Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Demoscene Rants

If there is a good way I can change the contents/feeling of this blog is by writting more rants about demoscene, coding or other things that I like in daily life. No, I am not trying to change the mood here under the urgency to avoid my sorrow articles. I really (still) am in a great mood these days for writting such stuff instead of analyzing my other matters. Maybe there is one day (and very soon) I will fell into the same sorrowful condition again and then you may notice more deep articles than fun stuff.

Though in general I thought it would be a nice idea to write some more of the easier articles (also it's easier for me to write these kind of articles in sorter time and express myself shortly) in the near future.

In fact, at random times thoughts pop out but those thoughts are now something like rants about my favorite demos and things I find interesting about the demoscene. And in several times I said "Wow! It would be nice to write these thoughts/rants of mine as an article in my blog!" (In fact, some of this could be better suited for a diskmag article maybe).

And so I will start this one in hope that I write more of these kind of articles in the future. Today's reason for ranting was Andromeda.

I know Andromeda from the Amiga and still I don't know them really well because I have primarily watched their Nexus 7 demo (Also youtube link) on the A1200 but hardly remember their earlier A500 demos. Maybe I should run WinUAE and refresh my memory on the Amiga scene history a bit. Sorry, no real hardware here yet :)

And yet they come back in the PC scene with Noumenon. Funny enough for me, I see all their releases at Pouet and press the release date button to sort them by year, to only discover that Nexus 7 was their previous release and only release in 1994. Wow! That's 13 years ago!!! It's funny how time goes on and then you realize how many years have past since your early days in the scene. But that's another matter for another article.

So, then what we have here? A rare demo that was far more pleasing than most other PC demos and only achieving this by it's simplicity and cleanness. What do I mean with that? I'll try to make myself clear.

One trend I hated back in the scene after it moved into the 3d accelerated world was the ammount of demos utilising as much as possible the vast fillrate power of the 3d hardware. There was a time that demos were all about several layers of translucent graphics, numerous random polygons somewhere in the corner, a mess of everything where there wasn't a single highlight effect/screen that will stay in your mind for a long, just massive filters randomly thrown onto your screen.

Another cliche is about design and design means whatever someone can make out. And there are rules, unwritten rules. If you can't understand design or have a completely different or twisted taste on demo design (can't see which of the two describes myself more :) then it either gets annoying reading people's comment about how the colors suck or there is no inconsistency or how they find the music too cheesy, or you just decide to follow your roots without caring (After all there is always an audience who likes your own crappy demo styles, even if it's just coder's style without design at all or some pure noise demo nobody can understand).

But let's come back to the filters thing. I think that maybe because too few things on the screen is considered to be an empty (undesigned) screen and many people try to avoid what is not considered a good design by today's trends in the demoscene, they follow the common solution of just packing up as much stuff as they can, add their filters (random objects, blending, feedback/radial blur, noise, glow, focal blur, oh also those lovely but too common anymore grown vine effects, notice how each year shows off a nice new trend that becomes a new cliche in later demos) to fill up the screen so that everyone is pleased. And then you won't have anyone saying that the screens are empty or it's an effect after effect demo. But look at a screenshot of a part I quite like from Noumenon!

A black background! A FUCKIN BLACK BACKGROUND!!!

But it's still so loveable in my eyes! Those radial rays that are nothing like the regular pseudo-radial effect on 3d cards, don't know how they make them look so good (also in other parts in the demo). The greatly animated morphing object that has such a clean shading I had ages to see on a demo since the late DOS days (Also see this. Arrrr,. I am gonna fire DosBox now!!! =). I am wondering why don't they do clean screens with pure shiny objects these days. Maybe it's another cliche that this is like 1996? And the flare! YES THE FLARE!!! I don't know what's so bad about it when people rant there in Pouet. Is it because it's considered an 1998 demo element? It's a fucking simple in the eyes of some screen, yet because the show in the foreground is so good looking, you don't care about filling the whole screens with gazillions of filters and transparencies to make it look professional or hide something that alone doesn't look that much good. And that was the point here in the demo!!! Their simple screens look really nifty alone, so there was no need to put additional stuff in it. The main effects were the highlight alone! Even a simple morphing shiny object with few rays that look spectacularly good alone!!!

Also the demo has an oldschool feeling of that era because of it's empty screens with effects and simplicity cramped into the modern hardware with much better visuals and some new effects. And still there is a great music that reminds me of Nexus 7 and some great graphics from Archmage even combined cleverly witht he effects and sync to the show that it was really a pleasant presentation for me. Who says there is no direction here at all? Some comments puzzle me. Also, be sure this is no praise because of the name Andromeda in it, it was really a clean demo with pure simplicity yet great effects in your face without too much overcramped screens, it was a demo I still remember for it's single screens, for it's classic demo sound, for how some graphic images are combined with effects, it's really like 1998 is back but done so much pretty well in modern PCs. I purely enjoyed it!

What's so bad to copy stuff from the past anyways? Why do people care if it's 1998 in some terms when it's so greatly done and is simple fun to watch? As if most of the other demos don't copy the trends that were first invented in the best demos every year? Nah,. I wish more demos of this kind were produced.

Andromeda lives and teaches me simplicity yet awesomeness! :)

p.s. I would also like to mention Archmage's graphics on the C64. Maybe I was a bit exaggerating to give votes of ten in each of his new graphics in cSDB. And not even commenting. Though this is what I specifically felt that day: It wasn't just about excellence here but also originality or doing it your way and not following the trends. I mean,. for some reasons I am bored of most C64 graphics out there showing realistic looking images with people faces that also use a variety/combination of colors that are so common anymore here. The first thing that touched me here was the color combinations that was quite different than the cliche on the C64, that red/orange/blueish combination I rarely remember to have seen in C64 pictures. And then of course the unique pixeling style too. I just felt like I was seeing something different and new on the C64! Maybe not as professional as your typical FLI interlace realistic faces picture, but diferrent. I really like what Archmage does on the C64 now!

p.s. Other demos I can currently remember that doesn't go the fill stuff and use tons of filters on the screen but rather choose the simplistic yet awesome looking way, are the invitations of Keops (1, 2, 3 and also 4) or the evoid droid demo at ASM07 (pure effect screens, with some amazing liquid and clear water scenes!!! Funny enough, this demo looked so good on the video streamer of ASM-TV specifically because most of it's scenes are clear and not filled with too much random fuzz ;)


friol said...

Optimus! Why don't you write a proper demoreview for "the tunnel"? It would be great... maybe some greek demo of the past or present one?

Optimus said...

Thanks for the offer. I don't know about my time or mood right now but if I have something in my mind in the future I'll try to contact you and we can discuss it.

Anonymous said...

Hey Optimus,

Nice to read your rants. ;)
I really like your stuff as well, especially some of the stuff in Ledblur, so keep it up!


Optimus said...

Hey thanks :)

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