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. I never really cared much, until the day I saw Enigma/Phenomena:

There’s at least one world first in this production (maybe more, but my memory’s rusty) - TV box (it became an ‘official’ name, just because Azatoth used it). On top of that we have raytraced fractal, vector landscapes (it’s 1991, folks) and some world records (dots mainly). World record is, well, world record. It made way more sense on “fixed” platforms (like Atari, Amiga). Coders were competing among themselves, who can draw more dots, triangles, sprites in a single frame. Detailed history of one such competition can be found here. Crazy thing is, it started in 1989 and last entry is from 2005! Returning to Phenomena, just because I cant mention one more thing - the music by Tip & Firefox. It’s like archetypic demo soundtrack, brings some memories (I’m not the only one in this feeling, it seems, just read comments on Pouet).

Sadly, world record tradition makes much less sense on PCs as differences between 2 models can be really significant. It didnt stop us from trying, tho :) My groupmate, Jasper, created demo called SX, which worked in full framerate on 386SX-16 (year 1993. contained some Gouraud shaded vector, Wolfenstein-like labyrinth). One of the most (in)famous PC records is stone from Dope/Complex:

As you can see, this model is said to have 7800 faces (Phong shaded, crazy number for that time). Of course people went nuts and started to debug/disassembly Dope. IIRC it turned out that it’s closer to 800 triangles… I’m pretty sure Jmagic had fun observing this (Dope’s readme file states clearly - “boys, so ‘no’ to those disassemblers” and the whole message from this demo (World Domination) was supposed to provoke people… good times).

There’s one more famous 3D model from PC demo, namely bee from Stars by NoooN:

This demo feels more French than the Eiffel tower. Perfect mix of crazy art and advanced technology. I almost felt sorry for people competing with that one at Assembly. I mean, there’s your nice demo, some cool 3D models, rotating torus or something and 5 seconds later comes this stylish Ra’s graphics… Anyway, there’s this bee model with (supposedly) ~24000 faces. Model got so famous it has it’s own entry in the PC Demos FAQ. It has been later re-used by Zappy in Flirt (using another smart trick, but working in 60 FPS!).

PS. Gaaah, I just have to… 20 laps to go and Kubica’s on the lead! Go, Robert…

Old comments

ed 2010-01-30 01:12:59

“same” :) This is one of the bests (at least top 10) of all times.

ConayR 2010-01-29 01:36:02

Man I pee in my pants a little every time I hear the music from Dope…

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