A couple of years back I went to Breakpoint 2007, which was my first international (read: non-Israeli) demo party, as well as the first proper demo party I went to in 9 years (the Israeli demo scene had a couple of small get-together events in Kamon in 2000 and later in 2005, but I don’t consider those actual demo parties). Along with Bacter and my brother Mickey, we three were the only Israelis to be found at the party.
I missed Breakpoint 2008 due to product release pressures, the normal state of affairs while working for a small startup; I resolved not to miss it again this year, and made plans with Bacter and Mickey to meet up at the party place. Executive summary: amazing people and amazing scene spirit. I spent nearly all of the party outside with a beer in my hand chatting with people. It’s amazing just how much diversity one can find in such a small group; really the only common grounds is a general love for art, freedom of expression and the demoscene in particular. One moment I may be involved in a deep political discussion with a bunch of Germans (greets Streettuff/TRSI), and the next I’ll be drawing a comparison between English, Dutch, German and Hebrew with a bunch of Dutch guys (hi Cosmiq!) or quoting Borat with our resident Portuguese Jeenio. While I’m at it, greets to Luise, Julius, Jan and Manu from München, Okkie, the Misfit of the C64 scene and everyone else with whom I’ve spent with and whose name I can’t remember
Although some of the compos this year had disappointing turn out (in particular, out of 25 or so demos maybe two or three are noteworthy) the party was still great fun. The lack of sponsors did very little to detract from the quality of the party, possibly the opposite in fact: the event was sponsored out of the entrance fee and donations made by sceners in the few months before it took place, the net result being that everyone present was happy to be there and the party really took off. Kudos Breakpoint organizers!
I recommend watching the following productions from Breakpoint 2009:
Everything is Under Control by the ever-prolific mfx is the invitation demo to Breakpoint 2009, which brings to the table mfx’s usual array of amazing 3D graphics, 2D effects, fast code and coherent, though disturbing, design. With its 1984-esque theme this demo set the theme for the entire party.
One of the noteworthy demos from Breakpoint 2009 is Freedom From State by Hullabaloo: this demo was entirely written at the party-place by blala, who had been sitting with has MacBook right next to us the whole party and coding furiously in Haskell. Yes, you heard me right: the demo is written in Haskell, which (along with the party theme) is why Freedom From State is such an excellent name, even though the demo itself is quite unremarkable.
And in the wicked cool department, lft (of Craft fame) is at it again with another microcontroller-based demo: Turbulence (or on pouët). This time the custom hardware platform is based on a Parallax Propeller chip, and the demo itself is both good (in an oldskool kind of way) and damned technically impressive at that. Kudos!
Excelence by the group with the awesome name BraadWorsten Brigade is probably the world’s first Excel demo, and proves just how fortunate we are that this is the case Don’t take me wrong, it’s awesome and even funny, but if no-one else ever makes another VBA demo it won’t be soon enough…
Breakpoint 2009 has seen a lot of first-time productions by new demo groups; of these my favorite is PC-03 ON/OFF by Panda Cube. A stylized 3D flyby with subtle shades and nice presentation. I hope these guys go on to make demos, lots of potential there!
Although this was not strictly their first production, Conscious of Blue by System-K is another favorite of mine: a clean, well-designed and imaginative demo that’s very different from the typical European demo style. No surprises there; these guys come from Japan. I didn’t even know Japan had an active demoscene, although for the life of me I don’t see why not. Kudos guys!
While Crush by Anadune and Floppy was not the only enjoyable PC demo at Breakpoint 2009, it was certainly the most impressive: the right blend of technology, design and music. Borrowing a leaf from Debris by farbrausch, this demo features plenty of deformable objects and lots of glow, but is different enough in style, pacing and content to stand out on its own. Two or three scenes here (such as the one pictured) are simply astounding.
It seems white is the new black, with at least three white-themed productions at this party alone. With that in mind, 060659 by Rebels is an excellent (if not groundbreaking), stylized 64k intro that’s always great to watch. The commodore fan-service in the middle is gratuitous, although the effect itself is absolutely brilliant. Music is also subpar, but the design more than makes up for it IMO.
One of the most technically impressive C64 demo I’ve ever seen (possibly on par with Second Reality 64), Das Gotler by Extend and Dekadence hits you from the very first moment (with how the C64 basic window is cleared). The downside? Horrible, horrible music.
The last few years have seen some amazing new artistic outlets for the scene, particularly commercial-quality animations in the compos. Breakpoint 2009 had a couple of fantastic entries, notably the winning duo. 2nd place animation compo winner Julie by Nuance is both a fantastic artistic expression and a terrific tech demo: with a 300 Euro budget and stuff they had lying around at home, the team tried (rather successfully) to imitate the bullet-time effect popularized by The Matrix. They’ve also released a “making of” document that’s a fairly interesting read.
On the other end of the spectrum you’ll find JCO’s Spiechergurke, a fake commercial for a new kind of storage product (watch with subtitles). Other than being very well made it made me laugh my ass off. I think all in all Julie was the better production, but it was a very hard toss-up between the two; at any rate I’m glad both won the competition (Speichergurke took 1st place).
Jesus Christ Motocross by Nature and Traktor is, other than being a heavy hitting, funny and fun to watch, an amazingly impressive Amiga demo. Nontrivial effects (all in software, obviously), psychotic pacing and music and apparently artifact-free code are all fine and dandy, but the Tron tribute pictured on the right won my heart.
That said, Lightshaft by Elude is a very strong runner-up; 2nd place Amiga demo compo winner, this demo combines an incredibly impressive array of 3D scenes with epic design and pacing, terrific graphics and excellent music. It’s ironic that the two winning Amiga demos were so impressive whereas the PC demo compo suffered from general lack of enthusiasm and polish.
Easily the best PC 4k intro I have ever seen, Elevated by Rgba and TBC is also possibly the first to ever get me excited. Astounding visuals, top notch design and excellent music are only part of it; the picture on the right really does not do this production justice, and you should definitely watch it in its entirety at least once to appreciate just how amazingly good a demo can be at 4096 bytes!
Other notable productions from Breakpoint 2009:
- Defcon Zero by Scarab for the Nintendo DS
- Syntax Infinity by Tulou and Traktor for the MSX2 platform
- fr-065: euphotic by farbrausch, a technically impressive but boring and uninspired PC demo
- Enigma Sequence by Approximate, a 64k intro that’s really close to being awesome. I think a couple more weeks of polish would’ve really turned this one into a winner, but as is it’s quite raw.
- Luminagia by Loonies, Amiga 4k intro. Not quite as polished as the PC 4ks of the last few years, but damned impressive never-the-less.
I also got to watch the following productions on the big screen at Breakpoint, each of which is a recommended watch:
While Breakpoint was still in progress, Rupture by Andromeda Software Development won 1st place in the demo party at The Gathering 2009 and with all due reason: this demo is fantastic. Coherent design, astounding visuals, excellent pacing and music – it does everything well. For a demoscene fan, watching this on the big screen was a little like watching Terminator 2 in the theater for the first time: it gives you a profound sense of “this is what production values are all about.” The screenshot can’t do it justice, just go watch it already!
Conversely, NVScene 2008 winner Stargazer by Andromeda and Orb is not as fluently directed but at least as technically impressive. I simply love Andromeda’s flow, the way they always manage to bring closure to a scene before moving on to the next effect, even if the two aren’t related in any way. Stargazer is a slideshow of some of the most impressive effects ever seen in a demo, with astonishing visuals and excellent techno music; I’m not sure which of the two (Stargazer or Rupture) I like better, but I guess they each appeal to a different school. Both are definitely must-see.
A veritable demoscene poster-boy, the NVScene 2008 invitation intro Masagin is the brainchild of Paniq (the guy behind Die Ewigkeit Schmerzt). A high quality production with an obvious artistic bent, Masagin blends excellent music with unique effects and fluid design and is one of the most engaging demos I’ve seen in years.
Andromeda Software Development demos typically fall into one of two categories: artistically done 3D slideshows (Dreamchild, Rupture), and technically impressive video art (Evolution of Vision, Beyond the walls of Eryx). Midnight Run, 3rd place winner at NVScene 2008, is definitely of the latter sort, seamlessly blending 2D and 3D graphics with a bizarre screenplay and excellent music. Although not trivial by any means, if you’re looking for a technical demo to boggle your friends’ minds with, look elsewhere; Midnight Run is definitely for those not looking at demos with just an analytic eye.
Proving my previous point, Euskal 2008 demo compo winner Size Antimatters by Andromeda Software Development is precisely the opposite of Mindight Run: it’s a technological powerhouse with amazing effects and great techno music, a lot faster paced than Midnight Run and built for a different audience. Along with Rupture and Stargazer, these are my current “show off your rig” demos. Kudos!
½-bit Cheese are fast becoming my favorite demoscene animators. Their Assembly 2008 wild compo tour de force Field Trip features some of the most amazing animation, visual effects, music and direction I’ve ever seen, taking the already-excellent talents of Maxson and D-Fast (of Realtime Demo Wannabe fame) to the next level. Groundbreaking!
I mentioned before that Havoc, the guy who gave me a ride to the Netherlands, is the main organizer of Outline; he also invited me to come, and since I was still in the Netherlands at that time I took him up on his offer.
The two partyplace buildings (source)
The party was held at the magnificent "Recreatie Te Boomsgoed" camping ground in the border town of Braamt, and the partyplace comprised two small buildings, one being the Atari hall and the other the bar/PC/smoking/compo room. The surrounding area is beautiful country-side (as you can see from the photos above...) and afforded a very relaxed atmosphere.
Outline is a small party and therefore focuses mostly on socializing (although there were quite a few productions!). Because this was only my second international demoparty - not to mention relatively small, Dutch-based and Atari-oriented at that - I didn't really know anyone beforehand, and it was a real treat getting to know the Atari scene. I've never so much as seen a Falcon before, and some of the stuff I was shown simply blew me away!
Announcement for the Kick Off 2 championship, organized by kRadD. (slengpung)
The only warning of what's to come was the sign above; Saturday afternoon a guy walks in the front door of the Atari hall, announces "the abomination is here" and proceeds to setup an Amiga A1200 on one of the tables. Despite the (abundant) cries of dismay, in short order another Amiga (an A2000) was set up next to the first and the training bouts started. I was never a big fan of Kick Off 2, or any football game for that matter; my thirst for sports games is amply quenched by Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe, but (as is often the case) reason was ignored and football prevailed. That being said, the yells of "scheiße Amiga" were the source of constant entertainment.
The competition entries were actually surprisingly numerous; of interest to me were, among others:
- The aptly named PC demo 솥 from Limp Ninja
- Inque's 64k called Dahlia
- A really cool flOw-clone called wriGLe by Psycho Hacking Force
- Wamma's Atari VCS demo (!) called Gehirn
- A really strange music-video devoted to jumpstyle: Springen by No-release
- Some Vectrex demos were also shown, but I can't find a link to them anywhere...
Playing Gauntlet II on a Falcon (source)
In the midst of all the mayhem I found a French guy with a tower-modified Atari Falcon (and whose name I unfortunately can't recall) who offered me a two-player game of Gauntlet II. I think we spent the better part of 3 hours playing the old classic, which hasn't lost any of its charm over the years; we managed to reach level 60 or so before we had to stop due to competitions, changes to the power configuration as people started leaving etc.
The only two things "wrong" with the partyplace were the lack of Internet connection (which could also be considered an advantage, depending on how you look at it) and the separation into two halls. I'm not talking about the segregation of the party into "Atari" and "non-Atari" halls, but simply the fact that with around 80 (I think?) participants the party felt a little smaller when they were divided into two rooms. Can't fault anyone for that as the rest of the facilities were awesome, but after quite a few parties I do actually think that the "one hall for everything" approach has a lot of merits.
Good people, good atmosphere (source)
Amazingly, not long after Outline ended the main organizer Havoc ran into troubles (of the real-world kind), which he described in this pouet.net forum post; the contents bother me to no end and as I haven't been able to contact Havoc since, I can only assume from his posts that he's getting better. If you're a pouet.net member, do leave a "get-well" for him on that thread, I'm sure he'll appreciate it.
All I can say is: YES! Breakpoint 2007 was amazing. I went with Mickey (my brother) and we had an absolute blast! On the first day of the event we happened to spot an open bag one of the tables that had a newly-bought cellphone package sticking out of it, and were astonished to see that it had a sticker in Hebrew on it. We left a note saying "contact us!" and the anonymous Israeli guy turned out to be no other than Bacter!
Left to right: Mickey, Itzik (a.k.a Bacter) and myself
The entire 3-day event was an absolute blast. I got to hang out with really great guys like Havoc (one of the Outline organizers), who was cool enough to give Mickey and me a ride to the Netherlands after the party; Jeenio who also hosted the party prize-giving ceremony; Andy Voss (a.k.a Phoenix/Hornet and MindCandy fame) and a whole bunch of others. I also went to a couple of intereting seminars (one on new optimization strategies for realtime raytracing and one on moving from demos to the gaming industry, both of which you can find here), spoke to quite a few demoscene legens (including Chaos and KB of Farbrausch) and had a really awesome time.
People dancing to a live cover of Bubble Bobble? You bet!
Press Play on Tape gave a really good concert in the main hall, and you have to see it to believe it - people were literally dancing to live covers of C64 classics (Bubble Bobble and Commando, to name but a few). They also re-did their classic console-controlled Cannon Fodder, which was even cooler in real life...
One of the Scene.org Awards Amiga demo nominees on the big screen
For the first time I also got to watch the annual Scene.org Awards ceremony play out, and it was really impressive - the level of crowd involvement was utterly fantastic, and the whole hour-long event was amazingly well-received.
Some of the compos were really quite funny - a "speech coding" compo was held, in which someone had a piece of original code and had to transliterate it using the built-in Windows Vista voice recognition. That feature, apparently, sucks eggs, but the wide range of mistakes it made gave the audience a very good laugh for nearly an hour.
The video compo had a wicked-cool entry by Jakob Bienenhalm called LOL, Internet - see it, spread it, it got a standing goddamn ovation!
fr-041: debris by farbrausch, the winner of the Breakpoint 2007 demo compo
By far the highlight of the party was the PC demo-compo. In this somewhat daunting, several-hour event, no less than 23 demos were shown, and there were some really astounding entries: Andromeda (the oldskool Amiga group) made a huge comeback with Noumenon (2nd place), which was not only cool fanservice but also a really impressive demo; Synesthetics won a very well-deserved 3rd place with the excellent STS-01: Lucy in the Sky with Deities; and Traction and Brainstorm collaborated on a very impressive demo called Fairytale. Of the lesser-appreciated entries I particularly favored Kikumoto by Vovoid.
Farbrausch really rocked the house with fr-041: debris though - this demo had at least three standing ovations while it was still playing, and as much as I loved the other demos... you just have to see this. As a regular demo it's impressive. On the big screen it's bigger than life. And when you take into account that it's only 177KB... it easily becomes the new Second Reality. Only one other time in my life have I felt this exhilirated to be a part of an audience.
Whew. There are more pictures and anecdotes I may share on occasion, but for now I'm spent
... there's an online video of 8088 Corruption that is an absolute must-see.
Trixter, you rock!
I can hardly contain my excitement, so I just won't bother. Suffice to say that Aural Planet
have made their excellent album Lightflow
freely downloadable! If you're into ambient, electronic and/or deep trance music give this a listen. Even if not, at least spend a couple of minutes listening to Pipe Life
(track 2) - you might be surprised.
I bought the album back in 2001, and now you can get this excellent music for free. What more could you wish for?
On a completely seperate note, check out the Demovibes collections - excellent demo music fully compiled for your streaming pleasure.
Just realized it's been quite a while since I posted anything demoscene-related. Well here goes: you positively, absolutely must watch Iconoclast
. It is the single most important demo since, well, I have no idea. It's broad, it's beautifully executed, it's glriously original and it's insanely well-programmed (running smooth as silk on my Radeon 9700-equipped laptop) and it has some of the best music
ever written by a scener. I've been following aMUSiC and Leviathan since the 2002 demo Edge of Forever
and they never cease to astound me. Actually, now that I've mentioned ASD, you should definitely watch Edge of Forever
and Planet Risk
Iconoclast by Andromeda Software Development
(All images shamelessly stolen from pouet.net)
Also noteworthy is the Assembly'05 demo from Synesthetics called sts-04: instant zen which, while not altogether very different from their debut demo at Breakpoint 2005 sts-03: aeon flux is very well made and has great music.
The 200mb or so video download for TBL's 2005 comeback Ocean Machine is very well worth it; aside from being an Amiga demo (an achievment in itself over 11 years after the last machine was launched) it has some really stunning effects, such as the dancing ninja (?) in the screenshot below, and a brilliant soundtrack by Crankshaft.
Ocean Machine by The Black Lotus
Portal Process have been prolyfic lately. After winning The Gathering 2005 with the singularly cool meet the biots they got 3rd place at Assembly 2005 with don't stop. Now don't get me wrong, "don't stop" is a great demo - but it's just more of the same. Stick with "meet the biots", it was great.
meet the biots by Portal Process
Finally, plastic's astounding 195/95 and Final Audition are an absolute must-see, particularly the final version of 195/95.
195/95 by Plastic
We need to be
able to plan food quantities etc., so it's imperative that we know
who/how many are coming. If you haven't already, please send in
confirmation (preferably along with contact information for yourself
and sceners you know). Also, we still haven't been able to get a hold
of a video projector, so if you can help let us know!
After the flash success of June's IGDA/demo-scene gathering,
we've decided to, er, implement our own: a proper demo-scene gathering,
complete with BBQ, showing of new as well as old demos, and whatever
the hell else we feel like doing! So, without further ado:
Thursday, July 28th 2005 at 20:00, give or take. Being late only means you get to spend less time here
The psuedo-demoparty will be held on the lawn outside Monfort Software
building in Kibbutz Sa'ar. The kibbutz is located just north of
Nahariya and here's how to get here:
- Driving here is easy, though I suggest you use eMap or Walla Maps
for reference: basically just get to Acco junction (the northest
section of road 4), proceed north to Nahariya junction, proceed north
still until you're just north of Nahariya - there'll be a "Sa'ar"
signpost where you turn right to enter the kibbutz. Immediately after
the gate turn left and you'll arrive at a fork; take the right road,
proceed until you see a basketball court on your right. Turn right
immediately after it, right again - we're the second building (the one
with the parking lot). If you have any trouble or need more detailed
instructions get in touch.
- Take a train or bus to Nahariya (the central bus station is located
50 meters from the train station); take bus number 3, 24, 27 or any
number of other busses and just ask the driver to drop you off near
Sa'ar. It's an 8-minute walk from the bus station.
Well we hope most of the oldsk00l demosceners in Israel will show up,
but obviously aspiring Israeli sceners and visiting sceners from abroad
are welcome too! Just get in touch and let us know you're coming so we
can have enough food and drink ready.
The main event is a big-ass BBQ for everyone, cold drinks and beer:
this is a mostly social gathering. However we will have a retromachine
available to play classic demos (P166, 64mb, Tseng E6000/ATi Rage II,
SB AWE64 Gold + GUS GF1 1mb) as well as a copy of the MindCandy demo DVD;
we'll probably have a decent machine to run newer demos on as well. If
anyone intends to make a demo, go for it - it'll definitely be shown!
Other than that, just let us know what you think is good. There are
terrific beaches minutes away from the partyplace; we can have classic
cola-drinking, diskette/disc/hard-drive tossing competitions etc. If
you have any ideas let us know!
We have most of the basics (including food, audio system, demo machine
and general organization covered). We could really use your help in the
- We are in need of a projector. Do you have, or know someone who has, a projector we can have on loan for a couple of days?
- Help us spread the word! Send us any contact information you have
for past and present Israeli sceners, and forward the invite to sceners
you have contact with.
- We're collecting Israeli scene media: pictures, videos,
productions and any other relevant material. All that stuff will be
inserted into an Israeli demo-scene wiki, so if you have anything make
sure to send it out way!
- Good ideas are absolutely welcome!
If any of this applies to you, make sure to get in touch
as soon as possible!
The event is hosted and sponsored by Monfort Software Ltd.
which is where us organizers work; consider this a shameless plug:
we're looking for great programmers to join our team! Want to work in a
dynamic environment with a bunch of other demosceners? Want to work on
realtime 3D engines, .NET applications ranging from enterprise systems
to compilers to a huge variety of software products? Come have a look.
You can contact us in one of many ways. Being the primary contact you can just use my contact page
, or call me directly (0x209E1F5A). If needs be feel free to contact Scroll Lock (0x207994A4, 0x1F38899A). Can't read hex?
The following sceners have confirmed their attendance: Scroll-Lock,
Crunch, MMX, Thalja, Jonny (YOE); Kombat, Rage (Immortals); Dark Spirit
(TTOM); Civax (Moon
Hunters); Borzom, Sticky Baboon (Tatoo); Holograph, Protopad, Vandal
(Pulse, BSP); Nyarlothotep (Kult); Silvatar, Diffuse (Flood); Fizz,
TheMage, Mutant, Blutz. Nyc
Kid (Moon Hunters) will probably be there as well.
Thinking of coming? Let us know!
Three of my colleagues here at Monfort are Israeli demo-scene alumni
(specifically, Borzom / Tatoo, Scroll-Lock and Crunch / YOE). We got word of an
IGDA Israeli Chapter meeting that was going to
take place in a day, where demo-sceners are expected to attend (Civax /
Moonhunters is the IGDA organizer in Israel), so we quickly rang up everyone we
still have contact with (the last scene event in Israel was in 2000...), took a
car and went there.
It was great! More than great, it was absolutely brilliant. Fewer sceners
attended than I expected/hoped, but the ones that did come were pretty much the
core of the Israeli scene to begin with. Borzom, Scroll-Lock and I arrived in
the Leo Blooms Irish pub in Tel-Aviv a little after 19:00 to meet up with Kombat
/ Immortals and Jonny / YOE who were already there, and were shortly joined
by Civax and One / Moonhunters, Crunch / YOE and after a little while Protopad /
BSP (my brother Mickey), Dark Spirit / TTOM, Hex / ULC^Tatoo and Rage /
From left to right: Jonny,
Crunch, Borzom, Scroll-Lock, Holograph (myself), Civax and Kombat in the
Over the course of about five hours we sat around, drank and ate all sorts of
shit and had loads of fun talking to people none of us have seen in years. The
results were sometimes disturbing:
All in all, it was an absolute blast, and I'm now planning a demoscene
get-together (which will hopefully include a BBQ and demos displayed constantly
on a projector) sometime towards the end of July. If you're a demoscener and
have any inclination to attend, get
Update: Oran put up pictures from the event on his Giant Mitzy site. You can download them here.