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Alive 7

Ancient demo's reconsidered, late at night!

At  the  Pre-Eil meet,  back in March,  all productive efforts and  devices
having failed,  we fell back to some very late nocturnal demo-watching.  It
wasn't as if we were short of hardware after all.  It was very revealing to
watch some classic demos,  to see how well they had stood up to the ravages
of time.  Now we can reveal how well,  or not, these productions have aged,
starting with those which can proudly stand up as timeless works of art, or

The Good...

'Sono',  well  what  can  we say,  we saw an almost perfect runthrough of a
classically  timeless demo,  although it attracted some mild criticism  for
the abrupt termination of the final effect (the Avena logo spinning towards
the camera, letter by letter.)

The  'Gloop Demo' (Toons) This was generally favourably received,  although
there  was  a  little disagreement within the  group.  MSG  screamed  "It's 
design!"  Sh3 glumly concluded "If you like that sort of thing,  go and get 
an  Amiga." But the consensus was that this had held up well.  Going in its
favour  was the immaculate presentation and execution.  I'm sure you  could
find a glitch somewhere,  but you would have to look really hard.  Also the
bulk  of the effects were going on in a window,  so they looked more hi-res
and impressive, than would have been the case if they were fullscreen.

'Grumbler  in the Rutting Season' The original Sanity Rotzoom screen'  This
is  best  run as a standalone effort.  The classic ST rotozoomer.  "I could 
watch this all day!" - MSG.

The Hydroxid Symposium '96 demo. This is as for the Gloop demo. The star of
the   otherwise   undistinguished  Symposium  '96,   a  very   French-style
production,  heavy  on smoothness and finish.  It managed a very clean run-
through at the party. It suffered from a thick-eared projector which didn't
want  to  display dark blue at the competitions!  Still looks  alright  now

'Entracte' by EXA. This 96ktro could be seen as 'EKO lite', but a perfectly
executed  production all the same.  Why do we never see z-buffering gouraud
fruit intersecting in demos anymore?!2

'When  Bumblebee  flies higher than Falcon' - Syntax - A neat  intro,  with
some  very  nice texturemapping for the ST/STe series.  This holds up  well
even with todays standards of production.

The Good, in Parts...

This  section accounted for the bulk of the entries,  not so many had stood
up  so  well,  but  hardly  anything had deteriorated to a  mush  of  total
awfulness either..

DNT 'Nullos' demo. Nice for 1994 vintage,  lots of hi-res presentation, no
loose ends,  a good presentation of old style effects. It just looks, well,
a bit elderly now.

Laser  'Ungto' - I prefer short names for things too!  Retrospectively this
came  up  better on the swirly effects.  Unfortunately,  the William Gibson
inspired  suggestion,  that connecting to the internet in the future  would
consist  of floating around in a 3-D environment of coarse  wireframe  grid
vectors,  and  inappropriately textured polygons,  was ripe for pisstaking.
(Oh,  that baby squashed into the pyramid!) Also,  the pinball sequence was
better in the idea than the (lo-res) execution.

'Joint Venture' - "And then they gave it all up!" as our group  caustically
commented  as  one  voice at the groups concerned in  the  making  of  this
multicrew party demo made after the party (Symp '96 again!) .  A real mish-
mash,  the  original  camel  defined as a horse designed  by  a  committee.
Several  fair  to good individual effects were quickly  stitched  together,
with  a great soundtrack which really deserved something more  dynamic,  or
even running in time with the music in the first place!

'Amok'  demo - Great effects,  the first major 'newschool' demo for the ST,
contrasted  with  some dodgy still graphics almost drawn at  random,  in  a
hurry,  by  their graphist.  A combination of puppy dogs and skulls make an
uneasy thematic still piccy mixture.

Shadows Sili'97 entry (Damn amnesia!) - A real  mixture here.  An effective
series  of bumpmaps grating against an agonisingly slow series  of  complex
non-DSP  powered 3-D objects.  It lost out badly when compared with 'Sono',
the winner of that party.

The Bone-shakingly Awful!

Some early thing by tSCc.  Here's the text, and more bloody text, so where's
the demo? Right after the text? Erm, nope!

'Revertant'  by Cobra.  This one caught a bad cold when it was retroviewed.
I've  only ever seen it at CT2 speed since the first Error in  Line,  where
memories are hazy. Running on a standard 16 mhz Falcon, it manages to run a
selection  of  complex 3-D objects at *less* than one frame per  second  in
places! According to the coders in our group, Cobra seem to have used every
trick possible to slow it right down and avoid the benefits of  accelerated

'2nd Reality' (PeeCee) by Future Crew.  Not part of this viewing cycle, but
seen  again,  afresh  as it were,  at the fourth Alt Party back in January.
This demo suffered from the very massiveness that made it the top dog  demo
back  in 1993/4.  I sort of remembered it as the benchmark to which  Falcon
demos should aspire to.  This golden haze of nostalgia was rudely shattered
on reviewing it, as a lame old demo, with outdated swirly effects, and some
ropey  3-D  objects  staggering onto the big screen.  It  was  a  perfectly
acceptable demo for its time,  but let down when compared to the hype.  The
music still rules though..

We did see more,  many more, but it was very late at night, and memory only
bothers to keep the highlights intact. So this is what you get, see you all
next time!

CiH, for Alive,from the Pre-Eil Meeting, March '03

Alive 7