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Alive 7

                            by Dead Hackers Society

        Ah, the joy of a new Atari demo.

        It hits me every time. Whenever it  is,  whoever  it is from. The joy of
watching the download bar moving to the  right,  little by little (hey! I have a
slow connection!). The endless moments  I  have  to  sit  back while unzipping &
copying it to a disk (reading  the  text file while-I-wait). Then, inserting the
disk on the ST. Trying to locate  the executable. Double-clicking on it. Then...
magic time!

        Every time, I'm in a state of  eternal  bliss. And, mind you, this never
happens to  me  on  any  other  platform  (read:  PC).  Always  asking  the same

- Will it be any good?
- .... did the code, .... and .... the graphics, and .... the music (fill in the
blanks), will it be up to their standards?
- Will I spot bugs so I can make fun of coders on IRC? (oh yes I do that :))))

        etc., etc. At the end, it  doesn't  really  matter  to me if the demo is
good or crap (well, if the demo is  good it really enhances the experience). The
destination (i.e. the demo) is another matter,  getting  there is a story of its

        Even if the authors of the demo  tell me that they're not satisfied with
it before I watch it (as is the case  here  when I had a small private chat with
coder Evil on IRC), it still doesn't matter.

        But still the question leaps to mind:  Why does he say that? Well, let's
reserve judgement until the end of the review.

        The demo starts itself with its title, as if promoting it, darkness. Out
of the darkness comes a  low  volume  melody,  which  gets louder slowly (as the
precalculations take place! Sorry,  couldn't  resist  here  :).  Then a pretty &
weird tunnel which is viewed through  adistorting  mirror (sort of), fades in.
Suddenly, and in complete sync with  the  names  of the 4 people involved (which
flash in front of the tunnel), the lead  voice kicks in. After each of the names
is displayed (C-Rem, Gizmo, 505,  Evil),  the  tunnel's  texture  fades out in a
shutter-like effect.

        The logo of the demo's name scrolls from the right to the screen (with a
wrong palette if I'm not mistaken), and then a weird background picture fades in
as  well. (Update: While  ripping the  picture, I understood why  the palette is
wrong, but I'm not telling! Evil should know what I'm talking about :)

        Leaving that behind, we have another good looking pic, and in its centre
a 3D object with  enviroment  mapping  is  being  displayed (technical info: you
might notice that the  picture  becomes  blocky  when  the  3D object appears...
that's due to the c2p routine).

        Then we have a texture  being  bump  mapped,  and  at the same time it's
scrolling to the left. Suddenly, it stops  and  we have yet some more 3D enviro-
mapped objects (hmmm... a few glitches in  the engine I spotted there? :). After
a bit of rotation of the objects, the texture starts scrolling again.

        After that, a really  weird...  err...  thing... graphic... scrolls down
with a weird message dominating the screen.  Weird... And then the message gives
way to some more 3d objects (5  bars  put  together  in the shape of a staircase

        In turn, the last effect gives  way  for  a textured vertical bar (well,
sort of bar, in fact it gets thicker  on top and bottom), which turns around its
axis. A background with the  same  palette  and  another spinning 3D object, and
some rays of light which change luminocity are the last effects of part 1.

        After the pause while 2nd part  loads  &  depacks (in which you can grab
yourself a beverage if you're fast enough :)  we get another small pause for the
precalculations (hehe!), and then we're  off  with  another 2-plane dister (if I
counted colors correctly), which looks like  a  3D  cave with a stalagmite and a
stalactite joined together in the middle of the room, while the whole room spins
aound the stalagmite (or the stalactite? ;).

        Then, it's nice backgound with 3D object  time once more, and then a pic
with some shout outs scrolling vertically.

        We have then a backgound consisting of tentacles appearing in 2 parts (2
320x100 blocks). On top of that  we  have  a  3D alpha blended DHS logo spinning

        A chip made of tissues and  other  organic matter (human?) makes its way
on the screen with the text "68000  inside"  on  it. What's that that then? What
could it symbolise? That Motorola found a new substance to silicon (human/animal
tissue)? That whoever codes on  such  "humble"  processors is alive and kicking?
Mabye to symbolise the Atari scene  as  a  living organism? The drawing actually
looks ugly and aggressive. Is that  us  there? Atari freaks turned into monsters
inside? Or is it just a  drawing  which  was  cut  out  as  a chip and some text
slapped on top at the last minute? (Sorry  for  the comedy break -I hope-, but I
was damn bored of  writing  stuff  like  "and  then  we  have... and after which
comes..." etc. :)))

        The same picture fades out and in,  but  with less colours this time, as
to give way to  a  transparent  interlaced  vertical  scroller,  which lists the
credits and talks about the  reasons  for  their  Falcon demo being temporary on
hold, greetings, etc.

        Finally, a EIL logo, the music stops  and we're shot back to the desktop
(or console :).

        So, that's over with. Let me put out some thoughts here.

        Firstly, the graphics.  Well,  not  much  to  say,  unless you're colour
blind, you don't have to read here  that  they're brilliant. It's always nice to
see that just like there are coders who  use limited CPU time, there are just as
well equally skilled graphists  who  take  up  the  challenge of doing something
equally good in 16 colours instead of  16.7 million (who needs that many colours
anyway?). This about sums up the musical part as well: people who take any music
chip and do wonders in it. (By the way: My personal preference is the 2nd part's

        I saved the most difficult part for last: A coder (sort of :) evaluating
another coder's stuff. Well, let's see here: most  of the routines are a bit old
(I remember that 3D routine  back  from  UCM  20's  intro,  mabye it was used in
Sweety too?), and there wasn't too much  variety  on the fx categories, but hey!
The effects run fast (we're talking c2p  here!) and they're fx people (including
myself) haven't mastered and/or coded yet. So what we have here is mostly a demo
built around the routines-that-you-know-and-love-so-much.

        And you know what? It doesn't matter really. The sets of routines a demo
uses don't matter if they were done or  used  before a million times, as long as
the demo is pleasant to watch, and  the  routines  get to do stuff NOT the usual
way (for example: the textured vertical bar is indeed a variation of the classic
tunnel effect. But do the two effects have a strong resemblence with each other?
I don't think so).

        So, before you start burying this demo  for being old re-used crap, read
the above paragraphs again and think about  it. I certainly liked the demo. Well
done boys!

GGN/KÜA software productions/Alive Team

Since Paranoid also wrote a review, you can find it here !

Alive 7