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      Escape EIL3 entry or the demo that had no name but "_" (underscore ?)

Foreword of Sts : I had started  to write this review when Paranoid sent me 
a bunch of reviews, most of then being  unfortunately already written by GGn :( 
I hope his reviews can be used in Chosneck4 instead ! Here come the first words 
I had written as an introduction to this article, followed by full review.

    As EIL3 demo compos started I really didn't expect anything from ESCAPE tho
they had already taken us all by  surprise in 2001 when  they released "HMM..."
which is  my best Falcon demo (Sono coming right next !). Sure I had seen early
screens at Paracon4  especially the  bee part as  Charon was  working on it and
already it  looked damn promising ! Charon  was then a new member of Escape and
to be honest his name  didn't sound so  familiar to me  so that  this new  demo
showed that we have  another *highly* talented coder  working on bare Falcon !!
That's sounds  like veryyyyy good  news to me ! Of course No and 505 joined him
into the adventure that led to this new demo.

The first version of  the demo released some  days after EIL3 didn't work 
fine on RGB so that another version (unpacked ?) was made available some days 
later. This one works fine on my Falcon though it's a bit bigger as it weighs 
1.5Mb instead of ca 900Kb but that's not a waste of space for such a demo !


   I vividly  remember the Error in  Line 2001, where  I asked Norman of Escape
whether there would  be a  Falcon-demo  from  him  or not, and he said, that he
would hand in a little, very  very  beta  demo just  to show  that he was doing
something. The following  presentation of Hmmm... kept a lot  of people stunned
for quite a  while - and catapulted Escape to one of  the  hottest crews on the

   Now it is 2003, a lot of Atari-people gathered again in the heart of Dresden
and the question everybody was asking was "Would Escape contribute again ?" Now
that  Line-Out had  released  their Delta-Demo that  featured  an  awful lot of
stunning DSP-based effects as well, the competition had at least gathered a few
new contendants. Escape did, and here is a resume.

   The demo starts with something that could be seen as a real tunnel, it's
obviously made up of  environment-mapped  polygons and is  displayed by the
dot-based motion-blur seen in Hmmm... and several  screens by DefJam on the

   When the  tunnel fades down, in fades a  mixture of wireframe- nd blob-based
3D object that is being displayed "out of focus", hence it is unsharp, but at a
few times, the focus is  corrected just like someone was  turning a knob on the

   Just to prove that the unsharpen-effect is not fixed to wireframe objects,
in slides a  solid, environment-mapped 3D-object, looking  a bit like a star,
that rotates gently in the middle  of the screen, also being displayed out of

   Time  for the  commercials. The Escape-logo, the  slightly modified "E" that
has  an arrow  as  the  middle line of  the "E", introduced  in  Escape's fancy
ditherscreen for the  DHS-summer compo, hovers  onto the  screen as environment
mapped filled 3D-object. Suddenly, the  screen starts to  vibrate and  the sole
"E" turns into  3, rotating  around an imaginary  vertical axe, as the tempo of
the music, that was very  introductory up to  this time, picks  up speed and as
the soundtrack  springs into full  action, the arrow of  the "E"s bust lose and
move  towards the  viewer, out  of screen. Then, from the  center of the screen
comes a box that is made out of boxes, gently shaded and moving and rotating on
screen, also twisting and  bending, after a while  even separating into smaller
sets made up of these boxes, that twist and bend just the same.

   Enough of shaded boxes, you might think, so in flies an Escape-logo made out
of  textured boxes. The  texture   might  be  animated or  it  might  be a real
environment-map, it's hard to tell, however, the  viewer is whirled around this
logo once, then zoomed  into it, moving  between the  lines of boxes, then back
again, until the logo explodes and all boxes whirl around and off screen.

   The music stops and turns into something smoother, something with a milder
tempo, slightly  resembling the style of the music in Hmmm... when  the first
series of screens ended  and the  3D-objects with the   sudden "whack" at the
screen started. How suiting, because this demo shows a cube, made up of wire-
frame and  blobs, slightly  unsharp, with a little  bouncing blob in  it that
always rolls and bounces down, following gravity in the rotating cube.

Suddenly, the  little pale  blob  turns into a  rain of  blobs, pouring  to the
ground in the rotating box, and jumping on the planes of the cube. Again, focus
is changed a few times to sharpen and unsharpen the picture.

   As if  this effect  wasn't "spaced out"  already, let's get into  space and
watch Atari's favourite insect, the "busy bee", made up of shaded cubes, float
in  space. Again, the viewer  is moved  around the bee  a few times  before it
starts  flapping  its  wings in a  friendly  and  cute manner - by bending the
cubes in just the way needed for this effect. The viewer follows the bee for a
while, when all of a sudden an  arrow appears, knocks the bee over but gladly,
no damage is taken, the bee just  continues its journey  through the  darkness
(how symbolic).

   An arrow. Doesn't that ring a bell ? Not right now, because the music picks
up  pace  again and an  environment-mapped ring  appears on  the  screen. It's
presented  from a few  angles like it  was the main  attraction of a magicians
show, then it  separated into several little slides of the ring that disappear
into the center of the screen. The arrow, that  knocked over our dear busy bee
appears  and  travels through  the rings, rotating, and  being  displayed from
several angles.

   From the outside, from the inside of the rings, following the arrow sideways
behind, in front until the arrow finally leaves the set of rings and returns to
an  environment-mapped  frame  to  form  the Escape-symbol  again. The  credits
screen popping up afterwards ends the demo.

   This  demo is  fairly easy  to judge : It rocks ! First, No  and Charon have
managed to keep and expand the - until now - very unique style established with
the Hmmm...-demo. Most 3D  objects are  held in  a steelish  blue except for the
"shaded cubes"-effects, in which  the colours range  from golden to blue. Also,
the music is  fairly similar to the  one used in Hmmm... and suits the movement
and action on screen just perfectly.

   Those who had expected to see the award-winning effects of Hmmm... recycled
have been proven wrong by the  cool-looking  twisting cubes and the new and so
far unique  out-of-focus effects  applied to all  kinds of 3D-objects. And the
wireframe cube with the bouncing flood of blobs in it just looks great.

   Nevertheless, the  demo could  have  benefitted from  some more  work on the
details. End-screen, credits and some transitions could have been made slightly
better and in contrast to Hmmm..., this demo just doesn't like bus-speeders.

   Then again, there's no serious drop in framerate all over this demo, no
hangups, no stuttering, everything is super fluent.

   So, the resume  would be that to  really stun the audience on the Falcon in
2002/2003, you need to use the DSP for  slightly more  than  background music.
Hmmm..., Delta  and _ have set new  standards  on the  Falcon by cleverly using
the DSP for their purposes - and they give a hint of what can still be achieved
on the little bird.

_ is an excellent Falcon-demo, both design and effect-wise.


   The Paranoid

Alive 7