Making of Malewitsch and Ferner

Written by Adok/Hugi

I talked with Pixtur and Cynic of Still about their productions Malewitsch, winner of the 64k intro competition at bcnparty 2007, and Ferner, winner of the demo competition at The Ultimate Meeting 2007.

Adok: Malewitsch was created using "Tooll". What is Tooll? How is it different from your old DirectX 7 engine Subraum?

Pixtur: Tooll is our platform for the development of 64k intros and demos. The original interface was strongly oriented towads Werkkzeug (that's also where the name comes from). But our focus was more on cut, animation and postrender effects. Malewitsch was originally just thought to be a render test. The inspiration came from a dummy scene, which I had cut in After Effects in spring and which I had loaded with lots of effects. Our aim for Malewitsch was actually just to reconstruct this preview.

Adok: How has it come that more became of it?

Pixtur: Well, actually it hasn't really become more. Many scenes look exactly alike. But the preview was just one minute long. For the intro we wanted to reach four minutes. Once more function for Tooll were completed, I started experimenting with them. It's a great feeling building entire scenes with one's "own" 3d modeling tool. You can easily get lost...

Adok: About Ferner, did the work on it really take only three days?

Pixtur: After Malewitsch, we started thinking about a quick release for TUM. Cynic, Pirx and Mad certainly spent more than three days programming the new Tooll features. The design work got more and more delayed. Ronny finally sent us the music one day before christmas. But it was only at TUM itself that I realized that we could still manage to release it.

Adok: What's the meaning of the names "Malewitsch" and "Ferner"? Why have they been chosen?

Pixtur: The idea for the former came from Cynic always using the same test scene for the bitmaps operators: a black square on a white ground. Ferner was originally planned to be only a remix of "Fern". Now and then the original geometry can be recognized.

Adok: What have been the most difficult tasks in creating Malewitsch and Ferner, respectively?

Pixtur: I cannot talk about the code part. Regarding the contents, I always face the same problem: simply to get started. As soon as the creative wave comes, everything goes fast. Nero once said: "Drawing is like fishing, sometimes you catch something." (... but most of the time you simply sit down).

Cynic: Malewitsch was the first release with a new engine, and since we created a content/authoring tool of our own this can be regarded as the most difficult part. In the beginning it's never quite clear whether everything will work out as planed, but we were lucky and everything basically went as we wanted.

Regarding Ferner, there was a slightly different picture. On the one hand we had already done much "basic work" with Malewitsch, on the other there were 1000 wishes from Pixtur what else could be done, and I myself had lots of ideas to try out. There wasn't much time until TUM, though. The most difficult thing about Ferner was probably the estimation of the expense/use ratio of individual effects/features of the engine/tool.

The next Still release is to be seen at Breakpoint 2008.