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how about.....

                         Some Weird Ideas for Demo's!

                  It's blue-skies thinking out of your box time!

Ok,  it's  time  for some general 'off-the-wallness' here,  where we try  to
stretch  your  brains  to  come  up with some  new  ideas  for  demo  stylee
productions which might hopefully be a little bit different.

DISCLAIMER  1  - I'm a fairly sheltered sort,  with only a limited  idea  of
what's  been done on other platforms.  So if something I suggest has already
been  done  elsewhere,  then feel free to let me know,  but not by  shouting
please  ;-) I don't think there's too much danger of that happening  though,
at a conservative estimate, about 95% of demos are unoriginal anyway!

DISCLAIMER 2 - If anything I suggest is clearly technically impossible to do
from an informed coders point of view,  then again,  feel free to rebut away
in the next issue.  At the same time, I might ask, why not? It's a challenge
to break the limits you know!

DISCLAIMER  3 - Enough already!  Can we get on with the rest of the  article

1.  "3-D Interactive demo", or return of the megademo main menu, in 3D! Done
with  'Ooh  Crikey Wot a Scorcher!' in oldschool days,  I'm vain  enough  to
think that was down to a casually overheard remark I made when I was hanging
around with Sammy Joe in the early Maggie days. Now the original flat-shaded
scenario could be updated with lovely complex 3D and textures and stuff.

Suitability:- Any Falcon,  or decently coded newschool ST effects.  Would be
better with intensive DSP code or a CT60 class machine of course.

2.  "Hyper-interactive" - First person perspective fully tricked 3-D engine,
if you get close to scene,  parts of it come alive, say putting head in/near
a pool of water. This is an  enhanced  version  of the first idea above, but
even  more  'interactive',  as  if  it  is  closer  to how a real 3-D  world
behaves, rather than going through a door or portal in the classic megademo.

Suitability - This is really a CT60 suggestion in the waiting, for the level
of detail needed.

3. "Multi-machine demo", which runs an identical demo, effects-wise, off the
same  disk  or  data/program file,  whether on the ST or  Falcon,  but  with
'better'  versions of the graphics and sound for the Falcon.  This might  be
difficult to achieve from a size-limiting point of view,  so you effectively
get a 96ktro value production, on a 720k disk if you're not careful with the
data  size  of  the two sets of graphics ;-) - Or else try  an  on  the  fly
dithering/reduction  for  the  ST mode??  - And what about  any  differences
between ST and STe palettes,  catering for generally non-scene hardware like
TT etc? Memory serves there were one or two demos which bootloaded from FDD,
and  ran slightly different versions according to the target  hardware,  one
with  STFM vs STe colours,  and another from Hydroxid which featured modfile
music when it was running on a F030, rather than chipzik on an ST. This idea
expands on that.

Suitability - Any machine, or EVERY machine, as the name implies!

4.  "Mono-mental" - How about using the little-used ST-Mono mode for a fancy
hi-res  textured  3-D demo.  I'd need a coders input whether this is a  good
idea,  saving  anything over the standard low-res modes in terms of  polygon
pushing.  The  aim  is to get common demo effects running at a  higher  than
normal  resolution.  It  would  need  a patient  artist  or  good  dithering
technique  to come up with suitable graphics.  Would automatically manage  a
dark and moody look if that is what is being looked for.

Suitability - The idea is mostly aimed at a CT60,  but what do you think are
the chances for a hi-res demo of this sort on an'ordinary' Falcon?

5.  "Tron-World" - A progression from the hi-res idea.  This was inspired on
seeing  the 'GlowbotWars' game at the Outline '06 party.  How about loads of
hi-res  vector stuffs onscreen at any one time,  you could keep it mono,  or
have a mad vector acid trip with lots of colours!

Suitability - Depends how far you want to go with the idea, depends how well
your target machine supports a decently smooth hi-res vector engine.

6.  "Totally  Memory-challenged" - A new form of size-limiting.  Fed up with
people  complaining  how stuff is only made for 14mb,  and won't run on  4mb
Falcons.  Well  how  about making a demo which will run in 1mb on a  Falcy!!
There  were  a  few Falcons issued with this low amount of  memory.  I  even
ordered  one of those initially,  intending to upgrade as and when I  could,
but  I got a 4mb in the end.  The idea is for this to run on a  hypothetical
1mb  Falcon  with  no  hard drive,  on sale for five years  at  500ukp,  and
latterly  (unsurprisingly  at that price) hidden away in  the  stockroom  of
Ralph  Kotecha's  Computer Hypermarket,  in Wellingborough Northants.  It is
possible  to  'simulate' a 1mb machine,  with a little  memory  configurator
program called 'Figgy'. Take that, you sloppy wasteful 4 meg lamers!

Plus, you've still got the 96k of DSP ram to play with!!

The  trick  is  NOT  to use warmed-over ST or STe  code,  and  you  have  to
prominently  display  the  'Falcon-ness' of your 1mb  proddy,  ideally  with
truecolour,  and possibly DSP code too. Whether it actually runs from floppy
or not,  is entirely up to you,  but don't rule out oldschoolish tricks like
auto-booting to free up more memory.

Suitability - Standard Falcon,  you would be taking the piss doing this with
a CT60 really!

7. "Text-mode demo" - A couple of years ago, I say my first 'text-mode' demo
competition at the ALT Party.  this used the chunky ANSI PeeCee text-mode in
some  fairly  decent lo-res demos,  imitating a number of new and  oldschool
genre's using a fairly humble host machine. You might like something similar
for Atari, but I guess the total lack of an ANSI chunky mode might not help.
The end result might be a bit too Dildo Fatwa! Even that is done by cheating
anyway,  and  not  a 'pure' hack into the ascii depths as some people  might
think.  Sorry for destroying your illusions.  I guess it would be a fair bit
of  work  to create something like that from scratch on Atari,  and  totally
defeating  the  original purpose of trying to create advanced  demo  effects
economically on a limited machine.

Suitability - A great big wide open question,  might be a total blind alley?
Informed opinions welcomed!

8.  "Rewind  and  enjoy"  -  Simply stated,  you have a fairly standard  but
enjoyable demo. You like a specific scene so much, you don't want to wait to
rerun  the  whole  demo again,  but you use the 'Fast rewind'  button  on  a
control  panel below the onscreen window where the demo is taking  place  to
rewind  to that favoured spot.  Or else fast-forward over that  embarrassing
greets  and  dedications screen where you are referred to  by  your  'other'
scene  nick  of  "Hairyarse" !  This idea is not totally  original,  as  the
Reservoir Gods did a cunning fake version of this idea in "Mind Rewind".  Of
course,  this would assume that everything needs to be loaded into memory to
start  with,  so  imposing  some sort of upper size limit on the demo  as  a

Suitability - All and any...

So how did you like that lot then?  Does anyone else have any strange notion
of the sort of thing which they might like to code into a demo that can beat
these ideas?  How feasible or not do you think these suggestions are anyway?
Don't hold back, drop us an email and share with us for the next issue!

 CiH, For Alive Mag, June '06..

Alive 13