THROUGH NEW EYES
Ancient demo's reconsidered, late at night!
At the Pre-Eil meet, back in March, all productive efforts and devices
having failed, we fell back to some very late nocturnal demo-watching. It
wasn't as if we were short of hardware after all. It was very revealing to
watch some classic demos, to see how well they had stood up to the ravages
of time. Now we can reveal how well, or not, these productions have aged,
starting with those which can proudly stand up as timeless works of art, or
'Sono', well what can we say, we saw an almost perfect runthrough of a
classically timeless demo, although it attracted some mild criticism for
the abrupt termination of the final effect (the Avena logo spinning towards
the camera, letter by letter.)
The 'Gloop Demo' (Toons) This was generally favourably received, although
there was a little disagreement within the group. MSG screamed "It's
design!" Sh3 glumly concluded "If you like that sort of thing, go and get
an Amiga." But the consensus was that this had held up well. Going in its
favour was the immaculate presentation and execution. I'm sure you could
find a glitch somewhere, but you would have to look really hard. Also the
bulk of the effects were going on in a window, so they looked more hi-res
and impressive, than would have been the case if they were fullscreen.
'Grumbler in the Rutting Season' The original Sanity Rotzoom screen' This
is best run as a standalone effort. The classic ST rotozoomer. "I could
watch this all day!" - MSG.
The Hydroxid Symposium '96 demo. This is as for the Gloop demo. The star of
the otherwise undistinguished Symposium '96, a very French-style
production, heavy on smoothness and finish. It managed a very clean run-
through at the party. It suffered from a thick-eared projector which didn't
want to display dark blue at the competitions! Still looks alright now
'Entracte' by EXA. This 96ktro could be seen as 'EKO lite', but a perfectly
executed production all the same. Why do we never see z-buffering gouraud
fruit intersecting in demos anymore?!2
'When Bumblebee flies higher than Falcon' - Syntax - A neat intro, with
some very nice texturemapping for the ST/STe series. This holds up well
even with todays standards of production.
The Good, in Parts...
This section accounted for the bulk of the entries, not so many had stood
up so well, but hardly anything had deteriorated to a mush of total
DNT 'Nullos' demo. Nice for 1994 vintage, lots of hi-res presentation, no
loose ends, a good presentation of old style effects. It just looks, well,
a bit elderly now.
Laser 'Ungto' - I prefer short names for things too! Retrospectively this
came up better on the swirly effects. Unfortunately, the William Gibson
inspired suggestion, that connecting to the internet in the future would
consist of floating around in a 3-D environment of coarse wireframe grid
vectors, and inappropriately textured polygons, was ripe for pisstaking.
(Oh, that baby squashed into the pyramid!) Also, the pinball sequence was
better in the idea than the (lo-res) execution.
'Joint Venture' - "And then they gave it all up!" as our group caustically
commented as one voice at the groups concerned in the making of this
multicrew party demo made after the party (Symp '96 again!) . A real mish-
mash, the original camel defined as a horse designed by a committee.
Several fair to good individual effects were quickly stitched together,
with a great soundtrack which really deserved something more dynamic, or
even running in time with the music in the first place!
'Amok' demo - Great effects, the first major 'newschool' demo for the ST,
contrasted with some dodgy still graphics almost drawn at random, in a
hurry, by their graphist. A combination of puppy dogs and skulls make an
uneasy thematic still piccy mixture.
Shadows Sili'97 entry (Damn amnesia!) - A real mixture here. An effective
series of bumpmaps grating against an agonisingly slow series of complex
non-DSP powered 3-D objects. It lost out badly when compared with 'Sono',
the winner of that party.
The Bone-shakingly Awful!
Some early thing by tSCc. Here's the text, and more bloody text, so where's
the demo? Right after the text? Erm, nope!
'Revertant' by Cobra. This one caught a bad cold when it was retroviewed.
I've only ever seen it at CT2 speed since the first Error in Line, where
memories are hazy. Running on a standard 16 mhz Falcon, it manages to run a
selection of complex 3-D objects at *less* than one frame per second in
places! According to the coders in our group, Cobra seem to have used every
trick possible to slow it right down and avoid the benefits of accelerated
'2nd Reality' (PeeCee) by Future Crew. Not part of this viewing cycle, but
seen again, afresh as it were, at the fourth Alt Party back in January.
This demo suffered from the very massiveness that made it the top dog demo
back in 1993/4. I sort of remembered it as the benchmark to which Falcon
demos should aspire to. This golden haze of nostalgia was rudely shattered
on reviewing it, as a lame old demo, with outdated swirly effects, and some
ropey 3-D objects staggering onto the big screen. It was a perfectly
acceptable demo for its time, but let down when compared to the hype. The
music still rules though..
We did see more, many more, but it was very late at night, and memory only
bothers to keep the highlights intact. So this is what you get, see you all
CiH, for Alive,from the Pre-Eil Meeting, March '03