Optimus/Dirty Minds is a Greek scener mostly active on Amstrad/Schneider CPC.
Thanks to him, we have the opportunity to learn more about this quite secret
Exocet : Hi Optimus, could you please introduce yourself to the readers of
Alive ? (your name, your age, what kind of machine you use, etc.)
Hallo to you too! First I want to thank you for the interview,. it's the first
time in my life to answer to an interview, but I was expecting this to happen
sooner or later :)
But be warned! Almost never can I be brief when I am writting on the net! :)
My name is Michael Kargas. I will be 21 years old at 12 January. I live in
Thessaloniki/Greece and I am studying Mathematics.
And to really introduce myself, I am a really crazy computer freak (At least
in my mind, because I haven't even showed the 1% of my computer dreams I want
to bring to reality, cause I am a newbie and I have 1,5 year I have just
started on demoscene and real computing :), unrealistic with my lot's of
computer projects which I have in my mind and want to bring to life in a short
period of time and I am very anxious about them,. but never regret for what I
have choosen to do on my life!
As for computers, I have now a Pentium200mmx with no accelerator (My brother
from Germany brought me a Voodoo2 card now and I hope to get a SBLive and some
GBs of HD) 48Mb Ram and 2GB Hd. Lame, people would say, but who cares! I had
always fun coding stuff, watching demos and working on my web projects even
with my 486! After all, the fact that I have always an old machine, helps me to
optimize more my programms, so that they run good at least in my own machine
which is always 1-2 generations beelow..
I have also an Amstrad CPC 6128, with Green monitor, 128kb ram, CRTC1 (lame
one :P), 2 disk drives (1 is 3 inch and the other a PC 3&1/2 drive for passing
dsk images from my PC to a real CPC (Everyone needs a 3&1/2 drive if he is on
the CPC scene today..)) - Oh,.. it has a digiblaster and a Virtual Net too!
(Peter brought me from Ze Meeting)
I have also an old Gameboy and I am thinking to search for other machines,
especially C64 because I felt in love with C64 demos!
Exocet : May I ask to you to present briefly the CPC computer concerning CPU,
RAM, video modes, etc. ?
The most commonly used CPC on the scene is CPC6128 with CRTC0.
There are 5 CPC Models I know: 464,664,6128,464+,6128+
They use a Z80 CPU running at 4Mhz.
Some of them use 64kb Ram and some 128kb, you can see which are these from
They all use the Yamaha YM2149 sound chip.
They have 3 video modes all with 16kb Vram:
Mode 2: 640*200 with 2 colours
Mode 1: 320*200 with 4 colours
Mode 0: 160*200 with 16 colours
The Plus(+) models let you choose your colours from a pallete of 4096 colours,
while the non plus models gives you 27 colours
CRTC means Cathodic Ray Tube Controller. This special chip was used for some
hardware generated effects. There are CRTC0,1,2 and 4 as I know. If you don't
have 0, then you are f***ed up with some nice hardware demos :P
The strange is that the type of CRTC is not connected to the model you buy.
You can have an 6128 and it can have CRTC0 or 1 or anything else, without
knowing it when you bough it! The CRTC techniques were not used on older games,
so there was no problem that days..
CPC Can also have overscan modes, where the graphics can exceed the borders
(This gives 24kb Vram but I can't remember how much resolution..)
Ahh,.. I forgot something. 464 was coming with a Cassete. 664 and 6128 with a
I should try to search for a CPC+ because I really don't know and can't find
these machines. They also have some other new stuff, like hardware sprites..
Sorry,. but it's not that briefly :)
Exocet : Could you now tell us a bit about the CPC scene (a brief history and
the current situation) ? I think most people on the scene are not really aware
of what is going on on this computer...
I am new on the CPC scene and demoscene generall, so I don't know many things
about the old scene except from what I was seeing from Demos and reading from
Diskmags, but I will try to give briefly a clue about the CPC scene. I have
even seen demos from 1987 from some unknown cracking groups, there are also
some famous CPC demos from the very old scene at 1990 which I haven't seen yet,
like NWC's demos (The first hardware effects in a demo), but the most
characteristic epoch from CPC was 1992+ with famous demos from the legendary
French group called The Logon System, demos like The Demo and S&KOH, with The
Ultimate Megademo from a German guy called Face Hugger (Which rocked the scene
because it featured the 1st 3d Vector Balls and Flat Polygons (I have to see
flat polygons on CPC from 1992 in that demo and nowhere else!!!) and other new
and innovative effects as an answer to the scroller demos!) with Voyage93 from
BENG!, with a PANG Clone called Zapt Balls with lot's of sprites on the screen
for CPC and other cool demos! Lot's of amazing new stuff that time!!!
The scene was going on, Logon System quitted the scene after 1993 when they
released a preview with a neat 9+ Shadow of the Beast parallax scrolling and
new blood joined the scene. (Sometimes/Everytime you beleive that the CPC scene
is dead, but new blood is coming, it's always like this feeling. All the time
you feel that there is inactivity in the scene, but all the time there are some
really cool productions coming out. It's that you feel so. At least that's what
our new gfxist REX from BENG! beleives and this is a good thought for hope..)
I will tell you now about the countries. The CPC scene exists more in France.
Also the German had a big scene sometimes. Other known countries on the CPC are
Greece and England, but with a very small scene. Some people from Austria or
Denmark hit the scene too with their productions, while there wasn't even any
scene in their country! And perhaps some other countries too..
All the time either the French or the German sceners rocked in the scene! Now
the German scene is entirely dead I could say and the French people form
actually the whole CPC scene..
Few countries seem to me that they were involved on our scene. I hope to see
people from other countries joining our small scene and I try to make the CPC
scene more known to the demosceners from all around the world through my CPC
webpage, Scenet and other ways..
I see some resemblances of Atari and CPC: 1st) Their sound chip 2nd) The menu
logic of some demos 3rd) The lot of French people involved :)
Btw,. a common characteristic of the CPC demos is that most of them are
scrollers and I was bored from scrollers anymore. But things seem to change
slowly slowly and I hope I will see more software "State of the Art" C64like
demos on CPC and also trackmo style demos (And not one menu to choose a part,
or hit the Space to see the next part :P) I am also trying to start with Z80
Asm in order to code my own ideas for demos too..
I could say much more stuff, but read this page too:
Exocet : Which groups are the most active ones on CPC nowadays ? Where are they
from ? What are the latest ass-kicking stuff released ?
Hmm,.. most active? I and Peter feel the inactivity in our scene. But Rex says
that you were always feeling so, in every epoch of the CPC scene :)
If you go to French party you see lot's of stuff, previews, the whole scene.
But here in Greece you learn nothing and you feel like there is no scene at
all! But I am waiting for many French releases out there! As from the German
scene, it's dead. But the good thing is that a German guy will come back on the
scene. And I hope to see a German scene back too! Prodatron of BENG! and
Symbiosis, is now interested to work alone for new democodings. I have gone to
his pages and I was amazed from his codings. He was also in a PC group called
N-Factor, he is the coder of the 1st digitalsound tracker for CPC called
Digitracker, he coded also some famous CPC demos like Prodatron Megademo and
Digital Orgasm and lot's of other work..
Active are also Roudoudou from Flower Corporation. I hear about kick ass
effects on previews on the French parties, but almost nothing seen yet. I am
waiting also for new codings from a new guy called Jack from France. Ohh,.. and
Kev Thacker the author of Arnold emulator. He will release 2 CPC+ demos and I
have done few gfx to help him. I hope I don't forget anyone else..
French people are the most active. Known active(?) groups are Arkos (although,
I am waiting for a lot of time from something from them,.. like DemoIzArt but
something will come sooner or later), Futurs, Benediction (Eliot is very active
on this group), Overlanders, TNT, Dirty Minds (Our group :)
The latest stuff must be WACWE demo by Eliot/Benediction. Nice intro with very
nice gfx, just as a report about a CPC meeting. (Btw,. there are many CPC
Meetings there in France!)
A demo that rocked me, by what I have seen before in the CPC scene, is Ecole
Buissoniere by Madram/Overlanders. Lot's of new software effects, 3 YM Musics,
cool gfx, transmitions and no lame "Press Space to see the next part" demos,
all these are loaded on 128kb ram and it decompresses the next parts via a
multitasking system, while the YM musics are beeing decompressed while beeing
played in realtime! So, there is a hope to see cool trackmo style demos on CPC
like on C64! (People where claiming that C64 can load from the disk while doing
other stuff and CPC can not do that, that's the reason why there are always
menu and separate part demos and no trackmo logic on CPC, but Ecole prooved the
On the Greek side, Chaos and S.O.B. are really dead and only Dirty Minds have
remained. The old famous Greek graphician REX joined our group too, I found
Peter aka Antitec and I beleive that he is amazed that he found a freak like me
in 2000, interested on CPC and starting with Z80 assembly too! I have passed
some big plasma effects on CPC and Peter was amazed and he coded the same in a
better version (My own used 4*4 pixel dithered character blocks, or something)
We have put a preview on Dirty Minds site, although the preview was made in a
hurry, so don't blame us for antiergonomic menu :)
We also work now for the 6th issue of Ovation6 (It will have lot's of articles
and a nice interface!) and I am still interested to try to pass new software
effects on CPC when I find the time. Perhaps I will work with Peter and we will
try to do the Greek answer to Ecole Buissoniere :)
As for England, I am just waiting for Palatine Demo from CRTC. The English
people came too late in our scene, they were not so interested for demos before
as I have heard, but I hope to see some of them too on democoding. I just don't
have a big idea of what's going on on England..
Exocet : What are the major hardware upgrades available for CPC ? Are there
any accelerators as on Falcon and Amiga ?
Unfortunatelly I am not that inside the hardware stuff of CPC. Most of the
hardware stuff I hear about, you must get them from people from France or
Germany. Peter brought me a digiblaster and a Virtual Net Card when he came
back from Ze Meeting 2000 in France. Digiblaster plays 8bit samples and
Virtual Net Card is a network card for CPC. People have made also some progs
and games that uses the card (The most famous must be Shoulder Dash because I
see people that play together this game connecting their CPCs on the meetings:)
Peter has told me that he had seen some guys who connected a SoundBlaster on a
CPC. I have also heard about ROM-RAM Box (www.inicron.de), about IDE Interface
to connect HD and Cd-Rom on CPC, e.t.c..
Exocet : What are the most famous tools (paint programs, composers...) used to
make demos on CPC ? And besides ASM is there any other decent way to code
What I use are:
- Advanced Art Studio for Gfx (Most people use this, there is no other better
programm on CPC)
- Soundtrakker 128 for music (That's what I got used, but there are also some
other trackers which I haven't tried, like Digitracker for digital music)
- Maxam Assembler (That's what Peter showed to me and I use. French people use
Dams, but Peter doesn't seem to like it. I will try Dams too when I find the
Unfortunatelly I don't remember any links for these tools to write them here.
In my CPC page, I will do a section too with recomended tools for democoding
and I will try to see the other assemblers and programms I haven't checked
As for other ways to do demos, I think that there exist some demomaker
programms,. but I don't care about them. But there are millions of ways to do
theoritically demos on CPC! You can use Basic, or any other compiler exists for
CPC :) Have you seen Roudoudou's Basic demos?
Exocet : How did you come to demoscene ? Did someone show you or did you find
by yourself ?
I blame myself for not coming in the demoscene much earlier! I am a newbie, but
very obsessed with the whole thing! I have even read about demos in a greek
magazine where REX was writting about the CPC scene at 1992 but I met the scene
from 1998 and after that :P
I read in a greek magazine about someone who was blaming the today's PC World
and he was refering to the old PC demos from Future Crew.
What exactly he was saying is: "...and legendary demos like SECOND REALITY of
FUTURE CREW at Assembly Partys 9x that made all the people to dazzle, and made
the old 386's and 486's to make things on the screen that neither Microsoft nor
any other company will ever succeed, even in a 786!!!"
I was wondering what this Second Reality is, I wanted very much to see the
miracles! Neither I knew the nature of demos nor the community behind them but
I was just guessing in my mind how SR would look! Oneday I just found an old
Cd-Rom from a greek magazine and it has the Second Reality in it! The f****ing
demo was crashing on my machine(!) but I show other cool demos like Cronologia
from Cascada (The CD was released at 1995, but they had much older demos!!!)
Later, a little later after my findings, a greek computer magazine put some
newer demos on the CD exactly at time! Demos like TBL prods, Sunflower, Square,
Caero, e.t.c.. but at the beginning I was a little unsuttisfied because I had a
486 and I got used in 70fps with the old demos (But the demos were slow mainly
because I had an old 486, even a demo answer me:"Get a Pentium you jerk!" :)
After that I went to the university and I could login the internet for my 1st
time. I searched for much more demos and found the whole community! After that
I evolved too much with my passion! It's 2,5 years since then, and I am on a
CPC group, I worked with gfx and articles, I have just learned some gfx
algorithms like rotozoomer, plasmas, fire, feedback, e.t.c.. and I also got
used to the logic of Assembly, I worked for some important sites like CPC
Demoscene, Greek Demoscene, e.t.c.. and I know I want to become a real
computer freak oneday :)
You may understand my passion, a passion that demoscene gave me, I am wondering
what I could do without this wonderfull world! What were my dreams before I
knew what a demo is? (Perhaps becoming a game developer, but I knew shit in
coding that days :) Demoscene is a world of limitless creativity, a world to
show off that nothing is impossible, a world for perfection, either on coding,
art or design, or both! And a community where I can find lot's of cool friends
with the same passions with me! Many things in one! Demoscene means many for me
Computers is the main focus of my life and demoscene is my main focus on
computers (At least 4now..) I can't live without her.. :)
Exocet : What are your main productions on the scene ?
Hmm,.. unfortunatelly I haven't showed something good from coding yet, because
I am new on the scene and I am just learning. I think that the biggest
contribution of me in the scene is on the internet, on the community. Either
informing you through my pages, or just laming with the guys on Csipd, Ojuice
oneliner, e.t.c.. :)
I was just active on the net! :) People where seeing me everyday and my name
was remaining on their minds I beleive,.. just because I was very crazy and
because I left my presence in many demoscene places I was founding on the net..
But I have also something to show. I am on Dirty Minds CPC group and I did some
gfx for Ovation5. My 1st serious try to pixel some pics (Previously tries when
I was a kid, were just to play with the tools on paintbrush, artstudio or
deluxe paint and just doing nothing,. but now on CPC I understood how people
work on pixel painted pics..) and you can see the CPC gallery on my webpage
(Don't see the other galleries! I am not sure why I put them there :)
I am very interesting to try to pixel something on PC too or perhaps in other
machines too, now I show that I can do some nice gfx!
I want also to try to track some music, especially on PC. I have tried to
track on CPC, it was ok for the 1st time, but it sucks!
My main focus is coding. My only prod that you can see right now is a lame
Qbasic demo (Which isn't compiled too, because of memory problems :P) on my
site. To tell you the truth, I had found a guy from Spain and we were talking
about coding and we wanted to code the best Qbasic demo ever! It ended that I
learned some gfx algorithms and learned how to be economic on memory and
optimize them a lot so that it can run good on Qbasic! After 1 year, Javier
continued with C++ and he quitted the project. Now, I just wanted to finish
with my current codings and so I submitted a demo I made in a hurry for
Qlympics2001. The demo is something cool for the Qbasic demoscene and has the
best fire and rotozoomer for Qbasic among with some other cool stuff. I forgot
to tell you that there is a Qbasic scene, kinda strange but I liked the whole
things, there is a big Qbasic community which works like a scene! Anyway..
At the beginning I started with Qbasic, because when I watched the 1st demos,
I didn't knew anything else and I wanted very much to try to code some effects
I was seeing on demos. People say to me, why I didn't start with C++? Because
when I learned the demos, I just wanted to code few effects, and I didn't knew
any other language that time and I just wanted to probe some fx immidiatelly
But now I have seen the Qbasic scene and it's interesting! I ended with my
current codings on the demo for Qlympics (I was very tired from the stuff..)
and I will do a big pause with Qb to see my other serious projects on Pascal
or C++ or X86 Assembly. But after that I am very interested on Qbasic scene,
I am also waiting for the feedback after the compo..
It's crazy but I liked the challenge and I still had lame memory problems with
Qb and I will not leave that happens again :) But I beleive that I will use 10%
of my time for Qbscene and the 90% for more serious projects,..
So, you don't have any serious coding productions from me. In the Qb demo that
will released at March, I just show the simple gfx algorithms I know and how
good I have learned to optimize them. I can use the optimizing knowledge for
other serious languages like C++ and that period was when I learned very much
the logic behind optimizing!
Now, I am thinking to form a PC demogroup with some greek people I met and we
will continue working on VisualC++ or other language too. My friend
Antitec/Dirty Minds, the main coder, is a very hardcore assembly guy and he
want's that we try to code something on PC Assembly (This doesn't mean that he
leaves CPC,. we are still interested for CPC (And I am for a long time..))
As for my 1st assembly codings on Z80, you can see the plasmaworld preview on
Dirty Minds site:
My webpage is:
I am very newbie, but have lot's of crazy dreams to release oneday! The fun is
that the things I have to do after February are noumerous and when I couldn't
even do the Qbasic demo I finished as I wanted it to be, I am just wondering
how the hell I will catch up with my current projects until the summer..
If my pages and other works on the net are considered as products in the scene
(Old scene introduction)
(New scene introduction)
(The Greek Demoscene)
(The CPC Demoscene)
(The Greek Demoscene Mailing List I have opened and has some good succees.
Btw,. the Greek PC scene seems to be reborn slowly slowly. There will be a
Gardening party again and I am waiting at January for a demo from Deus on
a Greek Hacking Conference which has a demo compo too!)
And check my new webproject too :)
(Female Computer Entities - they exist! :)
Exocet : Could you now tell us about your opinion concerning emulators ?
I have an emulator friend on the city where I live. He is really fan with them!
I don't even know how mad he will feel when I show him Deus Ex Machina C64
demo in the part that says:"Emulators Sucks! Get a real C64 you sucker!" :)
Emulators are important. Do you know that I watch demos from every machine is
possible to be emulated? Do you know that I succeded seeing finally some C64
demos and I felt in love with their scene and now I am thinking to search for
a real C64? I am even thinking to start coding something on C64 if I ever find
some time! I learned about the scene from many machines, from Spectrum, Amiga
(I felt in love with the demos of Amiga500 too, but haven't seen yet some demos
from the 32bitAmiga's), Atari(I have seen some demos from Oxygene and they
rock! Atari demos are most codingswise, while Amiga designwise,., and I love
them! My favorite demo is Virtual Escape, but I have download and seen very few
demos yet and I am waiting for a better Atari emulator to be released to see
more. Your scene is very interesting and you may see me on the far future on it
(I am very interested to get involved in many scenes in the not so near
future!)) Gameboy (I am interested to code something for it too,. but I don't
think I will find time soon :P)
You see that emulators are important! Of course, if I will interested more for
a scene of a machine, I will search for the real machine. You loose somehow the
feeling with an emulator on PC, but there is no other way for me now, to see
demos on other machines than the emulators. I am glad that there exists
emulators and I can see C64 demos!
I am thinking to try to code a CPC Emulator in the future. Something very fast
like No$CPC and very good at emulating the demos like Caprice32 or Windows
Emulators. Ok,. perhaps I ask for too much from myself :) I will just try to
code an emulator on C++ at the beginning, just to see how it works and then I
will try to port it in X86 assembly for speed. This is one of my lot of far
dreams 4now.. (And perhaps I may try to code the same shit as optimized as I
can on Qbasic, just for the Challenge of the whole thing!!! I am crazy, people
would say! :)
Exocet : Finally what are in your opinion the best pages on the Internet
related to CPC demoscene ? Don't forget to include yours :)
My page. Do you want to know which are the best demos to download, to see how
demos look and to learn some more about the scene, links to the active groups
and emulators to download to see the demos, e.t.c..? See my page. I had more
plans for this page, but at least I give the common infos I wanted to share, to
non CPC sceners who might be interested how CPC demos looks like, that's the
1st reasons I build this page as it is now..
I have lot of time to update it and upgrade it, but I will try to do my best
For any new release on the CPC Demo ftp and news, see this page. However you
can find news on my CPC page too,..
Many many many CPC links!
The site of Roudoudou. Lot's of CPC infos, especially pics from parties and
screenshots of Demos!
The ftp of the CPC Demoscene
In my CPC homepage or in www.scenet.de you will find more infos and links
from CPC groups, e.t.c..
Exocet : We are now reaching the end of the interview...thanks for the time
you spent to answer the questions. Don't forget to give us some ways to contact
Thanks for the interview man! Sorry if I wrote too much stuff as usual :)
I hope that the AtariSt demoscene will live for a long time! I love your scene
too,. and I was just very happy when I saw a reborn on the Atari Demoscene
History page with 2 new 1999 demos..
Keep the scenes of the nonPC machines alive! Because they have the challenge,
the fun, the coding that the PC scene lacks today..
I think I should also update my CPC Page too, to keep the CPC scene known to
the other sceners in the other machines! And I should try start coding some
real demos on CPC as sooner as I can!
Michael Kargas aka Optimus/Dirty Minds