The 4k category enjoyed a slight revival of popularity at Outline '05. This
is probably because the people concerned were working on bigger productions,
but ran out of time. Curse these early Easters! Still what we got were some
interesting harbingers of grander things to come..
'Scape 4k' - (Lineout, CT60)
The first of these releases is an '060 special from Earx. This has been
described as a preview by him. It is unclear whether the rest of the
forthcoming demo will also be an '060 exclusive, as I was pretty sure he
said it could make use of accelerators if these were present, but not
necessarily be an '060 production? Still, time will tell.
Scape is a voxel landscaper, you are gliding through a landscape of misty
sand dunes, as if you are in the Sahara desert, first thing in the morning.
Of course, misting as an effect is possible on the Falcon '030, but you have
to get into some seriously heavy DSP coding first!
Earx in 'Desert Dream' frenzy!
There are keys mapped for a degree of flight control, so you can bank left
and right, and also adjust the height to skim just over the top, or for real
hardcore nutters, plough through the hills!
Interestingly, it isn't '060 exclusive code, as it will run on other
Falcons. On my CT2, it was sort of 'Revertant' speed ;-)
Ultimately, this is a simple single-screen effect, but with a strong
technical background, and at least some care taken with the design side, so
it looks good as well. Damo helped out with the palette for that, according
to the readme blurb. In the slightly longer term, it will be interesting to
see what Earx is pulling out for his next demo?
Overall:- 70% - A quick and fresh single effect, promising more.
'Episode 666' - (DHS, CT60)
For our second 4ktro, here's a real treat from the Dead Hackers Society.
This intro was born from disappointment. The original intention was for Evil
to attend Outline '05, with a full CT60 demo, and possibly other
productions! Unfortunately, he was not able to make the trip, then the full
demo was scaled down to a 96ktro, then further laziness took over... An all
too familiar tale was redeemed at the last minute, with this 4k entry,
submitted from outside the party.
When the words "DHS" and "4ktro" are paired together, you expect something
pretty special, and happily, Evil has revived the tradition from 1997-98 of
making amazing dentro-sized productions inside 4k.
It starts innocently enough, with a spinning dot-object, which looks like
many F030 demos before it. But this solidifies into a solid complex 3-D
object, which looks something like a mutant orange squeezer. The simple
plain background is filled with a warping plasma effect.
Whilst this is going on, the main part of the intro kicks in, which includes
a procession of 3D solid objects of increasing complexity and bizarreness.
For example, one object seems to resemble Scorpion claws! Other people might
make their own interpretations as to what these things are. Still, it is a
big jump up from the simple cubes and blockier objects of previous Falcon
demos. CT60 demos will be nicely rounded in the future!
Orange squeezer madness in 4k!
Like the Scape intro, it runs indefinitely, thus acting as an appealing
screensaver to make your non-CT60 owning mates jealous. Also like the Scape
intro, it isn't exclusively '060 only code, and runs quite well on my CT2,
still reasonably quick, if choppy in motion. A couple of tech facts that
Evil mentioned in passing are worth mentioning. Firstly it is running
anything up to 1000 faces on the objects, and secondly, the '030 tends to
choke at those sort of values!
Oh, did I mention there's a nice zik tune in there too? No? Sorry!
There is a slight technical issue, as there are separate RGB and VGA
executables, but the latter does not like my 60hz flatscreen. But then
again, this was a quick production.
Like Scape, this promises some great things for the future. Maybe we'll get
a full demo soon?
Overall:- 80% - A welcome revival of the mega-4ktro tradition for
'Monkiki' - (Various Frenchies and gwEm - ST/Falcon)
Something to finish off nicely with, a determinedly oldschool 4ktro to
contrast against the high-end stuff.
I actually saw this one take shape, in-party, as I was sitting and facing
the screen where it was being made. It is kind of hard to maintain secrecy
for a new production, unless you finish it before the party. I found myself
doing audio checks on 'Elvis' with the screen switched off! However, in this
case, it isn't quite the case that the surprise will be spoiled by premature
I think the demo is a semi-tribute to the Badger badger demo, as an
increasing number of monkey sprites appear on screen to a thumping
chiptrack. These are set against a rastered borderless skyline. The icing on
the oldschool cake is a vertically scrolling 'bouncing' logo, which
constantly goes up and down at the sides.
This is a lighthearted screen, which for a while I thought was going up
agains the 'Elvis' demo, but it went into the 4ktro category against even
more crushing opposition! Never mind, there is always the next time for a
faketro duel to the death!
Overall:- 60% - A nice oldschool reminder.
CiH, for Alive Mag,April '05.