direct to video

September 25, 2009

old demos #1: tactical battle loop.

Filed under: demoscene — Tags: , , — directtovideo @ 2:54 pm

I’m a bit late to the blogging party. Which means I’ve got a whole plethora of old things to write about that I would have written about at the time, but I didn’t have a blog. So here goes.

We did this demo back in 2006 for the first Intel Demo Trailer competition. How that came about was, they called me up and said “we’ll give you a laptop just for entering and 5 more if you win – and it only has to be 30 seconds long”. Hard to refuse – pretty good return for a 30 second piece. So we did it.
tactical battle loop by fairlight

We had recently come 2nd at Assembly 2006 with the demo “Track One”, and I decided to use much the same technology, tools and the same team as for that one. Why change a winning formula. Unfortunately the artists had other ideas and demanded that we had a full import pipeline from Lightwave 3D – whereas Track One was built using an import pipeline from 3DS Max, .x, .obj and pretty much any way we had of getting 3D into the engine. Strange that they didn’t like it.
Most of the demo was built by Destop/CNCD in Lightwave and using our demo tool. Extra effects were then coded up and shoved in in the demo tool.

The small catch was that one of the rules was that we had to use music provided by DJ Hell as a basis, although we could remix it. What they didn’t tell us was that the tracks we could choose from were stupidly bad, so our remix ended up almost unrecognisable. Hell wasn’t too happy about that apparently.

The good thing was, we won. So we got the laptops, but we also got something better – Intel flew us all out to Munich for a party. Free bars, paid hotel, the works. So much fun that we also entered 2007 and 2008‘s competitions, but they didnt work out quite as well.


Filed under: demoscene — directtovideo @ 2:32 pm

Some people collect stamps; some mow down old ladies with mopeds. My hobby for the past 15 years or more has been the demoscene.

I can claim that my interest in it has got me at least one job, a modicum of fame in the world of computer geeks, friends and trips all over the world (mainly northern europe), earned me a couple of cable TV appearances watched by at least five people, won me a few awards and a small amount of money, cost me a fair amount of money, cost me even more in terms of lost sleep, stress, liver damage and at least one near-hospitalisation.

These days I’m a programmer in Fairlight – a group that’s become a true piece of computing history, and is only a few years younger than I am (although I didn’t join until I was 19).

Demos used to be a pretty casual affair, hacked together by kids trying to show off to other kids how clever they could be with their computers. But over the years it got serious. The afforementioned kids grew up into highly skilled professionals, many of whom become prominent members of the games industry amongst other things.

Making demos got a lot more complicated too. Nowadays our demos are made by professional artists and programmers in custom-made realtime editing tools. The motivation never really changed – kids showing off to other kids – but the results are a mile away from the early days.


Filed under: Uncategorized — directtovideo @ 2:16 pm

I have finally caved in to peer pressure and started a blog. I could come to regret this.

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