Breakpoint 2009 - From a Breakpoint TV point of view
Watched and Written, all the way from Argentina, by Akira
Prologue written by Magic
Streams to follow a demoparty are pretty common these days. While demoscene.tv started to make some quality streams years ago other parties just created their own streams or TV channels. Like Assembly, The Gathering or Breakpoint. Or in case of some smaller parties just an unsteady webcam updated every 20 seconds. :) The scene is getting older. Sceners have other priorities and thus can't go to a scene party or just have grown out of doing so. Wife and kids don't let them go, or they have simply left the scene. But this doesn't mean they don't watch a live stream, for example at easter! While the PC demo competition had the usual quantity at Breakpoint 2009 the quality was arguably lower than what the scene was used to. Perhaps because the scene got older and sceners have less time to spend on working on some good production? Breakpoint 2010 is already around the corner. Perhaps because it's the last edition we can expect a better PC demo competition? The future will tell soon. (Or already has when you read this after Breakpoint 2010. :)) Anyway, Akira, a fellow all the way from Argentina, wrote about Breakpoint 2009 what he watched and saw in the stream. You can read it now. Enjoy, folks!
This year's Breakpoint brought a surprise: an unimagined number of Amiga productions entered the many competitions. The Amiga scene is not very active at the moment so this was a welcome and refreshing thing for me at BP09 and I hope more activity is going to be seen in one of my favourite platforms. The 4KB competition on Amiga was pretty amazing to me. Seeing what these people can do with only 4 kilobytes of executable is pretty amazing. This competition has become the new step of "eliteness" on the demoscene, taking the gauntlet from the 64K compo, which used to be the top of the pops until recently.
Winner of the compo, and my personal pick, was Luminagia by The Loonies.
Amiga 64K Demo:
Another surprise compo with lots of cool entries, this year Amiga has shone among other platforms at Breakpoint! The winner Superkewl by Supergroup was pretty fab, even though I liked a bit more my honorary mention, Umbilicus Mundi by Software Failure.
My favourite in this category attained a second place. It runs on an Amiga 500 (!) and has brilliant design coupled by a very cool CHIPTUNE (a real one, motherfuckers).
Check out Wasted Years by Moods Plateau.
A surprising number of entries (9) on this category, the winner of it was my favourite and also probably the best demo of all competitions among all platforms. It's a great demo, but let me remark, though, the fact that the Amiga categories shone through on this Breakpoint was also due to a very low quality on PC productions. I hope next year this changes.
A deserved second spot for Lightshaft by Elude, if only for the technicalities, I still thought it was more of the same after their winning demo Solliloquy of last year's Amiga compo. Cathode by Unique was pretty ok too.
No match, in my opinion, for the winner, the punk-rocking demo Jesus Christ Motocross by Nature & Traktor.
A disappointing category for me since I expected a bigger amount of releases and more quality. Still, the top two demos stood away from the rest and are worth a mention. Unfortunately unfinished, Salute! by Resource showed some promising effects, good design and a very pleasant soundtrack from Linus.
The winner, and my pick, was Das Gotler by Extend, which shone through with an amazing design and good music from Barracuda.
Real Wild Demo:
The prize was taken again by LFT's sucessor to the CRAFT platform, Turbulence, a self-developed ATMEL based 16-bit platform which he constructed, programmed and created a demo for. To me the novelty wore off and it wasn't as impressive as Crafts. Typical coder wank-off pr0n, which I am not too keen of.
Other mentions: A demo created completely in Micro$$$oft Excel, Excellence (no joke!), and a decent Nintendo DS demo called Defcon Zero by Scarab. There was also a demo for PSP, Disco Return 4 by MarszczMelon, but it doesn't reach the overall awesomeness of Suicide Barbie by TBL (released in 2007 and still unsurpassed... Tsk tsk, PSP democoders...). There were two very bad Sega Genesis demos too, not worth more than a mention if only for the platform they ran in.
My pick from the competition was the MSX2 demo done by half of the people who also won the Amiga competition... Syntax Infinity by Tulou & Traktor was a pretty solid demo which ran on a plaform that usually doesn't have much going on demoscene-wise. Being a computer of success mostly in Japan and Brazil, both countries lacking much in demoscene departments, it's no wonder it hasn't been picked up more by euro demo enthusiasts, so I welcome this addition very muchly.
It's got good graphics, a nice flow and cool music with a very Crazy Q-ish vibe to it. Mad YM bass!
All in all, a pretty good demoparty. The web stream was IMMACULATE, I could watch the action ALMOST realtime and at FULL framerate all the time with a very decent resolution. I don't know how they pulled it but it was pretty damn solid and I could watch it all almost without problems. There were few network problems with it, mostly at the most congested categories, like PC Demo or the Scene.org Awards. It was for me the best way to spend a weekend!
What's next? There's a bunch of oldschool demoparties I might cover, but if not, we'll have LCP in August, which is 100% oldschool. Keep those eyes peeled!
I hope you enjoyed the demo wrap up because here is part two. I almost forgot about these, to be honest, so I am sorry!
What we have here is a bunch of files in the categories of Music, Graphics and Games.
All the oldschool platforms are bundled together on one music category, called "executable oldschool music". Don't ask me about the ‘executable' part, some of these did not come in any sort of executable format. Pixel graphics are not a very popular thing nowadays on the demoscene, so this year we only got one category to cater for that: C64 graphics. Fortunately for the oldschoolers among us, they made an unofficial compo for ASCII and ANSI graphics, so we have that too. Then we have 96KB game, which was multiplatform and had a very cool game for the C64.
So, let's hit it on with all the data!
Fortress of Narzod is an old game available for the Vectrex console. The guys at TRIAD had taken this and converted it to the C64 using a very smooth and convincing vector graphics engine, not much of a sight on the poor old 3D-less C64. It also has all music done by Linus and that's always a plus point for me. The game itself, which I never played before, is very cool and challenging.
Oldschool Executable Music:
The oldschool category had a bunch of different platforms thrown in which I always appreciate. NES, Amiga, C64 and Spectrum were all catered for. Even a Genesis track!
The quality all round was pretty okayish, nothing that blew my mind. The NES tune, Rastafari vs. The Biker by pinza, was quite fresh and I enjoyed it, despite my dislike for the NES sound in general. There also were a bunch of REAL Amiga chiptunes (read: small 4 channel MOD tunes with small samples sounding like chip hardware) which I did not like, and an AHX track which was cool, Over Control by Aceman.
A bunch of okay C64 and Spectrum AY tunes later, of which Factor6's Piggy Poo was probably my fave (and the winner of the competition), I could pick up a weird favourite tune: Slaepwerigne by LFT a.k.a. Linus Akesson attracted me by its tranquility and atmosphere, an epic-feeling track that is telling a tale. Far off the usual happy/dancey/funky whatever track that usually gets released, he played it how he wanted it, executed it properly, exported it as a SID file from his self-made playroutine, and only scored a seventh position in the compo. Damn shame. Give it a listen.
I was also expecting some more action on this category, but it seems as Breakpoint doesn't allow remote entries, not all C64 sceners could go, probably saving themselves and their money for a more C64-focused party like the upcoming LCP. Nevertheless, some cool pics were released.
It seems like I never agree with most demosceners' typical taste. the winner of this compo, Earlier That Day by Ragnarok, is the typical ‘me too' demo pic and I thought it was pretty damn boring. Yes, it's well executed, good technique and all, but the picture doesn't do anything for me. Sorry.
Second place is a bit more interesting and probably my "all round" pick. Oldschool Story by Carrion uses the IFLI mode pretty well, though not the best I've seen, and the theme is something you could find done very well in old pics by Cyclone or Made on the Amiga, but all round is a great pic.
Now there are two interesting pictures. Both interest me for their technique, and one for the theme also. X-Ray by Veto is the one that has these two interesting factors. The technique is weird as in not trying to use antialiasing or the classic color dithering found in most pixelart. It's still executed very well and with a technique that reminds me of brush-painted canvases. The theme, an x-rayed couple that's expecting a baby, is pretty unique as well and nothing I've seen before. This is my favourite among the competition.
Now this second pic shines through by a very weird execution. The technique is odd and the result is as well, certainly nothing the demoscene is used to and as such it got almost last place. I think this picture uses the C64 more as a canvas and again I see the "I use the computer as a brush" sort of technique, reminiscent maybe of pointillism. Sashii by Nada is the pic I am talking about.
An unofficial competition, meaning that it was organized by a party-goer rather than the organizers, and as such also has no prize. This is something I am usually not into, specially ANSI, but there are some cool graphics to look at in the simpleness of text mode and even if I don't follow this closely, I always like to see this art from time to time.
Following you will find my favourite entries among different styles, which I will describe.
Oldschool ASCII: Jack the Tripper by DMG (#4). I thought this was pretty cool because it mixes old and new school ASCII!
NS by 16 Colors (#11, not very loved)
ANSI graphics: BP09 by Ansichris (I think it was disqualified) for not being released first in BP'09)
Well that's all from me for now, I hope you have enjoyed this wrap-up as much as I enjoyed writing it and watching the demoparty.