Sneak preview: Freax volume 2
A first look at Freax volume 2 exclusively for Hugi#34.
Written by Tomcat and Magic
This article is about the forthcoming Freax volume 2 which is currently in development for a planned Breakpoint 2008 release. Hugi got an exclusive first look at Freax Volume 2 and exchanged some thoughts on it with its maker Tomcat of Mad Wizards.
Freax Volume 1 is the first half of an entire book that has been published in August 2005. It has 224 pages about mostly the Commodore 64 and Amiga demoscene accompanied with 480 full colour screenshots and illustrations. It can be said that Freax Volume 1 was a bestseller! Tomcat comments: "Yes, it was a huge success, despite the quality flaws it was quite upset to see. It received very good criticism worldwide, and it was sold to the last copy. The German translation is being made now." Freax volume 1 was followed by Freax the art album, which contains about 1600 pieces of demoscene graphics at 286 pages. Included in the art album are graphics from the Commodore 64, Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Atari ST and Falcon, Amstrad CPC and PC (8-bit oldschool, 24-bit newschool, ANSI, ASCII, raytraced pictures, group logos, handdrawn Commodore 64 disk covers and the infamous 'Cracker Comics' from the '80s by Hobbit of Fairlight).
The making of Freax volume 2
When asked how Freax volume 2 started and how it's being made Tomcat explained: "Actually Freax volume 2 is not a separate project from Freax volume 1. It is a book written since 1996, half of it already published. But if you mean how it feels to watch old demos, recall memories, research long forgotten background and trivia, digging up old pals to talk with, well, it is a 'nice trip down the memory lane' as it was written in Freax volume 1. If you enjoyed reading Volume 1, you could imagine what a great time it was to assemble it. Back to the eighties and nineties, feeling the touch of old parties again, friendships, wars, cooperations and fistfights, teenage years and childhood heroes re-animated. Great!" In Hugi #33 Tomcat wrote an article about, in his eyes, unjustified trouble he had with the police. We asked him what impact this had on the making of Freax volume 2. Tomcat comments: "It's hard to write a book when either your computer is confiscated or you're in jail. Conclusion: don't write political blogs. I can tell you that the Hungarian police is still working on the Hungarian translation of the manuscript. They found it on my hard disk and since their expert found that it was written by me, they are trying to find if there's something terrorism-related in it. Well, it tells about groups in a worldwide network, hackers, crackers, and so on. I wonder when they'll ask what is that." Next we wanted to know what the credits of Freax volume 2 are and which sources were used to gather information and of course which sceners contributed: "I am writing it myself, as usual. It features the usual number of interviews, diskmag excerpts, and tons of screenshots too many to mention all of them and the same goes for people helping the project, which is a very long list. Practically all diskmags that ever had an impact on the scene, but I'd emphasize Imphobia, Slayer, Runtime, Scanner, Scenial, Terror News, PaiN, SceNews, and last but not least Hugi. Scene forums are a good source also, from Orange Juice to Pouet and Bitfellas. A very good source is also the good old Astroidea Party Results Pack. Naming all sceners who contributed would also make a long list, ranging from Jmagic to XXX, from Abyss to Reptile, not mentioning the screenshots from their products. There's a long list in Freax volume 1 about the persons who supported me, and that list more or less also applies for Volume 2."
Freax volume 2 - Contents
So what is Freax volume 2 actually about? Does it cover specific periods from our demoscene history? Tomcat explains: "Freax volume 2 is not divided into time periods but chapters about different platforms. Freax volume 2 is mostly about the PC scene, that's the first part, then about smaller platforms, from the Atari to Apple to the Spectrum. One chapter tells about each of these from the very beginning when it al started until the present day."
At the time of writing this article not all chapters from Freax volume 2 are 100% finished. The chapters are:
1. The intelligent terminal
2. The ancient times
3. Ducks and torii
4. The DOS age
5. The advent of true color
Tomcat: "This is where I am now, around 1997. This chapter will go to around the year 2000, the beginning of the Windows/3Dacc demo era. There'll be two or three more chapters, from 2000 to 2004 and from 2004 till today."
1. The ZX Spectrum
2. The Apple Macintosh
3. The Atari
4. The Amstrad CPC
5. Game consoles and handheld devices (this is not a title yet, this one I haven't even yet started)
6. The 'misunderstood' computers
1. The comprehensive scene jargon dictionary
2. In memoriam (list of sceners passed away)
3. Closing words
4. Appendix for both volumes
Tomcat: "Chapter 6 of part 2 is about the not very well known computers that have a demoscene, but are to rare to have a worldwide impact, such as the Thomson or the Commodore Plus/4, etc."
Freax volume 2 release date
At the time we had a first look at Freax#2, which was in January of 2008, we asked Tomcat when
Freax volume 2 would be released to be purchased by the rest of the demoscene:
"My hopes lay in Breakpoint 2008. Sceners can buy the book there, or later order online from
the distributors who already have or
used to have Volume 1. That includes maz-sound.com or go64.de for instance. The publisher will be CSW Verlag again. I am doing and hoping my best to finish it for Breakpoint 2008." Hugi knows that the official Freax website www.freax.hu was 'hi-jacked' and now is for sale. That's one channel where you at least cannot buy Freax issue 2. Tomcat comments: "www.freax.hu was hi-jacked for a very prosaic reason. The domain got expired, and the company I registered at went bankrupt before, so I didn't get a notice. A domain pirate has hi-jacked it and now wants a ransom of $450. Dream on, pirate guy. The site has been moved to http://freax.intro.hu/, thanks to Gargaj and Megasys."
At one point in doing this article with Tomcat he told me about his future plans regarding the Freax project. Volume 1 and volume 2 will be together in one big book called Freax the second edition. We asked why this plan was initiated. Tomcat: "Because Volume 1 was sold out, and I am planning some implementations, mostly design-wise. But the second edition is quite a melody of the future, maybe we can schedule it for Breakpoint 2009, if there will be a Breakpoint in 2009." Talking more with Tomcat about his future plans we wondered, if there ever would be a Freax volume 3, what would it be about? Tomcat comments: "I don't know... maybe CS gamer scene? Just kidding. Probably there'll be a second Art Album, as there are tons of more beautiful drawings that didn't fit into Art Album #1. Probably if there'll be a demoscene in 2020, someone might write Freax volume 3. But that's like wishing the Beatles made a comeback today. The scene is dead, etc." Anyway we hope Freax volume 2 will be a bestseller again. Tomcat ends this article with a funny one-liner: "Get a life, nerds!! :)" Well, we won't take this too seriously :) In conclusion our opinion is, based on what we have seen and Tomcat told us, Freax volume 2 will be a great book and a worthy follow-up to the first volume and should not be missed! We will of course write a full review for the next issue of Hugi when Freax volume 2 is finished and released.