I: HUNGARIAN DEMOSCENE BRIEFLY IN 2002
The year: 2002.
The place: Hungary
Hungarian Demoscene has been on a downhill run in the last few years.
Few new groups, decreasing number of parties and releases, almost no
active graphician left. The downhill phase seemed to end tough, as some
new faces appeared on the scene, but they were inexperienced, and had
much to learn yet.
Only four productive groups were remaining:
the most experienced of them all. Inquisition,
which was lacking serious coding power at the time, as mrc! didn't
have the time to code, but they had ZooM, a kickass graphician.
who released their first full scale products that year, including YouDie!
a software rendered demo at Flag2002, and Fläsh,
a nice 64k intro at Antiq2002, with Gargaj on the front
of the crew, doing almost everything. And Digital
Dynamite for last, two years old, as Ümlaüt Design, with
BoyC as main coding force, who wanted to go a bit higher
than their last success at Flag2001, so they took a big shot at Mekka
& Symposium 2002, with a 64k
intro that became 17th out of 18. The failure didn't make them too
depressed, on the way back from M&S, BoyC already had the idea that
with his new (1 week old) OpenGL knowledge he may be ready to start
coding a full scale environment that would generate the source codes
to generate the 3d meshes, which he did by hand and using heavy paperwork
until then. And thus, the idea of a.D.D.i.c.t. (advanced
Digital Dynamite intro creation tool) was born, and the first
versions started working.
Flag 2002 was the debut party for Ümlaüt
Design, with their demo YouDie!, which clearly didn't make it as far
as it should have, and the party to release the first test of the a.D.D.i.c.t.
which was a total failure as an intro (although it won, with having only
one other release in the compo), but a promising start in 64k modelling
25th of August, 2002.
AntIQ party has ended, and apart from the 64k intro compo with Ümlaüt
Design's Fläsh and DD's V0rtex
final, an advanced a.D.D.i.c.t. test, the hungarian scene had one
of it's worst parties quality-wise, the pixel-compo containing only
a single fastmade drawing (by ZooM ;).
As usual, most people dust off their "SCENE IS DEAD"-banners
and start to diss almost everything. But not everyone. As also usual,
there was a small group of sceners, who still continued believing in
the miracle of demos, and still kept on doing the best they could. But
sadly, despite the efforts, despite the fact that most of these people
did their best (or even more), the results failed to reach an international
level, and despite the enormous amount of advertisement and promo, all
the prods got swallowed within weeks, and people started to become disillusioned.
Hungarian demoscene seemed to be stagnating, or according to people,
Flag, one of the few remaining parties was declared dead like Antiq
too, and it seemed the only party left would be organized by Digital
Dynamite, who never did something like this before. Towel'03
was scheduled for the first quarter of 2003.
On the way back from Antiq 2002 BoyC yet again had some ideas regarding
3d stuff generation, and decided to rewrite a.D.D.i.c.t., to be better
than ever. People were poking him much about coding in Pascal,
so before it was too late, he changed his mind and moved to C,
converting the few hundred lines of new a.D.D.i.c.t. code, along with
the texture generator, and started working on his new ideas. Gargaj
meanwhile was ripping around for fun, and in the middle of autumn he
even started porting Inquisition's first demo to windows:
Of course without their agreement, giving place to some jokeful arguing.
With Exceed not showing any signs of life, Inquisition
looking like they won't have a release for a time, Ümlaüt
Design and DD not working on serious demo projects, Fresh!mindworkz
working on a game, and the newbies still inexperienced, it looked like
Hungarian scene would need a miracle to produce anything meaningful
at any big international party.
Or at least a change of setup.
CHAPTER II: THE BEGINNING
18th of November, 2002.
Just another meaningless day, one would think.
People chatting from work on the Hungarian demoscene channel, nothing
serious is happening. Zoom and Innocent of Inquisition online, BoyC
didn't want to go to the University so he simply took that day off,
and as usual reading other people's chatter, sometimes saying a few
lines, just to idle for another half an hour. Gargaj enters the chat,
changes the topic. The windows port of Inquisition's first demo is ready,
he announced the URL. Zoom and Innocent started picking on him that
moment, they wanted to fry him for the port. BoyC, feeling that this
could be an opportunity to help Gargaj get into a willing team, started
joking around that GargajINQ would perfectly fit in the 9 char long
IRCNet nick-length, so why wouldn't he join up with them. Gargaj, feeling
that he's a too small fish for Inquisition, resisted, BoyC kept pushing
the envelope, stating that Inquisition's coding power would be almost
zero and Gargaj would be well needed, but gave up and went back idling
after a few lines again. Gargaj had moral problems with the whole thing,
so it was let be.
Until the next minute a query window popped up at Innocent, Gargaj and
[12:22] <[zoom]> join #szupertitkos (#supersecret)
Zoom proposed a thought, a secret dream of
his and Vincenzo's they were talking about some time ago: a new
group, founded from the most active Hungarian sceners of the
time, to have a group which is not crippled by missing artists or coders,
a group that may even be able to release on big international parties
too. He only hesitated to ask until then because all of them had their
own groups and plans for the future. It was like not daring to ask someone
out to a first date, until the perfect moment came to do so. Of course,
everyone agreed instantly, and thus the new group was born just five
minutes after ZooM's query.
A day they will surely never forget.
The group being a 100% secret was some kind of a trivial fact, not really
discussed. They wanted to have optimal, surprising impact with
their first release, which they didn't even know anything about
The first memberlist looked like this:
- BoyC/Digital Dynamite, coder
- Gargaj/Ümlaüt Design, coder
- Innocent/Inquisition, musician
- Vincenzo/Molecoola^Inquisition, musician
- ZooM/Inquisition, graphician/designer
However basic things were still to be done, first
of all the group needed a name. The following two days
seemed like an eternity of bad sounding, already occupied, or too psychedelic
name ideas, until on the 20th of November ZooM came up with a single
word, which was accepted without question.
It fit the group very well, as they intended to be one, just didn't
realize until then.
The very day they came up with the name, they took the next step already
and started thinking on their first release. The mission of the group
was obviously to show something unexpected, and unbelievable,
and this in front of as many people as possible. That means a big party,
which narrowed down the possible selections quite much.
Assembly could have been the best choice, but mainly due to the fact
that most group members couldn't afford the trip, due to the obvious
reason that The Party sucked, and due to the massive experiences in
2002 at M&S, the situation left CNS with a single choice: Mekka
& Symposium 2003, demo or intro competition.
Gargaj immediately started working on an all new scriptable demosystem,
and BoyC offered the half done a.D.D.i.c.t. engine for intros. As they
thought M&S 2002 over, considering the chances for a good start
onto the international scene, they realized that they had the choice
between having no demoengine at the moment and a possible of 50 opponents
on the compo, or having a half done introtool and somewhere near 20
opponents. It was clearly not hard to decide for a 64k intro.
As both coders were big fans of Potion's intros,
particularly Gift, the main concept was summarized in "multipart
intro", and the first sketches of it regarding the content set
up by BoyC, as he was the one who had experience with the introtool's
capabilities. Zoom already had the logo ready, and the overall moral
of the team was very good, all feeling excited about the group's
still unknown capabilities. But something was still missing... It was
soon clear that they had to meet in real too. Being scattered
around in all of the country it was not too easy to arrange. Inquisition
makes a big party every new year's eve at Innocent's wrecked little countryside
summer-house, so they had the idea to go there a few days before new
year's eve, and those not in Inquisition leave before the Inq guys arrive.
But it was still a month until then. The decision of making a 64k intro
had been made, Gargaj coding the sound part, BoyC coding the introtool
and engine. At that time, little did the rest of the group know, that
within months, they will be twiddling with weird looking tools, creating
music or graphics from scratch, and fighting for every byte
that could be spared.
CHAPTER III: THE TEAM
The new group quickly found out that they had a very
similar way of thinking, many times three or four members wanted to
say the same idea at the same time. It was some form of a strange
telepathy, or as they called it, a play of words: "Complete
Neural Synchro". Innocent and Vincenzo had not too much
work at the time, as there was no real concept or tool for them to work
with, so they kept amusing the others with various musics they wrote.
Gargaj had to start from scratch, as he never
had any experience with sound synthesis coding so far. From several
available choices, he chose the "sample-generation" method,
which meant having an XM-player and a sample generator. Wrapping up
a minimalistic GUI with the help of BoyC wasn't hard, and the overall
job went quite easily, within months, the NoyzGen had
all the basic things a generator had to have: basic wave generation,
AM & FM, filtering, sequencing and gainclipping. The choice of sound
system used to play the XM was MiniFMOD, because it was small,
it had an option for sampleloading, and it was quite accurate and good-sounding.
BoyC and ZooM cooperated very much in redesigning
the whole introtool in a way the graphician could use it better, so
ZooM had his hands full with a nice GUI for a.D.D.i.c.t., while BoyC
was writing the new features into the engine: mesh smoothing, mesh blurring,
CSG operations, and mapped transforming, some of these even taking a
week to code, the meeting was very close, and he wanted to have something
to show the rest of the team until then. Mekka & Symposium
was meanwhile cancelled, what gave the group quite a scare,
but having Breakpoint as a replacement calmed them down
again, and the work continued as planned.
By the time the meet came, the tools were already in a state where they
could be used, but a very long way was yet to go. So starting on the
27th of December, 2002, the first Conspiracy meet
took place at Innocent's little house near Zalaegerszeg, with all five
members present. Gargaj taught the musicians how to use the sample generator,
and BoyC spent quite a while showing the introtool to the rest of the
group too. The intro concept started forming also: three basic parts,
an ambient style part for start, then a bit faster 3d story, and in
the end a very fast part showing the tools capabilities in their full
glory, with a sudden ending, plus a logo part like before movies, and
a part for the credits. It was clear that they want to keep their
identity hidden until the very end of the show, so they put
the credits in an own part. Gargaj and BoyC came up with the idea of
waving a hungarian flag on a hillside, but ZooM didn't believe that
they were able to pull something like realtime cloth simulation
off. That is, until he saw it with his own eyes, just a few days later.
There was some arguing about this being a bit arrogant, but they decided
that the fact that they are going to represent their country on an international
contest approves this arrogance. (Not to mention the polish scener's
act of waving their flag after Planet Potion got showed on M&S2k2)
However, not everything went that superb all the time.
January and February were the examination months for both coders, as
they were still university students, and this was quite a halt signal,
not to mention the fact that Conspiracy's future depended on the results.
And things became bad. Although BoyC was doing quite OK
then, Gargaj wasn't; he failed 4 out of 5 and was banned from the course
for 2 years. Luckily he managed to change to another course which had
only slight differences. The other members weren't really happy either.
Innocent's workplace wasn't stable and Vincenzo was getting fed up with
his job too. January was a hard month, and Conspiracy seemed to be in
But these dark clouds went away by time, and the team could focus on
the intro. Having the sample generator tool ready, Gargaj didn't have
much work left, which kinda annoyed him, so he spent time by optimizing
minifmod and writing his own pattern format to store in the exe, as
an XM packs quite bad. Meanwhile Innocent and Vincenzo delivered better
musics every day, cooperating very smoothly. The modeller
part of the introtool was ready too, and ZooM could start working on
some scenes he had in mind.
CHAPTER IV: A NEW MEMBER
Mrc of Inquisition, a good friend of
all of them, and excellent coder didn't know anything about Conspiracy,
as noone on the scene did. But once as he went home from the university
(from Budapest to Zalaegerszeg) he met ZooM and Innocent, and cried
out his problems, that he doesn't have much time now, but after the
exams he has to start coding, as it seems like Inquisition is becoming
very inactive. He mentioned the screenshots he saw from a.D.D.i.c.t.
too, and after a while, when ZooM and Inno almost started laughing,
they called the others in the middle of the night, whether they can tell
mrc about the group. He was of course more than welcome to join
by the others too, as he was a good friend of all of them, not to mention
having greater coding experience as the other two coders.
BoyC had to rewrite the intro engine,
so it could fit well into 64k, and while doing this he was forced to
drop almost a month of his work from the project: mesh smoothing, blurring,
and the CSG stuff. But the first tests indicated that they could make
the 64k limit.
Towel'03 was approaching, so thoughts came off from
Conspiracy for a while, for some because of entries, and for some because
of organizing. The party was great, it had more releases than expected.
After that, it meant full speed ahead, as only 1.5 months
were remaining, and the visual content was still almost at zero.
They set the deadline for April 11th, a week before the party, as they
knew there would be something wrong, and they'd need
that extra week to finish everything. It was clear, that in the upcoming
month the efforts had to be doubled at least, and that another meet
will be needed. They set the time for the first weekend of April, just
two weeks before the party. The tools got hacked together for the meet,
mrc's 2d effects introduced, and some texture render effects
written at the meet too, introducing some new and variable ways for
ZooM to create the graphics. Two weeks before the party,
on the second meet, they finally started working on the synching, and
CHAPTER V: THE INTRO AND THE PARTY
The last two weeks before the party gave mostly work
for ZooM. He created new and fantastic scenes every day, never
thought possible with the tools he used. Mrc's effects, and
basic object animation were quickly hacked into the engine, giving ZooM
the last effects to improve his work with. On the week of the party
he was already exhausted, but he managed to finish a party version of
the intro. And with his last night work, it perfectly fit 64k
Here follows BoyC's party report of Breakpoint 2003...
Phew. Our biggest work ever, Project
Genesis was finished at last.
We wrote a quick infofile with ZooM in the morning, and then I packed
my stuff. We met with the others at the train at 20:00. With me was
Gargaj, Tomcat, Vickey, Foolman, Joshi, Poko and Baranyi Zoli. We settled
in two cabins, the amiga division in one, me, Tomcat, Vickey, Gargaj
and Foolman in the other. We were still waiting for Lorenzo and his
wife, so Tomcat got off the still waiting train, to get them. I was
suspicious so I called Lorenzo meanwhile, and he told me he had too
much work to do, and will not come. They paid, like last year. They
didn't come, like last year. Weird :)
Anyway Tomcat realized soon enough that Lorenzo would not show up, and
returned to the train. This whole scene took like 5 minutes, but by
the time he got back, the whole train was smelling of the Amiga guys'
At 20:15 the 16 hour long journey began. We were telling
old stories, listening to Tomcat mostly, the amiga guys getting more
and more drunk by the minute in the other cabin. At one point the conductor
wanted to throw them off the train in the middle of Austria, the bad
part was that we had 2 tickets, each for 4 persons, so if we didn't
do anything with them fast, most likely we'd have been thrown off the
train too. But somehow they managed to clean up the mess they did, and
we arrived safely in München, where some problems with our next train
rose up, so we had to improvise.
(Conspiracy was exactly 5 months old on this day :)
Anyway we managed to get to the partyplace before opening,
met the rest of the Hungarian Amiga guys, and settled in the meadow
until the partyplace was opened.
Everyone except Gargaj thought that I still had an
intro to finish (which I actually did have to finish, but it wasn't meant
too serious), so we started looking for someone who could help us with
some CPU time or whatever. (With not much luck, I have to add.) We really
could not do anything so just sat at a table and watched people, until
at last Tomcat arrived from the city too, so I told him (as he knew
many ppl) to help me get a computer. So Gargaj went on looking for someone
he might know from irc, and we went on looking for a computer. We gave
up after a while, and I wandered the hall all alone, when Gargaj showed
up, so we took the opportunity to upload Project Genesis to the compostuff
in total secrecy. Later we met Leia, who helped us out with the laptop
of Gus. We started finishing the DD intro asap, but after a few minutes
Tomcat had the idea to take the laptop to the hotel, where we can work
undisturbed. So we moved with the equipment to the hotel, and continued
working... Didn't get too far without any usable concept tho, so we
dropped it and went to sleep.
We continued some stuff in the morning, and then went
to the city to look for anything movable what we can afford. After like
half an hour in the city, something weird happened: the air raid sirens
all around Bingen started yelling like hell. Tomcat started looking
for some planes in the sky that instant, but the ordinary ppl on the
streets acted like they didn't even hear it... It was really strange,
but lasted only for a couple of minutes. So we decided to get back to
the partyplace and continue the intro. We settled in front of the infodesk,
as the main hall was too crowded, and worked on the intro, when the
fast intro competition was announced. At last we had a concept, and
with the help of Gargaj and Foolman we finished the intro until night,
well before the deadline, but we couldn't really enjoy the compos. So
after we released the fast intro, there was not much to get our minds
off the upcoming 64k compo, and Gargaj and I went nervously to sleep.
I got to try the cold sleeping hall too that night...
I'd have really skipped that, but anyway...
Warming in the morning besides the campfire watching
a REALLY drunk guy do his stuff for hours and laughing at him with some
ppl can be real fun sometimes ;) We gave back the laptop, and had nothing
to do until the 64k compo, so just wandered around, meeting friends
and just having a good time. We sat for the Amiga intro compo and fall
asleep again, and woke up not much before the PC-64k compo.
We gathered Foolman, Tomcat and Vickey, and sat in the first two rows,
well prepared (Gargaj hid Tomcat's Hungarian flag :). The first 10 intros
passed without anything I can really recall, as I was getting more nervous
by the minute. And then came the Farbrausch intro, we had our jaws fall
to the floor... After it everyone was like stunned, and when the bigscreen
showed that another intro is coming, Tomcat said from behind of me:
"they better don't even show this". And then
Project Genesis started, on which we were working the
last 2 months around the clock, in total secrecy. First
part passed without anything mentionable, and at the "prepare for
part 2" text Tomcat said "HA! We've already seen this before...
just in another intro". But he shut up when part2 really started,
and could only release a weak "oh mother" at the first city
scene... And when he saw the gear scene with the greets, he couldn't
believe his eyes, so many small Hungarian groups greeted, he started
speculating wether Hungarian guys made this or what. He didn't have
to wait long for the anwser, as half a minute later my name appeared
on the screen, then Gargaj's, and the rest of the crew... I got such
a hit in my back from him that I felt it for the next
half an hour, but we stood up with Gargaj and started waving the Hungarian
The whole world turned around us. After the compo suddenly everyone
wanted to know us. I overheard Gizmo of Farbrausch talking
about how long it took to model the girl in their intro, and he couldn't
show anything to the others until the tool's new version was ready,
and how frustrating that was. I dropped a sentance like "I know
that feeling, I coded that last intro", and he immediately turned
to me, we introduced to each other and started telling the other how
good their intro was. We couldn't agree, so we ended up betting in a
coke :) Things happened very fast, next thing I remember that Tomcat
showed up to make an exclusive interview with us, and after that we
were wandering around the partyplace feeling as if everything has changed
around us, getting congratulations from people we've never seen before...
And the real party was outside this year too, as during the intro compo
nice weather came back, and everyone went out to the meadow. I'd never
recall all the people I met that day, so I won't even try :) After the
intro compo we were able to chill (after 5 months of secrecy), and talk
about the stuff we couldn't until then. So we talked about the group
mostly until the compos at night, which were way cool. The whole feeling
was groundbreaking the whole day. After spending half of the night by
the campfire, I went to sleep.
Tomcat told me if we didn't win the compo, he'd push
the coke I'd win from Gizmo up my ass... He told me later that by then
he already knew the result, as he overheared some organiser talking
when he wanted to arrange a fun compo. The prizegiving ceremony seemed
like a week long, but once we were called on stage everything happened
very fast. We jumped up with Gizmo when we saw the results
(he was sitting near me), and couldn't help hugging each other
:) I remember him saying "I wanted it this way, I wanted it this
way", then we went up the stage, I gave him the coke, we got the
prizes, got photographed, and stuff, and all of a sudden we were sitting
again, watching the console demo winner... But the undescribable
feeling of knowing that we're between very, very good
friends, and they accepted us didn't go away. And I hope it
won't go for a while. Thank you guys, each of every one of you just
for being there and giving this feeling to two depressed coders :)
This was the best time of my life yet...
T o b e c o
n t i n u e d . . .