Review: The Magazine #1

Written by Adok




Month of release: January'00
RAR-packed size: 6,589,347 bytes
Language(s): English, German, Polish, Russian
Main editor: programmer/universe
Co-editors: adok/hugi, darkness/imphobia, misha/tatanka, civax/moonhunters
Code: unreal/cncd, nix/tbl, jace/tbl
Design: lazur, made/bomb, danny/eidos, gp7/universe, cereal/ooze, peachy+hellfire/hjb & others
Music: therew/nostalgia, virago/lvd, smash, makke/cp, laxical/scx, purplemotion, dune/orange & others
Text: the editors, their mags' co-editors, all writers of their magazines

General Information

After more than a year of development and exactly 20 months after the birth of the idea behind it, the first issue of the giant magazine by The E-Mag Network was finally released. As Programmer, the main editor of this issue, writes in his Editorial, this magazine contains most of the articles of The E-Mag Network's member diskmags that were released in 1999. In total, there is a hefty amount of text, namely 6.4 mbyte, accompanied by an interface that was made by some of the very best artists and coders of the PC demo scene ever.

The next issue is due in a year and will contain most articles of the T.E.N. member magazines that were released in 2000. Its main editor will be Adok/Hugi (...oh, that's me), as he is the main editor of the first diskmag which joined Programmer's T.E.N. project after Programmer's own mag, Armor of Gods. Adok (it's better to speak in the third person of oneself in a review) promises us even more articles, as "Hugi's mission to revive the diskmag scene will certainly be even more successful in the upcoming year".

Interface, Design

As you have already seen in the header of this review, the interface was coded by one of our greatest coder gods: Unreal of CNCD. This is the second diskmag interface he has coded, after Shine #1. Besides, the nice guys from The Black Lotus made the intro of this mag. Thanks to them, The Magazine #1 is the very first diskmag in the PC scene that has its own exclusive, fully adequate 64k intro, with a quality that is even better than TBL's latest smash-hit. All on its own this intro made The Magazine #1 one of the most downloaded files at By the way, the intro of the next issue will be coded by Picard/Rhyme. Even as it will be only a 4k intro, we expect it to outdo most recent 64 intros and also demos as regards the quality of code.

Actually a little quarrel within the staff preceded the development of this wonderful interface. As a member of T.E.N., I can tell you some details about it. When we started our work on The Magazine #1 in January 1999, we had not agreed on what interface we should use. Programmer, as the main editor of this issue, said it was his right to code it together with Warhawk and also take care of organizing graphics and music. At first we agreed, but when three months had passed and we still had not seen a beta version of the interface yet, we were getting nervous. Darkness then suggested to take care of organizing the development of the interface and have it coded and pixeled by Imphobia members. However, Prog did not like that. He insisted on having the interface developed by his friends, and Darkness insisted on having it developed by his group-mates. That's where the quarrel originated from. HeY/Tatanka then offered to settle the argument by donating the interface of Total Disaster, but as nobody replied to his offer, he himself felt pissed off. We decided to keep silent about the matter in order not to poison our friendly atmosphere at T.E.N.

In this way, some months passed. As far as I remember, it was the beginning of July, i.e. half a year after the start of our project, and half a year before its planned release, when the discussion was resumed. We still had no finished interface for The Magazine. After asking on the T.E.N. mailinglist, I learned that the work on Imphobia's interface had not even started yet, because the coder, Pit Bull, had been busy studying all the time, but now he would soon have more spare time. Neither had Programmer started his interface yet, for he was busy coding a funtro for Assembly '99. That was one of his scene activities beside main-editing The Magazine #1, organizing T.E.N., organizing his group UniVerse and hanging around on IRC. Shocked by that, I offered my T.E.N. mates to use the Hugi interface, as it was stable, more or less bug-free, and had both a DOS and a Windows version, so that Hugi could also be read on NT systems. Programmer, however, rejected. He was of the opinion that our huge magazine-project would become too similar to Hugi and the other diskmags in T.E.N. would not be represented by The Magazine. He said he would immediately take care of organizing the interface.

Prog sent a few e-mails to his scene contacts. On the next day, he received a reply by his friend Unreal, who said he was ready to code the interface. The whole T.E.N. staff was struck by happiness. We had found an adequate coder for our mag-project! Well, and that was how it began. Afterwards it was not hard to find graphicians and musicians, as everyone was pleased to work on a project together with Unreal. In early September, the interface was finished. We used the rest of the time for beta-testing.

As you can certainly imagine, however, every benefit has a snag to it... Two weeks before X-Mas '99, Matrox released its new graphic adapter Millennium III Pro. At once it turned out to be a bestseller, just like all Matrox graphic adapters. However, it also turned out that for some weird reason, Unreal's interface bugged with this graphic adapter. We panicked! Half of the active demo scene community had already bought this adapter, and the other half was planning to do so very soon. What sense does a diskmag with great articles, awesome graphic, and beautiful music have if it does not work? Unreal had only two weeks to find the bug. He worked very hard on it and spent all the time he was not on IRC on checking through his sourcecodes (at least he says so). Finally, on December 31st, he came to the conclusion that not his own code but the non-public beta version of PTC he had used was the cause of the problem. Immediately he downloaded an older version of PTC using his old 14,400 bps modem, as his new one was broken, changed his code, re-compiled the interface and hurried up to upload it to Programmer. Fortunately Prog was still online and thus got the new interface just in time. So The Magazine #1 could be released on exactly January 1st, 2000, 0:00am, just as we from T.E.N. had decided before. Great job, Unreal!

That was a little excursus about the details of the development of The Magazine #1, presented to you by your favourite mag, Hugi. Now let's return to the review!

As you could see in the excursus, the interface uses Gaffer's famous graphic library Prometheus True Color, for short PTC, to be precise version 3.99801a. The sound engine is the old and well-tried Midas Digital Audio System 1.21. After the intro, which of course does not use the same libraries as the rest of the interface but its own ones, you get to the title screen by Lazur. It gets faded in using one of 20 randomly chosen sophisticated effects. Every time you start The Magazine #1, it is a new experience to see this picture pop up. And of course the picture itself is always worth watching, too, especially as it is displayed for only two seconds, then faded out again. In the short time you see the pic, you can realize only a tiny part of its many details.

Then you get to the actual main menu. Music starts playing. From now on, the interface does not only attract the reader's attention because of its nice effects, which nevertheless do not disturb reading the articles, but mostly due to its many innovative features. For example, The Magazine #1 is the first diskmag that can be handled not only by keyboard and mouse, but also by joystick. This feature was suggested by zors and Sol/Trauma, who had been waiting for it to be implemented in Hugi for more than a year. A nice idea of the Israeli diskmag Luna, of which unfortunately only one issue was released, was applied in The Magazine #1, too: You can select various background graphics, each of them painted by another artist. But in contrast to Luna, not only the graphic but also the way how to handle the mag changes. So you can actually choose between several interfaces, and every reader can browse through the mag using his favourite one. This great idea was suggested by Civax/Moonhunters, the former coder of Luna, now main editor of the CFX Newsletter and still the best known scener from Israel.

Due to the fact that there are various background graphics and ways to handle the mag, I cannot describe the screen structure and the control as extensively as I usually do in my mag reviews, because then I would have to describe fifteen different layouts, which would probably bore you. I rather want to conclude this part of the review with some more words about the general features. The Magazine #1 overwhelms us with great article-layouting capabilities. Various fonts, fixed-width as well as non-fixed-width ones, of course various font colours and sizes plus graphics and even animations are supported. I am sure Programmer did not use all formatting features Unreal had implemented. But even so the result has made a big impression on me.

Similar to Hugi, the articles can contain links. The main menu itself is handled internally just as an ordinary article that contains links to all other articles. But due to the layouting capabilities, it stands out against the other articles. I guess this is the best solution. After all, Programmer has become much more careful with text-formatting since Armor of Gods #4, and his designing skills have vastly improved.

After exiting the interface, you get to the closing picture, painted by Danny, with a very special transitional effect, and then you are released to the DOS prompt with a nice pic by one of Poland's ANSI-kings, Simon King. Adok plans to use an extro in the next issue - that is, another unique quality 4k intro.

Of course, as we are accustomed to it, Unreal has included various Hidden Parts in the interface. He claims there are 39 hidden parts and hidden features in total. Only seven hidden parts are known to the T.E.N. staff. They contain cool oldskool plasma and starfield effects as well as various birthday greetings, a poem with a size of 120 lines, and - one can hardly believe it - three(!) masterpieces by Lazur that had not been released before.

I did not experience any problem with the interface, neither under DOS nor under Windows. As I was told by several people, it even runs fine under Linux' latest DOSemu if Linux has been booted in root mode. To sum it up, this interface is just wonderful. Everyone I know immediately fell in love with it - figuratively, of course.


As I said in the beginning, this issue contains 6.4 mbyte of articles, 5.3 mbyte of which are in English, the rest in German, Polish, or Russian. Actually the T.E.N. staff first decided to publish only English articles, but then Programmer suggested to put a few texts in other languages in the mag, too, as especially in the Eastern countries many people do not understand English well and they should also have something they can enjoy. Besides, the 1.1 mbyte of articles in local languages are less than 400 kbyte in the archive, which is not much compared to its total size.

As the table of content is far too huge for me to copy in this review, I will list only a small part of the headlines of the English articles.

                First Editorial (Programmer)
                Second Editorial (Adok)
                Third Editorial (Darkness)
                Fourth Editorial (Misha)
                Fifth Editorial (Civax)
                T.E.N. Member Magazines introduce themselves
                Credits and Contact
                Most Recent News
                What happened in the Year 1999
                The Charts - Current Standings
                Upcoming Parties
                Sceners' Birthdays list
                Scene FTP and WWW sites
                The Scene is Dying!
                The Scene is not Dying!
                The Scene is already dead
                Long live our scene!
                My impression of the scene
                What is the scene developing to?
                Sceners in Game Companies
                The Future of Demos
                New Compos are needed
                Why Poland dominates the scene
                Finnish coders rule the scene!
                Nationalism sucks, especially in the Demo Scene
                Why do most sceners live in Europe?
                Asian Scene Report
                The South African Scene
                Sceners and Kangooroos
                Mailswapping - An Important Element of the Scene
                Mailswapping sucks!
                A few words about Mailswapping
                Communication in our scene
                About Java Demos
                The Scene on Video Game Computers
                Russian Tracker Scene News
                Boris Yeltsin as a Scener
                New Demo Effect Ideas
                What has happened to the Lamers?
                What is the Scene?
                Definition of the Term Scene
                Why do we need diskmags?
                Why diskmags are an essential part of the scene
                About CD Mags
                Online magazines versus diskmags
                The State of the Art in the Scene
                Why Scene Articles are boring
                About Diskmag Interfaces
                Diskmag Reviews
                What is coming towards us?
                Party Report: Ambience '99
                Party Report: Assembly '99 (I)
                Party Report: Assembly '99 (II)
                Party Report: Assembly '99 (III)
                Party Report: Buenzli 8
                Party Report: Evoke '99
                Party Report: Mekka & Symposium 2k-1 (I)
                Party Report: Mekka & Symposium 2k-1 (II)
                Party Report: Movement '99
                Party Report: Rage-Scenest '99
                Party Report: The Gathering '99
                Party Report: The Party '98 (I)
                Party Report: The Party '98 (II)
                Party Report: The Party '98 (III)
                Party Report: The Party '98 (IV) - Organizers' point of view
                Party Report: The Party '99
                All Party Results of 1999
                How Demo Parties have changed
                Upgrading Demo Parties: Movement '99, The Second Try
                Interview with Darkness/Imphb (Anniversary: his 50th interview)
                Interview with Gerhard Schr”der / German Government
                Interview with Hellfire/Haujobb
                Interview with Michael Maier / October Labs/DeaSD/Bionix 31337
                Interview with xcene/dance
                Interview with Orange group
                Interview with Rectum Cauda group
                Interview with TPOLM group
                English-Finnish Dictionary for Sceners
                Humour: IRC logs
                Humour: A Letter from Bill Gates
                Humour: Fake Interview: PSI / Future Crew
                Humour: Fake Review: The Magazine #2
                Java Democoding Tutorial
                CGI Tutorial
                The Mathematical Basics of Democoding
                How we coded Sunflower
                Commented sources of the Assembly '99 winner intro
                Composing Tutorial
                Some Hints for Musicians
                Musicdisc Reviews
                Module Reviews
                Shading Tutorial
                What is the best GFX program?
                Comparing Famous Artists' Drawing Techniques
                Is Antony equal to Picasso?
        Poetry and Stories
                I love you
                She loves me
                Feeling depressed
                When the Trees are blowing about in the Wind
                Story: A Typical Day in Psychic Symphony's life
                Story: Adok stands in front of his mirror: Help! Two heads!
                Story: 1956
                Story: The Sweet Secrets of Fashion
                Story: We were lucky
                Politics: Current State of the World
                Politics: Bill Clinton - The Philosophy of Sex
                Politics: Who is World's best Politician?
                Politics: Adok for Chancellor of the European Union!
                The Paper Art Scene
                Music Reviews

In his "First Editorial", Programmer basically welcomes us to The Magazine #1 and apologizes for the short editorial as his English "isn't so good than me Russian". The "Second Editorial" by Adok is slightly longer. We also learn some funny details about the making of this zine. For instance, there was quite a long discussion about its name. At the beginning, someone suggested "Xenophobia", as he thought that all mags which ended with "phobia" would have a great success. However, Darkness argued that on the contrary, Imphobia would have been even more successful if there had not been the particle "phobia", which has a negative meaning. Adok then suggested to call the mag "Huge", which, of course, also reminds the reader of another successful diskmag, but as you can imagine someone was against this idea as well. Finally, the staff agreed on "The Magazine" in analogy to T.E.N.'s chartsmag "The Charts". Moreover, there was an argument whether to publish really all articles of the T.E.N. member mags or only about the 50 best ones per issue. The staff chose the latter option in order not too flood the readers with masses of bad articles. Besides, most T.E.N. member mags had less than 50 articles per issue anyway.

Then the three other editorials follow. Each editor wishes fun reading The Magazine #1 and rambles just like in every diskmag.

In "T.E.N. Member Magazines introduce themselves", all diskmags that are involved in the T.E.N. project write a few lines about themselves, as the headline suggests. Adok could not resist praising Hugi by talking about its political contacts: "Insiders told us that as Hugi has a mirror on an Israeli Government Server, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu read Hugi and was immediately fond of it. He asked his Secretary of Education whether it would be possible to publish Hugi in Hebrew. We are happy about this success. Thanks, Mr Nethanyahu. Thanks, Civax, for being the SysOp of this Government Server."

The Scene section starts with the usual columns we find in almost every diskmag, but of course they are much huger than in any other mag. However, the only really outstanding article is "What happened in the Year 1999", which is a summarization of all the happenings one could read about in the diskmags of 1999, sorted by months. This is great for scene-historians and will contribute to writing an extensive history book of the PC Demo Scene one day.

As you see from the table of content, many articles in the Scene section deal with similar topics. That comes from the fact that firstly, different mags published different articles about the same issues, and secondly, the same mags published different articles about the same issues - by different authors. A huge variety of opinions is expressed. That's what I call democracy! There are also some awesome humorous articles as well as interesting serious ones. The staff are especially proud of the interview with Gerhard Schr”der, the current organizer of the scene group "Germany".

Also the coding, gfx and music sections are just amazing. Here is almost all knowledge a coder, graphician or musician needs today in order to make a good production. I am not exagerrating. These sections also contain many innovative ideas that might lead to a new Golden Age of the scene.

The Poems and Stories in The Magazine are mostly of high quality, though of course not yet comparable with Goethe, Schiller or Shakespeare, but if the writers continue learning so fast, they will certainly reach the great ancient poets' levels one day. There are also some interesting personal stories written by well-known sceners, by which you learn more about a unknown part of theirs, namely about them as human beings.

And the Miscellaneous section... well, why am I typing these lines at all? You already know my opinion. It is just a masterpiece. I listed only a few articles from this section. There are many more, of course. Good ones. In the political articles, you can find a huge variety of different political opinions - except radical right-wings and radical left-wings, of course. That's what I call democracy.

Overall Impression

Guess what? This is finally a diskmag which you can really call a diskmag. This is THE diskmag. It's the "Reader's Digest" of the scene! There is so much stuff in it, and the interface is so great... I'm lost for words.

Of course there are always things one could do better. For example, the English grammar is not always perfect, the poems do not have the quality of Goethe yet, and the journalistic level of most articles could be improved as well. But to tell the truth, this is the very best diskmag that has ever been released so far. I am curious if I can do better with The Magazine #2, which I will have to finish till less than a year. Of course I have already started working on it.

So, if you have not read The Magazine #1 yet, do it now!

- adok^hugi