heroin! There are the following categories:
- Top Ten Demo Groups
- Top Ten Demos
- Top Ten Intros
- Top Ten Pixelers
- Top Ten Coders
- Top Ten Musicians
- Top Five Swappers
There is nothing really surprising in these charts. Of course the more recent productions do not appear, as most votes came in half a year ago.
This chartsmag has an excellent atmosphere and a good quality of English in the Editorial (as it was written by a native speaker). However, it is a pity that it was not released half a year ago. Then it would have been up-to-date and might have even become a smash-hit. Now it does not contain much valuable information. But it is still a nice scene production. Let's hope that such a delay will not happen again in the future.