A Challenge for 2002
Coplan / Immortal Coil
This article was first published in Static Line 38, released in January 2002. All issues of Static Line can be downloaded at scenespot.org.
I would be telling an untruth if I were to say that I would like to see the scene remain as it is, or as it was. The fact is, the scene is always changing, always evolving. 2001 was no exception. I don't expect 2002 to be an exception either. These little tidbits might sound like a huge fortune cookie...but you'll get the idea.
For the Coders:
The demoscene has always been a scene of innovation. In 2002, you should be innovating. You should make every effort to innovate more than you ever did. When creating demos, celebrate the oldskool tricks and effects, but expand on them. Code variations on old techniques and create new effects of your own. Be the first to do something, and you will be remembered by all.
For the 2d Artists:
When I first got into the scene, there were two types of artists: pixelers and ANSI artists. Neither of which was very easy to do. But those are artists of the past, and while they are still honored and revered these days, I'd be willing to bet that a great deal of you use things like Photoshop. I have heard too many times that "Photoshop useing artists have no place in the scene." But you and I know that Photoshop has its place, so long as one knows how to use it. Your technique is not to simply edit existing photos. You create new dimensions, and new worlds with your tools. Carve your niche, and demonstrate to the ignorant that you belong.
For the 3d Artists:
Many people don't separate 2d and 3d artists. I don't know why that is, and I'm sure you don't either. In the world of demos, you are very valuable. You can create 3d models that coders can use to make their demos. If they don't think of that, remind them. You are an essential part to the creation of such demos, and you are often overlooked until the time comes. And even then, a coder might not understand your techniques...and therefore has difficulty understanding your place. You can help to change the scene into the scene of tomorrow.
For the Musicians:
In the early years of the scene, the name of the game was small file size, and catchy tunes. While you still write catchy tunes, the name of the game has changed. It's all about quality now. Your medium, more than any other aspect of the scene, is more fragile than one might expect. Different players play things differently, and your tune might not be heard the way you wrote it. Keep this in mind when you release a tune. While it is often criticized, MP3s are starting to take their place in the scene, and with good reason. An MP3 is the most portable format out there, and the one format that should sound perfectly the same reglardless of what player is playing it. Ignore what the critics say, if they criticize...they're lost in the scene of yesterday. But anyone with their ear to the scene knows that you can't limit yourself in such ways. You too can innovate in music, be it with your synthesizers, with Buzz or Psycle, with your oldskool tracker or whatever. You hold the ear of the scene, and you must keep that in mind as the scene continues to evolve. After all, the music has changed the most since the scene's birth.
Whether you're a participant, or just an observer, this is your time to inflect your influences. You can offer criticism and you can offer your best product. Either of which will help to steer the scene in a given direction, even if it is a minutely small change in direction. My point is, too many people give up because they think they have no impact. But here I am with almost 300 readers now, and I wouldn't have dreamed of having any impact more than three years ago. I am one man, but I have an influence on the scene, even if it is small (300 readers out of how many scene members? That's a very small fraction). I don't mean to be arrogant, but it's true. The scene is filled with lots of Gene Wie's, Necros' and Coplans. Everywhere you turn, you'll see or meet another Snowman or another Phoenix. Every time you jump in #trax, you see the name Basehead with a moderator flag next to his name. Everyone in the scene has a story to tell, and I assure you that everyone has some impact on the scene, so long as they put their minds to it. Years ago, Maelcum put his mind to create a demogroup. Even today, the word Kosmic will always hold a place in scene. Hornet Archive might close, but how many servers have picked up in their tracks? Sure, it's not quite Hornet, but the demoscene has lived on, and it has evolved. And who did that? It wasn't the Hornet guys. It was other guys like you. I hope I am the inspiration that makes you the next Jeffrey Lim, creating one of the most famous tracking programs on the web today. How old is that program, and it's still one of the most widely used? How would you like to be that guy with your name in the credits for that program? Why not try? I hope I might be the inspiration to make you want to be the next Seven, one of the best, and most widely publicized demo reviewers in the scene today. If you don't think that any demo group isn't honored when Seven reviews one of their demos, you're wrong. I know for a fact that anyone is honored to get their demo mentioned by Seven. And I know that many groups try hard to get their demos reviewed by anyone. They strive for it. They work for it. They work hard to get their art recognized...and if you happen to be that guy that offers your criticism, then you might be the guy who sets a mold of expectation. People might turn to you and say "you know what? Your ideas and your thoughts make a lot of sense. Next time I make a demo, I will take your comments into consideration, and strive to make the best demo I have ever done." Imagine getting that e-mail in your inbox. Wouldn't you like to be that guy?
My point is a very simple one. Just because you're one person doesn't mean that you can't help the scene to evolve. You have it within your power to make a change in the demoscene, no matter how large or how small. The future of the scene lies more in your hands than you might believe. The future of the scene depends more on you than you could ever dream. The sooner you realize that, the sooner tomorrow will come.
So I challenge you: In the year 2002, I challenge you to be everything you can be for the scene, and to do everything that you can possibly do. You will find yourself one day writing an article for The Root, and you will wonder what has made you deserve such an honor. And it will be myself, or someone like me, to tell you that "You have made a huge influence on the scene to bring it to where it is today."
That could be you. If you try hard, that will be you.