CPC in the year 2010
Written by Optimus
I have just realized it's ten years since my first article about CPC in 2000. More than ten years have also passed since the beginning of my scene career. Sometimes I go back in time by reading my older articles to bring back memories and compare how things have changed both in my life and the CPC scene. Well, this is an article about the CPC and not my life, yet I always left fragments of my own psyche or self-sarcasm in my articles. But let's go back to CPC. Ten years of CPC in the new millennium. It's still amazing that I am writing this near the end of 2010. An interesting(?) comparison of the CPC activity during these years was exclusively written for the site pushnpop.net (ex cpcscene) in this link here.
Leftovers from 2009
In my last article I didn't give a proper review of one demo. My response was something like "don't watch it, there is nothing in it". Somehow I mistook it for another joke demo, must be that I have seen the group being OFE (a jokegroup from I don't know which people). It's a pity since I have written quite more words while reviewing the demos from Hellas-Laser (or rather talking about my hilarious crazy friend). When I later checked the demo at youtube I found out that it wasn't bad at all. I promised to write a proper review for this demo in the next year's CPC article and so here it is.
The demo is called Killmax. It seemed like a joke release (mind the title referring to the Climax slideshow series). There is an intro with an eye made out of binary code which is just like the eye on Climax. The next part is a slideshow of mode 1 pics (320*200) which are transfers and changing the colours frequently during the retrace to produce more than 4 colours and beautiful displays using the CPC+ palette. The next part is a car driving and hitting a yellow being that is supposed to be an inside French joke or something? I am wondering who is that being. Another thing that stands out is the music. Well, they are transferred Atari ST musics with dual sid voice emulation. So, it's not that bad, it's definitely better than Hellas-Laser, one can stand and enjoy the transfered graphics and the music (even if there is nothing original here) in a small rare release in the empty world of CPC demos.
Recently I was wondering whether to review this demo or not. That's because I learned much later the sad story behind it. It's yet another case of someone stealing the work of somebody else and releasing it without his permission. I should mention that some of the parts, graphics and design behind this demo were from an original project from Sylvestre. Yes, the original author of the Climax series. I remember someone explained me the whole story I was missing while I was at the Amstrad Expo 2010 meeting. I can now understand the controversy at Pouet comments on this prod. It's a shame that one cannot respect the work of another scener, especially in a scene that is dying. I remember this happening again several years ago in the Greek CPC scene, resulting in new blood abandoning the scene. This totally pisses me off! Anyway, my decision was to write the review, state the facts and then move on.
This year was not really good in demo releases, especially compared to 2009. I don't remember a single good multipart demo that can really stand out the competition from 2009, namely demos like Pheelone or From Scratch. In fact, was there a single multipart demo this year? Not minding if it's a trackmo or several parts separated with space. Just a bigger demo with enough good stuff to see. I can only think of my very own Chunky Chan that I released at Amstrad Expo 2010. The next two interesting releases were Moody and Phreaks and they both consist of one single effect. I would also add Plasmorphy which is another single screen that's worth it. But no big masterpieces I would like to watch again like in the past years. Of course this doesn't say much about the future of the CPC rather than we might see the really good stuff we have missed in the next years. This is also a short list of the most important demos of this year, thus I should start with them.
How can one review his own demo? I might have done this at least two times before. So, this must be my third CPC demo (not counting some random crap) and my comeback to the CPC scene (Well, I never left). I can of course speak a little about it without boasting, just giving interesting technical details or personal stories behind it. Like the fact that this demo was done during a period in which I was mainly inactive from the demoscene, that I was working on it while I should be studying or working on my master final project instead, that I was highly motivated while working on this thing because of some big changes that brought the CPC scene more close to the international scene world, also because of my motivated friend Voxfreax and our plans to visit Amstrad Expo. Or the other funny facts that this was my first demo not entirely written in assembly, it also didn't steal much time from my studies because the main demo was done a week before the party (but the C framework and most important functions were started a little more time ago).
A demo written in C language. A concept already tested with success by NoRecess in his demos Phat and Pheelone. Later on, NoRecess released his own C compiler for CPC called PhrozenC (his previous demos were written either in z88dk or sdcc compiler). I decided to play a bit with it. At first I was joking about the idea to write a demo framework for CPC in C and use this compiler for my future projects. Then I started playing with it. There is the usual reaction you know, an 8bit demo in C? Of course the most crucial routines would have to be written in inline assembly, something that is quite easy in PhrozenC by using the #asm and #endasm directives. But the memory consumption? That's a problem and it makes me want to avoid C for big projects. But for middle sized demos like Chunky Chan or for code experimentation it's ideal. The initialization, unrolled code generation, demo part scripting, transition animation (not the rendering) and other minor stuff are so easy to write when it's not assembly and it makes the code more redable. One can always replace a C function with assembly code if it still proves to slow down the main demo. The resulting code is bloated and even doing simple stuff for 10 loops (like moving sprites and checking for clipping with the screen) still wastes enough raster lines, which makes you wonder. But as a speed developing experiment this was just right for what I needed.
Yes, the concept was speed developing. I didn't need to develop the smoothest routines ever for this one. My plan was to test if I can still make a proper CPC demo after so many years of inactivity, in a very sort time before the deadline. And keep the process as fun as possible. So, except from the choice of C language, another concept for speed developing was to make a renderer for a chunky rendering mode that points at a linear framebuffer which I can use during the whole demo without caring anymore about the confusing CPC videoram. That was a concept I was thinking years before I even decided to code C on CPC. Even the name of the demo was thought back then. Finally it was completed. The result? Ugly chunky mode with 4*4 dithered blocks in Mode 1 resolution (320 * 200, 4 colours). Kinda slow effects. Still they look shady with the dithering. I like the 2d metaballs (blobs) but they are slow. The tile renderer already spends 2 VBL iirc. The advantages are that I can write effects in this chunky mode very easily. The metaballs were coded in a hurry while I was in the boat from UK to France. Usually I am scared to open a CPC emulator and code assembly in a hurry in such situations. Well, the blob rendering code was unoptimized assembly :) I don't think I would normally have the courage to code a 100% assembly demo in such a short time and while I am busy with studies or other stuff. Modern tools and an open mind for C coding on 8bits made it possible!
I could now move on to other releases. I have spent three paragraphs already just for my own creation but think this as a review (sort of) of PhrozenC too. Let's move on to Moody, released by Vanity at Main 2010. This is probably the best 4k on CPC yet. And I should mention that tiny intros of sizes equal or less than 4k is something new on the CPC. Thus, this intro compared to the best 4ks say on C64 would be an overkill. So, those who happen to know demos from other scenes and have seen really great 4ks should not expect much. But it's still quite good in both technical and artistic aspects. The only drawback is that there is only one single effect yet a good one. It is a 3d maze untextured. The screen area is big enough and wide and the frame rate is very good for the size (could be 2-4 VBLs if my eyes are not deceiving). At least the effect is not just thrown away as it is but is presented in a sequence where the action stops and some vectorlike fonts are writing credits/greets/etc and then the next sequence continues. The colours look vivid and there is dithering (not exactly in the real sense, but a chessboard grid pattern) that uses nice combinations. The music is nice too, not something that stayed in my mind though but very good for the small size provided. Even the loading is well thought. It's a good quality 4k with a single effect that is good enough to enjoy.
Since I've talked about 4ks being a rare entity on the CPC scene, I should say there is a recent interest this year that could expand. The Spanish party Euskal 8bit had its first 8bit 4k competition and they were accepting CPC entries too. This was a great thing to do and the competition received two CPC entries. One is even the first release from a newcomer on CPC scene, Ham, who is also known for his demos on other platforms like Amiga, PC or Gamepark GP2X. This is great news, every time I see newcomers on the CPC I am happy and I hope they stay longer and be more involved. His 4k Endless Superloop Iteration has no real effects, except from some blocks moving in parallax in a small window and the bouncing of the screen. There is also a very simple write and a cute animated robot. What I like in this 4k is that it's a honest first attempt at CPC coding with nicely designed screen and simple presentation with some noizy sound yet it feels complete. It's a very nice way to join the CPC scene.
My own entry, bloids1k, was more moving on the technical path. It's using the tile rendering from Chunky Chan and the blob rendering concept. Of course I didn't port the C code involved because it would never make it into 1k this way. Everything is rewritten in 100% assembly. Code that generated unrolled codes for the blob rendering had to be written among with other stuff and heavy optimization went into reducing this under 1k. Originally I was planning a real 4k with this code but time was rare and I also had to get rid of this since I was still busy with my master thesis at the time. This intro doesn't show the full potential of this routine. The movement is not nice, I noticed that myself too, though I was in such a hurry to get rid of it and I didn't bother with how to fix my sine curves. Overflow has helped to optimize some more bits both in size and speed and a bigger number of blobs at the same speed is possible. I think it will be very impressive using the blob renderer for exploding particles and other stuff and I will keep this idea and the code for a true 4k. Next time I should search for a player and compression engine for those sizes as they are already used in the other two 4ks I have reviewed and I might need them too.
Plasmorphy by Benediction was another single part release at Amstrad Expo 2010. It features a hardware screen with some plasma that rotates on X like a pseudocube. It's not a real soft rotation like how I did it in X-kore with a X-stretcher but a simple hardware one where one chooses the lines to display. And so it's really smooth and fast with many bouncing and rotating plasma cubes. The screenshot I provide doesn't show the real deal but capture a better one if you can. :) It looks better as it moves. I mostly enjoy the very well chosen colours in this demo and the great music from Factor6. Voxfreax has taken the artistic lead in this demo and also made the graphics. Nice to see a new Benediction demo. I am curious for some multipart demos from these guys in the near (I hope) future.
And I leave Phreaks by Condense for the end since it really was released late as an Xmas present. What Phreaks consists of is a tv screen with some splatters in the foreground where some animations of a dancing guy are showed. It's only interrupted by a quite simple writer yet with nice fonts. This is supposed to be an attempt to make something similar to State of the Art from Amiga on CPC. The good parts are: nice antialiased animations, rasters and little details to feel less empty. The bad parts are: too slow to enjoy, some weird colours I don't like. The music was ok but still nothing that reminds in my mind (I miss great musics on CPC that you keep singing, like those great tunes from Atari ST you can't stop hearing in your mind, even good recent demos like Pheelone or From Scratch have a fairly good non repetitive tune yet somehow it doesn't stay in your mind). People who were hoping for a new Pheelone might be disappointed. Neither should you expect a non-boring State of the Art alike demo here. As a technical concept it is fine. I can't speak with certainty whether it could be done faster or not and what a faster code would mean for the amount of data in the limited memory space. I should try this before speaking about it. But such slow animations spoil the whole fun of a state of the art alike demo. It's still nice to see a new demo by NoRecess even if it might be his last. Wishing to give more time to his family and being busy with real life, it's getting harder for him to give so much effort to CPC. I understand this and I won't ask here for more demos from retired sceners like a silly demo consumer. (But please, don't omit to make that version of PhrozenC with specifying org I begged for :))
There were a few more demos at Amstrad Expo. Most of them are insignificant. I could only speak shortly about each of them to not tire the readers with the less significant releases. One small release that is still a bit interesting was Conway from Benediction. It was Krusty's release for Amstrad Expo and I was curious about it because I like Krusty's software demos. It was a bit different this time though. Not exactly a demo but a game of life with controls to draw/erase cells. Instead of squares, specific graphics like drops of blood were selected for rendering depending on the neighbour cells. But that's it, nothing more to see. The rest of the releases were single graphics screens with some tricks to the eye.
Apart from demos few other good stuff was released. The most interesting pieceis a tool of course, which is Arkos Tracker. Finally, one can compose CPC tunes using a PC. One can save in the AKS format but also extract the music in uncompressed YM format, which might be suitable for playing on other computer bearing the same Yamaha sound chip too. There is also an option to connect a CPC booster with the PC to compose on the tracker and play directly the sound on a real CPC. This could open the way for Spectrum or Atari ST musicians composing for CPC. Another good surprise of this year was the long awaited release of Color Lines by Tom et Jerry. This is an addictive puzzle game with very good graphics and tunes. One special thing is that this game is skinnable and several different skins were available all ready with the release of the game. The same happens with the several tunes where different musicians contributed to this project. This game actually looks more like a big graphic and music disk at the same time. Last surprise was a release of the music disk Now! by Brainstorm. Wow, Brainstorm on CPC! There are some members that joined Brainstorm I already knew from the CPC scene like Ultrasyd who did the music and some guys from Brainstorm who worked on the gfx and code. The graphics are likeable, interface is simple, some tunes are very good. It's a nice surprise to see new groups on the CPC. I am curious if there will be future releases from Brainstorm on CPC.
The most important thing for the CPC the year that passed was not the demos released (which were fewer and not very significant than the previous years) but a sudden change in the community. Probably the most important news of 2010 and the reason for my raised interest on CPC was the opening of the CPC site Push 'n Pop, formerly opened as cpcscene.com but changed domain for some reasons I don't know. Finally, this was a true CPC demoscene oriented website with discussion forums, articles, news and an interest to connect with the international scene. I don't remember when was the previous time we had a CPC demo discussion as a community with the majority of the French sceners, while using the English language. I was feeling connected with the scene, not alone. It was also nice to see people from other countries in the memberlist interested in our discussions. Another good attempt that this site does is to connect the CPC scene with the demoscene in general, regardless the machine. I mean, something like a CPC outreach, for example there were news about Breakpoint and Main and other parties in the main news page and trips were organized, like the visit of several CPC sceners at the last Breakpoint. There was some participation in graphics and music competition with CPC entries on the big demoparties too. For example Soleil Vert for the freestyle graphics competition at Breakpoint or Fairy by Futurs as executable music in the same party. There was more CPC participation in demoparties like Euskal with two 4ks and Main with one 4k and a musicdisk. I think very positive of this, not only is this an outreach of the CPC scene to the outside world but also CPCers can have a look at demos from PC, Amiga, C64 and other platforms in the demoparties, meet new people, get inspiration, feel more connected. I don't see why the CPC scene should stay closed in its own shell, especially in 2010 where the CPC sceners are so few. For me it feels so lonely if you just keep being a CPC scener not interested in the demoscene from other platforms. Outing is essential.
There were some disturbances near the end of this year in the CPC scene, which made me sad and is also not the vision I have about CPC. Of course each one has a different vision and the scene shouldn't be defined by one single person. Briefly, some people on pushnpop got very angry and started arguing about some things and when they did this they also started to write entirely in french. Google translate was my companion but that pissed me off anyways. Some people think that some other people are very elitist, some also don't share the same vision of the scene outing. The scene outing vision was not the main reason of the quarrel, it was just mentioned somewhere and it inspired me to think about two different scene views, one that wants the outing and just happens to want more quality from CPC demos and compete with the real thing out there and another who is afraid to go out and wants to stay in the French village and just do simple demos and everyone being happy. That's just a correlation and I prefer the outing view even if I am not so elite to compete with the best of the crop. And simply I don't care.
The thing is, would such an outing do bad to the CPC scene? No. Would the eliteness and trolling from Pouet or the very high standards from the big demoscene community damage the CPC? No. Because you can find the elites and you can also find BITS. You can find cocky people and also really really nice people. And the really really nice people are sometimes elite in the good sense. They do really great stuff but they can still be polite with all of you. Some people do mediocre demos and they don't care. Other people do whatever they want and make demos for whatever platform they feel like. There are all sorts of people there. There is no big difference in eliteness or trolling between the big demoscene community and the abandoned French village called CPC scene. What is in the city is there also in the village. The CPC scene won't turn more elitist or loose its identity if it goes outside it's shell. The only difference is that a CPC scene not outing itself will be miserable. It's already too small to outstand. It won't evolve, it won't meet new challenges, new people, a bigger community, people who like demos regardless the platform. I am happy with the vision of pushnpop and some sceners have for the future of the CPC scene.
Ok about the harsh (or honest?) reviews, I understand. There are so many times I cried, so many times I opened those threads on Pouet whinning why I can't be a succesful demoscener. All these silly things I have endured for several times and still didn't got a clue then. It's not easy to not be affected when you got used to be involved in the scene emotionally, having your own vision, your own dreams, hating different attitudes, hoping you will do a really good demo one day and people will adore you. It's not easy when you were involved in this mindset for several years. It's not easy even when you wake up after ten years and realize that you got it all wrong in your head. My own escape from this is zen-like, simply focusing on the things that you like and trying to avoid getting involved emotionally in the things that the scene want you to do. Of course you have to get rid of your own preconceptions too, for example say you like doing single effects for the tech but the scene won't appreciate if you release them alone, except if you connect them in a demo, which is something you accept because you have learned an unwritten law that this is what the scene is about, but if there was another community where releasing single effects would be ok then you would adopt its own mindset and it would be just fine. You are involved in a community and then your brain works like you believe in the unwritten rules and you have to make a demo, not your own thing necessary, so that they appreciate. This is just an example of how this thing is in our brains and we can't escape from the machine. We try to get something from the scene, we have our own vision of the scene which isn't necessarily someone else's vision, we are emotionally connected to the scene in such a way that it harms us at the same grade as it makes us feel good (or maybe more harm than good as antitec would say). And so we lose focus, which is to be creative in the way we wish to be.
Of course, you may release a preview of effects because that's what you like to do and still you won't get many positive comments because the scene wants a real demo. Or you may feel more confident in the small French village, yet the CPC scene might be moving inevitably towards the outing direction, no matter what your vision is. Sometimes things are not how we like them to be. People are fighting because one wanted a more tech oriented scene like the old times but for example the PC scene has moved to the more artistic side because that's what most people like. How to survive this? Continue doing what you like to do and some people might appreciate, focus on your work, what you enjoy doing, not how it will be appreciated or if it is what the scene wants. In other terms, don't give a fuck about what the scene wants or what the scene means. Drive your mind away from the equation. Stop thinking about the scene. If you still enjoy CPC coding, write an effect in 1k or less, send previews to your friends, open a site with tutorials about coding single CPC effects, or quit making demos, start a game project, code a tool, find another community, get out. Don't get stuck in the scene loop and whine in eternity. This is what I am learning ten years after my personal scene struggle. Demos have still some appeal for me, it's still sometimes nice to release something for the bigscreen, but it's not the sole thing I can do. If I am in the mood I might try coding something but if I am not I might move to another scene, or make a game, app, or just code for fun and not run for a demo release, depending on the motivation and how I wake up :)
It's a bit twisted but it's the closest I could get to not quit and still be happy. It says: Don't give a fuck about the scene yet be a part of it in a way you feel good with. The scene is an idea. Everything is an idea. Don't take things seriously. That's what I call politics. Being strongly opinionated about something like it's your own home. Being severly emotionally attached to ideas that it harms you. All these quarrels start because one's own vision of the perfect scene isn't exactly matching how the community works and looks like in reality. But we are so many in this community and a scene that is always appealing to every single person is not always going to exist. Just be there, try to focus on doing your thing and ignore the noise. Or don't be there for a while. Both work somehow.
I wish a better year for the CPC scene with more outing and you know what? Invade pushnpop, less Frenchies, more English! That's a joke of course but it's also a concept. There are 42 French people out of 74 users in pushnpop yet the discussions are still dominated by French people. Most people just joined once and are absent from the discussions. Sometimes I am absent from the forums too, I admit it. If 50% of the discussions were from non French people then the CPC scene would feel more international and those Frenchies wouldn't feel like being in the French village with their quarrels. A melting pot for the CPC scene is my vision. Make it real! Ok, I should stop thinking about scene politics now and think CPC..
P.S. Sotsoft of Hellas-Laser has just discovered the internet. Be afraid, be very afraid, it's only time before he finds out Pouet.
CPC in the year 2011
Written by Optimus
The time has come for another article about the evolution of the CPC scene each passing year. I know my past article about 2010 is going to be released in the same Hugi issue so it's a nice introspection to read both of them at the same time and see what I was expecting or how things have moved on. I see that there might be fewer releases this year, overshadowed by a highlight that is monumental for the CPC and not only. I am of course talking about the release of Batman Forever, something unexpected considering what we were used to expect from even the good CPC demos. Maybe the release of this massive demo stunned all the good CPC groups for a while and we haven't seen anything released from the big teams except from Benediction that went into a hyperactivity releasing small demos at various demoparties.
I really enjoy talking about Batman Forever in blogs, articles and other sources. I have said that it's so good that sometimes it resembles an Amiga demo. The numbers of the dot effects in full screen is something you usually don't see in 8 bits. The zoomer and textured twister with the more vivid CPC palette could trick you into believing this is a 16 bit computer. The whole presentation is very trackmo style (in the true sense since loading is occuring from the disk during the whole demo) resembling the good Amiga demos. The vector animations are really in your face, overscan and smooth! You don't expect to see such animations in 8 bits, no matter if they are precalced and not real 3d as someone would expect, they still rock! And everything is there, effects, presentation, design, graphics, music in a perfect form. I might exaggerate with comparing this to Amiga, but let's say you were showing this to some guy and told him it is an AtariST demo. Bearing the same sound chip and the graphics being not much different, looking at the massiveness of effects one could say this is a good AtariST demo!
I like to think this as a black swan effect, truly showing not only to the CPC scene what a CPC can really do but generally what more can we expect from 8 bits. It will be really interesting to see how this demo affects the rest of the scene. For once, we CPCers have finally our own Second Reality as a friend likes to say. Together with the attempt for CPC outreach from Push'n'Pop site, CPCers visiting modern demoparties, both of these events might effect the CPC scene positively by attracting newcomers.
The effect was so positive that several sceners started being interested about the CPC and its technical capabilities. There were even some slightly heated discussions in various forums. It is to be expected when big things arrive and there is a lot of hype (justified) about them. Of course another reason for the fuzz was that the text writers of Batman Forever were teasing the C64 scene. I would add that it managed to pick on the CPC scene at the same time (epic) and very succesfully. Who would expect that one guy whose last demo was on Amiga more than 10 years ago would kick the asses of the whole scene with such a release. When Rhino came to the push'n'pop forum one and a half year ago claiming that he was writing a demo that can even beat the C64 demos it sounded a bit cocky and hard to believe. I was afraid this project would never see the light, remembering other less extreme projects that took 10 years to set free or are still in the works. But the miracle has happened! I'll just give you a link to this demo and let you watch it for yourself if you haven't done this yet.
What else can I say about Batman Forever? If I started talking about every effect and every aspect of it then this would not be an article about CPC in 2011 but Batman Forever itself. In fact not many nice things were released except from an excessive activity from Benediction as I mentioned in the intro. First of all there was an unfinished demo from Benediction at the same party at which Batman Forever was released. I have seen the Benediction demo because the unfinished version was released at the Forever demoparty site before the link was removed and it is promising. Quite a nice trackmo that needs some more code and graphics. In that demo the zooming scroller effect was achieved (use of software rendering and hardware technique together), which is also a world's first and also appeared in Batman Forever (much better version). There are some other nice soft effects and a general direction to a multipart trackmo style. There might be a download link at CPC-Power site but I really hope I'll see the finished version soon.
At the same Forever demoparty we had a few other cute releases, like Hello World by Frequency, which is their first demo on CPC, and my own 1k entry Springles, which is just ugly coder pr0n. Moving on with the tiny intro CPC releases I'd like to mention Barcatraz, which are great overscan vertical bars in just 256b. Last but not least 256 byte Overscan Megatext Intro, which is a vertical overscan raster scroller again in 256b only. The nice thing is that this intro was done from matahari, who is a newcomer from Turkey. I know that Turkey has a growing scene especially on PC and C64 and it would be really nice to see the new interest in CPC grow up too. I am curious how much the CPC computers have infiltrated the Turkish market in the past and if that computer was known there at all.
So, I started talking about Benediction and went on talking about the other stuff. Ok, let's remember what I was about to say. Oh yes, Benediction. They also want to give lessons to the scene like the Batman group. First release was "Still the bests", which is a fullscreen overscan blocky rotozoomer in just 4k! It's a really good release even though the rotozoomer loses precision most of the time. For us enjoying pure coder pr0n even as a proof of concept this is an interesting release but it could disappoint other sceners. I say it's an excellent release considering the size limitations. At the same demoparty (which is Reset, the new Amstrad Expo) more Benediction demos were released. Les Experts - Coutances is a demo I quite like, bearing of a single screen, nicely designed with some lovely pixeled graphics and different shows of a single plasma effect (great changing palettes!). Interesting enough there was another unreleased entry in the competition results by Eliot, Rex and Voxfreax, which seems to be a music disk. Much later at Evoke demoparty we have a new Benediction release called Bloc Us! which is resembling more of a trackmo with different parts, mainly based on the improvement of the blocky rotozoomer routine from Still the Bests. There is a caleidoscope rotozoomer which doesn't look as good as the final big colored rotozoomer near the end. The texts consist of "cocky" messages to the CPC scene to wake up and do something :)
Apparently only Benediction (apart from Batman group of course) did some nice stuff this year even though some of them where unfinished. I guess the big groups are more cautious on creating the perfectly polished demos and maybe release them after 10 years or something :). I personally like both styles, do whatever you can or wish, it's nice to see more CPC releases at demoparties sometimes even if not entirely finished and I am doing it too sometimes.
I'd like to end with a little mention at less important releases like the Nyan Cat on CPC (I don't know why Krusty hates the Nyan Nyan so much and yet I can't say why I love it so much either :). Regrettably, I also took part in two demos designed by Sotsoft himself this year, Ra-pan-zeel and Zeeloxyl, which is slightly better. It was great fun to listen to Sotsoft's suggestions about what a ruling demo should be like and just provide the code(?) :). Sotsoft is a friend of mine originally from the Spectrum and also active on the CPC and I promise we will do more ruling stuff than the masterpieces here when I start a new C/assembly demo framework specifically for Sotsoft's commands (I got tired with line numbered basic code :P). Oh, you can see some of my old basic programs in the DSK from when I was 16 (in 1996) or something. Hilarious fun! XD
There were some nice releases in the game developing scene this year. First of all as a recent christmas present the Bubble Bobble remake for CPC was released by CNGSoft these last days of December. The attempt was to create a better version of Bubble Bobble with more proper colors and bigger sprites and gameplay more matching the original from the arcade, unlike the old commercial version of the game (which was still one of my favorite games in the past though). What is succeded here is a great game that apart from the technical supperiority is also very fun to play. There is finally the classic Bubble Bobble tune that was missing from the original version, improved sprites, bonuses that never existed on the original CPC game and various hidden extras. You can read more information and download the game at BB4CPC site.
Second in the list of awesomeness is Edge Grinder for CPC. In the site Format Wars, which is an interesting site with friendly discussion and competition between different 8 bit systems, the first collaboration project was to recreate a shoot'em'up named Edge Grinder to your favourite platform. There was already a C64 version with smooth horizontal scrolling and thus someone had to take the opportunity to show up what his own computer can do. The result of all this is the very impressive Edge Grinder port on CPC from Paul Koistra, already known for his excellent work on CPC game developing (Star Sabre, Dead on time, Subhunter). This is really the first time I see smooth pixel perfect scrolling on CPC and all this with several sprites moving on the screen. The conversion from the C64 palette to the CPC color is great too. There are some great animated explosions. The game is a proof of concept, only one level where you have reach the very right of the level (it's harder than you think but possible). More information here.
I am not sure if I am forgetting anything. I should mention the NoRecess CPC site, which is a 2011 event and started right in the second day of January. This is a great site from a former CPC demomaker with information about his releases, articles about the CPC (there is another article in there with interviews with people representing various countries about the CPC scene in their place at 2011), interviews and some very good resources and tutorials on CPC coding. No Recess is also the author of SDCC2Pasmo, which is a tool that has helped me to code on CPC with the use of SDCC but avoiding its strange assembly syntax. It converts the assembly generated from SDCC to Pasmo syntax, which more resembles of Maxam. I have been in contact with No Recess to correct some bugs in SDCC2Pasmo so that I can continue developing with these great tools and recently I have seen he released the SDCC2Pasmo sources on his website. There are some tutorials about using SDCC and his tools in the site, also two great tutorial about advanced memory usage and interrupts, something that is not only useful for newbies but also myself. I am always exstatic when new content is released on his site.
Little last mention to a future event that was decided this year. An Amstrad megademo as a collaboration from various groups is being planned for ... 2014. That's right, it's the 30 years from the release of the first Amstrad CPC. You can find more information here.
Another year gone...
And so this article comes to an end. I am really hot about CPC but right now are my worst days in activity (when wasn't it?). I have left a Wolfenstein engine preview since the last year and I really, really want to work further with it, but it was that March of 2011 that I stopped working on it as I remember. I am also planning to maybe do something for the next Forever party as a remote entry and definitely I have to start working on my entry for the 30-years-megademo event (well 2014 is far enough but we CPCers are lazier :P). I said I have an interest for CPC game developing too, something that I almost haven't started, so who knows how things will go on with my life that affects my motivation, who knows if I can relieve the old creative flame into something that will make your CPC fly? I really wish this more than you do. I just have to find the window of opportunity, the flow of creativity. Till then, enjoy your CPC, because eleven years have past since I first started writing these article series and the damn beast is still alive.