It would be stupid and ridiculous to introduce MIC as he was (and maybe
still is) one of the best gfxmen the ATARI scene has had, along with Niko,
Flan or Wilfried. Long time ago he vanished from the scene as DUNE did. In the
late nineties they suddenly came back to life with a bunch of sweeties such as
Memorial, Paradise or their intro to ToXic Mag 18 (do mail me if you don't have
Then we heard of ILLUSION, their mystery demo that ranked first at Place To
Be Again back in 1994 tho it was never released, nor enjoyed by no one but the
organizers (yep !). The hype went very high and almost instantly damn low when
St Ghost of Sector One "gave up" debugging -ILLUSION- without support from the
survivors of DUNE :(
The story doesn't end here as some time ago MIC started using irc ! I had
the chance to talk with him and he unveiled some nice secrets ! But let's give
him some space to tell you all about this and more !
STS : Hi Mic ! I won't bore you with your whole scener's life but surely
we'd like to get some info about you, like name, age, occupation. Also that'd
be cool if you could sum up DUNE's demos listings in few lines.
Well, starting with the presentation bit, my name is Michel and i'm now 31
years old and i'm currently working as a senior graphic artist in a game
company. Concerning Dune, we did work on a lot of productions (not only demos
but also games and utilities). The official release list from dune includes the
following prods :
- Mathematique squizophrene : our first ever demo under the Dune label,
featuring some small 3d effects.
- Petit papa noel : a small christmas dentro released at a sector one party.
- World of wonders : a gfa megademo born from the cooperation beetween Dune
- Puppet show : the offcial party demo from the fist Crystal summer convention
(a french party held by Dune/Fantasy).
- Graal : a strange demo, unlike common demos at that time.
- Faith : a dentro featuring amiga like design.
- Gobi toons : a nice ste dentro with great pics by mjj prod guys.
- Don't wait for a demo : a nice three part demo.
- Paradise : our come back prod from 1999.
- Memorial : a tiny dentro released for a french party in 2000.
Other prods include some small intros, Dgraph (a falcon paint utility), Space
fighter (a game) and lotsa unfinished stuff.
STS : How and when did you start doing stuff ? I guess it's pretty old,
more than a decade ago ! Were you a member of DUNE right from the start or did
you belong to other crews before ?
Well, basically, i started drawing around 1991 when i met chuck at university.
Until then i'd been laming around, mostly playing games. Things went serious
when chuck and i met evil metal who was already involved in a crew called TBS.
One major problem in 'TBS' was its enormous amount of members, added to the
fact that most of the credited members were either inactive or retired. After
a few month (filled with ambitious projects and a quite lame one day coding
party), we felt that we had to restart things from scratch, kicking off
inactive persons and getting new members. It was time to start 'Dune'.
STS : Now on with technical stuff :) As a poor gfxman I am, I'd love to
know what painting program you used ! Do you have special techniques ? I guess
you've also experienced STe palette or raster split piccies like the cover pic
Well, my fave paint package on ST was Neochrome master, which included very
useful functions like rasters and a big dynamic magnifier and very useful
sprites management tools. Concerning drawing itself, i don't have any special
trick except using rasters. Another point that any artist should carefully
manage is the good use of colors. I think a good color palette is half part in
the final quality of any picture. By the way i've never had an STe...too bad.
Looking at other artist's work is also a good idea. Last point to notice is
that i have always tried to make artwork by myself, without copying from
existing art or using scanned material.
STS : What's the strange story of ILLUSION ? A production that only the
organizers saw and was never released ? If I remember well it's said to be ST
coded but only runs on Falcon !? Where's the truth ?
Illusion story is the one of many other demo projects on the st : too big and
too ambitious. Our aim was to simply create our best production, not only
boasting on design but also on technic (mapping, zoom and so on). We finished a
nearly complete version of the Illusion for the place to be again party. At
this point, we had only a big running file on evil metal's falcon and many bugs
were still present, especially when running the demo on regular sts. Of course
the final version would run on all both st (stf/e) and falcon. Unfortunately,
we lacked of motivation to finish this demo, mainly because some members
turned over the falcon while others simply left the scene.
STS : By the way is ILLUSION the demo that features a pic of the guy from
the series "Impossible Mission" ? Being at the Place To Be Again myself, I
clearly remember such screen tho I'm not sure it's taken from ILLUSION.
No, the screen you are refering to is the menu screen of the "puppet show", the
official party demo of the crystal summer convention 1 we held together with
STS : Correct me if I'm wrong but Place To Be Again was the last time we
heard from DUNE. What happened then ? Did you all decide to quit like that
while you had been working on your (surely) best demo ? Maybe you had projects
on the Falcon then ?
Well, after the place to be, things seemed like if dune would do falcon stuff.
Great, let's go buy a falcon. Ok, but it quickly appeared that we were somehow
fed up with making demos. There are several explanations to this. One reason is
that at this time, around 1994, we were finishing our studies and so were busy
searching for jobs. No more time for demos then, adding the fact that some
members (including myself) were kindly asked to comply with their military
obligations... Another reason for such a decay in our demo activities was that
most of the old sceners had left the st. What was the point in making demos
when there was virtually no more competition or audience ? As far as i
remember, our falcon releases consisted of only one intro (coded by evil
metal), Dune graph and a few pieces of artwork.
STS : to end with ILLUSION, you seemed pretty enthusiastic on irc and said
that you WOULD release it at last. Since then, no news has been heard tho :( I
heard that Chuck wasn't too interested and didn't really support St Ghost...
Well, you all know that Illusion was a big buggy thing. Big news is that it
still is ! To be honest i really think that it's possible to see a release of
this demo. However, considering the amount of work it needs, do not expect a
too polished version (e.g : missing loading effects or transition).
One possible solution would be that evil metal take part in debugging the demo.
STS : You also mentioned other projects :) So far we know that you painted
awesome gfx for FAERY LAND which was resumed by Reservoir Gods. You also told
me about STe stuff, we want to know more !!
Well, concerning the Faery land game, it initially started as a commercial game
project. We even started to convert the game on Falcon, using of course
revamped graphics (i think a demo version still exists for both versions).
However, considering the atari market decline, we decided to turn our efforts
over a pc version instead and so dropped the atari version of the game.
Concerning the new stuff, several demos are in the pipe. First a new demo
(entitled "fantasia") is to be released before the end of this year. Our big
stuff will come later with "seeds", an ste only (hopefully falcon compatible)
demo. This demo will contain a large amount of graphics and could stand on 2
disks. Lot of work to do on this demo in fact.
STS : Here's the trickiest questions of all :) Rumours say that Equinox
gfxman NOVA and you are indeed a single person !! One has to recognize that
style, motives and techniques are VERY similar ! Do you feel like sharing some
secrets with us ? :)
Well, i think you should ask this question to nova himself...
STS : What are your views on the current scene ? We know that "old" sceners
(which is in no way a pejorative definition !) don't really like our latest
efforts to bring modern FX to the ST. What do you think of that ?
Well, here comes the tricky one. As far as i'm concerned, i've spotted most of
the st demo history from the very beginning to the latest prods. Making demos
in the early years was aimed at proving that regular developers were far from
pushing the atari to its limits. Complying with the one frame rule was the only
way to achieve that goal, because you had to compete with people on the same
machine than yours.
A few years later, PCs have taken the spotlight and the ST demo scene had
changed. Competition was no more in beating other st developers but instead in
achieving pc effects on the st. The single display of a mapped cube on the ST
is now in itself an achievement, no matter concerning about the framerate.
I think that what oldschool people don't like in the newschool is that most pc
adapted effects look like cheap conversion just because no matter how good your
coding skills are, the st still remains the st, with its limitations. However
we must respect the amount of work people put in such demos because we somewhat
have to greet the newschool for having kept our scene alive during all this
year when oldschool people were lazing around.
STS : Now that you're back in business, do we have a chance to spot you and
maybe Chuck too at the next big ATARI party, namely Error In Line 3 ?
Yes, we are planning to attend this party...and be sure that we won't come with
STS : It's brain torturing time with our brainstorming trial ! Use the
first letter to complete words. Say whatever you want !
M : Micro...err no! Motorola instead !
I : Illusion of course !
C : Cracking is good for you !
D : Degas elite, great art package but neochrome won the crown !
U : Union, they still rule after all these years !
N : Niko, an extremely talented graphist and also a very nice friend.
E : Eternal, a great dutch group featuring one of my fave st musician,
STS : last words you would like to tell us ? Do not hesitate, there's no
censorship here !
Well, what else could i say except stay atari ?