Outline 2014 Thoughts

Written by CiH "Even my short reports are long!"
of ex-Maggie and ex-Alive diskmags

One photo (main hall on Friday morning) by CiH and all other photos by Ramon B5 of Desire.

I opted out of doing a realtime report for Outline 2014. I just fancied experiencing this one differently. At the moment I haven't been writing for anything on a large scale either. But convention demands that I report on something so here I am.

Anyhow, it's D-Plus one, I'm back home, brain smashed, having slept the disturbed sleep patterns of the post-party afflicted. Here are some thoughts after the event.

Journey: This was painless. We have been to Eersel enough times by now to navigate this one entirely by hand, no electronic trickery needed. Three of us travelled up, myself, Felice and we made space for Gasman, who is a compliant passenger, especially after he's been bound and gagged first.

There was a small amount of amusement with Felice attempting to purchase a shedload of wine from the Cite Europe shopping site en route. We managed to pack this into the car, and other stuff he bought at the C1000 supermarket in Eersel to

add to the pile. Maybe there's some insider info he has on a forthcoming viniculture catastrophe, so he's getting nice and ready for it?

The journey back also managed to run in a buttery oiled and generally smoother than smooth fashion. Even the Eurotunnel part, which gave us some interesting heart-stopping moments at Easter when we came back from Revision.

Venue: We arrived at the party at around 6pm on Thursday evening and was struck by the huge numbers of people already

there. Clearly Outline 2014 was going to bulge out of the sides of T'Jewel. And so it proved to be the case. The sleeping accommodation was for myself, the tried and tested sleeping room concept. This was generally ok, apart from first night getting used to the strange bed, and a last night of some people celebrating too loudly in the corridor (and in the sleeping room shared by Felice, which didn't leave him feeling too happy next morning.) Some other people brought canvas based external sleeping arrangements for use in the field, or rented a tent and

sleeping bag from the party organisers. This undoubtedly helped to reduce the pressure on the sleeping rooms. It helped a lot that after an iffy first day, the weather was set to 'early summer gorgeous mode'.

The Party: Somehow we found sufficient table space to set up our stuff. My Desktopper cased Atari Falcon was one of several old school machines at the party. Setting it up in the tiny available space was like trying to manoeuvre a wardrobe into that space. But I managed it, tangled undergrowth of cables et al. After some initial sulking from the external hard drive, it settled down and behaved beautifully for the rest of the party.

A routine of selected games and demos, small scale demo showing to people who hadn't seen a Falcon doing its thing

before, watching the various musical live entertainments, going outside to enjoy the early summer/cool evening air, eating and drinking fun things and talking to people ensued.

Catering: Taking care of the needs of the belly fell to three very different teams who were mostly successful. We dodged a salmonella bullet with the first night barbecue. This was a case of learning on the job. Fortunately, no ill effects were felt. (There was a successful footnote with some baked potatoes that were better cooked later on.) The eagerly anticipated second night curry did not disappoint. Even at the cost of some self-mutilation to the chef, Nuey. This was properly cooked and spicy enough to appeal to experienced curry fans, but not too intimidating for milder central european palettes.

The final night Hapkar enjoyed a huge amount of trade, the queue lasted for a long time, only dying away when the competitions started.

Of course we have to mention the copious amounts of breakfast provided to start the day, and extremely reasonably priced

drinks available from the bar. Felice was also generous enough to tap into a small part of his newly acquired wine lake, giving us a further choice, and Grazey and I experimented with various spirits that we had brought with us. And there was free coffee with the fancy coffee maker from Revision to take care of those early morning 'dead inside' feelings.

People: There was an assortment of old favourites and more recently met people. It was a pleasure to catch up with Swedish Atarians such as the Nature Brothers and PeP, also Beetle, Lotek Style, who hasn't been seen for a few parties, and Ukko. We also caught up with GGN's movements, and there was a welcome return for Thorn. We cannot go too far without mentioning the presence of Cal and Grazey, who had something rather special to show in the competitions. Someone who hadn't been seen for a long time at any party, was Simon 'Carbon' Osborne, who strangely spoke with more of a pronounced Dutch accent, as time went on.

As for the non-Atarians, there were a lot of folk recognisable from the Revision party. We were set up adjacent to Knoeki, and were pleased to compare notes with his boosted Amiga A600 and my Atari Falcon. There was a nice chap sitting immediately to the right of me, who's name I didn't catch, taking an interest too. Sticking in the memory for the right reason was the young girl with floppy disks in her braided hair. There are too many to name check, and you can get a list of people from the official website anyway.

Releases and other interesting stuff: I'm mostly looking at this from an Atarian point of view. Although we only had the grand total of one intro from the Dead Hackers, there were other very interesting releases and previews shown here too. Grazey and Cal had managed to rescue a game from the halls of myth and legend, namely the imaginatively titled 'Killing Spree'. This is what happened when the Lost Boys decided to make a game based on their megademo main menu from 1991, 'Ooh Crikey, Wot a scorcher!' There was also a public showing for one P. Putnik's high colour STE video replay routines, in the form of a 160 MB movie file, which apparently took the organisers by surprise. There were some smaller releases, including a failed boot sector turned into a last minute game from Cal.

Of further interest at the party, was the interesting "thing" being previewed by the Nature Brothers, intended for a SuperVidel powered Falcon. Also a preview of an ST conversion of a famous Atari 8-bit game from elsewhere. It even appears that PeP may be putting fingers to keyboard again, after a pause on his part. The other formats tend to come as a bonus for the party, to my eyes at least. There was the magnificently demented 'pb00: paardicle' from Poo-brain. There were some impressive efforts in the size limiting field, with a winning 'Mayan' 128 byte 3-D world in DOS colours. 'Iterate' by Inque was a strong 64k intro. Ex-Ante by Desire was a cool use of Javascript and lush rich graphics.

Random impressions: Chalk drawings outside, water balloon fights and disk throwing, shaven alpacas, the Ron Jeremy life-sized cardboard cut-out that the Poo-Brain team won and had to transport home on their bikes. Glorious sunshine, Okkie as Vincent Price yet again, midnight rum and coke by the bonfire with Grazey, Star-Trek pinball, Felice NOT getting horribly drunk shock horror!

What happens now?: When we spoke with Havoc on the final night, just after the prize giving ceremony (some considerable time after 11.30) it appeared that the future of Outline at T'Jewel was secure for another year. However, a day later, this is not the case.

It's too early to say what happens next. Maybe it was time that Outline moved on, as this venue was at the limit of what it could accommodate this time. On the other hand, a bigger Outline for the future may lose some of its charm and the unique atmosphere as one of the great smaller parties. I also get the feeling that the small organising team have carried a great load for a lot of years. Maybe time to take a break, or get some extra help should there be a next time.

Anyway, whatever happens next, thanks a million for eleven awesome years. Let's hope this is not the last!

Links related to this article

Outline 2014 official results
Ex-Ante by Desire live on Outline 2014
Outline official Website
Outline - Stu Performance
All Outline 2014 releases at Pouet.net

CiH - 2.6.14.