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Alive SE - EIL 2001
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**  **   *** * **  ****  v1.0

by T.O.Y.S.

Another fantastic Falcon demo, for a BIG Falcon!

We were pleasantly surprised to hear,  a few weeks before Error in Line,
about  the  resurfacing or springing back to life of the  reclusive  but
talented Swedish crew T.O.Y.S. Apparently Peylow had rediscovered things
such  as  working sensibly to targets,  and working to a  deadline,  and
really,  seriously,  intended  to complete a demo in time for the second
Error in Line!  Based on fragmentary reports, it sounded very promising,
a  true  Falcon-buster,  and another demo like the DHS 'Don't Break  the
Oath' which promised to make use of of extra hardware,  indeed, breaking
the holy 4 megabyte limit!

Alongside the much anticipated DHS blockbuster,  this looked like it was
going to be one of the highlights of the Error in Line party, so did the
reality match up to expectations?

It starts, depending on the version you got, either with a ropey looking
blue  plasma  background  and a zooming text to announce  the  demo.  My
memory serves that the party version had some kind of 'porno-texture' at
this point!? The music starts up, slowly, growling in anticipation, with
a cheeky subversive burble of Sidchip creeping onto the MP2 file.

Quickly brushed aside, as the individual letters of 'WAIT' zoom onto the
screen.  They  swing  frantically to the music in 3-D,  whilst some more
text  appears  at the bottom of the screen.  The pace of the  music  has
picked up, and the effects appear, almost too fast to register!

A huge multicoloured textured diamond is first, with individual credits,
switching to spinning dots or light spangles. Once the credits have been
blasted out of the way, the 3-D poly returns, with a monochrome 'window'
on  screen tracking it,  and killing the colours for the small area that
it  encloses.  A  very nice effect.  Not forgetting all this is going on
with some cool background textures at the same time!

A quick spurt of grot-blue inbetween plasma with some more text  effects
is next, the text showing some fade/blur tendencies.

Almost  before we have caught our breath,  the next 'real' effect,  with
another complex 3-D poly,  with glittering points of light at the edges!
Surely  not  an effect seen on Atari before!?  This screen,  and  others
leads me to think that T.O.Y.S have been watching a lot of recent  demos
on certain "other" machines!

Next up,  and just as quickly, we get another complex object, this time,
with a background texture that matches it.  Then, another neat touch, as
we see a vector outline fade on and off briefly on the polygon.  This is
cute in a cool fashion,  and I suspect, "influenced" by a demo somewhere
on another platform!

Can  they  top  this?  Yes they can,  as a simple sphere comes onto  the
screen, still textured of course, and with light beams emitting from it,
as  if  there  was a huge disco party,  or internal explosion  going  on
inside it!

A  fresh  object,  and a chance for a few greets,  with a spiny tree  or
whiplike object coiling on screen,  with points of light attached.  Then
out  of there,  and onto something else that looks like a piece of paper
that has been screwed up.

The  music  slows,  ready for one of the major set-pieces of  the  whole
demo.  This  is the T.O.Y.S aquarium simulator!  Complete with 3-D Fish,
sadly missing since Sono',  and with an uncommon to aquariums lamp post,
which  really works,  as it lights up with simulated lens flare!  We are
given  but a little time out to appreciate this,  as the music picks  up
once more..

A further brief interlude with the 'work in progress' blue plasma,  then
a burst of cheering on the soundtrack announces a textured 3-D Fuji logo
spinning, with more beams of light bursting from it!

Some  more credits accompany a constantly morphing polygon,  then switch
to  a  screen with melting 3-D blobs set against a  cartoon  texture.  A
little pacman munches his way across the screen.

Then  as if we haven't seen enought,  a lot of the preceding effects are
flung back at us,  rapidfire fashion, as if to show how quick their demo
system is?

The  next  major  3-D set piece scene comes up,  with  a  four  cornered
monolith shown releasing a fiercely spinning captive energy ball, caught
in the middle.

Final bit now, a 3-D poly hand opens, to release lots and lots of little
balls! Then the music stops, and we are on the end credits

For  the  correct  terms to pad out my inadequate  descriptions  of  the
individual  effects,  here  is a piece of the original readme file  that
came with the demo. Thought it might help...

[Effects in order of appearance] 
Abdicative  alpha  blending,   clipped  stretch  blitting,   environment 
mapping,  vector  dots,  depth  shaded  tunnel,  sparkle phong  shading, 
morphing  vector,  clipped  hidden  line vector,  volumetric  lightning, 
radiosity  ball,  cartoon  shaded  phong,  multi  object  scene  replay, 
morphing phong, 3d meta blobs and a few variations of those.

(Thanks guys, that was a big help!)

As  I've  mentioned  before,  this demo seems to be  strongly  based  on
current  high end Amiga and PC stuff,  perhaps more obviously influenced
by  such  sources than DHS and the rest?  This isn't necessarily  a  bad
thing,  if  these effects haven't been seen on anything with a Fuji logo

Ways in which the TOYS demo is better than the DHS demo! 
..The Individual effects are stronger. 
..There are more of them as well. 
..Three good set pieces with lots going onscreen. 
..It seems to be better on unaccelerated Falcys too.

One  major criticism I have,  it is over far too quickly!  T.O.Y.S could
have  made a lot more of the effects.  The demo seemed to rush through a
packed  program,  and  it  would have been nice to linger in  a  lot  of
places.  Next time,  slow it down please! This demo was perhaps too much
of  a  slave  to  the  fast-paced soundtrack?  There  is  a  more  minor
criticism,  there  were  some  rough  edges on view  which  compared  it
slightly  unfavourably to the DHS demo.  They would have lost the rather
makeshift looking blue background plasma for instance..

In  conclusion,  a  very strong and inventive demo,  which perhaps could
have been better still,  with a little more breathing space given to the
individual screens, and a little tidying up.

We want more playfulness from TOYS, they are too good to miss!


Graphix:- 86% - Some interesting textures,  nothing much still, all used
in a dynamic sense.

Sonix:-  85% - Good tune,  but perhaps rushing the demo along a bit  too

Gee-Whiz:-  95% - Lots and lots of great 3-D!  A huge number of new  (to
Atari at least) effects, and some genuinely impressive stuff too!

Overall:-  90% - Another demo from EIL 2 that deserves to be  called  an
all time classic.  A reworking to slow it down,  relax,  let the effects
breathe a little would make it even better!

CiH, in the final hours before the Alive! issue 2 deadline on April 22nd 

Alive SE - EIL 2001