Counterstatement to "Scene Standards"
Written by Digital Haze
You may remember Paranoid's suggestion about a scene standard for hardware requirements for demos. Now I ask you (Paranoid and anyone agreeing with him): How should this be possible? Should we really limit the productions created by the coders of the scene? Isn't the scene all about demonstrating what can be done with computers? Weren't the first demos created solely to show off the coders' ability to exploit the hardware and to get the most cycles out of it? This is also what is being done now. But now the 16 colour display has been replaced by a 256MB Voodoo IX 3D accelerator card. Nonetheless, coders still have the same goal. Then why should we decide on one particular machine specification?
I agree that it's easy to just raise the requirements instead of optimising, but that just shows who are the best coders. If you see two similar fire routines which require a Pentium III and a 386 respectively to run smoothly, there should be no doubt who is the better coder. So the problem solved itself. Not many people would pay attention to the Pentium III fire and the coder would have to improve his skills if he wants to be noticed in the future. (Though he probably would be noticed for making such a slooow fire.)
In case we (the entire demoscene community!) did decide to set a standard, what should the standard then be? Paranoid's suggestion is a P233 MMX, 32mb RAM, 3D card, 2mb videocard and a SoundBlaster. WHAT??? MMX? That's dead. A 3D card? I don't own a 3D card and I'm certainly not planning to buy one. I'm a student - I just don't have the money.
A SoundBlaster? What about the good old GUS? What about the people who don't own a P233? "Well, you can't be part of the PC demoscene anymore because you don't own the right computer." Should we tell them that? (My own machine doesn't pass your standard, and I intend to stay with the scene as long as I want.)
But then we'll just lower the requirements, right? But what about all those great coders who can really take advantage of all that processor power? "Cram it. We don't want your kinds here." ???
And your suggestion doesn't solve the incompatibility problem of today's hardware. Which 3D card should we code for? Which videocard? What if that videocard doesn't support the videomode a coder wants to use?
To control these standards, Paranoid suggests to form a coders guild which should decide on these standards. Oh, yes. Great idea. Thousands of people on one mailinglist, arguing about if the standard should be 64 or 32 MB RAM. *THAT* should be productive. It would also split the scene into two parts. The 'coders guild' part and the 'rest'. Great idea. A scenewar. And this would lead to the same situation as now. The 'rest' will continue to make demos with heavy requirements.
The discussion part could be solved by having some sort of moderators, and dividing the mailing list into regional sections. That reminds me of something: the European Union. And we all know how well _that_ works. Yes, bureaucracy is all we need in the scene. Actually one of the things I enjoy about the scene (and the Internet in general) is its anarchic nature.
What about the OS then? Windows was suggested by Paranoid.... Why? Because he says DOS is outdated, a thing of the past, and that Windows is on almost every machine in the world. Well, DOS is *NOT* outdated. Windows is more like an add-on to DOS. If Windows is on every machine, then DOS is too. Micro$oft cannot make Windows backwards compatible without DOS. And C64s and Amigas are things of the past, yet their scenes are still active! Why should we eliminate these scenes?
Besides, if I don't *WANT* to code in Windows, why should I? I *WANT* to code in DOS. I *WANT* to use MCGA mode. I *WANT* to use a 3D card. Why? Because that's what makes *MY* demo work. I don't code demos because I want 1,000,000 people to watch it. I code because I *LIKE* it. I code for myself. I code because I want to be creative. Not because I have to.
- Digital Haze / The Lost Patrol