You can get pretty far making demo effects in CSS and JS these days. A couple of my attempts over on Codepen;
Text flash - https://codepen.io/onion2k/full/WyLoNg (Warning: flashing images)
Bitmap text wobble scroller - https://codepen.io/onion2k/full/rYgxdJ
This one is fun to watch on a 3D display. (As much of it is black & white, anaglyph should also be worth a shot.)
Most of the effects could have plausibly been rasterised or blitted into a flat plane; alternatively, all of it could be done in a pixel shader which just colours in two triangles that fill the screen. But (as I discovered to my delight one day when I happened to have access to a Windows machine with a 3D monitor) it's all 3D geometry with a perspective projection.
For example, the wibbly-wobbly cone, viewed in 2D, could just as well be a flat bunch of sinusoidally gyrating discs all XORed together. But these discs are properly stacked along the Z axis.
The demo doesn't natively support stereo displays, so you have to find a tool that can inject itself into the graphics pipeline and modify the projection matrix for each eye. I don't remember which one I used when I tried that, but it had a nifty feature you should seek out: Hotkeys that let you adjust the mapping of depth to the stereoscopic shenanigans (separation and convergence) on the fly. Being able to make such tweaks on a scene-by-scene basis helps a lot with a production that was only designed for cyclops mode originally.
The same technique can be applied to many PC demos, but usually it only amplifies a 3D effect that was already there in the first place. In the case of Intrinsic Gravity, it gives you an extra dimension of 'whoa'.
Bonus recommendation for those who can't be bothered with any of that and just want to watch a neat recording on Youtube: Stargazer by Orb & Andromeda. Nothing earth-shattering; just a personal favourite with a modern take on old-skool demoscene aesthetics and neat effects that don't fall apart in a video capture with limited bit rate.
http://modarchive.org/ - If your only interested in tracked music
http://www.pouet.net - A demoscene information source
HN's kiss of death may have crashed wab.com's server HDD.
Some of my demos:
> Making a demo in just 256 bytes would be a formidable challenge regardless of platform. A Mind Is Born is my attempt to do it on the Commodore 64.
I found a 256k intro to be a pretty good balance, constrained enough that you don't need a pro-quality art team to look good, but still enough space that you don't have to go too deep into procedural generation and compression.
Disagree. Yes it's hard, but all good demos are hard.
The difference is that you can write a 4k as a one-person project, enter a competition and have a chance to end in the top-three.
As soon as they get bigger, and IMO this is already the case at 64k, you need a team of at least 2-3 people to be competitive. You're going to push as much code/data into 64 kilobytes, and once you get the hang of this, you'll realize this is in fact already an ocean. There's no way that a single person is writing the audio synthesis engine, the musical score, texture generation, model generation, scene direction, animation sequencing tools, and whatever else. Yes, demosceners are very interdisciplinary so certainly a single democoder could take on a few of these roles. But if you want to be competitive in the 64k compo and win a prize, I'm going to argue that these are just too many roles for a single person to really excel in all of them.
For bigger demos, the expectations are even higher, and I really can't imagine doing it as a single person (except with no intention to win).
I don't know about 4K vs 256b. A particularly appealing format is amiga bootblock, which is a little under 1K because a signature is needed.
With no limits, you'd be going against large groups with much experience. A new scener stands no chance.
Those categories you would have at every party. Usually times categories for PC/Amiga/C64. The 256k or 256b or the 96k game categories were usually one-offs or specific to a party.
Now it's been about 15 years since I was active in the demoscene, so maybe 256k demos have become a thing in the mean time. But I would think that's silly because going from 64k to 256k doesn't really give you a new world of possibilities, it's just a bit bigger than 64k.
There are 64k's that show eye candy which can compete with the big demos, yes it's hard but not a lot of big demos are doing things you couldn't do in 64k. Why put 256k in between that? It sounds like a category for people that started out writing a 64k and then ran out of space.
I'm really curious, name me one thing you can do in a 256k that you simply cannot do in a 64k? (for the other categories these have easy answers)
And you're right, there's nothing really that you could do in 256k but not 64k, it's just much easier to fit your assets and code into the limit so you can spend more time on the demo itself and less time on space optimisation, so it's more casual-friendly.
Find out if you like creating things like that, and then level-up the skills as necessary to make it completely your own.
Congratulations to your friend for this efficient space-efficient word coinage ;)
The gist is that Smash is not only a spectacularly skilled coder and artist, but also an extremely nice guy (like just about every demoscener) and that sceners have a habit of colloquially mocking one another.
It was unbelievable ! With my business partner we always wanted to have time to make one (not even in 1024 bytes, just one)
Those guys were (and still are) amazing.
What people do have is some very PARTICULAR skillsets. You can pick up those skills too! People will help you out if you ask! You can learn all these tricks if you want to. It takes some effort and inspiration, but it is doable for most people. It's not magic, it's just learning things. Things that are often utterly useless, but fun!
That said, if you watch some Shade Showdown competitions on YouTube you'll see demosceners effectively doing exactly that. It's quite intimidating how good they are.
The group i was with reached 5th place with this demo: http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=41739
IIRC I mainly hung out with the guys from The Coexistence and a BBS operator called Scythe. Nice guys all, and Scythe gave me a good ratio on his Box. Good times! =)
Access to online data was a carefully cultivated trickle back then. Every byte you could download was a potential treasure, something new and exciting.
Now online data is just a firehose where every website tries to make me download 50 megs of advertising junk as soon as I knock on their door...
Btw Paranoia rings a bell as well, definitely not an obscure group at all. This is turning into a blast from the past! ^_^
These knowledge bits surprisingly work really well if you are launching your own ideas in other formats (business, art, code, etc...), or doing other stuff just for fun.
Made my day :D
Is the difference the same as Web Designer vs. Web Developer in a more familiar context?