Executable programs which produce, in realtime, engaging computer graphics and music. Programming, Art, and music Composition skills are stressed. Demos are similar in some ways (but are not equivalent) to music videos or short films.
Demos are created at, and submitted to, competitions called Demo Parties mostly in western Europe. Leading countries are Finland, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, and Germany. There have been a handful of ‘Demo Parties’ in Australia, North America at Berkeley, UC San Diego, and Canada.
Demos appeared in the `80s. Intros were the first form of Demos. They became more popular in the early `90s.
Initially, demos were coded exclusively in assembly, for the Amiga and DOS. Gradually demos started using C, and finally C++ as well as running in Windows and using hardware accelerated graphics cards. The music for demos uses special formats similar in concept to MIDI files (but containing their own instrument and vocal audio samples)
Demos are about passion. They are about getting a computer to do the coolest thing you’ve ever seen a computer do. They are about great music, great art, and great programming (All biased to what the ‘scene’ has grown to respect).
For more information:
DEMO RESOURCE - www.pouet.net
SCENE AWARDS -awards.scene.org
A clean and accurate description of the scene:
Introduction to the Demoscene – hugi
Formal paper discussing:
The Hacker Demo Scene and it’s Cultural Artifacts
- executable programs
- A program is a set of instructions which control a computer. This text was written on a web page, to view it you use a Browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator. Those are programs, which allow you to browse the internet. Computer games are programs as well.
- A program is different than just an animation. An animation is simply a pre-recorded set of images played back for you. A program must do things (such as evaluate math equations) to be able to draw computer graphics.
A program is technically said to be running in real time if it produces results at a reliable speed. The common use of the phrase ‘real time’ implies that the work is being done fast enough that you need not wait for it. Real time animation means that the animation is being drawn for you while you watch. A game is real time — because you can control it and it responds to you immediately. A movie is not realtime because the work was done previously, you are just watching it be played back for you.
- demo parties
- Demo parties bring together bring together some of the best computer programers, graphic artists and musician from around the world all under one roof.
- A demo party is usually held for a few days (3 or so) and usually on a weekend. A large space is found, such as an auditorium. Most everyone brings their computers and stereos and cool toys. Loud music is played all the time. People do not sleep (well, some do, but not many and not often). A large projection screen is found in a room with a good sound system for viewing of demos. Games are played as well, but many people also work on demos, intros, music, digital art, videos, et cetera.
- A competition is held during this, where at some time all work must be submitted and then everyone watches / listens to it. Prizes are also common.
- assembly, C, C++
- A computer executes machine code. Assembly code is an easier way to write machine code (a program takes the assembly and translates it into machine code). C and C++ are easier ways to write assembly.
- Machine code is just a large chunk of numbers that are interpreted by a computer as instructions. The computer blindly performs whatever the machine code says.
- Musical Instrument Digital Interface. Designed to allow electronic instruments to talk with each other — and control one another. MIDI files can contain musical score, and be played back on computers (as well as electronic pianos or other instruments). MIDI playback on computers is generally not of very high quality (or hasn’t been in the past) because it was designed to be played back on expensive electronic instruments. To play back a piano song on a computer the computer must know how to make piano sounds. Most computers in the 1980s and 1990s did not contain very realistic piano sounds.