|★ DEMOSCENE ★ CPC IN THE YEAR 2007 THE TRADITIONAL REVIEW by Michael Kargas aka Optimus/Dirty minds ★|
Written for HUGi 34 and released at 08/2007
Sitting here after a day-off from the army in a netcafe computer with a malfunctioning blurry screen that kills me eyes (Arghh!!! Hopefully I will leave in half an hour and continue this later), I decided to start writing the next series of CPC in the year 20xx. I had almost forgot it (or maybe I just wasn't motivated enough to write it this year) when someone asked me for it. Maybe it's fun writing something about the scene after so much time of inactivity. Maybe I'll get inspired for coding a demo too (well, after I totally finish the army in February). Well, let's see what happened on the CPC side of things in 2007..
This year is interesting. I see that most of the very big famous groups like Arkos, Overlanders, Logon System (Overflow?) and (yes even :) Dirty Minds have not released anything this year. Only Semilanceata is still here and kicking! Also we have some promising newcomers on the CPC like the attack of the French Ukonx group on the CPC with a CPC+ demo and the great new works of Krusty from Benediction! Well, he is an old scener with a new nickname actually so I don't know if this applies as newcomer but it's surely a breakthrough performance on the CPC because I don't remember any past Romain demos featuring newschool chunky effects never seen on the CPC before (or do I remember any Romain demos at all? :). Another interesting thing is that this year is the year of the CPC+. I don't know if this is good or bad but it's an evolution. Even though I believe that the primary machine that brings the scene together is the plain CPC 6128. Damn, I am really hot to acquire a plus oneday and try something on the real thing! I don't think I will support the plus (like in a step beyond demo) anymore before being able to watch what I am doing on the real thing, also the limited plain CPC palette is still challenging (maybe I should have designed better colors in my plain CPC demos though ;P).
The year has started very well with maybe one of the best CPC+ demos till now. Semilanceata is the leading group on the CPC+ and after their Seminoisin demo last year, they came back in the beginning of 2007 with Sappy. It is a multipart demo (I will now use this term instead of trackmo) that uses the capabilities of CPC+ very well to present a little show of effects with a dark theme, great graphics, digital sound and various designish syncs/noise effects. I like very much how the CPC+ 4096 color palette is used here to fade and flash the screens synced to the music. There are some twisters, vertical bars and also some smooth vector balls using the CPC+ hardware sprite capabilities. The main music theme is from the mod "The Black Reign 2" by Clawz. Definitely a great surprise for the beginning of 2007.
Strangely enough, there was a deadly silence till the great bunch of demos were released near the end of 2007. This is not the first time this happens (see the previous CPC in the year articles). There is some promising activity in the beginning, the year is almost about to end with those early releases and near the last 2-3 months there is a massive release of CPC demos (if we can call that massive). As I see from Pouet, what was released before October (or even till March, there was a gap between March and October!) is one invitation, one slideshow and an intro. From them, I mostly enjoyed the invitation which is for Croco Channel #4 and is made by GPA. If I recall well, GPA also made a tool on PC for rendering animations using 3d meshes and outputting a code or data that displays the animation on the PC. I think this is used for some nice floating 3d hearts around the nicely designed screen here (Unfortunatelly I can't review more of it because I can't download it from cpcscene.com, which is down right now, and I am in a netcafe near the army so I don't have access to my demo folder at home :P). Then we have a release from Fatality which is not a cracktro but a porn slideshow for the green monitor. And something from Neutr@ Zon@ which is however quite worse than their first demo. Still, I am looking forward to see some real demos from these newcomer groups.
In October we have some great surprises before we get the releases from Croco Channel 4 in November. Come Castellum meeting 2 is a nice invitation from Benediction with the usual sine dots and a small scrolly behind a little plasma. It's as ok as the CC4 invitation. The surprises are CS2#2007 by Benediction and Hate Beats by Ukonx. Starting from the second, yes, the PC and Amiga group Ukonx did its appearence on the CPC(+)!!! It's great news and their first demo for the plus is quite good for a beginning. It both uses the nice palette of the plus for fades and nice shades and the digital sound chip while also providing a nice multipart demo with various software effects in a small window. There are even a few effects never seen before on the CPC like 2d metaballs (I use to call them blobs :), bump mapping, some strange distortion effects and also older effects like plasma, fire and a nice little accurate rotozoomer. It's quite a nice demo and I hope to see their next one soon.
CS2#2007 is the first breakthrough from Krusty, featuring the best 2d bump mapper I have seen on CPC till today! It uses a 4*4 dithered char set for chunky effects like with demos on Spectrum or C64 producing such effects. Krusty also used the same rendering setup for his BND#2007 entry in the CC4 competition, featuring this time a multipart of several effects, many not seen before on the CPC like blobs and water effect. I like the logo flashing its RGB synced with the music and the little graphic hearts that slowly appear in front or behind, also the demo repeats from the beginning endlessly. Some of the effects may seem slow (also in the Ukonx demo) but they have never been done before and at least things like water and bump mapping are harder to optimize than fire and plasma.
And so with BND#2007 we came to talk about the Croco Channel 4 entries now. We have a lot of plus demos like Allergy from Semilanceata which actually recycles the vector balls code from Sappy with a new great looking fractal background. Synergy is quite a nice CPC+ screen from AST who is back again on the CPC it seems. Liquidsnake from revival is another plus screen with some hardware wavulating effects. It seems unfinished. Btw, the graphics logo is from Voxfreax who is an old Greek scene friend, ex-Odium, who is now again obsessed with CPC demomaking! He showed me some graphics that he did for the revival demos for CC4 and I think they are quite promising for his first tries. So, we have some news from the dead Greek CPC scene here :)
Tux is a wavulating penguin (Linux?). Delty is a remake of the Delta music. Rien is from a new scener called Shinra? Hmm. Tragedy is a tragedy. And this article is a total failure :)
Oh, we also have the return of OFE with Larsen, which is an adaptation of an ST SidSound tune. Hmm, I just now found out that the screen graphics of this demo(?) are ripped from the AST demo (which might also be ripped from another source :).
I like writing this article so fast, ok I may be out of the army after a week or so and I just want to finish it. In February I am finished with the army totally and have other plans that may make me happier or give me more time or a girl and so this might or might not mean that Optimus will be back for action on the CPC, but that's a prediction for 2008 (world domination)!!!
And that was the demo news of 2007. Was it a good year for the CPC demoscene or not? Who cares.. at least there were some nice surprises, Benediction and Semilanceata kicking ass, great new comers, CPC+ kicking, newschool effects on the CPC (My preciouuuusss blobs!!!). Raaaaaah!!!
So, I would say few things about the non demoscene related news on CPC for 2007 and end up here.
Benediction is kicking major arse under another label. The Binary Sciences is a group dedicated to game developing on the CPC. They have already released Groops, which is a quite nice and quite colorful puzzle game. They are about to bring a Sudoku game on the CPC too. Just check their site!
More nice game releases for the CPC this year. Kevin Thacker has coded Balloonacy for the CPC based on the same game on C64. I have played it on the C64 in the past, it's a nice and simple game (a bit hard sometimes) where you just have to move a balloon through tight places without touching anything dangerous. On the CPC it seems to have the same nice playability like on C64. Just check the forum here for a download of a playable demo. You should also check Magical Drop which unfortunately I can't download because all links are broken :P
I don't know if there are any news recently about SymbOS. The last good news is the release of Symzilla, which is a browser for SymbOS and looks quite impressive! For the year 2008 I wish I will surf in the internet from my CPC with CPC/IP, this browser and a modem :)
The future for 2008
CPCrulez[Content Management System]
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.