0a000h Party Report
The 0a000h party took place from the 25th to 27th January 2002. Two weeks ago, and nobody has written a party report yet? I decided it was time to do so.
I guess it would be best to start by telling you that, on my way to the party, I actually took the wrong train, which delayed my journey for 2 hours. That might have indeed turned out to be a problem since the party place was located in a very remote area to which trains do not go regularly. And when I say remote, I mean remote. After arriving in Stuttgart (a fairly big town in the south of Germany) I changed trains to travel into the countryside, which took me about 40 minutes. When I had finally arrived at some provincial train station, I called the organizers on the phone and they sent someone to fetch me.
Soon Cthulhu/Headcrash, one of the organizers, arrived. After about 15 minutes in the car, we were finally at the party place, which was situated in a really tiny village.
The party place seemed to be the small community hall of that village -- about the size of a really small gym... but nice. There were about 50 sceners when I arrived, a stage with a bigscreen, and part of the hall was separated to serve as a sleeping area. I setup my laptop, and of course my first objective was to connect to the network. Yes, it worked, except for the nameserver; everything had to be done by entering IP addresses. After I had entered my competition entries (on a CD, even though it was possible to do this using the network), I looked around a bit at what the other guys were doing, and I must say I was positively surprised! Almost everyone was doing something scene-related: be it coding, tracking, gfx-ing or 3d-modelling.
Sometime later in the evening, a guy that I knew from IRC arrived. He setup his computer opposite mine, so it was nice to have someone there whom I actually knew. The only problem was that this scener, named Scoup, had some joss sticks with him, put them afire, and soon the whole area was filled with smoke. Well, in general I wouldn't have had any problem with that, but unfortunately the smoke, guided by some sort of hidden current in the air, flew directly towards me. Well, that was something I would have to live with it, and as you see, I survived. Later on I looked for what they had to eat. Well, the selection wasn't too big; there were sandwiches and different kinds of baked things. I went for the sandwich, which was actually pretty good. By the way, included in the entry fee (15 Euros) was also a free drink (which means a 1 litre bottle). Not bad.
The next day I bought something else to eat at the party place, and I must say that it wasn't bad either. Unfortunately they didn't have any fast food like Snickers..
Fortunately, there was a little restaurant in the village which made excellent pizzas. It seems like the party organizers made a special deal with the restaurant owners so the sceners could get the pizzas for a special price there. Great!
The graphics compos were supposed to be held during the first night, but I was damn tired. I went to bed at 2am, so I missed the 3D and pixel compos. Looking at the results, it seems like there weren't many entries, I don't want to comment on the entries either since I'm not a GFX expert.
It was a bit hard to sleep during the first night since people were obviously not tired and tried to show off with their audio equipment instead. Indeed, it got very loud, but the next morning, I was refreshed nonetheless. The sanitary installations were clean, but as usual, there was only one tap, offering only ice-cold water.
One of the first big events on Saturday was the one hour size coding compo. The organizers presented a piece of code displaying an oldschool effect. They themselves had, over a period of more than half a year, tried to shrink this code to a size as small as possible. The goal of the competition was to shrink the code to an even smaller size than they had managed to. An entry by Mados, T$ and N0y achieved this goal, being only 11 bytes in size. Some other sceners made a joke of the compo by coding a 4 megabyte demo with elaborate effects and background music which used the simple effect as a basis. This production was later on entered into the PC demo competition.
Of course there was also a lot of time between the compos. Parts of that were filled with sporadic demo shows. The fun thing was that the organizers never really announced anything. Things just happened, and if you didn't pay close attention to the big screen, the probability was high that you might miss something very important. But I was talking about what I did with the time between the compos. Well, for one thing I had some fun laming around in the party IRC, downloading stuff from other PCs, and I even got so lame as to play some games of Blobby Volley with Spacey/Bytegeiz and Scoup.
It had been announced on the party homepage that gaming packets would be filtered out of the network, however, I must say that I was not too surprised when two guys behind me actually started playing Quake. But hey, those were sceners anyway, and as I said, this party consisted mostly of real, productive sceners. I even got productive myself at the party and tracked something, although it must be said that this was really hard to do because of the noise level. I mean, it wasn't really loud at the party, actually it wasn't that bad at all .. but Scamp/Vacuum (developer of Xtracker32 and Underground Conference organizer) sat quite close to me, and had his mighty audio equipment with him ..
Sometime later in the afternoon, the music compos started. I had made an entry for the multichannel compo, but my entry was the only one, so, unfortunately, the compo was dropped. The 4-channel compo had only 2 entries, one by Thumb/Headcrash and mine. Almost the same applies to the MP3 compo, which had 3 entries, and I think all 3 of them rocked the party place. Even better was the happy hardcore compo, it had 5 very funny entries, and I must say that happy hardcore, while maybe not being the style of music you might listen to at home, is really fun at parties. After that, it was time for the shitmusic compo. Its goal was to create a track as bad (but also as original) as possible. This one had 4 entries, and none of them was a pleasure to listen to (we did our best ;)).
The size coding compos happened some time after that, and I must say that they were the highlight of the party for me. Even though I might not understand a lot about assembler, the entries here were certainly impressive -- showing off what people are able to do in 4 kilobytes, 256 bytes, 64 bytes and even 32 bytes! I was amazed.
In the 64 kilobyte democompo, there was only one entry. Actually, a group that I'm a member of (Dawning) also wanted to bring a demo for that category, but the email with the demo that I was supposed to bring never arrived because our coder's e-mail service (hotmail.com) decided not to send it (damn Microsoft!). Sometime in the afternoon, someone on the party IRC asked whether anyone would help to make some music for their demo's endscroller. Of course I said "yes, ok", and I got the job. After half an hour, some ambient tune was ready. Don't blame me for the quality, the noise level when I tried to track that was exceedingly high :)
The PC demo competition itself was quite impressive. There were 9 entries, and I would say that at least 5 of them were really good; I wouldn't have expected that of such a small party. The winner was "Koetterdaemmerung" by Squoquo, but I also enjoyed "343" by Ainc and "0x4D44" by Magic Dreams.
The last night it was relatively quiet, I guess because almost everybody was tired. The next morning, the prize-giving ceremony took place, and personally I was very content with my results. For prizes, they had nothing but cookies, but that's better than nothing, eh?
Finishing this little report, I'd like to mention the following: During the party, and also before, some guys accused the party organizers of being kind of lame and having little experience, and tried to look down on them with some kind of "I am better" mentality. I had a very negative impression of those who behaved like that. As far as I can say, the organizers did a great job. Even though they might not have been perfect on the technical side, they did the thing well in general, tried their best, and most importantly, they were really friendly and helpful.
If 0a000h takes place again next year, I will visit it for sure.