The television, the Web and their effects on demos
By EP / CosmiK
The impact of television on demos seems to be almost none.
That's a good thing: since LoftStory and clones around Europa with the reality TV concept and format were founded, the TV has made a lot of victims. By victims I mean people watching TV 3 to 5 hours a day who have performed a lobotomy on their head meaning their brain isn't working as it should.
On the PC scene however, something has appeared to be a result of TV watching: there is allmost all the time no transition between parts and effects. This is really annoying because, there is no link between the ideas and that make our brain not working as it should. In life, there is a link between everything: there is a link between your overclocking and the heat dissipated by your CPU or VPU, there is a link between your clothing and the weather condition (you wear sunglasses during summer, and pullover during winter,...). In the demos, the lack of transition is really a problem. Why? I remember the good old time of Amiga 500 demos. Inside them, everything was linked even with just a fade in, a fade out, a distortion, a zoom, a rotation, a geometrical transformation, an horizontal or vertical laser, a pixelizer, a bumping horizontal or vertical screen scroll,... The transitions where everywhere, each time different, and were an important part of demos making them a whole and not just a collection of effects or a fly-by in 3D scene.
Another effect of TV is the speed: on demos everything is fast, too fast. Hey guys, this is not a race, this is about harmony, peaceful effects, to give us a good time. And the corollary is slowdowns and no sync. There are slowdowns even with a P4 2.6 GHz and a Radeon 9600 Pro with 128 MB, AGP 8X and 1 GB of RAM!!! There was an excuse for slowdowns on the Atari ST, the Amiga, The C64, and on every computer ever made but now, there is so much power, that there is not any reason for making something with a non constant frame rate. If you see that there is slowdowns, then either optimize, etheir reduce the effect complexity to let it be fast and smooth from start to end.
Another problem really frequent on the PC is the lack of synchro. I'm not a coder on the PC: I have just coded a bresenham line drawer in asm and a little tool for DOS. But as we have state of the art technology, I can hope graphic cards have an IRQ to do Vertical Blank Line synchro. I have already seen demos on the PC with perfect synchro, perfect scrolling, perfect rotator without a 5 degree step at the end of rotation while the rest of the rotation was by a 1 degree step, perfect zoom with a X pixels step in the focus from the back to the front and vice versa instead of a perfect X pixels step in the focus zoom ending with a X+5 or X+10 pixels step in the focus.
There is also a bad habit which started with the Amiga and continues on the PC: the so called production process!!! Hey guys, on the movie, on the TV, there are productions: the products are films and television series. They were produced meaning being done using a well defined method, with a well determined big-budget and the aim of these stuff is clear: making money. On the Atari ST scene, there is no production, you will never see this word on the scrollers. That's because the demos aren't productions: they are piece of artwork, done for fun, to show the world what you are able to do and they aren't made at all to make money. Money is something which ruin the scene: when people do something for interest then the whole fun disappears, everything becomes rational, serious and in fact boring and repetitive. Everything becomes thank, calculated, measured and the art disappears. Just think about rich people like Bill Gates and all the important salesmen and sales managers: are they happy? Not for sure: they have no free time, they use all their time to make money, to make the best buy to make the most money they can. Hey guys, the scene isn't a serious thing: it's here for fun so don't produce but create. Make creations, be artistically new, be yourself without producing anything, instead create, make demos with love and remove the money totally from the scene. Everything becomes a lot better when everything is done without money: people don't try to trade, they swap, they share, that's the real scene spirit.
And there is also a bad effect on the scene coming from the 8 o'clock news: there is no link between the music playing and the effect on the screen. Yes in the 8 o'clock news, the surveys show pictures which have nothing to do with what is said. I mean the voice isn't describing what the screen display, that's annoying because the brain is going wrong with such treatment. Look in real life: you talk to people around you and allmost all don't really listen to you, they pretending, they cut the conversation, they go away without saying "astalavista", they came, they go, well there is a lack of sense in what they made and what they do. It's like on the 8 o'clock news: this is a lack of common sense to show pictures and not talking about what is shown on the screen. And in life it's a lack of common sense not to listen and try to understand what the guy in front of you is saying to you. In the demos it's a lack of common sense to play a music not especially made for your demo, it's a lack of common sense to play sound without synchro between the tune and what is displayed on screen. Hey guys, look at these beautiful ballerina, they move in rythm with the music, they execute a choreography, a good demo is like a music ballet, there is order, there is link between everything, there is sense and a meaning in what is shown and played, when there is harmony between the whole parts of a demo, the show is great and the audience is happy, you've just released a hit.
Last but not least, for a lot of us the Web has replaced the TV in our world. The web is the evolution of the TV: instead of being at 5 meters ahead of the screen watching stuff, you are now seated on a chair during hours, the head stuck 1 meter ahead of the screen, clicking here and there, typing on a keyboard. On the web a lot of web pages are designed to be read quickly, and when you click to go from one site to one another, there is no transition, flash and all kind of animations are jerky, and that have also a bad influence on our productions: we are doing what the others do as miming is the first way to learn. Hey guys, take a good old A500 and watch what all these 16-year-old kids have done in the past. Watch especially these little cracktros made by paradox, angels, and other crackers, watch also the intros, 64k and the top notch demos. You will see one thing: it's tiny but well designed, the music is melodious, the graphics are well drawn with colors, volume and life, the code is fast, well synced, and all the part of the team have the faith in what they do. Forget the A1200 3D demos as allmost everything of this demo kind was a bad try to compete with the cheap and more powerful PC 3D hardware.
That's details guys but that counts, that's what we call quality. Breaking records is lame using neglected quality, as an old Amiga Andromeda Demo said. We are artists, we make things not to do them but to watch, to feel them. If demos are not perfect technically talking, what the sense of making them? Transitions, harmony, synchro, design, 2D art, a good music - that's good ingredients to cook good demos. Good demos are like flowers: they start from seed to end with opening with an infinite series of stages. The start is when the user have just found the beautyfull icon on his hardrive and the end is when the last note is played and we return to the beautiful icon. Between these two ends everything should be well linked and making an indissociable whole.
EP / CosmiK