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Freax vol. 1. - Feedback

category: residue [glöplog]
Now at least a hundred of you has the big scene book, I'd appreciate some feedback. Did you like it? If not, why and what? Do you have something to add or correct?
(No, please don't bug me about distribution here, check www.freax.hu for answers.)
added on the 2005-07-30 19:08:56 by tomcat tomcat
Please to be finishing book 2 and 3 today now kthxbye
I've just bought the book at assembly (and bought a custom t-shirt which I'm wearing right now - a great feature, thanks tomcat) and altho I mostly just watched your seminar and gone through the book quickly, I'm sure going to look forward to read this (and I'm no reader).

I bought it because I really just belong to the PC scene (starting out in 1992 watching demos) and wanted to know more about the C64 and Amiga scene and I'm sure I will appriciate it even more now (the scene part).

I will however buy vol 2 and vol 3 whenever it'll be out, because I think it's nice to have something written about the scene which you can look in from time to time just remembering the old times and the great art of that time.

As a little feedback on your seminar you should definitly use a amiga next time B-) and you should probably ask for more time to present your stuff, because it all felt a bit rushed, other than that, the only thing I missed was some example media clips for the parts where you could've get those. Of course one could argue that you can find these on the Mindcandy dvd etc and perhaps sell a few more but still that would be a fun break from all the talk :-)

Props to you anyway, on your book and the assembly stuff in general.
added on the 2005-08-01 20:14:40 by thec thec
My initial impressions are that I missed Atari in this edition, I also noticed a few spelling errors that managed to evade the proofreading.

Nice feel on the book, lots of colourful pictures (on almost every page). Overall I quite like it, but I just got home and havn't read all of it yet. I'm gonna have to get back to you when I've read all of it.
added on the 2005-08-01 20:51:04 by a_lee_n a_lee_n
btw, I just noticed it's about 2mm too high to fit in my billy shelf ;-)
added on the 2005-08-01 21:21:30 by thec thec
Hi Tomcat.

This book is a must for me.
I haven't bought your book yet, but I read the "Sample Chapter" online.

There is written:
"The first cracker group's name, JEDI was an abbreviation from the members' names:
Oliver Joppich (OJO), Oliver Eikemer (1103), Oliver-Thomas Dietz (OTD), and I stood for Inc."

It was slightly different:
Oliver Joppich was known as OJO aka 1103. He was "J"EDI.
Oliver Eikeme"ie"r was using the nick: Oleander. He was J"E"DI.
Oliver Thomas Dietz known as OTD was JE"D"I.

Only a few days ago I gave an interview for Jurassic Pack #14 Amiga-mag about the C64 and Amiga oldschool scene 1982-... , so I'm close-by at the moment. ;)
Hope I could help.

Greets ALiEN
added on the 2005-08-02 01:44:11 by ALiEN^bf ALiEN^bf
it has been very nice to read. only half of the amiga-section left. thumbs up! interesting to read all these tales from the past... the scene today isn't very interesting compared to the times 15 years ago.

should we fix that? more fights, more illegal activity and more scrollers!! lets do something great for sceners of the FUTUR3 to write about this date.

thanks for the book, looking forward to see those next volumes.
added on the 2005-08-02 02:33:29 by annieeee annieeee
I'm only at the beginning of the Amiga chapter at the moment, so expect final comments later. It has definitely been an entertaining read so far, judging by how short my 7 hour train ride back from Asm/Bzm felt. The screenshots are great, and I liked how you - at least on the C64 - concentrated on the piracy side too instead of just dismissing it as some side activity that gave us the concept of intros/demos.

But now for the complaining side. The one thing that really bothers me are the countless typos, special characters shown as boxes, grammar oddities and similar features. And I do mean countless, just about on every page something jumped out and bit my eye. Were this a website or an underground diskmag I wouldn't mind so much, but for an otherwise professional looking and commercially sold book this is quite unacceptable. I felt like reading a beta version or something. Hopefully you'll be able to kick your proofreader(s) around a bit for working harder on future editions.

I hope I'm not sounding too much like a pedantic whiner.. This is just my two cents. Still, I must stress that my overall view of the book has been highly positive. Looking forward to reading more about what you have on the OCS/ECS Amiga scene, since I have done some "research" on that myself.. :)
added on the 2005-08-02 07:14:33 by break break
Got the book last evening and the quality (typos excluded) was really a positive surprise. I just have read a couple of first chapters and browsed it randomly, but it's great to read about the old times, see names of old friends and lots of screenshots of very familiar productions.

For an old scene retiree like me (quitted 10 years ago) this serves really good as a nostalgic trip to the good old days.
Not only is the book well researched, interesting, and filling me in on a lot of what I missed out by only joining the scene when the Amiga was on its way out (market speaking), but it also shows you the interesting parts behind the machines themselves - this alone was worth more than I paid for - I can honestly say that this book was far more than anyone could have hoped for - and I look forward to the next volume!
added on the 2005-08-03 11:09:04 by dotwaffle dotwaffle
My initial impression was very positive ("OMG OMG IT'S.... ALL..HERE!!"), and brought back lots of sweet memories :)
After actually reading through the entire book, I still think it's an amazing achievement! My only complaint is that the book is... well, it's simply full of spelling errors. Too bad, because the text is otherwise very well written. I hope to see an improvement in the spelling department in the next volume! :)
added on the 2005-08-03 16:30:26 by nightbeat nightbeat

I finished reading the book yesterday, and in all, it just plain rocks. There are quite a bit of typos and grammar mistakes in it, but I am sure most of these can be ironed out for later editions. Also, these mistakes don't lower the quality of the actual content.

However there are some small factual mistakes in it, too, regarding the Amiga hardware.

By default, it contained a 3.5 inch DD format (720 KB) floppy disk drive.
(page 89, the size 720 KB is repeated elsewhere in the book too)

This is not the case. Amiga DD floppy has capacity of 880 KB (2 sides, 80 tracks, 11 blocks per track, 512 bytes per block), Amiga HD floppy 1760 KB.
wiki: Floppy_disk#The_Commodore_Amiga

It is true that Amiga can read/write PC floppies with capacity of 720 KB and 1440 KB, but it can't boot from the these disks, nor did AmigaOS <2.1 support PC floppies out of the box (it is available for older AmigaOS with 3rd party applications, such as dos2dos, CrossDos or XFS).

Actually HAM was quite unreliable. Since the speed of color mixing operations was not precisely calculatable, some pixels were often misplaced on the displayed picture. Sometimes a pixel was plotted on the next or after the next position instead of the specified one, because while the graphics chip calculated the correct value, the cathode ray has already stepped a few positions. This was because HAM was not a real feature, but a hardware hack.
(page 89)

Actually HAM is not "unrealiable" at all. It's fully predictable how the "colour leakage" happens. The artifacts are due to the fact that you can only change single gun (R, G or B) of the colour at a time, so often the colour had some of the guns wrong.

By using smart algorithm to pick the base palette and generate the colour-gun changes, the HAM artifacts can be reduced to a minimum. The only downside of such a smart conversion is the speed, or rather lack of it: often realtime effects can't afford the slow conversion.

More about HAM:
wiki: Hold-And-Modify

The capabilities of HAM mode are practically unlimited and there are no monitors built, even today, which are able to handle its highest possible resolution.
(page 89)
It's true that AGA can display Super High Res modes with width of 1280 pixels, but this really has nothing to do with HAM. Even though most video monitors have trouble with width of 1280, some monitors do pretty good job in displaying it.

OCS and ECS can only display HAM6 in width of 320 pixels (plus some overscan).

Again, thanks for the great book and nice chat (about the Boing demo, RJ Mical and stuff ;-) at ASM'05,

Harry "Piru" Sintonen
added on the 2005-08-03 17:36:03 by Piru Piru
yeah, great great book. i'm half through now.

some mistakes spotted though:


A few graphics from Rotox' ASCII pack from 1993 (page 122)

This particular ascii collection, as can be seen in the picture by the tags, is a cooperation between Rotox, Rat, Rip and Enforcer.

Also, on page 121, the artist is called Mogue, not Mogul.
added on the 2005-08-03 18:52:30 by dipswitch dipswitch
Piru, I don't know which monitors you tried, but i remember hooking the a1200 to a green-only cpc monitor and the 1280x256 mode was pristine clear!!!, I just wish my mac looked that crisp today on the flatron ;)

BTW, do you keep on amiga scene or changed to pc one?
added on the 2005-08-03 20:09:04 by winden winden

I used Phillips CM8833-II and the picture quality was really nice with it. In fact it was better than later on with NEC MultiSync 3D, but the NEC would handle DblPAL and other flicker free, high resolution modes... :)

BTW, funny coincidence, but my first computer was a Amstrad CPC6128 with *drumroll* green-only monitor. Never tried to connect the monitor to my Amiga though.

My A1200 retired few years ago, as I needed the case for my Pegasos I. The A1200 had a BPPC 603p@266 w/ scsi + 060@64 (yeah OC rules;) + BVisionPPC + 19" Hitachi monitor. My Workbench was in 1600x1200@75Hz. Also I hadn't powered the system on for 6 months, so it kind of grew obsolete.

I haven't switched to PC really (although I do own one PC aswell, some AMD 2400+ boxen). My main system is Pegasos II with 7447 (G4) 1GHz CPU, Radeon 8500LE gfx, 1GB ram and 320GB HDD in total. It runs the MorphOS OS, which I also develop.
An Introduction to MorphOS

MorphOS is very AmigaOS compatible, and you can even run the old Amiga 68k applications thru JIT translation (yeah baby, running reaaaally fast:). So, in a sense I still consider myself being in the Amiga family... Oh, the A1200 is still fully operational, too, perhaps I set it up again some day.

Harry "Piru" Sintonen
added on the 2005-08-04 00:52:36 by Piru Piru
OK, I am here. Just got home from Helsinki, so another boring cartrip is behind me. :)

Thanks for the feedback, dear oldies and newbies. Just dump all your comments here so I can correct them for a future second edition. For the typos, well, damn them - they tend to show up despite I really decimated them with my ruthless red pen. For spelling errors blame Dan. I hope nothing seriously wrong will turn out at all, and Freax will be just as I intended it to be - an accurate book about the history of the scene.
added on the 2005-08-04 01:59:52 by tomcat tomcat
ok so i read what, 24 pages so far, and i'm already annoyed, not really by the spelling mistakes but the grammar mistakes, which is normally either commas really out of place and/or problems with past tense/present.

you won't see me comment on hw specs/tech/whatever since that's really not a girl issue ;)

the really fun thing though, is the "thanks to dan wright for the spellchekking".. guess he didn't spellcheck that line :D
added on the 2005-08-05 19:46:00 by leijaa leijaa
typos or not, this is kickass stuff. Now I can carry it with me and push people to read through.

Waiting for the next edition ! !
added on the 2005-08-05 20:07:42 by Navis Navis
Just finished reading the book and overall I have to say that I loved it. The parts when the book really seemed to "come alive" where the interviews and small anecdotes about the people and demos.

However, I really felt that an editor would have made the difference. Like other people have mentioned, the typos and grammatical errors really start to irritate after a while. In addition, lisiting groups and demos in the text is a little bit cumbersome and maybe separate boxes outside of the texts would have made them easier for the eyes. And speaking of reading, sometimes I felt that a two column layout might have been a better choice for readability.

But still, I did enjoy reading about the old times and I'm anticipating what the next edition will contain.
added on the 2005-08-05 21:01:14 by Endymio Endymio
A really good book, this one. It was especially nice to get to read about the East European scene because that's a POV you seldom get to know. Definitely _the_ book about scene and I'll add it to our Demoscene bibliography ASAP.
added on the 2005-08-06 13:54:48 by Marq Marq
Sample chapter looks awesome.. that is a good read, certainly comprehensive and some good pics, too. Any chance for making the book available to us down here in Australia?? :(
added on the 2005-08-06 14:22:35 by Gaia Gaia
got a bit further now, just one thing before i forget it again: damn you tomcat, what country is "norwegia"? took me a couple of times to understand that you mean my own country = _norway_ . (basically everything i can find about norway in the book is misspelled, place names, names of newspapers ++)

and for some nationalistic reason, that _really_ sucks ;)
added on the 2005-08-06 16:36:59 by leijaa leijaa
Indeed, this "Norwegia" thing sucks. It hurt even my eye, along with the tons of other typos.

I just don't get it what the heck has Dan done with the C-64 chapters. The Amiga is all right, but why did he plant errors into the C-64 stuff which weren't there? As a matter of fact I haven't reviewed his corrections, just pasted them straight, expecting that someone with a Ph.D. of his own mothertongue probably speaks the language better than me.

Certainly there's some stuff to be done for the second edition, and it will be done. Fortunately no serious factual errors have turned out yet, except for a mistyped name.
added on the 2005-08-08 01:08:23 by tomcat tomcat
As a matter of fact I haven't reviewed his corrections, just pasted them straight, expecting that someone with a Ph.D. of his own mothertongue probably speaks the language better than me.

Ah, he has a PhD? That explains it perfectly.
"Millenium" is another constantly repeating misspelling. Also, the non-ascii characters seem to have been replaced with dummy boxes.

My opinion is that most of the actually demoscene-related stuff in the book (countries, demos, design trends etc) was very good work. However, the background material (especially the "pre-history") had some serious mistakes.

For example, the PDP-1 had a vector-based green-and-black CRT, not a "color raster screen". Also, the typewriter-like device was actually a teletypewriter used for console messages and stuff. And the ships in the original Spacewar were not from Star Trek, since the making of the tv series didn't start until several years later. I can list more stuff in email or something if you like :)

If there's a real need for a good "pre-history" part, it should take a lot more things in account. For example, I would have started the presentation from mechanical devices such as music boxes, automatic theatres etc whose history goes back to the ancient Greeks, but this is just my personal preference :) Also, several influential CGI movies (such as Tron) seem to have been forgotten altogether.


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