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1
News / [BOOK] DEMOMAKER The Amiga years
« Last post by logone on June 02, 2020, 09:26:18 PM »
Hello guyz,

We have just launched a crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com. The goal of this campaign is to allow the release of our first book on the Amiga demomaker scene "DEMOMAKER The Amiga years". You receive this message because we wish to inform you of this new adventure. This is a beautiful project.

Thank you in advance for your participation.

The project is being funded on the indiegogo website at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/demomaker-the-amiga-years--2/x/23793043#/
Our website: www.editions64k.fr

Our social networks:
www.facebook.com/editions64k.fr
www.twitter.com/editions64k.fr
www.instagram.com/editions64k.fr

You can also go further than financial support, you can also help us to communicate on this project.
There are several possibilities for this:

- Send an email to your friends with a link to the project page https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/demomaker-the-amiga-years--2/x/23793043#/

- On social networks, to relay our posts and our project.
www.facebook.com/editions64k.fr
www.twitter.com/editions64k.fr
www.instagram.com/editions64k.fr
2
Interviews with Demosceners & Developers / Interview with Ham / Software Failure
« Last post by 4pLaY on May 18, 2020, 06:46:48 PM »
Hello Ham. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, everyone.

My name is Hector, but you probably know me by my scene handle, Ham. I live in Spain. I'm currently in my mid-forties and I’ve been involved in this amazingly crazy world of the computer demoscene since my teenage years.

Time goes fast. Perhaps some of you have seen at least a couple of my demoscene productions, mostly intros but also a few demos, that I have released at some demoparties, in person (as it always should be) or sometimes remotely. Most of them are for my favorite platform which is, of course, the Amiga.

When did you get interested in computers and what was your first computer?

I think I could blame some old Sci-Fi TV series from having infected me with this love for computers when I was a child. I got my first computer in 1987. It was a wonderful Amstrad CPC 464 and it came with some tapes, a few games, a rudimentary word processor an even a drawing program and two manuals. One of them entirely devoted to BASIC. I read both books from cover to cover. Those were great days full of fun and experimentation.

I tried to emulate, coding in this slow BASIC, a few arcade games (with modest success) and I learned a lot by myself during those years. Later I upgraded to the CPC 664, which had a disk drive.

What Amiga(s) did you have in the past and if you remember, what were the(ir) configuration(s)?

My first Amiga computer was an A500 with Kickstart 1.3 and the usual half-megabyte trapdoor expansion. Later I bought a second disk drive, which was very practical when you did not have a HD. Around 1995, I got a vanilla A1200 with Kickstart 3.1 and I upgraded it a few months later with a 3.5" 850Mb IDE HD, a CD-ROM drive, an accelerator board with 030/42Mhz and 4Mb of Fast-RAM. Years later other accelerators came to my A1200, like the 040 (with 16Mb) and finally a 060/50Mhz with 64Mb of fast-RAM, which is currently installed on my AGA machine (another A1200).

I still have my first Amiga (that old A500 continues to work flawlessly to this day) and also an A600 with Kickstart 2.0, CF as HD and a Gotek as disk drive.

Can you tell us how you got involved with the demoscene?

It was a very gradual and almost inevitable process. After a year or two spending my days doing a lot of solitary coding with my first computer and saving my programs on those slow tapes, I got my CPC 664 and got to see some cracktros and demos that came to me along with several pirated games. I remember that I was very impressed by the wizardry of some of those demos like, for example, KKB's First Demo's effects and scrollers. By then I had already managed to write relatively complex programs in BASIC, such as a chess game (which played quite badly but at least complied with all the rules, such as capturing "en passant") and a conversational adventure parser and editor (with simple vector graphics), but I didn't want to get stuck in this limited form of programming. So, I started to focus on learning Z80 machine language. This was a slow process because the information was not very easy to find at that time, but there were books, computer magazines and diskmags (mostly in French) with some good articles. I were already involved with some friends in the local CPC scene, making our own diskmag and swapping stuff, when I began to discover how to mix BASIC and Z80 code.

Anyway, soon I bought an Amiga 500 and forgot about the Amstrad for a while. I went back to BASIC again, but this time it was AMOS Pro, a modern language with procedures, easy access to hardware and a compiler. That was much better and very different from the slow and cumbersome Locomotive BASIC of the Amstrad. I also received a photocopy of a translation into Spanish of the Amiga Hardware Reference Manual that, by then, was circulating among the coders of the Spanish scene and I study it conscientiously. At that time I got some fun too, making crappy music with StarTrekker and later on, ProTracker.

As soon as some of my contacts in the world of the Amstrad CPC began the transition to Amiga, I joined forces with them. That was the beginning of Software Failure. Then, a friend sent me a couple of issues of a new diskmag in Spanish called Fanzine, which was full of articles about the scene. This is how I learned that a demoparty had been held in Spain and that about 30 people had attended. The following year (1993) I started visiting demoparties, meeting at last some of my contacts in person, making new friends, and getting much more involved with the demoscene. Suddenly, It's funny now that I see it retrospectively, in less than half a year I attended both the biggest demoparties so far in Spain, the Southern Party (maybe 250 people) in July and the biggest demoparty so far in the world, The Party, around 3000 people, held in Denmark as you surely know in December. What a blast!

Could you tell us a bit about the story behind the group Software Failure and your part in it in the early days and now?

The group was created around the last quarter of 1992. Darklord, the founder, was also one of my old contacts in the world of the Amstrad CPC. So he told me about this new group as soon as he learned that I had bought an Amiga and I joined immediately. At first I was just an AMOS coder and an aspiring musician, but later I started with 68000 assembler. Anyway, we did just a few prods during the first years and most of them were coded by Darklord, sometimes using the handle Genam, that he had until the summer of 1993. For example, we released a musicdisk called “Musik Rulez” (with some early tunes from Goreboy) and an intro for a diskmag called “Digital Fanzine” that was edited by Future Brain (a group from Barcelona) and mainly focused on manga stuff. A year or so after I joined, Chip, another guy from my city, joined too. The team was small and scattered among several cities, so we used to use long telephone calls as our primary form of communication (which was pretty normal before the internet era) and we could only meet at demoparties one or two times each year. I think the first time most of the team met was at Southern Party II in the summer of 1994.

By that time we joined forces with some members of the group Sepultura and even released a demo with them. Shortly after that, I became the organizer of the group because Darklord left Software Failure and joined Necropolis. That pissed me a little bit but most of Necropolis members were living in Darklord's city, Almería and that made it easier for him being productive and I guess, learning more tricks from Necropolis` old coders, Skynet & Creator. So I understood the allure of joining bigger teams with lots of experienced people (after almost a year in Necropolis, Darklord joined Capsule later). Anyway, our group didn't dissolve and we planned to release more prods sooner or later.

Now I guess I should have released more stuff during those years, cause I coded enough to make a couple of small intros, in assembler, that could have been for Posadas'95 or Euskal IV, but I was driven by the vice of perfectionism and those releases were always postponed. Even if I was committed to be more productive and not going to a demoparty again empty-handed, it was easier said then done, because there was always some bug or something that made the releasing unwise. This is something I regret, because Darklord didn't get to see the resurgence of Software Failure since then, unfortunately, he died in the last quarter of 1996 as a sudden consequence of a diabetic coma. Just remembering this tragedy makes me feel deeply sad even now.

However, months passed while I continued learning and improving. I realized that I already had the skills to make relatively good stuff alone and I started a series of regular releases that I somehow managed to maintain every year since then. Not always for Amiga, I must say, but mostly for Amiga. Later JosSs joined, after we did a co-op demo for the GP2X console that won a BCN Party in 2007. So, nowadays Software Failure is a multiplatform small group, centered on the Amiga. Currently only Chip, JosSs and I are really active.

Do you remember which tools you used back when you started out and what are you using these days for development?

Well, sticking to the Amiga, although I've also made (and will do) some demoscene-related productions for other platforms, the main difference is that nowadays I use a PC to develop for Amiga, while before I only used an Amiga for these purposes. So these days I use VBCC, vasm and vlink for cross-compiling code edited on Notepad++ and then I run the resulting executable within WinUAE or FS-UAE. I also test it on the real thing, because I need to be sure that everything really works. My A1200 has a network card, which is very practical when making fast tests during development, but most of the time I use an emulator and try to minimize the number of tests on my A1200. In the old days I used Devpac to code in 680x0 assembly and then I switched to PhxAss for a while.

Regarding music, when I need to do the music for a demo, nowadays I use Renoise, some VSTs and Audacity, but if I need to do music for an intro (or even a dentro) I generally use that ProTracker 2.3D clone made by 8bitbubsy. Sometimes I create the samples with Renoise and then I convert them to 8VSX using SoX (which allows more flexibility than simply loading WAV samples at 22KHz).

Regarding graphics, I still use some Amiga tools like Personal Paint and Photogenics inside the emulator, but I also like to use some PC tools like GrafX2. And for 3D graphics I created my own tools, first in AMOS on Amiga and later in C++ on PC, but I also use some normal tools such as Wings 3D (great tool that I recommend for modeling and texturing low polygon models). These are more or less my current tools to develop for Amiga and though they are much better than the tools I was using years ago, everything could change in the future, because I will always be willing to improve this sometimes tiresome workflow for something better or faster.

Do you have some tips for anyone that might want to start doing Amiga productions in 2020?

You need to feel motivated because making productions is not easy. You should expect some difficulties and be able to handle a certain level of frustration. The good thing is that nowadays it's relatively easy to start if you get one of those frameworks released by groups like Haujobb or Capsule. Cross-compilation makes the demomaking process easier now than before. Also, you don't need to use assembler for all the things. Though you should learn assembler cause 680x0 machine code is fun anyway!

Use emulators while you are making your demo but don't forget to get a real machine for testing and never rely completely on software emulators or hardware reimplementations (like MIST or Minimig) because they are not always completely accurate in terms of compatibility.

Choose AGA or OCS. They are different platforms even if they have many things in common. If you choose OCS, stick to A500 for compatibility but make sure that your demo can run flawlessly, without graphical or sound issues, on AGA machines (at least check this on an emulator). If you choose AGA, make a demo that can run well on 68060/50MHz maximum and I'll be happy. But I would be even happier if your demo runs on a vanilla A1200! Start easy. Make a small intro before you try to make a full demo.

Anyway, avoid perfectionism because it could be paralyzing. You need to finish your prods and you should not worry if they are not your best. You can always do next one better. Look for inspiration everywhere and preferably outside the demoscene world. Nature, mathematics, art and life are better sources of inspiration than other demos.

What would you consider the best production you have created so far?

I honestly have no idea. Best according to what criteria? In terms of what I learned creating them, it's probably one of my early intros like "Mecanica", "Neuroblasto" or "Brain Overdrive". But if we consider just the overall result, maybe it's some of my recent productions like "Omnimetatheorem" or "Obsolete & Happy". Some people may even argue that my best demo is not even made for Amiga but for GP2X! I would disagree with them, of course. In any case, I hope that my best production (whatever that means) has not been created yet.

Can you tell us what you consider the best Amiga demos back in the golden years? as well as now

Well, one of the best of the golden years (1992) was, to my taste, not a demo but a musicdisk by Sanity called "Jesterday". It's absolutely fantastic! I also recommend another Sanity's production from 1993 (this time it's a demo) called "Arte". This demo is pure delight! There is another great demo from the mid-90s called "Deep - the Psilocybin Mix" by Parallax & CNCD. I will not try to describe this masterpiece, just watch it!

A demo with great design and style is "Klone" by DCS (1999). Also from the late 90s, I recommend "Pulse" by Nerve Axis. In my opinion, it's the best demo from Nerve Axis. Clearly better than "Relic". Perhaps I should point out that much of the best prods from this era were 64K intros. Check all the stuff made by Antibyte/Scoopex (like "Superautodrome 2", for instance) because, regarding code and music, you might find them quite interesting.

Another one, much more recent (2001) is a 64K AGA intro by Nature called "Zeon" that not only has a great tune but also impressive 3D effects in low-res wireframe and flat lighting. Nowadays the Amiga demoscene is perhaps smaller in size but not in quality. There is a lot of great stuff released recently both in OCS/ECS and AGA. For instance, the demos from Revision 2019 released by groups like Ephidrena, Capsule, TEK or Haujobb. And even experimental demos like "Peek" by Spaceballs (Datastorm, 2018) are moving the Amiga's flame forward featuring quite impressive effects made for anaglyphic glasses.

What do you think of the state of the demo scene today?

I can't complain about how things are nowadays. Every month, or every couple of months, you can find new stuff for Amiga released at some demoparty. Or some prod simply released for fun. That's amazing considering how old our platform is. But C64 is older and still kicking. So I feel optimistic.

What do you feel you got out of the whole experience of being active in the Amiga demoscene? for example, did it lead you to code professionally in any way?

Being active in the demoscene brings me much more in the personal realm than the professional one. Of course, demoscene skills are somehow transferable to many technical and artistic jobs but that’s just a collateral benefit and not the main fruit of doing demos. To me, the whole process of creating a demo (or intro) gives great satisfaction, especially if it’s properly finished and released, and makes me push my own limits, learn more things and explore new ideas. Besides, meeting a lot of great people interested in creating demos (on Amiga, PC or whatever) and being able to party with them and share this passion for technology and art is something amazing. Moreover, I consider the “computer demo” as an art form as good and legit as could be a poem, a sonata, a painting, a photograph, a film or any other “classical” art forms. So far, being part of the demoscene has made me grow as an artist, programmer and person. That’s what I get out of the whole experience.

Is there anyone you would like to send some greetings to? Or perhaps you have some other last words?

Greetings to all the people who keep alive the demoscene spirit. They have my admiration, especially those who release new stuff for old machines like the Amiga. Also, big thanks to the nice coders who spend their time making useful demotools like crunchers or trackers. You all are awesome! See you at some demoparty, hopefully soon.

That is the end of this interview, thanks for taking the time to do it Ham, I am sure our readers will appreciate it :).
3
Software - Applications / Rainbow Arts circa 1988, a Copyright paradise
« Last post by Astrofra on May 05, 2020, 09:29:46 PM »
"A beginning is a very delicate time"

During the whole period of the 1980s, the very first games released on every brand new microcomputer are worthy of interest. They usually represent the feat of having been created by programmers who discovered the machine while trying to deliver rush their games within a tight deadline, even if that means taking liberties with some of the most obvious legal concerns.

In this rush for release , the company Rainbow Arts has come, several times, really close to a blatant evidence of plagiarism. It appears however that the game "The Wall", published in 1988, slipped under the legal radar.



When the first floppy disk boots, the player is welcomed by a sampled loop of rather rare musical quality for a computer game. The arrangement, which is both rich and balanced, draws attention and stands out from the digitized music introductions of this era, specifically composed for video games and usually much more cheesy.

It turns out this is for a good reason: the intro music of The Wall, on Amiga, is sampled from Run like hell by Pink Floyd, taken from the album from which the game borrows its name.

The surprise does not stop there, because during loading, a sample of Phil Collins' Take me home vibrates in the loudspeaker.

Finally, once the game has started, it is another sample of Jann Hammer's Crockett's theme that fills the audio background, barely covered by the sound effects. In 1984, Jann Hammer fully produced the Miami Vice theme on a Fairlight CMI, the first standard of synthesizer/sequencer to feature sampling as the basis for an instrument. This technique would finally appear in 1987 on the Amiga with Ultimate Soundtracker.

How is it possible, in retrospective, that no one noticed so many ocurrences of plagiarism in the very game video game?
It might be that the audio copyright, in 1988, was not a matter at all in the video game industry, nor was it to the Music Majors awareness...

Sample 1: Run like hell (Pink Floyd)





Note that the sample is not played back at the frequency at which it was sampled. The musical extract and the rhythm are therefore a little slower.


Sample 2: Take me home (Phil Collins)





Here too, the replay of the sample is greatly slowed down, which completely changes the rhythm.


Sample 3: Crockett's Theme (Jann Hammer)



4
News / Re: Ultimate Tracker Support (UTS) from Resistance released
« Last post by Dissident on April 18, 2020, 03:16:34 PM »
Nice. Need to check out the pt 2.3 and 3.0  replayer routines since I have trouble playing some mods with the p61 replayer source I'm using in an ongoing project. Tnx!

Hi, tassel. I'm curious about your feedback.  :)
5
News / Re: Ultimate Tracker Support (UTS) from Resistance released
« Last post by tassel on April 17, 2020, 08:57:29 PM »
Nice. Need to check out the pt 2.3 and 3.0  replayer routines since I have trouble playing some mods with the p61 replayer source I'm using in an ongoing project. Tnx!
6
News / Update V.1.5 of "Ultimate Tracker Support" (UTS) from Resistance released
« Last post by Dissident on April 17, 2020, 12:49:43 PM »
Hi,

again an update of the "Ultimate Tracker Support" (UTS) from Resistance: http://aminet.net/util/cli/RSE-UTS.lha


V.1.5 - Brief overview of the changes


Replay routines:

- NT-Replay2.0_000_0x0 V.4.1
  • Now "Tone Portamento" doesn't call CheckMoreEffects anymore, if wanted period equals note period. I didn't consider this special case of the original Noisetracker/Startrekker replay routine yet.

- PT-Replay2.3a_000_0x0 V.4.1
  • Retrig note / Note Delay interrupt routine improved and optimized.

- PT-Replay2.4_000_0x0 V.1.0 (new)
  • Based on version 2.3, using the audio interrupts for rewriting the audio location and length registers makes a timer wait superfluous. This guarantees a smooth replay of loop samples with a repeat point of NULL instead of the usual cracking sound generated by the first cleared sample data word.

- PT-Replay3.0b_000_0x0 V.3.9
  • Retrig note / Note Delay interrupt routine improved and optimized.

- PT-Replay3.1_000_0x0 V.1.0 (new)
  • Based on version 3.0b, using the audio interrupts for rewriting the audio location and length registers makes a timer wait superfluous. This guarantees a smooth replay of loop samples with a repeat point of NULL instead of the usual cracking sound generated by the first cleared sample data word.


Some of the tools also got improved:

- WhichMOD V.1.5
  • Songspeed of NULL bpm is no longer displayed
  • Improved note info check in the patterns
  • Detection of Ultimate Soundtracker note cuts without an effect command
  • Considering special effect commands of the old Soundtracker 1-3 and old DOC Soundtracker 4-6
  • Used effect commands now displayed based on the logic of my overview "Tracker Features V.1.0" with their different command formats 0-2
  • Internal song restart position of Noisetracker 2.x or Startrekker 1.x modules with 4 or 8 channels now displayed

- UST2PT V.1.4
  • Now directories, set with the Shell "CD" command, properly supported and filename bug removed
  • Large samples of >32 kB now treated correctly
  • Detection and conversion of Ultimate Soundtracker note cuts without an effect command
  • Considering special effect commands of the old Soundtracker 1-3 and old DOC Soundtracker 4-6
  • Now only for modules with a songspeed that is not 120 bpm, the song-speed is multiplied by a factor. In case of 120 bpm, the standard tempo of 125 bpm is used, because 120 bpm modules are usally replayed in 50 fps/125 bpm (e.g. "STK.lepeltheme" of the game Sarcophaser)
  • More precise info which speed command could not be set if there are not enough channels without an effect command at the first position in the first played pattern

- OST2PT V.1.4
  • Now directories, set with the Shell "CD" command, properly supported and filename bug removed
  • Large samples of >32 kB now treated correctly
  • Detection and conversion of Ultimate Soundtracker note cuts without an effect command
  • Considering special effect commands of the old Soundtracker 1-3 and old DOC Soundtracker 4-6 and converting them if possible
  • Now only for modules with a songspeed that is not 120 bpm, the song-speed is multiplied by a factor. In case of 120 bpm, the standard tempo of 125 bpm is used, because 120 bpm modules are usally replayed in 50 fps/125 bpm.
  • More precise info which speed command could not be set if there are not enough channels without an effect command at the first position in the first played pattern

- ST2PT V.1.3
  • Now directories, set with the Shell "CD" command, properly supported and filename bug removed
  • Improved note info check in the patterns.
  • Large samples of >32 kB now treated correctly
  • There may be some Soundtracker modules with a speed command which sets the speed to a value > 15 ticks. If so, the Soundtracker compatible maximum of 15 ticks is set in the pattern
  • More precise info which speed command could not be set if there are not enough channels without an effect command at the first position in the first played pattern

- NT2PT V.1.0 (new)
  • If the internal song restart position is 1..127, an additional "end"-pattern with a "Position Jump restartpos" effect command is set in the first position of the additional pattern to ensure Protracker compability
  • Some Noisetracker modules (e.g. MOD.load master loading) have a speed command that sets > 31 ticks cause problems on the Protracker that interprets these values as tempo values. A speed > 31 ticks is set to the Noisetracker/Startrekker compatible maximum value of 31 ticks
  • More precise info which speed command could not be set if there are not enough channels without an effect command at the first position in the first played pattern

- SplitMOD V.2.0
  • Now directories, set with the Shell "CD" command, properly supported and filename bug removed
  • More precise error message if the length of the samples file will be NULL bytes
7
Software - Applications / EGS, Enhanced Graphics System
« Last post by Astrofra on April 04, 2020, 06:58:47 PM »
An amazing piece of Amiga history



EGS , for Enhanced Graphics System , is a solution developed by the German company Viona Development. Released around 1991, it has offered a complete RTG system for Amiga, including:
  • a hardware abstraction for all 24bit graphics boards that supported the EGS standard
  • a very advanced GUI that took full advantage of the Amiga multitasking and the capabilities of 24-bit graphics cards

EGS was written in a new language called Cluster, described by its author as an evolution of Modula-2 (itself being an evolution of the Pascal programing language).

The first presentation of EGS to the general public in the USA, operating on a GVP graphic board, took place in April 1992, that means 3 years before the official release of Windows 95.



How can I test EGS?

Although designed to operate on an 8 or 24bit high resolution framebuffer, EGS is fully compatible with the builtin ECS and AGA graphics modes.
Therefore, it is quite possible to install it on an Amiga Classic (as long as you have a 68020, enough available RAM and if possible an FPU).

The latest version can be found on Aminet. The software even works perfectly under the UAE emulation!

The EGS system automatically adapts to the amount of available colors, thanks to an automatic dithering and color palette system.

The look & feel of the GUI under EGS

Taking its inspiration from the workstation's GUIs like X11, IRIX or NextStep, EGS shows a very polished and consistent look.

The features and ergonomy are extremelly advanced for this generation, including a docking system available for every drop-down menu and window opened by the EGS applications as well as a global object-oriented approach.



Screenshots, boys & girls!

The system preferences of EGS are similar to the one found in AmigaOS, pushing the features and ergnonomy a step further.


 

 


Some demo applications show off the awesomeness of the GUI, the graphic layer and the infamous multitasking of the Amiga. EGS provides a very advanced and accurate performance monitor that details the delicate complexity of AmigaOS.


 

 

 


A builting image viewer offers several resizing modes (nearest, linear, spline...) with more or less fast / accurate interpolation.


 

 

 
The text editor mentions, in its "About ..." window, the Cluster language on which the EGS is entirely based.



Finally, a video capture of EGS in operation



Only Amiga? ... :)
8
News / Re: Rare 8-chan ST-01 song ++
« Last post by Dissident on March 28, 2020, 01:55:13 PM »
Cool song.  8) Thanks for sharing. The style reminds me of the group "Laser Dance" with their album "Future Generation" from 1987. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4HEk77MsTU I guess it's not a Protracker/Startrekker 8-chan song, right?

Cheers!

Dissident^Resistance
9
News / Rare 8-chan ST-01 song ++
« Last post by SceneChanX on March 27, 2020, 08:05:23 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfwc1Gx_6WQ

See this song, and more over at this chan.

Peace.
10
Interviews with Demosceners & Developers / Interview with Loaderror / Ephidrena
« Last post by 4pLaY on March 26, 2020, 08:41:17 PM »
Hello Loaderror. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello!

I'm currently living in Shanghai/China with my wife and baby girl. In my daily job I do GPU driver development for ARM. Just turned 40 this summer. Waiting for my 40 yo crisis to kick in.

When I'm not in front of the screen you could find me playing company football (the most extreme of extreme sports), drawing something on paper, studying Chinese. I love eating so Shanghai is a good place with its wide variety of food.

In the demo scene I try to push out at least one production every year. I have a todo-list of stuff I want to try out. Just implemented something I had thought about for 11 years last Sunday. It finally took one evening to do it.

When did you get interested in computers and what was your first computer?

I got addicted to C64 early (5-6 years age) and I would run away from home to play on this computer at my relative's home. My parents then got me an Atari 2600 where I played classics like E.T, Galaxians and Joust. After a couple of years my second cousin visited with a C64 and showed me variations of the program:

10 PRINT "hello"
20 GOTO 10

Which I thought was incredibly neat. My parents later bought a C64. Starved of games I started copying Basic programs from the C64 manual. What really got me interested in coding though was the dreadful US Gold arcade conversion of Vigilante for the C64. That pile of trash made me think I can do this better. I still got this Vigilante C64 rewrite on my bucket list.

Later on, my second cousin brought along an Amiga 500 and showed me Mental Hangover and Budbrain Megademo. He told me how some of the effects were "impossible" and I loved the end part of Budbrain. This is how I learned about the demo scene.

Do you still have any Amiga(s) today? If yes, which ones and what configuration(s)

I have an Amiga 1200 with a 060 and 64 MB RAM back in Norway. It is currently serving as Slummy's test machine. I also may have an A500 somewhere and a Pegasos 2.

Can you tell us how you got involved with the demoscene?

My first encounter was through my second cousin showing me Budbrain Megademo and Mental Hangover on Amiga 500. Then fast forward a few years to 1995 and a friend asked if I wanted to go with him to Bush Party 2. At the time I was a fan of demos, but I only knew how to get them by magazines or ordering them through PD companies (yes).

He cancelled the trip, but I went anyway. Once there, I didn't know anyone, but I had a bit different demos compared to other Amiga guys and I had a 030 so people came to me to try how various demos ran on it. This way I met Accede/Romeo/O2/Xhale and the LostVision guys and many others. I joined Codbowels as a graphician at the time. This group renamed to Astra Syntex and then finally Donut Fetish. Later I went to Odyssey 95 where I met Frequent and Cyberstarr. Soon after we formed Ephidrena.

Can you tell us a bit about the story behind your group Ephidrena?

I can only speak from my own memory, hope it is correct :)

Ephidrena was founded in 1995 by Cyberstarr and Frequent at the Odyssey 95 demo party. The name stems from a Future Sound Of London tune called Ephidrena. This tune got a lot of horse samples! We liked to listen to underground music such as FSOL, Autechre, Aphex Twin, Orbital, ambient, drum and bass, goa trance etc. For me it was a revelation to meet these guys, since in my home town I didn't know anyone who liked this kind of music and I didn't know where to get it either. So Frequent became my main provider of cool music and sent me a lot of mix tapes.

Our somewhat unified music taste helped inspired a lot of our demos. Often paired with roughed up graphics and typography. For many demos the graphics were made using natural media such as oil paint on canvas. Plastic covered newspapers with oil paint. Music made from banging objects together in front of the microphone or playing toy instruments. Also, photos taken by ourselves rather than stock images from the internet. The dymo font in Fake Elektronik Lightshow comes from a real dymo writer etc. I think it livened things up to put real stuff into the process. On our latest demos it has all gone a bit too digital I think.

In the first year we had the members Cyberstarr, Frequent, Loaderror, Zixaq, Stoney and Cheetah. Later we had the fresh forces of Nerve and HOW joining us bringing in Atari power to the mix.

Always liked how these guys like to finish things and release. So if something is made, it doesn't go to waste because a project gets abandoned. From my early scene career I felt a bit let down whenever making something and it wouldn't get into a released demo. With Ephidrena, I felt everyone were very serious about finishing every prod we started. It was also a great group to learn in. Frequent and Zixaq taught me much about music (from slamming my old horrible Octamed mods). I learned a lot of asm from Cyberstarr and Accede/DNF. And Cheetah and Stoney taught me about the world of crazy typography design and what good looking colors are supposed to be like.

In our first years, we met quite often in person to make demos before a party. I have fond memories from our gatherings with pizza and coke and demo making in Zixaq's basement. We still keep in contact on the internet and at least the guys near Oslo meet from time to time for fun and party.

I could go on forever I guess. :)

Do you remember which tools you used back when you started out, and what are you using these days for development?

In the beginning we used these tools

Then:

- Brilliance => Pixel graphics, overlay animations
- Truebrilliance => 24-bit graphics, textures
- Sagakrakken => Some home made tool to combine a true color image with a light image
- Imagine => 3D
- Amos 303 emulator => 303 sounds in the swaptro
- Loaderror's Amos sample generator => samples in Photons
- Protracker => Music
- Toy instruments from Zixaq's basement => Music on Photons Dodraugen demo
- Golded => Coding editor
- PhxAss => Demo coding
- AsmOne => 4k Intro coding
- Octamed => Goa trance compo entries
- FastTracker => Multichannel compo entries

Hardware:

- Standard: Scanner, Amiga, Pc, Camera
- Acrylic paint and brush => Backgrounds in Janne Ahonen and Adam Malysz
- Dymo textwriter => Fake elektronik lightshow overlays
- Cans, toy cars, coins, tumble drier => Adam Malysz and Janne Ahonen sounds

Now:

- FS-UAE / WinUAE => Emulator
- Sublime, Atom, vim => Editor
- Vasm/Vbcc/Clang => Coding
- Gimp / Photoshop / Brilliance / Inkscape => Graphics
- Maya / Lightwave / Blender => 3d
- Assimp => 3d importer/exporter
- Real Amiga => Test
- Asmone => intro coding
- Shadertoy => Create tables and stuff
- Reason, Renoise, ++ => Music

Custom homemade stuff:
 
-- Sliced-palette picture converter
-- Streaming music converter to eph sound format

Hardware:

- Phone, Mac, PC

Do you have some tips for anyone that might want to start doing Amiga productions in 2020?

There has been released several good demo frameworks lately, with cross-dev setup and everything. For example, the one from Haujobb released recently. So if you want to get quickly up and running and ready to create some effects I would use one of those.

Watching the videos from Photon`s YT channel could be a nice 2020 way to get into Amiga coding as well.

I have a feeling many start making an Amiga prod, but never finish it because there is a lot of boring basics to get over before you get to the visual/audible parts. Such startup code is really a major creativity killer.

What would you consider the best production you worked on and why?

From a technical standpoint, the latest demo is usually the best, as it will have something new and exciting we couldn't do before. I'm happy with those tunnels/balls on Knarkzilla for my own reasons, although nobody else really will notice what those were about :)

"Fake Elektronik Lightshow" is probably my personal favorite as it has got a mix of hip-hop, chip, acid, graffiti, rubber objects coming up from the underground, stupid texts, Dymo font and even some Swedish danseband acts all in one package and it feels kind of coherent. The spitfire part was arguably a bit off the first 100 times I watched it, but now it feels just right as well.

Most of the demos got a story behind them. They are a great way to remember the old days.

F.ex, Janne Ahonen was made by me and Cheetah in a stabbur, without the other guys knowing about it. Even when they were at times inside that same stabbur while it was getting made. So we had to switch our screens to something irrelevant, whenever they came around to look at what we were doing.

The last pieces of "J " was made while on a boat. Known as "Lugarkoding". The J'_ was going to become our non-pronounceable symbol and replace Ephidrena over time. Just like when Prince tried to ditch his name in favor of his own symbol and became "the artist formerly known as Prince". Sadly it only stuck around for one or two demos before it got replaced by a rhino.

Most of Substral was made while lying down flat as I kept my Amiga in the high bunk of my army bed while doing the military service. There was no way to sit up straight, so I had to code in the horizontal position getting legendary neck pain in the process.

The recent trilogy Neonsky, Negativ Prosess and Hexel were pretty cool to do as it was a rare combination of only me and Frequent bringing up a new demo system. It got more focused on hardware powered effects and streaming music in a different style to what we had done before.

Can you tell us what you consider your favourite Amiga demos?

Difficult to answer. Browsed through the ADA demo list and picked something which made my gut tingle:

Deep & Deepmix/CncdParallax
Smokebomb, Fetish/Ozone
2cb & Klone & Nonstop/DCS
Gift, Planet Potion, Gush/Potion
Lucy, 9fingers, Eurochart40 intro, We Don't understand/Spaceballs
Subside, Horizons, Singularities,Trauma/Unique
Roots2/Sanity
Invitation None, Blur, Fad/Sonik
Noxie/Loonies
Peanut/Efreet
Dance Diverse #2/Suburban Base
Extra Life/Abyss
Nexus7 / Andromeda
Phi/Artwork
Motion2 /Bomb
Showbase Shape/C-Lous
Dust/Elude
Mokkademo/Epadrena
Napalm & Datablade/Floppy
Lech/Freezers
Burning Chrome/Haujobb
C42/Juliet and Case
Deus Ex Machina & Mind Traveler /LED
Offbeat & Raybong/Loveboat
Kioeia/mavi
Planet-M & Baygon/Melon
Fat, Azuli, Traffic/Mystic
Grid2/Nature
Jesus Christ Motocross/Traktor
Vision,Control/Oxygene
Zif/Parallax
Friday at eight, Twisted,The Prey/Polkabros
G-force, Extension/Pygmy
Switchback/Rebels
1000% (and friends)/ Scoopex
Authentix/Skarla
Electroboy inside/Smoke
Toltect9/Subspace
Goa/Tint/Glow, Mind the carrot 2, Tractorbeam, Startstruck (and friends)/TBL
15 years of fame, GBG, Live Axxion The Showdown/ Uprough
Passengers/Three Little Elks
The ventures of Prince Dakkar and his pilgrimage to the abyss /Tulou
Chaosland, Sumea, Factory, Psychedelic/Virtual Dreams & Fairlight

What do you think of the state of the demo scene today?

It is exciting to see people making comebacks. I think some coders in particular, are returning to finish those effect ideas they've had accumulating in their minds over the years of away time from the scene. There are several groups with 20 or 30 year anniversaries coming up, so hoping there will be some prods to celebrate that.

The spectrum of platforms present in the latest comments page on Pouet.net is really rich. Opened the page right now and could see Windows, MS-Dos, Amiga OCS/ECS, Atari ST/Falcon, Nes/Famicom, Zx Spectrum and C64. Each of these platforms got their own style so it is quite exciting to see they are all alive and kicking.

Not sure if the scene is recruiting a lot of young talent, but I think some closely related scenes may, such as ShaderToy, is attracting many people with its online community and sharing concept. I guess if we could get the level of code sharing going as we got in the Shadertoy scene, maybe the demoscene could spawn more higher quality entries as well, because not everyone would have to reinvent the wheel all the time. It pains me now as I'm implementing a bog standard scene player and I know I'm just chewing through the same old bugs and performance issues that have been solved a million times up through the years of the demo scene.

Ok.. rant finished :)

What do you feel you got out of the whole experience of being active in the Amiga demoscene? for example, did it lead you to code professionally in any way?

I think the scene influenced my life a lot. I've known the scene since Budbrain and Mental Hangover were released. And actively joined when I was 15 or so and went to my first demo party (Bush Party II). When I finished university I got hooked in by Slummy/Spaceballs to start working in Falanx to work on the Mali GPU (I know that according to scrolltexts and nfo files we're enemies, but sometimes we also meet and play chess and collaborate on world domination). From that point on it was more than just a hobby (later on this company were bought by ARM and today Mali is an established GPU in the mobile market.

Many of my best friends are from the scene and I keep meeting people who got some relation to the scene. For example, I just moved to China. Going home from a company event I asked a colleague how come he knew DirectX/OpenGLES that well? He said he read these articles by a guy called I ..... and I just shot interrupted him and shouted Q!!! IQ/RGBA, who is the mastermind behind Shadertoy, had somehow got reach into China and caught his attention. Probably China's only demoscener though. What a coincidence :).


Is there anyone you would like to send some greetings to? Or perhaps you have some other last words?

There are too many to greet! Thanks to the rival groups that keep this hobby interesting year after year. The ones that every time you see their prod pop up in the entry list after your own prod make you go: "you bastards, just you wait until next year!"

That is the end of this interview, thanks for taking the time to do it Loaderror, I am sure our readers will appreciate it :).
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