Philosophy of and ideas / scenarios for future demos

By EP / CosmiK

What is imagination?

Whereas logics is the way you manage your reason to solve problems following rules while using your knowledge, imagination is exactly the opposite: imagination permits you to escape from reality by putting yourself in a world where rules are different. For example gravity can be negative or can change from a place to another, water can burn and fire can stop the water action and so... But imagination works a bit like logical reasoning: when you try to solve a problem, you get the data, and the rules then you build the solution upon these using severall steps. You can merge and combine techniques to solve your problem. Well imagination can also works like this: you can in art, combine old techniques to build something new. And you can build something interesting using a linear plan allready written: this is a scenario. Moreover, you can add some humour, some strangeness, some emotion using music, graphics and situations.

Yes, demos tend to be created like a movie and this can be really interesting to make: you will build from nothing but your imagination and knowledge, a mixture of graphics, video, code, music and in fact something which will be ONE thing, not a collection, yes, ONE object, a melting of indissociable ingredients.

As in demos, graphics are really important, the story which takes us for a walk is important: it determines the travel route which will be presented on screen rythmed by music. Yes, music is the essence of a demo, like everything in life: every thing in reality is rhythm, sun rises and night falls each day, each minutes takes 60 seconds,... Music is the rythm, gfx, code are the dancers. Without imagination demos are only pure mechanic and the magic on them is totally lost. Believe it, we need to dream when we watch good demos. Dreams are the essence and from where come our ideas which are then written to create a plan. But to release something we have to be logic, that means using logical reasoning and actions to build something which isn't logic like an imaginary demo environment.

Well, I don't have any skills in the art or code areas, sorry, but I have imagination and ideas. So here is a new column in Hugi where you can submit also your own ideas for demo making: this will permit talented coders and artists to find something to show us at parties. So everybody will be able to participate to the demomaking of new release. For sure these advanced ideas will be workable by elite only. But total newcomers will be able to cut their teeths on the most simple ones.

Advanced ideas:

1) The travel of a flea in the hairy back of a dog. Just imagine the nature around the dog, the plants, the water, the trees and everything moving around the dog and you can make a really great 3D show. Imagine also the dog back's motion and the flea trying to move accross the hairs, skipping while a hand try to catch her. Try to imagine the wet hairy back washed in the bathroom with the foaming shampoo and the result on the flea. I'm sure this can be funny, and beautiful. The audio stuff can be really interesting too with spatial and stunning effects (play with the stereo, front, back channels). Try also to imagine what camera movements can show us (like a cat ass in front of the dog, a bird flying behind a glass or craping on the dog head :)), water and sun reflections on glasses,...

2) A bee travel inside music instruments during a philhamornic concert. Trapped in several instruments, she escaped from each by chance during silences, but for our pleasure she is still traped by different instruments. Let's imagine it, pushed and pulled by the air flux of the trumpetist! Then being trapped again avoiding the deadly hammers melody of the pianist. Then she hides inside an accordion :) and then on and on, she try to escape from this great full orchestra suffering from the changes of the music rythm: try to imagine when rhythm is slow and when suddenly it becames three times faster!!! Try to imagine when she fly near the bass drums and suddenly the batons are falling near them with the air flow attracting her to the drum skin! Try also to imagine Miss Bee around the conductor's baton and the effect on the orchestra (musicians don't understand what happens as they do not see the bee)!!!

3) Try to produce something with febergé eggs like explained by Clifford A. Pickover in Wonders of numbers. And relaunch the trend of 2D demos. I'm sure not all effects where done and mathematics are infinite so reading books can help a lot to find new stuff to automatically draw and paint on XXX Hz screens.

4) Psychological morphing: When we take a look at any shape we automatically try to identify them. It can be interesting to see that at first sight severall observers don't see the same thing. In fact a shape without a meaning, which can be classified, produce fantasy. One observer can for example watch the right part of the non identified shape and find it looks like a rabit noise, one other can watch to the top of the shape and can see a mountain. We can watch globally or watch in details. And this can be a really interesting thing to integrate inside a demo: from non classified shapes a morp can be done to show the different possible views.

5) Try to imagine an imp riding a rock on the mountain's top. A lot of wind and the rock start to roll from the snow-cappet and the imp is trying to stay on the rock :) Then the rock reach severall altitude's levels and we can see the resulting change: snow, water fall, different plants, different lightings,... The imp in its chaotic travel can meet wild animals, like a bear, a wolf, a squirrel, and so on... It can also escape from its rock and fall in a hole, travel on top of water inside a small raft, seeing his friend the coypu, in a cave! Then the rock still falling is reaching him and it have to jump on it to continue his travel... This can be technically interesting and fun to watch.

6) MC Escher transformation: a lot of works done by M.C Escher are mathematically interesting to reproduce at it features a lot of symmetry and homothety. This can result in really interesting geometric artwork generation algorythms and visuals.

7) An electron is moving across the different computer components: buses, peripherals, chipsets, cpu, gfx card, screen,... This can show using 3D rendered animations, what's inside computers: current moves, transistors, electronic logical gates, heat dissipation, hard disk / CD / DVD / USB Key, CPU and GFX Card clockworks (how they works, mechanical stuff), this can be really interesting stuff to show "how it really works".

8) Butterfly: Just a travel around different butterfly tribes around the world. Show what butterflies meet each day, dangers they avoid (human trying to catch them, dogs, cats, ...), pleasures they take (flowers, reproduction, metamorphosis), where they are sleeping,... The Life of an Insect can be really interesting to understand.

9) Inside a TCP segment: Show what is happening from the start of the computer concerning network to the complete network session. How DNS / ARP works, interraction of different protocols like TCP / IP / UDP / IGMP / FTP / ... A travel in nowadays numerical network universe. Show attacks like DOS / DDOS / Smurf, Nuke,...

Well what demomakers should do now is stopping creating 3D mathematically / physically only stuff as this is not fun at all: we need something with life on screen. No, life isn't mathematic only stuff, no, not everything can be mathematised, no, not everything is numbers and no, not everything is mechanical. Emotional, psychological and spiritual stuff are important too and can't be ignored. Yes, fun is a great part of life pleasure so please create artistic content which is beautiful, technically interesting and fun: you won't regret it as using your brain to build funny stuff will make you happier and healthier. Yes, fun makes you relax and will help you a lot relativise everyday problems.

Simple ideas / what not to do:

Newcomers should be realist: As a body builder enthusiast can't lift 350 lbs the first day of training, a demo coder can't release something great without at least 6 months of hard working. The same appears with musics and gfxs. You can for example try to reproduce a photo or a well known music and then try to be as creative as possible. Coders can create simple effects like opening a screen, puting a dot at the center and then improving the effect to a dots tunnel and don't forget the synchro! Please, the synchro! Yes, reality isn't slowed down nor broken up, so demos musn't be either. Or make an effect of it, it can be interesting (in the past guys have used pal to ntsc switching as a visual effect). All these works are not to be released, as they aren't visually interesting, these are rough works like training is for sport enthusiasts. They are needed to build something but they must stay invisible to the masses: this is part of secret. After releasing your first demos you will be pleased to show how you made it, but never before this event.

But never forget to work after this type of training on others really important parts of a demo like design, and transitions. Yes this is often missed by nowadays demomakers and this can really improve your demos: it helps going from the start to the end of your show without loosing the interest of your audience. Yes, transition with music interaction is what make your artwork a whole thing and it keeps the "pressure" till the end.

A Final Note

All these ideas are great but the danger is that several crews might be trying to use them at the same time. This can be annoying: ideas and originality comes from the fact there is rarity and sceners don't have to waste their time creating all the time the same things. So I advise people to contact me and showing me examples of their works before making stuff out of this column: this will help prevent multiple similar works being done in parallel.

EP / CosmiK