Fiasko '99 Report
Written by lharp
This is lharp typing the report from the most recent event of the Czech & Slovak demoscene - FIASKO '99 demoparty!
The party took place during the weekend on August 21-22, 1999, in a little town near the Czech-Slovak border called Uherske Hradiste. The beginning was scheduled to 11:00 when the door had to be open for attenders. I was travelling to the party together with Skyw & Zden, the main organizers of Slovak demoscene parties such as Demobit and Pure, and also with another friend. We had decided to leave our home place at about 10:30, but since Skyw was driving and left his home later we were on the road at about 12:00 towards the target place. The journey was quite ok, we also passed the border through the customs with no big trouble. We arriveded at the place at about 15:00 and it turned out that it was not really too late as I had thought, because there was still nothing very interesting to do since the first deadlines had been delayed. But that's nothing exceptional at parties, isn't it?
The party hall was not very large, just like a small village cinema, and there were already quite a lot of freaks with their computers finishing their productions or watching the latest scene stuff. The bigscreen was quite large but the problem was that the projection image was larger and didn't fit well on it. So there was a disruption through the image but it was not that disturbing because the quality was fine.
We met our Slovak friends there that had come before us and also had some computers with them. There were dudes from the group Peon (Twinsen, Stynger, Panter & Flash), Bluezone, Scape, Ollie and also some freaks from the C64 scene. Some Czech scene friends were of course there too such as Dement, ReDox, Shakul (one of the organizers), CRS, Carlos and the rest. Since most of us didn't have our own computers we had to watch what was shown on the bigscreen or just hang around and wait for the first compos. The organizers were showing some old Amiga demos on the bigscreen and I have to say that I enjoyed their design. But I was also looking forward to watching some new cool PC demos that I hadn't seen yet. Unfortunately there was a problem with the projector that couldn't be attached to the PC. So we had to watch only that Amiga stuff and got bored after while because the organizers even got to play some of them twice!
The deadline for the first compos, graphics & raytrace, was at about 16:00. When the compos finally started everybody woke up from the idleness and prepared for voting. There was quite a mess in organization because there were no voting sheets prepared. So people took some common paper sheets and put their votes on them. That was really a lack of organization because the votes had to be counted manually and it caused a huge delay of the final results that weren't announced even when the party was over.
After watching some neat entries in the graphics compos the organizers announced all the music compos - 8k, 32k and 1MB multichannel. There was quite a mess, mainly with the 8k and 32k tunes that got confused. But I'm sure that the audience greatly appreciated the fact that only the first 90 secs of each piece of music were played. So everybody listened to these short samples of each entry in the music compos and I have to say that some of them really rocked ! Especially the one in the multichannel compo that sounded to me like the music by the Austrian band Sofa Surfers! That one was by Caitiff and it won the compo in the end, which was no surprise for me.
After the long music listening it was the end of compos for that day. I don't remember exactly when it all ended but the night relief was at about 22:00 though the organizers notified about the techno concert in the room next door. So somebody could think there was real standstill during the night but it actually WASN'T! I think everybody was tired and wanted to sleep or at least have some rest for a while but those nerds alongside were playing their stuff so loud that I got a headache from it. I'm not against this type of music, I'd like to dance too, but when I'm tired and would like to have some rest I'd kill for silence!
Nevertheless I couldn't sleep because our 64k intro with Shakul was unfinished. So we were awake all the night and trying to finish it because the deadline for all coding compos was at about 9:00 in the morning. Some other dudes that couldn't sleep were also finishing their coding entries. The Peon freaks were even working on the Fiasko demo creating the 3d scene of the whole partyplace and snapshotting the textures from the place with a digital camera. There was also the favour to track in the realtime compo but no samples were selected for this and had still to be chosen. The night passed quite ok and also the techno in the room next door hushed in the early morning hours. Our intro was as such ready to enter the compo though a few things could be made better. But we were so tired that we were neither able to think about the improvements nor to code them. I always thought that partycoding rules but had never tried it at my own before.
The next day's events started at about 10:00 when almost everybody was awake and ready to watch the forthcoming coding compos - 256b, 4k, 64k intros and the main event - democompo! There were quite a lot of productions in every category and some of them were of very good quality. Especially some 256b and 4k intros kicked ass. I was amazed when I saw a bumpmapped rotating torus in Dement's 256b intro! I hadn't seen anything like this before. There were also some really funny intros in the intro compos by Broncs that I liked very much. Some of them were disqualified because of breaking the rules but they were meant to be for fun and I hope everybody enjoyed these neat pieces of code.
After the intro compos there was a break and the wild compo was prepared to be launched. There were also some cool productions, videos, music, etc. I think everybody really enjoyed Satori's video To Pasteur that was enitrely created on a computer for the Slovak band This Is Kevin.
Then everybody awaited the last two compos - 64k intros and democompo. I was really strained with the expectations what our intro would look like on the bigscreen. There were also some Amiga 64k intros so there were about seven productions total. And some of them were nice and funny too. I really had no idea how the audience appreciated our seriously concepted intro and if it was worth to stay the whole night without sleeping.
But I had no time to think about it because the democompo had finally started! There was only one Amiga demo so it was shown and won the prize since it observed the rules and wasn't disqualified. When the PC compo started almost everybody was staring at the bigscreen. The productions were of very high quality and showed that the scene in the Czech Republic and Slovakia is far from dead and there is still interest in democoding. I had big expectations about Zden's demo Singularity with Distance's soundtrack. But I was surprised that not only Zden's demo kicked ass but also the Peon dudes had done a really great job! Also, I really liked the Czech productions, especially by ReDox' team - Miss Sporty (in retro) that has really nice 60-ties styled graphics.
After the last compo everybody had to wait for the final results. And since the votes were counted manually as I've mentioned it took very long. I was so tired that I was able to fall asleep in a minute and I really fell asleep when probably the winning Wild entry by Satori was shown on the bigscreen again. I woke up being shaked by Skyw who told me he and Zden didn't want to wait for the results that long. I agreed and we decided to leave the partyplace at about 16:00 without knowing how the party ended. Later it turned out that Zden became 5th with his ambient and abstract art production and our intro made it to the 1st place. So I was quite happy about my little comeback to the scene since I had been off for about a year.
Well... in summary Fiasko '99 was a nice party, though there were a lot of problems and misunderstandings in organization. But what party doesn't have this? I don't think there is any party without problems and I would rather say that these problems belong to every party, it's a part of the scene spirit, all those delays in compos, little mess, various technical problems, etc. So it's just fun. It's no commercial presentation that should be perfectly scheduled and organized. And if I consider that the organizers were quite young and had little experiences with organising such a party I can only encourage them to improve the main faults and make a better party next year. I really hope they will do their best next time, nothing is perfect for the first or second time. All the contributions at the demoparty were cool and I finally came to the conclusion that our CZ/SK scene has really been reborn and become productive. Let's hope that it will be even better next year and that there will be more and more productions and demoscene events in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
lharp / sequence