World of Code - Check it!
Source: Zine 64 Online magazine
World of Code
Reviewed by Gavin Gunn
On the other side of my "Hexxwyrld" disk, I found "World Of Code". It's not new, but I've never read a review of it and I'll say from the outset that it is pretty good. As you will have noticed, it's a trackmo. Luckily, the length of each section has been very well timed, at least as far as I'm concerned, so I didn't get at all bored whilst watching it. If anything, it may be a bit too short in places. On with the review...
The first thing which this demo does is start off the music. What I noticed straight away was that the main tune, and it runs through every part of this trackmo apart from the end bit, is simply the "Robocop 3" title tune, taken straight from the game. Luckily, it is a pretty good tune. In my opinion it starts well and goes slightly downhill, but it didn't even make me think of reaching for the volume control.
The first thing we have on-screen is, surprise surprise, some credits and the obligatory few introductory words. This is followed by the first main part, which is simply a scroller. It's a multi-coloured, chunky affair which smoothly zooms in and out of the screen. It goes in the borders, too, which the programmer obviously likes as he gives it a mention. Mercifully, the scroller is easy enough to read and doesn't last long.
As each new part loads from here, there's generally a few words of static text during the load which tells you what the next part is. Quite a nice idea and certainly makes my job of explaining stuff easier.
Next then, we have some "real-time fractals". To boils down to about 24 identical, hi-res squares, each with what I take to be a segment of "Hammerfist"'s face in. Each spins about its own centre and the whole screen full scrolls around a bit. This is augmented by a bouncing scroller (which was so interesting that I have absolutely no recollection of what it said) and what I take to be the real-time fractals being drawn in front of each Hammerfist face.
Proceeding swiftly on, we're treated to a fine example of something I have seen many times; "a dot-scape". This is a landscape made up entirely of little dots. The idea is that, depending upon the height each dot is at, it gets a different colour. Hence the ones at the "bottom" are blue, the "middle" ones green and the "top" ones, as far as I can remember, white. I don't know of any game on the C64, but the "Virus" game on the Amiga and "Lander" game on the Archemedies used pretty similar landscapes. The differences being higher detail levels and full shading rather than dots.
This landscape scrolls, pans & zooms to show us around. I was impressed at the smooth speed and size of the thing.
"Elastic stencil filled planes". Sounds impressive, doesn't it? What it amounts to is a selection of patterns (one after the other,) moving around on a black screen with the picture of Arnie with half his face missing (from the puzzle section of the Terminator 2 game - fond of ripping stuff from games, aren't they?) underneath. As the pattern moves, it shows whatever part of Arnie's face is beneath it, You get the idea.
It had to happen; vectors. That's what the next part is about. Small-ish filled spinny ones and lots of 'em. One after the other. It's not that I have anything against vectors full-stop, but I just wish that someone could come up with something truly original or not bother with these boring, endless selections of cubes, pyramids, octagons, dodecahedrons (or whatever), etc., etc.. OK, I admit it; I do have something against vectors. I hate the damn things & I'm proud of it.
Still, the one almost redeeming feature of these (and it's nothing new) was that, because they're "see-through", as the shaded faces at the front passed over the ones at the back, the shading was altered, as it would be in "real life".
The next bit picks things up again; it's a full-screen mandelbrot zoomer, updated every frame. It looks very blocky up close, but stand away and you'll be able to properly appreciate that it does, in fact, look damn good.
Back to vectors; this time transforming vectordots. It starts off as a large sphere, then changes into 2 smaller ones, then a kind of diamond thing, then 3 spheres then back to the start. Not bad but it's still a vector part.
For the finale, we're treated to a different tune. I've written "good music" in my notes, so there you go. There are, would you credit it, more filled vectors. Exactly the same as the first set although, at least twice as big & I think they've added a couple of more complex ones. Hmmm. Not the same at all, then. Erk. These chuff about behind a straightforward "movie scroller", which contains the usual credits and bits & bobs like that. It ends by resetting your C64.
So, there you have it. Overall I'd have to say "better than Hexxwyrld", although it's also just plain different, so that wouldn't be fair. It's getting 82%, by the way.
Can I just say a big "Cheers" to Mr. Duncan Torrie for sending these demos to me.
Extremes - Check it!
Source: Probable Relax magazine
This time Scroll, Fuben, PRI and RRR had a critical look on some releases from the Assembly 1995, to be more precise the contributions voted on position one and three, namely Extremes from Byterapers and 7 Years from Beyond Force, both ancient and Finnish groups. This time you will detect some changes in the textstyle, based on an idea by PRI. In the previous issues we uses to present the reviews as one big report, this time the frontier between the parts Coding, Graphic and Music are more visible with always presenting headlines showing who is currently reviewing. It's an experiment, so we would like to receive reactions about the way you would like to read the reviews. But just continue reading, the content and the competence remains on the same high level.
Let's start over ...
In 1994 the Byterapers returned to the CBM 64 demo scene like the legendary phoenix from the ashes, proving activity with the triple release of the World Of Code series and a converted (ported) picture show. Extremes is their first release in 1995, needless to say that it won the Assemby demo competition this year.
Fuben about the coding:
This demo was mainly coded by Mr.Sex and additionally by Mr.Dick (colorplama & endsequence).
The trackmo starts with a multi-screen logo, which wanks slowly through the screen. Additionally there are some sprites overlayed showing the introduction text. Later a filled "X" starts rotating (basic vector rotation) with a lower resoloution. Finally an "eXtremes"-logo appears made up by the vector "X". All fades out with FLD. Next effect coming up is some kind of moving spherical over a texture, all running in 4x4-mode. This effect is quite old on Amiga, but I'm not sure of having seen it ever before on C64. However, it does not look bad, evenso a quite trivial thing. Then, there is a rotator like that in Radio Napalm/ Reflex using the same texture as before. The principle of this rotator is the same like in Radio Napalm. Next is another Amiga-classic...A rotator over a scalmap. Looks quite interesting.
While loading there is a logo shown, which fades out later. A picture comes up then, containing a distorter in its centre. This distorter is different to that in Oxyron's Parts. Each line is distorted with another sine. So, it makes the effect looking better, even with the 4x4-mode used here again, and it is not using the full screen.
Next is a fullscreen colorplasma (40x25) with two different colors in each char, also using dithering. This is the same in Camelot's "Produkthaendler kom her" coded by Cruzer (which I personally prefer). It isn't running that fast, but as a matter of fact that there is a processing loader besides, it's a quite remarkable speed!
After an IFLI-picture by Mike, some gouraud objects come up in a quite poor resoloution: 8x8 pixels! Evenso these vectors are quite fast. Beside of the vector rotations there are also shodow effects (last screen fading away) and a fullscreen-colorcycling-effect ORed to the videoram. This part doesn't look that great, but thinking about all the 3 effects done in that speed...quite nice part!
Finally there is the endsequence build up by an interlace picture and a boardersprite-upscroller.
I would like to mention the very cool loadersystem used in this trackmo. It transferes 2-bit at the same time and has a rather high speed. Very cool loader!
So, all in all there isn't much to say. A more design oriented demo than a hardcode oriented. Evenso, there weren't any new inventions. Most effects came from the Amiga or other CBM 64 demos. I'm surprised by the trackmo system. Quite fast loading and depack times combined with much action. Rating: 84%
RRR about the graphics:
While watching the graphics from the Byterapers trackmo Extremes I have seen some kind of first night, hand made graphics, drawn by Mike/Byterapers and Jale/Jeskola.
In the intro part there is a huge Byterapers logo, drawn about several screens in Koala bitmap. Indeed it looks quite nice but surely with some more effort it could have been better, followed by another Koala bitmap logo Extremes, which looks quite nice, too. The next graphic is another Byterapers bitmap logo, again a nice piece of art. Sort kind of dragons who surround an effect are the graphics I have found, again in Koala bitmap format and nice drawn. The upcoming IFLI picture is for sure the best piece of art presented in this demo, and it competed in the graphics competition of the Assembly 1995 (for the results please read the Global Report). It is an excellent motive and a fitting colour palette got used, showing a dragon and a girl and some icebergs. All in all it is very detailed, both one mountain still looks a little bit unfinished in my eyes. The end picture (IFLI again) shows a long-haired person with a turned cross on the forehand. Beyond the face is a small, interesting Byterapers logo, nothing special at all.
To be honest, I really was surprised to see graphics which seem not to be ported down from the Amiga, and I have to admit that both, Mike and Jale, did a fine job with their graphics. Especially Mike improved a lot, taking some of his older work as a standart. Because of that, I dare to rate the graphic at 82%.
PRI about the soundtrack:
Once again good old Zardax has given a sign of life by doing the soundtrack for this demo.
He is one of the few composers whose tunes so to speak posess a certain aura or charisma, which probably is also one of the reasons why his work always found attention although he - just like his groupmates in Origo - never were too active. The soundtrack falls in two parts, one main and one end tune. And I mean it when I say that no demo is better timed to the music than this one, and that in no demo the different passages of one track suit the different demo-parts better. It should serve as an example for many other people who don't spare this aspect of designing demoes much attention, whereas with only a little more flexibility and co-operation between coders and musicians much better results could be achieved.
In the middle of the demo, the tune kind of dives away to a lower volume, and the pulsating bass fits excellent to the pulsation of the colours in the plasma, while the sus-chords always function as the linking element between all the different parts. A new melody kind of sneaks in, the bass-line's activity increases, and suddenly everything rises up to a new peak to powerfully underline the following vectors, after which the tune falls back into the groove from the beginning.
Furthermore, also the pauses or periods when building up a new screen were taken into special consideration by putting in appropriate breaks. A neat idea is also that "Lo-fi" intro, which is realised more consequently in the end tune: The mid frequencies are overstressed while both high and low are radically cut off, so the listener gets the impression of listening to this through an old radio. But you could also think of it as a simulation of a sampled groove which starts off e.g. many Hip Hop tunes, before the fat bass and drums come in.
This end tune features a beautiful melody which nicely calms down in the middle just to take up the the theme once more. It generates a relaxed atmosphere in which the demo-watcher leans back and thinks about all the routines and pictures he just got to see. By the way, the intro reminds me a bit of one tune used in Origo's "Tour de Force" years ago.
The quality of the instruments used in this soundtrack is, like we are used to know it from Zardax, very good. For my taste only one of the bass sounds in the main tune is a bit too fat for the exact recognition of the notes. A pity that we only very seldom get to hear tunes by Zardax - but it seems like in this case less can be more. Rating: 91%
Follow The Sign 3: Unsound Minds - Check it!
Source: Relax magazine issue 18
Byterapers have been the well deserved winners with "Follow The Sign III", Unsound Minds.
"Whenver an Assembly party has been advertised the Finnish demo group Byterapers wakes up in order to perform another well designed coding masterpiece called trackmo. Belonging to the absolute top demo groups these days Byterapers don't really need a further introduction here."
Fuben about the coding:
This winning demo of the Assembly'96 is entirely (?) coded by Mr.Sex.
It starts up with a tunnel effect (which seems to have a relief) in the 4x4 dither mode. This effect looks a bit weird, maybe because of the dithering mode and the horizontal lacing. Anyway, the fullscreen colourplasma following is in the 4x4 mode, too (actually 8x4 as 2 colors are combined to a 136-color-combination)! The speed of this routine is quite remarkable. Furthermore this plasma is quite colorfull and all in all it just looks great. The next effect is sort of a rotating globe, which stands in relation to its background. The idea of this effect is coming from the AMIGA demo "Love" by Virtual Dreams. However, Mr. Sex uses again the fullscreen 4x4 mode again! Next coming is some kind of swirl-rotator (fullscreen) on 8x8 (?). But I'm not sure what this effect actually has to be! Anyway, it doesn't look bad... Later a voxel comes up. this one is running on 8x4 with 136 colors. This routine is running quite fast but I am not sure if there's a view-point included in the routine. After that, there is a flexible x-y-distorter in the 4x4 dither mode. I would say that the speed of this routine is quite O.K. as I know how complicated it is to realise distorters like this. The next effect is a swirl-rotator combined with a colour plasma on 8x8 with some $D016-modifications in the main routine ( I think this kind of displaying a screen is new, but I doubt it looks cool). The next routine is a relief bump effect on 8x8 (laced). The relief texture is additionally moved around the screen. I've coded the same effect in my latest demo "ReLIGHTening". Unluckily Mr.Sex released his routine 2 weeks before I released mine. Shit happens! However, a zoomed swirl-rotator on 4x4 comes up... I think this routine is looking quite ugly, but that just my opinion. Finally the disk has to be turned around. The next effect suddenly touches the screen. It's a quite cool Amiga invention already seen in many Amiga demos (e.g. "Brain-state-in-a-box" by Cryptoburners in 1994). This routine is my absolute favourite in the whole demo. I already planed a long time to code this effect, but never did. Now Mr.Sex finally released it. This effect is actually nothing else than a rotzoom-routine with a changing texture. But it looks quite like a feedback f ractal. Anyway, this routine is in fact very fast. I'm sure there's a nice trick behind. By the way, this routine is running on 4x4 with those strange $D016-modifications. But all in all a quite impressive part! The next part is another Amiga invention first seen in Artwork's "The Gate". A bump-tube running in 4x4 dithering. I like this part, as it look quite nice! The next part was seen in other demos, too... A colorfull (136 cols) 8x4 (laced) effect, which I don't know how to call! The last effect in my 75% version is a bumped globe (quite nice idea!!!) rotating in the 4x4-mode.
Well, a quite well-polished demo with some design, too! The most routines are quite fast even some of them are rather boring in my eyes. The trackmo-system (loader & depacker) seems to be quite cool. My rating: 90%.
RRR about the artwork:
Responsible for the artwork are, due to my knowledge, Mike and Jate.
The optical illusion starts with an average multicolour bitmap logo presenting the groups' name, followed by an "Unbound Minds" multlicolour bitmap logo, which is very interesting regarding form and style. With Mike's competition picture "Entwinded" the first IFLI picture comes up, being quite detailed with lots of different elements such as tentacles, a girl, etc... quite nice. A multicolour bitmap picture showing a dragon spiting fire is coming up, which looks simply unfinished and only average. More multicolour bitmap art is presented, this time showing a Byterapers logo in some kind of modern art style with interesting, but maybe not so good fitting, colour combinations. Next in the row is another multicolour bitmap, a really nice girl, well realised and well choosen colours for a project like this one. The next piece of art is a FTS 3 logo realised in three colours with two colours being used for the letters and the filling and the third one to be the contrast, a surrounding background colour. Last but not least the second IFLI picture is coming up, a girl with a sword, featuring well choosen colours and lots of details people like me are looking for. Well done!
All in all quite nice graphics, some are only average, so the objective rating is at 76% in my opinion.
PRI about the soundtrack:
The music for the entire demo was arranged by AMJ/ Side B/Topaz Beerline.
And it was well done - lots of different moods, the changes perfectly synchronized with the screen action, good instruments, .... especially the bass drum doesn't have so much lows, that certain "UUNNNGGG" effect I am slowly beginning to get sick off - very good! AMJ turns out to be a real experimental lead composer when it comes to doing crazy, sometimes rough sounds - but then again calmer passages come in, just to rise again to another peak. A real nice mixture ind eed. The filter and wave sequencing in this tune is even the best I have ever heard so far. Also, on the whole tune still the best of its style and one of the best styles this year.
The well deserved rating can only be at 93% for this masterpiece.
Drill Me, Please Me - Check it!
OVERALL RATING: 72
A cool demo. One of the main attractions in this one is the great use of scanned photos in the beginning of the demo. Unfortunately, there are some unoriginal parts and some drawbacks in design too, but the overall experience is pretty unique.
Pandemic - Check it!
3D-Modelling no 3D meshes
OVERALL RATING: 71
A colorful 2D demo with some very good looking effects and graphics. The problem is that there is a very heavy use of not original 2D effects, like tunnels etc. Features a very realistic raytraced voxel landscape.
Hyperventilation - Check it!
Source: Demojournal issue: #7 - date: 6/september/1998
Demo of the week
'Hyperventilation' by Byterapers inc.
Code: Mr.Sex and Gurdan
Graphics: Mistral, Mike and Jate
Music: Yolk & Legend / CNCD
Second place at Remedy'98 demoparty! Very tight competition between this little beauty and first place 'Destination Goatland' which is a beautyfull windows demo! Actually there even was a little fuzz about it, now everything is ok so i'm not gonna bring it up! :)
Anyways, more then 10 years old Byterapers kick major behind with this ABBA feeling demo counting as their 4th on PC. Sexadelic being released at assembly 1998... These guys are more then veterans! Back from the C64 days!
Code is simply brilliant! Very good 3D with some flares, crossfadings and 2D effects. Awesome 3D transparent objects like metaballs!
Graphics-wise it's brilliant! Loads of quality graphics everywhere. Attention to those ABBA gfx aswell! :)
Sound by the gods of sound Yolk and Legend! What else could you ask for? Phat beats with sample from a very own ABBA tune which fits in BRILLIANTLY well on the whole demo!
Design is definitly the finishing touch to this masterpiece. Music tweaks are fully syncronised and produce an awesome effect! Besides, the ABBA feeling to it is just overwhelming. First time i saw this one was like watching 'second reality' or '303' for the first time only better...
You know that chill that creeps up your spine? Exactly when the vocals enter with those phat beats pounding! =)
'You just eat, sleep, go on stage and nothing more.'