Moonstone by Anadune & Nah-Kolor (By Wie8 of Asenses)
One of the releases I anticipated most was the one made by a collaboration between Anadune and Nah Kolor. Frankly, I didn't know what to expect. I had in mind a demo resembling Addict Labs's style, because their recent demos were all look-a-likes. I waited until about 2 o'clock AM, bored watching the live transmission from Breakpoint at www.Demoscene.tv. From time to time I was willing to give up and go to sleep, but the waiting paid off and I finally saw Moonstone for the first time. And I was happily surprised. This time the gentlemen went all out and showed us their abilities. Mr.Acryl's engine makes a really positive impression, you can easily say that this guy knows how things work and can code pretty well.
First of all: this release is a couple of classes higher than the other 24 demos plus those not shown. It's very pleasing that Polish groups can make something for Breakpoint 2006 and that there is still someone willing to compete. Ok, that's all for an introduction, time to write some more about the demo.
I have to mention that in this demo we won't find any extraordinary consistency. The demo is based on different, completely separate scenes/motives. The beginning has really good ideas and it starts very atmospheric. Too bad that in some moments various flaws are absolutely easy to spot. Probably it is caused by the group's lack of time. For example, in the scene presenting the group names "Anadune & Nah-Kolor" hanging in the air, the camera is naturally going around, the environment with cube maps is working fine too, but wait - something is simply not right. Aah - Yes, it's a tree! The tree which should have been in my opinion a 3d model, so the camera could at least show us some different material structure and lighting. What the heck, I can ignore this - it can happen to anyone, so let's go on. Despite separate motives, Mr.Acryl still found golden ways to transition between scenes; they look very impressive. Most of us remember things like this from non-linear montage software. A very positive thing for this demo. Everything makes sense. Scenes fade in a pretty fashion and close in certain shapes. In most cases the textures and shaders look impressive and so does the lighting.
In one scene I found some kind of inspiration with Plastic's demo style. I'm talking about the flying spheres and lady's model and in the lighting and presentation style. But it absolutely isn't bad. I won't scream loudly if something is ripped or appeared lately. It is noticeable at www.pouet.net in comments related to this demo. Gentlemen, I must disappoint you. You simply can do that. You cannot strike something out only because it's similar to something else. I could state this charge to most groups in the demoscene which are notorious for using good old effects in their demos, effects which appear in every second prod. Because I can't find any reasonable argument that proves that this is a RIP, I consider the case closed.
As for the graphics, I can only state three objections. Too bad that the model of a lady was textured with a procedural texture, which obviously doesn't match the lady and the surroundings. Objection two: guys - too few models! We cannot name a 'model' a box with hole on every face. Objection three: too static. In the scene with bees, the only moving object is the wings of the insects. This is not a good solution. This scene is the least realistic one and I think that the priority should be to recreate some of their behaviors. All we need to be happy is to move these objects (not only their wings) and manipulate the camera. A bone-system is rather useless there :) I also have to mention the soundtrack itself, composed by Virgill. I have absolutely no objections to the music. The music's most important goal - mood building to complete things happening on the screen - was fulfilled completely. I liked the music diversity very much.
Besides some minor flaws, I can say: "Moonstone" is not a bad demo. Its release is definitely worth attention, and in my opinion, proved something to the West. This demo should have taken a much higher place, to account for how much work was put in and how much progress was made. Some bigger, foreign groups probably can look with envy, 'cause few groups showed total crap, but Anadune and Nah Kolor from Poland showed high class and created something that outclasses many other demos. And that's all folks :) I hope I haven't bored you.Wie8/Asenses