"Sainthood emerges when you can listen to someone's tale of woe
and not respond with a description of your own."
SELECTED DEMOS OBSERVED FOR A FEW INSTANTS
by Stefan Posthuma
Editorial note: Earlier today someone walked into my house whom
at first I didn't even recognize. Longer hair and a distinctive
Seattle-like beard of sorts (no bumfluff here, more like pubic
hair actually <grin>) introduced Stefan. God, I had never
realised I hadn't seen him that long (somewhere around the
finishing of ST NEWS Volume 8 Issue 2).
Anyway, I considered the occasion opportune to ask him to do
some coding (new music routine and different text decompressor)
as well as ask him to have a look at some Falcon demos in his
capacity of Digital Insanity of The Lost Boys. So there...
This is actually the first time I have close encounters with a
Falcon since the thing came out, it shows my affiliation with
Atari computers which has declined somewhat since I got a PC.
Anyway, Richard showed me some demos and asked me to comment on
them. I was quite anxious to see what's being done on this
machine because it has potential for some truly groovy stuff, I
know what the DSP can do and what the rest of the hardware is
capable of. So I sat down expecting to be slightly mindblown by a
swirl of multicoloured pixels from the depths of the Falcon
attached to Richard's TV. This means it's RBG demos we're talking
The first one was written by a crew called NPG, whoever they
are. The first thing that struck me was the nicely digitized
music, the music itself being rather scummy Two Unlimited like
electronic stuff but the sound quality was good. The demo is one
of those sequential ones that shows screen after screen, one
where you just sit down and watch the show without having to
fiddle with main menus or stuff like that. Nice in one way, a bit
annoying if you just want to see one bit.
So what's in the demo? Well, a few tracking wireframes, some
fractals, some 3D which comes in a few forms. A 3D tunnel, some
Gourad shaded polygons, some animated texture maps, and so on.
Nothing truly spectacular or severy impressing. After the full-
screen rotating DSP orgy a presumed 3D flight with a helicopter
was initiated but died prematurely and the Falcon came to a
screeching halt. Reset and next one please...
A severely distorted "Little Fluffy Clouds" by The Orb
accompanies the efforts of a group called EKO, "Papa was a
A texturemapped cube, shapes made out of lots of small
texturemapped cubes, some fractals (yes, again) and the most
interesting bit from a technical point of view, some intersecting
polygons. Nicely done, but no real innovations or something.
Sepultura's "Chaos A.D." is currently blasting from my ex-
speakers, and what a coincidence, the DNT crew made a demo with
the same name. Alas the demo isn't half as kick-ass as the
Brazilian speed metal.
It's another standard from the demo cook-book. A cup of plasma,
a handful of textures, a pinch of 3D vectors, (rubberized in this
one) and the ever-present and slightly yawn-invoking fractals.
Richard remarks that he likes the music. I wasn't too impressed
The last one that Richard showed me was "Autowaschen Verboten"
by Lazer. A demo with a German name...yuk.
But this is the most extensive one, they clearly spent a lot of
time on it. It starts with a nice morphing logo followed by a
high-res emulation of a workstation (more babes!) from which they
enter a rendition of cyberspace as described by our friend
William Gibson, a matrix with mathematical shapes defining the
data. But somehow I think that the cyberspace Mr. Gibson imagined
is slightly different from the one displayed here. It moves at a
slow framerate and there aren't many shapes around.
This is followed by another sequence of screens like a 3D
pinball machine viewed by the ball, a disappointingly slow and
low detailed fractal flight, some psychedelic texture mapping,
some tracking sprites (well, there were quite a few and nicely
coloured ones) and some nice morphing faces. All the screens are
interluded by short sequences of all sorts of swirly and wobbly
patterns of lines, polygons and pixels. One of them reminded me
of the bathroom floor tiles after a particularly intense evening
of alcohol abuse. I also liked the spirally things, and no
typical mandelbrot fractals in this one!
I have to say that the overall impression of these Falcon demos
isn't too great. They are all very standard, although I am sure
that the Falcon is capable of a lot more. Where are the video
sequences, where is the truly good music and most of all where
is the attention to detail and perfection that we pursued years
ago in the ST scene? My opinion is that if some truly creative
minds and programming talents throw themselves at this machine, a
lot more than fractals and rotating texture-mapped cubes will be
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.