Skyhigh 20 Interview with Michael 'TTS' Piepgras

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Interview with Michael 'TTS' Piepgras

Yoho... Another interview, another scene celeb.
My victim this time should be known to almost every-
body in the C64 scene of today. Besides being one of
my best friends in the scene, he is also one of the
best coders ever on this lovely computer. I guess
most of you might have guessed who this particulary
person is.. Otherwise I can give you some more hints...
He is one of my earlier group pals. He has invented
several routines for the c64 and he is addicted to
coffee.. Yep there you have it... I proudly present my
cool buddy and topnotch coder: TTS..

- (Coffee, thats the word I like to hear. "Prost". Well
in my opinion I'm not one of the best C64 coders, this
honour should go to guys like:
Graham/Oxy, Bob/Censor, Flamingo/Light, etc.)

+ Yoho TTS, let me start by saying that I'm very happy
to get the pleasure of interviewing you for Skyhigh.
You and I have had plenty of glorious moments in the
past, and I am sure that more will follow in the future.
But before I bapple away I better get a hold on my-
self and get started. As always I would like you to
give all the readers an introduction of the person be
hind the 3 wellknown letters TTS.

- TTS, "TurbinenTankSchiff", no, of course not, it
means "TeaTeaAss!"
Well, you wanted to know something about my person,
I'm counting 25 years, and I started on the C64 in the
glorious year 1982, when I got my first C64. This was
of course not my first experience with computers, in
spring of 1981 I stepped into the world of binary ma-
thematics on an AppleII. Then I bought a Sinclair ZX81
and some month later the first Basic codes were fi-
nished. Some cool?? games in the 1024 Bytes Memory
of the ZX81. Then in 1988 I started coding Assembler
on C64 and groups like TIF, Gloom and now Oxyron
passed my life.

+So how did this entire computerthing start out for
you. What I would like to know is ofcourse things like
When did you get your computer(s), what groups have
you been into, when did you enter the scene for real,
why did you chose coding as your way into the c64
world... Stuff like that.

- I think the Question one and two have been answe-
red before, so I'll continue with the last part of it.
Well, I entered the scene, coz all my friends were
working on the C64 and of coz I met several cool guys
in that socalled scene. Why did I code that stuff?
Uhhh, well, hmmm, probably you have seen that our
(my) design is not that good, I should better say,
there is no! So I always coded technical parts, as I
really like it, to do some mathematics like, Fractals,
Plots, Bobs, Vectors, Vectors, Vectors and Vectors.
Well I forgot to say Vectors.

+Well these few questions got it all started up real
nice. So why not continue in the same style... Gloom..
Yep that is a group which some of us do remember
quite well. I know that this group also ment something
to you. I guess most of the readers know (or at least
have heard !) that Gloom were the fundamental basis
of the worldknown Oxyron. Could you please fill in
the story about what went wrong with Gloom and why
you started up this new group.

- Thats really easy, we tried to organize a Party, but
"shit happens" so to speak in demo ways, so we, Axis,
Graham, AKC, Yazoo, Ego, Dave and me decided to make
a new group with only the "cool" members. So we took
the name Oxyron (Oxyrynchos is a part of the land in
the ancient Egypt)

+Many people have stated that Yazoo were the actu-
al founder of Oxyron. Somehow I feel (and know) that
you are not of the same opinion. But fact is that he
was a part of the group once. Besides him I also re-
call dudes like : Andre, Kirk, Amarok and some more.
Who has also been a part of this cool fleet. Do you
remember anymore, and do you know what has happend
to them.

- Well, the story of the birth of Oxyron was just told,
and the other member I also crunched into the last
question, so what to tell? I really would like to know
what guys like Ego and Elegance are doing nowadays,
coz I haven't heard of them for ages. Well the ever-
lasting problem Yazoo vs. TTS.
I had some strange problems with him and so it would
be lame to say that he has not founded Oxyron, but
he has not, he was one of the about 8 guys who did!
It was not a single guy it was and it is a group ruled
by friendship, bugs and deadlines.

+Well time went on; people came and went, and the
Oxy posse were getting more and more famous. To no
ones surprise it was the ruling activity and the Coma
Light serie which brought you up in the charts. What
was the 'real' breakthrough for Oxyron? Personally I
think it was Coma Light 8 which was released at the
]rs party in 1992. But when do you think you reached
the top of the hill and started to march straight

- You're absolutely right, Coma Light 8 was the REAL
breakthrough as we won our first compo and it was
one of the best coded Oxy demos, as several different
and new effects were in it. I think I reached the top
because of activity, but I think that I'm not the right
person for the top, other guys are much better in my

+]rs 92, yeah that was a cool time. I had just entered
the scene (if you can call it like that...) and I was at
my first party ever. At that time I was in Blaze and
didn't really know jackshit. But something was inter-
preted deeply inside my wacky mind back then. Here
were this person everybody talked about:
the mighty TTS. I still clearly see it for me : This guy
dressed all in black sitting infront of his old bread-
case tipping away. I remember Scrapper told me that
you were coding on 11 different parts on the party to
finish them. And I still can see that coffee machine
standing between two monitors, brewing tons of cof-
fee. OK, to the question. Is it really TRUE that you
were working on that many parts simultaneously, and
is it also TRUE that you didn't get any sleep at the
party at all. And what else do you remember from the

- Yes, its TRUE, I really worked on lots of parts at
the same time, or nearly at the same time. Some lines
of code in the RGB plasma, the PlotScroll and two
complete parts I coded online at the party for the
compo Demo. And its right too, I really got no sleep
at this party and I can inform you that 76 hours
without any sleep is a really long time.

+ Anyway, I remember how deep you affected me back
then. Here I were, a simple lamer (or newcommer), and
the great TTS talked to me. Damn I were proud. This is
something much other top sceners could learn a lot
from!!!! Well, at that time you were what you could
call a workaholic. I know that you were swapping with
xx guys, you were editing your magazine, you were
constantly coding on something, you went to school
and you had a job (or 2??). How the fuck could you
manage all that? Didn't you ever sleep or eat? Please
tell us something from that time.

- Well, of coz I sleep and eat sometimes, but if had
an idea for an effect, then I started my computer and
coded it, the editing of a magazine was only to do it,
coz I was very interested in an own magazine

+Workaholics, hyperactivity, constantly releasing....
Words and phrases which were connected to Oxyron.
They were all True though. I guess not many sceners
now that you have the records in coding: Isn't it True
that you (all by yourself) coded 94 parts in 1993.. Or
was it that 94 of your parts were released that year,
or... Please tell us the story....

- I really don't know exactly how many parts I coded
on the C64, but I think it's about 350 different demo
parts. About 70 which were never released, 30 for TIF
100 for Gloom and 150 for Oxyron, and it is also true,
I coded 103 parts in the year 1993 and 94 of them
were released in that same year.

+Time went on and another Oxy coder started to earn
some fame. I am ofcourse talking about Axis. You have
often said that he could code even better than you
could. So why do you think that he never made it to
the top like you did?

- I don't know why he did not made the first place in
the charts, as I think he is better in coding than me,
so vote for him and vote for Graham as he is really a
genius coder.

+Talking about fame.. Was it a surprise to you, that
you reached the top and stayed there for so long?
Or was it your goal all the time to be the number 1.

- It was really surprising to me that the scene voted
me as one of the top coders. Its surprising that I ha-
ve been there in the last months as I have released
nothing on C64, while working on my Amiga Game.

+Fact is that you reached the top. And I believe that
you deserved it big time.
But.... time went on and Comalight 11 was released. In
this demo there was this famous fractal zoomer coded
by you. And then TTS was gone... What happened? Did
you loose interest in our lovely Commy or.... Please
tell us what really happend.

- There are several reasons why I stopped C64 work.
The first is, that my Hardware fucked up, but the se-
cond and main reason was the Tribute 64. e.g. 14 Demos
competed in the competition and only two demos were
no fake-demos, and one of them was ours. A third
reason also happened at the Tribute64, where some
guys told some bad words about some guys. I don't
want to say more here, coz otherwise I have to tell
some names and thats not my kind of style.

+So how long time is it since you stopped on the C64?
What was your last product for the C64 scene?

- The First steps on C64 I made in 1982, first assem-
bler codes in 1988, the first scene contact was in
1989. The last product I took part in was "Lameness
rules" which was released at the Tribute64 in Sweden.
There I coded the lame intro and the voxel routine
for the demo.

+The reason why I ask is that you are still in the top
3 (or top 5) in most magazines. Do you personally
think this is fair? Sure there are a lot of other inac-
tive guys in the charts aswell, but that doesn't make
it right I think. What do you have to say to the diffe-
rent mag editors about this. Should they continue
counting you or?

- I think it is not fair, coz I am not active at the mo-
ment and so I should not be in the charts. So keep me
in your minds but skip me outta the charts.

+If you shouldn't be at the top who should. Please
give us your C64 favourites.

Coder: Graham, Flamingo, Bob
Composer: Rob Hubbard,Chris Huelsbeck,Martin Galway
GFX'ers: Creeper, Cruise
Demogroup: Censor Design, Light
Crackergroup: what the hell is a cracker, something
to eat?
Cover Designer: Elegance
Demo: Spasmolytic
Game: Commando Lybia
Magazine: Skyhigh, this is no creeping, (Hi Creeper!)

+Well the C64 is not a part of your life anymore. (Or
atleast a very little part at the moment.) What is the
person TTS doing now? Is he on another machine or
has he dropped the computeractivities totally?

- Actually I am coding on Amiga, trying some Demos,
and I am working very hard on a Doom like game.

+Sure I knew that but I suppose many of the readers
didn't, so I had to ask. So now it is the Amiga which
counts for you. How is that working out for the Oxy
posse? Do you have the same popularity as on the C64
or are you still fighting to climb the charts.

- Hmm, famous on Amiga, no! We are working on it but
its a real problem, as you have to design your demos
on Amiga and Design is nothing you can calculate. So
we will never Climb that way in the Amiga Scene, but
it is enough to get in touch with people like Chaos/
ex-Sanity, Crash/Polka B., Azure and Tron/Artwork
and so on. These guys are really crazy in Coding and

+What have Oxyron released on the Amiga so far?

- A four disk demo called "Killing Time" released at
the Party 4
- Hopefully Dead, which is a onefile Demo done by Axis
- Temple of Decease, a onefile Demo done by TTS
which took part at Symposium'95 Compo (3rd Place)
- Darkness, a onefiler done by Axis
- Oxy95Meeting, a small intro of an internal meeting
- Scala4dentro, a ScalaIntro from the fourth Scala
- Exorcism, Demo released at the Party 5

+What about games. You are coding on a game or is
this not for the public to hear right now. If yes, then
please tell us a little about what it is and when it is
supposed to be released.

- Games, good question, which will have a long answer
I think. This is no advertising. Yes, I am working on a
game with a Doom like Engine in looking, but the rou-
tine is like completely different. It has some Elements
of a role playing game and of coz sveral features
like dynamic lights, lens flares, blur, etc. All the
routines are finished and so the only missing thing, is
some gfx for the monsters. Also Level 1-4 have been
created yet. I think it will be finished in the summer,
it will becalled "TRAPPED" and I hope some people
will like it.

+So the Amiga is the thing right now. What about PC's.
Do you have a PC too, or don't you like this wonderful
machine. Talking about PC, is there any chance of get
ting a PC demo from Oxyron in the future (if Axis will
save up the money and buy one - he he...) You have
also other members like Dante and Pythagoras who
have a PC; what about their ambitions for such a demo?

- I don't Know if there is any Oxyron PC future, as
the PC Demo Compo of the Party 5 is just over and I
am really depressed.

+Well TTS, let's drop the computer for a second..
What are you doing besides coding. What is your real
life like at the moment. What are you doing to stay
alive, and what is your future plans?

- Besides Computer? I don't know what to do without
a computer

+Do you ever regret having spent so much time on the
computers, instead of having a 'normal' life ?

- I don't understand this Question, as computers IS
the normal life!

+I know you pretty well, and I know that you have
quite a socalled real life aswell. I also know that you
have practised the art of Tai-Chi. Why this? Are you
into oriental stuff or is it to control your inner bal-
ance or ..? Maybe you are just a man of peace..
Any words about this?

- Tai Chi is nice to get really relaxed. When you sit in
front of a TV you relax but this is not as you try
some oriental stuff as you called it.

+Another thing I have noticed about you is your per-
sonality. Always dressed in black (or atleast you used
to..) and often you have a pentagram in your stuff;
that being your clothes, your gfx or code. Futhermore
I have listened to some of your 'Totes Musik' (That is
really weird music... believe me..).
What is this fascination of death and pentagrams all

- it is not the fascination of Death in this music, it is
the kind of describing the problems of our world in
some other world, in German I would say the informa-
tion between the lines. And of coz the gothic sounds
are very compatible to my ears.

+Well TT(aid)S... (For the readers this is just a joke
and a nickname that Michael has.. You should hear
what they call me : Piss Kid, Fish Shit or the really
bad one : Im Gebiss gefickt..(Is that spelled the right
way?)). Lets jump to something different; Brainstorm.
What is the first thing which come to your mind when
I say:

C64: Demos
Comalight: lots
Coffee: Now
Aldi pizza und Multi Vitaminen: Get'em
]rs 1992: Coma Light 8
Oxyron: Bullshit
Babyblaue Decke: Party
Vectors: Do it
Design: Calculatable?
Interviews: Biz Kid
Amiga 1200 - 4000: AGA
Musik: Schwarz
And at last - TTS: TurbinenTankSchiff

+Ok back to the computer again.. Do you ever think
about returning to the C64? Or said in another way:
Should we expect a comeback from your side to our
lovely scene? Or is it too late, has the scene out-
played itself by now.

- I think I won't return to the C64 scene with coding
some effects, but probably one day I get the ultimate
idea, and then, who knows?

+How do you see the future for the C64; will it die in
a few years or will it make it to year 2000?

- Year 2000? 19 years C64, this would be nice and I
think it is possible as some guys at this Party have
shown some really interesting routines. Those guys
can't be stopped, e.g. Graham, the ever coding maniac.

+How do you see the future for Oxyron on the C64.
Will Graham surprise the entire world and get hyper
active and continue the legend? Or maybe new coders
will be invited to join in and fight on the same side as
you; persons like Fuben has already joined in. So may
be it is just a question about time.

- You are right, Graham gets hyper active and is mor-
phing to a hyper Mutant Genius. He only codes Impos-
sibilities, I really don't understand what he makes.
Fuben is of course a very talented coder and I think
the scene will be able to watch some interesting

+Well, whatever happens I would like to wish you,and
my real friends in Oxyron, the best in the future.
Stay as you are, TRUE friends..

Yep I guess it is about time to wrap this up. So here
at last I will leave the keyboard to you. The subject
is free, so you have the opportunity to let of some
steam,greet you friends or whatever you feel pleased
to do..

- I would like to walk to a supermarket and buy some
new hands, as this interview really fucked up both of
them and so now:

+ Once again I will thank you for taking the time to
answer my questions and to help out with this inter-
view. Secondly I will use the opportunity to say hello
to my TRUE friends in Oxymox :

TTS, Axis, Scrapper(+Machine), Peace, Slide, Dante,
Pythagoras, Fuben, Asmodis, Graham, Starfox  and no
one else..... Stay as you are!!

And to you TTS, if you ever find the interest in the
C64 again, don't hesitate returning to the scene..

Best of luck..                   Biz Kid
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