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Coders Talk
by Cactus/Samar

We know what the public likes in demos, but what about their makers? What effects are the most popular and the most enjoyable ones for coders? Here I want to give you an idea about it. I've asked several coders from the C-64 scene about their favourite effects (what they like the most of the others and themselves) and their favourite demonstrations. It seems that their taste is a bit different than other people...

CACTUS/SAMAR

1. What was the best demo-effect you have ever seen on the C-64?

BBT/BREEZE:

Good question. I like the all-border fullscreen colourful plasma in one of "Krestyron" demos, can't remember the name though.

BRITELITE/DEKADENCE:

One of the nicest stuff I've seen to date must be Graham's zoomer routines. I'm still very impressed by them.

BROWAR/ARISE:

Multicolour zoomer by Graham from "The Parts"/Oxyron for its great code and handiwork.

KRILL/PLUSH:

There's no effect I think of first as being the best one. But still there's one technique which is not used to the max yet and which will give us some ruling effects in the future. What I'm talking about is Graham's zooming/flexing technique first used in "The Parts"/Oxyron. The importance of this technique can be compared to other groundbreaking ones like opening the borders, stretching sprites, disabling the bad lines, and so on. Respect to Graham.

OSWALD/RESOURCE:

Spectacular wise it's the tunnel+torus from "Mathematica", plus I would pick the bump mapped eye from "Bumpmania" by Arise.

PUTERMAN/CIVITAS:

It's hard to name just one, but from the top of my head I'll pick the last part from "Spasmolytic" by Censor Design, the shadebob-fractals in 7 colours. It's also accompanied by a very good tune (by Jeroen Tel), which makes it a very nice part. I like the effect as such because it's original, probably pretty hard to code and it looks great. I don't know who coded that part, but I suspect that it was HCL, who was in Censor for a short time.

STIRF/SPIDERS-CREW:

Many vertical rasterbars, based on a trick concerning the VIC, all was explained in a scroller...

TMR/COSINE:

Very difficult question. First things that spring to mind are the rotating textured objects with loads of colours that Graham did for "Deus ex Machina", either that or seeing SHIF pictures for the first time.

2. What was your best demo-effect you have made on the C-64?

BBT/BREEZE:

My favourite part, some mandel mapped cubes was released in "The Quark" from Breeze. I really enjoyed the coding of an allborder-picture-stretcher and zoomer which was released in "Bastard" from Breeze. Due to the lack of time it had no fancy picture in it and looked quite awful. :)

BRITELITE/DEKADENCE:

My favourite effect that I've made myself on C-64 is the additive scroller and lights in our 4k-intro "Perkele". That was probably the first time I felt like I've made something new on the C-64. :)

BROWAR/ARISE:

Multicolour gouraud zbuffer from "Applause"/Arise - a lot of nice code, but of course that's nothing to boast of. :)

KRILL/PLUSH:

Again, there's no part I can think of being the best. Not even of being the hardest to do. But thinking of all my released stuff (if I'd name some of the probable effects here, I'd prolly talk too much about future releases), I'd say that the intro of "Vandalism News #34" (my ode to Crossbow) is one of my faves, also the intro of "Vandalism News #38" made me quite proud, as it is quite innovative, in my humble opinion of course. Also my latest 4k demo from MS2002 surprised me, as it turned out to be much better than I thought at first. Hmm, I should meditate a bit and think about some definitive answers on your questions...

OSWALD/RESOURCE:

You can see it in Larch/Resource+Breeze, it's a 16-coloured phong shaded mask in 2x2 resolution, almost full screen high, and half screen wide. Note that the screenmode is FLI, so 1/3 of the frame rate is wasted to generate the FLI effect, but the routine is still going fast, fucking amazing in my honest opinion. :) When first shown on the compo one PC guy went saying "I can't believe this... I can't believe this is true". :)

PUTERMAN/CIVITAS:

I don't think I've coded any really good effect yet, but I'm trying to learn a bit about coding. I've been proud of some stuff I've done, like the ESCOS mover in "Clown". Not that one's very difficult, but I had to spend quite some time to get it to work, so it felt good when I finally got it to work. The same goes for an effect in my new demo, which will be released at LCP (so it's already released when you're reading this). It wasn't actually difficult to make, but it took some time to complete it.

STIRF/SPIDERS-CREW:

The 3D stuff in "We Hate PC 2", the one with Spiders-Crew logo above. It was based on a finding of me, which was that one sinus subtracted from the same sinus in another phase...
lda sinus,x
sbc sinus+(phase value),x
...causes a new sinus with a different (but controlable) amplitude. That was a real liberation for me and my coming coding skill.

TMR/COSINE:

The bitmapped tech-tech in "Contraflow", it's for real (actually writing to a single buffer every frame) and the basic routine that built the speedcode took about four hours to work. The story goes that some of the Reflex guys were disassembling it to see how it worked, that's my idea of being successful! :)

3. What is the best C-64 demo all the time in your opinion?

BBT/BREEZE:

I really prefer "Revolution"/Chorus and "Tower Power"/Camelot.

BRITELITE/DEKADENCE:

The demo that made the hardest impact on me must be "Unsound Minds" by Byterapers. It was a real mindblower when it came out, giving many PC-like effects with decent framerate.

BROWAR/ARISE:

"Altered States"/Taboo - the demo that was ahead of one's time for at least 5 years (firstly shown in 1994!).

KRILL/PLUSH:

I think the best candidate is "Krestology" by Crest. Okay, it's way too slow and there's no real stunning kick-ass code in it (seen from today and in my honest opinion), but still it's the most skilful rendition of a C-64 demo, no serious bugs, great graphics, nice music and all in all still quite a good flow. Of course, it's not perfect, but in my opinion closest to it until now.

OSWALD/RESOURCE:

"Dutch Breeze" - effect driven ones get outdated by time anyway.

PUTERMAN/CIVITAS:

This is also a tough question. I like demos where some thought has been put into the design and the concept, so that rules out all effect based demos with FLI pictures of naked girls. There are very few demos that are even close to being perfect, but I'll mention two that I think are very good. Hollowman has been close a couple of times, so I'll mention "Pretending To See The Light". It doesn't really have any effects, but I know that he can code so that doesn't bother me. What he did well with that demo was to create a mood, and I also like the fact that he's externalizing some of his emotions, something which is very uncommon in demos. The other demo I'll mention is similar in that regard, "A Quoi Ca Sert?" by Wrath Designs. This demo is very well designed and shows some original effects. The first screen isn't very nice, and the text in the second part may seem a bit too naive, but it's still a very good demo.

STIRF/SPIDERS-CREW:

The best demo is probably "Y2k"/Plush or another new school one, there are many, if not unlimited, good demos!

TMR/COSINE:

That's an impossible question! I don't have a single number one demo: "Dutch Breeze", "Deus ex Machina", "Future Shock", "Mathematica" and "Royal Arte" are my top five, but in no order.

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