WildMag reviewed

A Reading Prophet of Hugi

Name: WildMag

Issues released so far: 2

Main editor: Mad/os^real.fake

Available at: WildMag site

WildMag is one of four diskmags in German language that were newly founded in 2000 (the others are TAP.MAG, SkaG and our own Hugi.GER). Why review a diskmag here that cannot be read by all readers? Actually the question should be: why not? I think it is especially interesting to read reviews of mags in languages one does not understand. It is probably the easiest way to get an overview of the contents, maybe with the exception of utilizing Babelfish - but I guess trying to form correct sentences out of the stuff this program creates will cost you energy which you had better invest in coding or whatever you do in the scene.

Once upon a time...

...there was a diligent electroplater called Sven Gramatke, who lived in a rural place in Southern Germany. No, this is not going to be the story how he founded his own company and soon became very rich, expanded and reached world domination. Sure, these are his plans, but before he will have translated them into practice, he will be mainly famous under his second identity: Magic van Lam. A pretty creative man, he composed music, made graphics and wrote weird texts, just for the fun of it. As a member of the demogroup Diabolic Force, he finally also made some little demos... well, he could not code, but he "designed" them. In the course of the time he started publishing some of his texts - mostly the less weird ones - in a German language diskmag called Cream, thus getting some attention in one of the most elite writer circles at that time. But this did not satisfy his desire for more. He wanted to do one of three things: a) a really good demo, b) a scene encyclopedia or c) a scene diskmag of his own. He desired a) most, but his attempts throughout the years to find a group of people ready to produce a demo according to his ideas had hardly been successful, and his optimism that he would ever accomplish it faded to zero. So option b) was his immediate aim. But it would take years, and he wondered if all sceners would be ready to send him the extensive information he wanted from them - and also send him updates after any new release or change in the member list. So option c) was left.

In 1998, he got to know The Update of CoPro, who even in the scene is better known by his real name: Malte Clasen, one of the most active csipd posters. Malte had been developing a new diskmag interface for a while, as he was not satisfied by the limited text-alignment capabilities the diskmags of those days offered. He wanted to have support for HTML files, true-type fonts and justified paragraphs (okay, I admit Saffron is right - the prophet of scene journalism was not the only one who foresaw what would once become standard in the diskmag scene). A man who wanted to become main editor of a diskmag and a man who would soon have coded the first modern diskmag engine - the perfect couple! So the two of them decided to work together, and born was WildMag.

Magic van Lam wrote and wrote, The Update coded and coded. The mag was developing well... You're expecting something? Yes, there was something... something which, according to official sources, is to be called a headcrash. The victim: Magic's harddisk, and with it a lot of his articles. This sudden drawback hit Magic so hard that he decided to end his fabolous scene career - hopefully he will not give up as quickly when a similar incident will happen on his way to world domination in the electroplating industry! Anyway, a new maineditor was now needed. It was found in the person of Thiemo Mättig alias mad/os (this is his handle, not handle and group, as the slash might suggest). Thiemo is a 23-year-old student living in the Eastern part of Germany. His scene career is typical for many sceners in his country: at a print-media store, he stumbled across the computer trade magazine Computer Flohmarkt, which once was a meeting point of the scene and, short before it stopped issuing, at least some scene newbies were still around. With these he got into contact and got to know the local diskmag scene. He started writing for Cream after the release of its fourth issue, half a year before it would become official that this had been the last one. So his articles got published in other mags like Image and the German section of Hugi. Thiemo was similarly fascinated about diskmags as the main editors of these diskmags. Therefore it is no wonder that he started collecting mags. What distinguished him from the other diskmag freaks though was that he decided to make his collection available to everybody else, by burning it on a CD: the DiskMag-Pack (see Hugi 18) was created.

Thiemo and his group real.fake also released some nice tools, pics, and, most of all, text files in the course of the time. They make their first steps in the demoscene when visiting Dialogos 99, where they entered the 64k intro competition but obviously did not get the highest place. Mad/os got home with the feeling that he still had to learn a lot about the demoscene.

And it was him who was chosen as the main editor of a diskmag that should be dedicated to the German and international demoscene. How would this project work out?

The first issue

Quite okay, actually. WildMag 1 was released in January 2000, and for a premier issue it is rather good. That's mainly due to The Update's programming efforts and his idea to always offer the current state of development plus the sources on his website for beta-testing: Unlike so many other "first issues", WildMag 1 is stable. It also has appealing graphics, including yet another scan-photoshop experiment by Hellfire as the title picture. The texts are, as usual for a new mag, of rather little number (277kb in HTML format) but quality-wise good - unlike other people who have recently started German-language diskmags, Mad/os has a fine knowledge of grammar and spelling. The topics? Well, the line of the mag appears yet to be a bit vague: It's meant to be a demoscene mag, but apart from the few texts by Magic that somehow endured his crash (like interviews with Crossbone and Darkman or the question of the role of sex in the scene) there is not much related to this topic. A bit forced seems mad/os's attempt to increase the amount of scenetexts: an essay on the question "What is the Scene?" that had been already been excessively discussed in Cream & Co., a superficial comparison of ten years of re-united Germany and ten years of demoscene on the PC and a review of the review-mag Sunray. A bit more interesting may be The Update's interview with "the united states of america" of EliteGroup. Apart from that, the mag contains some basic (and BASIC) programming tutorials, stories and poetry by Magic van Lam and 8080 Lin - probably the most interesting part of the mag - and miscellaneous / real-life stuff - you name it.

Apart from a votesheet, a quiz form was included in the mag, with some partly pretty challenging questions about details of the demo and diskmag scenes, answers to which could however be easily found if you knew where to look for them.

WildMag's Philosophy

On the Wildmag website now appeared the concrete concept of the mag: "Our aim is to provide a universal plattform both for scene experts as well as beginners and newbies. We want to offer an introduction to the scene as well as chances to rise. [...] WildMag is a very universal magazine, which mainly focuses on the scene but is also open to other topics and areas of life. Funny texts and short stories are welcome just like reports and news relevant for the scene."

The second strike

Of many diskmags only one issue was released, then it vanished as suddenly as it had appeared. Not so with WildMag: it seems that the editors are really serious about their project. So after less than four months, at the Mekka & Symposium 2k party, the second issue came. It has a special focus: diskmags. Surely a good idea, as that's the part of the scene its editors know most about. Mad/os defines what a diskmag is, tells us the history of the diskmag scene pretty accurately, and then he reviews the latest issues of all recently released mags, including Hugi.GER, Planet, TAP.MAG, El Afghano, Demojournal, and even Wilby. In the same section Mr.Rip, a new writer for WildMag, compares Hugi 18, Image 5 and WildMag 1 as if he were to compare word-processors for a computer magazine, with tables and marks for design, music, text variety, text quality, control, options and homepage - a good idea!

The actual scene/computer corner consists of a statement on the use of scanners and similar tools to speed up the creation process of productions, which some people in the scene regard as lame, a presentation of the unsuccessful Commodore 65, a good essay on the Computer Flohmarkt, a bit childish quotes from #coders.ger, a comment on DOS in the scene and a text called "Sexuality is a very natural thing" - which, however, is in fact just another contribution to the operating system debate. Well, at least it shows that its author, Tomaes of TAP, knows the golden BILD rule: "Headlines are more important than the actual articles!"

In a separate section there are two party reports about Ambience 2000, one by The Update and another by a newbie scener, which may be entertaining as one clearly see how differently one little party can be experienced.

The "technology" section contains tutorials deadling with C, tracking, the creation of skins for WinAmp - and how to hack the GMX server, which seems to be really insecure according to this document.

Another section covers computers and arts. The most oustanding article here: an interview with the musician Smudo from the band "Die fantastischen Vier" on computer art. Besides, some short website reviews, again a well-sized literature corner, finally little texts on the Indian programmers that will get "Green Cards" for Germany (Germany is still needing about 70,000 computer experts), Moorhuhnjagd and the family lives of dictators.

Before I forget it: Of course the voting results, including a separate presentation of websites the readers recommended in their votesheets, and the solution to the quiz are published as well. All in all 378 kbyte of HTML documents.

The issue, which is 200 kbyte larger in packed state than its predecessor (total size of WildMag 2: 2.2 mbyte), comes along with two skins, which, however, cannot be switched while reading the mag, but have to chosen in a separate setup program or manually by editing the .ini file. On both of them the text is well readable and they provide a calm reading atmosphere. It is also easy to create one's own skins.


Well done so far! Good articles, good interface - great start. Now the articles have to become more extensive and rich of details, then one might really say that you have missed something if you are not able to able to read this mag.

Adok/Hugi - 28 Apr 2000