Usual disclaimer: Large parts of the following will be done under the influence of some sort of alcohol and will be incorrect, both factually and morally speaking. Also parts of the allegedly ‘realtime’ report may be altered later on at the discretion of the editor, who might feel that some parts are too lame to stand up to later scrutiny. This is nothing at all new. Even parts of this first paragraph have been changed as more alcohol has been piled on.
18.33hrs, Central beer consuming time.
We’re at the Eersel planet typing away furiously on my pimped out Atari STE proudly sporting its UltraSatan.. Erm not quite actually, well the STE is at large, as is the UltraSatan. There was also going to be a borrowed screen in this appealing mixture as I have nothing which isn’t whale sized and CRT based for the ST. A spare screen donated by the Felicing one was discussed prior to the party. An offer of a nice flatscreen telly was made and enthusiastically accepted by me. So I set off to Cambridge confidently on the Wednesday evening, the night before our departure. A relaxing evening was enjoyed with the usual hospitality and the additional company of Matthew ‘Gasman’ Westcott, a notorious UK demoscene 8-bitter (ZX Spectrum) musician and coder.
We went to bed quietly confident all was in hand. The following morning revealed an apparently flawless transfer of party related goods, chattels and personal effects to Felice’s car. We set off in a happy joyful party mood in the bright and sunlit morning. However, about fifteen miles or so down the road from Felice’s lair, we remember that we forgot to load the screen into the car. So I’m actually typing this on an imitation ST (Hatari, as you asked) on my ex-Perkins Diesel scrapyard escapee Dell Laptop instead! Hah well…
So the STE is sitting forlornly in the boot of the Felice Mobile, and I don’t
think that a spare screen is going to randomly ‘happen’ into the space in front of me somehow?
That small niggle out in the open, we will press on with the tools at hand. At least it keeps the issue of desktop clutter to an acceptable minimum. Right now, the Gasman is satisfying the retro hardware pimped to new heights of awesomeness requirement, with his Spectrum 128 attached to some compact flash reader. Lots of tape images with tasty demos lurk on there, and we have had some viewings, including one or two which ought not to be really on a Speccy at all. The name ‘Mescaline‘ lurks for later recall and screengrab nicking to post in this article.
Mescaline Demo, is that really a ZX Spectrum demo?
We have arrived, unloaded and met with a number of peoples already. Grazey, Calsoft and SH3 were sitting in the late afternoon humid overcastness when we arrived. We have met with GGN, Haomaru, and a plethora of Frenchies including Chuck, who was very interested in what Gasman was showing off. Baggio, Deez, the Nature brothers and PeP provide a Swedish focus, and Wiztom lurks close by too. There was even a surprise (within the last 10 days) appearance by one-time Alive Mag editor Cyclone, who had fallen off the planet in the last year. It looks like we will inherit the final version of the Alive 15 material, so it may get some sort of retrospective release.
But we’re getting too serious. At this point, there ought to be a picture of the new ‘OL Cat‘, who was anxious to meet everyone again. There is Grolsch and pizzas and other stuff available at reasonable prices. And I’ve managed to keep drinking since we arrived.
Baggy floppy OLCat!
I’m going to write a bit about the journey shortly, which was generally smooth, apart from one or two worrying at the time but retrospectively amusing incidents on the way over. But I think it is time to stop, recall what fresh air feels like, before I keel over.
Settling in now, more people here, pizza’s ordered.
About the journey over…
This was a repeat of the successful Channel Tunnel car based concept which has been used over the last couple of years. Apart from one difference, where we had the company of the previously mentioned Matthew ‘Gasman’ Westcott in the back seat of Felice’s car, in the space where a couple of anonymous plastic bags of chocolate chip cookies would have sat before. Not that the storage space was needed. We managed to fit everything in, apart from the #forgotten# screen. (Not going to let that one drop for a little while just yet!) We may manage to rehome the Commodore C16 which has been faithfully occupying boot space in Felice’s car for the last year or more, and which managed to make the journey out here with us, yet again. Assuming that Oliver ‘Paranoid’ Heun arrives here. He is down as attending this year.
Anyway, after the bombshell disclosure about the missing screen was made, I spent the next twenty or so miles imagining infinite torments for imaginary foes, which is quite a fun way of dealing with the stress of unwanted news for a bit. After that I figured that it wasn’t really going to matter and settled down to enjoy the rest of the journey.
Approaching a rush-hour morning at the Dartford Crossing.
The weather rose to the occasion, with an early summer promise. The Channel tunnel was open for business and able to accommodate our early arrival. After a leisurely stop in the terminal building to stock up on the new issue of ‘Viz’ comic and other essential equipment, we drifted languidly onto the shuttle train and settled down for an impromptu picnic from our pre-hoarded snackfood supplies. We looked ahead at the the car in front. This contained what appeared to be an escaped cat perched on the passenger front seat headrest.
We stared harder through a sausage roll overdose induced haze. It appears there wasn’t any attitude of undue alarm from the car’s human occupants. It may be the case that the cat was a very rare example of an easily travelled feline. My prior experience of cats in cars recalls something which should be treated with as much respect and careful handling as a stick of dynamite, wrapped in a fur coat. (They did coax it back into a cat carrier before the journey’s end.)
The train moves off and tunnel blackness ensued, thirty minutes later, we re-emerge into sparkling sunlight and disembark. We pressed on into La Belle Francais, where we encountered our memorable highlight of the journey.
A TomTom called Chucky, or the ghost of Fred West in the machine, or Captain Scumlord traveller murderer.
Felice has a TomTom navigator. This has done sterling service over recent trips to demo parties in European locations. This year proved to be no exception, apart from a period at the start where it felt unsure of its role in life, and more especially where it was at. We realised there was a problem when we were on the motorway and it started bellowing instructions for non-existent left turns and demanding that we reverse direction as soon as possible. Which would have been sort of fatal on the motorway. It seemed that an evil puppet with our fiery demise wrapped around the front bumper of a French bulk products tanker as its mission had taken over the TomTom.
“You’re driving through a field, turn around! TURN AROUND!!!”
A closer examination revealed a machine thoroughly confused about its location, as the screen showed we were in a field running alongside the motorway! Several reset attempts later put it back briefly on the right track before it got confused again. At one point, a road atlas was retrieved from the floor litter in the rear seat well, in case we had to hand-navigate the trip oldschool style.
Fortunately, just as I was trying to get my head around the mind-melting concept of the Antwerp ring road, a more considered stop and reboot appeared to finally do the trick. The psycho satnav ‘found’ itself, finally decided to settle down, get a short haircut and a proper job and stop messing us around.
We’re still unsure what happened at time of writing. Whether it was Russian hackers jamming the GPS signal, or we had fallen victim to a French ‘Secam’ style not-quite-standard version of GPS which was 0.025 of a degree out, we don’t know. It is significant that the service rapidly improved once we passed into Belgium.
(Fungle Beats is on the bigscreen. This is notable as the demo which I showed the fair Nicky to introduce her to the concept of ‘demoscene’ and she smiled sweetly, and looked blankly back at me. So that was a non starter.)
The rest of the journey was muggily warm but otherwise trouble free. Even the suspension taxing road surface at Antwerp appeared to have had some sort of upgrade since last year. So we arrived shortly after 16.00hrs on a different route from the small back lane we took last year, but easily recognising the landmarks and arriving without any trouble in the last mile.
21.00 – Pizza’s have arrived, ON TIME!! So we’ll break off for a bit.
21.37 – Food needs have been satisfied and in one case (guilty glance up to camera.) greed indulged. The pizza’s are the same as for any party. Averagely so so by any objective unit of taste measurement, eaten outdoors in twilight at a demo party with a choice of wine or beer close to hand, absolutely delicious! So good I had them twice!
The hall is settling down to a quiet first night routine. I’m throwing text into this journal, Felice appears to be working on something textual as well, and Matt is also working on an item of his own which looks a bit ‘codey’ in nature. There is a demo showreel on the big screen, all is tranquil at Outline, indicating a lull of some kind.
The Gasman, quite possibly doing something useful.
And I am definitely touch typing in demi-darkness. (Original typo ‘d’ instead of ‘s’ kept in, as it is sort of correct!) Delete key is a sod to source correctly in the low light conditions though.
22.20 – Delayed opening ceremony. Also Sqward has arrived and introduced himself. He looks very different from ten years ago. (Less hair than I remember from Error in Line.)
23.23 – A nicely symmetrical timestamp!
I’ve had a successful wandering around session, firstly locating Beetle of CT63 and CTPCI testing fame. There was the little matter of a mousemat that I had preordered and he had brought to Outline. A screenshot will feature below.
I've now got one of these! They rock!
At the same time he is one of the beta testers for the CTPCI graphics card extension for the CT60 series. Development has moved on to the point where it appears to be functional. The CTPCI, Radeon and CT63 combo boots up on a 1600 x 1200 screen mode and looks blummin’ gorgeous with the right sort of alternative desktop. I took a selection of pictures, and I’ll sort out the best one for here. It seems to be able to breeze Aniplayer and zView, which are two of the main showcase apps for an expanded Atari 060 system. I’m sure there is still a lot to do, but it looks like real progress is being made to my untutored eye.
Beetle's CTPCI expanded screen in plain TOS.
(Actually, having the chance to pretend sleep on the matter overnight, I recall that there seems to be issues with different versions of the CTPCI Flash ROM’s only working with some of the applications and rejecting others. A natural goal is to get one which is happy with everything that you might reasonably expect to throw at an ‘060 system.)
CTPCI displaying an enhanced desktop!
At the same time, Nature Brothers have brought their SuperVidel which is being worked upon, so it will be interesting to see how that is progressing over the weekend as well. I picked up and talked to a few people on the way such as Nerve and a substantially bulked-up Havoc as well as some random other sceners such as Kusma and some of the Amiga members of Ephidrena.
00.01 – Which makes it day 2!!!
I’ve been to visit the DBug/Reboot farthermost corner in the hall. They were busily showing off a completely parallax crazy revamp of the Reservoir Gods fly-em-through ‘Superfly‘. This is intended for the games competition. There is also another Jaguar game to come from some French guys and a suggestion that ‘Superfly DX‘, as the new version is known, might make its way to the Falcon at some point
Of demo rumours, we’re not really sure. Defjam and the rest of team Dresden aren’t coming over after all, which was the best chance of a super smasher. There are whispers and suggestions of more ‘stuff’ in the pipeline from various people, but nothing so far to be released here? I’ll update as I get anything.
00.57 – The question is ‘weather’ or not the outdoors part of the party takes a turn for the wet and stormy. There have been large threatening splatters of rain and rumblings in the distance, with an intermittent lightshow in the suddenly very dark even for night time sky. The weekend weather fortunes are expected to be mixed at best, which means that there might be people forced to spend more time indoors and coding, rather than indulging in their great love for the chilled-out outdoors?
01.26 – The question asked earlier with the weather is increasingly being answered. Storm chasers can become storm armchair watchers as the wind is bringing rain and the threat of storms in our direction! The real party is rain-drenched! Small whimpering cries of dismay issue from the lips of those people who opted to sleep under temporary accommodation of the canvas kind in the adjoining field!
Meanwhile, I chant “I’ve got a bed, I’ve got a bed!”
01.45 – Felice is leaving the building, at least this part of it for the sleeping quarters. He has been enjoying the wine, or it has been enjoying him? The storm went as suddenly as it came, lighting plays in the distance but is going away so the tent inhabitants can get some rest unmolested by rain. There has been a Commodore 64 demoreel being shown on the big screen. Some seminal productions were shown, and at least one demo which looks like a C64 version of an Excellence in Art production for the STE, all fonts, scene poetry, slogans, tasteful design and minimal code.
About to put an end to any serious activity for today, so will update in the morning.
<—— Sleeping quarters preoccupy me here —–>
08.18 – Morning, no try again and… MORNING!!
We’re up and back after a sleep-light night in the ‘hardcore snoring room’. Not just any ordinary snoring room, but hardcore! Still, it’s better than being in the ‘lame’ snoring room. What is it with this endless drive to ever more finely categorise stuff? Life was much simpler in the old days, like last year.
Felice is up and about too. He claims to be fine, but looks every inch like the morning after the night before has hit hard. The bombed out expression and copious red wine stains on his person are a major giveaway here.
Quote – “It must have been just after midnight when I went to bed?” – Erm, nope, at that point the recording of time was in a particularly fluid state in the brain of Felice, like everything else in fact! (The fluid in question being red in colour and around 13.5% alcohol by volume!)
Anyways, I’ve been in the magic rejuvenating shower and feel like a young god (Ref Moondog), albeit one with a teeny tiny hint of tiredness scratching away at the back of my eyeballs and set to strike back harder later on. There is plenty of cool fresh air moving around outside so that might help. I’ve had a preliminary breakfast of slightly above body temperature coffee, some kind of edible styrofoam bar snack and a banana which was being handed around last night when I was admiring the pimped up CTPCI CT63 of Beetle. This will hold off starvation until the official brunch is ready to serve.
A Baggio contemplates his first coffee of the morning..
A small number of people are up, but only a small number so far, there might be time for another sleep attempt before the official brunch is introduced to the starving masses.
10.01 – More people but not a lot else happening right now. I’ve just taken a picture which depicts the UK election which I’m busily ignoring, and the demo party which I’m heavily enjoying. So some faked but scarily revealing headlines in ‘Private Eye’ alongside Gasman’s Speccy 128.
These sort of headlines aren't that far from the tabloid version of the truth!
It looks like there is a bit of a CT60 theme to the current demo showreel, as we’ve just had ‘Derealisation’, and are currently running ‘Silkcut’. We’ll find out if it is the CT60 port or the Amiga original when it hits the greetings part.
10.05 – Falcy version after all, question above is answered. The greets are greyscaled. That’s how you can easily tell them apart.
The big screen has now switched to an extreme oldie, 2nd Reality on da Peecee from those crazy mid-nineties days, acid swirls in the park, 486 DX’s for goalposts, young people today etc. But no sound and no iconic Purple Motion soundtrack, which is a major omission. So I’m listening to some Tao SID tunes instead.
Calsoft arrived in the building from his outdoor canvas refuge providing a wild night’s uneasy repose in the teeth of the storm so memorably enjoyed last night. His wild and hairy appearance testified to this.
Of additional interest, and widely trailed on the party website before we got here, today is ‘Queen’s day’, a public holiday in the Netherlands. People celebrate and dress up in orange, the royal house colours a lot. We were prepared and had our Outline t-shirts from a few years ago in that colour. The winner of the special prize for “Foreign person really trying way too hard to fit in” goes to SH3 for an entirely orange outfit from head to foot. The overall effect is something like an escaped Dutch convict in official chain gang clothing. (This was nothing compared with some other local dudes wearing giant inflatable crowns who turned up later on.)
Kev, the Tango cult called, it wants it's costume back!
Happy Queens day to you. And Gasman has returned.
10.52 – Bonus is in the building, with his oldschool Dutch scene vibe. This is cool.
Time to take stock for the party so far…
Well we’re here, in spite of the killer satnav’s ill intentions.
Most of the other people that are supposed to come over have made it.
We’ve had lots of nice chats with those people.
Beetle’s CTPCI powered CT63 is seriously good, even at this alpha stage.
I have a new ‘060 Power’ mousemat.
I’ve seen a wicked Jaguar version of the game ‘Superfly’.
The ‘OLCat’ tradition continues.
Judgement still pending type stuff:
Some people didn’t make it, Defjam and the Dresden team, Simon Sunnyboy, the rest of the Reservoir Gods for different reasons.
Still waiting for some others, Paradox team, Lotek Style.
Not really sure if anything happening demo-wise on the Atari or not?
Weather less hospitable than usual, chilly and overcast. (But storm late last night provided some awesome visuals.) It will be interesting to see how a more indoor focused Outline party might turn out?
Okay, that will be fine for now.
11.08 – Breakfast is SERVED! OMG, CiH got to the front of the queue, so you’re all doomed to starvation related stomach pains suckers! And this is nearly an hour early, so there is going to be someone misled by the ‘official’ time of 12.00 and they will miss out as the food will be all gone.
12.51 – ‘Random Images’, my CD-ROM project, has been handed into the ever willing Earx. At last the ‘thing’ which has been hanging around for months is gone rom my things to do list! If you haven’t already found it, leach and enjoy! (Well a few days later anyway – Post party note.)
I also found out there are some demo stuffs at last. A Dead Hackers demo compo entry for the STE, along with something from Baah of Arms Tech/Positivity.
As the latter was a rather good Archie/RISC coder who started on the ST and appears to be returning to it, we look forward to seeing this. Also there is the inevitable BITS entry. How our hearts thrill to that news!
‘Pimp my Spectrum‘ is on the big screen. I spoke to Gasman about this. We knew the demo ran on a Peecee within a Speccy emulator. There were some differences, namely allowing for the full speed of the native hardware, some changes to the screen layout from Sinclair weirdness to something relatively sensible, and also for some of the 3D stuff, the native intel instruction set was used in place of the emulated z80. So nice to get an inside view.
13.28 – The Karsmakers, former diskmag editor for ST News, oh, eons ago, has entered the building on a cheese supplying mission, but not for too long.
14.20 – The Karsmakers has left, and gwEm has arrived. There will be a live set this year, and possibly a hasty search for a new venue for next year after the managers goodwill has been killed off by said live set? But hopefully not. I’m fervently hoping that we have got a campsite manager who does not read the Dutch equivalent of the Daily Mail Heil and goes into a frenzy of manufactured outrage against our machines. What would a Dutch edition of the Daily Wail read like? Headlines such as “Immigrants are causing Dutch elm disease and clog rot!”
"Now don't go upsetting any campsite managers this year gWEm!"
We had a nice in depth chat with Grazy, Cal and the orange convict Sh3, plus Topy44. We are informed that Karsmakers has not even touched anything with an Atari TOS for several years. His last point of reference for emulators was PacifiST and Hatari took him by surprise. He does still listen to soundchip music though. An ‘app’ that plays C64 SID music through an iPhone. I guess you have to make do somehow. The real party has been outside, as the sun has made a partial recovery against a stiff cool breeze. There have been some exciting marquee erecting adventures, as some basic cloth-based protection against the more excitingly damp weather possibilities has been put up over some of the benches outside.
From the back of the jacket of the person in front of me. “From my black throne, I will lash together a machine of bones and blood, and fuelled by my hatred for you. This fear engine will burst a hole between this world and that one.”
I still prefer “Gordon is a moron” as the ultimate way to diss someone off. Guess that’s my age and those deeply buried late seventies New Wave post-punk recollections?
16.18 – Things were getting desperate in that last extract, so I rested my brain for a bit, well it’s the afternoon of the second day and we’re not yet into any of the organised activities or competitions. Apart from the graphics and music compo’s, these have all been piled into Saturday. Going to look around in a minute to see if there are any changes or new arrivals.
18.09 – As expected, we’re in the lull before the evening period. A time for quiet contemplation, reflection and lighting of barbeques for those people who are undertaking a self-cooking option. This included Cyclone who was doing a fair impersonation of a bellows operated blast furnace in getting his reluctant charcoal to light. This was successful and a number of alarmingly coloured pieces of chicken were pressed onto the grille. Baggio joined in with his horses willy sausages, and ex-editor of Alive mag had generously over specified on his own portions, so the writer of this text got to share in the food largesse. Which was very good, just before the magically amazingly on time food delivery arrived.
Team Baggio and Cyclone set up their improvised cookhouse.
Tonight’s repast was hamburger and fries, with some kind of sauce from a usual looking range. Mine was the thousand islands lookalike.
In more lame commercial sounding news, the new range of Outline 2010 T-shirts and long sleeved shirts are now available, with prices starting at 13 EUR, get yours today! Well I did.
On stage there is a happening, as Numtek is doing a deejay set against a backdrop of demos playing on the big screen.
I’ve also found the party network, which is the place which will allow you to vote a lot later on. In another lame informercial sounding piece, I found I can use my new moby handset to access this, as it has WLAN capability and a minature version of a full querty keyboard. I won’t topple all the way into the lameness chasm, apart from mentioning the manufacturer is based in a northerly location where we often go to a demo party in October!
Lotek and ThorN appear, Paradox/tSCc put in a belated appearance. Closely followed by Paranoid and RA. Goody. that sorts out the C16 issue finally then.
19.21 – The missing Germans are setting up. They appear to be founder members of the bulky CRT preservation society. Suddenly deskspace availability is getting very ‘cosy’.
19.30 – ThorN updates us on a number of issues relating to the Low Res Mag and what is happening in the near future. This has been sensibly held back a couple of weeks to allow anything from the Outline Party to filter in. Such as this report. And reviews of any demos which do show up at the party. ThorN was hoping for some kind of internet access, but we had to gently point out that there wasn’t any, apart from the little bit that will allow you to vote on the competitions later on.
19.53 – An attack of bleeps announces Stu‘s presence on the stage area, and a hefty dose of YM stuffs made and mixed in Stu’s own special way. This is a warm up to gWEm’s appearance tomorrow.
21.00 – Stu played a blinder, lots of familiar stuff live, songs playing, people dancing, as a certain Spanish scener might put it..
The newschool music compo is about to start. Streaming music, or “Screaming Lizard”, according to Skrebbel‘s accent.
Well maybe screaming lizard attempting to make a distress call and drowned out by static and 180 BPM thumping, according to the first couple of entries.
It settles down from there. A bit.
21.30 – Gasman has opted for the two pizza “greedy bastard Special” that I enjoyed yesterday on the final pizza run. A fly attempts to add itself as an extra unwanted flavouring, but it is batted away quickly. So ‘secret sauce’ with chunky unmentionables is averted, just.
21.56 – Applause tinged with relief when the newschool music compo ends? There was nothing that memorable in there, although there were a lot of entries.
Next compo is the oldschool music. More familiar faces here no doubt.
The first Atari interest is from Stu, a tune made in Musicmon and with all Stu characteristics, heavy buzzy sound and low res sampled drums for a gritty sound.
Also a song from Timbral with some STe DMA sound as well. Mainly for samples to add something extra.
Now DMA is up with another STe compatible tune. This seems to be using some different tones from the other two tunes preceding it. Softer and melodic with some heavy bassy sounds in the background.
A YM tune from ‘Bioscillator’, with very little zik and a lot of ‘Tinkercore’ which is the audio counterpart to a ‘Dutch colour scheme’ or coder colours in a demo.
gWEm is up with an executable tune next. Some more agile sound stretching to disguise the crude nature of the soundchip it was born on.
And that is the end of the oldschool music competition. I guess a graphics competition or two should be on the way soon?
23.40 – A slew of underpopulated graphics competitions are ushered in and quickly begone. Highlights were mostly within the pixelled graphics (all four entries of it.) A nice refinement is to show the various stages of progress on the picture, to prove its origin as a freshly pixelled work of art.
In between times, we were sitting in the Reboot/Dbug corner watching a selection of old fake demos, including one which namechecked Felice in a rather embarrassing fashion from 1998, whilst he was watching it! (A Reservoir Frogs faketro.) Anyway, the anticipation is mounting for the main competitions tomorrow night.
In contrast to last night, there is plenty of outside party going on in the darkness, and no funny business with the weather to threaten it. Most of everyone due here appears to have arrived and the ambience is a lot more ‘busy’ than the relaxed atmosphere from last night. Okay, it is relaxed in a busy way then!
00.05 – Nothing to report apart from a new day, which is Saturday 1.5.2010.
Oh, and the EKO System demo is on the big screen.
01.20 – This will be the last official entry before sleepytime, whatever form that takes. We’ve been watching Falcon classic demos on the big screen. GGN had taken over the organisers machine and we managed to get to the point of requesting some particular favourites. Mine was Sonoluminescenz. At the moment the perennial show favourite of Felice, the Obnoxious demo, is running. Alas, Felice has gone to bed since, he may be having uneasy dreams as the familiar music penetrates the sleeping rooms?
I’ve been pondering another minor mystery. To what extent are people coding stuff successful from hiding their work in progress from a casual or not so casual gaze. A diskmag (now online journal) writer like myself will tend to own a pair of paparazzi eyes, always on the look out for that glimpse of something that should not have been shown semi-publicly for that precious exclusive.
My favourite historical coup was being put in a room with Stax, at the first Error in Line party, where I got a whole preview of their ‘Rumplekammer‘ demo before anyone realised that they were showing their secret production to someone who should not have been there.
For the purposes of making this query relevant, I’ve considered the behaviour of those people who brought Atari goodies to Outline of some description which they were coding on. The most badly failed attempt to keep non-disclosure comes from the DBug/Reboot team who set up in the far corner, but were not at all able to keep their brand new Jaguar game secret. On the other hand, just over their shoulders are Chuck and Zerkman who are constantly working on code and never seem to need to compile and test run anything, making them very successful at keeping premature disclosure away. Deez and Baggio of Evolution have managed to set up in a corner which is not easily accessible and Deez turned his screen ever so slightly towards the blind corner of the room. Paradox don’t seem to be worried either way.
Of course the most successful way of protecting a new production from premature viewing before its proper order in the competitions would be to remain off site and send it in remotely. So the secrecy winning prize will be shared between Evil of DHS and Solo of BITS! Now share nicely, and no fighting guys!
Sleepyroom, never got that busy, only a few people in it, some proper sleep was obtained this time.
09.00 – Saturday morning.
It looks brighter and sunnier today, not a lot else to add so far.
Oh noez! Random people are adding random lines to my report.
Where is the realtimearticlecomputer? Is this it? //Baggio (hijacking cihs computer)
Realtime? There isn’t one! – You can remove your half-eaten sandwich from this workstation as well!
I’ve reunited the half-eaten sandwich with its careless owner, Baggio.
10.16 – We’ve spent the last hour in the DBug/Reboot corner. SH3 treated us to a showing of Doom 2 levels pasted into the Jaguar version of Doom. This is not intended for release due to the usual intellectual property issues. However it can be considered as a step on the road to something else even more interesting in the future. Matt Smith (Neo) is the person responsible for this. My memory of Doom 2 goes back to the Wellingborough computer club days, where multiplayer games were attempted through connected serial cables, none of that wifi stuff! We found that the levels were too huge in Doom 2 and the network tended to freeze up at times. Usually very inconvenient times in the middle of a bit where potential player death was being converted to actual player death.
10.59 – (Singsong voice) “DULL SENTENCE OF THE WEEK!” – Hanging on for breakfast, a trip into Eersel centre is on the cards afterwards. Gasman has re-emerged, these two things are not connected.
11.12 – Breakfast hovers around.. (Please amend this incorrect assumption, breakfast does not “levitate” unsupported in thin air, it does have a trolley underneath it! – Low Res Pedantry editor.)
12.03 – Breakfast is a fond memory in the recesses of my stomach now. Felice has finally managed to offload the Commodore C16 that has been sitting in his car boot for over a year (correction, two years – ED) onto Oliver ‘Paranoid’ Heun at last. Here’s a picture of an ecstatic Paranoid receiving his gift.
Paranoid celebrates his newly adopted hardware family member!
12.46 – Lots of appearances from ‘Lethal Xcess‘ on various screens around the hall. This is going to be the game tournament game. I guess Cyclone is the sponsor?
13.36 – A small diversion into town with SH3 and Felice.. People back at home placating souvenirs were purchased in the local supermarket. SH3 purchased a real imitation plastic ‘fussball’ from some evil retailer for 9 EUR. This trip was quicker than expected so we’re back.
15.21 – We’ve had a little bit of afternoon japery. One which fell into the “Too slow to record this” category were the organisers sitting in the orga’s enclosure and “singing” along in a cat’s chorus to the ‘Stardust Memories’ tune in the Sanity Amiga demo.
“Meowww, meowmeowmeowmeow, me-owwww, mewmeowmeowmeow!”
Of more interesting interest was a DS look-alike with a Chinese copy of stuff, including emulators for Atari ST, MAME, SNES, Megadrive, and no doubt others. It also plays a nice game of Doom, so some kind of DOS Peecee emulation may be in there too? If you get it from the right sort of places, the cost is mere buttons, or around 20 dollars as I heard it. This was being shown off around the Reboot camp.
Not really a DS clone, more of a Gamepark style knock-off.
Oh, and it rained for a bit too. (Outside of course, not in the hall as that would have been seriously odd!)
15.34 – Animation compo is about to start.
A couple of ‘party’ collections were shown, one of which a frame by frame retrospective of Breakpoint, but the latter was taken from non-video sources. IE, someone with a normal camera, a busy shutter finger, and a camera memory card that can hold the whole of Bingen within it. The resulting pile of images being stitched together to make a video.
There were a couple of good funny animations as well. This competition has also given some of us a useful wake-up call as the crowding closer to the screen is getting to the point of not being able to see much from the back of the hall, even from our seats facing the screen. So we might need to get some seating near the front sorted before the main compo’s are running.
In some kind of recursive infinite loop of analness (anality?), I’m spending some of my precious and limited time at a demo party reading through the 1992 realtime article for another demo party in the distant past, namely “The Great British International ST Party”, otherwise known as the Bradford Party, a once and never to be repeated experience. This archivists treasure was originally sponsored by ‘Runrig’ of the late ‘HP-Source’ disk mag who became rather better known under a different pseudonym slightly later on. Well they only managed two issues, and the third is still forever waiting in a recursive infinity loop of its own, so yes, late it is!
And why only the one Bradford party? I guess, youth, inexperience, sheer blind luck, then university and finally work, work, work crowding in too quickly afterwards. Well at least we’ve now got Sundown in the UK, but that is a very different sort of party from the Bradford event. I’m planning on going back to Sundown this year, we’ve sort of booked a whole week in Devon around the dates. (CiH exclusive!)
16,25 – Game compo starts!
‘Iridium’ which is a re-imagined Defender games direct from the hands of the Calsoft people. In light of the other two entries, this is the ‘weakest’ of the three. Well it is still rather good, the platform chosen might let it down in some people’s eyes, the poor, obscure and undersupported Wintel Peecee! Who uses those things these days?!
Reboot proudly presents ‘Superfly DX‘ for the Jag which finally gets its moment of bigscreen glory! GGN may be sacked shortly for his pisspoor testing performance as the demonstration keeps getting cut short just as we get used to the soothingly smooth layers of multiple parallax on the screen. As seen from the preview, the showing looks smart and high end, worthy of a cool Reboot release. I hope GGN does get down to porting it to the Falcon. (No pressure from here mate! Well not much.)
‘Ladybugged’ is another Jag game from Cerebral Vortex Software Design, aka Jaguar Connexion, the French arm of retro-console adoration. This is a conversion of the arcade game Ladybug. This has a certain resemblance to Pacman with a major gameplay revamp. It scores well on presentation and design, as you might expect from the Frenchies. I still think that Superfly will steal first place by a whisker though.
So we have seen a small but high quality selection dominated by Reboot.
End of the game compo.
16.43 – The catering tonight is represented by a Dutch version of a fish and chip van called a ‘Hapkar‘ or frijtes wagon. Ordering is done with some pseudo-monetary system involving some old-style ration coupons, like in the war and stuff. So we’re having to eat fried foods to the sound of bombing raids, possibly? The good news is the relative cheapness compared to the pizza attack prices. It remains to be seen if 6 EUR’s worth will cover even the piggiest of greedy folk’s food desires here. I’ll let you know when I get my food critic on!
The Hapkar has a long queue.
I’ve also now got a votekey, the number is lost to all time but it is too late to use it now, I got there first. A preliminary check indicated that yes, the site was moby-friendly as well.
17.25 – The currywurst, erm, Dutch frijtes van rocked! I’m going to go back for some more in a bit when the queue dies down. That’ll be all my nasty but fun food requirements sorted for this evening!
19.03 – UUUURP! I definitely will not want another pizza now. I’m all stuffed with Dutch junkfood, not for the first time this trip. There were burgers, sausages, lots of special sauce with onions and mayonnaise, and lots of fries, lots and lots of them! So the Hapkar is a success.
At the time of writing, there is the live set from gwEm and 303F to go, then the demo competitions.
19.32 – gWem set rolling in, he has some issues with the inland revenue, in song!
20.09 A storming set all round, gwEm seems to be a lot more comfortable and in command of the live performance than he was when I last saw him two years ago. I enjoyed the whole set, there was a wicked twisting of the ‘Das Boot‘ theme, and a song, above, which expressed some unhappiness with HM Government’s revenue gathering processes.
Main compos coming up next…..
22.21 – Demo competitions have been and gone.
We’re looking at a smaller field than for some previous parties. Specific people staying away this year might have had an adverse downward count for the Atari demos, two of the three entries were remote entries from off-site.
For that all important ‘how did the Atari scene do?‘ question, there were a handful of bootsector entries from Paradox, and three main competition entries. A really seen it all before and by the numbers entry from BITS, a nice little single screen intro with monkeys in it by Baah of Arms Tech. The clear winner is going to be the Dead Hackers Sommerhack invitro, which bashes the STE’s ‘open borders’ to a new level with some nice set piece screens. I spoke to Nerve immediately after the compo who indicated their next priority was a new CT60 demo. Hurrah!
So we didn’t get anything from Checkpoint as they did not attend the party. They were a strong favourite to do something amazing. I’m sure that Defjam has code in hand and it will not go to waste. We await future developments with great interest. We didn’t get anything from the Frenchies although they did a PS3 retro tribute. They did appear to be working on a bunch of Atari code, so there may well be something for later in the year.
We didn’t see anything from Paradox apart from the bootsector stuff, nor Mikro/Mystic Bytes. To be fair, his focus is probably on helping test some of the new hardware for the CT60. What we would term ‘Reservoir Gods’, namely PHF/DBug/Reboot were doing nicely with the Jaguar, with some anticipation of later Falcon conversion.
Evolution were here, but nothing to be released. It appears their current project is intended for a CT60 equipped with Supervidel, when that gets here. This is going to be a game. (Following on from the earlier topic about coders hiding their work from the public gaze, I did get a glimpse of a Devpac screen which told me what they were doing!)
The Peecee competitions were more manageable, including a demo competition with a very famous name in it. Said famous name produced a very slow ambient entry which will fiercely divide opinions. It already did with the two people I spoke to about it. SH3 is taking the Skeletor Negator line, whilst Nerve is more positive about it.
(Did someone say Farbrausch at this point, I think they did!?)
303F were delayed but we are getting the live performance from them shortly. The afterparty has started.
00.00 – Symmetry still rocks!
The last day, it’s nearly all over, apart from 303F who still think there is a party on. I’ve been on a nostalgia tour of a previous decade, well a couple of months in 1995 to be precise.That is the Maggie Party realtime from a long lost diskmag called Skynet, from an equally long lost John ‘Vogue’ Nott. There was even something of a short realtime article from when I went to Visit Rich Davey ‘Requiem’ at his parents maison in Portishead about a month before the Maggie 5th birthday bash. That really was a long hot summer then!
We were all a lot younger back then, well I probably wasn’t.
A few people have left, Lotek and ThorN have had to go. I will be in touch with him over the next few days about uploading a copy of this report to the Low Res WordPress site. The rest of us are awaiting a prize ceremony. There is a fair number of people outside where the ‘real party’ is. Well the real party is everywhere tonight.
01.55 – Results are in, here is the retrospectively added. We’ve culled the non-Atari stuff from the rather appealing original textfile with the full results. The competitions below are just the ones where “our” people were involved in some way.
OUTLINE 2010 – Combined Atari ST Intro/Demo
1 Dead Hackers Sociey – “Sommarhack10 Invite”
2 Baah / Arm’s Tech – “Frankiki”
3 BITS – “BITS 52 – MULTI SCROLL WITH WAVE”
1 RA/paradox – “BiNARY”
2 Baah / Arm’s Tech – “Quad”
3 RA & Paranoid / PDX – “Boot Dis!”
4 paranoid + RA/paradox – “BLUEBOOT”
Realtime Wild Demo
1 Gasman / Hooy-Program – “DivIDEo:
2 Timbral / YMR / DHS – “Untitled”
3 Sector One / Dune – “retrostation”
4 Desire – “In Monaco”
5 Royal Belgian Beer Squadron – “Rewired 2010 invitation”
Newschool / Streaming Music
1 Stu – “Earth (Original Version Stereo Mix)”
2 Response/Darklite – “Retrocession”
3 m0d – “Shooter Boss Reloaded”
4 Spexzter/Darklite – “I’m going to be”
5 Cosmiq / Inque – “Club Epoch”
6 EatMe – “Meow”
7 The Danish Musician – “Abfarth”
8 Cosmiq / Inque – “The last breakpoint”
9 Bassie / RBi – “Allnighter’s Child”
10 Dipswitch – “12.00 Dread”
11 Quantum of Arse – “Kabouter Bond”
12 discomeats – “Dr Bob and the Casiotones”
13 A-Flash – “Step Into A Rotten Spaceship”
14 Haohmaru – “Pizza Calzone”
15 Haohmaru feat. discomeats – “F_11”
Oldschool Tracked/Executable Music
1 Timbral / YM Rockerz ^ DHS – “So alone… (Live ver.)”
2 Stu – “Bombabazooka”
3 DMA-Sc / Sector One – “Troubled Memories”
4 gwEm/Psycho Hacking Force – “Afterburner”
5 Response/Darklite – “”Exanthema” (c64)”
6 Loaderror/Ephidrena – “I like this Stu concert playing right now”
7 Fby Fabio Barzagli – “Virtuosismi Italiani :)”
8 syphus – “Jazzsniffer”
9 Bioscillator – “Rotterdam Atari Acid”
1 Ukko – “Mister”
2 bracket / accession – “Mr. Marvin is here to kill you ”
3 illm / Apan Bepan – “Secret Admirer”
4 farfar/loonies – “look man, i just want some chips, see, some chips,
that’s all, just some chips. Turn that over man, it’s burning, turn
1 Reboot – “Superfly DX”
2 CVSD – “Ladybugged ”
3 Calsoft (code)/Gasman (muzak) – “xnaIridium”
4 nUn / Next Empire – “ParaCunt”
There are some non-surprises here, DHS won the Atari demo competition, with Baah! and Solo falling into line in second and third place respectively. Reboot had a good night winning the games competition. We are also conveying a prize winner home, as Gasman managed to win the wild competition with his ZX Spectrum video streaming system off his CF-card, when it feels like working, as it had a particularly vivid five minutes of non-cooperation at the start of the competition. The symptoms are startlingly similar to the ancient malady of ZX81 ram pack wobble,
A sleepy Felice is retiring. It is rather chilly with no trace of any barbecue fires, so I think I’ll pause this until we’re back in daylight again.
10.07 (A startlingly rapidly arriving Morning) – This is going to be a rather swift termination of the realtime section of this report, followed by a retrospective later part. The mains power has been removed so we’re running on a limited battery. Also the very table this laptop is resting on is due to go back to its rental place asap. I got to bed some time after 05.00hrs, and encountered a lot of alcohol on the way! Some of us were very silly indeed but we managed to prolong the party feeling for a few precious hours more.
In case you’re wondering, I’m in surprisingly good shape but I’m sure I’ll pay for that later on!
Okay, time to log off before this table disappears.
———– Some non-realtime recollections ———–
(A videoclip from my moby stirs into life, flickering firelight half reveals a handful of faces sitting around it, there is a soundtrack, which is the tune ‘Legend of Middle Earth’ by Jess. (Which turned out to be the non-sidvoice version, to people’s mild disappointment.) This is playing off some small portable box with the appropriate software. Wiztom is one of the figures in the dim firelight, he speaks about the rain, which is very light, but imposing more of a presence as the morning goes on “Random drops but no proper rain”. The timestamp on the clip reveals it was taken at 03.35 on the 2.5.10.)
How did we get here?
Another videoclip now, this one was taken at 03.08 that morning. Grazey is confessing to the accidental theft of a shopping trolley from a ‘lovely old dutch lady’ in the local supermarket, where “They were all lovely, it was like desperate housewives, Teri Hatcher and stuff, wearing their leg warmers, walking about like this, and I stole her trolley!” SH3 is acting in the role of drunk father confessor and urging Grazey to repent, hysterics are overcoming the rest of the party, the writer being no exception to this whatsoever.
There were other conversations stirring in the alcoholic darkness, vague memories of long-forgotten but vividly recalled cricket matches in the Welsh hills, the useful role of the Pennines in keeping Lancashire and Yorkshire apart is discussed. A few things talked of which were filed away very deeply out of harms way. There was gWEm who really wasn’t going to stick around but got sucked into the inevitable white rum black hole with the rest of us.
Did I mention that some of the competition prizes were alcoholically based? Grazey, Cal, GGN and SH3 used their mind-powers to thwart the other prize winners from picking up these precious bottles. As the game competition was well down the running order, they had the pick of the remaining prizes, which were magically and mysteriously white rum based. It appears that two bottles made their way back to the Reboot/PHF corner. These were opened and shared out, some people taking theirs with coke, hardened idiots like me drinking the stuff neat.
At some point of time with a ‘3’ in it, the party eventually staggered its way to bed, apart from gWEm and myself who were finishing off a couple of beers that SH3 had purchased and forgot about. I recall gWEm being concerned about the relative lack of Atari releases, and myself playing an optimistic devil’s advocate that things weren’t that bad really. Havoc was on night-shift duty at the bar and listening very patiently like all good bar staff do.
After which, we get back to the point where I went to join in with the remnants of the ‘party outside’, and the first mentioned video clip was recorded.
So I’m not sure when I went to bed, but I do remember Felice quietly pacing into the sleeping room at 09.30 to deliver a bedside bulletin about the disappearing table situation, which caused a rapid bed exit, showering and breakfast, intended to shock any waiting hangover into submission. This appeared to have worked.
There is not a lot more to tell, but I’ll do my best to pad it out anyway. Various people showed up, many of them bearing the scars and gravy stains from the night before. Wiztom was doing a particularly good animated corpse impersonation.
BlurryMaali! If Havoc wants the full-sized original, he can email me 😉
We repacked the car, it had been raining again and the day started to rain some more. An extended round of farewells preceded our departure around midday. The PHF mobile, an appealing but small Toyota had the extra challenge of getting gWEm to an airport. This was a car which was seriously challenging the 1998 Helsinki-Turku Saab super-stuffem contest for load compression and people carrying as it was. I guess they made it back okay, there were no news reports of death and carnage with excessive amounts of debris and broken tents on the Dutch road system?
A picture of an already broken tent.
An overcast but uneventful journey home follows, apart from one or two cloudbursts encountered, driven through and out the other side of. The Satnav behaves itself and gets us back to the Eurotunnel terminal, in time for some shopping by Felice and a quick grabbing of some French style burger fodder with frites. The boarding process consists of queue-filled endlessness, with some probing questions from the UK customs bunker before we are allowed on to the train.
We reveal we come from the Netherlands, a red warning light flashes on in the control room and the people inside show the first stirrings of interest, the occupants of our car are young(ish) male and from a country hosting planet druggie, so not at all suspicious really. We are asked where we stayed, when this turned out not to be one of the big cities, the boredom starts to return. When we were asked what we were doing, Felice exhibited some rare quick-wittedness in describing the difficult to describe to outsiders “demo party” as a “computer arts festival”. At this point, the law enforcers go limp dick and lose all interest in us, the bottom-searching room is regretfully stood down and we are waved on our way.
Useful one to remember if a potentially hostile uniformed outsider is asking what the heck you were doing that weekend, say “Computer arts festival“, not “Demo party”. Now put that in your quick response brain-bank for when you are asked those awkward questions!
More wet cross-country dashing around takes place at the UK end. Gasman is able to make the rest of his journey home that evening, so we end up dropping him off in the centre of Cambridge next to a lonely bus stop. I guess he wasn’t abducted as his blog has been updated since. Felice and I return to the residence of the Felice, where his spouse Paula had been joined by an acquaintance of mine, Nicola.
Another great post-party tradition of a promised evening meal still sitting around as a pile of uncooked ingredients and expecting me to thrash it into an edible shape is upheld. I tend to think I did a good job, even in a post-party befuddled state where lack of proper sleep was catching up and a lot of stuff got dropped on the kitchen floor on the way.
We’re not at all late to bed really, and the bulk of the following day is spent in a low-energy drowsy state until we go our separate ways back home later on. A little bit of a belated Felician birthday celebration got in there as well.
Wrapping up with some final thoughts.
Every Outline party seems to fall into a number of recognisable patterns, but each one has its own distinguishing remarks and features. This one was no exception.
Outline 2010 for me, was most successful with the “Party” part of the party. I managed to step up the socializing a gear and try to speak to more people, more often, Newer faces to me including Beetle with the Awesome CTPCI being shown off to great effect. Also more time was spent with Grazey, Cal, Kev, and George, which was capped off by that rather spontaneously occurring final morning, so maybe a bit too successful there! The usual suspects were remet of course. We rediscovered Cyclone, it was nice to see Chuck and GGN back this year, we missed the Dresden Atarians. It was good to see Baggio and Deez back in town, with PeP and the Nature Brothers. Ze Germans turned up en masse on Friday, apologies to anyone we didn’t namecheck here.
Meeting and greeting Chuck eating!
The live acts were presented in a better than ever fashion, even allowing for the weather restricted indoors-only nature of these. There were some great sets from Stu and gWEm, with 303F to wind down nicely after the competitions and prize-giving were all done. Songs, people dancing, indeed!
On the subject of demo releases, the Atari content was a bit down, but not so much from the last year. We were really missing a killer release, Checkpoint were in the frame to do this but they did not arrive at the party. However Dead Hackers Society excelled with a good dentro-sized production which continued the theme of stretching the STE’s boundaries. To put into a wider context and attempt to reassure people called gWEm, we have had a good last 12 months. There is more stuff ‘in the pipeline’ but none of it was ready to spurt out here. For future reference, it would be really nice if a couple of major releases could head this way next year?
Other releases were a mixed bag as usual. There was a nice animation compo, the Peecee demo’s were okay generally. One nice thing here is the manageable size of the competitions, so you don’t get fifty demos doing slight variations on the same thing. There was a nice Amiga wild demo which paid tribute to the Atari and stuck up for MC68k solidarity brother!
The games compo was of a higher quality than ever, even from a smaller entry field. The Jaguar console was very well supported. I hope we do get a Falcon conversion of Superfly DX.
On a personal level, we were better organised and prepared for the trip, apart from one major omission at start of trip! Oh, and the issue with the Satnav not being psychiatrically screened for major personality disorders before we set off either!
Gasman was good company for the trip. We appreciate the fact that he did not scream and demand to be let out of the car at any time!
Eersel appears to be a classic established venue. We hope we can come back next year. The only duff note for Outline 2010 was struck with the weather being poorer than usual, but then again, the party has been earlier this year. One external issue which we all gratefully avoided, was the dreaded volcano ash from Mount Unpronounceable Bjork lyric in Iceland!
Outline 2010, good to the squeezed out last drop!