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technological breakthroughs that came from demoscene

category: general [glöplog]
hi again.

still thinking about that paper i have to write... i thought about some technological issues that happened first in demo and then came to the "real" programming world, games, etc..

am i right or wrong when talking about:

- modified video modes with extra-colours (MCGA, etc.. ?)
- protected mode under DOS
- realtime 3D display
- sound-synthesis through PC Speaker

i think all this happened first in demos, but i'm not quite sure...? if you can tell me that would be cool. if you think of some other points, i'd be glad too!

this would be for saying that a programming usage that is not aimed at making money (so where no-one would care about patenting stuff) can make technology to advance, and a whole world of users to benefit from it...

added on the 2003-03-06 14:50:06 by merou merou
mcga was a standard video mode, protected mode was a feature of the 386 processor, realtime 3d was done in the 70s... don't know about pc speaker part... probably not.
added on the 2003-03-06 15:02:49 by dodke dodke
modern day demoscene is behind the game industry these days imho... quite obvious of course, game-developers are getting paid to code high-end 3d engines - even though, i hereby add that not all games feature a swell engine...but that's irrelevant in my point =D - while demosceners are hobbyists and thus code something fast in their freetime...
any pc game with marching cube's kind of effects? (blob models and such)
added on the 2003-03-06 15:22:05 by _-_-__ _-_-__
Hm, it might be the case that blobs were seen in demos before they were seen in games, however the theoretical underpinnings weren't invented by demo-makers - and there were other applications (like medical, for example) that used this way before the scene did.

So, yeah sure, maybe there were a couple of demos that had effects like blobs before games had (if there are games that have that) - but that doesn't mean the demo-makers themselves did any real innovation (since they didn't come up with the ideas behind the effect).

[Marching Cubes: A High Resolution 3D Surface Construction Algorithm",
William E. Lorensen and Harvey E. Cline,
Computer Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH '87), Vol. 21, No. 4, pp. 163-169]

... but... how about roto-zoomers! yeah! :D

added on the 2003-03-06 16:39:29 by sofokles sofokles
hehe... i don't *exactly* consider roto-zoomz as technological-breakthrough, but that's definetely a nice try! ;))

tsutomu: thanx for your remark, i would have looked like a dumbass! :)
added on the 2003-03-06 16:41:02 by merou merou
well, perhaps in the SW rendering area the demoscene evolved better than the game industry... for instance kewl Amiga demos and pc demos with sw-rendering (Spot by Exceed still ownz)...

- modified video modes with extra-colours (MCGA, etc.. ?)
- protected mode under DOS
- realtime 3D display
- sound-synthesis through PC Speaker

I believe that the demoscene _wasn't_ the first to use any of the techniques you mention there. Perhaps the only "breakthrough" that actually gained mainstream acceptance and had it's beginnings in the demoscene is the "tracker". Although I am not sure the first tracker was written by a scener, can someone more "in the knowing" refute this? (note that using audio samples to compose music pre-dates any tracker, so I am just refering to the "tracker" as just a computer software that facilitates music composition via audio samples)
added on the 2003-03-06 17:32:49 by sin sin
If you're looking for real breakthroughs, you have to set your sights away from the PC. The Commodore 64 and the Amiga scene are rich of such discoveries. The rotozoomer by Chaos of Sanity (these days he's in Farbrausch) is just one of these.
As a matter of fact, it's sometimes hard to separate the scene from the commercial world, especially on some platforms like the Amiga or the Atari ST, where just having a computer meant you're some way associated with the scene, even without knowing it.

But just to list a few achievements:

- undocumented videomodes (FLI, IFLI, etc) on the C-64 (most of them discovered by Crossbow of Crest)
- module musics (invented by Karsten Obarski, who was not really a demoscener, however, participated in some demos)
- modern graphics design fundamentals (started by Melon Dezign, and followed by many others)
- A number of fractals, ie. Laxifractals, displayed in Guardian Dragon II., coded by Laxity of Kefrens

But actually there were not many real innovations on the scene, which changed the computer world completely. The greatest footprint of the creative demoscene is the word "design", which evolved on the Amiga. Just take a look at some websites or MTV spots to see my point.
added on the 2003-03-06 17:38:54 by tomcat tomcat
I'll tell you what the scene has bought to the world: Communion! The scene was the first grouping of ordinary citizens to develope software that can punish the hardware, abuse, rape, mock, spank the hardware we so dearly love/hate.

The scene was the first place that high-tech artists were able to work as a team before joining any work force or company. It's where they learn how to cope with other people's attitude and to deal with each other's behaviours, put that aside and produce the most amazing computer art ever.

I think when we think of the scene we should look at the scene members more than their actual work. The main issue for scene members I focus on is attitude and determination. Combining knowledge and determination makes for some remarkable prodz.

I suggest anyone wanting to learn some production techniques to just browse the web for demo related historical sites. I don't think anyone has the patience of thinking out loud every bit of techniques ever used in the demo scene and also consider not revising the dates those techniques appeared as the scene is so old that stating something lik" raster effects came in 1987" or "roto zoomers appeared on amiga" could create havoc and frustration from the older scene members ;°)

I suggest looking for the following scene computers and scan for demos about them:
- Timex Sinclair
- Atari 800
- Atari ST
- Amstrad CPC
- ZX Spectrum
added on the 2003-03-06 17:54:36 by 33 33
timex sinclair? isn't that just a spectrum clone sold in america? are there any timex only demos?
added on the 2003-03-06 19:13:28 by lai lai
To me the Timex Sinclair is the TS-1000, but I guess this should brove you right lai:

added on the 2003-03-06 19:22:01 by 33 33
I might be wrong on a few or all of these but I think that these effects appeared in demos on Atari ST before they appeared in games:

No borders by Level 16 in the Union demo
Hardware scrolling by Carebears in Cuddly demos
>16 colors on screen at once by TEx (i think)
added on the 2003-03-06 22:52:52 by Pete Pete

The Atari ST in 320x320 is already capable of 16 colors without tweaking or anything. As a matter of fact:

320x200 in 16 colors
640x200 in 4 colors
640x400 monochrome

Now, if you add per raster palette change, you can multiply for example 16 colors by 200 raster lines (without overscan) but the normal maximum color is 512, so one way or another, the maximum onscreen colors on Atari ST is 512. Now if you do palette change per refresh altering the palette from one color to another and flipping back, etc etc, you can do 256x200 colors on screen on the atari ST (again without overscanning or huge skills... And worst is that no one ever has done this!!!

There was a technical feat done by some program in 1986 or 1987 (can't remember). That program was capable of changing the palette 3 times per scanline, in essence creating the effect of 48 distinct colors per raster on 200 scanlines, thus the 4800 colors on screen. This was very unique. It has extremely nice, cycle accurate palette change per fraction of horizontal line, thus eating the whole 68000 cpu time for stupid color palette handling, etc etc
added on the 2003-03-07 08:32:40 by 33 33
omg, last message referred to a 4800 color limit on some software, I meant 9600 .... Anyhow..... Blah.... I don't remember if the software in question in called Degas, or whatever.

One later version of Neochrome (was it 1987) was able to save pictures in 16 colors per raster and could also save images in 320x224.
added on the 2003-03-07 08:36:23 by 33 33
"any pc game with marching cube's kind of effects? (blob models and such)"

perhaps.. but mostly medical applications.
added on the 2003-03-07 08:36:56 by superplek superplek
OK found it, Spectrum 512! OMG This is old stuff! I had to do some research... Anyhow, the max colors per scanline is 48 and it's 512 colors on sceen max. And with the smooshed compression, you could have very small graphics file.


On this link you will find a PC Spectrum 512 viewer :°)
added on the 2003-03-07 09:07:23 by 33 33
SPECTRUM 512, the MAN behind it:

added on the 2003-03-07 09:14:59 by 33 33
yes, it was spectrum512. but.. it couldn't do more colors than the st's colorrange ofcourse (512!) even if you had 600 palette changes per screen.

later on came photochrome. it could use interlacing to get (2*8-1)^3=3375 colors on a plain st (okay, better switch to 60Hz with that interlace ;)) it could also use the ste's pallette and do even more palette changes, so you could reach something like 19200 colors on an ste. the results looked very good and comparable to highcolor (ofcourse with some interlacing).

about fxs: i think fire was a demo-effect first done on amiga. i only saw it back in unreal or something.

about blobs: the blobthing i first saw as a povray feature. the marching cubes algo is indeed very old as well.

and if anyone would be so kind to enlighten me on this one: was the rotozoomer chaos first did on amiga derived from the snes mode-7 hardware??

added on the 2003-03-07 09:31:01 by earx earx
earx: The first time I ever saw a rotozoomer was on the Atari 8-bit and then Atari ST.

But I think even a Timex Sinclair 1000 can perform a roto zoomer as well as basically any LCD equipped cellular phone :°)
added on the 2003-03-07 10:15:48 by 33 33
Rotozoomer on a Sinclair, that sounds incredible. Though the only thing that's impossible on the scene, is to prove that something is impossible.
added on the 2003-03-07 13:12:47 by tomcat tomcat
33: can you give me the name of the 8bit prod with the rotozoomer?

I recently heard (thanx btw tomcat) that chaos based his rotozoomer on one he saw by deltaforce on st... still searching for it..

added on the 2003-03-14 16:48:15 by earx earx
I know that there were rotozoomer coding wars between chaos and some ST people, but I'm relatively sure that chaos' was the first (in "World of Commodore", 1992). Anyone knows of a rotozoomer before that?
added on the 2003-03-14 20:20:53 by ryg ryg
earx: Well there were mode 7 games on the Atari 8 bit way before the existence of a Super Nintendo, ENCOUNTER comes to mind (1984) or ELEKTRAGLIDE (1985 I think). A LOT of Atari 8-bit demos feature rotozoomers as well as 3D cubes, and even texture mapped 3D cubes and surfaces. I just have to suggest you to download some 8bit demos and a good 8bit emulator.

ryg: The first ST demo that I have seen that featured a roto zoomer was I think around 1987 or 1988. A demo crew called TEX (featuring mad max as musician) did a rotozoomer, scoopex also (?).... I dunno if I'm lying here... Somehow I know I've seen it way before I bought my first PC in 1990.

I seriously think that people should check out all the early Atari ST demos (1986 to 1991) as it features basically ALL the early effects like Parallax Scrolling, shadebobs, twisting scroll texts, over scan (left, right, below, and even on top), extremely huge fonts in scroll texts, scroll game as demo menu, even 3D shooter as demo menu (carebears?)...
added on the 2003-03-14 20:57:08 by 33 33
33: Um, those "mode 7" games, as you call 'em, were just showing scrolling checkerboards, weren't they? Not *quite* the same thing.
added on the 2003-03-14 22:18:36 by sagacity sagacity


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