Nordic Scene Review 05
From C64 Diskmag Wiki
Nordic Scene (World) Review #5
Nordic Scene (World) Review #5 [Nightlord] First of all this has been a weird period for the C64 scene I think. Thinking about no Floppy is coming soon, one gets sad. Then one becomes a bit excited since Instinct are organizing a party. Only one trackmo and a few smaller things come up that we can write about, but then a proper Attitude, a few well written Game Overviews and a face melting Star Flake pushes us in the right direction. Well this is the way of things I guess. I still think we need more diskmags. Come on people, quit spending your random keyboard clicks on web forums, and start publishing diskmags. A lot of people have a lot of things to say and all that goes wasted in uncategorized, unmoderated, nonlinear forums and irc. The utter junkyards, the forgotten and neglected trashcans of the web. Why not use the advantage of the organization and the focus of a diskmag. No one will read your forum posts a second time. No one will come back a few weeks later and browse through them. It is the word that is said and forgotten. We have iterated on diskmags being the proper platform for idea exchange before, but it seems we can not stress it enough. Near future promises to be bright though. The most active time of the year is ahead of us. So it is time to cross fingers and expect some inspiring productions. [Puterman] Well, at least one of the editors is hopeful... I try to keep my expectations down, but right now the St. Lars meeting is going on in Lund, maybe something cool will be released there. And then there's Breakpoint, of course, maybe one of the German groups will make a comeback and release something cool. Things are looking pretty okay for Nordic Scene Review anyway, and we still have a lot more review material than our favorite mag Game Over(view). We've also managed to get some more people to help us with the reviews this time. Twoflower tricked some dutch folks into discussing a few recent releases with him, and we also recruited Ninja as 256 byte reviewer. Now read the reviews, suckers! Credits Text: Nightlord, Puterman, Twoflower, Ninja, Decompracid, Hein and Sander Code: Iopop Music: Zabutom
Demos [Puterman] 13 Fingers isn't exactly what you'd expect from Creators, but it wasn't supposed to be released, and I probably shouldn't even mention it here, but I'll write about stuff that I get my hands on, so this one is included as well. While it's quite stupid to upload previews that you weren't supposed to spread, this demo was actually shown at a party, if I remember correctly, and in my opinion stuff that's competed at parties should be spread to the warez-hungry elephants out there. As for the contents, the plasma parts are just ugly, and the sprites don't really add anything, but the last part, with the dancing silhouette, looks pretty good. [Nightlord] There is not much to add from me except that I think the rotating head is also kind of ugly. [Puterman] Chasing Rainbows 70% came from the same source, and wasn't supposed to be spread either, but just like 13 Fingers it has competed at a party, and I'm happy that I finally got to see it. This one's pretty nice, with sprites floating around the screen and some nice graphics from Mermaid. Nothing special, and not finished, but worth watching. [Nightlord] the first part and the afro head gfx are nice. I did not like the star animations in the last part. [Puterman] Christology by Afrika is a fake demo that's actually worth watching. Lofi but very data. Too bad the scroller in the last part is so hard to read. Demodojo made their debut with a simple intro, which was coded by Skate of Bronx. I don't really see the point of forming a group if you have to borrow your coder from another group, but maybe they'll find one, or learn to code themselves. According to CSDb, Bakkada, the only member of Demodojo, didn't do anything except write a short and uninteresting piece of scrolltext, and Skate did the rest. I wish our new friend Bakkada will make a bigger effort with his next release, maybe he could even put it together himself, using a demo maker or something. [Nightlord] Just a small correction... It is Skate of Glance not Bronx. He left Bronx more than a year ago. [Puterman] Right, Skate of Bronx it is. Eh... HVSC update #44 came with an intro, coded by Inge. It's all very oldschool, with several scrollers at the screen at once, which means you don't know which one to read, which might make you want to start killing people at random if you're that kind of person. [Nightlord] Although I am known to be a calm person, I am one of those people. I hhhhate mmmultttiple scrrrooolls. Do not do it please unless you are breaking a dycp record. [Puterman] Another thing that might make you want to start killing people is the ugly logo by JSL, while the tune by Intensity just makes me a bit nervous. Thumbs up to Inge for doing this, it gives some much needed scene cred to the HVSC crew, but I'd prefer something a bit more ambitious next time. [Puterman] Join Us by (a faked) Moloch is... interesting. No, it isn't, but it's sort of nice to see some childish fights going on in the scene anyway. Stop was (maybe) released by the *real* Richard Bayliss, if there is such a thing. It seems the person who released this, who might or might not be the *real* Richard Bayliss, wants people to stop criticizing his releases. As usual this release was added to CSDb, then removed and so on, in the usual *real* Richard Bayliss style, so I guess there's no doubt that it was done by the *real* Richard Bayliss. The wonderful graphics were drawn by (the presumably *real*) Philip Bayliss, the *real* Richard Bayliss' (*real*) brother. Good stuff, keep it *real*. Xmaspoop by Swappas with Attitude was actually a pretty nice release in all its childishness. It's nice to see that some people can be bothered to release hate demos instead of just fucking around on web forums. Unfortunately this resulted in about 666 billion forum posts, where about 0.0003% made any sense at all. I don't understand where all the strong feelings come from, but it seems to be very important to some people to put their animosity towards others on public display. [Nightlord] During those 666 billion posts, I actually lost my 3 year old habit of regularly checking csdb forums. Now I am even scared to navigate that site. So thumbs up for the moderation. [Puterman] Wanderer himself released a demo which was pretty impressive in all its bugginess and slowness. You can't possibly beat the bad performance of that plotter! Of course, if something sucks, you can always explain that it's "oldschool", which excuses anything, including simple raster bugs. Of course, I don't own an NTSC machine, so I had to check this one in an emulator, but I doubt that code that are so glitchy in VICE will work very well on a real machine. The only good thing about this demo is the music, which was of course ripped. Thumbs up for trying, but if you ever feel like releasing anything as crappy as this again, please reconsider. And the fact that it was the first demo released in 2006 is, like... eh... I can't really think of anything to say about that. Digital Excess tried to get us into the christmas spirit with International Karaoke, which consists of a bunch of christmas carols with lyrics. Quite a few of them are (of course) in German, the international scene language number one. It's all pretty nicely put together, except for a few details, like the fact that it uses the ROM font and that you have to use a joystick to control it. Apart from that: nice intro, nice graphics and special karate thumbs up your nose for doing something a bit original. Who needs Singstar when you can sing German christmas carols in front of your C-64? "Who fucking said that the Polish scene is death?" I don't know. Tropyx for sure aren't dead, they actually managed to release two multipart demos in 2005, which is a lot more than most other groups did. I'm not going to say that I actually like this, it was quickly thrown together, and it shows. But Tropyx are definitely improving, and while I'm still far from impressed by their effects, they're way better than in their last demo. [Nightlord] I think it is fair to talk about an improvement. There is more attention to the cleanness of the overall product this time. Also I think the soundtrack is interesting especially at the end part. On the effects front the animation and the plasma are the lows and the shade bobs part is the high.
Dutch Scene Review
Dutch Scene Review [Twoflower] Sitting in a cold, damp cell on the first floor, wearing itchy black robes and large white wigs which have seen better days, four sceners are eagerly watching The Dark Judge turning towards them. -"I have importants matters to attend. I leave the judgements to you. Do it the dutch way. Do not fail me", his voice beckons. Seconds later, a door being slammed shut, we know that TDJ has left us to our own devices, heading through the night towards the tram to Amstelveen. In the weak light from Sander's 1084 we gaze at eachother. Hein, Sander, DCMP and Twoflower. With the echo of TDJ's voice echoing in our minds we start our task. Tsankki and Nyrkki by Jumalauta [Twoflower] The first two demos for the evening. Two rather uninspiring releases from a finnish sub-fake group. The first one including a cover of the Commando-tune which I cannot place, let's just hope that someone didn't compose it exclusively for this demo. The second one including the classic 8x8 plasma, obviously included just to bring pain onto the NSR-staff. Didn't we ban this effect in the last issue, Puterman? [Puterman] Yes, an 8x8 plasma gives you an automatic thumb down, so the official (automated) opinion on Jumalauta is that they suck. [Twoflower] I don't really understand why people release stuff like this? Neither of these demos are funny, and it must have taken atleast 15 badly spent minutes to put together, scrolltext-writing and gfx-converting not included. [Hein] These demos are boring. The red screen of the Nyrkki-demo was a powerful one though. And the Laxity-tune in the second one really sucks. It has always sucked. [Decompracid] Nothing new. Nothing interesting. They might have released it because they were bored or something? Or if the party was really boring and they suddenly decided to code it live and then release it? [Sander] I'm a little stoned, and i'm not sure i'd like to be quoted. Atleast they have secured quite an identity, using that logo consistantly in two productions? Is this a ditched project which was just released? If it was made by some guy who is a beginner, I think this is acceptable. Lessons in Gray by NOFX [Twoflower] This is the "return" production from NOFX, a group which didn't make too much noise in the past. One spritescroller, one spritelogo and some charanimations. I won't spill too much words on this one; it's really the same thing as the Jumalauta-productions, although this is meant to be serious. I won't whine though, since this is their first intro-attempt on this machine, and I know that they will make progress. Sometimes I really wish for another good comeback production, like "Accumulator" from SCL. [Decompracid] A ripped tune? and probably too little colors. I believe they should have made some bigger efforts making a comeback demo. [Sander] They must have had a nice time making it, getting together again, having a meeting and all but it doesn't give me anything. [Hein] Perhaps they're gray mice? Making this might have given them a nice trip back. [Puterman] I think you're all being a bit hard on this one. At least it doesn't look as boring as releases of this type usually do. I like the funky movement and the gray scales look sort of fresh. Phantazm by The Phantom (NTSC) [Twoflower] Why does the American scene still separate itself from the rest of the scene, and why do we accept the fact that they tend to do it? In the comment at CSDb, The Phantom writes that he thinks this is a fair NTSC release. I agree with that, but I still think it's a shame that today's NTSC-demos don't live up to the same standard as they used to do? And why isn't the style the least adapted to todays PAL demo-creations? It's like all progress since 1989 doesn't mean shit to the NTSC-scene. Don't tell me it's because you haven't seen many newer demos working with NTSC. You'd be surprised to know how many demos which actually work perfectly on those machines. Black backgrounds, 3 color logos, many scrollers, ripped tunes and some effect here and there might be acceptable for a beginner, but if you'll look into what The Phantom have been producing so far, you'll notice that he was one of the most active democreators on the NTSC-scene during the nineties. I also think that it's a shame that it isn't PAL-fixed aswell, since it would be no bigger issue just to adjust the timings. No, really, I don't think this is bad. Not really bad, anyway. Just sort of bad. [Sander] Not much to say about it, doesn't do much to me. Nice flow, in a way, vaguely. Loneliness might be the motivation behind this one? Nah! That's too nasty. [Decompracid] I like seeing stuff from the US, since they don't have a "normal" scene there. Perhaps they choose to make it NTSC-only since the C-64 breadbin is THE real thing over there. No emulators, no crossassembly, just making your thing on the NTSC-C64. Some competition would surely make the situation better over there? [Hein] It's a boring demo. I liked the last part of the demo best, the one with Laxity's tune and the multiplexing ontop of that 8X8 plasma. This demo might have been created just for the sake of filling out time, or to prove something for yourself, creating and solving your own puzzles, and just showcasing the results. S:t Lars Invitro by Instinct [Twoflower] This one was a nice surprise. Using Univerz' old S:t Lars graphics and a stylish combo of RaveGuru's blippy tune and JackAsser's fine code, this isometric little invitro was a fine addition to this year's releases. I really like the coloreffect beneath the scroller and the fact that there is a scroller used, instead of using a simple textscreen or some kind of displayer. There are far too few scrollers nowadays. [Decompracid] I like this invitro. This is the only stuff i've seen so far this evening which has stuck in my head. It's really simplistic, although it really looks special. [Sander] I like it. This is an IKEA-styled (a Dutch abbreviation for 'newschool Scandinavian design') invitro, it's got a nice tune and the clumsiness of the animation in the beginning gives it a special clumsy touch. It sort of makes it vulnerable in a way. The graphics are quite distant. Intriguing. This demo is far from the meaning and purpose of its message, though. It feels as if the text and intention don't match the vibe of the demo? But it leaves me puzzled. Perhaps it does meet the message after all? [Hein] I like it. It's an amusing demo. It shines data, it feels like data. The isometric design and the random colors all speak data to me. Looks kind of systematic.
=Dutch Collections Review
Dutch Collections Review 6:th!! by JSL/Covenant [Twoflower] This is the sixth logocollection from JSL, and hence the name. It includes over 40 logos of different quality, many of them dedicated to different magazines such as "Digital Talk". There is no doubt that some time has been invested in making these. You might say that JSL is seriously improving in his logomaking, and sure that might be the truth. Still there are 30 crappy and 10 good logos in this collection, all with the boring black background and most of them feeling like badly antialiased, copied fonts. What I like in this collection is the odd figures which turn up now and then. I saw them in the Covenant pirate demo and in the Primary Star-invitro and at some other places and now they turn up again. These are the images which are of interest to me and which show the most progress; images made in a unique, very personal style. [Hein] Not my cup of tea. He must have a lot of spare time? Shouldn't he work or something? The starting picture was nice, and the whole collection's got a nice naive touch, it's maybe a reflection on his views on life? Perhaps he should have used an original tune? [Decompracid] I think he's getting better. I do see some improvement. I see less of the copy/paste technique he used too much earlier on. There is progress in his logomaking. [Sander] His clumsiness has evolved into something. Some of the logos are good from a retro point of view. I really think his figures are better than his logos, I find them more personal in some way. [Puterman] A new collection of graphics by JSL isn't exactly anything that makes me enthusiastic, but as the others have pointed out, 6th shows some improvement. Not many of the logos are really ugly, and some actually look pretty good. However, this collection still shows the weaknesses in JSL's works, that I think every reviewer has to mention: he spends way too little time on each picture, and they're all very flat and 2-dimensional. He's just not good enough technically to make anything breathtaking, but if he sticks to what he knows, ie. letters and fill-patterns, he can produce stuff that looks okay. Starflake by Vibrants [Twoflower] Nice. The first music collection in ages from Drax, the last ones released before this beeing the trio "Cogito Ergo Sum", "Mr.Thomas" and "Oomph", made back in 1996. Almost ten years afterwards, Drax gives you a good collection of 5 varied tunes. His music, generally speaking, has evolved enormously since then. Some people think it's sad, although others find it a nice thing. I'm of the second opinion. More focus on the strong melodies and the overall vibe and less groovebased stuff does it for me. The five tunes feel like a good and complete whole. The presentation, on the other hand, doesn't really fit me at all. I don't like the 2x2 font, I don't like the tech-teching change of the logos and the style of the Star Flake text, and I don't like the unbalanced vibe the placing of the elements gives me. It all feels a bit too cheap if you put it beside the awesome tunes. Ok, the main interface might have been an old idea from Drax, but I still feel that Clarence could have made something better with it. [Decompracid] I like the presentation of this music collection. It's satisfactory. I usually like Drax' music, his standard quality is very high. This is no exception. [Sander] Drax creates so much music that everything can't and shouldn't be used in a demo. This is a nice way of presenting these musics in a package. What I don't like is the combination of modern and retro in the interface. The logo feels like a straight conversion from the Maniacs of Noise website. Nice transitions though, save for the logo. [Hein] Couldn't he have made a musicdisk without sideborderprogramming? Drax has his own control over the SID, I don't think there is a limit to what he can do with it. I believe these tunes are made as a sort of self-therapie. The tunes might have been purer with another presentation, but in a way Drax did the design and Clarence coded it as Drax wanted it to be, so why not? [Nightlord] It was not long ago when I had completely lost interest in Sid Compos, online or in parties. I have said in public that I do not care about music collections even. Then Drax came and punched me in the face, kneed me in the guts, then pulled out his katana and sliced off my ears. Oh my god... I am begging forgiveness from the Gods of SID. I prey for more music collections and more SID Compos. I am sorry... I am stupid... I am worthless... You can not write a fair review to this without mentioning the wonderful outfit by Clarence. Very clean implementation. A beauty to watch. A pleasure to use. Also from a C64 scener perspective this scroll text is just as impressive as anything else here. The title song is maybe one of the best things I ever heard on any platform. The intro, the build up, the harmony, the melody, the verse, the chorus, the bridge, the sound... Unbelievably and incomprehensibly beautiful. It is one of those moments that you are thankful for being ever involved in the C64 scene, for being blessed by some reflection of creativity and talent that only exists in our scene. I am definitely out of words. The Expectations seem to be closer to a typical Drax song at first. But it is again just a premature comment. As I keep listening to this song it has a different kind of depth. Not as strong a punch in the face as Star Flake is, but more a patient teacher that rewards the patient student. Hypersensational is not directly my type of music. But it grows on me in a weird way. You could put that on a CD and have a friend listen to it, and they would not know it is coming form a C64. Like Expectations, Slave fools the impatient by looking like a well made but typical SID. But no my friends, again this is a quite original face melter in disguise. The sounds in this one make me want to go spend my life at Drax's feet begging for being his padawan learner. You could only close such a sea of beauty, a journey of exceptional and dreamlike harmony, with a song like Resolution. Not a single bit in this song is there without a reason. It is one of the most touching songs that I ever heard. When I hear it, it somehow makes me freeze. I sit down and listen to it over and over. It makes me reach an emptiness and stillness I never experienced. Do yourself a favor. Turn off the lights. Let the 1084 be the only light in the room. Leave your mind to float as you listen to this song. If you do not have a proper speaker set, buy one. As you come back to reality hit 1 again to enjoy Star Flake one last time before you turn your C64 off and go back to your normal life.
Ninja's minimal corner
Ninja's minimal corner [Ninja] I am glad that Puterman invited me to do 256-byte-reviews for NSR, because I appreciate coding in minimal sizes as a fascinating discipline. I also realized that I feel like sharing my thoughts about this topic. The first, subjective thought is that 256 bytes is a waste of diskspace on the C64. I invite you to join the crowd of self-confident commie-junkies who measure in their native units. That would be 1 block (= 252 byte) in this case. Okay, I will not elaborate on this topic again. The first candidate getting a review is "Cheatcode" from Cruzer/Camelot. Typically for him, you don't have to wait a number of seconds because of some BASIC-math-calculation. The effect starts right away. All sines are generated in assembler, his source even says "using basic is lame". Well, like with all other disciplines in the scene, you can make a philosophy/war/whatsoever out of the definiton of "lame". My mileage varies, I don't think it is lame. It is also a challenge to optimize the BASIC-line to save work for the main routine. Plus, it sets a number of zeropage-variables to a known state. Cruzer seems to lack a bit of knowledge here, possibly because he is not interested in BASIC. That is his choice. In the end, I'll put it different: the fast startup of this one is a big positive point. Which soon gets equalized by a huge minus point, a totally garbaged screen (which is also kinda typical for Cruzer). Not only are the remaints of the previous textscreen visible, also the color-RAM is taken as it is. That might work for a plain system, where only lightblue chars are used. But a simple cartridge is often enough to mess up that plan. And the effect looks really broken, when some of its chars are not multicolor. It's a pity, preventing this does not require much code. And looking into memory, it shows that there are enough possibilities to squeeze some bytes out (lots of 3-byte-opcodes in there, abusing zeropage might help). But well, I guess Cruzer would know what to do, if he felt like spending more time on it. And this was obviously not the case. This is no complaint, by the way. I prefer releases which feel a bit unfinished to releases never seen because of a "total-perfection-mania" (what is not an excuse to release all kinds of crap, of course). Still, I prefer polished releases even more. The biggest plus of this release is that the effect itself looks nice. I have a weak point for such filled patterns. Although not offering something amazingly new, I know some demos released recently which would have badly needed an effect similar to this. Cruzer said that he has a long list of effects still to be done and I am really looking forward to any outcome, as his effects are usually visually attractive. All in all, this is a nice tiny effect, really suffering from the garbaged screen. I hope next time, Cruzer will spend some more minutes optimizing the code to clear the screen. ... And just as I thought I would be done with this article, he released another one named "B0lgepap". Again, with a fast startup and this time with no garbage on the screen. So, this one must be really good then? Well, hmm, got me there. This time the effect is not appealing to me. Both the idea and the execution are, well, average. It leads me to the general question if anything that can be done in that size has to be done. Personally I would rate this as pretty boring. Trying to reach new heights is the main force driving the scene forward. Of course, "new heights" is another scene-term you could start a war about. But well, Cruzer will keep doing things he likes and in the way he likes, which is the ultimate way to keep your personal motivation going, by the way. And I will keep looking forward to his releases, as they are usually inspiring, with some exceptions.
Diskmags [Puterman] Game Over(view)'s release schedule is full of surprises... not. And that's something we're all happy about. Issue 25 features a pretty nice intro by Slarti and Bud, but of course, that's not why we read the mag. I also couldn't help noticing that the logo was nice (although it flickers a lot, as usual) and that the tune is also, well, "nice" I guess. While I'm always positive to ALIH's violent outbreaks of unmotivated language abuse to make his enemies tremble, the paragraph on what he'd want to do to Richard's mom if he'd had a time machine was a bit sick. But just a bit. On a more positive note, I think ALIH broke his own record of the greatest number of occurances of the word "fuck" in one article. Nice job! Too bad ALIH has such terrible material to work with, because I really wish there was more reading in each issue. [Nightlord] I know it will not sound original at all, but seriously there is nothing more to say about Game Overview. Having just finished reading the two year anniversary issue, I am overly baffled about how one can write such intelligent and fun text about three games which one rates as 7%, 21%, and 13%... How can anyone keep doing this for 25 FUCKING times. And yet again another extremely fun issue for me hits my breadbox. The outfit is seriously cool. I just noticed the proportional displayer is able to handle different char spacing depending on the letters. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me give you one more reason to keep loving go(v). When the text includes "Tl" and "Ta" for example. a is printed closer since it can fit in to lower part of T. So here is something for all you proportional text rendering lover coder boys, to ponder about... It definitely is a good start to a new year, when you are faced with a nice diskmag, and you know it is monthly there, and you see #25 written on it. [Puterman] Issue 26 was also released, and it wasn't quite as much fun as the previous one. ALIH seems to have been in a more balanced state of mind while writing the text, way too balanced actually. Oh well, hopefully something horribly bad will be released soon to make his life miserable and, in turn, ours better. Publication #57 also features an intro, this one made by Richard. Nothing special, but I notice that he's managed to code (or rip?) a sprite stretcher. Some piece of friendly advice: try using different lengths of the x and y sine tables, get someone else to draw the charset and get someone else than JSL to draw the logo. Thanks in advance! I know I mention the glitchy magsys in every review of a new issue of Publication, but there's no avoiding it, the same bugs and glitches have been there forever, and they keep haunting the poor readers. I've given up on them ever fixing it, so I'll just break down and cry now. Boooo-hoooooo. As always, there are some coding articles aimed at complete newbies. I'm not sure what the point of trying to teach people C in a C-64 diskmag is, but at least it's about coding and not Formula 1. Richard's article "Making of ... Jeffy" is the highlight of the mag for me. I'd already read other tutorial style articles by Richard, which usually focus on pointless stuff like the fact that he loaded up tasm before coding, but this article is more extreme than ever. Reading detailed desriptions of how he used Amica Paint to draw rectangles made me laugh out loud several times. For the benefit of those of our readers who couldn't be bothered to read Publication, I'll provide some highlights here: "How was I to draw the game graphics using Amica Paint? Simple as that, I prepared the rectangle, using the rectangle option. I done a rectangle in the inner layer and also the outer layer. After I done this, I filled the black space (inside both rectangles) using white. Now we had a simple white outline." "I activated the zoomlens, so that when I was plotting the colours around the border, I did not do a bad job with it." "Then for the final touch, I added my initials to the bottom corner or the game screen. Then I froze the pic and turned it to vidcom format." Amazing, isn't it? It doesn't stop there, though, I have to share the following gem with you as well: "So I created ass.bat to assemble, and I also used build.bat to assemble again, link and crunch. Such a simple thing to do." Indeed, such a simple way to give your readers nightmares about nasty Richard with his ass bat! If it hadn't been for this kickass article, this issue had sucked badly. Come on people, it's time for you to decide whether you're ever going to do anything about this mag or just stop releasing it! Attitude #9 As I am typing this in the slave PC Attitude is open with Linus' music playing on the main computer in the room. I have to say I enjoyed this issue very much. Only a few minor problems were there for me. But let us talk about them later. [Puterman] One problem was that large parts of this issue bored me. My expectations were really high after issue #8, but this one didn't quite live up to them. Maybe I was just in a lousy datamood when I was reading it... [Nightlord] First of all I can not stress how great I think the news chapter is. This is the way a diskmag should treat one of its most important chapters. Taper has done an incredible job by not only compiling stuff that is actually "news" but also for putting it all together in an informative and serious yet fun way. My second pile of thanks should go to Cactus for the Charts chapter. I am one of those who still think charts and competition are important. The mag charts are the only place where you get a sniff of a present day comparison. There obviously are enough votesheets. I hope VN also goes back to having a charts chapter after this example. A personal side note here: I think that the 4K category is kind of pointless. Just like having a one-file demo category is pointless. Anyway the positive stuff keeps coming as I go on reading the other chapters. The demo reviews are very detailed and mostly well written. Each aspect of demo making is very carefully analyzed by the reviewers. The reviews here include comments on some aspects of the demos that no one else mentioned before. That is what I like about the level of detail. On the negative side, I must say that I felt at the second part of reviews the division of code, gfx and music reviews into separate parts kept the reviewers from reflecting on the overall impact of products. May I humbly suggest adding an overall wrap-up part in each review to remedy that? [Puterman] I agree that this sort of analysis doesn't work. The only sort of demo analysis that makes sense is the kind that we do, for obvious reasons. (That we're the best, that is.) [Nightlord] I especially enjoyed reading TCH's text, both in the gfx and demo reviews. He has a writing style which makes me picture a guy speaking with a smile on his face. That provides a relaxed mood of reading. He also manages to present his ideas with grace and clarity. I'm looking forward to reading more from him in the next issue. The article on cross-development by RRR was a bit boring for me. It does not present anything that has not been said before. Maybe all diskmag editors of the world should come together and agree not to write about some classical diskmag subjects for a while. These should include cross-development (good or bad), is the scene dead, should demos be arty or technical etc... Now comes my most negative comment for this issue. The self voting problem chapter. I was quite disturbed with the way this chapter was put together and especially the way it was concluded. It is supposed to be a collection of other peoples ideas. A poll that is. However I think Cactus tried to bend it a little bit. The final conclusion that the elite do not care about self voting but lamers do, is NOT reflecting the opinion poll there. That is a personal conclusion of Cactus. Notice I am not talking about the self voting thing itself. I am disturbed by the way the opinion poll is handled. I think it is not elegant journalism. [Puterman] On the other hand we're talking about a diskmag. It's not often you see any kind of journalism in them. [Nightlord] But overall I really liked this issue. And additional congratulations on the short time between this one and the last. Hopefully we will see another nice issue of Attitude in March or something... Whatever happened to the bi-monthly releases of VN by the way? [Puterman] Yes, and whatever happened to the monthly releases of The Crest? Euhmmm...