Somehow, it seems to me like whenever I'm off travelling to a party somewhere, something annoying always happens... This party trip was no exception.
Me, Hubbatics, Moxie and Slatex had decided to go by car to this year's edition of Dreamhack - supposedly Sweden's largest computer festival according to the organizers.
When we left the town of Uppsala sometime around eleven in the morning the mood was high and everyone was anxious to be at last on their way.
After maybe 45 minutes of riding, Hubbatics got so bored he decided to play with the electrically-powered windows. You can surely guess what happened from there on. The back right window got stuck at half way down. YES! Home run! And then it began raining like hell outside and we were desperately trying to close it.
So OK, pure violence did not seem to work. "Rebooting" the car did not work either. Finally we had to face the facts and call the Volvo helpdesk. :)
After a couple of minutes on the phone with some Volvo mechanic, it became evident we would have to detour through Sala (the nearest town) in order to have the window repaired. Unfortunately the mechanics, by the time we drove in, were having lunch and we waited 45 minutes more freezing in the car, for them to finish. Somehow they could not care less if we were going to DreamHack...
We also hanged out at the local ICA store which was heated. :) Not that exciting though, believe me. After lunch, the Volvo guys came to the conclusion that the window engine was broken and that we had to get a new one. Ok. Fix it, we said. They said, we don't have one. What!?! Indeed, the nearest "window engine" was to be found in Västerås (good you're learning Swedish geography here), which is about another half an hour away from Sala. F**K!
The Volvo guys said that they could send for it with a taxi, which would take yet 45 minutes extra. Since we did not have much of a choice here, we strolled back to ICA again cursing at windows, waiting for that engine. When we returned an hour later, the engine had arrived and they were trying to fix it. "Nice", we all though, very eager to leave this town for DreamHack. The repair costs amounted to 2500SEK (roughly USD 270$). GULP! Good for us that this was a company car and not ours. Anyway, for now somebody had to cough up that kind of money (or try to wrestle the mechanics). But wait, there's more! Fifteen minutes later the Volvo guys had come to the conclusion that all in all it was not the window engine that was faulty, but rather an electric switch that was broken. ARGH! We cried. Were we to pay all that money for repairing a single switch? Very nervous we asked what it would cost after they fixed it. Answer: Just go. And we did... Fast before they changed their minds. Mechanics can be weird and full of surprises.
WOHA! We didn't have to pay a penny. They just let us go free of charge. Infinite greets to all Volvo mechs in Sala reading this. That was very nice. Finally we could go to DreamHack after three hours of learning every label of chips in a Sala foodstore. :)
Arriving at DreamHack exhausted, was a very nice feeling. We checked in, unloaded the car and PARTY was on. Moxie and I had seats right in front of the scene with the BIG bigscreen. We realized we were sitting next to the some #scene.se guys, which was fun for we could meet them in real life for the first time (one of major reasons to go to parties anyway).
The first three rows, that is the ones next to the stage, were dedicated to scene people and referred to as "scenezone". And yes, this was something new for DreamHack and strongly appreciated.
This year's edition of DreamHack really wanted to make things better for scene people, which is something large commercial parties should try to do and that some have already started to do. For me who attended this year's Assembly2k demoparty, I know that for a fact, game people and scene people can coexist at this kind of happening without any problems. Assembly2k rocked bigtime and I hoped that DreamHack2k would too.
What disturbs me most with DreamHack is the deadlines, which are way too early. The first deadlines were on the very first day and since a lot of people arrived in the evening of that first day, it was a tough task to finish their contribs in just a couple of hours. I think half of the charm with parties is that you are to finish things at the party place. It gives the party a certain feeling when you see people in total trance, coding, pixelling, composing, raytracing or doing their very best to make it before the deadline. For Flow and I (who arrived the first night) it did not work out as well as for others. We were to release a very cool demo at DreamHack but since deadlines were close and a couple of major power failures occurred we lacked time. About these power failures, those were fun. It was not these small ones that occur all throughout the party but long big momma ones. Killing not only all power at DreamHack but all power in the entire mall connected to the Kupolen Arena where DreamHack was held. Blackouts like these are the biggest creativity killers in the world.
I think it was on Friday that the Confine demo group came to harass Flow and me. ;) They monopolized our computers and started coding or whatever, I don't know. They were nice so nobody minded really. I rigged my playstation with a couple of dancing controller carpets and connected it with their amiga monitor. Yes, it was time for the all famous NEXTEMPIRE "bust a groove" corner as seen in the asm2k oldskool arena. :) I spent the following night dancing my legs off in front of bust a groove and believe me when I say that my legs still hurt a couple of days after the party. Can't stop the feeling... I do not know what it is that is so fun with this game but it seems to me it is always very appreciated by the ones who dare overcome their shyness and adopt it.
Being the "demo buff" I am, I also wanted to see plenty of cool demos on the bigscreen and thus harassed the democrew (who happened to be the Yodel demo group - remember their awesome psx demo from asm2k *drewl*?) at regular intervals for two days, in such a way they finally gave in and started to show some. VIP2, Heaven7, Wonder etc... Yes indeed, demos are to be viewed with a huge screen and a huge soundsystem.
A very cool thing that happened at Dreamhack was that they showed the latest episode of the famous Swedish TV show "Robinson" (homebrew equivalent of US survivor). I thought that was nice for I had missed it the first time around. :)
The compos, the demos, the intros, the pixels, the rays, the music, the wilds entered were of fair quality. Everything from tbl (or lbt :)) style to replay style demos and intros pleased at least some of the audience (the ever goa soup). Even TMBs the booze mooses pleased a lot of people when making fun of some famous people/sceners. :)
The oldskool demos were way cool to watch. A ti-82 demo. Yes, a demo on the Texas Instruments calculator. So cool I could die on the spot. I could never have imagined such a thing was possible to do on a calculator, if I had not seen it with my own eyes. And as if that was not enough, Tolou released a gameboy color demo, which was equally impressive. It even contained some awesome chiptune soundtrack. WOW. Makes me want to also do such things. :)
I was pleased with the compos and I think that everyone else was pleased with them too... What can be said, an image is worth a thousand words and there are thousands of images let alone in a single demo, go download them all now. :)
Summing up, this year's DreamHack was better than the last and I honestly think that next year's DreamHack really can be great if a few minor details are settled. That is if they stop charging 425SEK (about ~47$), which Tazadum made very clear they did not like (watch their dh contribs title and you'll understand what I am alluding to). Hope to see you all at a scenish DreamHack next year.
Oh yeah right. Just want to add something for those who did not dare challenge me at "bust a groove" (Psikorp, where did you guys hide?).
images from dh party ftp