Scenergy #02
31 декабря 1999

Demo Party - репортаж Gasman'a с Forever 2e3.

<b>Demo Party</b> - репортаж Gasman'a с Forever 2e3.
                    Forever 2e3: The report

 The last Spectrum show I went to was in Horwich, which is a ten
minute  drive  from my house. Travelling across Europe to attend
the  Forever  2e3  demo  party in Slovakia was going to be a bit
different.  As  I  trundled off in the National Express coach to
London,  I  had no idea what to expect, other than that I'd make
an arse of myself at several major airports across Europe.

 My  first  flight was delayed, and I missed the connection from
Prague.  As  airports go, Prague is probably quite a good one to
be  lost  and  bewildered  in.  Lots of helpful English-speaking
staff  were  on  hand to sort out an alternative flight, and not
once  did  I have to go into Noisy English Tourist mode. While I
was  waiting around and imagining what a good time everyone else
was  having,  I  remembered  that the organisers had arranged to
meet me at the train station in Trencin, so I tried to send them
a message on one of the public internet thingies they had at the
airport.  Imagine  a keyboard that's slightly more irritating to
use  than  a  ZX81 and you'll get the idea. Fired off the email,
thinking  that  they  probably  wouldn't get to read it on time.
They  didn't.  Spent  the  rest  of  the afternoon watching what
appeared to be the German equivalent of MTV. German pop music is
very bad.

 Several hours and numerous modes of transport later, I stumbled
through  the  entrance  to the school in Trencin where the party
was  being held, tired and freezing, some time after midnight. I
breathed  a  sigh  of relief as I heard 8-bit computers bleeping
away,  although  the  bleeps  had  taken  on  a new life through
being  pumped  through  a whopping great big sound system. I was
greeted  by  Ellvis  (no,  really),  and before long I was being
introduced  to all sorts of people who I'd previously only known
through  the  internet.  In my own inimitable style, I instantly
forgot who everyone was.
 It wasn't just Spectrums at the party - the Atari and Commodore
64  scenes  were also represented, and I started off my visit by
watching some classic Atari demos. Rather than being loaded from
just  any  old  disc  drive, there was a PC running a program to
emulate  a  disc drive. The Atari had been suitably cannibalised
to  get  the whole setup to work, with wires strewn all over the
place between the two computers. Mmm, nice! The demos themselves
were  all  very  impressive,  and I was struck by how smooth the
action  was, but being an ardent Speccy fan, I'd say it could do
with  a  splash  more  colour.  Heh heh heh. At this point I was
badly  in  need  of  some  sleep,  and  going  up six flights of
stairs  to my room made sure of that. I woke up the next morning
in  time  to  catch  the  last  five  minutes  of  the  realtime
competitions. The idea of these was to write an intro or a piece
of  music,  on  the spot, against a time limit. Sure enough, the
results  were...  interesting.  In  the end Factor 6 claimed the
title  on  the  music  side, with TDM in second place. The intro
competition  attracted  three  entries:  a self-playing Breakout
game  on the Atari; the totally bizarre Haluzky; and the winner,
Zero Divide, full of sparkly starfield effects. Meanwhile, I got
talking  with  Matsoft,  editor  of ZX Magazin. It seems they're
really  hot  on hardware modifications in Eastern Europe, and in
between  a  healthy  selection  of reviews and show reports, the
pages  were  brimming  with circuit diagrams for everything from
sound  cards  to  hard drive interfaces! Unfortunately, the hard
drive  is  still  in  need  of  a  proper  operating system, but
nevertheless,  at  the  recent Zlincon 99 show the visitors were
treated  to an animation from Star Wars and an entire episode of
The Simpsons, being played straight from the hard drive.

 I  spent  most of the afternoon searching through X-agon's demo
collection  for  rare  gems  that hadn't found their way onto my
website.  For  some  of  them,  it  was  clear  why  they'd been
previously  kept  hidden  away  in  the  Czech  Republic,  but I
grabbed  a  copy anyway. It was at this time I had my first real
experience  of  the  Didaktik  Kompakt, the most common Spectrum
clone   in  these  parts.  Quite  a  nice  'boxy'  design,  with
reassuringly  chunky  keys...  I think I could get to like these
things. Next to me Dron was giving the Art Studio treatment to a
scene from South Park, expertly copied from someone's T-shirt.
 The  C64  group  DMAgic were on hand to give a demonstration of
their  new  box  of  tricks,  the Super CPU, which speeds up the
processor  to  20MHz. They showed off Stunt Car Racer running so
fast  as  to be unplayable, and Driller running, er, fast enough
to  be  playable. The finale was a specially written shoot-em-up
with  full  screen  animation and a sampled soundtrack, to which
the  Spectrum  delegation  cheerfully  responded  by  loading up
Hypnotic  Dreams (a demo with full screen animation and - yes! -
a sampled soundtrack).

 Tiger's  Claw took this opportunity to give me the latest issue
of  his  disczine  Scene+  and  the  accompanying paper magazine
SUC-Session.  And  not  just  any  old  issue  either - this one
happens  to be a special 'X-rated' edition, so it's just as well
that  the customs officials at the airport didn't search too far
into my bag...

 Before long it was time to settle down for the main event - the
competitions. A far cry from the frantic hacking of the realtime
competitions,  these  were the things people had been working on
for  days, weeks, months beforehand. First up was the music, and
as  I  sat  clutching  my  votesheet,  I  was  blown away by the
quality  of  all  the entries (or was it that whopping great big
sound  system  again?).  I  started  off trying to give them all
marks  out of 10, but I found it so hard to choose the top three
that  my notes were full of crossings-out and marks like 8.1295.
I've  no  idea  what I finally picked, but I'm sure they were so
amazing that they deserved to win. Probably.

 The  graphics  competition  was  easier  to  vote on, not least
because  there were considerably less entries, but a certain few
stood  out.  Judging  from the 'ooh's and 'aah's coming from the
crowd,  I  wasn't the only one with that opinion. Following this
came  the intro competition, the big event for me. The challenge
here  was  to  squeeze  as much as possible into 1K of code. I'd
sent in my entry a few weeks beforehand, and the organisers must
have  liked  it  because  it appeared they'd dropped a few hints
about  it.  I'd  spent  so  long  writing it that it didn't seem
anything special to me any more, but I think the main attraction
was  the music that I'd dropped in to fill up my quota of bytes.
The  first  few  entries to be shown were good standard 1K intro
fare,  and then it came time to show mine. The music started up.
The  crowd  gasped.  Applause  erupted  around  the  room. I was
grinning  like  a  Cheshire cat, but fortunately the lights were
down low, so no-one got to see that.

 The  best entries, it seems, had been cunningly left till last.
For  his  'Mathricks' intro, Baze had come up with a spinning 3D
figure,  accurately  lightsourced  against a fractal background,
and  intro  king  Serzh  had teamed up with Ravager for a visual
treat  entitled  Artifice.  Serzh  has become well known in demo
circles  for  making his 4K intros into 5-minute, 25-part epics,
and  this  entry  certainly didn't break the trend. Despite only
having  1K  to  play  with  this time, the duo managed to fit in
three parts, each one a work of art.

 Unfortunately   there   weren't   enough  demos  to  make  up a
fully-fledged demo competition, but nevertheless we were treated
to  a  selection  of  new  releases.  The  Atari section had the
wonderfully  silly  Superboy  demo  to  show  off,  and we had a
preview of a forthcoming C64 megademo, the name of which totally
escapes  me  (oops). On the Speccy, 'BASICdemo' and 'FDT' pushed
Sinclair  Basic  to  the  limit, and the evening was rounded off
with   'Bobering   2000'  from  Syndrome,  a  typically  Russian
'greyscale'  affair  doing  not-so-typical  things  in 3D. After
scribbling  down  our final votes, everyone congregated around a
pair  of Ataris, to witness the most retro-oriented presentation
of the party - NetPong, a two player Pong game played across two
machines connected by another spaghetti of wires. Being a former
owner  of  a  Binatone  machine (you know, the one where you can
choose between five games, each one of them being tennis), I can
say that it was a perfect conversion.

 The show continued well into the night, with classic demos from
all three scenes being shown on the big screen. It was a sort of
Desert  Island Demos affair, with the organisers of each section
picking  the  very  best from each computer. The atmosphere here
was  amazing, and I'll never look at these demos in the same way
again  -  watching  them on a telly couldn't even begin to match
the  experience.  The next morning, for me, consisted of sorting
through  tickets  and  other bits of paper that I'd need for the
frantic  journey  back  (involving three planes and a horrendous
number  of  trains). But everything stopped for the announcement
of the results...

 I  was  pleased  to see fellow Raww Arse member L.A.Esq pick up
third   place   in   the  music  category  for  his  track  'New
Generation'.  'Dispazio' by Baze claimed second place, and in my
not-so-humble  opinion,  the  moral victory. In the selection of
sleek  dance  tracks,  one  entry, a joke version of the Titanic
theme,  had stuck out like a sore thumb, and the Atari crowd all
picked  that  one  for  a laugh. As a result, it was Darkman and
Justinas  of  Constellation who clinched the top spot with their
rendition, entitled 'Titanas'.

 GAS  13  has been a top three contender for graphics at most of
the  recent parties, and he finally made it to the top spot this
time  with  'Don't  Pass  By',  a stunning colourful countryside
scene.  Agyagos  and Diver also impressed the crowds enough with
their  pictures  their  pictures  'Robin' and 'Alone' to achieve
second and third places respectively.

 Baze   took  his  second  podium  position  of  the  day,  with
'Mathricks'  making  third  place  in  the intro competition. My
intro  'Madrielle'  was knocked into second place by 'Artifice',
and  Serzh  and  Ravager  had  done such an impressive job on it
that I couldn't really complain.

 All in all, the organisers had done a fantastic job, and it was
an  unforgettable  experience  for  me.  The  show  attracted 62
visitors  -  at  least half of whom came from outside Slovakia -
and from what I've heard, that's pretty big as these things go.

 The  journey  back  passed  with no problems whatsoever, and by
3:00  the next morning I was back home to get some rest. But not
for  long, because I'd promised to get the results and downloads
on  my website as soon as possible. And that's exactly where you
should go now...


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

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