DON'T BREAK THE
A Falcon demo by DHS
It is almost a week after the event now, and I'm still struggling to
adequately put my feelings about this demo into some form of words
suitable for a review. As a fast-approaching deadline for this issue of
Alive! looms, I suppose I had better try now...
We'd been hearing of a new demo from DHS, for the Error in Line part 2
for a little while. We were guessing that it would probably contain some
sort of advanced 3-D world, and most likely make use of hardware
accelerators in the Centurbo 2 class. How did this guesswork turn out?
It is a sizeable download, and the depacked files include a couple with
the magic words .mp2 on the extender. This is not a great surprise as
the first demos using .mp2 replay were seen at last years Siliventure
2000 party. Anyway, on with the show, and we are presented with a GEM
dialogue box, giving a list of monitor options and a choice between CT2
busting 'High detail mode', and 'Low detail mode' for humbler Falcy's.
Being a smug git with a CT2, I go for the first of these, with a touch
of VGA 100 Hertz.
Then things go dark, a black anticipatory stillness. The soundtrack
starts, and a large and bright DHS logo drawn by Exocet of psycho-bunny
fame fades up with the first dramatic synth-stab of the music. This is
an excellent soundtrack by Candyman, really a tune to die for! The logo
slowly fades down again. The music picks up the pace, and the first
'real' effect then comes into view.
A crash of cymbals! A huge spinning silver glowing Fuji logo rotates,
surrounded by four other protective pointy polygons, and covered in
glowing blobs, almost as if it was made from cut-glass crystal. This is
an excellent beginning to the main part of the demo, surely Evil and
Gizmo have been working very hard since their last full demo, at the
first EIL two years ago.
The 3-D polys take a back seat for a bit, but the glowing blobs remain.
A little subversive touch is next, as various lines of text zoom in and
out from the side of the screen, comments designed to preempt any
flaming for such breaches of Atari demo making orthodoxy like "MP2 is
cheating" or "Oldschool rules!" and even "FPU is cheating!". DHS don't
care if not every Falcon owner appreciates this demo, but with more and
more people getting memory upgrades (with an FPU), most people can now?
The next hardcore full-on 3D screen is next. A golden glowing torus
surrounded by four precious stones set against a lucious moving
background texture. This seems to add to the feeling that Evil is
obsessed by jewellery and precious stones in this demo, maybe we should
rename it the "Crown Jewels Demo?!"
There are some credits to follow, but not just any old credits. In
keeping with the high quality of this demo, these are zooming in and out
of the screen, done to an incredibly fine detail level, with a swooshing
distorting background thrown in for no extra cost.
A mid-demo relaxer comes up, with a gorgeous high resolution 'Cyberbird'
themed still piccy from Lance of Aggression. Interesting how many high
profile people got involved with this demo!
A slight change in design, a red-based screen with another Exocet drawn
graphic on the right (a fictional female, is Exocet trying to crack the
mOdmate market?) On the left, what can be described as a double ended
mushroom polygon spins, with a 3D bumpmap attached to it. Another cool
screen, feels slightly 'earlier' than the rest of the demo. Was this one
of the first bits that Evil and co completed?
Something that can be described as a golden mucus spins in three
dimensions, but it isn't on its own for long, as a series of fast paced
greetings pound in time to the music at the bottom of the screen.
Time for some motion blur, with a blurring diamond or blob that morphs
into a double ended mushroom. Very subtle, in a misty sort of way.
All too soon, the main part of the demo is over, with a high quality
voxel fractal landscape to show the way out. It is a misty day by the
seaside, with lots of jaggy fjord style coastlines, and the beautiful
blue sea, which fades up to whiteness ever so slowly.
But it isn't quite the end, as DHS have cleverly provided a deliberately
slow and relaxed endpart. There is a change of music, and a series of
high detail textured silvery polygons drift across the centre of the
screen. There is a fair bit of what might be described as 'infotext' or
'readme', including the encouraging news that this is not the end of
their Atari activities. The pace of this part is much more langorous and
slow, in deliberate contrast to the faster pace of the mainpart.
Then it is really "The end", and we are booted back out into the desktop
Some more words?
This is the first demo production that really uses a Centurbo 2 to its
best advantage. The demo is viewable on a low detail mode on a standard
machine, where DHS have gone for a technique seen in the EIL '99 Mystic
Bytes ST demo 'Sweety', of removing every other line displayed. This
makes the demo a little bit more blurry and indistinct, but still good
enough to run at a reasonable speed. I might add there were one or two
textures that were running in a distinctly chunkier resolution than on
the high detail mode. You will still need 14 megabytes and an FPU, which
may put some people off, although fewer people than in the recent past
I couldn't help comparing the DHS demo, with the TOYS demo 'Wait', which
is very similar in a lot of ways. Here goes...
Ways in which the DHS demo is better than the TOYS demo.
..More assured polished and professional overall design.
..Absolutely no rough edges.
..The music rocked, best music in the whole demo compo.
..It was the right length, didn't end too soon, or overstay for that
(There will be a companion endpart in the TOYS demo review, 'Ways in
which the TOYS demo is better than the DHS demo!')
Well I have to say that I was very excited by this demo, and a lot of
others at EIL part 2. DHS were denied the first prize by the superlative
efforts of Escape, who were using a different philosophy, but 'Don't
Break the Oath' still sets new standards for demos running on higher end
Don't stop now, you crazy Swedish pizza distorting guys, we want more!
Graphics:- 92% - Cool still graphics by Exocet and Lance. A very assured
and professional use of textures in the active parts of the demo too.
Sonix:- 97% - Top tune by Candyman, one of my favourite demo tunes of
all time! Is there more from him? Can we hear it soon??
Gee-Whiz:- 90% - There's nothing really really new here, but it is
running on a higher detail level than before, with more obvious care and
attention taken in putting this demo together. Also audacious in being
the first demo that dares to use enhanced hardware fully.
Overall:- 95% - This has got to go very high in the top ten list of all-
time favourite Falcon demos!
CiH for Alive! mag, in a hurry! April 2001.