The DemoScene (Pt.1)

21 05 2008

I wanted to write about the Demoscene ever since I saw the first real demo.

The Demoscene, as defined by Wikipedia “…is a computer art subculture that specializes in producing demos, which are non-interactive audio-visual presentations run real-time on a computer. The main goal of a demo is to show off programming, artistic, and musical skills.”

Those of you who owned a PC during the 90’s will surely remember those executable files that were bundled with certain pirated games or programs. They would probably show an animated scene about the piracy group who cracked the software. So, they’d show their names and make pride of their abilities. All that in a relatively small file. (That was my first contact with a demo.)

However, after some research I have found that the Demoscene actually started before the 90’s, on some early platforms, like the Commodore64, Atari, & Amiga.

Demos (or Intros) have evolved well beyond traditional pixelized images floating around on the screen, to become more like a short movie, including most of the artistic values of any real-life movie: art, direction, storyboard, photography, 3d art & animation, and music.

The really stunning fact about Demoscene is that Demos are a real programming challenge, where some groups are challenged to write a Demo in a restricted file size of 64 KB! There are even some recent Demos stuffed in a tiny space of 4 KBs. Early Demos are available in 256 Bytes!

So, yes, the Demoscene IS a programming challenge that focuses on new, innovative techniques to generate all the required contents in real-time. As opposed to saving each component in a separate file.

When I watched my first Demo, I was instantly shocked about the great amount of effort put in it. And as I watched more and more Demos I really started to notice how each Demo has its own artistic mood.

I could talk for hours about Demos and Intros, but it won’t matter, because you won’t believe it until you see it with your own eyes. So, I’m gonna cut to the chase and list some sites and groups to give you a head start:

– More info about the Demoscene:

– Even more info:

– The Demoscene online TV:

– One of the best groups on the scene (ASD): (Go for their “Animal Attraction” Demo first)

– Another amazing group (Conspiracy): (I like their “Chaos Theory” Intro)

– And finally, the biggest Demoscene archive on the web:

Have fun.




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