16 August 2010

Assembly 2010 Revisited

I meant to write a recap post about my weekend of following Assembly 2010 on TV right after the weekend, but somehow it got delayed with other stuff, and I was having problems with my Flash installation etc. (Yes, I still, or rather again, have Flash installed. Grudgingly. It breaks my heart, but what can you do, it's a Web 2.0 world...)

In a nutshell, I had a blast watching the show and the compos (short for competition, naturally) were entertaining and the quality was, from my not-really-a-scener viewpoint, pretty good. I think I managed to catch all the (non-gaming) compos (except for executable graphics, which was so short I missed it while popping down to the kitchen).

So I thought I'd post links to some of my favourite creations. Assembly's website has this to say about demos:

Demos and intros are not pre-rendered animations but rather non-interactive programs made for a chosen computing platform (Windows, Mac, game consoles for few examples). These programs are made to show off one's skills and to entertain the general audience. Since the user cannot interact with the program flow the demos are kept short, packed with stunning visuals and often synched with a catchy soundtrack.

The deserved winner of the demo compo was ASD with their demo Happiness Is Around the Bend. Pure audio-visual delight. Here's the Youtube link.

The 4k and 64k intro categories are always fascinating. As the names suggest, these are demos that are limited in size to 4 or 64 kilobytes, and it's amazing what skilled programmers can pack into an executable of that size. The winner of the 4k category was Neanderstaller by Pittsburgh Stallers. (Video quality is a little below par there, though.)

One of the highlights for me is of course the oldskool demo compo (i.e. demos for obsolete hardware). Sadly there were very few entries again this year, but the winner, the Amiga demo Grind by Dekadence & Accession, was pretty good. Very low res, of course, but with a nice atmosphere and aesthetic style.

Aside from the demo compos, I'm of course always interested in the music compos. The winner of the main music was one pretty awesome hard rock number called The Apocalypse Will Arrive On A NES Cartridge by GRiMM / Meridian, which uses NES sounds as a lead instrument. The winner of the executable music compo also features some spiffy NES chip goodness: Pixelated Knight Tales by King Thrill / Tekotuotanto.

Just one more: the winner of the short film compo. RetroStorm by Tekotuotanto is a very cool tribute to oldschool gaming.

More entries can be found at assembly.org in the gallery section. And I also recommend the Demoscene Documentary released at Assembly. This first episode covers the famous Finnish demogroup Future Crew.

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