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Alive SE - EIL 2001
Error In Line 2001

A kind of personal report about the Error In Line 2001 by The Paranoid.

Friday morning. My alarm clock has been set to one hour too late after
i initially only wanted to set it a few minutes later - After all, i
had again spent too much time debugging the final effects for our
second demo and just wanted to sleep a bit longer.
So i had breakfast, called Marcstar that i would be late and started
packing. Since i also wanted to have the C64 and its monitor with me,
it was more to pack than usually and it took some time longer.
So i drove to Marcstar, where we had a second breakfast, put all my
stuff into his car and left for Dresden.
About this much should be said about the journey: It sucked. If it was
not raining, the streets were in miserable shape, and if they were in
good shape and it was not raining, it was snowing instead.
We had to go for about half an hour through a massive snow-storm with
a view of roughly 30m and passed quite a few cars that had skidded,
turned and bumped into the side- or middle lane with growing fear.
Once arrived in Dresden, we found the club relatively easily, first
because i still remembered a bit about the way, second because it's
not that hard to find and finally because we had a roadmap so that
even the ongoing construction and the disabled "turn left" where the
original EIL route description wanted us to go were no problem.

The rest of the friday was basically all about assembling. First,
people kept coming and taking places, we found out that we shared the
room with the frenchies (who started to play YMCA after a while ;-)
who were fun to be with, second because both Marcstar and i still had
work to do with our Demo (assembling).
Meeting several people, talking to several people, enjoying the
evening and putting together the demo.

Sleeping in the cellar-based sleeping room was okay from friday to
saturday because it was relatively quiet there.
Paranoia traditionally has its breakfast on conventions at Mc Donald's
place so we left on saturday morning to see a bit of Dresden, maybe
get some more supplies (beverage and food) and see probably a bit of
Dresden. The sight-seeing tour was once more spoiled by the fact that
it started to snow again so we headed back to the party-place to
finish the 16-colour picture.
MRF, who i met the first team in real live at this party, kept
dropping in after he finished his multichannel compo entry and he's
surely a nice chap to be around with so i enjoyed his visits a lot.
Marcstar kept working on some tables and also started to "design" a
few things while converting all the effects of the demo to x86 - You
should look out for a "post-view" (not a preview) of this demo for PC
- Minimum requirements: a 386, a DOS compatible operating system and a
VGA compatible card - Marcstar likes it low-end ... Must have been one
reason why he joined Paranoia.
I handed in the 16-colour entry actually twice. I first gave it to
Spion at the bar who took it and said he'd pass it on. He did pass it
on, because about 2 hours later (i was 2 hours behind the first
deadline namely 12:00 am) the deadline was extended to 16:00 and
suddenly, 505 appeared to have me fill out the form (which i had
actually already put on the disk).
I filled out this form and handed the disk back to 505 a minute later.

At this time, i was slowly but surely getting into an argument with
Mad Butscher of Foundation Two who i considered a pretty long-lasting
and basically similar-minded friend but his acute hate against the C64
and anything concerned and his constant slagging against me because i
dared to bring a C64 to an Atari convention and because i actually
like the C64 more than the Atari 8-bit series really drove me wild.
Sorry to say that in public, but that really disappointed me much and
i didn't expect such kind of behaviour from him.
Nevertheless, i really had a serious bug about that time in my demo
that neither Marcstar nor i could find and we were even about to give
up on the demo when MRF came around, sat down next to me and asked if
he could help.
Actually, he did help a lot because i tried to explain the way my
effect-switcher works to him and only that made me realize that there
is a 0 missing somewhere, totally screwing up the sequence of entries,
forcing the demo to read a 0 as a label later on and jumping to
address 0 to execute the code there surely crashes the Falcon good.
So MRF, thank you again for helping me with this bug, even if it
sounds funny - Without your help i wouldn't have found it.

The rest of saturday was pure fun. Putting together the rest of the
demo was relatively simple, enjoying chats with the friendly people
on the party, chatting with the organizers as well while Grey and
Marcstar had some Vodka ...
... Basically doing what the party was about: Talk to people you
seldomly meet in real life and that you always wanted to talk to for a
Meanwhile, the dutch people had finally gathered and looked alive as
well so i enjoyed the chat with Havoc, D-Force and TheMatch, wrote a
small program to test the 14MB cards Grey was selling at this time and
then returned to Marcstar's x86 version of the demo and learned really
a lot about x86 coding this way.

Saturday evening came closer with the deadlines being shifted some
more. Gathered in the main hall - not as crowded as 2 years ago - and
listened to 4-channel Mods, YM music and multichannel entries. There
were no Atari 8-bit pokey tunes so probably the Atari 8-bit scene was
not as well represented as Mad Butscher thought it would be ?
Anyway, i personally considered the music competition not as stunning
as 2 years ago but that might also be because of the badly setup sound
system - Probably it was mono ? Which is pretty bad because i think a
lot of the multichannel tunes lived by moving the voices a lot from
the left to right and back again - which was not noticeable during the
The graphics competition was a (bad) surprise for me. First, there
were not enough entries for each competition so they put them all
together to one "graphics" competition - I would have prefered
separated True-Colour, 16-colour and 4-colour compos.
There were only 2 4-colour entries, one by Flash of tnb, actually a
conversion but hand-dithered to 4 colours and it looked very funky on
the big-screen, but this had some kind of hardware anti-alias so i
hardly dared to judge that picture. The other 4 colour entry was
unfortunately declared as 16-colour entry while it was obviously not.
Exocet's picture only uses 4 colours and his dithering technique rocks
but stayed invisible on this big-screen either.
Then only 2 16-colour entries by Flash and Havoc were displayed and
mine was shortly displayed "live" afterwards - Some people had already
left the main hall though ... Tough luck i guess but i also guess
these things happen and i don't really consider anyone "responsible"
for that.

After the compo, MRF, Marcstar and i had a go on his Falcon to check
his multichannel tune with his excellent headphones to find out that
it does sound a lot different there.
We browsed through his directories of music, talked a lot and i really
enjoyed that time. Some more chats in the hallway and several other
rooms and grottos with several other people and enjoying the nice
evening with nice people.

Sleeping in the sleeping chamber however turned out to be difficult.
Marcstar was wise enough to move to the bench and sleep there but i
tried in the sleeping chamber first.
I could never imagine someone making such a noise when sleeping. It's
a miracle that his own noise doesn't wake him up and even if a logical
explanation might exist for that, it is a miracle that he stays alive
because after all - he can't get any breath when making such a noise,
can he ?
And even though a friendly guy next to the snorer kept punching him,
he simply didn't stop but started anew after a while, only louder and
more intense.
And when finally 3 others joined the snoring compo i decided to leave
the room and placed myself in the middle of our grotto where i finally
found sleep for rougly 4 hours - Thanks to the frenchies for not
having played YMCA at these 4 hours. ;-)
STS came in when i assembled my bones the next morning and wanted to
pass but couldn't, so i decided to stand up and go wash myself.

Sunday morning - traditional breakfast at Mc Donald's place as usual,
enjoying the few moments of sunshine. Back to the partyplace we ran
our demo several times (also on Zerkman's CT2 Falcon) to finetune the
timing and look for additional bugs when Baggio and some others came
in to ask me wether i was to show C64 demos on the big-screen or not.
I had prepared a videotape at home so i asked No to connect the VCR
and we finally got both picture and audio playing so sunday afternoon
was filled with SID-tunes.
This was the exact moment when Mad Butscher left the main hall where
he was seated - Not that i cared much by that time about this opinion
much but after all, he has a C64. He even copied roughly 100 disks
from Strange (Paranoia)- So is the fact that C64 demos are being
displayed on the big screen really a reason why to leave ?
I personally guess not because it was sometimes quite crowded in the
main hall when the C64 demos were running and even though i still had
to finish our demo, i sometimes dropped in to see some parts of some
Sunday afternoon ... Not much to say ... Finished the demo, talked to
some people, tried to sleep for an hour or so, failed, got back to
coding, finally handed in the demo and said to Grey, whom i still owe
a hamburger to, that i'd leave with him as soon as our demo is
Spent the rest of the afternoon talking to severl guys, checking on
NUT's Falcon that was obviously malfunctioning with the Phantom SE
accelerator and watched Felice's recording of the history of Video
games for a while - Funny enough, Mad Butscher returned the very
minute the C64 demos were over. Funny coincidence, don't you think ?
Went to the city one more time with Marcstar to see a few sights but
had to find out that half of Dresden is closed because "under
construction" and finally went "home" again when it started to snow
Took a shower, waited, talked to the frenchies, the swedes, the
slovenians, Frank Naumann, some organizers, MC Laser ...
Enjoying the party basically while Marcstar took a nap.

Marcstar and i accompanied No when he recorded our demo and of course
i had to explain the razorblade (that keeps popping up in Paranoia
productions) to him and especially to his girl-friend. ;-)
Talked to No for a few more minutes and then went downtown another
time to get something to eat.
Back at the partyplace Marcstar decided to join the Whip!-Pong compo
which i drew a simple comic to advertise for ;-) while i took a chance
and chatted with Mr.Pink for a while - After all, he was permanently
hiding behind his notebook and i hardly had a chance to exchange a few
words with him.

The demo-competitions were very cool indeed. First because i had an
excellent place behind the counter with MRFs company, secondly because
i think all entries were pretty high level and finally because of the
atmosphere at this time.
Everyone was tired, everyone was kind of exhausted and yet, everyone
was happy i think about being there and watching these demos now.
The ST demo compo was kind of a fake since only one entry existed but
i think that the organizers really hoped for DefJam's sudden return -
which did not happen. Additionally, i enjoyed Odd stuff a lot and it
was really worth showing it on the big-screen instead of skipping the
ST demo compo.
Whip!-compo was cool as well - And the wild compo entry by Havoc
really rocked. Excellent idea and i also think a huge amout of work
went into this.
I was very dissappointed about the Atari 8-bit competition though.
One featuring 3 lines of plain text on screen accompanied by some
ripped music - We could have expanded the number of ST demo compo
entries by a factor of 10 or 20 easily if people had entered similar
stuff. Now i want to point out that i like the producer of this demo
and that i know he can do a lot better and that he simply lacked time
to produce something better - But 3 lines of text saying "Sorry, no
time" and playing a ripped music doesn't really make a demo.
The entry by Mr.XY was kind of funny, but the only entries being a
joke-demo in Basic with very low-res graphics and the other simple
demo really don't make much of a competition.
I know that Atari 8-bit was not the main focus of this party and that
one couldn't really expect high-level demos for the Atari 8-bit there
but that didn't make a competition either. Kind of dissappointing.
Falcon demos rocked. 3 excellent entries from Escape, DHS and TOYS, 1
excellent GFA Basic demo, 1 very well done joke-demo plus the Paranoia
demo ... 6 demos at one party for the Falcon of which at least 3 were
excellent work really made me happy.

Stayed up far too long after the compo, chatting with all the people
of course about the demos just having been presented.

Overslept the prizing ceremony and woke up around half past nine.
Damn. The swedes already gone, the Ukers vanished completely. The
poles were packing, the frenchies were slowly disassembling their gear
as well ... I surely missed the ceremony much.
Ate something, had a cup of coffee, sponsered half a ton of popcorn
and candy to the club that has been given to me for my birthday by the
mad Paranoia folks, started to pack and made for a leave as well.
Talked to the organizers, copied a few disks from Grey (thanks pal),
shook a lot of hands, thanked the organizers again, picked all our
gear and left.

The way back sucked about as much as the way to the party. This time
it wasn't snow and rain, this time it was traffic jams. We were
constantly stuck in at least one and needed about 8 hours to get about
as far as 350 km. We went the final 60 km over a side-road that runs
parallel to the Autobahn for a while to get back to Marcstar's place.
Got home one hour later, unpacked my things, ate something and dropped
dead in my bed.

Error In Line #2 was an excellent party and i enjoyed my stay there a
lot. I enjoyed Marcstar's company and we exchanged a lot of knowledge
(well, i learned a lot from him) and i definetly enjoyed seeing him
back to the demo-coding scene (he has written some screens never used
about 4 or 5 years back when Paranoia wasn't even talked about) - I
hope he thinks the same for i would go to the next Atari party anytime
and anyplace with him.
I also enjoyed MRFs company he lot. I am very glad we met at this
party and he is a cool dude that i would like to meet more often ...
Probably have to spend some holidays in sweden after all ! :-)
I of course enjoyed the organizers as well. 505, Spion, No and Joe
Cool are nice dudes and whatever they do, it might not work perfectly
well, but it always works and they always manage to give everything a
"human touch" if you understand what i mean.
Without any restrictions i enjoyed talking to all those people that
were there. All the germans, english, french, polish, slovenian,
dutch, swedish and god-knows-where-they-all-came-from people that
simply went there because they feel the same way i do and they wanted
to share their fascination for the long-lost glory of the name Atari
with each other.
I enjoyed being in the french grotto, even if YMCA got on my nerves
pretty soon.
I enjoyed having been part of the team that assembled our demo for
this party and i enjoyed watching it on the big screen.
I enjoyed the competitions, i enjoyed the time before and after the
I simply enjoyed everything about this party ...
... with only one exception.

The biggest dissappointment about this party was Mad Butscher's
totally sucky behaviour towards me and i really don't see any reason
why to maintain contact with him at the moment. His arrogancy sucked
deeply in my eyes and his silly comments are not worth getting into.
I am sorry about that because i personally have and had nothing
against him but he really insulted me with his sucky behaviour and i
will surely not be the one to apologize.
If he hates the C64 that much that he doesn't stand having a few C64
demos displayed on an Atari convention as in-between entertainment, if
he hates the C64 that much that he considers a few C64-related
messages the first sign of the doom of the Atari scene, he wouldn't
get along with me anymore anyway because i personally love the C64
almost as much as i love my Falcon and my STE and i will surely
absolutely 100% start working on the C64 as well when i have the time
- And if he hates the C64 that much, he will have to hate me just as
One has to be totally blind not to see that this party was all about
Atari computers, that people were and are dedicated as hell and that
they care about Atari computers and the scene that comes along with
And if he thinks, all this is spoiled by a few C64 demos played on the
big screen as an interlude, it's rather his own problem than the
problem of the Atari scene.

But that makes a nice ending of this far too long party report that
has been simply written down with any editing at all (sorry about
This was what the Error In Line #2 was all about. After all, we are a
large group of suckers that cling to an outdated computer brand with
all our strength, refuse to accept that we are all -kind of- wasting
our time investing lots of hours putting together things and software
only a miniature minority will see, listen and use - and funny enough,
we all seem to enjoy that, otherwise we wouldn't be doing it.
We are all brought together by the past and by a glorious name, Atari,
and as long as this name still sends shivers down our bones, as long
as we sit in a dark gloomy cellar at the middle of the night, having
tears in our eyes enjoying the beauty of Atari demos, graphics and
music, as long as we travel a few hundred kilometers to meet in a dark
gloomy cellar from all over europe, as long as we all have fun
preparing our appearance on these parties, have fun being there and
have fun doing it again, as long as all these conditions are met,
Atari _IS_ alive and anyone who thinks differently has been proven
wrong on the Error In Line #2.

The Paranoid

Alive SE - EIL 2001