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How to get started?

category: general [glöplog]
I'm new to the scene.

I learned about what a demoscene was maybe 6 months or a year ago, and it's everything that I had wanted to find for a long time.

I have some experience in programming but as of now, I've forgotten most of it but can relearn.

So my question to you guys, how exactly do you get started in the scene?

What skills and tools do you need and what can I do to get the experience needed before I can start making demos that even fit within the 64k or 4k limits?

I've coded a raytracer before as well as a few other things, but lately I've been very busy without much time to code.

I'm in highschool, and can probably drag a friend or two into the scene with me. I just need help getting started.

Sorry if you've seen this topic before, but seeing as how there are over 300 pages of forums and it's not exactly easy to find this information with the search... well, yeah.

Thanks if you even notice this, more if you reply and help me out.

What skills/tools do I need?
added on the 2012-08-14 23:25:56 by Hofstee Hofstee
The most important thing is to make something/anything, you pretty much learn as you do.

If you're going for high-end PC, your language will probably be C/C++ (or javascript or java or C# or pretty much anything you like) and your API will be some version of OpenGL or DirectX. Or you could go for an oldschool platform and pick an emulator and a compiler/libs for that. And don't worry about size limits at first, though it's pretty much crinkler/kkrunchy/<your own ultimate packer> and smart/small design.

But hey, welcome, hope you'll make better prods than I do ;)
added on the 2012-08-14 23:35:38 by msqrt msqrt
I held a seminar on this topic: you can find it here.

I would suggest you just make something small in a language that you are comfortable with. If you've written a raytracer, you're well on your way already.
added on the 2012-08-14 23:41:36 by Preacher Preacher
Thanks for the replies so far guys. Checking out that seminar now after finishing Moleman 2.

Yeah... my generation isn't really interested in this kind of stuff are they...
added on the 2012-08-14 23:43:39 by Hofstee Hofstee
Define "your generation".

Also, you should just use whatever you want and make whatever you want. It's your art, you should express it however you like.
Hofstee: if you like realtime, then half of the work is done.
added on the 2012-08-15 00:16:50 by rudi rudi
Knoeki, basically the same thing they said at the end of Moleman 2. My generation grew up with the end of the 8 bit era, and most of them are more obsessed with Justin Bieber more than, say, a GameBoy.

They have the internet, they have their facebook, and that's all they care about.

My tech adept friends are more interested in the graphic quality you get with Cryengine 3 and playing CoD.

They want instant gratification, not having to pour in ultimately hours of time to get a possibly okay reception to maybe, 500 people now?, when they could just put a video to youtube and if it goes viral, that's millions of people.

I have only two friends who are interested from what I've shown them, and one of them participates a lot in the chiptune scene, which I guess is in a lot of ways quite similar to the demoscene.

Personally I think Elevated is more impressive than the current game tech simply because of how ingenious he was at using unorthodox techniques to cheat the system. That type of stuff is what keeps me interested in the demoscene.
added on the 2012-08-15 01:06:09 by Hofstee Hofstee
I've had the same thing. Don't worry though; it's not a generational thing per-se. It's more of a matter of wether you care or not. A lot of people simply don't care, don't understand, or don't care to understand.

I do occasionally show demos to my friends. They do understand the concept (runs in realtime, is really small, etc), but I'm not sure if they really *get* it.

That doesn't really matter though. Important part is that you enjoy it.

And there's always demoparties to meet like-minded people. (:

So just start making something, visit a party, and most importantly: have fun.


BB Image
Also, visit parties and get insanely drunk. Best way to make friends. \o_O/
added on the 2012-08-15 10:21:18 by elend elend
Hofstee: my suggestion is to find someone in your local area that you can meet and code with. Company makes it way easier to keep going when you get bored.
added on the 2012-08-15 10:33:45 by gloom gloom
I can of understand what he's saying though... nowadays you can get into so called 8bit-style music, pixel art and whatever with all the normal tools and tutorials while years ago you still had to google and find these tools and how to use them...

Before, demoscene used to be the only scene to care and support all these genres we know so well, nowadays it widely spreaded to URMOM™ (and probably URSISTA™) so everybody can hear about making music on a computer, making music on a gameboy, making NES style pixel art or whatever weird names like KEYGEN MUSIC.

It's in the magazines, if you want me to put it differently.
First mistake ever in scenes is to believe people have to know about this and that scenes, then you start talking about it to everybody until you stumble upon someone who will work for a blog or a magazine and he'll decide to cover the topic and then, it's the end of everything (ok, I'm a bit exaggerating, just to be sure you get my point)

Of course, we can also put it on the account of how internet is nowadays, with social networks kids MUST join in order to follow their friends. I've been witnessing things like a 12 years old kid who prefer spending 3 hours on his facebook account, posting some LOL and "funny pictures", than playing his PS3. These websites make you lazy I believe.

And last point, the "most of them are more obsessed with Justin Bieber" is just plain stupid... it was the same 10 years ago but with other big names, it was the same 15 years ago as well when I was listening to a lot of music and people around myself were mostly listening to what was airing on the radio... these people don't listen to music for themselves, they just want to be sure they're in the middle of everything, in the normal box.

And if you want to get out of this box, you're free to do it but don't go complaining people don't understand URART™... else, go make some fancy videos on YT.
Also, TL;DR:

Make stuff, don't look at others, they will probably try to put you down because you make stuff and you shouldn't dare.
Well, I might be middle-aged by demoscene standards (I'm 30 now) but I don't think that things really were any different back in the Nineties when I first got to know the scene. Smart kids get interested in smart kid stuff, the majority of kids get interested in regular kid stuff (which is fine, btw, and you should really look into that stuff as well because you'll be missing out if you're only doing the smart kid stuff) and that's just how it goes.

If anything, doing stuff with computers is a lot more cool now than it was back then. There's just a lot more ways to spend that time and creative energy (making websites, game mods, games, organized game play, participating in online communities like DeviantART etc), back then there was nothing else to do than programming, tracker music or pixel art and if you did any of that stuff, you were geeky as hell.

But that's beside the point. To make demos and get in the demoscene, just do stuff. It really is that simple as people have said on this thread already :)
added on the 2012-08-15 10:36:18 by Preacher Preacher
Preacher: I agree with you on the "then VS now"-aspect. I think the only difference is that now, EVERYONE uses computers. Facebook today is what soccer practice was in 1989 -- just something else that wasn't making demos. :)
added on the 2012-08-15 10:44:49 by gloom gloom
There are about a million different tools and skills you might want or need - there's a whole lot of difference between a 256b demo and something like a fairlight high-end PC demo, and there's a ton of platforms too.

Try finding the demos you'd most like to emulate (or should I say beat?) and ask them about it. You'll hopefully get the best advice then, and maybe make some friends along the way (especially if you're going to a party and can meet them to talk about it).
added on the 2012-08-15 10:54:40 by psonice psonice

Take a chiptune, some libs, a compiler, and do it :) Personnaly I like make kinds of old school stuff on Windows or game platform.

Btw, interresting talk about social network and such.

Welcome in the scene :p
added on the 2012-08-15 11:00:13 by Romain337 Romain337
most of them are more obsessed with Justin Bieber more than, say, a GameBoy.

FUCK THAT SHIT </shameless plug>
added on the 2012-08-15 11:38:43 by ferris ferris
Well, I might be middle-aged by demoscene standards (I'm 30 now) but I don't think that things really were any different back in the Nineties when I first got to know the scene.

and it was no different way back in 1986 either ;) for most people a commodore 64 was equal do gaming - much like PCs are today (or ps3, or whatever). And much like today, most people were only interested in "the scene" if it gives them games without paying for them.

so indeed, do stuff, release stuff. get prepared for people telling you your stuff sucks (which is just natural at the beginning) - do more stuff, repeat :) and eventually in some years you'll win a competition with it :)
added on the 2012-08-15 12:42:53 by groepaz groepaz
Hofstee: How old are you?
added on the 2012-08-15 13:06:32 by Adok Adok
groepaz: The difference is that the C64 booted straight into a programming environment, and included a BASIC instruction manual in the box. Magazines had program listings you could type in, and then modify.. The entry barrier for programming was very low, anyone could code a game in their bedroom which wouldn't be far off the commercial games.

Today people turn on their PCs, check facebook, play games which involve thousands of man-hours of development, and experience. Even if they battle the minefield of development options on the PC, they might stumble upon C++/DirectX and invest a month or 2 learning the essentials of creating an executable and then find they their efforts are no-where near the quality of the game they just bought for £5 off steam - it can be very demotivating.

Attention spans are lower now, and there is a lot more to distract people. Compare sitting at a C64 in 1988, you have the few games you've bought, some magazines with code listings in and a programmer manual. In 2012 you have high-speed internet.
added on the 2012-08-15 13:37:30 by Deltafire Deltafire
Commercial games are technically very sophisticated, but free and shareware games are often not so. You can easily create something comparable...
added on the 2012-08-15 13:39:28 by Adok Adok
The "attention span" is indeed an interesting factor. Many people already wrote already about the fact internet really improved (though I'm not sure it's a true progress) our data ingestion capability, creating some kind of addiction to data as in " new content"

How many time did you read on IRC someone was about to leave the channel because he NEEDED to concentrate. Nowadays, you switch off your internet and most probably too... your iphone ;)
Good idea, I'm unplugging my UTP ca
added on the 2012-08-15 13:57:18 by trc_wm trc_wm
added on the 2012-08-15 14:20:07 by Korguiq Korguiq
scene is even worse now, obsessed with skrillex.


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