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arn
May 16, 2002, 12:52 PM
MacScene is organizing a Demo competition:

Demo programmers seek to achieve seemingly impossible programming feats such as real-time ray-tracing, fractal zooms, volumetric lighting, turbulent flow and other real-time visual effects. Demos are also an art form with artists and musicians working with the programmers to produce a powerful composition, awesome 3D models and a stunning light show, set to great music.

MacScene.org (http://www.macscene.org/) is dedicated to demos on the macintosh and we hold an annual demo contest, iQuest (http://www.macscene.org/iquest/). The deadline for entries is 23:59:59 GMT Saturday 31st August 2002 after which a public vote will decide the winner. This is not a commercial site so there are no prizes - just fame and glory!

For rules and more details please visit the iQuest (http://www.macscene.org/iquest/) page. Also be sure to check out the rest of macscene.org (http://www.macscene.org/) where you can download demos, find tutorials on mac graphics programming, a great community forum and lots more!


I've got a soft spot for demos... and was working to create some early ones on the Mac on my Mac IIsi. Be sure to check out Chrystar (1994), Flag Day (1996), and Chaosmint (1996) demos/intros... written by me (arn). :) Note: you will likely have to boot into OS 9.

barkmonster
May 16, 2002, 01:14 PM
I hope these demos arn't GPU bound like the one I found last year, it's a test of programming skill, getting the most fps, polygons, fractals etc... animating at once using only the CPU, obviously not being able to run it on anything less than a G4 would be cheating too, going by the rules of demo coding, a demo should run just aswell on a 233Mhz iMac as it does on a 1Ghz dual G4.

I hope there's something for the Mac as impressive as the Phaeleon Gigademo by NeXT (the ST demo group), I loved that demo, I still watch a lot of the Atari demos on my mac, problem is, we don't have a very good ST emulator on the mac compared to the PC so I've been hoping for mac demos for ages.

This is great news!!

arn
May 16, 2002, 01:42 PM
Originally posted by barkmonster
I hope these demos arn't GPU bound like the one I found last year, it's a test of programming skill, getting the most fps, polygons, fractals etc... animating at once using only the CPU, obviously not being able to run it on anything less than a G4 would be cheating too, going by the rules of demo coding, a demo should run just aswell on a 233Mhz iMac as it does on a 1Ghz dual G4.


I agree... as hardware/graphics cards became crazy powerful - the fineness of the demo scene waned a bit...

I can tell you though... those demos I mentioned that I wrote were written partially in 68000 assembly, with some neat optimizations. (bit shifts and integer math, instead of FP)

arn

Pants
May 16, 2002, 02:03 PM
mmm....amiga .....mmmmm..........

Mr. Anderson
May 16, 2002, 02:42 PM
Wow, this stuff is wild. Something I never even knew about it. What's the history on demos, arn.

blakespot
May 16, 2002, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by dukestreet
Wow, this stuff is wild. Something I never even knew about it. What's the history on demos, arn.
Ahh demos...

I was the first, between Arnold and I, to have a machine with demos for it, really. That was the Amiga. Oh, demos existed before that on the Atari 8-bit system and C64 (and to a far, far lesser degree--usually just software "crack" screens, for the Apple IIe/c). But the Amiga was the demo coder's machine.

The purpose of a demo, from a coder's perspective, was to show deft coding ability, creativity, and just impress overall. It was "the demoscene," and a scene it truly was (and still is). A demo coder tries to push the machine as hard as he can, to wring functionality out of it to a degree that was hard to believe. The more impressive the hardware (to a point--more on that later) the more impressive the demo could be. But you could not just wow with brute force--a quality demo has a clear and well designed "style" to it that kept everything together. Many a stylish demo beat out demos that were less profound in that area even thought they may have sported more technically challenging routines, etc.

The Amiga was the first machine that had great graphics, great sound, and an array of custom hardware that made on-screen magic possible. The Amiga with its coprocessors (audio playback incurred no CPU hit, for instance) really pushed out some impressive demos. After a while people started coding the 486 and it became one of the largest forces in the demo scene. People would buy the Gravis UltraSound soundcard, for instance, to benefit from (like the Amiga) no-CPU-hit audio from demos that supported it. And the demos were impressive. Cannot be expressed in words really. The Atari ST saw a good number of demos as well, it being a fairly capable machine in its day, as well as the Apple IIgs, but nothing beat the Amiga. (The Mac never saw many demos at all for it, sadly).

There are a number of demo competitions held every year. They were huge events in the mid 90's, but are a little smaller now, most of the Amiga coders gone, and the PC coders relying heavily on 3D video hardware. Doing 3D in software, before fancy 3D hardware, was very impressive, but when the hardware arrived that made it "easy", the scene lost something. It is for this reason that most modern PC demos (and the few recent Mac demos) are just not the same as demos once were. Amiga demos, those that are still coded, are quite impressive in that they are still relying only on the built in hardware of the machine. And Amiga demo won the Assembly 2001 competition, which is quit a statement. See the Assembly site:

http://www.assembly.org/

About 2 years ago I acquired a new Amiga 1200 and put it in a tower (http://www.blakespot.com/tower) and added a 68060 CPU and a doublescan-adapter for the sole purpose of watching demos. I've got several hundred on the HD now. I do enjoy firing it up on occasion. I recall, with fondness, RasterMagic--the first demo I had ever seen (and the first demo arn ever saw, on my Amiga 2000 back in '88). It inspired me to write a LOUSY piece of code for OS X which can be found on my page (http://www.blakespot.com) ( screenshot (http://www.blakespot.com/main/images/macosx_shot.jpg) ) which is pretty much a work of humor.

About all the rambling I've time for now.

Interesting reading:
The Hacker Demo Scene and its Cultural Artifacts (http://www.curtin.edu.au/conference/cybermind/papers/borzysko.html)



blakespot

Dr. Distortion
May 16, 2002, 03:56 PM
yup, with the Amiga a new music format came along for demos: mod music :)

I bought Player Pro (http://www.quadmation.com/pphome.htm) a few years ago, and I still make some music with it nowadays...

And indeed, it's a task for the demo programmer to make the app as small as possible, and as efficient as possible (avoid fp. and int. divides, making optimal use of processor cache, finetuning or programming in asm.). Oh yeah, and since most of those demos run on 640x480x8 the 233 mhz G3 will be more than sufficient for most demos.

arn
May 16, 2002, 03:59 PM
I wrote this back in 2000 as a Macrumors story...
------------------
First, some history... back in the early days of computers (early-mid 80s), there was a lot of software piracy. In those days, almost all software came copy-protected. Someone growing up today might find that an odd concept, as today, most software is protected by Serial Numbers that you are required to enter when installing your software.

Copy protection was just the general method for preventing unauthorized duplication of software. Over time, however, it became a continuing race - as more intricate copy protection schemes developed, the hackers/crackers would circumvent them. Now, these crackers weren't a modest bunch, and loved to get credit for cracking the latest and greatest software. "Cracked" software often sported a credit screen where the cracker said some hellos and took credit for his work. Eventually, crackers took a little more time with the crack screen, added a little music, a little animation, some more greets... until a funny thing happened...

Eventually, independant works emerged. Now, I don't claim to know the exact history of the progression... but somewhere along the line, the graphical/musical works themselves became the whole point.

"Demos" and an entire demo-scene emerged. These demos were an intricate blend of art, music, math, and programming. Early demos included simple effects including scrollbars, scroll texts, and simple vector graphics... but eventually the demo coders tried to push the hardware as far as it could go. New demos tried to "one-up" previous demos by pushing more graphics and doing more intricate calcuations. If you don't recall the hardware at the time, the peak of the demo scene probably occured with the Amiga computer, an 8mhz 68000 based computer with a few custom chips. Speed was everything - so assembly language was really the only way to program demos.

Demo groups formed, and often included coders, artists, and musicians. Annual competitions emerged as well, where demo groups would compete with their latest creations. Demos eventually did move onto the PC, especially as it became clear the Amiga wasn't going to have much of a future. But oddly, the demo scene never came in full force on the Mac.

A small demo scene has emerged on the Mac, with some activity and new demos arising recently. With all due respect to the coders for the time they've put in, these demos generally don\t compare to the full-blown demos of the Amiga. They are still very exciting to watch and enjoy.

-----------------

Dr. Distortion
May 16, 2002, 04:28 PM
... oh yeah, if you guys want to see some amiga demos (captured to mpeg movies) look here (ftp://ftp.byterapers.com/pub/extra/amigademos/)

Anyway, I find this one (ftp://ftp.byterapers.com/pub/extra/amigademos/maturefurk-lapsuus.mpg) very impressive!

Have a nice download ;)

Beej
May 17, 2002, 01:21 AM
Re Arn's demos:

"Requires 256 color Mac. (runs on both 68k and PPC)"

Heh! :) Ahhh, those were the days!