Review: Ocean Machine by TBL

written by Magic of Nah-kolor

Prologue: A new masterpiece?

The Black Lotus were back for another vengeance: 'Ocean Machine', their new Amiga demo, won another easter party, Breakpoint 2005! Beating the overall great Multiverse demo by Loonies, and the somewhat disappointing (looking at previous years) but still great demo by Mad Wizards.

TBL's victory is in the first place to thank to a new stunning Amiga-first routine in the form of a so-called '3d voxel'. Though not as beautiful for example as a 3d scene, a neat trick in a coder's perspective, I have been told. After the loading screen and the usual TBL logo the demo starts off with a small circle of 'plasma' when a face of a woman appears behind. Suddenly her eyes open and the title logo 'Ocean Machine' appears.

The demo now really begins.

In the next moment the music, an mp3 arranged by Yolk/CNCD, really starts sounding good with some French lyrics... and a nice scene appears. It's a city spinning around with buildings also floating in the air. Quite astounding, I like it very much. The French lyrics featured in the music mean in English: "Mustard is strong and that's why it's good." Quite funny actually, what is the connection of this sentence to this demo? :) Then again the music really is so atmospheric and so good. Yolk comments: "The singer is my girlfriend's little sister Linda whom I recorded ;) so it's not a 'sample from somewhere'.. And you should all know that the grand piano is played by Jugi/Komplex! :D (also recorded by me)."

Next comes the first 3d voxel, which looks nice. Some kind of forest. Then appears the dancer with ribbons from some of the previous TBL demos. But this time she is really moving around! Dancing like a real human in a room with the ribbons floating around her. I have been told that this scene isn't motion captured, but as Loaderror of Ephidrena puts it: "Tudor kicks ass with the animated dancer." Next we see these mountains from Silkcut, looking at them from above. It looks like they have added some fog to them. The camera moves in a circle. Nice. Next is a new 3d voxel scene. Again some trees, but this time also some rocks, and you see some grass with something blue in the middle. I can't figure out exactly what this is though :) The 3d voxel continues from another angle, this time it's something (a stone) with red/orange colours in the middle of the trees.

Nearer to the ending.

Now for some white/grey art. Half a circle of square boxes with the camera moving around them. Looks like art to me. Nice! Some black boxes moving along them. Cool. Greetings time. Moving around in a grey open space, with enough light, TBL greet who has to be greeted. :) Credits coming up: Louie500, Kalms, Tudor, Yolk, Rubber(duck). The piano is playing while the demo ends with the last 3d voxel. It's the tree from Perfect Circle :-) But as a 3d voxel. How nice! Especially with the piano playing at the background. Oops! At 6:14 there's a small bug in the mp3. But who cares. All in all I rate this demo 9.5 of 10. Why? I think it should have contained some more parts. The greetings, credits and beginning (loading screen and woman's face) already take half of the demo. So -0.5 waited :D Good work Kalms. When will your 'demomaker' come out to save the amigascene from drowning? :)


Six and a half minutes have passed. We had to wait a whole year for those 6 and a half minutes. It was worth the waiting in my opinion. But why did those 6 and a half minutes float by so fast? The Black Lotus did it again! For over 10 years now The Black Lotus have been releasing great Amiga demos. If it's coded by Offa/Equalizer or Kalms/Rubberduck doesn't make any difference. Maybe next year we will see a The Black Lotus demo coded by all four of them? :) Rest me to congratulate Kalms & Co. When you decide to stop releasing demos at the Amiga... it will be all over. Demo or die!

Note: You'll need WinUAE to watch this demo!

Magic / Nah-kolor