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Alive 13


                       A Huge Great CT60 demo from DHS!

And  we  have a huge summer surprise from our friends at  the  Dead  Hackers

They attended a computer party called "Big Floppy People" in late July. This
was  a  party mostly catering for the fans of the Commodore  64,  but  other
alternative  platforms were there too,  including quite a lot of the Swedish
Atari scene, as it turned out.

I  sort  of anticipated that there might be some sort of release,  going  on
last year's form,  with the small but perfectly formed "Acidic Tears" 4ktro,
but what we got blew away all our expectations.

Without  any pre-rumour or hype,  well at least nothing that got to my ears,
DHS only went and released the second full sized demo for the CT60!  This is
a production called "Derealization", and this is its story.

I  might  add that this is also the first 'big' DHS production  for  five(!)
years  since  they released "Don't Break the Oath" in 2001.  Let's  hope  we
won't have to wait so long for the next one!

We  do the click and run thing,  and the demo starts briskly.  There is some
lettering  telling you that "Self-realization participating" is on the  left
hand  side  of the screen.  This reads almost like a corporate slogan.  Then
blocks of sky,  a cloudy blue, gradually fill in the rest of the screen in a
mosaic.  When the screen is full,  the whole fades down,  ready for the next

A  vocal chorus adds in to the soundtrack as the first real attempt  on  the
Black  Lotus  crown  is up next.  This is a gorgeous  and  grandiose  alpine
mountainscape,  probably  inspired  by the 'Silk Cut' demo.  Does the Falcon
'060 have the means to carry it off?  You bet it does!  The feelgood mood of
the  first part of the demo is continued with more inspiring messages,  such
as  a  "Sense of Well-Roundedness",  "Positive Relationships",  and our  old
favourite,  "Intellectual  Development" springing up as we glide through the
icy canyons!

                              Voxel is dead!

The  mountains  give  way to a watery swirling world,  from which  a  darkly
coloured and very solid and shiny foetus emerges.  I'm sure it has been done
on a hundred PeeCee demos before, but here, it is still nice and fresh.

This gives way to something a little bit like a previous release "Tral",  as
we  take a trip through a twilight forest which features  something  looking
like a foreground and background differential scrolling bitplane effect, but
isn't,  if  I  remember reading Evil's notes on the demo correctly.  At this
point,  the  demo  sees fit to introduce some creator credits,  and the Dead
Hackers involved have their names graffiti briefly into existence,  and fade
out in time for the next one.

This  fades for an endscreen for this first part of the demo,  where we  are
informed  of  a  bleaker  time  to come!  The  slightly  choral  and  upbeat
soundtrack stutters and dies at this point as well.

A  heavier  and 'dirtier' sounding tune takes over,  and block by  block,  a
starter  picture  for  part two of the demo is revealed.  It  looks  like  a
restrained  mental patient painted in Abu Ghraib shades of vomit  and  blood
splatter! You can't say you weren't warned for what was coming up next!

Something like a spiny ball,  but mutated into a nerve ganglion represents a
"Loss  of  a  sense  of reality" and "Panic  Disorder",  which  goes  on  to
"Supressing  Empathy".  Clearly  a very different mood from the  upbeat  and
spacious  first  part.  This  second part is establishing  a  claustrophobic
mindset.  The  expanded  spiny  objects are very nicely  detailed,  and  the
textures  look  a lot like something you might find in the  middle  of  your
brain. These manage to go beyond typical set-piece demo objects very nicely,
thank you.

The next screen builds on this theme of mental collapse,  with a pretty damn
good  twisty  pillar  on the right hand side,  but one which  looks  totally
'organic', with any obvious straight lines and surfaces     textured over. A
logo saying "Detached from Reality" swells and fades in time with the music,
and all of this is done to a grey and dank stoney background.

The  following  screen is relatively lightweight,  ie,  it probably could be
done on a standard Falcon,  but it is in keeping with the theme of the demo.
On the right,  there is a psychotic and red-eyed Charles Manson face, on the
left,  another message,  "Domination delegates the Physical violence..." And
appearing from the left,  a spinning shiny metallic brain gliding across the

This  is  quickly past,  and we are taken rapidly into another of  the  high
points of this demo.  Evil has been busy with his camera in a wrecked mental
asylum,  and  the results are used to brilliant effect in texturing a  walk-
through tour of this unfortunate place!  I get the feeling that a little bit
is owed to the earlier 'Supernatural' demo here,  as the level of detail and
the way it is done is pretty reminiscent of that demo, but there seems to be
something extra gained with the creepy vibes from using real subject  matter
for  the  textures.  And anyway,  I'm not fed up with detailed first  person
walk-throughs  just  yet!  The soundtrack enhances the mood,  as voices  and
cries are heard as we go through this section.

There  is  a  more textbook screen next,  with a bunch of  swirling  twisted
silver  bars,  a  silvery background,  and a mini-greets section,  with a few
selected crew names flashing up on the right hand side. This is not the main
greets,  as  we  get those a bit later.  So this is something else unique.  A
demo  with two greets screens!  This one is confined to a smaller number  of
crews  and individuals,  and can be considered perhaps as the "Leet" greets,
as apposed to the more general greetings in the endpart.

The climax of the demo is upon us,  as we are shown the delapidated and ivy-
covered exterior of the derelict asylum,  almost as if it is daring us to go
inside!  But  it's  too late,  we've already entered its rotten and  cracked
interior and embraced the nightmare! The screen fades to brightness, and the
music sounds like it is being choked to a stop, which it is.

     Evil's house featured in Swedish edition of "Beautiful Homes"!

That  is the end of the main part of the demo,  but there is still a  little
bit more to come, which is the endpart.

A new soundtrack commences, bolder and brassy sounding. After a few seconds,
there is a final treat for lovers of detailed and shiny golden 3-D  objects,
as a huge bird of prey (Falcon?!) is spinning around the screen.

An info-text rises from the bottom of the screen,  in a painted font,  which
annnounces  the release party (Big Floppy People),  then gives out the  "Who
did what" credits in more detail. A series of thanks for people directly, or
not  so directly involved in the demo are next,  including some nicely witty
credits from Evil to the Mental Care Museum in Santer "For providing ideas"!

There  isn't  a lot more to add,  but some more greetings,  for the  general
crowd who might have felt left out from the earlier greets screen are  here.
(On which note, we say "Thanks!")

As  the  bird  fades down,  a familiar final message "Never  give  up,  Stay
Atari!" is almost the last thing in view, a sentiment we heartily endorse.

There is an end logo announcing the crew and demo name,  in case you forgot,
which nicely rounds things off.

Well here we are,  wait for the best part of three years,  and not one,  but
two big demos appear for the CT60 in the same issue of Alive! Not to mention
a couple of other intro's which contribute nicely to ongoing activity levels
as well.

It  seems  we have entered a new era of heavily designed demo's,  closer  in
spirit and inspiration to the mainstream scene,  especially the Amiga scene.
'Supernatural'  started down that road,  but 'Derealization' has gone a  lot
further down it.  Demo's on the Falcon, and especially the CT60 won't be the
same  again.  In  fact,  this could be a big shift in how demo's are made on
Atari, maybe on the scale of a groundbreaker like 'Sono' or 'Hmmm'?!

(Mind  you,  there  is a movement to this sort of demo even on the  standard
Falcon '030,  with the success of 'Beams', and the more recent 'Menace' demo
going down that path too.)

There is added kudos to DHS for taking the time to make a proper 'big' demo.
We've  been used generally to a lot of 'filler' or more  accurately,  'life-
sign'  rushed productions across the scene in general,  but this demo  shows
that  attention  to detail and careful creation are still  feasible  in  the
Atari scene.  This is also using a new 3-D engine called "Real 3-D", which I
suspect  took  a lot of the time in making,  and I guess we will hear a  lot
more  of it in the near future.  DHS are even talking of converting this  to
the Amiga,  and it might well be interesting to see how well it does on that

DHS were modestly hoping to catch up 'someday' with the Amigascene.  I think
that this is a pretty big step towards that.  Very well done,  and thank you

Now what are they going to do next?

It's a full-scale DHS megademo, the first in a long time, hooray!
It's also a proper CT60 megademo!
Goes beyond looking like a normal F030 demo..
'Usual' high levels of DHS care and attention..
Good attempt at using thematic elements..
The mountains, the mountains!!

I'm nit-picking here, but if there is anything, then maybe
the demo is a bit too 'wordy' and trying slightly too hard
to get its message across. But that is only my view.

CiH, for Alive Mag, Aug '06..

Alive 13