First CT60 demo!
It's been a little while since the CT60 started to appear as live
hardware. The process goes back to last summer. With twenty-odd people
listed as developers, it seems mainly to get their hands on early
production runs of the CT60 ;-) You might well expect it is high time
that something was released after all these months of waiting?
Well just in time for this current issue of Alive, comes the first
public release of demo code, made with the '060 in mind. We have Deez of
Evolution to thank for this state of affairs, and about time too, as he
had been promising to be first on the CT60 scene for a little while now!
The name of this short demo is "1.0". This holds an implicit promise of
more to come, both from Deez, and other people too?
According to the Readme file, '1.0' needs at least a 68040 based box to
run at all, but he is really seeking an '060 machine for it to run
decently. It is an overwhelmingly 3-D based intro, using a world engine
of middling detail, and a higher than normal resolution than the 160 x
100 screen doubling mode normally used for Falcon demos of any
Starting the demo gets a brief and basic options menu, 60hz and 100hz
modes for VGA, high and low detail modes (I don't think low detail
worked?) Other screen modes for RGB, and off you go.
The whole thing is over far too quickly, here's my go at interpreting
the different parts..
It starts with a screenful of 'spinning things'. Not a very helpful
description, but try something like blue metallic shiny lily pads,
spinning together slowy, catching the light.
Followed by a smart fade up to a series of 3D texts. These are the
super-evolved descendant of the old style scrolly texts, and glory in
their solid 3D polygonal construction. Not textured or anything fancy,
just stark black and white, or white and shades of grey, as there is a
light source in there somewhere. This section is used to introduce the
name of the groups involved, good old Evolution, good old Dead Hackers
Society as well.
With reference to the following screenshots, these are somewhat
bastardised from the original 320 x 240 truecolour screens. Just close
one eye, and try to imagine as hard as possible to get the true glory!
I don't think Charles Darwin had this Evolution in mind?!
We are hit by the first full on effect, which consists of a spiny
spinning ball, doing its stuff between two other strange 3D objects. In
the background is a very gory little vignette of the dangers of playing
with sharp objects, or something? What is eye-popping in this screen, is
the rather odd browny poo-shaded colour scheme used for the 3D stuff.
Now if they had stuck to blue and metallic?
Then straight into a flat, cold austere ST'ish 3D environment. It is lit
from one side, a bouncing ball leaps, stuck to the same spot, as the
camera eye takes you on a tour of a cardboard box world.
Deez felt boxed in by the pressure to release something!
Sensing a bit more is needed, we are taken to the penultimate sequence,
the 'Money-shot' effect if you like. This starts off with a warping and
distorting rounded box set against a plasma background. This "bendy
fridge" is very much like a typical Escape demo effect, but in a higher
resolution, with a very large object onscreen, and there is no DSP in
sight! This snaps to a change of object, one of those coiled bars or
knots which is used as a grandstanding effect in many demos, but works
out at around 2-3 frames per second in reality. It is nice to see that
very large onscreen, and no sudden episodes of jerkiness either!
I just died and went to wobbly metallic effects heaven!
Then it is all over far too soon. A basic 'Evolution' text or logo zooms
off into the distance, fading as it goes.
In musical news, it uses a modfile, nothing too fancy, just enough to do
the job. This makes the intro a nice and compact download as well. I'm
sure there are plenty of memory killer megademos with audio streaming
on the way!
Running it proved interesting, as the first attempt produced something
like an early beta Polish demo running 3D stuff on an 8mhz machine, a
slideshow in other words! A useful tip was passed on in the BBS comments
about this demo, which was to switch off the cache delay in the CT60
config CPX. This turned 'Revertant mode' off, and produced a far more
satisfactory frame rate! It might be useful to include such information
in future readme files?
The speed and smoothness came out pretty well on my 66mhz cpu / 20mhz
bus combination, not really 1 VBL smoothness, but good enough. It would
be interesting to compare with lucky 100mhz users how it runs on their
This experience in the world of total '060 code is all too brief, and
you're back to the desktop before too long. Yes it does run on 3rd
party o/s's without being too upset. I'm left looking forward to more,
from this tasty appetiser, and feel that the best is still to come!
It's a real CT60 code at last!
At last, a DSP killer in sight!
Penultimate screen worth the entry price on its own...
The first of many, we hope!
Slightly 'rushed' look and feel to it, no real 'design'.
Colour scheme in one or two places regrettable ;-)
Not made clear initially how to run it correctly.
Over all too quickly, more please!
CiH, For Alive Mag,Jan '04