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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2003 4:21 pm    Post subject: Two new web items Reply with quote

A couple additions to the website:

1) info - Link to a review by Geek Culture, a Danish website. It looks rather complete, but I hope you can read Danish.. I can't, so would anyone from that region be kind enough to email me an English translation? Smile

2) downloads - The downloads page was looking a little empty in places, and someone asked for the side two chapter menu tune, so, here you go. If you're waiting for your DVD, it's something to tide you over. If you already have one, now you can enjoy it when you're not watching the disc. Let it loop in your MP3 player of choice. And don't forget to pick up the new Alpha Conspiracy album, "Aura", when it's released!

As for the video clips and extras, they'll come in due time.. otherwise we'll quietly remove those sections. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 10:58 am    Post subject: Translation of the danish page Reply with quote

What makes people just sit in front of their screen for hours, staring at sourcecode and for the 117th time try to optimize a routine to be just a bit faster than the other groups? This DVD gives you a good glimpse of the motivation to do so, besides delivering hours of fascinating visual effects.

The demoscene started out with gameintros. When groups cracked the copyprotection of a game they added some kind of a text or a image to give them credit. After a while it became a challenge to surpass the other group's intros. Intros got larger and turned into demos - demonstrations on how far you can push a computer platform.

The demoscene became big on the commodore 64 and Amiga platforms, but in the beginning of the 90s the PC demos started arriving. This DVD takes us on a journey from the very beginning and up to the current 3D orgies, which is today's taste of the scene.

One of the reasons that this DVD is both practical and interesting is that many old PD demos can't be run on modern hardware. Quite often the early demos ran on a few PC configurations, with ET6000 graphicscards and a Gravis Ultrasound as requirements for many years. On the other end, today's demos require more powerful computers than most people have, which makes the experience less interesting. This DVD-release gives you the possibility to experience the demos as they were meant to be, completely without struggling to make them work.

The DVD is double sided, which at first sight seems irritating, but in this case actually fills a function, since one of the sides contains older demos, from before DirectX made it possible to make windows-compatible demos, while the other side contains demos from the period when the first 3D-accelerated demos arrived. Each side of the DVD has a fitting menu, which is in the same kind of style that the demos on the same side has. It really looks good and you can see that there is great details from experienced designers. The whole DVD acctually encaputers the same level of quality as the best demoproductions, which makes it a complete experience when you put the DVD in the player.

Sadly, they didn't have enough space to show the whole length of all demos, since some some demos (especially the older ones) often hade some scenes which ran in a loop you had to push a button to get past. The producers of the DVD has decided to keep as much is necessary to get the right impression of these demos, and then cut to the next scene. It is made to be as unnoticable as possible with perfecct cuts in the sound and the picture. A work that took a lot of hours to make.

In total, it was probably only a fraction of the work, because only to get the demos to run has been a great challenge. You can read which tools they have used to catpure the demos with and there has been a unimaginable load of work, since they have struggled with interference, refreshrates, syncronisations, remastring of the music and a lot more. Just the problem with the refreshrates has been a great deal, since you know that lowering the framerate so it matches the NTSC-standard's 60Hz will slow down the demos 15% or more, which they have compensated for in many ways. I almost every demo they have succeded with great results, but a pair of the simpler ones sadly is plagued by light stuttering in some of the effects. Though, it's not something that makes the total imperssion worse, and you have to say that it's a small price to pay for such easy access to these demos.

Additionally there was space left over for a commentary track, where the producers, in some cases the demogroups self, have commented the demos and tells us why they feel that the currently playing demo have earned a place on the DVD and how it was groundbreaking when it was released. It's surprisingly the most interesting, and probably most educative part, about the PC-demoscene.

Included on the DVD is also a short film, named "Demographics", which runs for about 16 minutes and tries to sum up what is so special about demos. It's pretty good as a sumup, but you get a lot more out of hearing the commentary track. Occasionly the sound an picturequality sways, and when there's music in the background you get a bit irritated over the fact that there aren't any subtitles on this part of the DVD. One interview is, as it seems, made through a webcam and here the sound and picture-quality is of course pretty sad, but it is not impossible to hear what they say if you try. While watching this short movie you actually se demos from both Amiga and Commodore 64, withouth any notice about which demo/intro it is and which platform it is on.

A bit more interesting is the shor movie "DJC: A Dedication", which is a tribute to David Cooper AKA White Shadow/Shadow Productions, which really managed to push the hardware to the extreme in the early 286 days. You don't get to know how David Cooper died, but you get a presentation of a man, which many of the hard boys in the PC-demoscene admire.

There's also a handfull of easter eggs hidden on on the DVD, but directly from the start you get a hint on how to find one of them, and it's not especially interesting. If you rip the DVD you probably get instant access to all the extra material and there probably is somewhere interesting in between.

Personally I found the oldschool side far more interesting than the side with new demos. Maybe it's because you can see a steady development that unravels over a short period of time, but with the newer demos it's mostly about creating a so streamlined design as possible. Some of the new creations is absolutely interestin, but since I have seen some of them on demoparties there sure was a lot more new stuff on the oldschool side.

You can hope that this is the first DVD in a series that will over time show the other demoscenes too. Even if the C=64scene and Amigascene isn't enough to deliver the number of minutes of quality demos that is needed to fill a DVD with every platform they could make a recap with the lesser known demo platforms, like the Atari-series, Spectrum, Apple II and so on.

Along with the DVD there's a practical little 12-page booklet, where you fast can find out who made those demos, when and where it was released and also see a little screenshot of it. You can see that that a handfull of demos acctually were released on danish parties.

It's incredible how much good material you get for the money, and this alone sets the rating high. That they have managed to deliver such a comprehensive product makes it even better. The downside of it is the lack of Subtitles in various places, which brings the mark down a bit.

You can visit the DVD's homepage on mindcandydvd.com. There you can also find reseller where you can buy the disc.

If you feel like exploring the strange world demos, you can find productions for a lot of different platforms spread over a long period of time on ftp.scene.org.

If you get the urge to visit danish demoparties you can amonst others visit TRSAC, Scene meeting or Scene Event (Warning: Music and java on the last link).
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2003 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks very, very much for the Danish to English conversion!

They wonder in that article why we never hear how DJC died. Well, that's because it was very sudden and disturbing (he committed suicide, and so far I have been unable to confirm a history of mental illness or depression, so it was very sudden and unexplained) and I knew his family was going to be watching. With his family and friends watching, I didn't want to harp on his death, but rather celebrate his life.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad someone came up with a better Danish translation than the one I had been doing. There were a lot of blanks in my version where I couldn't figure it out (I know absolutely 0% Danish). For example, my version of the first two paragraphs looked like this:

What gets people to sit (for a long time?) in front of a screen, while they (something) on (something) and (to 117 occasions?) try to optimise a routine to be just a little faster than they (something something)? This DVD gives a good insight into the motivation to do it, other than to deliver (a lot of?) fascinating visual effects.

The demoscene started in (something) morning with (cracktros?). When (something something something) on a game, (something) they (something) some text and a picture on it, which told who had (cracked?) it. Little by little, a sport emerged - to surpass (other's intros?), which (something * 8). Intros were (something), and became instead demos - demonstrations of how people could press a given computer platform to its limits.

As you can see, not the best of translations. :)
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 8:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

But very humorous Smile
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