Oldskooler Ramblings

the unlikely child born of the home computer wars

My love/hate relationship with the demoscene

Posted by Trixter on September 1, 2007


I haven’t watched many modern demos in the last 10 years; I usually watch maybe 1 or 2 a year.  My demoscene friends are always shocked when I tell them that, given my past involvement with all things sceneish.  In fact, they’re always shocked, no matter how many times it comes up.  I’m going to try to explain why, briefly, and then hopefully either I will change, or it will never come up again.

In a nutshell, I feel shame and self-loathing when I watch modern Windows demos.   Before that completely confuses you, I’ll hurriedly explain that I always regretted not having the time, skill, intelligence (my math has always been poor), and inclination to create Windows demos.  So when I watch one, I am reminded of how I have failed at that particular aspiration.  I have succeeded at others, but watching a 64K from Fairlight or Farbrausch just gets me depressed.  Yes, I’m screwed up.  The better and more impressive the demo/intro/4k is, the worse I feel.  I know it’s not rational.

So now you know.  This also conveniently explains why I have actually gone backwards in my democoding (I started out on 386+SB+VGA and my latest efforts are geared toward an 8088+PC speaker+CGA) instead of most people, who go forwards.  For example, I’m writing a small utility as a favor to a friend, but it needs to support long filenames in Windows XP and memory over 640K.  Regardless, I’m writing it in DOS, on the XT, because I feel safe and comfortable doing so.  Once it runs within the restrictions of DOS, I’m going to port the code over to WinXP and compile it with a WinXP compiler.

Related topic change: We’ve started talking about MindCandy volume 3.

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5 Responses to “My love/hate relationship with the demoscene”

  1. Hey, if you ask me, it’s no crime to want to code for a static, reliable platform vs. the latest, bleeding edge, moving target. Personally, I can’t wait to get my hands on this new toy called the PowerPak so I can easily develop programs that run on an actual NES:

    http://www.retrousb.com/index.php?productID=133

  2. Brolin Empey said

    I doubt your math is as poor as mine. :P

    I don’t watch many Windows demos because I only use Linux on my PC.

    I started writing a graphics demo in C using Allegro years ago, but have not had time to work on it recently. If I was starting out now, I think I would use SDL instead of Allegro. Allegro seems to be used only for hobbyist productions. SDL has bindings for more languages, supports additional platforms, including embedded platforms such as ARM Linux, is used by professional, commercial products, and also supports novel video drivers such as aalib and libcaca. :)

  3. Happens to me as well. I’m convinced I’m not “good enough” for that sort of thing, but at some point it stopped bothering me – now I just enjoy watching demos, even if I don’t actively participate. Can’t say what triggered the change though…

  4. blackpawn said

    heh i get same feeling but i look at it as just competing with yourself to do better and better things. and so long as you yourself improve you don’t have to be discouraged by other people being ahead of you.

  5. Optimus said

    Same feeling here. I get it when ASD releases a new demo :)

    But I watch just about everything that is added in Pouet!

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