|Written by Toms on 19 December 2010|
|When the demogroup Spaceballs released State of the Art on Amiga in 1992, it was a revolution. At that time, everybody tried to break the latest polygon count record but nothing like that in this masterpiece of the demoscene history. The recipe was quite simple: techno music, a dancing girl and some ecstasy effects. I guess that many CPC sceners dreamed to do the same one day. 18 years later, NoRecess / Condense is back with Phreaks.|
State of the Art is one of these demos who fed the endless debate « code vs design » because even if it featured some technical stuff, the main interest was the overall design. You could show it to anyone and it was quite new at that time! But in my opinion, it was a stupid debate as the code AND the design must be at the top in a demo. However, such a demo (led by the design) has never been released on CPC, it was about time!
Above all, even if I prefer originality, I like the idea to try to do the same stuff on a less powerfull platform. That's demomaking.
MORE PHRAMES, PHANKS EXOMIZER!
The deal is to display an animation (a mysterious dancing guy) but due to the RAM limitation, it can quickly become hardcore to store enough frames. The technic used (delta packing) is a good choice, one stores the differences between 2 frames and we only display them. But the hard thing is to find the best data structure to allow a maximum frame storage.
Targhan / Arkos did a nice attempt with Midline Process in 2004. While the CPC displayed the animation on the screen, it loaded the datas for the next frames thanks to rocking FDC routines. It was a great idea because there was no real length constraint. However, the demo was rythmed by the floppy drive.
Two years ago, NoRecess tried this kind of animation in Phat 2. It was fullscreen with a byte precision (4x4 blocs) but the sequences were too short and jerky. Actually the datas were all crunched and stored in RAM. So, he continued in this way to improve his routines and now he can store more frames with a better precision. A custom version of Exomizer helped him a lot but of course it's not enough, NoRecess had to use cunning to find the best data structure.
So the quantity of frames and the precision are perhaps better, but it's so slow!
DESIGN SHOULD HIDE THE LIMITATIONS
In this kind of demos, the main interest is to be very dynamic and to rock everything. The slowness breaks the dynamism and makes the demo a bit boring. I know that the number of frames was limited, but it should have been interesting to play with this constraint by alternating voluntarily very jerked animation with smoother one, all well synchronized with the music. And why not load datas from the disc as in Midline Process while the writer is displayed?
In fact, I'm waiting for being surprised when I'm watching a demo. And sadly, Phreaks fails to this point, it's boring. However, I noticed the effort for the rasters in the background which is a nice idea to add some motion... Without forgetting the antialiasing on the dancer that is visually pleasant.
Now I would like to write some words about the graphics. CeD, how the hell could you do that to us?! Those ugly sprites in the foreground, the TV border, some palettes... I really like what you did in the past with Barjack (thinking of Rebellion), but I have to admit that you weren't at the top in Phreaks! Please stop drawing with Paint and return back on OCP! Making some stunning GFX on CPC needs more than some hours at the coffe break.
I haven't spoken about the music yet... It's a very important point in this kind of demos because as I said before, the design leads all the stuff. Some passages are nice but... Please Tom&Jerry, techno music isn't of your generation! As my little brother would say: « it would be as well to ask JPMtrax to compose with the Ben Daglish style. »
NO DESIGN, NO CHOCOLATE
It's sad because NoRecess could have made an awesome demo with his solid code, but as in the last Condense releases it lacks a good design and polishing. I really hope that NoRecess will work on that in the future. Hire a designer!
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