The bootsector competition was a well attended and successful competition
for the Outline '05 party. The aim simply being to create the best demo
effect to fit into a standard ST disk bootsector.
This is an interesting category. I'm pretty sure it hasn't been done to this
extent as an entire competition, but I seem to remember the Overlanders
bootsector with a 3-D polygon from a few years ago. The tendency for people
to create interesting bootsectors goes back into the golden ages of
oldschool, back when some other people took a less benign interest in
people's bootsectors. For this was the golden age of the virus writer too!
Many bootsectors were developed as a way to say "I'm clean, but if I don't
look right or flash a warning, then you'll know I'm not!"
The whole bootsector field declined with the mass market for the ST, and
with the tendency of most of the remaining users to upgrade to a hard drive.
This became a forgotten dusty corner of the ST oldschool kingdom.
But there was still this interest in size-limiting for demos, and ever
smaller productions. When 4 kilobytes became too cavernous for some, they
went to the minimalist extreme of writing 128 bytetros! Amazingly it was
possible even to code games within that restriction! Still, this fashion
burnt itself out, and it seemed the art of making really small demos had
gone for good, until a kind tall Dutchman took it on himself to revive an
Actually, the bootsector is a tad more generous than the very cramped space
allocation for the 128 bytetro. At just over 500 bytes for a bootsector
code, there is a little bit more room for elaboration and some design. This
was intentional, according to Havoc. Still, we turn to the half-dozen
entries received, and see how they measure up.
Scroller - Sunnyboy / Xtroll
This is about as oldskool as you could get for a bootsector. It's as if the
last fifteen years haven't happened, people are talking heatedly about the
bottom-burping exploits of Spaz, Manikin and Sammy Joe of TLB, and many of
us are getting excited by border killing rasters.
Sunnyboy's assembler has been living in the past too, as this entry features
the biggest chunky font scroller ever seen outside an early Union demo. Blue
rasters in the 'legal' part of the ST screen, and red ones in the side
borders fill out the rest of it. There is also some sound, with a repeating
humming and vibrating pattern continually playing. The short message reads
"X-Troll for Outline '05".
7 out of 10 - It's demoscene groundhog day!
Logo - Cyclone / Xtroll
A small golden 'X-Troll logo twinkles in the middle of the screen, erm,
I would guess that this entry was coded quickly to make up the numbers?
5 out of 10 - A classic bootsector, but nothing more.
Keftales - Cyclone / Xtroll
Keftales is a pure mathematically based effect, created by Cyclone. In the
distance, a sea of moired infinitely cycling and tastefully coloured keftale
patterns do their thing. There is even a soundtrack of sorts, with a harsh
purring YM stab which comes and fades, comes back again. Gradually, the
patterns get closer, step by step, until a single one fills the screen.
But Cyclone hasn't finished, as he manages to finish off with an
impressively quick zooming effect, on a standard STe!
7 out of 10 - Impressive code.
Lil' lame bootsector - Simon Sunnyboy / Paradize
It does what it says on the tin. Just a quick and easy ascii 'Outline' logo,
sort of what Dildo Fatwa might have done, if they had some actual coding
ability, and managed to avoid pisstaking people. There is a bit of colour
graduation on the main logo, and some greetings below. Not expected to win
any prices, but the thought was nice anyway.
4 out of 10 - Really meant only as a compo filler.
Ooma - P01
A real 'Wow!' entry here, as P01 comes up with a zoomer of his own. This has
no Keftales or code-generated graphics, but instead makes room for a couple
of 16 colour bitmapped sprites, such as the Atari bee, and an Aardvark or
similar. These are tiled in a huge number, and zoomed towards the viewer.
The title, in system font, runs across the top of the reduced screen area
"Ooma | P01 | Outline 2005".
Like some of the other entries, there is music of a sort, and this seems to
be a little bit further developed from the rhythmic bass growls of other
entries. There is actually a tune of sorts, which takes a repeating pattern,
and speeds it up gradually.
The original archive does unpack to reveal an executable version of it, plus
the .pi1 file of the graphics used!
8 out of 10 - There seems to be more here than with the other entries.
Psycho Bee - ggn / KUA
GGN entered this one from outside the party, like Simon Sunnyboy. He
intended this to work with 'anything with a blitter'. Which in practical
terms would mean an STe, Falcon or STeem. George has also been kind enough
to include an installer with his entry, rather than spread it as a Pacifist
.ST disk image. This latter situation is peachy for emulator fans, but
requires a lot more fiddling about and copying to disk for those of us who
only have original hardware ;-) This is a big hint to make this reviewers
life easy, for the next time that a bootsector compo is run, by the way!
This installs, reboot to run, and the message "KuA software productions:
Atari or buST!" appears at the top of the screen. Dominating the main mid-
section, is a big blocky Atari mouse bee. This seems to collapse and defocus
into a fine-lined mathematically patterned flickering version of itself. The
effect is hard to describe, but it has a clear ancestry going back to his
early Sierpinski fractal intro's. It would happily keep on running forever
until you press a key to exit.
It was a quick entry, as ggn only coded it at the last minute, so I get the
feeling that there could be better things to come one day?
6 out of 10 - Nice idea, but a bit last minute in execution.
The results were an accurate reflection of the quality and time spent on the
respective entries. P01 being a deserving winner.
P01 218 - Ooma
CYCLONE 189 - Keftales
SUNNYBOY/GWEM 177 - Scroller
GGN 131 - Psycho Bee
CYCLONE 108 - Logo
SIMON SUNNYBOY 69 - Lil' lame Bootsector
Will we see the bootsector category again? Quite probably, as it is quick,
and a little bit oldschool, so even slightly lazy coders can join in with a
CiH, for Alive Mag,April '05