State Of The Art Scene

Written by Makke

Yes, the usage of MP3s in demos HAS been a big (not to say the biggest) topic in the scene for the past 4-6 months. The people who think MP3s in demos are a great thing are of the opinion that the scene needs to accept new technologies and adapt to them. Those who are against MP3s are of the opinion that MP3s are just a big and chunky mass that the musicians can hide behind, just to keep techniques secret, and to protect "their" samples.

I'm "against" MP3s in demos. The demo-scene has always been "pirated software friendly", and many demo-sceners think open-source is the way to go. Yet open-source doesn't seem to involve music, and modules. Why? I can't answer that. I'm open-source friendly, and I only "hide" my songs when it means great size saving. I've released MP3s. Only for my friends' fun and under different handles (namely šbermench and H”nsaj”ns - šbermench without the "sch" to make people see that not even šbermench is perfect). These songs contain shit-loads of lyrics. Even if I stink when it comes to singing. This way I save several MB. For example one song I did called "H”nsa-J”ns in da HOOD!" took a little more than 8 MB in XM form. By contrast it took only 1.65 MB in MP3 (it's a short song). Here it's quite clear WHY I used MP3-technology.

I MP3'd a lot of things before this as well. Me and a few pals (Wolk of Comic Pirates for example) get together sometimes and make silly shows. Once we made a parody of the Swedish show "Sikta mot stj„rnorna" (Aim for the stars), we called it "Sikta mot soph”gen" (Aim for the garbage-pile). This was a 15 minute show that we recorded in WAVE-format. It was huge. We MP3'd it. We saved space. We used modern MP3-technology. The same way as many demo-groups use new technology. NOT!

How come the demo-scene can be so eager to use MP3, the "new", hot audio-compression-technique, and STILL say: "Ah, ah. No Windows 95. We'll stick to good 'ol DOS," at the same time as they scream "We should embrace new technology and use it!" Isn't this quite a contradiction? I think so, but many others don't seem to think so.

It seems we after all don't need a state of the art operating-system for our demos, but we've got to have state of the art audio-compression just because we have to use state of the art technology. Did that sound weird? That's because it IS weird. How come we can stick to the same old "shitty" OS, but can't stay with our old ways of having music to our presentations? When the old way can actually save space and it gives everybody a chance to see how the music was done...

Ok, so now that we're on this saving "space"/file sizes, and state of the art story, how come we have to use the latest computers and gfx-cards and accelerators? Those who say that we need to use this is because we should be up to date with the technology and the professional world. So that's why we need a "PII 400MHZ, 128 MB ram, VooDoo 2000 RIVA-TNT-ULTRA, 400 GB HD" to run the latest demo. Well, wake up! If the professional game industry had the same hardware-requirements as the demo-scene they wouldn't sell a god damn copy of their game. They need to optimize their games for the standard of the users. How come we sceners don't have to do that?

Because we don't charge people for our demos? Because we think it's lame when everybody can watch our productions? Because we're too fucking lazy to actually optimize the 3d engines, other code, gfx and music for slower, "less useful", non-elite computers... or because we can't? Because we actually stink at coding, making non-cpu-power-eating musics and truly hate being user-friendly?

I don't know when people got so damn egotistic, but egotism is something I don't appreciate. Isn't the scene about having fun, exchanging knowledge and getting better at what we do? How are we supposed to get better if everybody just thinks of themselves?

Anybody can do a great "demo" if they get to use all the juice in a state of the art computer, but how fun would it be if no one had to really work on their demo?

Paranoid suggested in Hugi #15 that we should set some "scene-standard" for demos. A good thought, but I don't think that's the way. I think it's rather up to the party-organizers to have slower computers as compo-machines. Not only say that: "Your demo will be shown on a PII 400 MHz, 128 MB ram, VooDoo 2000 RIVA-TNT-ULTRA, but it has to work on a 233 MMX, 32 MB RAM, standard VESA-2.0-compatible graphic card." No shit coders see to it that it 'works' on a 233 MMX, but they optimize it for PII 400. It may look like shit on 233 MMX, but it rules on the PII.

I think it's better if the compo-organizers do a survey of which is the most common computer, and use a compo-machine that matches the average computer. Of course it will have to be the average SCENE computer. Sceners often have better computers than others, yet not all have a PII 400 MHz, 128 MB RAM, VooDoo 2000 RIVA-ULTRA-TNT. So, shouldn't at least the "average" scener be able to watch the latest demos?

- Makke/Visuale/Hugi/Trebel