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Alive 8

... To fame ?
           ... Oblivion ?
                                       ... What else ?

The ST and the Falcon  are now  long time  settled machines that have enjoyed 
hundreds or maybe thousands of demos over the last two decades. I really love 
these small wonders and I will always be grateful to the many people who gave 
so much of their time and skills to bring us into other worlds ! 

Have you ever tried to consider the amount of  time REALLY injected into each 
of these productions ? One picture can represent a dozen of hours bent over a 
monitor, chasing  imperfect pixels, I don't even understand how musicians can 
produce such  tasty sweeties  from a mere  keyboard, not  to forget the routs 
developped by stubborn coders who have  most probably spent nights optimizing 
their sources or even fixing bugs. Still the overall "product" often lasts no 
more than a couple of minutes... So much work for so little ? Hey if you want 
to be as perfect as can be it surely takes many hours ! 

Being a demo lover, I decided to pick up my favourite ST and Falcon demos and 
see how long they did last. You may be  surprised by what will follow :) I'll 
also try to give a 'replay value' to each demo reviewed here. Remember it's a 
personal choice and my own taste expressed here.

         * * * *    ST demos selection in no special order    * * * *

> ODD STUFF by Sector One
> Approx running time : 6 minutes 15 seconds (not counting the endpart)

    Quite a long and  very  neatly designed show  we're given here ! Cool gfx,
nice fx too tho no border gets broken and great tunes (esp the endpart). Note
that this demo flawlessly runs on Falcon too !

Replay value :  very good indeed thanks to a perfectly  suiting combination
of design, effects, transitions and so on. Definitely a demo I'll run again and
again !

> FANTASIA by Dune
> Approx running time : 7 minutes and 15 seconds (not counting the endpart)

    Dune's latest demo once again shows a lot of style with great gfx by Mic.
This time tho the  whole show  mixes old and  new school effects  but doesn't
forget the French touch, understand cool colors and transitions.

Replay value : not quite as good as Odd Stuff imho as the old school parts
have mostly been seen a  hundred times  before. Still  nice to  enjoy here and
there thanks to overall quality.

> Approx running time : 4 minutes and 20 seconds (not counting endpart)

    This is surely a demo I strongly LOVE from the very starting beeps ! Great
atmosphere, awesome gfx by C-rem, strong musical score by  master 505 and high
end code by Evil ! Dunno why some people don't seem to like it as much as I do
but I don't care, this demo is pure nightmare, understand 'dream' to me :)

Replay value : in spite of some slower parts, I never get bored watching it
again and again and the introduction even tends to make me go gooseflesh ! Good
to enjoy it from harddrive too unlike the above mentioned demos (well Odd Stuff
has recently gone hd friendly but I have forgotten to download it :).

> SURETRIP by Checkpoint
> Approx running time : +17 minutes !!!

    The EIL99 compo winner  is still a 'woh'  reference ! One of  the few demos
that make you think that the ST has no limits ! Sure the overall design is very
unbalanced  and I even think  that some parts like  the  horrible z axis  green
tunnel  (or was  it vomit :) should  have  been removed in  the end. Still many
screens are impressive in spite of personal tastes I don't share with Defjam :)

Replay value : you  surely won't run in  every day due to the time it takes
to enjoy the whole thing but I'm pretty sure that - like me - you enjoy showing
your friends what so called obsolete computers can do. Let's kick'em hard where
it hurts !

> GRIMEY by Reservoir Gods
> Approx running time : 1 minute and 30 seconds

    For his first demo, Damo has brought us a blasting jungle'n drums demo ! It
starts very strong and so it'll  go till the end of this *very* short show with
nice colors and gfx too.

Replay value : it still remains a unique demo in my kid's eyes and that's
why I'll surely watch it another hundred times before I go blind :) A kind of
UFO in a demo world. Now I want to see what Damo will bring us next time !

> Approx running time : 6 minutes and 15 seconds (not counting endpart)

    Sure we had to wait almost  10 years to enjoy this demo but the wait was
worth (more than ILLUSION if you ask me). This  prod is incredibely fast and
tunes go as fast as the many effects including ! All of this is supported by
great gfx by Mic (oh sorry, Nova :p) and suffers no flaw AT ALL.

Replay value : the ultimate "old school"  demo I think !! It is so perfect
that it can easily be compared to latest new school demos and not blush at all.
I run it again sometimes when I need to feel the good old vibe make my heart go
faster and I sincerely hope Keops will make at least a last attempt to amaze us
(tho this is very doubtful atm).

> POSH by Checkpoint       
> Approx running time 10 minutes and 45 seconds (not counting endpart)

    Four years (yes 4!!) after  bringing us  his full size demo, Defjam strikes
back and kicks a  lot of asses on his  way to glory ! More gfx  and design this
time, tho it's still a matter of taste in some parts and above all more awesome
screens, esp fullscreen stuff ported from the Falcon ! The various chips by 505
also contribute a  lot to the  overall feeling. Still, you can argue  about the
choice of colors but "who gave you the right to judge what color is right, what
color is wrong ?" :)

Replay value : Better than Suretrip as it gets more intense imho. The great
msx help a lot too since they will get iron  branded into your  mind very fast.
Another demonstration of gathered talents and CPU power to show your friends !

       * * * *    Falcon demos selection in no special order    * * * *

> ATS by DHS
> Approx running time : 2 minutes and 50 seconds (not counting endpart)

    Back in 1999, DHS won the Falcon demo at Error In Line with this neat demo.
Indeed it starts (and will go on) with great rendered A-t gfx as well as a very
fast tekno track, very  often  synchronized to effects. What could  I add ? All
screens are neat and perfect, many  tunnels  and bumpmappers. I really love the
greetings part and only wished the whole thing lasted a bit longer.

Replay value : years  later, it's still a very nice demo tho most effects
have been seen too often now. Today demos will rather focus on 3D stuff still
this demo overall quality is so close to  perfect that I'll enjoy watching it
some more times before I eventually get bored :)

> Approx running time : 5 minutes and 45 seconds

    Not need to introduce THE  Falcon demo that pushed the limits much further
than any previous try ! Not everyone will love the  great tune by Tommy but it
surely  helps a  lot here. Of course all  effects are stunning and  there even
seems to be some "storyline" or something close to one. Tat was a pure genius,
the way Defjam is on the ST, no doubt !

Replay value : any Falcon demo lover will have this great piece of code and
has to run it again sometime to believe his eyes. It doesn't  look old compared
to current Falcon standard imho. Tommy's msx has even managed to outlive him...

> LOST BLUBB by Lazer
> Approx running time : 4 minutes and 10 seconds (not counting endpart)

    Lazer's show (pun here! :) long remained a reference, offering more a video
clip than a real demo. Real effects don't look any stunning anymore, kinda slow
even :( The music still sound good but don't forget the  demo grabs a couple of
megabytes on your Falcon harddrive. I was very surprised as I thought it lasted
really longer than that (lousy memory).

Replay value : quite  low indeed... Tho the msx still sounds more than ok,
fx ar now really outdated and kinda ridiculous sometimes. Still you can admire
the amount of work put into this production but I don't think I'll rerun it so
often and may even delete it if some space is needed.

> HMM by Escape
> Approx running time : 11 minutes and 15 seconds

    At the second edition of Error In Line, Escape surprisingly swept all other
competitors hopes with this huge  demo without any gfx. The FIVE (if I remember
well)  tunes  composed by 505, heavily  synchronized with  No's amazing  coding
skills gave birth  to a new  style of demo, the way Tat  did earlier with Sono.
Oki it may seem a bit long today but this is more  a mystical experience than a
real demo in my eyes.

Replay value : being a milestone, this demo will surely be watched again and
again with always the same amount of pleasure  and gooseflesh feeling. It shows
some purity somehow, maybe due to the lack of gfx or perfectly fitting msx ?

> WAIT by Toys
> Approx running time : 3 minutes (not counting endpart)

    2 years of work or wait, depending on  your situation, gave  birth to this
full demo  with a nice  msx and quite  a decent amount  of fx too. Pretty good
stuff packed together tho it seems to suffer from some glitches here and there
or maybe it's just me running the 4Mb remix of the demo ? Nice work tho.

Replay value : to speak the  truth, it mostly depends on the hardware used.
On my bare Falcon  with fpu it tends to be not so  smooth (hard to describe the
feeling indeed) and kills a lot of the fun. I sincerely hope the demo runs with
CT2 or CT60 or else I am afraid it will soon get lost and forgotten in spite of
the heavy work put into it :(

> UNDERSCORE by Escape
> Approx running time : 5 minutes and 30 seconds

    Escape amazed us again at EIL3 with  Charon's code with help from No. Still
into the line of HMM, this demo without a name brings a very special atmosphere
strengthened by amazine routines ! 505 is the msx master once again and it also
contributes to the whole success I believe. Much shorter than HMM but still ass
kicking for a bare Falcon.

Replay value : I  think I'll run it more often than HMM but it's mostly due
to the time it takes as both  demos bring a different feeling, tho it's hard to
put words on feelings :) Great work, an amazing soundtrack and flawless code. I
hope Charon has more ideas and projects in minds for us !

> OUT by Lineout
> Approx running time : 2 minutes and 30 seconds

    I won't review Earx latest  demo here, better read the proper article. Still
this shot demo shows that after *DELTA*  Earx has  become a number  one coder on
bare Falcon. I'm not too sure about the soundtrack though, but it won't lower my
impressions on this great piece of code.

Replay value : due to its shortness, but also niceness, this is a demo you
can run again and again and not get bored at all. Everyone won't like the very
peculiar style but then it's a pure matter of taste :)

           * * * *            A p p e n d u m          * * * *

    As you  can see  with this short overview of some ST and Falcon demos, most
recent productions tend to get shorter and  straight to the point  while the ST
still  enjoys demos  with a lot of gfx  and transitions. Remember how many huge
demos were  released on the ST(e) : Froggies Over The Fence, Phaleon Giga Demo, 
Japtro by Holocaust, Illusion (considering when it was first coded) as well the
many megademos that took ages visiting, not to forget the  usual hidden screens
or resetparts (only saved from oblivion in Cream's great demos).

    The real question is : would you  wait another 3 or 4  years before seeing
another demo by X or W crew or rather enjoy a cool 2 minute show ? We all have
grown older, hence the lack of time for extra hobbies and since we're busy, we
cannot afford to spend 15  minutes reloading a  demo either. I guess this is a
natural  evolution  of  Atari demos, the  way it  surely has  evolved on other
platforms :)

Missing entries ?

Of course, if you like ST  and Falcon demos, you  know that there are still 
two great  productions  missing here (regardless of the many demos that will be  
released later, hey don't stop coding now ! :).  I am * obviously * thinking of 
HEFTIGby Cream that is  another huge demo (2 floppies at least ?) with tons of  
amazing fx, great gfx and astounding  msx but also of BEAMSthat EIL attendants 
have enjoyed as a preview about 10 months ago. I hope we can soon add these two 
names to the list of most memorable Atari demos, but that is not in my hands to 

Alive 8