| The Demoscene
24 July 2002
Size does matter. Just ask those involved with Demoscene. Afterall,
what other multimedia fits onto a floppy disc these days?
For 20 years, an underground movement has been thriving on creating
visually stunning and inventive animations. Animations that are
better than most you've seen on television and in film. And the
mind-boggling part is that these animations run in real-time and
are compressed so effectively that they are less than 64KB in size
- and yes, that includes the code, models, textures and sound.
They call these animations "demos" and describe them
as "a standalone program whose sole purpose is to impress and
entertain the user. It usually contains visual effects, music and
graphics" (www.scene.org/dog). They encompass a broad range
of programming and 3D techniques, including procedural geometry,
and real-time ray-tracing and shading.
On Wednesday, panelists Theo Engell-Nielsen (hybrid/NEMISIS), Eric
Haines (Autodesk, Inc.), Saku Lehtinen (Remedy Entertainment), Vincent
Scheib (The Demoscene Outreach Group and the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Phil Taylor (Microsoft Corporation)
explored how the demoscene came to existence and where it is heading.
They also shared some technical tricks used in demos.
What was also expressed on Wednesday is that these "artistic
producers," who are constantly testing the cutting edge of
computer graphics technology, are doing so strictly for the pride
and the recognition.
What better place than SIGGRAPH to show off?