Second Reality - source code

Just a quick follow-up to my previous note. As mentioned by Michal, Future Crew guys decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Second Reality in the best way possible - they released a full source code. Obviously, it’s more of a tidbit than anything else, but it’s still interesting to finally see how certain effects were done. Apparently Fabian is already working on a code analysis article, but in the meantime I’ll only mention two things that caught my eye so far:

Demoscene tribute - Second Reality

I know I claimed I would not write about Second Reality here, mostly because everyone knows it, but it’s a special day today… It’s been exactly 20 years since Second Reality has been shown for the first time, at Assembly 1993. I’ve seen it few months later and still remember that day. I was living in Torun at that time and have just started high school. I would often visit local computer store, just to see what’s new.

A Decade

I can’t remember the exact date, but I know it was early May or the end of April, 2002. I’ve just realized I had started my gamedev adventure almost exactly 10 years ago. It seemed like a logical step, never really considered any other career choice, it was my dream job and quite natural progression after few years of demo coding. I responded to a job advertisement at the gbadev mailing list (wow, I love the Internet, I actually found this post), flew to Palermo for a weekend, survived my first job interview (even though I was still slightly hung over from the party 7th Sense guys took me the day before…) and before I knew it - I was flying to Italy again, this time for good.

Demoscene tribute - Camorra

Camorra was a Polish demoscene group. They might have not gained same level recognition as Sunflower/Pulse, but they sure were one of the best squads in the first years of Polish PC scene. Camorra actually won the first Polish PC party - General Probe 1995. Sadly, couldn’t find this winning demo (Gust) anywhere. Let’s start with Gustation then. It’s their 64k intro from CAF 1995, took 2nd place behind Why by Adrar Design:

Smartness overload

Over the years, I’ve seen plenty of different code bases - open source projects, internal game engines, my own experiments. Some of them were just bad and buggy, but in many situations I found something that could only be described as ‘smartness overload’. An obviously skilled & experienced programmer just tried too hard. There’s a great quote attributed to Brian Kernighan: ‘Debugging is twice as hard as writing the code in the first place.

Demoscene tribute: French 3D revolution

1996 was one of the best PC scene years in my opinion. It was also the year when some legendary Amiga/Atari ST groups released their first PC productions. It started at Saturne’96 party. It wasn’t one of the great 3 events (The Gathering/Assembly/The Party), it was local party, with French groups mostly. In 1996 however, the competition level was just crazily high. To this day I’m still not sure which one of the first two productions I like more.

Demoscene tribute: Untitled/Dust

Untitled/Dust is IMHO one of the most underappreciated demos ever. Sure, it won The Party 1993, but I don’t think it later got the recognition it deserved. One reason may be that it was quite difficult to launch it on many machines (IIRC) + it required lots of conventional mem (I was lucky enough to have PC that was compatible with this demo, but it required some config.sys+autoexec.bat wizardry). Not as difficult as with Optic Nerve (great demo, as well), but still’ It may be not be the best example of flawless design (to put it mildly), but codewise - it’s amazing.

Assembly 2009

First, there was a NoooN (Ra only, hoped for Karl coding)+Excess+Andromeda invitation… Now, results & releases are available. So far I’ve only seen a winning demo. It’s nice, with some cool ideas and impressive fluid/smoke simulation, but I must admit I expected more from CNCD/Orange/Fairlight cooperation (then again, no Wili/Tsunami/Hoplite participated). Still worth checking out, obviously.

..something begins

(…or continuation of this note) Damn, it seems like that laptop thing is more serious than I expected - motherboard died. They’re not sure yet if they can replace it, when or how much will it cost. I had a tiny note about virtual functions there, but cannot be arsed to code samples/write it again, so it’ll have to wait. In the meantime, other things have been cleared out, contract has been signed, so I can as well make it official.

Demoscene tribute: the discreet charm of oldschool

A little bit late to the party, but maybe someone haven’t seen it yet and it’s definitelly something worth witnessing. Folks creating demos on “smaller” platforms (mainly C64 & Atari) just seem to refuse to acknowledge that golden years are gone. What’s cool, in many cases they manage to “bend” the reality and create stuff that simply shouldn’t be possible. Poster example is relatively fresh demo - Edge of Disgrace by Booze Design (winner of X 2008).

NVScene 2008

NVScene 2008 done. Results here. If you watch only one production, make sure it’s Texas by Keyboarders, it’s damn impressive. Word of warning, though, demos may look a little pale in comparison after this, but still worth watching (make sure you’ve powerful rig!).

Demoscene tribute: world records

Subject is mainly an excuse to list some of my favourite productions. In general, I’ll try to talk about world firsts/world records in demos, tho. World first is just an effect that has never been done before (in realtime). Let’s start with one of the first demos I’ve seen and remember to this day. It’s from Amiga, which had a very active scene at that time. I used to visit my mate, who was swapper in Casyopea and he’d show me a demo or two sometimes.

Breakpoint 2008

BP 2008 finished. Visit the official page for results and releases. The most interesting from gamedev perspective was probably a PS3 demo sponsored by Sony - Linger in Shadows. It was done by fellow Polish demosceners and judging by screenshots looks might impressive. Good job! [Edit] Movie links already at Pouet.

Demoscene tribute - Tran

This note is easier, because Tran has his own Wikipedia entry. I still consider him to be one of the most hardcore PC coders. My friends had a chance to meet him at Mekka/Symposium copy-party, and he actually visited Poland afterwards (he was travelling the world at that time and he had Polish roots). It felt a little weird, as he actually was one of my scene idols in times when I was only starting.

Demoscene tribute - State of the Art

Yeah, I know, I know, I was supposed not to write about famous demos, in some cases, however, I cant help myself. State of the Art/Spaceballs is one of my favourite productions and maybe the best demo ever made. I appreciate it even more now than I used to in my scene days. I was graphics freak back then and preferred productions with hardcore code (like Rage demos mentioned previously). Problem with most of them is that they age quickly.

Demoscene tribute: Rage

The day has come to pay small tribute to my demoscene roots. From time to time I’ll publish short article about some of the most interesting productions/groups (in my subjective opinion of course). I’ll try to avoid the most famous demos and focus on those that may be not known to the mainstream audience (so no kkrieger, even if it’s amazing). We’ll start with Swedish group Rage. It’s one of my (if not THE) favourite PC groups, even if they hail from Amiga scene.


Get it now! Best demo I’ve seen in years, reminds me of my favourite Rage demos (Reanimator, Robotnik). Music is simply amazing… Kudos to TBL guys, great job! Old comments NeARAZ 2006-08-14 08:14:14 Well, I wouln’t think it’s the best demo on the absolute scale. For example, some Asm2006 PC demos were also great. In Starstruck, I did not like the girl part. But anyways, taking into account that it’s an Amiga - yes, massive props.