Computable Minds -

The Demoscene world

Posted on: Aug, 10th 2010
The demoscene is an underground community that is dedicated to the programming of artistic creations called "demos" that compete at the scener parties. The demos are a kind of animation with music where the major part of the graphics are generated at real time from the code programmed by their creators. If you want know more about this world, explained by someone that was inside of it, that it's to say myself, read the rest of the post.

The concept "at real time" it's applied to any program that has to return a result before a limit time. In the case of the demos, the program has to generate its graphics effects, as minimum with 25 frames by second, to avoid jumps when someone sees it. This it's achieved with an acute optimization of the code, having to appeal sometimes to the assembler language and extensive knowledge in mathematics. This is something that a lot of people don't know appreciate because they see a demo like a simple animation, which could be made with some graphic design program, as the 3D studio. Really a demo and a 3D animation are two things that can't be compared. Every image of an animation of 3D studio can need hours to generate it. After every image is stored in a video archive, for his posterior reproduction a normal speed, while with a demo we see that is generating the computer in that moment.

The demos are artistic creations and don't have practical application. But his realization shows the capacity of his creators to make his graphics effects in videogames, animation programs, web pages, screen savers or to show its moving at the rhythm of the music at audio players.

The demoscene has its origins at the game crackers of the Commodore 64 and Amiga, because these were the first that began to put their names with graphic effects at the beginning of the games that they cracked, for later separate from the cracking world and begin to create the demoscene. For that reason the first demos was for these computers and still today there are competitions of Amiga demos.

Screenshot of the intro Heaven Seven

At the parties, additionally to the demos we find other categories that participate, for instance, the instors that are demos of only 64 Kb or 4Kb depending of the category. When you see some of these intros think that in a pen drive of 1 Gb we can copy and paste it without compression 16.834 times. Make that an animation fill so little only it's possible generating practically all the graphics with code. One of my favourite intros of 64 kb is the Heaven Seven of the group Exceed of the year 2000 that uses a 3D raytracing engine without making use of the 3D acceleration:

Download the executable of the "Heaven Seven by Exceed" and see it at maximum quality

Watch on Youtube "Heaven Seven by Exceed" with low quality

Other intro of 64 kb, this time using 3D acceleration:

Watch on Youtube "Candytron by Farbrausch"

Download "Candytron by Farbrausch"

Below I left a compilation of some of my favourite demos, the first are demos that are considered oldschool. The difference with the newschool demos is that it use more classic effects, and the majority of these are 2D and the 3D effects rarely use graphic acceleration.

Here are the oldschool demos. This first is for Amiga:

Watch on Youtube "State of the Art by Spaceballs"

It is not common hear digitalized voices in the demos, but this was some of the first in use it, although without leaving the music style known as chip that is very used in the demos:

Watch on Youtube "303 by ACME"


Watch on Youtube "Astral Blur by The Black Lotus"

Download "Astral Blur by The Black Lotus"


Watch on Youtube "State of Mind by Bomb!"

Download "State of Mind by Bomb!"

Below there are a pair of newschool demos. Here you can see the demo that was the winner at the Assembly party of this year, which finished the last 8th of August and that is considered one of the parties scener more important at Europe:

Download "Happiness is Around the Bend by ASD"

Watch on Youtube "Happiness is Around the Bend by ASD"

This newschool demo was presented at the Breakpoint party of this year:

Watch on Youtube "Zcareplex MK 5 by Nuance"

Download "Zcareplex MK 5 by Nuance"

Finally a demo for the web in Flash that was the winner in the category of wild demo of the Aseembley party 2010:

Watch on Youtube "Spiral Out by Evoflash"

Download "Spiral Out by Evoflash"

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