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Lifeforce by Andromeda Software Development [web]

                                --= L i f e F o r c e  =--
                                    a n d r o m e d a
                                     s o f t w a r e
                                  d e v e l o p m e n t

                                Presented at Assembly 2007

.Code / Direction - Navis

With Lifeforce we wanted to make a demo that has a progression and a cyclic narrative. 
It starts where  Iconoclast, our Assembly 2005 demo, ended: we enter into the mind of 
the creator / avatar / muse (a small reference  to Homer here) and  descend into  the
beginning of the journey of life. The images of nature and the laughter  o f children
are the starting point. Like some other parts in this demo the happy and playful mood 
is  interrupted by  sorrowful events (knife  slicing the rainbow).  The sequence that 
follows  (tree  submerged  in liquid, bubbles  floating towards  the surface)  is the 
 progression to maturity and the  passage of time. The character tries  to climb  the  
mountain in  vain and extends his arm to  reach for the beating heart - the symbol of 
youth.The images that follow (statue of men reading the scribes, bells ringing in the 
distance)  are a reference to religion, seemingly the last resort of some  men in the 
dusk of their lives. The second part of the demo begins in the bathroom sequence. The 
man has died but left a message: "ZEI", which means he/she/it is alive.  A message of 
hope,  maybe ? The black strips  and octopuses represent the fear of death and guilt. 
The strips guide us through a series of surealistic images that overlap  one another: 
images of living things that exist in the domain of the living (city, horse,elephant, 
clown). We wanted to create a feeling  of anxiety before the revelation  of the  last 
scene  in which we have drawn a full circle: The desert is revisited, only now, after 
innumerable  years it is an ocean,  deep and  dark. The  crescendo slowly builds to a 
nuclear  blast  that  engulfs  our  world  and  memories. We  too  now  sink down and 
contemplate our own mortal fate. 
Lifeforce, like all ASD demos, is almost completely hand made; which means that apart
 from  some static models and  textures all model  animation, particle  effects, post 
processing, camera  paths, synchronizations and everything else that makes  this demo 
has  been  hard-coded. We  believe  that it  is impossible to  deliver a demo  of the 
complexity of lifeforce by using an  available demoscripting  engine  and  putting in 
less  work  than  hard-coding it  the way  we  did in  the  first place. The  code in 
Lifeforce is based on a very minimalistic 3D engine (a combination of all first 20 or 
so  NeHe  tutorials, for example, is  a superset  of our 3D  engine) and heavy use of 
image processing and shaders. 

The demo was written exclusively on an Athlon 3000XP with a geforce FX 5600 ultra.

.Music - Amusic and Leviathan

Lifeforce's soundtrack began pretty late in the creative process. This time we wanted
 to have more than just an idea of what the visuals were  going to look like. When we 
saw  the  magnitude of  the scenes  it was  clear  that we  had to go  in a different
direction with the music while at the same time try to maintain some of our trademark
sounds and progressions.With Memento Mori we went overboard with attention to detail. 
The  track utilizes more than 2000 samples and over 100 rack devices on Reason, which 
eventually  managed to get a 2.8Ghz Pentium  4 HT CPU cry for  mercy, as it could not 
replay the sounds in realtime.

The end  result  proves to be a lot more  melodic  and  sentimental than our previous 
tracks, more coherent as a whole and with a  tighter beat and emotional synch. We did 
not include traditional progressive rock elements such as  variating time  signatures
 and syncopated  rhythms and  riffs  this time  as  we felt that the flow of the demo 
called  for a  more "swimmy"  (as we call it)  soundtrack-ish approach. As  with  the 
visual part, the song explores the circle of life from birth to death,even if through 
dramatic circumstances reminding everyone, as per the title, that they are mortal. As
 the demo (and  life)  closes to the end, the  sound gets rougher  and more agressive, 
portraying the multiplying aspects in a person's life until his lifeline is cut short
, perhaps before its time. The  dance segue, seemingly  detached from the whole, is a 
 friendly nod to those who understand that life should not be taken too seriously all 
of the time.

.2D graphics - Archmage of Andromeda

The graphics zoomer in Lifeforce has some predecessors in demos from the likes of TBL
, FLT and even ASD, but from a very early stage  we decided that I should take this 
effect in a different direction. Instead of making a seemingly improvised progression 
where a zoom-in of the first picture dictates the imagery in  the next one, I started 
out by painting three separate pictures. These images were  intended to work as stand
 alone compositions, and they would then be linked by zooming out through circular 
elements such as the eyes and the monocle. There are nine zoom stages in all, 
seamlessly  blended for your viewing pleasure. As for the imagery itself, I was given 
a  lot  of  freedom  to explore  the  underlying  ideas of  Lifeforce.  By  depicting 
disciplined  Nature  rebelling  against  Man Defaced  in  the  setting  of  a  circus 
microcosmos, and then by having Nature turn against itself in an unnatural way with a 
tiger  chasing a lionfish, I wanted to communicate the inevitable coming of the End -
 and a sense of good riddance.


                                    +  LifeForce  +
                               + January - August 2007 +
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