Portrait: Pal of Offence
Interviewed by Magic of Nah-Kolor
Hugi went one on one with one of the best and most active commodore 64 graphics artists today!
Magic: This interview started right after the weekend of the last Datastorm. Still trying to recover from it? How do you look back on this weekend?
Pal: The weekend was super. I did not have the best of personal time before the party and was thinking not to attend at all in a way. But my great friends in offence got me going again and it became a blast and a very nice weekend. So recovery was done on the party and in fantastic funny moods at the hotel with best of friends telling insane stories.
Magic: What were the two most insane stories about?
Pal: Ohhh my god... that is not for the masses to read about but it involved a lot of scary stories from my life and I think I can say with much solidness that Bepp of Triad almost died from short breathing between the laughters. I am really sorry but they are too private and would be to much to tell in an interview like this, sorry. Hmmm... they cannot be written down like this, they must be told.
Magic: Offence came back to the scene in 2010. Did you know I sent my very first e-mail ever to Perplex way back in 1994? ;-) He was the coder of the amiga diskmag RAW back then. Anyway, now we are in 2014. Can Offence keep the release interval and quality in the future? Some people say after 2014 the Commodore 64 peak will go downwards...?
Pal: People said the c64 was dead in 1992-93. The latest Datastorm compo showed something amazing, no one thought there would be big demos this year with X coming up, right? But to everyone's surprise there was a fantastic demo compo at Datastorm. I think the c64 will grow in the years to come. I think there will be some new sceners joining in - this is the true scene - the magic of the old computers are held on the c64 scene. It is very special and it is a great playground with a lot of friendship and great minds.
Magic: But can Offence continue the productivity and quality of the last 4 years after X 2014? Are most c64 sceners reaching an age they have to make a step back?
Pal: I think there is no reason to step back. But there is a very nice thought of making a pipeline where you can be creative instead of struggling too much with the same things on all coders. I think the best way would be to gather a codebase and then reuse, alter and make new code in order to be more free and sane at the same time. If you look at a demo today there are so many people recoding what the other coder already did and so on... It would be better to focus on new ideas and new routines, instead a lot is actually doing the same freaking thing 5 times in a demo but slightly differently. Fairlight, Offence & Prosonix is a very powerful team and with some more determination from other members in Fairlight I see no reason why we should not create super cool demos in the future. If we can maintain the fun part of it, the deep friendship and all the fun trips and gatherings, this is a perfect hobby.
Magic: Which programs do you use to make your gfx with? Do you use tools on a PC? Or also paint directly on the Commodore 64 itself?
Pal: I paint on the c64 only for some final tests... I use something called promotion on the PC. It is a Deluxe Paint clone created by Cosmigo Software and a coder called Jan Zimmermann. He created the Gun Paint software on the c64. He is a fantastic bloke and has made a super-duper paint software that I can set up so that I have a grid and zoom mode that fit me perfectly. I also use Lightwave3d for demo creation, especially for the PC demos Fairlight makes, then it is all Lightwave from me... but also for c64 demos. Slash and Pantaloon have made a plugin for Lightwave that allows it to save for the c64 and PC demos in an almost great way, it is supercool to have that to test stuff and all. I use P1 as a hub of all my art on the c64... this is the software where I save koalas and final touch-ups before testing on real thing in zoomatic and just nicely correct what I think is still to be altered. I also use Photoshop a lot of course... I have made my own scripts so that I can work fast on the aspect of things and all... I have a great pipeline now in a way... I can do what many others cannot do, but in a way I am no Archmage or JOE... I am just me, PAL, coming from my upbringings and my thoughts on how I can make so much and still not be a artist put in this frame or this frame - that is very important for me! I think Archmage said that I reinvented or had a new way of making highres gfx for the Datastorm graphics and I am proud of that as I only did one image in highres before that and that was in 1991. I made so many tests and struggled so hard to throw my tests away this time to just remain pure and hard instead of soft and nerdy.
Magic: You are a member of the group Offence. What can you tell us about the old times of Offence? Their releases and such? The times before the inactivity started, which led to 2010 and the comeback of Offence?
Pal: Well, I founded Offence together with Yup and Burp and Perplex at that time challenger. We wanted to make a top group and kick the shit out of the competition. We knew we were great at what we loved to do but that we never really showed the demo scene what we could do... even though Yup and Burp made the FLI and all before Blackmail and so on that we knew internally, the only difference were that Yup and Burp had already made a scrolling one year before Dutch Breeze came out. So we decided to make a supergroup with our friends.
I went to Germany for the xmas that year, it was so fun, even Yup slept most of the time... lol... and he still does... but I mean he is one special human in my heart always... He knows that and often at bed-time I send him a thought of all the best in his life to come to him, as I tend to do with all my friends, it is a really nice thing to do. I even cry a bit from time to time but also smile and feel so fine, there are so many people I care about and love that it is almost too much in a way.
We went to the Brutal & Hurricane Summer Party in 1992 with our first real demo and thought we would win. We did get the third place beaten by fantastic demos created by Horizon and Censor... our nemeses... We wanted to beat them and we thought after the party that their demos were better "looking" in a flow way maybe but that we had better code in a really advanced way on the c64... but the whole compo was really weird as the c64 compo was better than the Amiga compo... people in the hall were more on the c64 demos, even there were few c64 people there, so it was so fun and all amazingly cool. We did what we knew we could do and that was to be among the top and that no one knew who would win, other than most thought Horizon would pull it off in the end and they did... Pernod my friend, fantastic... the blue space landscape did it for me, even though the vector part was the biggest part of the whole party on the big screen, that start image and screen made me realise what demos were all about... moods! That start of a demo made me see a super artist who could code, or maybe I should say a super coder who also could paint and design... wow what a demo... they had these raytraced spheres on an image that held a plane that was not dithered in multicolour but interlace dither in a way and the animation was not also... it looked better than what the Amiga demos held at that party, they made it so cool with nice crisp sounds and all... Censor beat us just by being Censor as their demo as usual suxx big time - especially the gfx from Mirage and the code from BOB...
Magic: What can you tell our readers about some of the other members of Offence. Which members are very important for the productions released and future productions?
Pal: Because we all have a determination to make great things. I think it could have been even greater if we all had directly connected brains so we were always in synch but man we have made some super demos and stuff the last years. I think all are very important and most of all I like to be with good friends, and they are all that to me.
Magic: What is it you do next to your Commodore 64 hobby? Do you have a family? What work do you do? What other hobbies have your interest?
Pal: I am a romantic fool who follows his heart and I am so happy for what I have done. I have a beautiful daughter who lives with me every second week, her name is Vilde, Wild of Offence, she is 11 years old, and I have a 1-year-old son. I am into making, creating and doing stuff, so I do not watch TV or play games or such, I am hard-core on that... I want to create and be a force for my friends and be the best friend I know how to be in their lives. I am a bit silly maybe but I am there for all others than myself I guess, something I am trying to be more now because I must also take care of me mentally and in a healthy way. I have so many friends in all different parts of the society and it is a blast to know them all, I have so many interest fields that I do not get to be in depth of them all but I try to be on a level where I know some of this and that. My main interests are to know people and to try to be nice with the ones I know well because they are nice to me, it is a safe harbour and that is all it is about in life, to have those rainbows and to be a rainbow to my loved ones. I love to know about quantum physics and so on also, it is so incredibly interesting... global warming and nature and logics and music and what makes people be moody... film is something I love and I love just going out in the park outside my flat and looking at people living their lives... studying but more observing, being in the now of time, just to be there... it is something I have a lot of joy in. To be with so many different people is a gift from the heavens for me... never been a one way track kind of man... I love all shades and different turns.
On a professional level I am running my own graphics and ad agency. I did create the interface and logics together with Trond and Johan for the Opera web-browser for ten years... going from 2 million unique users to 100 million users, one can say that coming from a country with only 5 million people I am kind of proud of that! I also created some big things here in Norway like the best TV set-up-box-pvr winning in tests for 6 years in a row now. And I have made 3d animation indents for Microsoft that were used worldwide and so on. I was also featured artist from NewTek with their promotional program of Lightwave3d at some time. I was a big helper for artists at spinquad and also on lightwave forums helping out new artists with their 3d art, and to my big enjoyment I must say that people I helped are now in solid positions in big movie, games and TV companies... I love that! That is the best I know! I also created the Norwegian Airline logo and airplane profile together with my friends in Langholm Designs. I am so proud every time I enter an airplane here in Norway as I always book with the company I created the profile for with Langholm. It is today a large airline company in Europe with the most modern fleet.
Magic: I think I have seen some graphics from you in a Fairlight PC demo? Would you consider to make a demo as lead gfx artist on another platform as well?
Pal: Of course... we have been speaking of making an Amiga demo. I am also holding one full level graphics for a platform game I designed in 1992 on the Amiga and it would be fun to make something with that also. I love to be part of the Fairlight PC demos but I would even more love to design one full PC demo, I have designed some full PC demos for me but they will require some great code and all and at some point I will make an offer to Pantaloon and Slash if they could code one of them, but I want them to be better before that point.
Magic: How do you cooperate with Fairlight on the long term?
Pal: We are just making our demos together because we are having a blast doing that and I think we will just stick to that. I mean it is nothing to plan... it is again about having a fun as possible time with all of this and together we are having so much great times and Pantaloon is the best friend and man in the whole of the world. We plan to have fun together!
Magic: How do you look back at The Thrilla between Offence and Censor Design? And... isn´t the REAL thrilla at X 2014 in October?
Pal: The Thrilla was fantastic. Bob challenging us in public was a blast from the past. We were not at all planning to make a demo but we did, I felt we had too... And we did create a demo and it got to be a great demo in my mind. We did that one in two months plus and that is just amazing, we went there to compete with Censor but at the same time knowing they would have a demo out of this world... and they had... but it was exciting and everyone at the party place got to see groups wanting to deliver just because it is so fun to do it in a great way on the big screen and there and then. The real thrilla is always at X... but man we have now created two super big demos and also some smaller ones but also winners so let us see what we can do for X... we have to start soon if are to compete at X.
Magic: Choose and clearify: Effects dominating a commodore 64 demo backed up by graphics or graphics dominating a commodore 64 demo backed up by effects?
Pal: I am very different than others here... I have no rule on that, I do not care as long as it works... For me it is the MUSIC, IDEAS, ART, LOVE, EDGE and CODE that make a great demo or show no matter what platform it is carried out on.
Magic: Graphics wise what isn't explored and/or shown yet on the Commodore 64? What is left to re-new?
Pal: A very hard question to answer for a hardware that has been around and unchanged for over 30 years. Now it is very much up to the artist to explore new things within the formats available but then Crest made this new FLI thing that is great on RAU... and I also think we did something cool in our last demo with streaming long images and blending with rather cool routines and all... 3d that are blazingly fast... the Triad routine in their last demo with the fisheye and perspective were cool stuff... I am not sure what to say here.
Magic: Which other Commodore 64 graphics artists do you admire and why?
Pal: I admire the ones that touch me with splendour, moods or style. There are so many great ones but I think I have to say Håkon/Archmage is the best artist I know of on the c64. It is not because he is so great that I would love to see his art all the time on the c64 because in my mind he has such a strong look at what he does, like JOE has, and one can see it is them at once almost. So it is perfect when they are not too active producing graphics for many big demos each year. I think Håkon has a style that makes the demo his demo instead of the group's demo, but as an artist he is the best piece by piece and execution of his ideas. I think I admire Håkon most right now and have done for years. When this is said there are so many great ones and to make a list I will not do. I also just must mention Veto... I really do not love his rendering style, but at the same time it works so great... man he can paint and make super nice screens... he is one great artist too... ok no more names.
Magic: Which groups on the Commodore 64 are the biggest competitors for Offence and why are they?
Pal: There are so many talented people in our scene and it is hard to pick some if one must. I just like to look at all the groups doing the same weird things that we love to do as fellow sceners and friends. It is always great to kick censor ass, it is like an ice cream with extra cherry-berry on top. BoB was never a modest person when it comes to his great abilities as a coder and demo-maker so to beat him and his fellow group members is always nice. At last Datastorm I must say it was a not nice to see Censor demo come in at fifth place because Serpent is a fantastically coded demo by all involved... and holds great music and style, just must admit that it is a truly great demo. In general, we bring demos to the parties to battle but mostly to be part of something great and to entertain.
Magic: You are active on the website CDSB. What can you tell our readers about this website and why do you love it so much? Is it hardwired into your brain? :)
Pal: I loved CSDB but I realised that it also makes so much chaos in my brain so I am almost never online there anymore, and it feels better for me. I have always posted to help others more or less, inside me that is what it has been, with some exceptions where I went overboard. But the feedback never ends and there is always someone who sees abselutely the worst possible way of what you posted and then discussions just take off. So I am not on there anymore and for me that is much better. Because we all have a determination to make great things. I think it could have been even greater if we all had directly connected brains so we were always in synch but man we have made some super demos and stuff the last years. I think all are very important and most of all I like to be with good friends, and they are all that to me.
Magic: What can you tell us about the making of the Fairlight & Offence c64 demo released at Revision 2014?
Pal: Pantaloon sent me some effects and said he wanted to put together a demo for the Revision oldschool compo, so we did. He had already put in some things and had this cool demo tune by Danko in it. So we worked a bit more and I made some new gfx, cleaned some effects and made sinuses and animations and so on. It was a fun little demo to do, it is so fun with Pantaloon as he is the greatest force in the demo scene I can really think of in many ways.
Magic: X 2014 is in October. What are Offence's plans for this party? And what will your role be in this?
Pal: Our plan for the party is to go to Amsterdam some days before and have pre-X party and a lot of fun, then go to X and have even more fun. We plan on coming with a demo and be on the big screen together with the other groups, we want to bring a finished demo and just have fun at the party... maybe we can make that this time? We really have to start making some effects I guess. My role... I do not know... I try to be creative together with the others and to provide ideas and graphics and support, I think that is my role.
Magic: Please take over the keyboard. Search your feelings and give a nice end speech for this article and especially and only for our readers and the demoscene out there. What you write now is for the demoscene historybooks! Thank you for your time on this interview and all the best for the future!
Pal: MAKE LOVE NOT WAR! Our scene has survived so long, why people stop is mostly because they care and then it get stressfull, at least for me if there are always nagging... I see the scene as my family and want that to remain. I love to go to demoparties and bring a demo and make a show together with all the great talented people putting effort into what they love to do. DEMO is the coolest, I love great demos!
Links related to this article
Pal of Offence's csdb account
Here are youtube links to the most important demos with graphics by Pal:
Another Beginning, 1st place at X 2010
Trick and Treat, 3rd place at X 2012
Artphosis, 2nd place at X 2012
Too Old to Ror and Rol, 2nd place Datastorm 2013
Scrollwars, 2nd place Baroque Floppy People 2013
We Are All Connected, 1st place Datastorm 2014
Redefinition, 3th place Revision 2014