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Alive SE - EIL 2001
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Hmmm... by Escape (An EIL #2 Release) [Atari Falcon030]

The Error In Line #2 surely was a terrific party. It was a good opportunity to
meet people. It was about having fun with Atari computers. It was about
spending 3 or 4 days in a very atmospheric place in the cellars of a student
home in the middle of Dresden.
And last but not least - it was also about demos.
There were a lot of excellent demos released. TOYS shocked people with
an excellent first real Falcon demo ever after Peylow has assembled a
lot of routines for about 2 years, DHS displayed the perfect symbiosis
of coding and artism skills, Remo displayed that GFA-Basic can not only
be used to create ST demos but also to write excellent and well designed
Falcon Demos, the Spice Boys showed off their usual sense of humour with
a technically excellent joke demo, even Paranoia entered the compo with
a small demo ...
... But the most brainblasting experience was definetly presented by
someone who i have talked to when he was recording the demos and who said
that he wanted to enter the compo more or less to demonstrate mainly that
he has been doing something and that he is still alive - No of Escape.

His demo was named Hmmm... and this is why it is such a brainblasting

The demo starts with a blinking cursor on screen in front of a slightly
blue background that types the letters Hmmm... on the screen - when
all of a sudden the cursor turns out to be a rotating cube - nicely
flatshaded - and Bang! starts the music, the cursor develops a set of
sharp, environment mapped spikes on all of his sides that rotates
fluently on screen.
With another flash of light, it turns into something even more spiky
before it finally moves off screen, followed by a smooth extreme
distorter that seems to run waves over all the screen in rapid speeds.
When this effect wears off an Error In Line logo appears, consisting
of a lot of environment-mapped polygons, looking round and smooth
and moving so nicely and smoothly over the screen.
Not enough stunning 3D yet. The next part starts with a motion blurred
environment mapped 3D object that morphs a lot into different objects.
Round objects. Square objects. Mixtures between round and square objects.
Things with spikes. Things without spikes. And when you finally think that
No runs out of ideas, he is using this 3D object in some kind of a
rotozoomer that also supports the motion blur (which seems like
a pixel-based motion blur that uses some kind of dithering to create the
blur-effect - A bit like the motion blur used by DefJam in Sure Trip).

Finally, the soundtrack stops ...
... to be replaced by another one. A lot slower and smoother than the
previous soundtrack - accompanied by a nice looking distorter effect
that reacts to the various elements of the music by slight hick-up
moves - Seems like a funky Whip!-module to me and even behaves like
Back to 3D one might think, and there it is again: motionblurred,
environment mapped morphing 3D objects - this time featuring a rather
"colour-based" motionblur - To be replaced by even more 3D:
This time, two environment mapped spiked balls move smoothly on
screen - No, they do not morph this time but it is some kind of a
blob-like effect: They react on proximity and bend their spikes
towards the other ball when they get close to each other.
The 3D objects move out of the screen and here comes another 3D object,
a torus - and since it's again environment mapped, it's also known
as a donut. Guess what, motion blurred again and again moving very
smoothly on screen, suddenly encircling the viewer, then moving out
of reach again.
The following effect is a bit hard to describe though. It looks a little
like the viewer is being transported into the inner of an environment
mapped motion blurred cube but it is hard to figure since the
motion blur really makes it hard to see what's going on (If i am correct,
this effect has already been used in Sonolumineszenz, but did not feature
motion blur and did not move that smoothly).
And finally the music comes to a rest with something moving and
distorting heavily on screen, which turns out to be - after a few seconds -
a "Hmmm ? Hmmm ..." logo that has been distorted like it was on being
reflected by the surface of heavily moving water and now comes to a rest.

Time for the end ?
Not really, some other music fades in and builds up while another 3D
object, this time golden and shiny, moves on around the screen,
morphing slowly but surely into several other objects. It starts
with a ball which soon develops spikes,  then turns into a flat square
to morph into a mixture between a ball and a rectangle, which then
develops spikes again - and of course once again it features
environment mapping.
Some radical change seems to take place then when a field of simple
grey dots comes on screen with circular waves being emitted from the
middle of this field and all of a sudden, the viewer is surprised to
see that when the music picks up speed and agility, so do the circles
on this field - And the fascinated viewer realizes No's very own
version of the good old fountain effect - dots (not 1x1 dots but
larger ones) being emitted and hurled upwards from the middle of the
dot field, to fall down and bounce in certain circular patterns,
nicely going with the music while the dot-field rotates and moves
slowly, but smoothly, enabling the viewer to see the fountain from
several angles.
Back to some 3D. This time, a nice looking transparent 3D object
appears on screen - and when No wants transparency, he means
transparency. The 3D object looks like a rotation body taken
out of CyberCAD 3D - which is in no way meant negatively - and its
faces are transparent, but not 100% transparent - they look like fine
blue glass.
Transparency is actually a good keyword, because the screen is now
being filled by a zoomrotator that captured a 3D object - Either
the 3D object or the bitmap are semi-transparent (or both) because
even though they move independantly and even though the 3D object
seems to morph into several objects again - You can always see both
the zoomrotator and the 3D object. Make way, see-through blouse,
here comes see-through 3D.
And if it works with a zoomrotator, it surely also works with a
plasmalike effect - which is instantly proven by replacing the
zooming and rotating bitmap by a plasma-like distortion effect.
Time for some different kind of music.
Time for some more, but other 3D objects.
First, you see a cube. Very traditional, but after a second you see
that it is not wireframe ... Well, actually, it is wireframe, but
the wireframe is this time represented by environment mapped bars
that build the cube - and according nicely to the beat of the music,
it changes colour with flashes of light.
It slowly picks up speed, starts to rotate and with a flash of light,
the viewer is suddenly inside the rapidly rotating hollow cube -
and with another flash he is out of it again.
This worked so nicely with a cube, so let's have it with a torus, too.
But this is no ordinary torus. And it's not simply an enivornment-
mapped torus either but it bends and distorts heavily, but smoothly,
and all of a sudden turns transparent and slowly wobbles of the screen
A single environment mapped bar is being brought on screen from
below, moving slowly and only barely moving to the viewer's eye.
The fact that it is indeed rotating is underlined by suddenly
growing limbs. Yes, you have an environment mapped tree here,
a bit inspired from Avena's Sonolumineszenz i assume.
It keeps growing limbs, then distorts into something less tree-like,
then back to growing some more limbs and looking like a tree again
until it finally moves off screen, being zoomed out and dropping out
of the screen.
A nice interlude screen with some distorting motion blurred pixels
on screen follows, vaguely reminding of a plasma-screen - Looks like
No finally invented next generation plasmas ?
The plasma dissappears again and what appears looks like a golden
staircase (probably taken out of Maniac Mansion ?). This one
does not look like it needs a repair and even though it turns
transparent sometimes, it looks solid enough - Because after a while,
when it has moved a and rotated a bit on screen, when it the viewer
has had a chance to look downwards and upwards, little blue dots
(again not 1x1 dots) start to bounce down the stairs, smoothly and
happily, while the staircase keeps on rotating, getting transparent
once again, getting solid again ...
... Until the staircase finally moves off screen to the right, until
the music fades out slowly and a very small "Escape 2001" logo
appears from the left side of the screen.

And before you ask: There are some intermediate effects like the
flashing of the screen according to the music and sometimes, the
screen is being moved rapidly like someone gave it a kick - but
it has rather been given a kick-bass.

No credits. No greetings. Almost no graphics.
And yet this is a trip that hardly anyone who has ever seen this demo
will forget.
Here go the credits as given in the readme-file:
Code:   No (Escape)
Music:  505 (Checkpoint)
Replay: Exa
And we should especially thank No's girlfriend Christine if i
recall correctly - for bearing with No when he compiled this demo - I
think the whole devoted Falcon-scene owes her some respect since we
had never seen this demo otherwise.

Jesus, how do i rate this demo ?
It's really difficult. When rating a demo, you usually put together
the graphics, the music, the technical aspects of the code, the way
it looks, the design, then probably as well the way the demo behaves
on accelerators or if it terminates nicely and things like that.
That's kind of hard to do with Hmmm... so let's sum up some
"pros" and "cons":
The demo runs excellently on a standard Falcon with 4 MB/16 MHz and it
does not need an FPU either. And it certainly "needs" no accelerator
either. This demo stays in the fast lane all the time - the framerate
hardly drops below 20 and that only in the hardest part of the demo,
the environment mapped tree.
A simple busspeeder like Nemesis or Phantom SE already cures that
and the demo stays in top speed all the time then.
But a speeder is in no way necessary or favoured by this demo.
This demo runs happily on a simple standard Falcon.
And for a standard Falcon, the demo runs in a pretty high resolution
as well, making the objects look smooth and shiny and not blocky.

Then again, the demo doesn't feature a huge amount of graphics or
textures that might cost a lot of memory - This of course makes it
easier to pack a demo into 4 MB than to put a demo with large and
hires graphics into 4 MB.
A similar point counts for the resolution the demo runs in. First,
most of the 3D objects appearing in this demo are "relatively" simple
with some exceptions as the tree or the spiky objects - On the other
hand they tend to be relatively small - again with some exceptions.
So the effective resolution used for the objects is lower than the
amount of pixels on screen. That counts as well for the large
pixel-based motion blurred objects - They are large, but only 1 of
4 pixels is being set in 1 frame (or at least kind of).
On the other hand - These facts don't really spoil the fun of the
demo. The framerate is high and the objects move smoothly, no matter
wether they fill the whole screen or not. Everything looks pretty well
and one could consider it part of the style and design of this demo
that it offers neither colourful background or foreground graphics nor
extremely large, brightly textured 3D objects.
Everything fits together well.
So i do consider it a very stunning demo, both design- and coding
In my eyes, it's an excellent symbioses between coding skill and -
don't get me wrong - simple beauty of cleanly written effects
accompanied by some excellent music. A large variety of graphics would
have spoiled this demo the same way that a "greetings to" scroller
would have spoiled it.
This demo approaches the Falcon from another angle than most other
Falcon programmers do and it clearly displays that the Falcon, even
the 4 MB 16 MHz standard Falcon, still has a lot of potential to
explore - Maybe in a different way.
When the party started, i talked to some people and i remember having
said that No is always good for a surprise.
He surely is.

                     G    F    X    :    -- %
                        S   N   D   :    84 %
                           E  F  X  :    91 %
                              O V R :    88 %

                                           The Paranoid

Alive SE - EIL 2001