The making of Wonderland XII
Written by Magic of Nah-Kolor
How this commodore 64 demo was made, who did what and other need to knows.
Featuring Bob and Magnar of Censor Design.
Who did what?
Hugi talked to Bob & Magnar of Censor Design about the making of Wonderland XII. So... who did what exactly for this
demo? Bob thought the credits in the demo would be suffienct for this. But he quickly changes his mind:
"Hmm, maybe not. The basic fade-out-all beginning turning screen black and removing all borders smoothly by
Lavazza, the exploding chars by Crt, then the tunnel code by Crt who also did the graphics." Next up is the part
with the Cat and the Wonderland XII logo. Bob explains: "Transition to Cat part with an all border zooming and moving
circle coding and graphics by Mirage. The all border Cat intro code and graphics were also done by Mirage." Hugi finds
it great to see that Mirage can also do some impressive code next to his graphics. Magnar has his own thoughts on
Mirage: "He definitely
can! He has many nice effects and always tend to use the borders too. Which is freaking awesome. He got a great way of macro code foe stable raster with cia times. A very special way of doing it. So the cat part is like impossible. All borders. Blinking bitmap. Moving plasma in bitmap text. Circle color scrolling in all borders etc... playing music. It is impossible. But he did it! The morph text which has 2000 moving plots. .. never done before."
Bob continues to explain who did what in the Wonderland XII demo: "The Morpher code was done by Axis and all graphics
by Mirage. The Raytraycer, old graphics found in my disc archive by Sailor Triad, painted by Dragon back in 1993 Code
by moi Bob. The vector bobs in Sideborder code by Axis and Graphics by Yazoo. The Solid Scroller with sprite overlays,
code by CRT,
graphics by Yazoo, old font by Taito back in the 80ies. The Change Disc side code by Lavazza graphics by CG
who is a child hood friend with Lavazza ;) Let's move on to disk 2. The Sideborder very big Zoom Scroller was coded by CRT, Font by Yazoo. Eyeballs code by moi Bob and additional gfx by Mirage. The screaming girl coded by moi Bob and graphics by Creeper (4 pics) The metaballs code by Axis and graphics by Yazoo. Donkey kong with a twisting scroller code by moi Bob, graphics by Mirage. Intro idea by Magnar. Fractal/chaos Zoomer code by Axis graphics by Yazoo. Flip flopp diskchange part all code and graphics by Mirage. Finally there is disk 3. Sample / the end part code by Swallow. Picture by Mirage and Font by Yazoo. All Sid music in Wonderland XII done by Magnar. All sample music done by Swallow and all linking done by CRT. It took us 6 months to develop Wonderland XII in between we also made smaller demos like Sidelined and Daah those Acid pills, all demos won 1st price in respective compos ;) Quite a hectic period I might add."
Biggest challenges and technical explanations
Talking to Bob about the making of Wonderland XII took many periods (with some breaks in between) in 2013 and 2014.
Then we asked Bob about his biggest challenges codewise in Wonderland XII. Bob: "The Raytracer part.
Sailor of Triad found in my archives some finished unused raytracer animations. They were from 1993.
So 20-year-old stuff basically. They still are... fantastic stuff, so I just begun to go haywire
on those animations which were made by Dragon. But the raytracer had
a lot of glitches and errors in them so they had to be patched up with sprites... and this is the tough part where there is no more memory left... also when mooving the raytracer you need to use the whole area of picture... there is normally a hidden space that is not visible... but with the movements that space where used... especially if I had sprites and different background colors. They would be visible, and thus needed to be treated as ordinary picture gfx... I really had no space for the sprites... So inside the picture area I started to use up sprite memory." Then Bob tells Hugi about another impossible impossibility. Bob tells us: "And then the eye balls. They uses all sort of tech. Fld, vsp, agsp and fading. Four animations carefully made to fit the tiles. And all extras around it.. It gave memory problems here as well... but if you are using the black color you can hide some stuff in it."
And now it's about time to switch over to Magnar again. What can Magnar tell us more about Wonderland VII to give us some look behind the curtains. Magnar: "Axis made that tornado clock part one week before the Baroque Floppy People Party.. Sometimes a part goes quickly to create. Next to the cat part and flip disk part 2 Mirage also improved the metaballs part by Axis and additionaly made loads of graphics. Bob coded the first big balls on chain effect and the big koala screaming girl part and the twisting scroller. Axis and Mirage added effects on top of color cycling by CRT and Bob. Which together made it all very well in variations and effect types. CRT did lots of transitions. Linking and the zoom scroller too. And not forget Swallow for the full credits. Read the end scroller at Swallow page 3. But it is true that bob and CRT wouldn't have been able to create this demo without code also from Axis, Swallow and Mirage. But all together it became a very powerful demo."
The music in Wonderland XII
In this part of this article Magnar, who composed all the music in Wonderland XII, explains how the SID tracks
came to life. What challenges he faced in the period of making the music and the limits he had to work with.
"The composing started back in June 2013, around 2 months before we should have the finished release ready
at the Big Floppy People party. I knew creating all the music for the whole demo during my family’s holiday
be extremely hard to do, so I talked one late night with CRT
about it and he suggested I should listen
to a track by A23 for some inspiration. That kind of triggered the whole thing; I spent some hours that night
composing and got the intro beginning going. We then linked that with CRT’s funnel effect, it looked pretty
sweet together", Magnar explains and continues: "But then we could not link anything else for a long time.
Everyone was busy working on their own stuff. I could see the developments as it was checked in on our SVN
repository, but the next day it looked different in colors, mood etc. I totally lost
inspiration and thought I would never get the music ready in time. As part of a solution, I started doing random sequences of music just to have material to later build from. I made many songs into one song, so I could easily shift and remix. Then when the script of demo parts became more subtle, I could rearrange and put together the different parts I had made for the different effects in mind, and the rest of the work would mainly lay on fix transitions in the gaps between."
But then Magnar started to face some challenges. "Unfortunately, a lot of the effects was submitted in a very late state of the demo. The tornado with the clock part was checked in the very last week, and also the whole Donkey Kong theme was a very late invention. All these script changes needed also to be reflected song-wise during the last two weeks; and then I ran out of memory! The song limits was $1000-1fff, and each demo-side song was gaining bytes above that. I started to optimize and remove effects and lead solo structures and such, but that just felt terrible. So, I talked with Bob and CRT about it, and we agreed that chopping the two songs per disk side into four songs instead would be the only way forward. After that decision, I only had to redo the song structures, glue it together and make myself ready to travel to BFP. Last song check-ins was done at the party, where I did minor corrections to filter settings on all songs to better fit the suggested Big Floppy People compo commodore 64 machine (which was later changed during the compo due to errors in the VIC chip). After my finalizing of the songs, CRT created the final link build", Magnar explains and concludes: "And than all Censor members onsite at Baroque Floppy People spilled open Yazoo’s large Donkey Kong beer cans and got ourselves proper seated to enjoy the big screen demo-compo show!"
Links related to ths article
Wonderland XII - HD Capture on youtube
Big Floppy People demo compo live
Wonderland XII on CSDB