Nordic Scene Review 03
From C64 Diskmag Wiki
Nordic Scene Review #3: Autumn Chaos
Nordic Scene Review #3: Autumn Chaos [Puterman] Welcome to another chaotic issue of Nordic Scene Review. I guess the first thing you'll notice (or rather, have already noticed) is that the charset is the same. Well, don't blame me, blame Twoflower for disappearing into some art school in Amsterdam. His sudden and unexpected absence means that there's no text by him in this issue either, so all you get this time is the ramblings of me and Nightlord. Oh well, who cares, we're still the best editorial staff in the world. Well, let's see if Nightlord has anything interesting to say... [Nightlord] Hello dear readers. I must say I am in quite a good mood nowadays. There has been quite a content explosion in the scene lately and I am happy with it. I do not remember a more active 3 months since 2003 when I first returned to the scene. There is more than half a dozen demos that I considered quite large scale and high quality. Plus maybe two dozens of lesser stuff. We were also bombarded by diskmags and blogs. That is as bombarded as you can get in 2005. It was interesting to see the reactions to NSR#2. Some people think we are mean in our criticism. Believe me when I tell you this, we really are not half as mean as we could be. Sometimes, I watch some crap and think to myself "oh my god please end this torture soon before I go blind" then pull myself together and write "This demo is quite unexiting, hopefully the authors will improve bla bla". So please at least give as much criticism to the demos you say we are mean towards as you give to us on this issue. Speaking of being mean, I also think this is going to spread. Now that Game Over(view) and NSR are quite well received among the larger part of the scene, I expect more diskmag writers to follow a meaner style of demo reviews. Also sceners giving reactions on csdb and pouet will probably follow this trend. So ladies and gentlemen, I say be prepared to see a little more tense times ahead of us. To those who plan to write mean demo reviews in the future, just make sure you know enough about what you are being mean against. But all in all I think demos are now going to be talked about more than before, not just in the diskmags but also in csdb and pouet reactions. And I think there is some credit we deserve in NSR for this. Having said that I think we should pass on most of the credit we receive to ALIH. Now let us see whether the scene will be able to hold this much activity over the winter. Credits Text: Puterman and Nightlord Music: Radiantx of Panda Design
LCP Demos Sphaeristerium by Instinct, Triad and Horizon [Puterman] I still haven't managed to watch the whole demo, so I'll just comment on the stuff I've actually seen. The vector part crashed on my 128d, and the colour cycle part crashed on the C-64 + 1541-II combo, while the Oceanic managed to keep it alive for a few more seconds. I guess the C-64 might not dig the VSP abuse. Sometimes watching demos on the C-64 can be pretty difficult... I think I agree with most people that this was the best demo at LCP, but it does it by using brute force. Some of the code seems to be really nice and there are some cool ideas, but it's definitely not a demo to watch if you're more into flow and content. The linking is a bit sloppy, with empty screens during loading, and the music isn't really anything special either. [Nightlord] The music was interesting at the beginning for me. But I start to get bored of the quite repetitive tune around the canyon part. Than the music becomes the weakest link of this demo in my eyes. [Puterman] It might have been a good idea to use more than one tune... The vector animation that's read from disk is a nice idea, but the execution is far from perfect. The colours are ugly and the idea of moving around in an abstract city doesn't exactly feel fresh. The crucified zombies was a nice touch, though. The moving colour scroller is nicer, but the empty linecrunch area makes it all look a bit empty. The circle parts, which I suppose were made by Iopop, are nice, but it feels a bit like recycled ideas from Borderline. The canyon (or whatever) part is the one that really sticks out, lots of big, fat thumbs up for that one. I always appreciate it when people make something that looks original, even if they're just reusing some old effect. [Nightlord] Surely a powerful demo. Surely one of the best in 2005. There is something that scatters my focus when I try to put together my reflections on this piece. First of all I was looking forward to more Twoflower pieces than just one in the Turn Disk part (and one in the note). Then there are some nice Iopopish parts although I agree with Puterman that some of them have a feeling of being recycled. I did not like the background of the vector city, rasters being wider than the animation frame. but streaming data from the drive is definitely a nice and interesting idea. But the design of the city buldings etc. could be more interesting... I loved the color cycler and the canyon parts. The end part is also a lot more interesting than first catches the eye. I am kind of stunned by the overlay of three layers (the shadow, the circles and the logo). [Puterman] That end part thingy sounds intriguing. Too bad I can't get that far... [Nightlord] Unfortunately as good as this demo is I do not think it will be a part of my "hmm let me sit back and watch a demo now" collection. But great to see Jackasser and Pernod in action. [Puterman] To sum it up, it's far from perfect, but it has some nice parts, and that's all I really need. Smart Girls Hate Booze by Booze Design It should be obvious to everyone that this was never supposed to be a really kick-ass demo, but it's nice to see Booze relaxing a bit after flexing their muscles in Tsunami. There's a lot of potential in this demo, and now and then it gives me that special Booze vibe, while some parts of it just seem pointless. [Nightlord] This is the first time I think we see something from all three of them (HCL, Dane and Jailbird). Something I have been looking forward to since Dane joined in, but it is not "the demo" I was expecting. Anyway still a Booze demo is a Booze demo and we mortals should be thankfull to receive one before the next Floppy. [Puterman] The 4x4 stuff is pretty ugly, but at least it's in the 3 leftmost chars, which might be candy to some of the people who appreciate coding effort. [Nightlord] Unlike Puterman, I actually liked the first 4x4 effect very much. And the scroller is really nice and HCL's dedicating it to us makes me feel obliged to code one that beats it. We'll see whether I will be able to do that. I did not like the greets zoomer and the rotating faces that much. The graphics were nice overall, the girl with the cube being the top. The music with the classical vibes relates well to the smart girls and definitely provides for an interesting and fun listening experience. [Puterman] The graphics are also a mixed bag: some of the pictures are really nice, while some of them are just boring and ugly. Still a good effort from someone who's officially left the scene. But maybe he's back again. It's hard to keep track of all the people who leave the scene and then return. All in all it's sort of nice, but it's lacking the in your face effects that you've come to expect from HCL. I guess we'll have to wait until the next demo for more of the standard Booze quality. [Nightlord] Looking forward to the real killer demo from this trio. Hello: Friend by Fairlight To refer to the recent VN#45 article this demo is as art as it can get. Hollowman pretty much denies the entire coding side of demo making and fully storyboards a network of "concepts". I hate using the word concept now that it feels emptier and emptier. But anyway. I know a lot of people will not like this demo. I know Tdj will like it. And I know that I will like it although I can not quite figure out why. And you will see that when you read this review. Why the stupid car crash metaphor? That was the line I kept thinking over and over after I watched this demo. That was so powerful to me. Maybe the most powerful line I ever read in a demo. Even more powerful than the paragraph in Thief (the one about actions being not sticky). Then I think about the music. It annoys and consumes me. It probably is intended but still makes me not want to watch it again. But the "look out the window" scenes... I relate a lot to them (as you can see in Broken) I feel at home in those parts. But the general hires high contrast graphics style. I am so tired of them in Fairlight demos. This is not a fault of the demo. They are nice in isolation and in the demo. But I am really bored of seeing this style over and over again in Fairlight demos. Let me put it this way: if the graphics were anything but hires, this demo could have been one of my all time favourites. The storyboard is great and the dialogues are effective. But please please Hollowman, more colors... Speaking of storyboard, there is one part I did not find so subtle. That is the spending distribution part. I can not think of a more subtle way of telling about neglecting friends thing. But still it feels a bit disconnected from the rest of the demo. But all in all, I really liked this one. I like it more than many people's favorite Pretending to See the Light. Kamikaze by Creators [Puterman] This is a demo that shows some potential, but like many other Creators demos something is missing. I'm not sure if they're trying to say something, or if the visuals are all there is to it. In any case, making conceptual demos isn't an excuse for the kind of bugs that this one contains. Maybe they didn't have time to finish it, but I still think they should have polished it a bit before release. It might be a case of deadline coding, though. [Nightlord] I personally did not enjoy anything in this piece except for the amazingly ass kicking second tune. I can not find anything else to write about this. Oh and maybe I can say how bad I think the zoom animations look. Blueprint for Organic Toy by Panda Design [Puterman] It's really nice to see that Radiantx managed to put together something a bit more serious. I kind of feel like saying that he seems to be learning fast, but in my experience reaching about this level of coding skill is pretty easy, and moving on from here is the real test. But I'm sure he'll keep working, so it'll be interesting to see what will happen next. All in all this demo is nothing special, but it shows some potential, as well as some pretty obvious Iopop influences in the more designish parts. I kind of like the twister and the last screen. Unfortunately Radiantx suffers from a serious lack of graphical support, which means the end result looks pretty much like something I might have released a couple of years ago. Not that that's negative in itself, but it's easier to appreciate a demo with some cool graphics in it, at least in a case like this, when the effects aren't enough to distract me. [Nightlord] Nice to see someone who has just started writing c64 code this year releasing a trackmo in July. The twister was the highlight of the demo I think. And I think the multiplexed circles would look better if they weren't trapped in the first 255 coordinates. The music and the design are also nice. I am looking forward to see what Panda Designs will release at the next Floppy party. We/Banana by Fairlight Ehehe... First I must say I believe one should approach this one as a Puterman scroll broadcast more than a demo. But you need to be someone who has been reading Puterman for sometime to fully appreciate the text. The plotter and the bobs are nice parts. Nothing much to say about them. The final blur code reminds me of Ultragui. The chord progression in the music is not my cup of tea. But the lead sound is very nice. Not a very serious demo. Seems that the Fairlighter duo couldn't get together in time to build something bigger for LCP. Let's wait for Floppy then. Tropical Fever by Onslaught [Puterman] This one's a typical MacX demo: abstract picture, ripped music and a scroller. It's a bit more colourful than his earlier productions, and the music by Jonathan Dunn could also be described as "colourful". When I'm in the right kind of mood, I appreciate these productions more than typical compo winner trackmos. It's hard not to feel good when you're bombed with so much positive emotions. [Nightlord] Nice little Macx thingie. I fear sometimes people will think I am being inconsistent with my reviews. But sorry you guys are wrong. This little thing is nice and the music kicks ass. [Puterman] I can understand if some people don't like this kind of stuff at all, as there's no code or anything. But well, to some of us a positive vibe is enough. The happy-happy data scrolltext absolutely rules. Asslicker by HCL Once upon a time HCL wasn't a very good coder. Kudos to Vodka for reminding us by releasing this old piece of crap. God Jul by Vital Vital, famous from the early days of Booze Design, coded this one. "God Jul" means "Merry Christmas" in Swedish, which means that Vodka showed some really good timing by releasing it at LCP. Dataapan tar en fet Not really worth a mention, but it gets one anyway. Svamps by Stop Horrible.
Assembly Demos Boogie Factor [Nightlord] As much as I don't like the 70's here is one of the most original and entertaining demos I have ever watched. Before trying to analyze the components it needs to be said that the way demo is put together and works as a whole makes it the best demo of this year so far in my eyes. First of all I found the soundtrack amazing. I mean oh-my-god amazing. Reed manages to create a disco soundtrack that sounds better than real disco music. The octave walks in the bassline makes me shake my head to the music everytime I hear it. My favorite is the music that starts with the Fairlight logo. The graphics in this demo not only serve their purpose by putting a smile on your face with those afro hairdos, but are also quite stunning at times. The nose to chin female face beneath the stars and the female torso shot with the white dress made me go "wow". Codewise there is a very well achieved balance of originality and technicality that can be very rarely achieved by anyone. The rotating star, the disco ball and the bobs look great. I do not like the kaleidoscope effects so much. But I think the crowning achievement in coding is the flawless and streamlined linking. For two years in a row the Fairlight Finland section has managed to hit us with great stuff at a party where I had no hope of seing c64 demos being released. They are certainly a different school of demo making than their Swedish counterparts. Even at times I feel like watching demos from two different groups. But variety at this level of quality can only be positive. It would be really interesting to see a demo co-developed by the Finnish and Swedish Fairlighters. Boom Boom by Aspekt [Puterman] A new demo by Aspekt is something that'll make me pretty excited, as they've actually managed to release some demos that have a fresh feel to them. The code hasn't been super-impressive so far, but it's obvious that Ruuvari is doing his best to improve his skills. This time his efforts at producing more impressive code has affected the overall impression of the demo negatively. Those 3d thingies might be a bit more impressive than some stuff in the previous demos, but they just don't look very good. There have been ugly elements in the previous demos too, but it's definitely worse this time. The whole theme of the demo leaves me a bit cold. The vibe is definitely not as deep this time. Don't get me wrong, this might sound a bit negative, but this demo is still better than most of the stuff that gets released these days. The flow is good, and that's pretty important, and some of the design elements, like the sprites in the text screens, are really nice. [Nightlord] Ruuvari hits our screens with another demo higher than a certain quality. I agree with Puterman that the demo leaves a worse overall impression than the previous Aspekt demos. The whole thing looks like a practice ground where Ruuvari is getting ready for something bigger. Or maybe that's just me in my positive mood. However, unlike Puterman, I did like the 3D C= logo and the perspective bobs. What I did not like was the roto-zoomer with low framerate and no vertical synchronisation (meaning update bugs). The graphics remind me of Industrial Breakdown and I do not like this kind of "trashy" graphics. Okay I understand the point of making them trashy but I do not like it. The soundtrack on the other hand is good and the loading screens are well designed. But I am looking forward to a different style in the next Aspekt demo. Something different than 3-4 effects in memory and switch back and forth between them in synch with a fast tune. This style is good and reminds me of Triad's flash and digi parts from the mid nineties. But it limits the quality of the design elements as well as the effects. Symphony Demos Annihilation by Padua [Puterman] Paradoxus Padii? This is both very typical and atypical for a Padua demo. In a way, they're doing everything right, but they still fail to make a good demo, according to the standard ruleset of the scene, or something. The music is "good" (ie. it's very well made, but fails to interest me), the parts are carefully faded in and out and there's quite a lot of graphics. Unfortunately the effects are absolute crap. And well, some of the graphics are seriously ugly (while some pictures, like the hires ship, are really nice). I guess it's safe to say that Cactus is a better mag editor than coder. Still, this is the scene, we do what we feel like doing, if Cactus feels like making a demo, that's great, more people should do that. The fact that it's an ambitious attempt at making a kickass demo is in a way more important than the fact that it's a failure. It's all about enthusiasm. On a side note, I have a feeling that some of the design elements are influenced by Biba 2 by Arise. It's nice to see that that demo has actually had an influence on some people. [Nightlord] Nothing much to add to Puterman's words. But I would like to encourage Cactus to delve deeper into the world of effects. If he has this much patience in linking, he should have enough patience to learn about higher quality effects. Also Lord Hypnos can do some nice stuff too. So more time and dedication from this team can produce higher quality demos. You Can't Stop Us by Tropyx [Puterman] Tropyx celebrate their 10 year anniversary with a production that really looks like it was made in the late 90s, was hidden in a time capsule and has now been unearthed to haunt us like a ghost from the past. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a hard time remembering the names of the groups that produced all those 8x8-infested trackmos with tacky C-64 techno that the scene was flooded with in the late 90s. This one could have been produced by any of those groups. It has everything that defined that style of demos: 8x8 parts, plotters, black loading screens, hires animations and a painfully long memberstatus part. The quality of the code in this demo is similar to that in the Padua demo. It's all pretty slow and ugly, and the animations don't look very nice either. There's not much graphics, but what's there isn't of very high quality. I don't know if it's for nostalgic reasons, but all this actually makes me appreciate this production in a funny way. If I'd have to pick a favorite from Symphony, I actually think I prefer this one over the Padua demo. This one's more dirty, and that always appeals to me. I just don't like nice fades between the parts, I want it to be more like this. I should also point out that You Can't Stop Us is a definite step forward from Tropyx' last demo, Time for Torment. And it might be because I'm tired, but the "lodaing" joke actually worked for me. Good stuff! An involuntary (I think) joke that was also really funny was the use of the word "snailswapper" in the credits parts. I know that there are many sceners who are more or less weird, but swapping snails must be one of the more odd hobbies I've heard about. Okay, so I guess I am really tired. [Nightlord] "No design is also the design"... Yeah right. Or is it an excuse for being lazy? I pretty much hated this demo except for the music and seeing there are considerable hours of work behind this demo makes me more angry with the motto above. The same team with the exact same skill set, in the exact amount of time could have created a demo ten times better than this, had they focused just a little bit on the design. I mean who cares about when a certain member entered the group. Please... Spring Loda Meeting by Tropyx and Vulture Design [Puterman] This one has a little bit more to offer than some meeting demos we've seen. Not much more, though. But it has 5 scrollers instead of just one, and it has some ugly pictures that are sloppily linked together before the main (scroll) part begins. Nothing to remember though, unless you attended the event, I guess. Intro by Viper You can't be more 1997 than this. 8x8 all the way. It's running more smoothly than other productions with similar effects, so I guess it's pretty well coded. However, even if you make the best 8x8 plasma in the world, there's no way I'm going to be interested. Ice Cream by Tropyx 4k demos (I refuse to call things that don't introduce something else "intros") are really all about impressing coders with fresh effects. Well, that's what it usually is anyway. This one won't impress anyone, but it's still pretty cosy, with the weird music and the original logo stuff. Colors4k by Clochard Wouldn't it have been better to call this one "Trashmo 4k"? It really looks trashy, with weird design choices. This just doesn't cut it.
Random Demos Arvika 2005 by Panda Design [Puterman] So it seems Panda Design managed to release their second demo. I was hoping that their second release would be a bit more ambitious, but Radiantx struck back at LCP with something better. This one was coded live at a rock festival, which shows that mr. Radiantx possesses a great data spirit. I also have to compliment him for his frequent use of the word "freshness" in the scroller. Irrational by Chorus Clarence seems to be back for real. This time it's just a small collection of random parts, but it's nice to see that it was just ten months between the demos this time, instead of 10 years. [Nightlord] Seeing the news of a Chorus demo release instantly excited me and I downloaded it at once. This one is not as big as Demode, but still manages to impress me with some subtle coderpron. Yes I am talking about the ten letters in the lower border. My deepest respect. Other than that the first graphics fade in and the raster bender are also nice. We can't really talk about linking here. [Puterman] This one might be a bit too traditional for me. Just like I sometimes feel that demos with no real code feel empty, this one feels empty for the lack of something that stands out. Sure, everything is performed with a lot of skill, but all in all it's too classical to move me in any way. Of course, I'm a sucker for stuff like AFLI plasmas, but one part that looks nice isn't enough to keep me interested when there's so much ugliness surrounding it. I know there are a lot of people who dig Leon's graphics, but I find them appalling. [Nightlord] The graphics I think are a little weaker than general Leon quality. The musics are OK. Nothing too impressive. Obviously a rather quick production. But it does not matter as long as I can see Clarence's work. [Puterman] The fact that this one refused to run on a 1541-II didn't exactly make my impression of it any more positive. So while I appreciate the quality and the fact that Chorus are actually releasing stuff, I'm not inspired to watch it again. 4Kaos by Wanderer It's a bit hard to comment on this one, as I don't have an NTSC C-64, but what I can see sure doesn't look impressive. Fast Blade by Willow C-64 techno and ugly 8x8 stuff makes me wonder what year it is. 1997? That period is over, and someone needs to let Willow know that it's time to either learn to write some real code or make conceptual grayscale demos. [Nightlord] I like the general techno music and effects thing but not in 8x8. I am sure it looked OK on the big screen but noone will seriously consider demos like this one important. Primary Star 2005 Invite by Anubis [Puterman] I always think it's worth a few thumbs up when someone actually bothers to release a real invitation to a party. It'd still have been nice with something a little bit different. This one's just a bit too boring and ugly to stick. The picture in the text part is a nice idea, so it's kind of sad that it's so ugly. Well, at least it wasn't just another logo. Willowdemo by Oerg [Nightlord] A starwars scroller that looks OK. [Puterman] And it's made with 3d Message Maker by Master's Design Group. Exciting stuff. :) German Font Review by The Dreams Yes, we know that this font is hard to read. I'll try spanking Twoflower again. Paradise Meetro by Paradise Sometimes I wish I hadn't promised that we'll review all the releases. It's not like there's much point in writing uninspired reviews about uninspired demos that consist of a logo, a tune and some text. But I'll try to imagine that that's what I want to do with my life and drop some random comments here. The logos are pretty nice, while the starfield has to be the worst one I've ever seen on any platform. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be a starfield, so sorry if I misunderstood some really interesting design concept. Oh, and some people want more elephants in C-64 productions, so I'll try to make that huge group of sceners happy by writing the word "elephant" here: elephant. Is everyone happy now, or will I have to do it again in another review? Probably. Evil Face by Creators Another one of those scroller+picture demos, but this one doesn't feel completely pointless. I don't know what it is that I like about it, so I guess I'll just turn mystic and proclaim that it has a soul. Forgotten Bytes by Science 451 Isn't it a great feeling to watch a new demo that consists of rasters, rasters and more rasters? And isn't it cool that it's filled with oldstyle C-64 music and scrollers? Or does it just feel stupid and boring? Does it feel more like you could just load one of the five million old raster demos from 1988 instead? I think I'll let you decide this time. Kuno Nuko Demo IV by Kuno Nuko When I was a kid (standard disclaimer: I'm still a kid, blah-blah) my favorite hockey team was AIK. I don't know why, but I liked the name and their colours: yellow and black. Maybe that's why I actually like this, the 666th scroller+picture demo reviewed in this mag. It's mostly black and yellow, although I'm really not sure why space is yellow in the picture. I thought it was mostly black out there, but then again, most of my knowledge on astronomics comes from watching Star Trek. I guess Sledge might know more about that kind of stuff than I do. Or maybe it's about artistic freedom. Thumbs up for the cosy tune too. Stereoid by Civitas I like notes. I almost always read them, for some bizarre reason. Maybe it's because text in general is very important to me, or maybe it's just generally interesting to know what the creator of a production has to say about it. In the case of Stereoid by Civitas, the note is needed to explain what's going on, because I really had no idea. Unfortunately it sort of ruined the impression for me. When I first watched this thing, I had no idea that you were supposed to wear 3d glasses. The converted pictures just looked very odd to me, but some of them actually looked odd in a positive way. The strange colour clashes almost compensated for the fact that the world's slowest loader was being used. Well, maybe it isn't the slowest one out there, but it feels like it takes an eternity to load every picture. Anyway, I wouldn't normally waste this much text on a collection of converted pictures, but the idea was at least a bit interesting. But not more than that. Chesszoomer by Skate of Glance I think the problem with productions like this one is that there are very few of them around, and you have to try your hand at coding minimal stuff like this yourself to appreciate it. Of course the pouet crowd will go "Wow, I never thought you could do that in 256 bytes!" just because they think that's what you're supposed to say. Me, I have no idea. This might be cool, but I think in future issues we should hire Ninja as 256 bytes reviewer. (I don't want to, but some weird and highly unethical force is making me include a stupid standard joke here: Of course he'll only get 256 chars for each review. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!) Chesswaver by Skate of Glance As the title suggests, this 4k demo contains some sort of waving chessboard. That's it. This isn't really enough to make a cool 4k. If it wasn't for Krill, this could have been considered a decent 4k, but we've come to expect more. Much more. So better luck next time. Living by Glance After reading some comments on this one on the net I had really high expectations. Unfortunately this demo isn't quite what it's blown up to be. There really is no excuse for including something as profoundly ugly as that last picture with the frog and the city. What is this, a flicker contest? The design stuff doesn't really interest me, but at least some of the parts are really nice. The chess waver is much nicer than the one in the 4k, and the plotter is hardcore. Some of the other effects are also really nice and original, so this gets a thumb up, although there's a lot I don't like about this demo. The music for instance, it's not exactly horrible, but I just don't like it. The same goes for the graphics, the logos are just boring, and the above mentioned frog picture could make anyone puke spontaneously. Anyway, it's nice to see a seriously meant demo from a new group. If these guys keep working, I'm sure we'll see some stunning releases from them soon. Beertime IVA by Dekadence Oh baby, this makes me feel so good... Britelite, hit me one more time! I know I'm constantly complaining about the lack of originality in demos. Sometimes I'm asking myself why I bother checking out new demos at all, when I know exactly what I'm going to get. This one is one of those rare releases that make me stay in the scene. This is datasoul. [Nightlord] This was the best looking Dekadence product I have seen. The music is I think the strongest point of this release, as well as the nice horizontal twister. The overall linking and the quality of the effects is quite high. The tunnel probably is harder than it looks being in the borders but I feel the end result does not look so good. Other than that I think all the effects and their fades are very cleanly implemented. Some pixel graphics would have made this demo a lot more complete. [Puterman] I can see the need for graphics in some demos, but this one feels complete to me without the graphics. Britelite has a long history of recycling old parts and dropping the same boring and ugly chunky crap time after time, but this time it seems he's tried to provide us with some real quality. Several of the parts are so fresh that I wish there was a way to hold the parts. Shift/lock anyone? Making nice parts doesn't have to be about hardcore code, as some people seem to think, it's about being clever. [Nightlord] One thing that is quite interesting to me is that I notice there is a solid Dekadence-clapper community out there. No matter what Dekadence produces some people automatically seem to start cheering for it. I am not saying this as an offence to Dekadence. I do not think it is their fault. I just think this is not healthy feed back to the authors and might indirectly block their improvement. I hope the Dekadence crew recognizes this and keep giving ear to more independant feedback channels. [Puterman] And I don't think you should take stuff you read at pouet very seriously. :)
The mags [Nightlord] Oh yes, we had lots of demos released lately. And according to a little research I made in the CSDB recently, the demo productivity in the scene is somewhat stable in the last 10 years, but these last months the amount of higher quality releases was so positive to me. [Puterman] The CSDb stats are notoriously unreliable, as all new stuff tends to get added, while older stuff doesn't get added. I believe there were lots of more releases in the late 90s than today... [Nightlord] According to the same research the number of diskmag releases were dropping dramatically in the last 3-4 years. Had it not been for 21 issues of Game Over(view) in the last two years the total number of issues released in the scene in the last years would make you cry and want to kill yourself. So seeing around 1500 diskmag releases in a week was definitely a positive shock to me this time. Not only that but also the content of those mags seem to glide into a direction that makes me very happy. A demoscene coverage that I believed to be seriously flawed a few months ago is now nearly saturated. And yes that is a great thing if you have been craving for quality content to read like me. [Puterman] At the same time, saying that it's a mixed bag would be almost as gross an understatement as saying that we're happy to see that Attitude is finally back. Some mags seem to be put together in an industrial fashion, with each new issue just being a copy of the previous one. This goes for Scene World, which keeps it's odd focus on stuff that's not really related to what most of us call "the scene", and for Publication, which I've thought of as "promising" for way too long now. Both of these come with an intro, which is nice, although the actual intros are pretty uninteresting. The one in Publication is basically boring, while the one in Scene World is seriously ugly. Publication keeps it real with some coding stuff from Nightlord, which is cool, but the magsys still needs some serious improvements. I wouldn't complain about it if it was a regular magsys, but this one has a tendency to get in the way of your reading. The one in Scene World isn't annoying, it does its job, but I guess you should know that by now. As always, Scene World is jampacked with text, but most of the articles are just fillers. The only standout text is Murdock's party report from Floppy, which I liked because it was so personal. It's written very much like your average party report, with descriptions of the journey to the party, but for some reason I actually found his reflections on Swedish trains and stuff like interesting. I've wondered for some time why the Scene World editors continue to fill their mag with content that feels completely empty, but you don't have to get into any serious deconstruction to realize what they're after when you read their mag reviews. They seem to think that what's important is the number of blocks that a mag occupies on the disk, which is why Game Over(view) always gets much lower points than much worse publications. [Nightlord] Scene World unfortunately remains uninspiring in many respects. I think they have solved all of their problems with the outfit by now. But the quality of the text needs to be improved. What I said for the Dekadance-cheer club also goes for the Scene World lovers. I am OK with such a crowd as long as the authors keep giving ear to reactions from different fragments of the scene. The most positive thing about Scene World is that Merman is realising the importance of having nice demo reviews and focusing on them. The biggest remaining obstacle for this mag is finding writers that follow the scene closely enough. [Puterman] The contents of Publication are more minimalistic: there are no news, no interviews and no reviews. I guess this mag would need a more dedicated editor. Zeitgeist just doesn't seem to have enough time to put together the kickass mag that Publication could be. Another regularly released mag that we've praised a lot in the past is Game Over(view). I'd almost given up on them ever improving their mag, and the 20th issue was the same old stuff again. However, issue 21 comes with a new magsys and some other new features, like the original (but almost empty) release list and an interview. This is a definite improvement, which actually says a lot, because it's always been a great mag, despite the quirky magsys and the small amount of text. The fact that they've managed to release it montly for 21 issues now is really impressive. We have a lot to learn from this project. [Nightlord] Game Over(view) has officially kicked every other mag's ass big time in my eyes with the release of issue #21. Very nice outfit and one of the more exciting text performances this time. As Puterman says, unbelievable robustness to keep going monthly for 21 issues. And in C64 Game Scene in 2004-5... Game Over(view) is literally rebuilding the Game scene. It remains extremely inspiring and fun to read. [Puterman] Both Vandalism News and Attitude are very conventional high-quality C-64 mags. They include all the standard stuff that you expect in a diskmag, and technically they're both very impressive. [Nightlord] My biggest congratulations and thanks this month should go to the Vandalism News crew. After a worrying issue #44, this is how a mag should give ear to the reactions and regroup and strike back. This is more important to me than the analysis of individual articles. The "management" and "resource allocation" of the crew definitely deserves a thumb up from me. Great shift of focus guys... [Puterman] I've felt for several years now that the crew behind Vandalism News have a tendency to drown you in too much text. Some of it is really good, while some of it is just too much. They got a lot of well-deserved bashing for the demo section in the last issue, and in issue 45 they instead flood their readers with a huge amount of demo reviews. It's nice that they have serious demo reviews again, but while reading them, I got bored pretty quickly and started longing back to the days of Ed and Joe's often annoying over-interpretations. Come back, guys, this mag needs you! Oh, and what's up with having yet another Seal of Focalor review? [Nightlord] The much flooded demo review section can get boring for readers at times maybe but it also is a great source of feedback to the authors of those demos. The team of reviewers will need to improve their knowledge a little bit I think. Today's demos include a lot of cross references in many layers and the reviewers need to be on top of pretty much everything being released in order to catch those (see Puterman's review of Sphaeristerium and the crucified zombies). [Puterman] Well, yeah, I guess I have good reasons to remember a demo called Wok Zombie. Attitude only has one review, an old one by Oswald, but sometimes less is more, and while I'd sure want to hear his opinions on some newer releases, I found this one very interesting. [Nightlord] Yes, the review of YKTR by Oswald was very detailed. As much as I do not agree with some of his views on the demo, the review is nevertheless a nice one. [Puterman] I know that lots of people claim not to be interested in the charts, but I always enjoy them, and both Attitude and Vandalism News have managed to gather an impressive amount of vote sheets. It kind of makes you wonder what the Scene World editors are complaining about. Obviously, people aren't too lazy to vote, you just need to get them motivated enough to spend five minutes filling in a vote sheet. [Nightlord] I know there is a general scene tending to vote less. Nevertheless, I still think some kind of a present (not "of all times") platform for competition and comparison should be there for the benefit of the scene. The only remaining charts are CSDB where you are competing with the shadows of TTS, Slammer and Quiss. The closest thing is to go to a party and compete there. And there are only two parties where there is serious competion. I wonder how this awards thing will work, although I feel it won't be a substitue for the charts. [Puterman] The party reports are pretty good in both Attitude and Vandalism News. I liked Cactus' report from Symphony, but it's still nowhere close to MacX' wonderful report from LCP. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Vandalism News would be much better if it contained more stuff written by him. Oh, and an extra bonus is of course that the enigmatic Jejk is mentioned again. [Nightlord] Yes, please more of those Macx articles... The Scene Podium chapter was kind of interesting. I felt that although the comments of both "tech guys" and the "art guys" were quite in line. But the presentation of those comments were kind of making them more opposed. I think the "art vs tech" discussion has evolved beyond a point of fruitful dynamics and entered into a repetitive era. Attitude on the other hand after many years has come back and I am thankful to that. My biggest concern is though, "should I trust the next issue to be released sooner than a year". It is impossible not to agree with RRR's comments about the quality being more important than frequent releases, but I think anything longer than 4 months is too long a delay for a diskmag. This issue is filled with good text. Like Vandalism News, Attitude also has its share of "reader opinions" type of chapters. I am unfortunately beginning to feel kind of bored with this type of text. At least the discussed subjects should be very well chosen. For a chapter like this to be interesting the subject should be something not so abstract as "can new things be invented". Rather it should be something either more contraversial (such as the art vs tech thing in VN) or something more down to earth like "was Chorus or Focus the real winner of X2004" :). The thing is it should be a subject where I need to be interested in hearing the comments of some random stranger on. [Puterman] All in all, it's pretty obvious that Attitude is the winner here. Maybe it's just that I've been waiting for it for so long, but the contents are really well balanced, and almost everything is interesting. This is data soul. [Nightlord] There were a few German Mags also released lately, but I have nothing to say about that other than to refer the readers to previous Game Over(view)
Music Collections SID Expander by the Ancients [Puterman] It's nice to see some serious music collections being released, no less than three of them at LCP! I think this one is my favorite in the pile. It's obvious that a lot of effort has been spent on the tunes, and I really appreciate the effort to make music in different styles. The instruments may sound a bit more like the standard modern stuff than what you'd expect from a serious old-timer like Rambones, and I'm not quite sure if that's positive or negative. It would have bothered me more if the music style had been the standard stuff as well, but fortunately things are happening that keep me interested. The music is of course the most important thing in a music collection, but the interface deserves a mention here, because of the simple but nice-looking patterns in the background. The fat sounds in the intro are also nice, and add to the data-vibe of this fine release. Trapped in Circles by Creators Another music collection by Creators in their usual style. Unlike some other of their weird-looking and weird-sounding productions, this one manages to build an atmosphere that feels genuine. The intro is interesting in all its simplicity, and the main part looks so good that it makes me wonder what the rest of the scene is up to. The music isn't exactly my cup of tea, though, it's a bit too unstructured and... I can't think of the right word to use, so I'll just make one up: gadotomtly. Not sure if it makes sense, but TDS sometimes manages to sound like Wacek and Kjell at the same time, which is pretty impressive, but it doesn't exactly provide a positive listening experience. Extra superduper thumbs up for just including 5 tunes, of course, that's about as much as I can take. If TDS tried a bit harder to build solid grooves instead of just being weird, he could turn into one of my favorite musicians. Larger than Life by Blues Muz Scene morbidity. Kjell strikes back from the grave. As I might have mentioned before I'm not one of his biggest fans. Well, at least he made an impression with the self-portrait in the intro. Kjell fans will probably dig this, and for the first time I think I'm starting to get it too. After staring at the hypnotic screen for a while I started appreciating the music. For some reason I can't really have it running in the background, I have to watch the screen and concentrate on the music to like it. Maybe I just need to get used to all the strangeness and the wild mood swings (tm) in the music. CTR Sonix 13 by Creators I guess most of you, our dear readers, know what it feels like to be totally uninspired and bored. You desperately want to do something, or rather, you want to want to do something, but all you can do is sit around and do nothing. Or waste your time playing computer games, watch TV or whatever. I wish I could code a kickass demo part instead of sitting here doing nothing. But I'm just not in the mood for doing useful stuff. For Mermaid it seems to be the opposite. She wants to do useful stuff instead of making C-64 productions, but she ends up coding, pixelling and making music, and sometimes she really hits the spot. This music collection smells of frustration and hopelessness, so it works really well for me right now. You get 8 tunes which all carry the same feeling as the scroll text. The girl in the picture looks like she could feel in lots of different ways, but in this context I choose to believe that she really wants to be somewhere else, doing something else. The techning sprites are probably just an annoyance to her, which is why she closes her eyes and try to think of something nice. Which of course fails. I think I'll press the reset button now.