DEMOSCENE ★ CPC IN THE YEAR 2003 THE TRADITIONAL REVIEW by Michael Kargas aka Optimus/Dirty minds ★

This year means a lot for me as a CPC scener. For I have released A step beyond, my first CPC demo exactly as planned. It's surprising that I even put myself down to work for one month before the deadline at ReAct2003 and succeeded! I organized some CPC compos there too, which received 3 gfx and 4 music entries by the members of Dirty Minds and my brother :). My demo made it for the wild compo. It's hard to receive CPC entries in an inactive scene, but I don't mind since this was just my first experience in compo organizing. There were some problems like the fact that I have brought a wrong scart cable. Thus, the entries and my demo were shown on an emulator and the voting was,. uhm! Antitec knows ;) I don't think I will organize any CPC compos at ReAct2004 though. The scene is not ready or perhaps party compos don't belong to the CPC scene spirit.. (the sleepy? Perhaps not producing at all! :)

My CPC demo was one I was rattling about since years. The first previews of the effects used, were released at 2000. Software plasmas were my very first effects on the CPC. Very different than the way they appear in the demo today. Antitec helped me to optimize them and then he coded his own versions from scratch. These are the ones I have used in the demo. My own one month work was to code subroutines which generate sines or unrolled codes for the effects or the writers, also to make some alternatively different effects by using the same algorithms, scripting, transitions, connecting everything in a whole and finally debugging it till it works out well. It was hard. But it was done! The one special thing that actually made it a bit different than usual CPC demos was the fact that effects change one after the other while the music continues playing. There is a little syncing too. It's not exactly a trackmo as I first said but looks like that. Because someone may imagine very smooth and fast changing Amiga500 demos when I say that. Full of energy. My own was not. It was more slow paced and lacking of enough gfx and design. The diferrence was that it was like a continuous trip without needing to press Space to load the next parts. I got very nice feedback from CPC sceners, which makes me thinking to start coding my next big demo. This time with far more effects and hopefully more energy and design. I don't know for when :]

But what about the other productions? Uhm,. they seem to be fewer than ever this year. The CPC demos of 2003 are Climax, Rebellion, T&T2K3, Greek Meeting 6 demo and the entries pack from Semilanceata democompo. Climax got the first place in Semilanceata compo actually but it just didn't appeared in the pack either because it's 2 disks alone or cause I have added it too early at Pouet :) It's the first try to experiment with interlace on CPC (Face Hugger's megademo and A step beyond have used interlace pictures but not at this extend).

Many different screens and interlaced animations appear in every gfx Mode of CPC. Very nice ideas and the surprising is that it was done in pure Basic! The bad thing is that we still haven't managed to produce flickerless interlace trick. This is my favorite demo from 2003 (excluding my own demo ;). The next one is Rebellion. Some very nice graphical screens with a scroller and few dots. The special thing that I liked is the way raster colors are being used to produce Mode1 resolution screens that look like Mode0 in colors (Just look at the screenshot). These two demos shows that CPC can achieve more graphically (I would dream for a gfx editor supporting overscan, interlace and rastercolor modes now).

T&T2K3 is simple but nice, I like especially the Dreamcast intro, the music and the precalculated animated dots. Greek Meeting 6 demo must be Catloc's last demo (something bad happened to him but we still don't have enough details) about a CPC meeting me and Antitec attended in Athens. As for the Semilanceata compo, I submitted an old part coded by Antitec (I have just written the scrolltext. Making a blatant mistake about the music credits, ugh!) featuring the biggest CPC scroller ever. One part by CNGsoft (a newcomer Spanish coder?) and one by Plissken. There is also a basic game by Roudoudou (The concept is funny and I got a highscore :) inside the pack. The last thing I forgot about demolike stuff is a preview of the first Wolfenstein3d engine on CPC ever! It's coded by Richard Wilson, the coder of Winape32 emulator. It's impressive but a bit slow. You can even create blocks of wall in front of your view by pressing Space. Neat!

And that was all about the CPC demos of 2003 in one paragraph. I am trying to get this year's article as small as possible ;)

Things are better concerning CPC tools. A new music tracker was released by Arkos. It's called STarkos. Unfortunatelly I still haven't found the time to try using the editor but the musicians of Dirty Minds prefer it from the old Soundtrakker128. As a coder, I like that the player is optimized in speed and can be loaded independently than the binary of the songs. Multispeed songs are supported plus a fourth pattern for digital samples. The interesting here is that this pattern can be used to sync events, e.g. timing of the music with demoeffects. I have tested this recently and I guess I won't sync effects by hand in any future CPC demo anymore. Also, when I tried to edit a song in order to insert sync events, I found out that pattern organisation is quite different than what I knew from ST128. At the beginning it took me some time to understand what's going on. But then I got it! You can choose separatelly which pattern will appear for each of the three (four with the digi) channels at each time. There is a table to choose these sequences. I like the new way because it's more handy and optimal for the size of a song. Another nice thing is the very helpfull and big documentation. Both in French and English language, taking a whole disk side. Definitelly a must for CPC musicians!

Sound player v1.4 was released. It supports soundtrakker, AMC, AYC and TSP music files. You can even make your own playlist files! The player came in a disk full of music files and some playlists, so I could give it a try. File selection is nicely controlable with the arrow keys. A music jukebox for your CPC! Other tools released are the CPCT v3.0 cruncher by Madram and GraphOS in a ROM file (I tested it for a while in Winape32 but then I forgot it). I think I needed a cruncher so I tried Madram's too but something went wrong. I am currently using Roudoudou's flowercruncher. I am sorry that these texts are not thorough, but tools need time to check unlike demos. Anyways,. I mostly wanted to refer to them rather than review them.

Few more about tools. What about disk tools? We are still missing something similar to Star commander for the CPC. Hideur is a small command line utility which inserts a CPC header into a DOS file. It was handy but buggy. Recently I sent a bug report to it's coder, Downwater. A new bugfree version has been released. Another handy CPC disk utility I have recently discovered is CPCXfs by Kevin Thacker. Sometimes I needed to extract files from a DSK. This tool does it! Among with lot's of others that I have not checked yet. It's a DSK manipulation utility. The negative is that it doesn't use a handy GUI rather than it's own command line. However, I understood without much trouble how to do my work with that.
Magazines are still being released from time to time. I have recently checked Futureview II for the FutureOS, the CPC operating system of TFM. I have the ROMs which might give you back a fucking because of using an emulator :] TFM suggests the latest version of Caprice32. I think I got the fucking in Arnold but not in Winape32. However the latest Winape32 version bugs with the gfx pointer of the OS. I found out that it works fine in an older Winape32 version, I think Winape20alpha.
So, I can finally read the second issue of Futureview. There are some graphics this time :) Some articles are dedicated into coding the CPC Booster, a CPC hardware that my friend Antitec produced. There is also an interview with CSKi (aka One). Futureview diskmag gets better and I hope to see the 3rd issue soon. FutureOS seems interesting too, I got used to it's interface lately and had a look at the video animations. I hope to learn more about it at the CPC only meeting 2. Nice to see that there are still few active CPC freaks in Germany!

The online magazine CPC Oxygen is still released succesfully on the net. It has reached the 10th issue. The papermag WACII has lately been released as PDF. There are always some nice things to read there too. I don't have the PDF of any issue in my HD right now, but I remember I have enjoyed some of it's articles.
We had few CPC entries again in 8bit 2003 minigame competition organized by Raww Arse. One man only released for this year, the one who helps with the CPC part of the competitions too. It was tempting for me to code my first game in a tiny space but as always I lack the time :P

2004?

There exists a very long awaited demo which appears in every "CPC in the year 200x" article or even in my older "Introduction to the CPC scene" article. Guess which! I hope 2K4 will be it's year (No, no, no, not 2052 or 20484!!! =). Next release date was near the end of the year that passed. But this time it will be released for sure.. ;)
I started working on two small demos. Little things with possibly no real effects. One is a pack of ReAct2003 gfx/msx competition entries. I packed all gfx and musics with flowercruncher and almost started doing an intro for it by using a music and a Dirty Minds logo done by Factor6 (A Speccy/C64 musician with whom I started CPC mailswapping), trying to use sync events with STarkos. It's almost at zero, hehe. The other one planned, is a possibly easier thing but lazyness owns! A conversion of a C64 demo without effects but just an animation, whose message I liked. It has already been converted to Spectrum and people might guess easilly which demo I mean. I already have the music by Sice, displayed the first screen (With some wrong splitraster sync in the border because of sucking emuls. I have to continue with this project on a real CPC, this means 2 months later when I arrive back in Greece). The animation and writer remains. The second screen and some additional surprises too though..

I don't have time in Germany anymore to code for the CPC. Exams will start in about 1+ month. I wished I could code some other effects (I almost tried to start coding a triangle filler, but it's not even at zero and it doesn't work! :P) so that I will have something with me as a preview when I visit CPC only meeting 2 in Frankfurt/Germany. I don't think I will make anything now, rather than just go there and meet the people. It is planned for 12-14 of February and the website of the meeting is

http://www.colorado-boys-muenchen.de/users/futureos/fosme.htm.

Is someone still waiting for our diskmag Ovation 6? I found accidentally this funny Dirty Minds announcement (at 23 July 2000) in my old backed-up emails: "A step beyond, our megademo, will never be released. But, we will make a new issue of Ovation!". SO, Ovation 6 will never be released!!! (Hey, it might work! =)))
Seriously now, I don't know. Most probably I will see what I can do when I come back to Greece. I know that you know that it's a pitty to not release it when it's almost finished and I especially know that because I have written a massive ammount of kbs of text two years ago. Plus two additional articles and a massive update of the old news and reviews during the Summer of 2003 (because Antitec told me then that we will finally release OV6 before September!!!). I am not going to update the news/reviews once more (I am tempting to do it however if Demoizart is being released before we release OV6 ;). I know that it must be released oneday. But not in CPCOM2 bitte, ich habe das nie gesagt ;]
And after all these, I plan to start working for THE CPC Trackmo. Regarding the way me or the CPC scene moves, don't expect it before 2008. Or, to give it a charm, it will never be released :)

I almost never talked about other scener's plans for 2004. I don't know if anyone else is doing something. If you like it, One (CSKi) has given me a preview of some dot fractal effects and wishes to release a new CPC demo, but I don't currently know if anyone else is planning anything (And if he did, so what?). This time, I wrote mostly my own resolutions for the CPC..

LINKS

http://optimus.demoscene.gr/cpcscene - You can find a new CPC demolist somewhere in my page with reviews, screenshots and links that I finished this Summer. Few of the demos I talk about, appear there.

http://www.cpcscene.com - An attempt for a new CPC scene portal. News started to appear early in 2003. So, you will find download links of just about every demo mentioned in this article. Except from Semilanceata compo pack which can be found on Pouet

http://www.react.gr/files/react2k3/results/cpc.htm - results and releases of ReAct2003 CPC compos.

And some links from new or updated CPC group or scener sites.

http://www.dup.as
http://www.odiesoft.de
http://revivalcpc.free.fr
http://tj.gpa.free.fr

I think that's all. This is my smallest "CPC in the year 200x" article ever! Does this fact reflects the constantly shrinking CPC activity? Antitec and me, had such pesimistic feelings lately. I hope that my demo has saved the year that passed..

Pain mars/2004 by optimus/dirty minds

★ LICENCE: FREEWARE
★ ANNÉE: 2004
★ AUTEUR: OPTIMUS

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.