Adventurer #15
31 июля 2004

Scene - Notcon 2004 report from Gasman.


Демосцена Демопати Отчеты, репортажи, впечатленияДругие

Notcon 2004 report              
Gasman                          

Notcon 2004 report 
by Gasman

It was 2002's Extreme Computing
festival, where a significant por-
tion  of the programme was devoted
to a celebration of the Spectrum's
20th  birthday, which first prod-
ded me into doing a talk. They had
a number  of short slots available
for people to come forward and
give 'lightning  presentations',
but in the end I decided that ma-
king up a talk on the  spot was a
bit too hardcore. Instead, I had
to wait around another two  years
for a similar event to come
along... finally NotCon provided
that  opportunity.

I was allocated a 10 minute slot
for my presentation, with a sugges-
tion  to concentrate on the hardwa-
re side of things. I started out
wondering  what I could cover, but
soon found out that the bigger
problem was  deciding what to lea-
ve out - 10 minutes isn't very
long at all.  Originally I wasn't
going to mention the demo scene at
all, and I was  just going to de-
monstrate DivIDE by loading up a
game, but at the last  minute I re-
alised that this would result in
an awkward moment in the  talk whe-
re I'd go "Look, it's Manic Miner.
Woo, Manic Miner everyone.  Er,
yay." So, I went for a bit of
self-promotion instead, and put
Losing Victoria on the playlist.

From past experience, I've found
that when you mention the demo
scene  to a typical British geek,
one of two things will happen.
Either their  eyes will light up
and they'll wax lyrical about Futu-
re Crew, Desert  Dream, Gravis
Ultrasounds and Farbrausch, or
they'll stare at you with  a confu-
sed expression. For the benefit of
the latter category, I had to  gi-
ve a very brief explanation of the
demo scene, and you can probably
imagine how hard that is to do. Af-
ter cutting out countless details
of  the cracking scene, 256-byte
intros, realtime vs precalcula-
tion,  technical demos vs artistic
demos, and all sorts of other sub-
jects I  really wanted to mention,
I trimmed it down to about 30 se-
conds.

My turn on the stage came after Ja-
mes Larsson, who gave a highly  ec-
centric demonstration of telling
the time using a BBC Micro and a
prawn sandwich. (For those who
aren't familiar with it, the BBC
Micro  was the main rival computer
to the Spectrum in the UK, but see-
mingly  unknown in other co-
untries. Anyway, that's not nearly
as important as  the prawn
sandwich.) This was going to be a
tough act to follow...

Still, there was an encouraging
sign right at the start, when
(after a  small delay fixing up
the projector) the Spectrum star-
tup menu sprang  onto the screen,
accompanied by a hearty cheer
from the audience. This  was, af-
ter all, a crowd that largely grew
up with the Spectrum and have
fond memories of it, even if
they've long since "moved on".

Quite surprising, then, that nobo-
dy seemed to recognise the
Sinclair  microdrive cartridge
that I brandished at the start of
the talk to  illustrate how far
we'd come in 20 years. All in all,
the early stages  of the talk pas-
sed rather quietly (at least I
didn't see any  tumbleweeds rol-
ling past...) but the audience per-
ked up a bit when my  demo
started. I didn't really have time
to savour the moment, because I
was busy crawling under the table
trying to get the sound to work.
(In  a fit of paranoia, I decided
to bring my own speakers along,
just in  case. This turned out to
be a very good idea.)

The demo got a big round of
applause, which was very satisfy-
ing indeed.  A quick breather, and
then I moved on to the subject of
CompactFlash.  People still
weren't laughing at my crap jokes,
but there were some  definite mur-
murs of excitement about the
hardware developments. To me  the
leap from IDE to CF didn't seem a
very big one (or a very  interes-
ting one from a Spectrum hardware
point of view), but I guess  the
idea of an ultra-modern storage me-
dium on vintage hardware captured
everyone's imagination.

<twra2|down> IDE to CF with ISO fi-
le system?
<Ewan_> :-)
<twra2|down> this is _madness_
<johnli> disorganised chaos
<johnli> would be the technical
term
<Canis> but bleepy madness, which
is almost always good

- live IRC discussion from the
event on #notcon

I was running very short on time
by this point, so I had to move
quickly on to the finale, my strea-
ming video of Let Forever Be by
the  Chemical Brothers. The ini-
tial mention of streaming video
got a laugh -  people weren't sure
how seriously to take it... I was
going to  introduce it with some
technical blurb about BMP2SCR and
the  limitations of the AY chip,
but I ended up skipping that and
cutting  straight to the demonstra-
tion instead. This spot of improvi-
sation  turned out to be very ef-
fective, as if to casually say
"oh, this is  what we do all the
time on the Speccy" - and that was
the moment that  the whole crowd
had their preconceptions about the
possibilities of  8-bitters over-
turned...

<Canis> heh, let forever be
<plasticbagUK> that is the most
random thing I've ever seen in my
fucking life

In his opening speech, co-organi-
ser Danny O'Brien had encouraged
everyone at the conference to col-
laborate and strike up discus-
sions,  and while I assumed he had
the more 'mainstream' seminars in
mind, I  was pleasantly surprised
with the reception I got from visi-
tors later  on - I had a chat with
someone in search of new things to
do with his  Z80-based Amstrad
NC100 laptop (deciding that a port
of Contiki was a  possibility),
dispensed some advice on Speccy
cross-development, and  met a
prospective scener who had re-
cently moved to England from South
Africa but found that the scene he-
re isn't quite as active as he'd
hoped. In the evening, when we all
headed out to Wagamama, one of
London's  finest noodle bars, I
got talking with Mark Robson of
vectrex.org.uk.  The Vectrex is an
extremely rare home computer of
the 80s, notable for  its custom
CRT display which is vector-based
rather than raster-based.  I got
to hear about the peculiar ballet
act required to get the  electron
beam producing smooth graphics...
if only they were easier to  get
hold of, this would surely be the
next great conquest of the demo
scene.

elfh> the transcription of a pre-
sentation, could be read at:
http://www.zxdemo.org
/article.p hp?id=8)




Темы: Игры, Программное обеспечение, Пресса, Аппаратное обеспечение, Сеть, Демосцена, Люди, Программирование

Похожие статьи:
Scene - рассказ Gasman'a о том как он знакомил британских обывателей с демосценой на Notcon 2004.
Party - Antique...
Scene - отчет о концерте в Варшаве группы AY Riders.

В этот день...   23 сентября