Fleur was a Hungarian diskmag that was published in the English language. It was released in 1998/1999 and was one of the most popular active diskmags of that time (6th place in the Hugi #12 diskmag chart, 2nd place in Hugi #16, 2nd place in Hugi #18, 4th place in Hugi #19, 5th place in Hugi #20). Nevertheless it got only little support from its readers and stopped releasing already after issue 3. Fleur then merged with the Shine diskmag, and Shine #8 contained all articles that had been submitted for the never released issue 4 of Fleur.
The first two issues of Fleur were edited by Ezah of Dilemma. For issue 3, D-Lee of Exceed took over. Until April 2008 the individual issues of Fleur were downloaded about 1000 times each from scene.org. Fleur is a DOS-based diskmag and can be run on modern systems using the latest DOSBox emulator.
Fleur #1 was released in March 1998 as a co-production of the Hungarian groups Dilemma and Dinasty. In the editorial Ezah writes that he started the Fleur project together with Shade and Dfj because he was of the opinion that the scene currently lacked decent diskmags in the English language released on a regular basis and he wanted to help solve this problem.
The code of Fleur #1 was done by Nap of Dilemma with help from Brix of Dilemma, who made the module player. After starting fleur.exe, you get to see a title picture by Xtro of Rhyme, while one of the two music tunes is played. (The music was made by Jabberwock and Ainu.) Pressing a key will bring you to the main menu. The interface of Fleur #1 looks a bit like a mix of Imphobia and the older Shine issues: The text is displayed in a contiguous layout just like in Shine, and in the menu there's a selection bar like in Imphobia. Fleur #1 uses a fixed-width font, and each text line has a width of about 60 characters. The controls are actually keyboard-based although it's also possible to move the selection bar inside the article menu by means of the mouse. Using the keyboard, you select an article by means of the cursor keys up/down. Scrolling is done using cursor left/right, both in the menu and inside the articles. On modern PCs just like mine scrolling occurs very fast, there seems to be no or almost no delay after the keypress, so you need to have very fast fingers in order to read the magazine without skipping pages. That's a bit annoying. Also, switching tunes, which should be possible with the F1 and F2 keys, doesn't work for me.
Fleur #1 is divided in the following sections: Editorial (plus general information on the mag), Common Stuff (PC news, C64 news, messages, adverts, upcoming events), Interviews, Reviews (stuff from various parties), Articles, Party Reports (Hungarian and other parties), Charts, and Party Results. In addition, there are a gallery of hand-pixelled images and a collection of party pictures. There's a nasty bug in the code which has the effect that after looking at a party picture, it is no longer possible to move freely inside the menu, and thus you cannot select every article any more. That's another minus.
The scene related articles have headlines such as: "Photoshop vs. Art", "A totally useless idea" (giving up all groups and creating a scene where friendship rules), "Where those swappers are?", "Craps in demos?", "Why are there so few diskmags?", "The short history of the Hungarian scene", and "Is the modem scene dead?". Interviews have been conducted with Andy, Jabberwock, Reptile, Net and Tradd.
The charts are based on an interesting concept: Apart from international charts, there are also sections where you can vote for the best demos, coders etc. of your own country. If at least ten votesheets from your country have been sent to Fleur, the charts of your country will be published in the next issue. In my opinion that was an interesting idea because it could also encourage people to ask some of their fellow countrymen to vote and thus increase the total number of voters.
As a bonus, the tool mxm2xm is attached to Fleur #1. As the name says, it converts .mxm files to .xm files.
Proofreading of the articles was done by Jabberwock. He did his job quite well, which makes the quality of English in Fleur good.
Overall impression: Fleur #1 contains some interesting articles and has a nice, though buggy interface. All in all, I like it.
In December 1998, issue 2 of the Fleur magazine saw the light of the day, nine months after the first one. With graphics by Baste of Exceed and Immortal Rat of Astral, plus music by Sed of Dilemma and Carlos of Breeze, the diskmag comes to the critic's inspection who tries to determine if it lives up to his high expectations.
Since Fleur #1, the staff has grown and become more international. Szum/Cryogen, from Poland, was one of the editors of the Polish diskmag Dragon till its third issue, then he switched to Fleur. Some of you might remember the trouble this created in the Polish scene, as false rumours were spread that said Szum had taken all English articles from Dragon with him, which would be the reason why Dragon #4 was delayed. In the meantime this has been cleared up, and after reading Dragon #4 it should become ovious that the reasons for this delay were different.
The interface is based on Fleur #1, but the disturbing bugs have been fixed: There's now an adequate delay after pressing a key, you can navigate freely in the menu even after taking a look at one of the party pictures which can also be found in this issue, and music selection also works. One special innovation of this issue is the progress "bar", which is actually not a plain bar but a circle. This circle indicates your position inside the current article just in the way how election results are displayed in magazines. This status circle is located in the top-left corner of the text-window. Due to Fleur's text design, however, texts usually do not intersect the circle, except the article about hidden parts in demos, which is hence hard to read. Unlike the previous issue there is no background graphic behind the text, but on the bottom of the screen a very nice panel graphic by Immortal Rat is displayed.
Another new feature is that the 's' button allows you to save the current article to disk as a text file, and in the coding compo article you can also save an example program by pressing 'c'.
Fleur #2 has a total of 320 kbyte of articles. The structure of the magazine is like in the previous issue. Let's take a quick look at the most interesting articles.
Ezah welcomes us to the second issue of Fleur in his editorial. He summarizes the feedback on issue 1 he has received, and states that because of the lack of articles he already thought Fleur #2 would never be released. But four weeks before the actual release D-Lee started sending in some articles, and the thing began to roll. Furthermore, he wants to make clear that Fleur is no longer a production of the two groups Dilemma and Dinasty, as stated in Fleur #1, but a production of the whole scene. In fact Dfj was the only Dinasty member who contributed to this issue, and even he did not write a lot. Finally he hopes the birth Fleur #3 will not take nine months again and encourages the readers to submit articles.
"First Fleur coding compo": After Pain and Hugi, Fleur now also organizes a Size Coding Competition. Your task is to draw a rectangular snail in mode 13h. The idea came from TomCat/Abaddon. Fleur's coder, Nap, organizes the compo. The deadline was in March 1999.
The news corner contains mainly news about Hungarian groups. Its size is 10 kbyte, and if you are not involved in the Hungarian scene you can discover new things there. By contrast, the C64 news corner, written by Dfj, is tiny (700 bytes), and the main message is that not much has happened in the C64 scene. The only things worth mentioning are the release of "Our darkness" at Mekka & Symposium '98, which is "definitely the demo of the year", and that Assembly '98 was really bad as regards the C64 releases; admittedly, Panic released the demo "Speedway 2", but as Dfj says this is a "typical boring" Panic demo although it contains some "cool effects". When saved to disk, this article gets the filename dfjsuxx.txt. I hope this does not mean that Dfj was depressed or another member of the Fleur staff was angry with him!
Charts: 76 people voted. Most voters came from Hungary or Poland. Only eight voters were from other places of the earth. So Fleur #2 contains world charts plus Polish charts and Hungarian charts. In the world charts, usually the top 15 places are listed, whereas in the country charts the number is 10. The categories are: demos, intros, groups, coders, graphicians, musicians, modellers, mailswappers, artdisks, musicdisks, diskmags, and parties.
Articles: Cousman/Platoon reacts to the article "Why are there so few diskmags?" from Fleur #1. In Cousman's opinion there are too few English-language magazines and too many diskmags in local languages, which contributes to a splitting of the scene. That is not good, as in his opinion the scene should be "one big community and not a bunch of split weirdos".
An interesting detail about Fleur #2 is that the articles are sorted neither randomly nor by their subjects, but alphabetically by their authors' names. So after Cousman's article, three articles by D-Lee follow. He describes Exceed's success at Antiq '98 with their demo Riprap, forwards a letter he got from TS, a graffiti writer from Hawaii who sometimes made graphics for Exceed, and searches the Hornet Charts for Hungarian names and productions in "Where are the Hungarians?". The articles are about interesting topics (not just the x-th essay about mailswapping) and mainly refreshing to read.
Eclipse/Knights rambles about 3D in demos in his article "What about creativity?!". Next comes main editor Ezah. His first article, "Amigagroups on PC", fits the opinion that Eclipse stated in his article well. He points out that many ex-Amiga groups that are now active on PC mostly do demos filled with boring 3D scenes, and begs them to make them "more and more interesting".
In the next article, "Some words about ten...", Ezah states his opinion of The E-Mag Network, which is negative, as he is not keen on reading the same articles in different mags. Furthermore, he thinks that no one will send a mag articles if he knows that they will be published in other mags as well, since you usually support a diskmag because you consider it nice. Ezah also uses the opportunity to state his opinion about Hugi #11, which he likes "very much", but he is not fond of the idea to use the same 20 questions in each interview like it was done in Hugi #11.
To my mind the most interesting article in Fleur #2 is "What is a diskmag today?", in which Ezah deals with a similar problem as I did in "Newsletters vs. Diskmags vs. Online-mags" in Hugi #13. It is interesting that although each article was written indepently, the two of us came to almost the same conclusions! Ezah thinks that a diskmag, which is not so often released, should only contain quality articles from "all of us, sceners". That is why he removed the advert and message sections and also considered taking the news section away. Fleur is not planned to be a newspaper because if you read a newspaper you usually throw it into the trashcan afterwards, but if you grab a book you will take care of it and maybe read it again after some time. So he hopes that Fleur is a book for its readers.
Finally Ezah explains why he has stopped mailswapping: 95% of his contacts came from Poland, many of them were beginners and wrote only a few lines to him, and when Ezah did more mistakes in an English test than usually, he came to the conclusion that it had come from his contacts' bad English, which had had a negative effect on him. Secondly, many sendings have got lost, and thirdly, he works quite hard at his workplace, and when he arrives, he has too little time for mailswapping as he also has other scene activities.
In "The next sound standard", Sed of Dilemma reviews some soundcards, which has become an important topic as the GUS is not built any more. Nevertheless Gus PnP gets the highest rating together with Core Dynasonix. "Covers and paper-art" by Szum deals with a rather new aspect of swapping (at least there have not been many articles in international magazines yet that dealt with it), namely how to design your disk-covers. Very interesting. The next two articles, "Oh mum! I know 3lite dudes!!!" and the "Little Polish scene report" were written by Szum, too, but the most interesting article involving Szum is certainly the interview with himself. It is long and personal.
The last text in the "Articles" part is the Hidden Part List, which was once maintained by Phoenix/DC5 and now gets updated by Rod/Mandula. That's the article with the sloppy formatting I mentioned above while talking about Fleur's interface.
The reviews in Fleur #2 are mainly sorted by the parties whose stuff is reviewed, but there is also a special article in which Ezah writes about some of the best demos and intros by Pulse. He plans to do that in every issue with another group. In my opinion the Reviews corner is interesting.
Finally, there are a big bunch of interviews (Atx, Byter, HP, Illusion, Manka, Orome, Rod, Szum, Tudor, Visualize) and a party report about Evoke '98 by D-Lee coming along with six unique photos.
Fleur #2 was one of the best diskmags of its days; it met the expectations I had had.
Fleur #3 was originally planned for June or July 1999, but eventually it was already released on May 11th, 1999 (on the same day as Hugi #15). The graphical design of this issue was done by Xtro of Rhyme and Ludwig of Dinasty. The music was composed by Optic of TRSI and ATX of Chrome.
Fleur #3 features 320 kbytes of articles. It spoils the reader with some long, personal and therefore interesting interviews with grands personnages of the scene such as Hellfire, Danny, Lluvia, Mrock, Nitro and Fred, various insiders' opinions on the latest party-releases, and up-to-date charts.
For the first (and last) time the Fleur staff got enough votesheets to open a Dutch and a German charts section apart from the Hungarian, Polish and world charts.
Instead of party reports, Fleur #3 includes a list of upcoming events and some photos. In the section "Articles" we can find a lot of less interesting stuff on the one hand, and interesting stuff on the other (e.g. "The Brazilian demoscene", "The Hungarian Amiga scene in 1999", "How does real art influence the Demoscene?"), as well as a novelty: coding tutorials. They were written by the Dutch fellows from Quad.
There are three hidden parts in Fleur #3, which were made for three persons: One of them is Rod of Mandula, the others are D-Lee and me (Adok of Hugi). On entering Rod's hidden part, a file called fleurx.zip will be created, which contains the original program that was used to format the articles for Fleur. I think that was a nice idea! Unfortunately it eventually had no use because Fleur #4 was never released. To access Rod's hidden part, run Fleur with the parameter "/kellettnekedsecret?". For D-Lee's hidden part, run it with "/schumi" (D-Lee is said to hate Michael Schumacher!).
D-Lee managed to introduce a happy, cheerful atmosphere to the mag. It can be noticed that the editorial team of Fleur knows the demo scene well. Unfortunately, the grammar is worse than in the previous issue, as D-Lee's English is not so good as Ezah's and Jabberwock's. But apart from that, Fleur #3 isn't a disappointment at all.