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Alive 9
outline intros

         (The not so minor stuff!)

Outline  '04 has many pleasant memories for me.  Included in those,  are the
competition  entries that were shown.  Some were even subsequently released!
Whilst  we  are  waiting for the completed Evo CT60 demo,  and  Clogged Up,
here's some reviews of those entries that were actually released.

'Tral' (Falcon CT60)
We  firstly come to 'Tral',  a CT60 64k intro which was donated from outside
the party, by the combined forces of Dead Hackers Society and Ephidrena.

The title name 'Tral', means slave in Norse, (as in "Enthrall", to enslave!)
and was intended to reflect a wintery vikingesque theme. It certainly starts
with a title sequence that chills you with a good pixellated version of  the
harsh cold northerly lands. In the distance, a mountain range broods, whilst
thin  clouds  rush  towards the viewer,  these are reflected on  the  ground
below. The group names 'Ephidrena' and 'Dead Hackers' fade in and out.

We are told that the demo is called, with the title tucked discreetly behind
a  semi  transparent glass-like spinning object,  one of those things  which
can't decide whether it is a torus or a polygon

We  keep  the colour-muted and wintery theme,  with a bare black  leaf-shorn
tree in the foreground, and many spinny crystals whirling and tumbing behind
it.  At  this  point  you start to ask what the coders are taking  in  their

There  is  a  stringy three-dimensional mucus  interlude  in  the  mid-part,
sandwiched  uneasily between the tri-dee stuff.  Then we are onto the  final
major part, which consists of the return of the indecisive semi-torus, which
is  somewhat less transparent than before,  but a hell of a lot more blurry.
There  is  a rushing 'something' going past it in the background,  then  the
lights  go on,  and we fade up to the end part.  The last bit is a scrolling
infoscreen with a silhouetted female of shapely aspect.

The  overall  design  is kept to rigourously,  with a less garish  and  more
grown-up  'serious'  colour  scheme in force.  It is  so  pastel-shaded  and
wintery,  I  start  feeling a strong need for some vibrant colour,  in  some
winter sunshine starvation related sensation?  Actually,  we could start the
campaign  for  an '060 colourshock demo right here?  It doesn't have  to  be
horribly  clashing "coders colours",  but something bright and lively for  a
change.  Too  much  darkness and faded colours gets to be like watching  the
news after a while ;-)

But  that  small  matter  aside,  Tral holds up very well  to  current  high
standards  of  production.  And so it should,  involving a large job lot  of
people from both Ephidrena and DHS.

Yes there was music, with Frequent of Ephidrena coming up with Zixaq to come
up with a killer tune.

Tral  was  a  pleasant  surprise,  as Evil and co managed to  make  a  major
contribution  to  the  party,  even whilst not being there.  We wonder  what
they've  got  planned for this year,  and hope to see them there  this  time

Rated at:- 8 out of 10, a perfect and compact taster for future glories.

'Stone Tower' (ST and Falcon)
Earx is back, and he's showing some of his 3D expertise on the ST now.

Actually,  this was quite an old project, which looks like it has been lying
dormant for some time.  An immediate clue to its historic origins comes with
the  'Fun'  label.  The  readme  file goes into more  detail,  as  this  was
originally started five years ago,  at time of writing,  and was intended as
an  intro  for  Undercover issue 15!  For a couple of years,  it sat  around
neglected  and bug-ridden,  whilst Earx got on with bigger and better things
on the Falcon.

But  lately,  he rediscovered the will to finish it,  enlisted the help of a
nice Frenchman and some other friends,  and the end result we all got to see
at the Outline '04 party.

As  the readme makes it clear,  this demo is equally at home on the ST(e) or
Falcon.  The underlying code is generously quick, as certain parts zoom past
very  quickly  on the '030.  It sort of runs on CT60 too,  but at  slideshow
speed in that case.

It starts with a neat fade-in,  and an effect which can best be described as
like  falling  down into a well,  or indeed,  falling down the inside of the
tower! Moss-covered bricks are grouped around to form the cunning illusion.

This fades out nicely,  and we are taken to an elegant greetings screen. The
names of various crews are shown on the left and right hand side of a  hand-
drawn tower in turn,  which is itself rippling in the reflective water layer
below,  for  all the world like it is a newly discovered hidden screen  from
the Union demo, of years past fame!

There  is a zoom-through transformation bit,  very quickly concluded on  the
Falcon,  which  takes  the viewer down into the dungeons for  a  Wolfenstein
walk-through.  The walls are textured,  move very quickly on the Falcon, and
the floor and ceiling are subtly rastered to give an illusion of shading and

We soon leave these,  to the final credits screen,  and a strangely familiar
naked lady,  drawn by Havoc,  and propped up by a 'POD' logo. Now, 'Poets of
Decay', wonder whatever happened to them, they went off for a bit? ;-)

Lots of familiar names to make this happen,  Earx of course, then Havoc, and
a  strong presence from the Germans,  with Moondog graphically adding and MC
Laser on the soundchip.  Lately, ST Survivor was added to the pile of people
doing stuff for this intro.

You will see this intro on the same disk as UCM 25.

Rated at:- 9 out of 10, a perfectly put together superior ST intro.

'Hires' (STe)
We  saw  this  one in the Wild competition,  courtesy of  STe  fanatics  and
sometime Commodore emulator coders, Paradox.

Hires is simply a picture slideshow for the STe, but what a slideshow!

"We found the cheat to switch to god mode..." Paradox proudly announce.

It's  not just a plain system legal affair,  limited to sixteen colours.  It
isn't even anything made by Doug Little, in a Photochrome colour bending and
stretching  style.  It  is  safe  to say that this  production  is  probably
inspired by Mr Little's earlier achievements though...

What this little demo does, is to take the art of the possible up a notch or
three  on  the 'humble' STe,  to stretch the screen display,  not only to  a
possible  14000  colours onscreen out of a palette of 29,791, but also to  a
resolution of 640 x 400!

Atari  Corp did have thoughts in that direction with the original design  of
the ST, but only managed to get to two colours ;-)

The  slideshow  is  presented  in  a  vertically  scrolling  virtual  screen
procession  of photographs.  The material is carefully selected to show  off
the hi-res nature of the subject matter. As interlacing techniques are used,
there is some degree of flicker, but not horribly so. You do have the option
of  pausing  the  scroll for a steadier picture view,  and there  is  enough
processor time left for the YM soundchip to get involved with 505.

The  pictures  generally work well.  There is a particularly  good  mountain
range in Austria,  there to show off the extra pixels onscreen,  pictures of
wildlife,  and holiday destinations also feature strongly.  According to the
coders,  there  is  still  room for improvement,  so we should get a  future
version  with  even more colours to hand and any small display  bugs  kicked
out?!  I  wouldn't  be surprised to see this turn up in a future  full  demo
release  by  Paradox,  especially for a title screen or something else  that
requires lots of gorgeous colours but not much movement.

It  would  be  nice  to  see a generic  version  of  the  displayer  working
standalone  with any suitably converted pictures,  but apparently it takes a
long time to convert the pictures to the format used for this demo.

Anyway,  Paradox  are to be congratulated on their oldschool screen  busting
approach to the colourful art!

Rated at:- 7 out of 10, once again, the limits are stretched and burst!

CiH, for Alive Mag,Feb '05.

Alive 9