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Demo Reviews
by HCL/Booze Design & Alias Medron/Padua/Samar

Every kind of review is very popular article in most C-64 disk magazines. This kind of articles was missed in all past editions of "Attitude". Since now, wanting to produce a quality magazine, we start to include the demo reviews in every further edition of our diskmag.

The people that have been asked to edit such an article for us are HCL/Booze Design and Alias Medron/Padua/Samar. You can find texts of both these guys in this issue, however we're still searching for a musician to cooperate with us...

CACTUS/OXYRON

DEMO REVIEWS BY HCL/BOOZE DESIGN

First some general words about this chapter. I am HCL/Booze Design, and this is the first time I publish my own thoughts about demos. Normally I disagree with most reviews that I read in computer magazines and such, so I sort of expect to be misunderstood now as I am the author. I have tried not to be as technically oriented as I would naturally be, in favour for most of today's demos. Also I will not try to explain the demo for someone who hasn't seen it, I assume that the reader knows about the demo because I think that's the common case. It's not really like a book review or something, which you read to get inspired to buy the book. Besides, if I really tried to explain each part very detailed, it would most likely be very boring and also very technical. This way I have more room to express my *feelings* (duh) for the demos, which is hopefully more interesting.

"DEMO" BY CIVITAS:

Puterman, who is the coder of this demo, writes in the short note that he is sorry that there's no text in this demo that his favourite reviewers can disinterpret. That sounds quite realistic to me, but he could at least have given the demo a name?! Now, since I'm also not his favourite reviewer, perhaps I can disinterpret the demo anyway. ;)

The demo mostly shows some oldschool effects which aren't that extraordinary impressing. Besides you get the feeling that this was just put together to have something to release at LCP, which is a bit sad because Civitas have done better demos in the past. Puterman is a developing coder though, and I see this as a step from making his voice heard with words, to getting respect from his code. State of the art is not yet achieved, but keep on fighting, dude!

Looking at the demo as a whole, you could say that there's a common design in everything, which isn't very delighting though... The jungle-drum music somehow fits the low standard, but could with benefit be replaced with anything else. The loader part, which returns between all parts, is slow and uses an old fashioned irq-loader ripped from some Byterapers demo (?). It handles just a normal screen with the help of $D011+12, but no sprites are allowed. The loader could probably have been speeded up just by saving the files with another sector interleave, however Puterman is the one who would gladly leave such an annoying defect as a feature.

From a technical aspect, you get some surprises when you look into the code. There are many, up to now, undiscovered ways to waste cycles. :) The plotter is not bad though... 402 plots in 2 frames, double buffered, that's how we like it! The FLI-plasma is also a nice part, with quite a cool picture mixed with plasma every second line. The last part is mysterious... It's a fullscreen animation (4 frames) in the sideborder, but only one sprite in each border is used. None will ever know why!

"SCENE NEWS NETWORK" BY PADUA:

As always, the Padua crew really puts a great effort in their work, which shows off in the result. There is a nice design through the whole demo, most impressing is the main screen with the hand drawn-looking news studio with the two animated actors. Really cool! As always though, the Padua demos are way too slow. I don't know if they have this minimum time limit of 10 minutes that all releases have to exceed? It's like, when you think that the fun is over, there's always 3 or 4 parts left that will tell you that the fun is really over... I just don't get it...

The "SNN" subject seems to be the main objective in the demo, but here and there some other demo effects appear which don't fit that well. It's not that the demo effects are lame, not at all, some of them look rather cool. But I think you should stick to one topic in a demo, at least when there is a story to tell like in this one. It's a cool idea though, and it makes it much more enjoyable when you can follow what happens. The problem with the Padua team seems to be that there are too many good ideas. And when they decide to carry out one idea, they take the opportunity to throw in a bunch of unused parts as well... Who wouldn't. ;)

Most of the music in this demo was done by Jadawin, a musician who has probably produced more music players than tunes. The kind of "happy tunes" that he has done in "SNN" fits the concept very well. A pity though that the music in the main part (by Vip) has a totally different mood, and would probably fit other kind of demos better. All in all, this is a nice production which at least deserves to be downloaded and watched. So, boot up your *fuckin'* PC now and get it! Oh! Already booted? Reading this mag in an emulator!? Gotya!!! ;)

"LEIFI" BY DUAL CREW:

This is a small demo, intro + main part, and there's not very much to say about it... The intro is quite well designed, even though there is nothing special in it. A cool logo, text, oldchool game-music and a scroll... But it looks nice. The scroller uses a 4x4 font, which does NOT mean it's big and blocky, but that each is 32x32 pixels large (or 16x32 in multicolor). The bad thing about the scroll is that it has the lowest possible speed so that not more than half a char appears with each second. Annoying.

Pressing space brings you to a slow-loader which uses not less than two minutes (!) to load the remaining 164-block part, without being able to even play music or show any kind of entertainment meanwhile (confirmed, it's the Kernal loader). OK, ALT.+W does the trick for those mothafuckers who only watch demos on EMU, but I see it as a sign of decadence not making demos enjoyable to watch on the real hardware. In the 80's you would be called LAMER if you released such crap! Don't we all remember the Tribute party 1994 in Gothenburg, when the whole audience made a riot about the LAME Fairlight demo which needed at least 5 minutes (though it felt like 50, despite entertaining drugs and alcoholics) to load some crappy part. None remembers the demo, but none can forget about that loader. >:( OK, back to the demo...

...And the long waiting doesn't bring much. Some suburbian-Swedish digi-samples and a sprite-sinus. :( Perhaps fun for Swedes, but not very genious. I'm sorry, I just can't find the motivation to write long reviews about demos that don't inspire me at all. Let's hope at least they had fun making the demo.

"DIGITAL MAGIC" BY CREST:

The "Krestology"-follow up? Well, it sort of looks like it anyway. :) A graphics-based demo which gently slides between beautiful pictures of strange graphic formats. Nice music playing through the show and some mindful thoughts written in plain text. Some will find it boring, some will see the beauty, like in all demos of course. Dane/Crest is the only man behind this whole demo! Everyone probably knows that Dane is a master musician, but it wasn't until I met him at LCP two months ago that I realised that it's the same Dane who was active as a graphician in Triad years ago. Now he has learned some coding as well. :) The main objective for this demo is to show a new FLI-mode called "XFLI" (corresponding editor is included in the disk), which allows you to draw in hi-res with quite some colours on a limited area. The pictures are 192x168 pixels large, and technically speaking they consist of hires-fli plus multicolor sprites with low priority. Adding that you can change one sprite color every second line (!). There are also some other picture-oriented effects in the demo which are mixed with digi-music, something that is not that common on today's scene (I think I remember an IFLI-part with digi-music by Hitmen some years ago, and a FLI-part by Graffity 10 years ago, but hat's about it). Dane does IFLI, interlaced sideborder bitmap, and finally also XFLI (without the possibility to change sprite colours though) together with digi-music, which is quite impressing!!!

The demo has a very high standard considering the graphics and music, have that in mind when I say that the IFLI-picture is the least good looking picture. Also some of the XFLI pictures with digis look almost unfinished when you compare to the others. One strange thing is the sideborder picture with digi-music. Only 4 chars are used in each sideborder, when you would need 6 chars to cover the whole screen... Hmm... Dane, don't tell us that you have been using an emulator when coding this (!). The demo has an uniform design through the whole show, which is a thing that I usually request from a great demo. The last part is wonderful, Dane has made an interlaced 192x196 pixels large XFLI picture which is extraordinary beautiful (showing a woman :)). Most of the memory must have been used for this one, but there is space for music and a scroller as well. Very nice!

The demo is rather slow, but not in the 'Padua' manner I just tried to explain. Dane told me, when he showed me the demo at LCP, that this was made on purpose in order to let the music play to the end just before the part ends. This fact may really make up for the slowness, and instead make the whole thing look even more professional. But next time Dane, please cut some half minute from the music and keep the flow! :) Also the inbetween loader part is rather slow and annoying, and could easily have been integrated in the other parts, then the music fades out... I know I shouldn't complain at such a great demo, but why giving up when you're so close to perfection... ;)

"WAITING FOR GODOT" BY FCUG:

FCUG seems to be a nostalgic bunch of dudes from the other side of the rubbish-heap beyond the puddle. California if you read closely in the scrolltexts. Enough political opinions... The demo looks like if it was from the 80's, probably on purpose, and it consists of only one main part, as well as an intro. Scrollers, flashing text, funny music and rasterbars. So, if you like that, just go'n get it. I don't think many hours were spent on this production, and if the awaited "Godot" was used to convert the picture in the end, then I wouldn't suggest others to wait for it. :)

OK, I know, it's really cool when you realize that this old commie is actually still being used all over the planet. But this is the demo reviews chapter, and nostalgia can't always compensate quality.

"FICKEN" BY ROLE:

This could have been a serious demo, considering the design and some more or less thoughtful text. The music is OK and it looks/sounds like it is more or less made especially for this demo.

The pornographic elements ruin all hope though, it is sad that the possibly sensitive message gets spoiled by flesh. The demo is a onefiler, no impressing effects but over all nice looking.

"SNELHEIDREMMERS" BY WOW:

This is a pure party production, but looks amazingly good anyway. It's just one single part, but it looks and sounds funny. However, the code can't have been the hard part in this demo, despite complainments about deadlines in the scroller. But of course we all know... Even if the graphics and music are late, the poor coder has to put the last bytes anyway.

"THE DEMO WITHOUT A NAME" BY N.B.D.:

Hmm... Strange thing... It starts like an ordinary low budget demo, with a fire-effect in char-resolution. Then it looks like a game-intro, but in the end you get unlimited bobs and a standard up-scroller. The music is the best thing in this demo, and the Kernal loader the worst (the end scroller tells some credits for IRQ-loader, but that must be a joke?!).

HCL/BOOZE DESIGN

GRAPHIC REVIEWS BY ALIAS MEDRON/PADUA/SAMAR

"SMALL GFX COLLECTION 3" BY EXON:

It is the collection with small sized multicolor pics by Bedrich. The whole presentation starts with a multicolor logo presenting some cubes and the letters "EXON SCHN" written on them. The colours look randomly chosen and the whole logo seems to be unfinished, as there are no edge smoothings. Then a high resolution "presents" logo appears: light grey on black background. The logo has a graffity style and even if it is filled with plain grey, it looks worked out quite well. Now a multicolor picture with a girl on the right and a "SGC3" logo on the bottom left is displayed. The girl reminds me on some gfx painted by AEG/Smash Designs. The logo is nothing special: just four blocky letters and a gradient fill. Not impressive, but it does the job.

Finally we come to the main screen of the collection. A sky at night behind some mountains and plenty of planets. Again the colours aren't that clever chosen and the detail isn't very high. In a small window in the upper left corner, 8 small pics start to display one after another. I won't review each one of them, but I'll rather write an overall impression. It is obvious that it isn't the easiest thing to paint something in such a small area, but I must say that almost all pictures seem to be unfinished or quickly painted. There is almost no edge smoothing on most of them and the colourfades aren't that smooth either. I liked mostly 2 pictures, one presenting a fish making some bubbles, and another presenting a girl holding flowers.

After pressing space we come to the end screen. A multicolour picture on left presenting manga style chick is what we get here. In my opinion this is the best part of graphics included in this show. Smooth colourfades and satisfying level of details.

My overall impression of this presentation is that it is just another collection among the others. Not bad, but not impressive either.

GFX rating: 6/10 (or 61% to be precise :)).

"INTERRUPTS RETRIGGERUS" BY BOOZE DESIGN:

Hmm... There isn't much to say about graphics in this demo. We start with two converted photos in multicolour interlace (drazlace) and 4 colours. After that we see a turning and stretchng logo. Drazlace again. Black letters on a light blue background and a purple something behind'em. A really nicely painted logo, even if it is minimalistic in its realization.

That's all for the gfx in this demo. I think that even if it is mostly a technical demo released to show the coder's skills, with some good graphics it could become a good instead of an average presentation.

Overall rating: 5/10 (because of the converted pics).

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