Hugi Magazine #33: MP3 Power

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The Ultimate Wii-thing 2006 (By KeyJ / Kakiarts)

Since the end of The Party, The Ultimate Meeting is the place to be during the week between Christmas and new year. Like in the previous year, tUM 2006 took place in the "Festhalle" in Karlsruhe-Durlach, Germany. This time, the motto was "disco". Funky!

The most impressive thing about the party is how smooth everything went. In particular, there have been almost no compo delays, which is really amazing considering the tight schedule: Some deadlines were only two hours before the respective compos. The network and internet connection also worked OK, there was even a dedicated AS entry and IP range reserved for the party at RIPE! This way, everyone had a public IP address, so the party IRC channel was actually in IRCnet. (I couldn't use it though, because we had our own NAT router due to a shortage of Ethernet switch ports :)

The main attraction of the party wasn't the compos, the chat with friends or the booze. Instead, it was a thing that usually is not accepted at demoscene parties at all: Gaming! Precisely, a permanently-running Nintendo Wii with 3 (or 4?) Wiimote/Nunchuk pairs was the thing that stole the show from all the compos. Most of the time, large crowds assembled in front of the device to watch the players (among whom were numerous famous sceners, like wayfinder, paniq or kb) jumping. Later during the party, there was even an additional Wii installed at one side of the hall. As kb put it nicely at the end of the party, "Nintendo kills the demoscene".

Regarding the compos, there wasn't much to write home about. The number of entries was low (approx. 100 total, as opposed to the >200 of last year's tUM) and the overall quality was mediocre. The only compos that managed to surprise me in a positive sense were the Executable Music and 4k Procedural Graphics compos. I really suggest having a look at the top entries of these compos! The intro/demo compos got merged across platforms due to the low number (2, IIRC) of low-end and oldschool entries. The game compo has been canceled completely, because ours was the only entry. The 4k compo was at the usual high level, with 3 very good intros from Minas, Limp Ninja and Mercury, respectively. The WiLD compo was dominated by JCO's dark music video "Angst".

The 64k and demo compos were nothing special, either. The entries were not bad, but most of them were not spectacular either. "Terra Incognita" by Brain Control was a tour-de-force 64k intro with a lot of content, and Farbrausch returned into the 64k business with the compo winner "platinum". In the demo department, there were three exceptional entries: "Atomrave" by was a well-made, but lengthy storydemo. "Happens." by Ümlaüt Design can best be described with a single word: strange. The first place was taken by The Simulaation 5 Invitation by mfx. Strictly speaking, this demo wasn't anything special, but the brutal hardcore soundtrack seemed to do its share to the overall impression :)

There were also a few fun compos: Last year's pirated demo compo returned with the title "funk me plenty", but unfortunately, there were no great releases this time. The "Disco-Style Effect Coding" compo, on the other hand, had numerous surprisingly good releases. Immediately after the compo, it seemed to be a close call between Kakiarts' "discocubes" and Farbrausch's fr-minus-08 "funky bitch", but in the end, we won, clearly :) Finally, Madenmann invited everyone to take a Boris Vallejo picture from the Internet and modify it in any way he or she could think of. The results of this "Boris Vallejo Conversion Compo" were as funny as expected. In the end, the clear winner was a picture called "Madenmann adores Scamp" which can't really be explained ... it must be seen :)

All in all, The Ultimate Meeting 2006 was a magnificent party. Nice people, great organization, good weather, many girls ... everything fits ;) If just the quality of the compo entries would have been as great as everything else ... but in the end, I can't complain. In my opinion, the whole year 2006 didn't yield many high-quality productions apart from the Breakpoint and Assembly ones, so the tUM results fit perfectly into this scheme.

See you all at Breakpoint 2007!

-- KeyJ / Kakiarts