The Assembly adventures - part II
An Assembly 2k report by StyX/HeadcrasH
Foreword: I'm also going to describe some things which did not happen at the party, because I think that those things around the party belong to the whole experience. If you are not interested in this, just don't read it.
Day 1: Stuttgart/Hamburg/Helsinki
Again as last year it was definitely too early in the morning when we left for the airport. At the airport we had to see, that the security guys again didn't believe it, that our laptops are real. But without any other major problems we took our seats and first arrived in Hamburg and then in Helsinki. From the airport we took the Finnair bus to the Centre and after some walking we reached our Hotel (Youth Hostel? What was this? I guess a mix of both). Of course we immediately installed our computers and a network and copied my legendary C:\DEMOCODE to all the other machines. Now we only needed a monitor for the 4th laptop 'coz its display was completely destroyed (we had left it at home in the hope to find a monitor somewhere =)).
After these important installations we checked the city around our "home" and soon found out, that some places were already known from last year. Back from shopping it was again ThUmB who had some great new ideas and theories: the doors of our rooms had a nice locking mechanism which made it possible to lock and open the doors from inside but neither of both from outside (without a key-card). His words: "How does this door know from which side I'm coming?"
During the evening I coded a bit on our release for the oldskool demo compo called "Drystal Cream 2.5". There were only 20 seconds left to fill and so we decided that this could also be done at the party (we are always very courageous with such things... :)).
Day 2: Hartwall Areena/Assembly
When we stood up we were quite surprised that it was not raining because last year it did. So we took the tram and jumped out at Pasila.
At the hall there was already a long queue in front of the entrance, which we had expected. So we waited in the parking hall for the door to open. There we met a scener from Germany who was a friend of Haujobb's.
After 2 hours of waiting we finally came into the hall. (Oh, btw: it had started to rain now. =)) The security guys checked us very thoroughly and only 20 minutes later we really were at the party. So we checked out the oldskool area, which was apart from the big main hall. It looked really nice and most places were already occupied by sceners. So we built up our computers and started to work on the final version of the demo (no, wrong: we talked about starting to code on the demo ;)).
After some hours suddenly Abyss came into the hall and seemed to be very angry. Some time later we realized that we were the problem. We had the wrong places. Uhua. If you change the table layout right before the party and count through the places in such a stupid manner, how shall anybody get the right seats then? It appeared that the guys in front of us were also wrong and so after about 2 hours of hard discussion everybody was pleased. Argh, now we had lost a lot of time for our demo.
Anyway, I realized that I hadn't been to the main hall yet and so I went there. When I enter the Assembly hall I always feel like on that day when my dad took me to the football stadium the first time. You just stand there and you're amazed by the mass of people (and computers). Of course I immediately realized that about 70% in the hall were gamers but this year I didn't mind because we had places in the oldskool area. =) Yeah, we are elite. ;)
The oldskool area actually was really one of the best ideas this year because there were no gamers at all and only sceners doing creative stuff.
The first guys I met were Yodel, whom we already knew from last year. Apart from that I got to know Kowboy/Nextempire and a guy from Munich (Germany). This year there were quite a lot of Germans if you also count the Haujobb guys who arrived later. To name some more groups at the party: Noice, Mewlers, Array, Doomsday, Trauma, Byterapers... You see, a funny meeting. (MRI/Doomsday was also there. Wow.)
After I had met enough people I returned to the demo. Only some hours left, still there were the 20 seconds to fill. So Ctulhu and me hacked together some more oldskool fx, took my great Casio (tm) watch and took the time... 5:20... 5:30... 5:40... 5:55??!?!? What's this? We stopped the time again on ThUmB's machine and came to the same result. Suddenly I felt again this "uh oh shit" feeling which actually is like when you feel the heat running from your legs up to your head. We realized that I must have stopped the time completely wrongly the day before. O.K, no prob. Let's kick the added parts. Now the demo crashed. HAAAAA! The "uh oh shit" feeling became stronger, the deadline was in 1 hour. Some minutes later I found the bug. Now it crashed at another position. I don't know how, but this crash disappeared later on and we made the demo to 5 minutes (which was the rule). O.K, pack it and upload it via ZEPO. Yep. My clock told me 21:55 and ZEPO was down!! Now I was nervously a wreck and jumped to the infodesk. What did they tell me? It is also possible to release something on disk. You freakin' lamers! Why don't you tell this in advance? Of course a release on disk is 1000 times better than over the crappy ZEPO. So at 21:59 I gave the disk to the organizers and after they had put it into the "oldskool entries" box I took a deep breath.
Yes, deadlines are hard. But now the party could go on. So I sat into the hall and enjoyed some old demos they showed. Ah, "Crystal Dream 2", nice. Actually our demo "Drystal Cream 2.5" was a tribute to this one so it was quite useful that they showed the real one because in that way more people will understand our jokes.
During the next time I searched for some scenish beings in the main hall. And yes, there really were some hardly hidden between the lamers. But I still had the feeling as if there were more sceners working on stuff than last year. Well, just a feeling, don't know...
Some time after midnight I was too tired to do anything so I chose the hall seats to sleep as last year. I just was peacefully dreaming when suddenly someone started to talk Finnish to me. Ah, NO! One of those annoying security guys again: "You are not allowed to sleep here." Of course I just went to the other side of the hall and slept there. =)
Day 3: Assembly goes on
After some hours of sleep I returned to my groupmates. Ctulhu and ThUmB had both decided to start tracks for the multichannel compo. After some time they were finished and the results were very funny (which means: no chance for the bigscreen ;)). Is there a shitmusic compo?
The organizers kept on showing old demos, which was very cool. The bigscreen in the oldskool area was nice, but the music system sucked as it was too weak. I still was waiting for the Haujobb guys but they were busy with coding at Droid's (hjb) home. Some seats near us, Mewlers guys were heavily coding on a very cool 64k intro, but they couldn't finish it in time. Very nice, though. In the oldskool area there were also some Amiga and C64 sceners, which made the whole thing feel even better.
During the whole day we were waiting for the oldskool compos to start. But before this Abyss again drove in the area with his speedy kickboard. What? They are searching a 486/66 for the oldskool demo compo? Muha. =) That's real ASM orga. They tell 2 months in advance about the oldskool compo and now there's no compo machine *grin*. But finally they managed to get one. :) In the afternoon then hellfire and the other guys from Haujobb entered the party. (With their very cool shirts and bathrobes. :))
So hellfire and me enjoyed the party in walking around and talking to several cool dudes in the oldskool area. Hellfire was especially interested in the Yodel guys, because they were working on their psx-demo and Haujobb had made one, too. In the end only those two groups participated, so it was not too interesting. But on the other hand it was, because both demos were very good. In the evening the oldskool compos started with music and gfx. Aah, those lovely tunes. =) I really liked them and was impatient to see the demo compo.
At 23:00 then hellfire and me sat down with the other Haujobbers to watch the demos (Haujobb had released one too, is that fair? They could have told me ;)). Most were quite well-made, with some exceptions which were really lame. Haujobb's one of course rocked and the C64 demo from Noice showed that you still can amuse the people with real oldskool stuff.
Our demo was also shown, huhu! (Wow, we even made it through a preselection!) Suddenly I realized that I had been very careless! I didn't go to the oldskool compo information where they tell you when there are probs with your entry... well, we are at the ASM! That means you can get into serious trouble when there is no AUTORUN.INF for your demo. ;)) But luckily all worked.
After the democompo already the 2nd day was over. Now we only waited for the psx democompo.
Day 4: Party or what?
@ 1:30 local ASM time/Finland/Europe/Earth the psx compo was about to start. Lamers had to turn off their screens (ha!) and I was really interested to see what you can do with a psx. The two demos really kicked ass and it was very hard to decide which one was better. Probably both demos would have deserved the 1st place. As it was now early in the morning hellfire and me decided to take some sleep. This time no security lamers. Nice night.
After about 6 hours of sleep we had a coffee in order to wake up. I for myself now returned to our place and looked what was going on. Everyone sleeping? Nice, so I can take the computers and code a bit on our main project. Btw, still we didn't find a monitor for the 4th laptop... maybe I should steal one from a lamer?
Later on hellfire came back and we went to the main hall to watch the brand-new ANSI compo. The entries were of good quality and very nice (well, the lamers probably needed their Windows calculator and a math book to understand what a resolution of 80x25 means).
Saturday was compo day btw, which means that I didn't sit too much in front of the screen. Next up was the new Flash compo, but this one wasn't of a very good quality. Don't know what you can do with Flash so no more comments about this compo. Around midday the multichannel followed. Although I'm no musician I was quite interested in this one because last year all entries had been Drum 'n Bass and it was very boring. This year I really liked it and there were many very good and creative entries. But again I realized that music compos can't be fair. You can't really say which track was better after listening to about 17. I wonder how they can do proper preselecting when there are about 130 entries!
What followed was the raytrace compo with a lot of cool entries. Kowboy/NE had changed his picture a bit for the release and it was also very good.
Before the 4k intro compo I checked around at our desk and saw that Ctulhu had found out that his entry 4k2 would make it to the screen. Oh boy, shit. :) Very bad, he had hacked this together 2 hours before the deadline, so you may understand of which quality it was...
Most people were quite excited concerning the 4k compo because, as some people may remember, last year one of the lousiest intros won the competition. This year all entries (except ours and some other one ;)) were of very high quality. Many of them had very impressive fx for 4k such as very realistic sea-waves, nice 3d and very cool transparency fx.
Now followed a longer gap and ThUmB and me went to Pasila to buy something to eat and drink. Back at the hall I coded some things to fill the time until the pixel gfx would start. At night then the Haujobb guys and me took place for the compo. The overall quality was average with few very good entries such as the one from Haujobb (which was to be expected ;)).
As no one of us in HCR thinks that MP3 and demoscene fit together we decided to take some hours of sleep instead of listening to the MP3 compo.
Day 5: Final chapter
I was so tired that I woke up too late and half of the 64k intro compo was already gone. Damn! I jogged to the other side of the hall to wake up and sat down to enjoy the show. What was left to see impressed me very much, especially some of the kick-ass Amiga intros. Again it was very hard to decide which ones were the best.
Because I didn't want to miss the Wild and Animation compo I went back to the oldskool area and enjoyed the party feeling. =) After some lines of code and some cookies I was completely awake and prepared for the compos.
The Wild was very lousy. Nothing real creative, just stupid violence or plain boredom. Besides that nearly all texts were in Finnish. Finns must have a very strange sense of humour. I mean, what is funny about a high-dubbing version of a video in which two guys sit in front of the computer and not a shit happens? Only Trauma's (uh, was it Trauma? ;)) entry with animated LEGO toys made me smile.
After hours of films I was looking forward to the animations. But huh, the quality didn't rise. Only 2 entries were somehow impressive due to rendering quality and creativity. So I hoped that this was not a bad sign for the main event, the demo compo.
The organization of this one was great. ALL lights were killed, no Quake screens accepted, no noise at all. The security crews forced also the last bastions of True-Elite-Lamers to switch off their machines.
Things started with a Trauma-entry. I really liked this one although too much reminded me of their 98 winner-demo "Gateways". But as always the music pushed the thing onwards and made it a nice demo. The following demos were really "newskool", which is not my favourite style, but the whole compo still gave you a lot more times the "cooool" feeling than last years'. Noice had done a very nice demo just as Orange and Haujobb demos also were very impressive. The high-light and peak really was "Spot", a great demo about toys. It didn't only have cool fx but also a breathtaking image quality. No wonder that this was the later winner of the compo. Doomsday's entry disappointed me a bit. I had expected more.
After at least one hour of great demowatching I voted for the last time and waited for the prize ceremony. While Quake was still ruling the main hall most people in the oldskool area already started to pack things and so did we. At first the lamest of the lamers got their much too high prizes for doing practically nothing creative at all and Abyss had to ask for silence among the sceners who were mainly booouuuhh-ing. =)))
The music and gfx compos brought no real surprise, just like the oldskool compo. Haujobb won the compo, Noice placed 4th with their C64 entry. The first real surprise was the psx compo: Yodel won although they had even said themselves that Haujobb would win. But Haujobb won the 64k intro compo so no reason for crying. :)
Of course the audience was waiting for the demo results but in the end it wasn't a big surprise that "Spot" took 1st place.
When the ceremony ended we said goodbye to our old and new friends, checked our results at the infodesk (hu, 8th/17, nice surprise) and packed our last luggage together.
The sunlight hit our eyes like needles when we made the way to the next tram station. The tram had just started when I realized that I had forgot to take the poster for our French member Myrdin with me. So I had to walk back from the center to the Areena, urgh. The poster was still there but no persons anymore. The main hall looked like a testplace for nuclear bombs. =) Some time later I finally could lay down in the bed and have a rest. The 4-day party had ruled, but it had been exhausting.
So, what is my impression of the party? It ruled. Really, I enjoyed it much more than last year. Of course, the main hall sucked with at least 70% gamers, but I don't care as there was the oldskool area. Abyss has already told me that it will be kept up. So sceners, come on! Let's conquer back this party. This year was the first step. Let the gamers pay the party as long as we can have fun in the invitation-only area. And this year's compos have also shown that there are still well-known groups releasing kick-ass stuff at this party. And if the international atmosphere will stay - great.
We (HCR) will be there for sure in 2k+1 as long as our time allows us to afford it. So - CA all at the party!
- no, I'm not from Cologne ;)
Greets to: Poti, Hellfire, Haujobb dudes, Faxe, Yodel, Nextempire, Kowboy, Peter from Munich, Voodoo, Noice, Kozmik, ASM orga, Abyss with his kickboard and all you other nice guys/groups from Asm 2k.
Ctulhu - shitANSI :),
Ben - da sleepless
ThUmB - woher weiss die Tuere, wo ich stehe?
Myrdin - sorry that we couldn't use your 3ds
Nrth - next year at the asm with Myrdin?
Makke - meet ya next year, too?
P.S. Hey Peter, hope ya read this. Maybe we can meet on another party? Forgot to ask for your eMail...