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Alive 12
                        Is there a CT60 Demo Drought?

It  is  nearly  the  end of another year already,  the  fifth  of  this  new
millenium.  Has  anyone  noticed time speeding up lately,  or is it just me?
Certainly my perceptions have been diddled with, as I find that things which
only seem to have happened yesterday, came and went by years ago!

According  to  this weird speeded up time logic thing,  the CT60 started  to
appear  in  the wild over a couple of years ago,  in the summer of 2003.  It
doesn't  seem to feel that long ago?  Then again,  it took most Atari people
ten years for them to stop referring to the Falcon '030 as a "new" machine.

Now  the CT60 is a fairly revolutionary product,  potentially offering  many
new possibilities over and above those on a standard Falcon.  There was some
debate  about  the  scene splitting into a  'leet'  '060  sub-division,  and
alienated  from  the rest,  but with further production runs  including  the
latest  CT63,  that  prospect seems to be receding.  There is a steady  buzz
about the ongoing hardware development,  including the CTCM,  EtherNat,  and
various  graphics  add-ons,  even if many of these are delayed.  There is  a
tangible anticipation of something really cool about to happen here.

In  contrast,  on  the software side,  the prevailing mood is a library-like
silence.  The last year, the first year in which you could reasonably expect
some  ground-breaking  releases for the CT60,  has been underwhelming.  This
goes especially for demos.

In the period 2003-04,  you could expect a certain amount of hesitation, for
people need time to get to grips with the possibilities, quirks and bugs. In
fact,  the  activity level for that period was quite promising,  and in line
with  what  people could reasonably expect.  So we got an early  debut  with
Evolution and "1.0",  followed by their Chosneck intro, and not to mention a
nice  productions  from  DHS/Ephidrena called "Traal",  and  of  course  the
further  releases for last years online competition.  And I'm forgetting the
tasty  preview  version  of a demo shown at Outline '04,  which was  set  to
establish Evolution as the top group on the CT60.

The following year,  2005,  the coders growing pains would be taken care of,
and we could start to expect great things, right?

Well  I'm not quite sure what happened,  but this year isn't going to be it.
Apart  from a handful of valiant 4ktro's from Evil and Earx,  and a hint  of
good  things  to come from aRt,  there really hasn't been many lifesigns  at
all.  Even with things like ported software,  the activity level has faded a
bit, although there has been a bit of a late revival there. But we have been
very quiet on the CT60 demos in 2005.

At this point, it might be a good idea to ask why.

1.  It could be down to lack of participation in an Atari coding party. Some
people  might  need a major coding party to showcase their latest  and  best
demo. It could be argued that there hasn't been the criticial mass of people
for  one of these in the last few years.  This tends to be a side effect  of
the lack of time syndrome described a bit later on in this text.

2.  Many people who might be considered as natural candidates are not coding
specifically  for  the CT60.  At least not right now.  The CT60 was  instead
purchased for its utility value,  used for things like a faster operation of

3.  The  killer  for any early activity on any platform is the simple  sheer
lack  of time to create or maintain a project.  The demands of real-life get
ever  more  acute.  Time poverty is at the point where existing ST  projects
have  been  heavily  delayed by years for some people,  let  alone  starting
anything  new  on a higher spec accelerator.  It is difficult to fit  in  an
intellectually demanding hobby in a busy lifestyle. This expects you to give
110%  at work,  and be burned out to passivity in your leisure hours,  doing
nothing more demanding than browsing 'Stars in their Bra's' on the internet.
This is probably the single biggest reason of them all for the lack of major
(visible) activity on the CT60.

4.  There  is  a  chronic fear of failure among many perfectionists  in  the
demoscene.  This  has  been  discussed previously.  There is now  a  greater
appreciation  of  what the other mainstream scenes are capable of.  For  the
newbie  '060  coder,  there is a pertinent and direct comparison to be  made
with the achievements of the Amiga '060 demo's made in recent years.  We are
talking  of  course,  about  crews  like  Black  Lotus  and  Ephidrena.  Any
transition of the steep learning curve to get to those levels of  excellence
is  being  done behind the scenes and without any  early  experiments  being
shown to the public.

Which leads rather too nicely onto the next point.

5.  The  general  scene secrecy levels are perhaps too good?  People want to
understandably guard against excessive hyping of expectation and  subsequent
disappointment if there is a delay,  but on the other hand, is there perhaps
too much damping down of expectations?  This deserves a separate topic,  and
more than one viewpoint.

6.  General  laziness,  nuff  said!  Especially if put together with any,  or
indeed all of the other factors.

7.  Of course,  there are competing attractions such as the 20th anniversary
ST  megademo competition.  I'm writing this at a time before the entries are
released,  but it isn't unreasonable to guess with sixteen separate screens,
plus  extra  work  putting it all together,  that quite a bit of  the  spare
coding  time  available  over  the last few months  has  gone  towards  this
competition.  In  this  case,  I am quite prepared to forgive the neglect of
other parts of the Atari scene (grin!)

So we've identified some of the likely causes of the problem, what can we do
about it now?

One  possible solution might be to declare the '060 as officially  obsolete.
It  should  be shouted around the scene that it is a dead  parrot,  and  not
worth  the  effort.  At  that point,  the Atarian instinct to rally  to  the
underdog  will come into play here,  (not to mention the Atarian instinct to
be perverse for the sheer hell of it!) We saw this with the ST demo  revival
in  1999.  So following the kicked and abused underdog being championed,  we
might  expect  to see some stunning 060 nostalgia  productions,  where  none
existed before just in time for the following spring!
CiH, for the Alive Xmas Special,Nov '05.
Alive 12