by Dead Hackers Society
Ah, the joy of a new Atari demo.
It hits me every time. Whenever it is, whoever it is from. The joy of
watching the download bar moving to the right, little by little (hey! I have a
slow connection!). The endless moments I have to sit back while unzipping &
copying it to a disk (reading the text file while-I-wait). Then, inserting the
disk on the ST. Trying to locate the executable. Double-clicking on it. Then...
Every time, I'm in a state of eternal bliss. And, mind you, this never
happens to me on any other platform (read: PC). Always asking the same
- Will it be any good?
- .... did the code, .... and .... the graphics, and .... the music (fill in the
blanks), will it be up to their standards?
- Will I spot bugs so I can make fun of coders on IRC? (oh yes I do that :))))
etc., etc. At the end, it doesn't really matter to me if the demo is
good or crap (well, if the demo is good it really enhances the experience). The
destination (i.e. the demo) is another matter, getting there is a story of its
Even if the authors of the demo tell me that they're not satisfied with
it before I watch it (as is the case here when I had a small private chat with
coder Evil on IRC), it still doesn't matter.
But still the question leaps to mind: Why does he say that? Well, let's
reserve judgement until the end of the review.
The demo starts itself with its title, as if promoting it, darkness. Out
of the darkness comes a low volume melody, which gets louder slowly (as the
precalculations take place! Sorry, couldn't resist here :). Then a pretty &
weird tunnel which is viewed through adistorting mirror (sort of), fades in.
Suddenly, and in complete sync with the names of the 4 people involved (which
flash in front of the tunnel), the lead voice kicks in. After each of the names
is displayed (C-Rem, Gizmo, 505, Evil), the tunnel's texture fades out in a
The logo of the demo's name scrolls from the right to the screen (with a
wrong palette if I'm not mistaken), and then a weird background picture fades in
as well. (Update: While ripping the picture, I understood why the palette is
wrong, but I'm not telling! Evil should know what I'm talking about :)
Leaving that behind, we have another good looking pic, and in its centre
a 3D object with enviroment mapping is being displayed (technical info: you
might notice that the picture becomes blocky when the 3D object appears...
that's due to the c2p routine).
Then we have a texture being bump mapped, and at the same time it's
scrolling to the left. Suddenly, it stops and we have yet some more 3D enviro-
mapped objects (hmmm... a few glitches in the engine I spotted there? :). After
a bit of rotation of the objects, the texture starts scrolling again.
After that, a really weird... err... thing... graphic... scrolls down
with a weird message dominating the screen. Weird... And then the message gives
way to some more 3d objects (5 bars put together in the shape of a staircase
In turn, the last effect gives way for a textured vertical bar (well,
sort of bar, in fact it gets thicker on top and bottom), which turns around its
axis. A background with the same palette and another spinning 3D object, and
some rays of light which change luminocity are the last effects of part 1.
After the pause while 2nd part loads & depacks (in which you can grab
yourself a beverage if you're fast enough :) we get another small pause for the
precalculations (hehe!), and then we're off with another 2-plane dister (if I
counted colors correctly), which looks like a 3D cave with a stalagmite and a
stalactite joined together in the middle of the room, while the whole room spins
aound the stalagmite (or the stalactite? ;).
Then, it's nice backgound with 3D object time once more, and then a pic
with some shout outs scrolling vertically.
We have then a backgound consisting of tentacles appearing in 2 parts (2
320x100 blocks). On top of that we have a 3D alpha blended DHS logo spinning
A chip made of tissues and other organic matter (human?) makes its way
on the screen with the text "68000 inside" on it. What's that that then? What
could it symbolise? That Motorola found a new substance to silicon (human/animal
tissue)? That whoever codes on such "humble" processors is alive and kicking?
Mabye to symbolise the Atari scene as a living organism? The drawing actually
looks ugly and aggressive. Is that us there? Atari freaks turned into monsters
inside? Or is it just a drawing which was cut out as a chip and some text
slapped on top at the last minute? (Sorry for the comedy break -I hope-, but I
was damn bored of writing stuff like "and then we have... and after which
comes..." etc. :)))
The same picture fades out and in, but with less colours this time, as
to give way to a transparent interlaced vertical scroller, which lists the
credits and talks about the reasons for their Falcon demo being temporary on
hold, greetings, etc.
Finally, a EIL logo, the music stops and we're shot back to the desktop
(or console :).
So, that's over with. Let me put out some thoughts here.
Firstly, the graphics. Well, not much to say, unless you're colour
blind, you don't have to read here that they're brilliant. It's always nice to
see that just like there are coders who use limited CPU time, there are just as
well equally skilled graphists who take up the challenge of doing something
equally good in 16 colours instead of 16.7 million (who needs that many colours
anyway?). This about sums up the musical part as well: people who take any music
chip and do wonders in it. (By the way: My personal preference is the 2nd part's
I saved the most difficult part for last: A coder (sort of :) evaluating
another coder's stuff. Well, let's see here: most of the routines are a bit old
(I remember that 3D routine back from UCM 20's intro, mabye it was used in
Sweety too?), and there wasn't too much variety on the fx categories, but hey!
The effects run fast (we're talking c2p here!) and they're fx people (including
myself) haven't mastered and/or coded yet. So what we have here is mostly a demo
built around the routines-that-you-know-and-love-so-much.
And you know what? It doesn't matter really. The sets of routines a demo
uses don't matter if they were done or used before a million times, as long as
the demo is pleasant to watch, and the routines get to do stuff NOT the usual
way (for example: the textured vertical bar is indeed a variation of the classic
tunnel effect. But do the two effects have a strong resemblence with each other?
I don't think so).
So, before you start burying this demo for being old re-used crap, read
the above paragraphs again and think about it. I certainly liked the demo. Well
GGN/KÜA software productions/Alive Team
Since Paranoid also wrote a review, you can find it here !