We love Error in Line Three!
The CiH Party report, written in a partially realtime sense..
The Brit invasion point of view, starting with a nice ascii flag, which is
not by me for a change!
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a s t e r o i d at EIL MMIII
Phew Johnnyboy, I never knew you had it in you!
It is 11.07 on the Saturday morning, and I am starting off with this report,
running late and struggling to catch up, which is how a lot of this trip has
gone so far.
There is a realtime chunk on Felice's laptop, which admirably covers the
period up to Friday morning, comedy house fire in Harwich and all. It
remains to be seen if this can be bolted retroactively onto this text. The
omens are good.
Okay, I've grabbed it off there, here goes merger mania!
Laptop realtime extract starts here..
(Weds night 16.4.03)
Asteroid here at the keys of Felice's laptop, had a few minor niggles
getting here. Just purchasing my coach ticket back in Portsmouth and leaving
the ticket on the counter. This mistake got picked up by some student girls
who luckily noticed my "blonde moment" hmm. Whilst at London Victoria
getting my next leg of the journey, faced with a queue of 70-80 other people
getting bus tickets to different parts of the country, some cheeky young
black lad decided to jump the front of me, once I had progressed half way
through the queue.
After I challenged him, he mentioned something about "life is not fair" and
some bullshit about having his motorcycle double parked somewhere.
Coach journey was very long, as it's not possible to just go in a straight
line across the coast of southern England, unfortunately necessitating a
diversion to London.
As I'm typing, I can hear the sound of breaking glass, possibly of a large
shop, which is slightly worrying. It sounds like some crime being committed
outside in Harwich high street. Worrying I say, as the manager of this hotel
has had car windows smashed by some disgrunted guest of this hotel, who he
kicked out for reasons not known to us.
11.35 Weds 16th April
PLEASE ADJUST YOUR WORKSTATION FOR OPTIMUM PERFORMANCE...
I'm afraid this wobbly chinz nightmare just isn't going to cut it.
CiH here, on the barely visible keys, staying in the Queens Arms hotel, with
fellow travelling dudes Felice and Asteroid. The decor provides some
amusement, sort of Blackpool boarding house, after fifteen pints. In fact,
Harwich in general is the sort of town which looks like it has had fifteen
pints too many. It could easily be home to the national beersick and
pavement pizza museum.
Following the window breaking incident described in Asteroid's section of
RTA, the sound of sirens. These belong to a couple of big red fire engines,
the plot thickens.......
Okay, Felice wants a go at this now..
Apparently there's a basement flat on fire or something down the street.
Anyways, we all made it here ok and are now staying in the Queens Arms hotel
as Chris described. It is very much like the old guesthouse that I stayed in
at Blackpool with the family - when it was owned by a guy who's DIY skills
were slightly lacking something. But TBH the place itself isn't too bad.
Harwich itself is generally a quiet place at night, which is good. :)
c u later Felice.
Yep, as mentioned to Rich, its a house fire, in a basement flat, sounds
nasty, as I'd imagine it's not easy to escape in that sort of situation.
Think we'll see what the hotel manager says tomorrow. Asteroid.
(End of RTA bit)
Not a lot to add for the first stage of this latest Easter adventure. To
avoid the ferry missing complications of the previous year, Asteroid had
booked a hotel (The Queens Arms) in downtown Harwich for us to stay in
overnight, so we started off on the Wednesday evening, at around 20.00hrs
from Felice's house to get to Harwich. Finding the hotel itself was pretty
simple, and we fitted our car around the worryingly trashed camper van, and
rear screen smashed Rover 214 into the parking facilities at the back. We
soon found Asteroid in the hotel bar, and relaxed around a pint or two of
Pretty soon, the obviously gay hotel manager showed us to our rooms, the
decor was as explicitly bad as the realtime extract described, possibly
combining DIY ineptness with drunken decorators? More scarily, the door to
our room had been kicked in previously, and was unable to lock properly. On
the plus side, faced with several days of limited sleep on airbeds or on the
floor, the beds were very comfortable.
After dabbling with the laptop for a while, we went to bed, to the sound of
fire engines gently ticking over..
The night's sleep went well, even with a window open to the potentially
noisy distractions of Harwich high street life. As it was, we roused
ourselves slowly around 08.00, not troubled by noises from the outside.
Harwich is the sort of place where not many people seem to rush to work
Where the Queens Arms scored, and probably rates a return visit, is in the
large and hardcore nature of their cooked breakfast. This was a true Brit
"THIS IS A HEART ATTACK ON A PLATE!" feast, good to keep us going all day,
or until we hit the ferry at least.
We left the hotel after a little delay waiting for a member of staff to
appear, with this Alive! co-editor getting to play out one of his minor
fantasies behind the bar! I managed to ban Felice and Asteroid before the
real bar staff got back!
Catching the ferry was straightforward, apart from not having enough time to
use the services of the bureau de change at the port, leaving me temporarily
short of euros for our big adventure. Once settled on the MV Stena
Discovery, the crossing itself was a well ordered routine of taking our
positions in the central 'Stingers' bar, watching the big video wall, and
breaking off to explore the other parts of the ship. In addition to the
usual music video stuff, there were some low-fi colour-cycling effects going
on in the distant corners of the big screen. This may have been to get us
gradually warmed up to the higher spec demos we would be seeing soon at
Error in Line! We shared this crossing with quite a lot of other people,
including a coach party of very laddish lads, whom we expect were going
to Amsterdam to try out their horticulture (cough!) We arrived sometime
around 15.00, adjusted for Central European time sort of thing.
Picking up from the other end was notable for the late afternoon traffic
tedium, particularly picked up in the Rotterdam area. We arrived in the
vicinity of Utrecht some time later, and were led astray by a deceptive
street map, which forgot to tell us that the motorway turn-off for Comp7's
part of town, started off somewhat sooner than we thought it would!
Between us, we managed to retrieve the situation quite well, following the
Utrecht ring system around logically and sensibly. We even managed to find
the neighbourhood of Comp7, and drove right past his street, unable to get
back to it, owing to the severity of the one-way system! After another five
minutes entertaining diversion, including an encounter with the single least
laid-back Dutchman in a black Mercedes at a road junction, we managed to
rediscover a route back, we approached the fateful point of no-return and
opted to stop just before, getting Comp7 to come out of his abode and guide
us into the appropriate street. The gentleman in question quickly found us,
and we gratefully crashed into his first floor apartment.
After introductions and tea-drinking, we sorted out a plan for the rest of
this evening. A meeting with Richard 'ST News' Karsmakers had been
prearranged for this evening, and we went to the town centre with Comp7, to
meet up at the central railway station. Thankfully discarding the car, we
went on one of the very tidy and modern Utrecht tram/light railway services.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
City council with nasty non-politically correct sense of humour note:- The
district that Comp7 lived in had streets named after famous explorers, as in
the harbingers of the white colonial oppressors that took over the countries
they first visited! The tram stop nearest Comp7's street was called Vasco
DeGamalaan. This neighbourhood also had a high third world population, and
the choice of street names were possibly a little bit insensitive here?!
The equivalent UK city council, say Birmingham, as they've always been hyper
PC, hasn't quite got as far as creating an "Idi Amin street", or dedicating
the "Idris Bokassa community centre", but we think it is only a matter of
time before they do!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Back to the story, and at the central railway station, I find a useful
Bureau de Change, so I am able to make good my acute shortage of Euros. We
meet with Karsmakers shortly after, and we head off into the city centre, to
an obscure but cool bar of his choice, featuring an MP3 jukebox and a decent
choice of liquid refreshments.
There, we update on each other's lives, Rich K. soon to be married for a
second time, with a facial expression which indicates, that yes, he is very
happy, but at the same time, that decision wasn't wholly under his control?
We also get talking of old scene/new scene matters, and the upcoming party,
which promises to be another all-time great. Felice manages to amaze, as the
first ever confirmed sighting of alcoholic liquid going past his lips comes
to effect here! The red wine helps him to 'relax'. It seems to work, as we
witness a new and super-slick Felice in action, all wit, bonhomie, and
lounge-lizardry. Well, we can dream, can't we!
The bar also has a restaurant attached to it. It has been a long time since
our last meal on the ferry, and even longer since that spectacular fry-up
back in Harwich, so we part company with a non-hungry Rich K, and go and
eat. The menu is sort of italian, and my order for 'chicken' gets me an
entire half-grown chicken, stuffed with a whole lemon!
This pleasantry, and the return journey back through clouds of druggie
beggars in the shopping mall, gets us safely back to Comp7's, a little while
before midnight, whereupon we pelt Felice's laptop with random globs of text
(Next Laptop RTA extract.)
Thursday 17 April - Asteroid
We made it over to Comp7's place in Utrecht today, after a very short drive
from Harwich to the docks, then the ferry trip, which passed over reasonably
uneventfully. Some comedy drunks amused us for a while in the lounge area,
they looked like they were off to a weekend in Amsterdam or somewhere
Getting off the ferry and through customs was a cinch and we got on the road
out to Utrecht. This part of the journey was fine till we got to Utrecht
itself. Realising we had missed a turning and couldn't go back, we ended up
doing the journey of the Utrecht Ring road for a while. We finally found our
turn and, after a spot of bother involving a bit of road rage from some
dildo in a black Mercedes, we got over to where Comp7 now lives here in
The one-way street system also didn't help either, but after going round in
circles for a bit we finally found where to go. (Asteroid)
We've just had an excellent evening out, managing to meet up with Rich
Karsmakers (ex-ST News) for a beer. After that we had a meal at the little
restaurant just outside the back of the wine bar. This proved to be real
nice, it was good to get together and chat for a while over stuff,
reminiscing about Atari over the years, including the new 2600-in-a-joystick
device that got launched recently.
Well, time to hand over to someone else methinks ..... John's gone to bed
now, hopefully he won't be blowing off tonight, but you never know with some
people ! Felice.
00.16hrs on the 18th April. CiH unravels fingers, world trembles, alright,
Headline soon to be seen in the hypothetical local newspaper, the Harwich
"It was a plane crashed into the building that did it, one hundred percent
This was the comment actually overheard by Asteroid at the scene of the fire
described so vividly last night. Looks like the local fuckwit protection
scheme is in full operation ;-) I think we might have heard something more
than a sound of breaking glass last night if that was the case. Unless it
was one of the new 'Silent but Deadly' Stealth Bombers?
As for Thursday, ah yessss...
Well we did fairly well, and got a really good working knowledge of the
Utrecht ring road (ahem!) We also managed to avoid any metal bending
incidents too. I'm not impressed with Utrecht's road system, it is very
unforgiving of misdirection,and refused to listen to our pleas for mercy.
Still we got here, we're at the abode of Comp7, and we've managed a bit of a
night out in some of the darker corners of Utrecht.
This included a reunification with former diskmag editor king person, and
former hair owner, Richard Karsmakers, who seemed to be pleased to see us,
at least he waited a polite amount of time before making his excuses and
Other small points of interest for Thursday:-
There was no Stena Line sponsored cheesy videos of the Venga Boys being
shown on the ferry! C'mon people, a trip to the Hook of Holland just isn't
the same without them!
Dutch motorway people, please note - Two (cars) into one (space) doesn't go!
One of the ferrybound comedy drunks had a lovely knife-scar on his cheek. It
must be a special badge to show that you are long-term unemployable, as in
"I'm violent and quick to take offence, please don't give me a high-status
Utrecht centre late at night compared with Amsterdam(n).. Fewer drug
dealers, but more beggars!
Okay, enough spiel and verbiage for now, time for bed, as everyone else
seems to be running in 'lights out mode' now..
Shall we leave this on overnight, see if the realtime article fairies feel
like adding to it when we are all asleep?!
(Friday morning!) - CiH
08.40 Friday. Realtime fairies are lazy lamers! CiH doing the work here
Comp7 is a very early and slow awaker. 06.45 is too fecking early, even
worse than a regular work day! Fresh-brewed coffee rules though, cheers
Maurits :) Good to the last drop, mmmm!
Now we are just debating what to do this morning. Some low-level laziness
before the long journey would be good.
(End of RTA extract)
We soon drop off to sleep, only awakening for Comp7's alarm clock which goes
off at 06.45. 06.45!!! That is worse than getting up for a normal day at
work. We don't actually rise until after 08.00, but that is not the point,
the damage was done already!!
We are not travelling straight over to Dresden, but instead, we are meeting
up with the rest of the Dutch contingent over at Havoc's place in Enschede,
then travelling in convoy. This is not due to take place until the late
afternoon, so in the meantime, we have some spare time to kill. Comp is off
to his secondary workplace, the GHQ of Bassment Productions, which is
actually a music studio built into his parents house, so we opt to travel in
his car, as they are located some ten or fifteen minutes out of town.
The next extract of realtime, written slightly out of time, at the party on
my Acorn box, picks up the factual narrative aspect of the story quite well,
so we turn there next..
(Next RTA bit.) - CiH kicks in..
MSG Quote from right now (11.50 on Saturday) "I'm a big fan of Erotic
Now for the rest of Freitag. This started very well, as we went to the
headquarters of Bassment Studio's, which turned out to be a very compact and
well equipped operation, tucked in a corner of the vast mansion that was
Comp7's parent's house. They were very nice to us, and when we weren't in
the studio, we were sitting in the sunshine, in their garden, which
occasionally featured herds of wild buffalo roaming across its sheer size.
(I exaggerate a little bit here?!)
(Ed note:- Comp7's father was a retired surgeon, as the house came with some
tasty extras, such as a consulting room with a full-sized x-ray machine!)
Asteroid got into a bit of Amstrad (in its Schneider incarnation) CPC128
dismantling in the sunlit garden, as the rubber band that powered the floppy
drive had overstretched on Comp7's machine. The elastic band we found
unfortunately proved a poor substitute.
Back to Utrecht and the arrival of Earx at 13.00hrs, and then we set off on
the first stage of our epic journey, which was to rendevous with Havoc and
the rest of the gathered Dutchies at Enschede. Once again, the Utrecht Ring
lived up to the "anal" part of its name, not from misdirection this time,
but from sheer weight of bank holiday travelling Dutchies, plus those people
in lorries, for whom this wasn't an official holiday, but were there anyway.
Some time, and a lot of cars later, we make it to Enschede, and find a lot
of people waiting our arrival. It turns out that there are ten people to go
to Dresden, so after some reorganisation and offloading from our already
full car, we end up swapping a couple of bags, a CRT monitor, and my TFT
screen, for Earx. I'm still not sure who got the best end of that bargain?!
A bunch of guys, possibly debt-collectors, waiting for Havoc!
After a lot more standing around in the front carpark at Havoc's place, in
the fast dropping temperature, possibly waiting for Havoc to finish cleaning
his apartment ;-) we eventually set off at around 17.30. The intention is to
keep in a loose convoy, stopping at a couple of pre-arranged rendevous spots
near Hannover and Madleburg. The convoy works fairly well at this stage,
with a couple of "unauthorised" extra stops on the way, for people with weak
bladders to take care of their personal business.
After the first proper stop, at a place with food, I swap over with Felice
and take my seat in the torture chamber driving position, with the seat
scrunched up to the controls. I was not able to move back, otherwise Earx
would have lost the use of his legs. (But if he's a coding wizard, what does
he need legs for anyway? I hear you all cry.) Opel Corsa, designed by
dwarves, for dwarves!
It is now dark, but we still somehow manage to keep together. The rate of
travel is rather good, and we stop again, in the cold open air, once we are
back on the southbound Autobahn to Dresden. It seems we are near now? I
thankfully swap the drivers seat back to Felice, giving my legs a chance to
The convoy unity unravels once we get past Leipzig, as a simultaneous
rainstorm, and road surface reversion to prehistoric East German conditions,
slows our rate of travel right down, the Dutchies disappear on a rain-swept
horizon, leaving us very much alone. It is a really heavy downpour,
determined to drown us all. The road conditions aren't over-helpful, as the
road markings disappear in the rain, and the only way of seeing the road, is
to look at the road signs reflected in the pools of water!
After an hour of this crud, we turn off at "Dresden West", more to get off
the motorway, and follow the signs for the city centre. We seem to be
picking up some recognisable features on a long downhill stretch, and about
ten minutes later, reach the city centre. The Hauptbahnhof, a major
landmark and navigation reference point, proves to be pretty easy to find,
and our street map and instructions are pretty good, up to the point where
we think we are in the street of the party place (August Bebel Strasse), but
which turned out to be the next strasse along!
A footbound search, with us getting very wet, for the party place proves
hopeless, although we sense that we are frustratingly close to it! Some
directions from a taxi driver are only partially helpful, until we spot the
first 'EIL' direction sign, and start slowly reeling ourselves in.
A couple of minutes later, we stop beside a really big 'EIL' sign, and an
impressive amount of steps leading up to the scene of the crime, we made it!
At last, we've arrived at the holy of holies, the Error in Line party place
The party place, 'Tusculum', turns out to be an easy to spot building, with
an impressive romanesque frontage. Inside, it looks like just about all the
current Atari active demo scene is gathered into three large rooms, no,
stuffed into three large rooms, with all their equipment, where we would
have lost last year's Mekka Attendance in a faraway corner of the party.
Introductions to lots of old friends, beer, registration, BEER, unloading,
*BEER* and setting up take over the next hour or so, and by the time that
things like unpacking the sleeping quarters have been completed, there isn't
really too much spare energy left, so we trickle off to bed. (Some, like the
Swedes, have already gone ahead of us.)
The sleeping hall is a half-lit gym,so I manage to find a spot in the 'dark'
side of the hall. I don't really sleep that heavily, managing an ongoing
doze, rising again at 07.00 on Saturday for a time, spending some time on
breakfast, and with the Dutchies respectively.
And that brings us up to date for this Saturday afternoon..
(End of almost real Realtime extract.)
The *real* Saturday morning!
First thing starts quietly, after a restful few hours, I stir myself,
leaving the others sleeping, to get my teeth around some of the EIL free
breakfast. On the bar and really running the party, are the rather lovely
girls Antje and Christina. Soon, sorted out with food and stuff, and after
giving Havoc an early preview of the world famous fake demo 'Bud teh Chud',
I start to look around and see who is doing what in the party space.
In the room that we set up late last night, the Reservoir Gods are in situ,
but sleeping as hard as they can. We are set up on the end of their table
annexe, the Acorn and TFT combination, Felice's laptop, and Felice's Falcon
with a 15 inch CRT. The Res Gods have access to a mixture of laptops running
emulated ST's, and real hardware. Further down the room, is the ten-strong
Dutch contingent, with their assorted gear, especially Tinker's Falcon, with
the brilliant paint-job on the case, done by a fairground artist, which
serves very well in his absence, to make sure that the 'Bud teh Chud' disks
survived the trip over. Havoc and Earx are at work on some textures for
Earx's current Falcon demo, which was going to be strictly a post-EIL
production, owing to time constraints.
2.Oversize Fuji emphasises it is *not* a PeeCee, alright!
On the opposite side of the room are some 8-bit guys, of which, more later,
and I'm pretty sure that Satantronic were in the room with us, with their
CT2 tower Falcon. And how could I forget tSCc, with Ray sitting a short
distance away from us, working hard on their Falcon demo!
The next room, with the bar and food serving area, mainly contains the
Swedes, who are all presently away from their workstations, fast asleep.
Also in this same room, is a lonely Acorn fan, with a couple of advanced
prototypes of the new Iyonix super-powered Risc PC machines, which are to
the Acorn and RiscOS fraternity, what the Coldfire Project is to us Atari
freaks. I got a good close-up look at this machine, the desktop gadgets from
RiscOS seeming very familiar from my use of my own RPC 600. There was a
major difference in power between the two machines, as not content with
displaying a huge res desktop in 16 million colours, it ran a Quake engine
smoothly, where my humbler Riscbox would manage the same engine at 2-3
frames a second, if it was lucky!
It wasn't quite finished, with odd screen glitching moments, and a refusal
to load more than one large jpeg at a time, but surely getting there very
So on to the third room, which was the largest room, where the big screen
was based, and the organisers corner where the competition entries were
processed. This housed a lot of people, including a large French contingent,
who turned out to be a bunch of cheese-eating demo completing monkeys! In
there, we could find the beloved figures of STS and Moondog, also fellow
Alive! contributor Paranoid, who was having troubles making his own demo. In
an aside about his still awaited Commodore Plus 4 emulator, he reckoned that
The Plus 4 was as good as the C64 for producing 'new school' style demo
effects, and that some demos had been made for it! Get cracking and finish
the emu Oliver!
We also found a figure remembered from last year's debacle of a party at
Mekka, the very relaxed NerVe, all the way from Norway. In an increasing
trend, he had brought his girlfriend, er actually, fiancee, as he is due to
get married later this year! Bringing her to an Atari-powered insomnia hell-
hole is one way of testing the love and devotion aspect of the relationship
-(Ed not deranged enough to bring his girlfriend to this sort of party
As other people came to life, the next point of interest was in the
imminence of some of the competition deadlines, for the graphics and sound
competitions were drawing closer. I managed to get my hands on some of the
relevant entry forms, both for my ascii graphics entries, and the "demo".
These were handed in, and handed back, a bit later, with some new forms to
complete! This I did, along with what turned out to be the joint second
place ascii entry from a finnish lady called DiamondDie, who was at the
*other* Easter party, the Mekka replacement called "Breakpoint". (Sitting
around a camp-fire outside the party hall at that moment, if my memory of
her report on that event is correct?)
And with that, I think it's back to the realtime for a while!
(Next RTA bit)
12.52 - CiH
I've played with the new Risc PeeCee machine, the Iyonix. With a gazillion
pixel x gazillion pixel in 24 bit mode, it rocks, if a little unsteadily,
with a few last minute glitches to be killed off before the machine really
properly goes on sale.
Other news, I've handed in my competition entries, and now I've seen the
party, I got the t-shirt ;-)
The pressure is mounting to order some pizza. If I get on with that now, it
might be ready by the time darkness falls ;-)
Felice here to add a bit more to the realtime :-)
Other than what Chris has already written, it was a bit of a pain finding
the new place, however, having found it, I am (or indeed we are) very
pleased. the space is plentiful, allowing us to set up our systems in
relative comfort and still have plenty of space in which to move around in.
I went up to the nearby gas-station to get one or two bits of food, they
have gone down well and it is hoped that it can do until later on. The idea
that Chris had for ordering pizzas for dinner round about now sounds like a
good one :)
Asteroid 1.15pm - Just waited about 2 hours for pizza me and Comp7 were
sharing, and its finally here, appears that the local pizza probably only
have one employee answering the phone making and delivering the things.
Strangely the pizza has arrived in a shoebox sized box folded in half, so
maybe they are out of the correct boxes??
This party is a blissful experience for beer fans as many different half
litre bottles are available for just 1 Euro a throw, the Swedes are
especially pleased as they tell me they pay 5x that price at home.
13.40 - CiH
I knew there was something else I overlooked. *Felice not teetotal shock!*
The dreaded liquid alcohol passes his lips on Thursday night in Utrecht at
the Karsmakers gathering. It was red wine too, something of a minority taste
for most people, so bonus points to the Felicing one..
Saturday afternoon goes quietly. MC laser/Lotek rushes around handing out
copies of the latest YM Rockers production 'Popstars'. Looks like I'll be
one of the few people with a rare *unsigned* copy?
15.40 - Asteroid in Amstrad outrage!
Just been off to shops in pursuit of finding a rubber belt for a drive for
an old Amstrad CPC computer, off to Conrad electronics, a mammoth computer
and electronics store which makes Maplins and Radio Shack look very small
and pathetic indeed, Unfortunately the woman on the components desk shook
her head, not too much of a problem as I can get the exact part at home for
£1 each, so I will be shipping one out to Comp7 when Im home. Anyway
Conrads really is a terrific place for Geeks to do Window shopping, on the
baskets close to the check out counter they had huge 5 litre cans of beer,
seems Conrads play a major part of refuelling the minds and spare parts
boxes of some of Germany's most talented technical people. Got a few things
from the convience store and I was a bit puzzled to see why I didnt get a
carrier bag, turns out you have to pay E0.10 for one which they are stashed
hidden under the till, I was unaware you had to pay one which the till
assistant reminded me as I stuffed my food items into it.
Did I mention beer earlier, I did but in this particular store, more 500ml
bottles are stacked up all over the place for as little E0.35 (UK TWENTY
PENCE!!!) yeah! Germany rocks!!!
16.15 - CiH
(Rule no 1:- Drink too much homemade stuff and your legs will go all wibbly-
wobbly, and loss of self-control and self-esteem will follow!
Dune 'Illusions demo;, legendary and long-lost production almost released,
it managed to get to the intro and hung there, like a poodle suspended by
its collar and lead from a raised railway level crossing barrier....
Organisers working out how to connect an ST to the bigscreen beamer. That's
why the compo entries proper are pre-recorded ;-)
Illusions demo finally off the runway, and it kicks oldschool French design
ass! The non-competition and general EIL-inspired release rate is very
gratifying, Ace Tracker, Popstars, and now this! And we haven't even started
the competitions yet!
(You forgot the EIL3 t-shirt! - fashion editors note.)
And now to add to the carnival air of jubilation, the Reservoir Gods
personalised pen and address book has been released! (A Sad but highly paid
PR person writes..)
17.30 - CiH
The late late pizza show has been to town, and gone again. Amigo pizza, not
one of their best unfortunately. overcooked, and left to cool for too long,
but edible enough when the wait for it started a shade before 13.00hrs.
The entry deadlines for art and music entries passed an hour ago, but there
still seem to be an awful lot of people pixelling and tracking out there.
Even some that are coding ;-) Their deadline isn't for another 23 hours.
Lemmings music from the direction of Comp7 and Tinker filling the whole
room. Not so much YM Rockers, more YM Mockers?!
(End of RTA part)
Back to the retrospectively written account now, as the Saturday afternoon
wore on. Some events did take place, a very long wait for a pizza, as I had
missed the end of the lunchtime rush, and had to wait a lot longer, until
teatime for this. Asteroid and Felice headed in the direction of town, and I
dodged rain showers to take a quick look around the leafy locale in which
this party was based.
MC Laser, or Lotek, was gleefully handing out free copies of the latest YM
Rockers release, "Popstars", and this even got some airplay on the big
screen in the main hall. This prompted the Reservoir Gods into a disk-
signing frenzy, looking to get each others, and everyone else's autographs
on to the disk label. I've got a relatively rare unsigned copy, how will
that look on Ebay?
The other two major events of this Saturday afternoon, concerned the showing
of a long-lost demo, and the release of a large container of home-made booze
into the community!
The latter item first, this was a large multigallon glass container of home
made red wine, which had been put on to boil shortly after the last Error in
Line, and was now judged to be ready. At a Euro or so a glass, it was deemed
worth a look, and tasted like a red wine should, maybe with a subtle
background hint that it could do some real kidney damage, if you over-
indulged in it!? I sensibly stop at a couple of glasses, before blindness
The long-lost demo was brought to us, thanks to the activities of the large
French contingent. This was the legendarily disappeared "Illusion" demo from
Dune, a reputed first prize winner from a demo party back in 1993, but not
seen since then. First attempts to get it going aren't promising. It had
been debugged and reworked, apparently to allow it to run on a Falcon, but
just at the end of the intro sequence, the demo kept hanging.
Eventually, with the right sort of hardware, it ran properly, and for a demo
of its advanced years, had aged very well indeed! This is looked forward to,
as another high quality release, associated with Error in Line. But Dune had
not finished there, as they were working on a fresh EIL production, with
many of the other Frenchies!
But all this wine/long lost French oldschool demo action is taking its toll.
After an overlong journey which only terminated in the wee small hours of
the early morning, and not too much sleep after, it is time to retire, for a
short time, to the sleeping gym, there to crash for a time, listening to
some consumptive person at the other end noisily expire into his sleeping
Curiously refreshed after an hour of this, I get back, and with Earx in
company, show off some of the lighter side of the Akorn box.
Do we get to see how beautifully drawn the 3-D is, in Starfighter 3000? -
Do we also get to see how hideously difficult the control system in
Starfighter 3000 is? - Sure thing!
I also make sure he gets a full load of demos, both from the Archimedes (as
in the ARM 2.5 generation and upwards), and those full-blooded RiscPC
productions, that deign to run on my crippled-by-having-no-VRAM box.
Some of these impress the hard to impress Earx, expecially the 1997
Siliconvention entry 'Era', and another Archie intro 'Jojo', which has
tunnels that even Evil would be hard put to beat! All this activity takes us
deeper into the evening, and back to the realtime for a while.
20.55 - CiH
This has been away a long time?
So was I for an hour, as I felt tiredness catching up fast. I went to the
health and fitness orientated sleeping room (the Gym), and half-listened to
someone in the far corner cough their guts out. Strangely enough, after an
hour of this, I felt quite a lot better.
The rest of the time has been used in releasing the Akorn box from its
realtime duties, and having a bit of fun, as in games and demos,
particularly with Earx looking on.
The deadline for the pixelling and noisemaking was extended by three hours
from its original deadline, which explains the frantic post four o'clock
Things are quiet at the moment, so some of us who don't have their own
computer along, like me are just hovering over what everyone else is doing,
so it is a little boring at the moment. I've just been sharing another
pizza with Comp7 and watching one of girls (sorry dont know your name) from
one of the Dutch crews playing Lemmings on the ST.
Seen with interest how to cram a Falcon into a 1.5m high PC tower case, as a
Spanish guy called David has done an excellent job of his, and has inspired
to finish mine off properly. It's kind of an feat to have the system
performing well in a different chassis, it's another art to have it looking
tidy with port extension cables and fittings mounted in neatly with no bits
hanging out.(I have nightmares of how terrible my Falcon looked in the
Desktopper case.) My next job on my system is to fabricate a metal panel to
hold the keyboard port in place where the ATX ports panel goes, and make up
a SCSI cable to make the hard disk/CD/ZIP drive.
21.40 - CiH
Joke only understandable to Mr Pink and a few other people...
Mr Pink, bathed in the pale ghostly light of his vdu, looks a lot like Jack
Dee on life support! (The British comedian who takes masterclasses in
Organiser dudes are recording the art and music compo entries. It will take
a while. I am more than normally interested, as 1. I'm represented in the
ascii graphics compo, and 2. A couple of modfiles have been made with the
newly released Ace Tracker.
Present speculation is for a 01.00 start for these?! This is main demo
competition sort of lateness, not usually graphics and music ;-)
Current EIL demo compo rumours..
Dead Hackers / ST demo, caught the tiniest glimpse (hee hee!)
Thomas of New Beat / AN other, an intro, using a standalone Ace replayer.
An intro/demo by Dune, this is not Illusion, it had new 'EIL 3' graphics.
Something from Escape? I'd be surprised if they didn't.
tSCc Falcon demo, if they release it?
*Two* ST demo's from different parts of Reservoir Gods!
An ST demo that Nerve and others made, STS reworking some graphics for it.
At least one fake demo....
No release from Earx, his effort will not be ready until after the party.
Grey mentioned on the Bulletin board there was going to be one Polish
release, but a lot of Poles are 'missing in action' and didn't get to the
I'm sure there will be room for a couple more surprises, either way, in
(ED NOTE:- Apart from the "surprise" of Checkpoint's resurrection, this list
was pretty accurate in relation to what was shown at the competitions.)
11.35, or 23.35
Now MSG has been told that "something will happen on the big screen" at
11.55: He wasn't told that the "Something happening" would be done to him!
11.59: MSG update, now it's back to 01.00hrs, or is that 13.00hrs??
00.00! - CiH
It's Sunday!!! SUNDAY!!!!
Pink is coming down with SARS?! Don't breathe over here! This could explain
the perpetually pained facial expression he's had all day?
I got a good eyeful of the tSCc Falcon demo, rather good, and in a very
contemporary style. Very common on PeeCee style productions, but rather
uncommon here, and thus new and interesting. I hope they do release it and
show it properly in the competitions. The standard of production is
extremely high, and is a credit to all concerned :)
Still waiting for compo entries, organisers recording an atari 8-bit
chipsong. Also advised that there are three likely Falcon demo contenders,
the tSCc production, a demo from Cruor, and Escape with a presently
I'll close this RTA down for now, get back with some post-competition
(End of RTA bit)
And back to the supporting text...
There was a lot of waiting around for the first series of competitions. A
lot more than would be normal for the efficient Error in Line organisation.
Much of the delay was technical, trying to get an 8-bit Atari to connect to
the video to record a Pokey sound tune for example.
Some were unable to bear the wait, which dragged into the very early hours,
and went to bed. The organisers made a sensible decision to replay the
graphics and sound competitions later on, when people were awake. But for
those of us with no fear of bedtimes, and hardened insomnia, they went ahead
at some time around 02.00 anyway!
Beds, we don' need no steenkin' beds!
Competition viewpoint, post-party;
Ascii graphics:- Nice work Kev, you were a deserved winner!
Soundtracker music:- Ace Tracker rules! It's near orgasm time!
Soundchip zikz:- A great set of tunes, best ziks yet!?
16 Colour graphics:- A crazy but cunning plan from Flash!
And so to bed soon after, in the darkened stumbling sleeping room. "Excuse
me, was that your spinal column that I just kicked in?!" Actually, there was
plenty of room to spread out, and I found my bed without any such trouble,
and slept with even less trouble for a few hours.
04.07(!!) - CiH, the other two had gone to bed!
Competitions for the graphics and sound finished, and some very interesting
entries among them. The modfile tracker saw the first use of Ace Tracker,
with an excellent tune from Nemo in particular, (which picked up from an
earlier composed soundchip tune entered for the chiptune competition!)
Soundchip tunes saw a wide variety of hardware and tools used, with 505
probably edging that one. The sixteen colour pictures saw a cunning limit
breaker, as the "holy" 320 x 200 pixel limit was broken by a storytelling
tapestry format from Flash of TNB, which had an incredibly huge horizontal
resolution, themed with classic demo makers art from past productions.
Ascii-art proved interesting, with the captions for my entries mixed up ;-)
(MCL quote:- "Used hardware? Why ask this question? This is ascii!")
The only one which was slightly behind the times, was a fair to middling
truecolour competition with a smaller number of entries than the rest.
These were a good series of competitions, with the musically orientated ones
managing not to outstay their welcome for once.
(End of part one!)
This EIL report has been split in two, to allow us to bring you some
screengrabs with the article, having experimented a little with "safe"
textfile sizes to accomodate piccies within them. It seems like a good idea
to stop about halfway, at this point :)
What will happen with the demo competitions, not to mention the aftermath?!
Read on, in part two!! - CiH