Hugi Fourteen Editorial
Written by Adok
Another year has passed, and once again the annual scene event The Party has taken place in Denmark. No matter what people say about the commercial attitude of the TP organizers, some definitely stylish productions which may be indicators of the future of the scene were presented at The Party 1998. Nomad won the demo competition with their 3D show "MOAI", available both for Win32 and DOS. The same goes for the second place, "State of mind" by Bomb, which has even been ported to Linux. Other remarkable productions are the 3th-5th place at the demo compo, namely "Kkowboy" by Purple and Blasphemy, "Yume 2" by INF and "tao" by Zden and Loonie, and some 64k intros, most of all the intros which made the two first places, "Alien Sex Clone" by fudGe and Halcyon's "Hplus".
If we take a look at the demos, we will see that some of them, including State of mind and Yume 2, use MP3 files as music. That is quite a new thing in the demoscene, as it was common to use solely tracked music; that is, XM, S3M, MOD, IT and similar formats. No wonder that this immediately caused a long discussion on the newsgroup comp.sys.ibm.pc.demos.
MP3, or MPEG Audio Layer 3, is actually an algorithm for compressing raw audio data like we find it in WAV files. It mainly achieves this by stripping information that is not needed. Usually the human brain does this automatically before we can hear anything. The MPEG Audio compression just does it beforehand and thus saves disk space. Using MP3, you can store up to eight hours of music on a CD without a noticeable loss of quality.
In contrast to MP3, tracker formats are usually based on samples and instruments, which you first arrange to patterns. Then you arrange the patterns to tunes.
You see, MP3 and the usual MOD & Co. are completely different formats. While MP3 is based on raw audio data and achieves its small size by compression, XM, for example, stores each sample and instrument only once and in this way tries to keep the file small.
While it is hardly possible to convert MP3 to a tracked format unless you tolerate huge samples, it is, however, possible to convert tracked modules to MP3. First you have to convert the module to WAV. You can do this with Modplug (http://www.modplug.com). It supports XM, IT, MOD, and S3M. Then you can convert the WAV to MP3 using one of several tools, such as AudioCatalyst (shareware version available at http://www.fh-zwickau.de/~maz/) for Win95/98/NT or MP3-Studio for Linux (http://mp3.nederland.net). In this way, old school trackers will not become 'unemployed' in the demoscene even if the MP3 format will become even more frequently used in demos.
Besides, MP3 has other advantages, too: There are neither size nor memory problems anymore, so that the musician can use real instruments and vocals. That is why many scene musicians today use the MP3 format.
The MP3 files in some TP8 demos, however, have a snag to them: They were partly not originally made for the demo. Regarding State of mind, rumours say that Bomb has got the composer's permission at least. But in other demos, so claim the rumours, music was used without even informing the respective author. In other words: The music was ripped.
Why do demogroups need to rip music? A good demogroup should also have a musician in their team who can produce unique music for their productions.
Actually the musicians are the largest profession group in the scene. There are enough active musicians so that, for example, I already get the background tunes for Hugi automatically without asking for them (which is just the opposite as it is the case with graphics). There are so many musicians who would like to get their music used in a demo or a diskmag. Why do people then rip music instead of providing these musicians with a way to get their artworks spread?
To summarize my point of view: MP3 in demos - yes, why not, but Ripping - NO.
Another development that is worth mentioning here is that for the first time, no 4k intro compo was held at The Party 1998. Apparently, 4k intros have no future in the eyes of the TP organizers. Are they right? I do not think so. Just a few months ago, at Assembly '98, Picard/Rhyme showed with his excellent intro Mesha once again that you can do more in 4096 bytes than most people believe. Anyway, in case The Party 1999 will not have a 4k intro competition either, there are still plenty of other parties where you can submit your productions.
By the way, they held a 4k webpage competition instead. I doubt that this makes more sense.
A good thing, however, is that The Party 1998 also had a Windows Demo competition. This has certainly contributed to making democoding for other operating systems than DOS more popular in the PC scene, a trend which will hopefully continue.
Welcome to the fourteenth (or rather, if you prefer to skip ten mainly German issues, fourth) issue of HUGI!
We are back, and we bring you the quality you are used to. This issue contains about 1 MByte of articles. Unless you are reading Hugi for the first time, you have certainly also noticed that the article menu has been redesigned. Actually this is the first time after 13 issues with a simple article listing that we have sorted the articles in sub-menus. I hope you will like this design.
Regarding the first screen, where you have to choose between the International and the German Section, I can already imagine some of you saying: "It's good, but pleeeease tell me, why did you take the AMERICAN flag for the International Section??" It has various reason: First the USA are the country which dominates world politics. Secondly their language is English. Third and most importantly, people from all countries of today's Europe and other parts of the world have found a new home in the US. From this view, one could even say the United States of America are the predecessor of the European Union. That is why I decided to use the US flag for the International Section.
As regards the graphic, Hellfire also wants me to mention that his title picture, which you probably saw some moments ago, was originally in HiColor but was reduced to 256 colours afterwards to keep its file size down. That is actually not surprising, because the same applies to each graphic in Hugi #13, too. Did anyone notice a lack of quality in the picture because of that? I guess no, except maybe some hardcore graphicians. After all, the most important thing about the GFX in a diskmag is how well you can read the text on it and how well it fits the atmosphere of the mag.
We are going to start a new funny competition in order to entertain you: the Hugi Icon Competition. Read more in this Hugi issue.
As well, a new poll form is attached to this Hugi issue. This time we do not want to know your opinion to the Hugi interface but some little information about you. The aim is to publish statistics in one of the next Hugi issues. I think it will certainly be interesting for many readers to see what age an average scener is, etc. However, it will only work out if many of you take part in the polls. So, simply fill in the support.sheet (support.txt) with your favourite text editor and send it to email@example.com!
The (few) people who have found the Hidden Part in Hugi #13 have probably also found a message announcing the Hugi Hidden Part Competition: The first ten people who saved the Hidden Part to disk and sent it to me till January 1st, 1999, would be mentioned in the "Hall of Fame" in this Hugi issue.
Since less than ten people sent me the saved Hidden Part till the deadline, I decided to list everyone who has done so. And here they are - our heroes! :)
1. Maharaja/NoLogic - 1998/12/07
2. d-lee/Exceed/Haujobb - 1998/12/09
3. dfj/dinasty - 1998/12/09
4. Szoke/Atomik - 1998/12/29
5. Psychic Symphony/Evolve - 1999/01/07
Congratulations to them, and have fun finding the Hidden Part in this Hugi issue, too!
To all others: In the International Section of Hugi #13, move the mouse cursor first to the article "Upgrading the Demo Parties - Movement '98" by Civax and then to the right. Click on the small "button" that is now visible, and you will get to our little "Hidden Part".
But now enjoy reading the new HUGI! May it make your life nicer and longer!
Greetings for giving me information on how to convert tracked modules to MP3 go to Will Be/Theralite/Skytech and Jimbert.
The next issue will be released as soon as it is finished. That is: as soon as gfx & music are ready and we have got an interesting palette of articles. Again, I will announce the approximate releasedate about two weeks before the actual release in the Hugi Mailinglist. Subscribe to it by sending an empty mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can unsubscribe any time by sending an empty mail to email@example.com.