Hugi Magazine 32: Say It With Flowers

hugi 32 header graphic

What's next for the demoscene? (Written By TAD)

To repeat what has been said many times before: 'There are no more challenges left in the demoscene'. With the widespread usage of high spec machines and growing advances in the fields of texture/model generation, compact animation techniques and high quality 'demo tools' that allow rapid prototyped designs to fill monitors around the world, what are the new limits that will tempt many sceners to try to break?

The long lost hardware speed and space limitations are gone (except of course for the handheld systems) and for a while the 64K and 4K looked like worthy successors that would again capture some of the 'good old days' where new techniques poured out of creative minds through countless late hours over an comfortable keyboard. Although the oldskool effects were groundbreaking at the time they were easy metrics, by this I mean a fullscreen effect would impress purely from a technical point of view and anyone in the audience could instantly judge how good/bad the code was.

Back then numbers ruled.

Sadly, sometimes the magic numbers that appeared in the scrolling ASCII lines telling us that - 1000's blobs are being drawn or 8 channels of high-quality 8-bit samples while moving the entire screen – was the most interesting part of the production. I guess the limitations of the time produced this fixation with counting and as the sceners have grown up their main focus is towards quality and originality.

These days it can be difficult to judge how good/bad the coder is because the visual aspects are mixed together and edited by graphicians to create an atmosphere or mood. This is due to the sheer amount of work involved in even the most basic 4K production. The audience expects fluid effects and seamless transitions between different scenes. The shift away from cycle-counting mentality has had many benefits since the restrictions of being a slave to the 50Hz god no longer applies. The audience doesn't mind if the frame-rate drops a little so long as the overall mood and synchronisation is kept.

Productions are more team-based, even game industry like in some ways. With demo tools anyone in a group can release a production. Does this undervalue the work of the coder(s) or does this freedom make productions more interesting?


TAD 28 July 2006