Wake Up! team
|Written by Hicks on 30 April 2012|
|After the Batman Forever team, it’s time to focus on those who created one of the three biggest Amstrad CPC demos for these last ten years: Wake Up! |
1/ Hello to Eliot, Krusty, Voxfreax, Exin, McKlain and DMA-SC. My first question will be about the development time: what happened since January 2011? Do you consider that one year and a half is a long period to do such a demo?
Krusty: Between January and March, with Eliot, we quickly coded a demo supposed to be released one or two months after Forever, where it was presented as a preview state. There were few bugs to correct, graphics and music to include.
However, Batman Group released the best CPC demo during this party... Our work was totally crappy and it was mandatory to improve it a lot, and not only remove the minor bugs and so on.
Here is a bit of history, others will complete; I may be wrong in the dates. From March to July 2011 we coded the improvements of the existing effects, and we coded from scratch the new effects. This is the time when pictures were drawn. At the end of July, we gave a precise and strict timed script of the demo to DMA-SC. September to November was time to polish a bit the transitions to have them at 50Hz and do not ear strange things between effects as in “Bloc Us!”. DMA-SC gave us a good end part music and a good main part music too. However we found it not enough synchronized with the part, and DMA-SC stopped the music writing because he did not achieve to meet our expectations (I hope we did not demotivate him...).
In January, we asked to McKlain to write us the main music, after having simplified the script thanks to DMA-SC remarks and reduced our expectations. The final result obtained at the end of February was very good, although some of our expectations were not present, and allowed us not to change too much the duration of the effects.
One year and a half (Hey!! It is 15 months no 18 ;) !!) is a really long period, but none of us worked on it during the whole period. For example, almost no code was done between November and March. I think we worked quite fast: musics and pics are 100% new, and most of the code is 100% new too. Benediction never worked on such a big project, so I had to write my demo toolchain (set of cross-dev tools allowing to build the whole demo in one command line), the demo framework, various tools computing the datas of each effect... Which was quite time consuming. Eliot and I were not motivated at the same moments, which slowed down the process. I admit that I spent a lot of personal time on this project, I think you would be scared about knowing the real number of hours involved!
“Wake Up!” is an easy made demo (in my opinion, it needed far less researches and experiments than FS (From Scratch) or BF (Batman Forever)). But I think it was natural to spend more than one year to release it, because it is a big production (tons of different effects not based on the same kind of routines, many people involved, ...) subject to real life constraints (time is not extensible, time consuming real work, kids to take care, ...).
Eliot: I have the feeling “Wake Up!” had a short development time. Just consider that the demo was started in January 2011 and the 80% version was presented at the Forever C only 2 months later!!! It means that the Krusty's demo-system was done during this very short period as well as most of the effects... Then we added effects, transitions, made a real script, credits part... But like in every projects, we had several periods of slowing down, mainly due to my personal problems and some uncertainties about the fact we could get a music for the main part! The most irritating difficulty I faced during “Wake Up!” was the fact Krusty and I didn't use the same development tools and we lost a lot of time to modify the syntax when we were swapping our sources! And sometimes I modified the sources without watching the result by myself...
So CPC demomakers would have to consider that it's possible to release complex demos in about 1 year, which is a short period for a leisure!
Voxfreax: Although I am not a developer myself, I’d like to add some words to this question... Actually, the whole project was supposed to be a two-three-effects demo back then, but somehow we got more and more motivated to work on a bigger project and do a more solid work. That’s why the demo includes so many effects in the final version.
In my opinion, Batman Forever’s release was a clear message not only to Benediction, but to every active CPC demosceners, that the limits have been raised tremendously. Most importantly, it demonstrated that effects, which were considered impossible for 8bit computers, were possible and could be actually developed! So, when we actually watched Batman Forever, we already knew that we had to work even harder on our demo.
As far as I can remember, the main effects of “Wake Up!” were ready within the first 12 months; however, the polishing, some graphics (yes, I am slow!), music synchronization and CRTC adaptation (except that sick type 2) were the main reasons for the extra 6 months. Perhaps, it could be released some months earlier, but after “Bloc Us!” and its scrappy release from my side, I didn’t want to do the same mistake and release something that lacks in design...
Exin: What I think is, that we had to learn all these new things on the CPC. The demo is mostly made by people who are “new” to Benediction. The process to make such a big demo has to be learnt first. While Eliot is the only true oldskooler of us. I think we can speed up things for the next demo.
Batman Forever / Batman Group
2/ Which lesson did you learn with the release of Batman Forever, on the code, graphical and musical sides? Are you sensible to the technical aspect of a demo or only to the result? Why didn’t you use a trackload in WU! for example?
Krusty: First, never use a black background everywhere ;) I do not think we learnt a lot with BF, because they applied tons of well known tricks used in all platforms, except the CPC, and we are aware of the other scenes. But, BF imposes a new standard: all these tricks ignored by most of CPC sceners must now be taken into account!
Synchronization between visuals and sound is the most important thing at my eyes. The messages to kick the ass of the others is also mandatory, although CPC sceners seem to have lost this habit and feel insulted each time... BF shows a lot of innovative effects (for the CPC at least) which is not true anymore for WU. I think innovation must be mandatory in each good production.
Concerning the code, I have to admit that I am impressed by the way of coding of Rhino. A lot of effects are quite slow, BUT there is a good compromise with memory usage and effect configuration. I read the zoomscroll he put on cpcrulez. It is a good source of inspiration. By the way he must be very strict: he counted the duration of the initialization of its effect and does not play the music under interruption at this moment... I also disassembled some effects which I did not understand yet (the tunnel dots and the sinus dots). He uses very clever tricks instead of dumbly apply the algorithm of line to line splitting or RVI for doing uninteresting things. That is impressive too.
I am sensitive both for the technical aspect and the result. In WU the technical aspect is mainly the memory management to be able to fit all these things in memory. This impacts the results as several compromises must be taken in order to be able to store everything in memory. We did not planed to do a trackmo for WU. But, I also think that trackloading is mandatory in future big demos . If we lack of gfx in WU it is only because we had no memory left; with a trackmo, more fullscreen pictures would be present, the plasmas screens would be less empty, the musicians would not have to simplify there music in order to crunch it better... I am not sure that Eliot agrees, but if we will work on another big production, it will use trackloading. We will never develop our own trackloading library (because we are not able to do that ;) ), so we would need to use existing ones. Anyway, there are no public libraries available, whereas it is very common for C64. Targhan cannot easily spread his own routines, I hope someone else will do it. I think now, I would also prefer to watch a simple, but beautiful, demo than a technical demo.
Eliot: Imho, the most important lesson brought by Batman Forever is the fact any demo should be thought as a dynamic SHOW. It's what we aimed in WU! by synchronizing music and visuals, thanks to McKlain's talent!
The basic idea of WU! is to present a multi-effects demo stored in 128Kb, so the constraints are numerous and totally different from Batman Forever. And I like constraints! I don't say that one concept is better than the other... But I hope most of the people has thought “Wow! How can they make this without loading???”. Maybe we should have added a message “PLEASE REMOVE THE DISK NOW...” :)
Voxfreax: The most important of all, I guess... To be innovative and to expand our horizons from all the common stuff that have been coded and demonstrated for years! As a CPC scener, I am proud to have a killer-demo, such as Batman Forever! I liked the script, I enjoyed the effects and I did headbanging with the music. (OK, the latter is a lie ;)
However, I am a bit tired of all these black backgrounds in every CPC demo... The majority of CPC demos / intros is like this. That’s why I tried not to show something in black in our Wake Up! demo, which I do not actually know if it was a good or bad idea in the end… There are a lot of comments that embrace my POV regarding the colors and thus liked the colorful set being used in Wake Up!. However, there are people who feel that I went too far from the standard CPC-designing-norm... Time will show which opinion is right...
Exin: To write a loading system on a machine, where you don't have drive buffers or similar things requires a complex system of interrupts that synchronizes Sound, Graphics and Loading if you don't want to have silent loading screens. The guys of the Batman team had one coder for that exclusively. And Targhan was not 100% involved in this demo to deal with that. Krusty had to scrap the whole idea and did put most of the demo into ram to avoid that. Anyway, this is VERY common for Spectrum and Atari demos.
Also, I didn't learn a thing of the Batman demo, since the graphics were mostly converted from different original artists, but the demo itself had a good flow and better transitions than most C64 demos for example. But I think Krusty did have an idea or two to do one or two effects better. :D
3/ Your texts are often very harsh towards the old demosceners. What are the reactions of the mentioned people? Are you doing demomaking “just for fun” or do you definite your way differently?
Krusty: As I already said, such kind of text are mandatory, in my opinion, in order to stimulate others. CPC scene is a very demotivating scene: we had almost no reactions of the mentioned people in our texts. By the way, I am still waiting reactions for “Still the bests!”... We also had almost no reactions, neither positive nor negative, about the demo itself from these oldsceners.
Something surprising is that, globally, it seems that messages of WU were well accepted, whereas they were written exactly in the same way and intentions than for “Bloc Us !” which were considered as insulting.
Before doing WU, I though I was doing demomaking “just for fun”, but it is not true at all. WU was a real nightmare to finalize. I think that 75% of my time was lost in the finalizing stuff, CRTC transitions coding, screen always at 50Hz (I fail far less often than in FS ;)), effects transition coding, but not in the demo coding of the effects themselves. As I have little kids which sleep a lot, I am closed at home instead of boozing outside during the evening. So I have a lot of time to consecrate to CPC. I can be a lot active yet 1 or 2 years (the time of the MD). CPC also allows me to spend less time on my PhD ;) Maybe I do demomaking to spend time and code on a constraint platform and forget my crappy interpreted code at work. I was also too much sleepy between 2002 and 2007 and a bit less between 2007 and 2010. I have to do all the CPC stuff I did not do during these periods ;)
Eliot: Which reactions??? :) We even didn't get insult yet from Bdc-Ghost! To be demomaker is for me to have a competitive spirit... So breaking records, innovating or cleverly cheating should be the daily activity of any demomaker, as it was in the past of these old demosceners, with provocating messages... (“Hey, my scroll is bigger than yours!”) So, the reaction of the real demomakers should be a better demo or better effects...
Voxfreax: We are not trying to be aggressive, neither rude to the rest of the sceners. I am now able to realize that some of the messages that were transmitted to the scene (as the ones in Bloc Us!) were perceived in a totally different manner (compared to what we actually wanted) by some people. We never underestimated anyone, and of course we never denied help to someone! We always strived for the scene and we will continue on this way. What Benediction wants is a strong and cooperative scene, and Wake Up! is a great example of collaborative work. I am positive that the majority of the people are now able to understand what we aimed for with the release of Bloc Us!, even if we manage to straighten things out and succeed it with Wake Up!.
As far as the “demomaking” is concerned, I’d say that I translate “demomaking” to “for fun but also competition” words. I admit that I mainly consider CPCing more as a hobby rather than an addiction (at least at the moment), but that doesn’t mean that I am not trying to be competitive to other fellow designers. Competition and criticism (when done in an appropriate way) can help someone to improve himself / herself. That’s what I believe from day#1.
Exin: For me it is something like living up things that I didn't have when i was young. When I was younger, I was already not that connected to anybody involved and people like Kangaroo were not helping much. :D
From what I heard or seen, the CPC oldskoolers just shrugged and did say nothing. As usual. :D I hope Shap will release his secret megademo one day. :D
4/ I know that you met some problems to get a music which sticks with the visuals. Can DMA-SC and McKlain explain how they work on the musical side? And as you are new musicians on CPC, can you explain us how did you discover this computer? Were you abused, deprived of food and shamefully exploited by Benediction during the development? :)
DMA-SC: I composed the end-tune featured in this production. It was done using Arkos Tracker, an emulation-tracker running under Windows. It wasn't a very pleasant task to me as this tracker uses a keyboard layout far from conventional trackers (on cut / copy / paste functions, song / instruments navigation and replay short-cuts). Though I am not dissatisfied with the result.
I've also been trying to compose the tune for the main part. One was finished, but it wasn't up to the synchronization wishes of the team. Effects and transitions couldn't be re-timed to match the synch points I envisaged.
So I tried again something new. But the ultra-precise synch required too much work for me, and I didn't manage to get an interesting result with all those “not in rhythm” synch points (using very short and not “on the beat” timings for the various effects and transitions). So this, along my discomfort on the tracker, made me resign on this task.
Exin: I wish I could speak for them. But we are really in need for a musician. We are 2 coders, 2 graphicians. But no musician. :(
McKlain: To make music for the CPC I use Arkos Tracker, wich I started using about a year ago. It’s a bit unstable sometimes but it works (Targhan / Arkos, is there a new version in the work? pleaaaase...). Before that I never used any trackers on the CPC, cause I only have an unexpanded CPC 464 (bought to me by my parents in 1986) and I never knew about the scene while I was using it. So with no disk drive and no contacts you are just limited to games, whatever programs your friends shared with you (on tape) and anything that you could find on Amstrad magazines.
In 1992 I stopped using the CPC and in 1994 I bought my first PC. After adding a soundcard to it I started to get interested in making music with the computer. I found about trackers (Scream Tracker, then Impulse Tracker), discovered the demoscene, the amstrad emulators and started to make music on my own. A few years later I moved away from Impulse Tracker and began to use Propellerheads Reason to make my music, and a year ago I heard about Arkos and started to experiment with making music for the Amstrad. But I wasn’t getting any serious until a friend from the Amstrad.es forums challenged me to make the music for his experimental game “Blastardo”. Right now I’m having a lot more fun making music for the AY than doing things with Reason.
To make the soundtrack for the demo, I first read the documentation, the script which detailed the effects and the basic “mood” and ideas for the music. Then I read the technical side of it, with the duration of every effect, etc. and honestly it was too complicated for me. If Benediction were a band (mmm... they already are...) I would be the tour guest drummer, so let’s keep things simple.
In the end I just watched a preview video of the demo that the guys sent me and started to imagine in my head the music for every part. Well, and also making noises with my mouth while watching it and composing while in the shower and rushing out to write it on Arkos, that was basically how I made the music.
I tried to stick to the script as much as possible, but there were also a lot of changes in the timing and length of the effects to fit the new music (and the other way around). In this kind of production there needs to be a compromise between musicality and synchronisation with the visuals, you can’t just launch some note or effect in random places, everything has to follow the rhythm as much as possible. Unless that you want a free-jazz soundtrack.
It was a long process and the Benediction guys were very helpful and supportive during the creation of the soundtrack for Wake Up!. I have no complains.
5/ Autocritic question. What do you plan to change in the future, on your way of working or approach of a demo? From my point of view, the biggest advantage of WU! is the global dynamic (lot of effects in few times), but the biggest drawback is the absence of a “killer effect”.
Krusty: I think we will all agree on that: it is necessary to write a general script BEFORE doing anything else for the demo. Then everybody works on his part, and, eventually, the script evolves if needed. Tasks need to be quite well spread at the beginning with coherent deadlines. It is necessary to stop to work on a screen without trying to permanently improve it. However, it has not to be done in a too much professional way, in order to stay fun. Of course time to consecrate to CPC fluctuates with time, and will mostly reduce with time, for everybody. So this point must also be taken into account when planning things.
Design must be far more important than code. We can clearly see that with BU which is, in my opinion, a high technical demo, but which is not enjoyable to see because Voxfreax had less than 2 weeks to work on it... and I did not polished transitions and so on.
I am not sure of the following point. It is maybe better to work with less people in order to be sure to not lost motivation and time by using different CPC working calendars (for example Hicks alone for demo code, player). Or, it may be better to work with far more people, whatever their group. Each guy being highly specialized in one precise thing, in order to have a demo quickly made, meeting the state of the art standards everywhere (for example Rhino for demo, arnoldemu for track loading, Madram for initial player).
In any case, I think it is better to have a lot of effects displayed on a short time in order to have a not too boring show. FS has this drawback. Onescreen demos must be called intros and not demos ;)
There is no killer effect in WU, because we wanted to quickly do a simple demo. We have not taken time to experiment original things. However the zoomscroll was supposed to be a killer effect ;) The killer thing is also to have so many things in memory, both for the main part and the end part. I think WU is well perceived ONLY because we did a script with timing / transitions in order to mix well code / demo / music (even if the script was done after coding the effect). As CPC scene is almost dead it is also quite easy to release a not so bad demo in comparison to the others of the same period...
Nowadays, to have a demo with a killer effect, you need to work several months on it (or to have worked several years on various tests and experiments in order to obtain the effect). Why the sequel of FS is not yet released, whereas the demo was done in 2009? Personally, I am not sure I want to take this time on a demo.
Eliot: We improvised too many things in Wake Up! and I think the demo has a lack of visual coherence due to the effects we add and add without having thought before. Another annoying point for me is that the screen is sometimes empty during a too long time and maybe some effects could have been shortened or gotten longer.
Voxfreax: Hmmm... Interesting question! I’d say to never do a demo without a final script from the very beginning! While working on Wake Up!, Krusty and myself reached “dead-ends” in the overall design process, because there wasn’t a clear one from the start.
Of course, the main reason for the above is the fact that we were all inexperienced of working on such a big and dynamic demo. But without pain, no gain! Watching our demo now, I have to admit that the demo could be even better, in case we had a proper script from the very beginning. I know that we started working on a three-effects demo, and we finally released one of the most dynamic demos in CPC demo-history, but even now I believe that things would be better with a script in the very first place. Of course, I am not underestimating the work done, (which was huge – trust me!), but I strongly believe that the script is the most important step to start working properly on a potential demo...
Exin: Hey hey, give Krusty some time, ok? Like a few months. Then he will master a fluid Phong shaded torus. ;-)
6/ I would be interested to know if each of you were interested in the whole demoscene, and what are your favorite computers and demos, except CPC? Where did you get inspiration while doing Wake Up! or Stop that nyan cat! ? For example, wave and credit parts are clearly influenced by Atari ST...
Krusty: I am mainly interested with oldskool scenes. I know almost nothing from the PC scene except work of ASD, Andromeda, Conspiracy, Equinox, Farbrausch, Razor 1911... I am a big fan of C64 demos and SID sound (I am listening Jonathan Dunn games musics on my C64 near me, right now). My C64 references may be Smash Design, even if it is often ugly, Booze Design, Crest, Oxyron, Reflex... I think there is a big source of inspiration in this machine. The best demos on C64 are far better than the best demos on CPC, in my opinion. I think it is because C64 guys try to do things feasible on better platforms, while old CPC guys want to do things only feasible on CPC (totally stupid point of view in my opinion). People doing the demos are different than the people having written the trackloader. In the CPC scene, the old guys want to master everything, are not able to use piece of code of others, and release nothing... I watched also several zx spectrum demos. There are several pieces of art there, both in term of code and in term of concepts. Atari ST is also a great source of inspiration, but I lost mine (with my Amiga 500) 10 years ago... so I mainly watch youtube videos. Demos are really cool on this machine and give inspiration for “newskool” effects for CPC. Amiga 500 demos are also a good source of inspiration, especially for the transitions.
Yes, wave and credit parts come from Flip-o-demo by Oxygene, my favorite old demo on ST. Falling bars at the beginning of the demo come from Desert Dream on Amiga 500. Shit part comes from Deus ex Machina on C64. However, I hope that, at least, the rotating box is an original concept. My soft plasmas / bumps are also mainly inspired by C64 rather than by CPC...
Desert Dream, C64 version
Eliot: Yes, it's maybe the dark side of the spoon... :) I hope in the future we'll be able to create a real Benediction's touch. I trust in Voxfreax but fear the Exin's ponies with boobs... ;)
I'm generally impressed by the C64 releases, even if master-pieces are not so common. But even in an average C64 demo, there is often a lot of interesting and original ideas.
Voxfreax: I am interested mainly in the 8bit and 16bit scenes. To be more precise, I follow the c64, ZX, Atari (8bit and 16bit) and Amiga scenes. I have to admit that I am not a big follower of the PC era... Of course I watch some demos, but not many...
I strongly believe that many interesting ideas can be created watching the Atari ST and c64 scenes for example, which have some amazing demos. Nevertheless, the ZX scene is also doing well, with some latest kick-ass prods as well. I might not working on any of these platforms at the moment, but this doesn’t mean that I am not interested in them… At the moment, don’t be surprised if you see a thumb up / piggie / thumb down in a ZX demo on pouet for instance ;)
Regarding the design of Wake Up! now, a lot of color-selections have been inspired from the c64 demos. Well, the CPC palette is more vivid than the c64’s one, but there are a lot of nice c64ish color-combinations that can be achieved on CPC as well.
What I’d like to advise the users of every platform is to watch the demos running on the real thing (if they have one, of course). Wake Up! is an example of this trend… Although we used emulators during the demo’s implementation in order to ease our work sometimes, EVERYTHING was finalized and checked on the real machine...
Exin: As for me, I'm interested in any kind of weird platform. I think I like them all equally. But soon I will get my hands on a NEC PC-8801... I like lots of demos...too many to choose from.
McKlain: I’ve been interested in the demoscene since I first watched “Second Reality” from Future Crew on my 486DX2. I was blown away by the music, the effects, the synchronisation. It was perfect and like anything I’ve ever heard or seen before. It gave me goosebumps every time I watched it, really.
On the PC I have a lot of favourite demos, old and new, too much to tell. Also a few of the classic Amiga demos like Desert Dream (I don’t like the new Amiga stuff too much). I don’t know much about the Atari ST demoscene, to be honest. On the 8bit side I really like some of the stuff that they have been putting out lately on the C64, both technically and artistically (well, and musically). And also some of the Atari 8bit demos that take advantage of the insane video chip from those computers. There are pretty amazing productions on the Speccy too.
Sometimes I just get into YouTube to watch demos, jumping from one system to another. It’s fantastic how much demoscene material you can find in there.
Wake Up! credit part
Flip-o-Demo credit part
7/ Some people think that everything has already been done on the oldskool platforms, and that we still do the same things. For example, we always see a lot of plasmas, rotozooms, scrolls and else. Do you plan to improve these effects in your next prods, or to switch to less oldskool ones? Do graphicians and musicians have new ideas of drawings or music writing?
Krusty: It is always possible to improve existing effects, but I am not sure I want to improve "oldskool" like effects (except fot he 30 years old mega demo). A lot of effects done on other machines have not been done on the CPC. Maybe it would be good to see them, but maybe it would not be good because of their lack of originality. I do not know yet my position on that. However, in BF there are no new or original effects at all: each of them has already been seen on another computer, and it works quite well! So, I do not think it is a real problem to use already seen effects, especially when it is the first time on the platform. In my opinion, something never done on CPC is something newskool.
There are more scrollers than (soft) plasmas or rotozooms on CPC, and I would not classify them as being oldskool stuff for the CPC ;) I admit that I lack of originality ;) So I am not sure I will be able to design new kinds of effects. However designers like Voxfreax or Exin, or guys like Eliot (the guy who finds tons of tricks to do strange things) are here to imagine things which need to be coded after. As there are few demos really mixing hard and soft technics, I think we can imagine tons of original effects taking care of that. Overlanders achieved to do orignal things in TAF by using well known different technics (shade bobs, texture deformation, splitting, vertical rasters) and mixing them in a clever way.
Eliot: On my own, I have no special axis for the future but I want to continue to learn CRTC after Wake Up!. The interesting thing in coding an effect is to bring something better or new. I like the fact to mix hardware and software technics in an effect, especially for the ease in repeating a sequence and organize the visible screen in the way we want. We could also imagine better transitions with CRTC!
Voxfreax: Well, these people are not so wrong! If I can recall well, almost 90% of the CPC demos are mainly scroller demos. I do not say that I haven’t enjoyed some of them, but we had to do some steps beyond and I believe that the people involved in the demoscene understood this well. I find the last two, three years as the best of CPC history, as far as demomaking is concerned...
For example, In 2009 From Scratch demonstrated effects that couldn’t be achieved before... Then, in 2011, Batman Forever shocked the whole demoworld with new effects that no one believed they could be actually developed not only on a CPC, but in the whole 8bit era! During the same year, Bloc Us! also showed some innovative effects for the first time as well, despite the fact that this demo was never polished... So, my opinion is that a lot of new effects can be coded on our machine! The real challenge is up to which limit a coder’s mind can reach, how a designer can show the best of this effect and how the music can be totally synchronized! Everyone has to work hard, and that’s good ;)
Regarding my drawing style, I’d say that I am still learning and my level could improve a lot. I try to build a unique, voxy style, but I am not sure if my logos or designs are always well-accepted by the majority of the sceners... But that’s the meaning, no? Actually, it would be strange if everyone was fond of my work ;)
Exin: As for Graphics, there are always new themes and trends to follow. As for the musics, some trends are hard to simulate with an AY chip. I try to convince Krusty to write a few standard routines for line drawing and picture manipulation, which might pave a way for a demo editor for PC like those dozens of editors for PC demos, which look like some video-editor and make visualizing difficult things easy.
McKlain: New ideas about music writing... maybe trying to bring some demoscene composing styles to the Amstrad, styles that aren’t too common on our platform. I want to hear something like the music from “Stargazer” by Orb & Andromeda, but in AY version.
8/ Almost all the team was present at Revision 2012. What are your impressions in general about the party, and in particular about the reception of your two entries? Do you plan to release your next demos in other big parties?
Krusty: It was a good thing that all active Benediction members were present there. It is easier to talk and it is good to see in real people you are weekly or even daily talking with them on the Internet. I can now put an accent on Voxfrrreax face. Exin hairs are more and more long, while mine are more and more short.
Before Revision, I only attended to CPC parties, with a maximum of 50 people... It is sure that this is not the same thing. I have not recognized the description made by Roudoudou about big parties ten years ago. It was a great moment for me, I saw nice things, nice people, strange people too. I regret to not have participated sooner to such kind of big event. As I am interested in the other platforms, I really enjoyed to see the none oldskool competitions too.
I am happy of the reception of the two entries, but I am sure that it is mainly because of the naked girls, and the burning cat, and not because of the technicity (or lack of technicity ;)) of the prods. Most people do not know the CPC (that's why the seminar was important). I think few people noticed that WU was not a trackmo, because they are used to trackmo with C64 and Amiga. I think few people noticed that the rendering engine of the 4K is memory consuming because there is no char mode (and they are not aware of that). I think few people noticed that such kind of demos can’t be done in 15 days or at party place, in comparison to several other productions presented.
Releasing CPC things for such kind of parties is very great to promote the CPC (and attract newcomers, which is very important at this moment) which is not very well known. However, there are not a lot of (good) releases at CPC only parties, and releasing at big parties will decrease the number of release at CPC parties... which is quite a bad thing. Personally, I released several things at CPC parties without having interesting competitors (Croco Chanel 4, Castellum Secretum 2, ReSeT #0), so (sorry Eliot) I will prefer to release my stuffs at big parties where I can lose the competitions, because there are better things presented, instead of winning the competition because I am alone to compete... However, Amstrad Expo 2010 was an interesting year with several people releasing original things in the various contests. But it is not the rule...
Krusty, Voxfreax, Eliot and a spy
Eliot: Being present at such a big demoparty is a real nice experience! I really suggest to everyone involved in the scene to go there! I was very curious and (a little bit anxious!) to see Wake Up! shown on the big screen in front of about 700 persons who don't know our CPC a lot... I found the audience respectful, which was important for me. Getting some applause is a nice feeling! Be sure that Exin's big picture received a lot of applauses!!!
Releasing CPC demos in demoparties is a good medium of promotion for our scene. But not with the old-fashioned style! :)
Voxfreax: I have to admit that Revision 2012 was one of the greatest experiences of my life! It was the first time I attended such a huge party and I am really happy that I took the right decision to travel to Germany and be there! Nevertheless, the party wouldn’t be the same without all these crazy CPC guys that I met there!
Concerning the ranking now, when I was informed of the results, I was a bit disappointed with the (biased) voting by the people there. Now, with a clearer mind and an intention to express a more objective opinion, I believe that both third places are fair enough. Ok, Amiga500 shouldn’t be competing in the oldskool demo compo, but that’s something we have to live with, I guess... Apart from the above, the c64 scene is huge compared to ours; therefore their productions can get more popular and receive more votes...
I strongly believe that releasing a demo during a big demoparty is beneficial for our scene! People that had no clue about Amstrad CPC are getting interested to launch (at least) an emulator! As I wrote in PnP some days ago, a lot of non-CPC-related sceners showed a great interest in CPC during Revision, so (most possibly) there will be people trying to discover our little scene (bonefish is a great example!). Perhaps the most impressive achievement is the fact that the attendance in Krusty's seminar was beyond any expectations (full classroom!!!). This is actually the greatest prize for all of us, who want a broader scene!
Regarding our future productions now, I am a big fan of an old ritual: Never speak about something, when you haven’t even started working on it! That said, I cannot really answer in this question, since I do not know if we gonna release something else... At the moment, the only sure thing is our participation in the 30yo MD, with one part and the intro. Apart from the above, nothing else is planned... I am not saying that BND will retire – obviously we are here to stay and kick some asses - ; I just don’t know!
I’d like to add that Wake Up! was a great lesson for us, 100% beneficial for our team (since we worked for the first time as a true team), and that our future productions will approach a more mature perspective. We are all still young, and keen on learning from our experiences :)
Exin: Hey! Three entries! I got first place at the ANSI graphics competition! :P
It took me a while to talk the CPC guys into going to bigger events other than their usual small meetings. As for me, I go to bigger parties than Revision for over 15 years now...
But I find it kinda counter-productive that PC demomakers get the biggest money and prizes despite the fact that they work in bigger companies with high end machines already and do barely need a new high end graphics card and 1000€ for their shit Demos. :D
PC demo making has never been easier. A few groups have some Shader-nerds but still lack aestetic visuals. 80% of all demo groups on the PC don't even have a decent graphician and only make a techno soundtrack like 20 years ago, despite the fact that they could do any kind of music. :(
Some people might despise the fact that I like the "new" my little pony show. But at least their fans are a bit more creative than what's going on in the PC demo scene.
PS, besides my friends, the TRSI guys were the only people who congratulated me to my picture and our demo.... Greets to Streetuff, Peiselulli & co.
9/ As the name indicates it, you are trying to wake up the CPC scene with this demo. In addition to that, how do you think it possible to bring more motivation and more activity on CPC? Do you really think that it’s possible to “wake up” the old of the old after all these years of inactivity, and that there is an interest to do that? Maybe you miss the scrolltexts? :)
Krusty: You are totally right, the aim of WU, as all our other projects since last year, was to wake up the CPC scene. Yes, it is possible to bring more motivation and more activity on CPC. In my opinion, there are several ways to bring motivation and activity: releasing not too much crappy things (novel effects, better coded effects, funny things for CPC meetings), presenting new CPC stuff at events where CPC is not well known, being opened to the newcomers, doing all the public stuff in English, contacting talented people of other platforms if you would like to work with them. I think it works quite well for attracting newcomers. But, trying to motivate old sceners is energy consuming, and without any positive feedback it fails. I can affirm that we failed in our task ;) So, I am no more interested with the old inactive CPC demosceners. It is not possible anymore to "wake up" the old: we did enough efforts without any interesting results, it is too much energy consuming, and I do not want to lose my motivation because of them. Attracting newcomers with another culture and competences is far more interesting and motivating. We can only count on them for the next interesting releases. Of course, I am talking of demosceners. I think there is an active game creation scene. But I am not a gamer and I am not interested in it.
I do not miss scrolltexts, I am not fond of demos with a scroller inside. I prefer demos displaying few texts at some moment (as for FS, BF, WU) to give short messages.
Eliot: Any good demo should be a source of motivation for a real demomaker! I'm not sure that it's important to try to wake up the old legends. I have respects for what they released in their era but maybe most of them are really not motivated or able anymore to compete with the actual standards. But if one of them makes me wrong, it'll be a good surprise!! :)
Voxfreax: Although I am somehow new blood in our scene, I am sometimes annoyed with the fact that only few groups are actually working on something... It’s obvious that the CPC scene has a big problem of inactivity! So, yes, our goal, with Wake Up!, is to wake every inactive scener up and make him turn on that dusty CTM monitor and start coding/composing/designing once again!
Some messages also in “Wake Up!” can be perceived as aggressive (OVL is dead but CPC is still alive) but they always contain some truth in them… It’s what we tried to do in Bloc Us! with Krusty and Ultrasyd... Even though we received a lot of messages criticizing our big “bollocks” regarding our CPC-scene-attack in “Bloc Us!” demo, I am happy to see that (with the release of Wake Up!) the same people now understand what we aimed for in the very first place with that release.
Nevertheless, the main intention of “Wake Up!” was to also attract new people and make them inquire about CPC... That’s why we showed it in a big projector in front of 600 people! Let’s see what we will achieve...
Exin: There are lots of people who like to try new things. I'm sure this and the Batman demo might get some fresh people and ideas into the scene and maybe we could get some of the old members to FINALLY RELEASE THEIR STUFF! Yes, I'm talking to you, Shap / Overlanders! :D
No, just kidding. Who wants some weirdo german CPC sceners back anyways. :P
McKlain: Long text scrollers are booooooooooooooooring. Also they need to have style, like the ones in Batman Forever or Wake Up! I think that there is still room for improvement on the CPC demoscene. Some productions have style but lack technique, others have lots of technique but lack style. Personally I like balance. A mix of both leaves a stronger impression on the people watching the demo.
10/ A final question, submitted by AST / Impact: when will your next demo be released??
Krusty: Héhé. The megademo will be released in 2014. Maybe I will release a 4K next year, but there is no big Benediction project where I am involved before the MD. Maybe you could wake up Eliot to release his old demos and big projects... ;)
Eliot: Next Wednesday, when I get Barjack's gfx and Shap's music... :)
Voxfreax: As I said before, it’s better not to speak about something, when there are no actual plans for it... What I can confirm with certainty is our participation in the 30yo MD. Benediction will be responsible for the intro of this project, and will participate with a part as well… Only future will tell the rest ;)
Exin: A question back to AST! Where is YOUR next demo! :D
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