FlaG 2001 report

Gargaj / Ümlaüt Design

Place: Budapest, Hungary
Time: July 6, 2001 - July 8, 2001
Organizer: Greenroom
- Music: 4 channel, Multichannel, MP3
- C64: Music, graphics, demo
- Graphics: Pixel, Ray-trace
- Demo: 4K, 64K, Demo, Animation
Website: http://flag2001.demoscene.hu/

Ümlaüt Crew: Gargaj, Procyon, Piel

Although the invitation said that the party would officially start at 15:00, we only had two choices: either to take an earlier train, and arrive at about 14:00, or to get a later one, and arrive only at about 18:00. Since we had arrived much sooner last year, too, we chose the earlier train, and arrived at 13:30. What we noticed was that there were no graffiti on the balcony this year, and also TC had found a new design for the tickets, namely that you didn't recieve a little, business card sized ticket, but a bigger one, with two empty fields, where you could fill in your name and your group with a thick marker (and later start guessing why you had marker prints all over your body and clothing...).

The DD guys (BoyC, Meph, Zak) were already there, packing out. After a quick greet, Meph explained that they had managed to finish all the stuff they had intended to, so they'd have 5(!) releases. While we were having a little rest (carrying a PC is indeed a bit tiring, even without a monitor...), BoyC came and asked us 'politely' to leave for a minute, because they wanted to test something on the bigscreen. All right, at least I had some time to visit the loo. Anyway, when they finished testing, Meph came and explained that something was buggy, and the stuff ran twice as fast as it should (later the bug was fixed). Meanwhile NikoN also arrived, and asked me to fill in his ticket. Now you have to know that my handwriting is a bit... erm... ciphered, especially when you have to write in the air with a thick marker. After acknowledging my disability to write in human language, we started loading out NikoN's stuff, which consisted (besides his PC) of an amp and two loudspeakers, later used for playing music from Mephizto's playlist. Although we brought the PC without a monitor, we assembled and started it, and started using it blindfolded (what you have to know is that I had a very crappy monitor at home, which usually got broke monthly, so I learned how to use DOS without seeing the prompt).

A phone call came to my cell by my uncle, and he said the monitor he managed to get would arrive at about 20:00, so we'd have to wait until then. We started to spend the time watching stuff on BoyC's computer, stuff we had recently made, like a halfmade demo (sucks). By this time, Ady and Freer of MoSFeT also arrived. TC was spending the time by stating that they had 'already managed to hoax 10 people to come', which recieved applause. They put a countdown on the big screen, stating that the organizers were currently "gathering sceners".

Within an hour, the organizers decided to start the event, namely by viewing a little opening animation, consisting of little pictogram-style figures, each with a different national flag on his chest, arriving by a helicopter (signed HA-GRM), and forming the lettering "FLAG 2001". This was followed by Tomcat introducing the organizers: Vickey, Ionix, Noel, Nagz, Császár and himself. What followed was a bit unexpected: After TC had clearly stated that this was a Kweyk-free party, a dude in a T-shirt with a big Q on it grabbed the mike, started talking things like: "There's no party without Kweyk", and finally, he got shot by TC, which meant that TC grabbed a toy cap-gun, 'shot him', he collapsed, and a bloodstain appeared on the projector. TC later added that this person actually was 3rd John Uram, also an organizer. Anyway, this little intermezzo gave the event a real mood, and was worth it.

The following program was a Computer Graphics Forum, consisting of presentations by numerous people, mostly of sponsoring CG-firms like Leonardo SNS, or game-producing companies such as Philos Labs. What we noticed was that the people who were present then weren't necessarily sceners, but 'simple' people who were interested in CG. Who knows how many of them decided to become a scener? (This was a really smart move from TC.)

The presentations were cool, the only thing they lacked was distinctness: most of the presenters managed to talk in two extremes: using CG-lingo, but trying to explain it 'edibly', so what you got was a simple text, with only the keywords unknown. The first presentation was about the new features of Maya 4, and was a bit something like "what Maya knows now, and what 3DS Max knew since years", things like tweening or cross-section mesh-creation. (Big thanks to Freer for actually 'translating' what the guy was saying.) The second was held by a guy from Philos Labs, one of the biggest Hungarian game-developing firms (games like Theocracy). The show was about Motion Capturing. What's that? Motion Capturing is when your moves get digitized into a computer by cameras that see the little dots previously attached to you.. That's the way game makers make virtual people move, e.g. in FIFA. The presentation was mostly about the hardware used and the technical and physical requirements, and was done quite well.

The third one was a bit foggy for me, as I remember it was about doing "Radiosity in Maya", but I didn't literally understand a word from it, maybe because of the weird pronunciation of the words. What I also remember is that he started modelling a van, which usually takes weeks... The next one was also a Philos one, a dude simply came and said: "I won't talk much, instead I will start making a human model." And he made a low-poly human model from a simple box without saying a word. The good thing was that if you weren't interested, you could do what you wanted, beacuse of the silence, if you liked it, you could watch it. The next presentation was held by Ward, and it was also about low-poly humanoid mesh-creation, but a bit more in tutorial-style. And we all know the quality of Ward's graphics...

Anyway, after that, we saw that we had some free time, so we started having discussions with each other. Later I went out to have a beer with Vlad, Ady and Meph, and was talking about the Hungarian scene, coding and stuff like that. Meanwhile, TC announced that they would show some 'movie', made by Tomcat, Császár and other weird people years ago. Well, although I forgot its name, it was worth watching (jokes like "The man who can stop time!", showing Császár gunning down an alarm-clock).. After that TC said: "Well, we haven't changed much after X years." Applause. Our monitor also arrived (big thanks to my uncle!), so we started to 'do something', namely we had the idea of coding a 4K. Reptile came and asked us whether we had any demos. I said that we did, so we started copying some demos to Procyon's HD, and handed them to Charlie and Reptile, who managed to run Error808 by Shock!, but after trying to play another demo, Reptile noticed that there was no Himem.sys installed on the compomachine! So they gave back the HD, and booted from Charlie's, which had plenty of demos, so we began to watch. Later we were joined by Mrc! of InQ, who also gave us the technical details of the demos. The playlist contained Spirit by Euthanasia, Second Reality by Future Crew, 303 by Acme and Boost by Doomsday.

When Mrc! came back with a slightly twisted face, we asked what was up, he said: "They want to play Xaos from Mist, but they're not sure whether they should, since some bigwig is here, and anyway it's night-time now..." We had never seen Xaos before, so we were a bit confused... Nothing to say, they played it on full volume... (If you haven't seen Xaos yet, do a search on it at Ojuice, it's a must-see!)

After this little trip to the twisted gorge of the hardcore Czech scene, we began watching a video from Jumper '98. Some random quotes:

Interviewer dude with mic: "Hi, what OS do you use?"

Ca. 9-year-old kid: "Erm... well... Windows..."

ID: "Do you think it's good?"

9YOK: "Erm... yes..."

ID: "Do you know what DOS is?"

9YOK: "Yes..."

ID: "Is DOS an operating system?"

9YOK: "Yes..."

ID: "And Windows?"

9YOK: "Yeah, that too..."

ID: "And Linux?"

9YOK: "Duh... No, that's not..."

ID: "Can you say 3 types of PCs?"

9YOK: "Erm... well... duh..."

ID: "Little help, I meant things like an IBM PC..."

9YOK: "Erm... duh... Super Nintendo... erm... Gameboy... erm..."

ID: "That's enough, thank you..."

ID: "Will you compete in the fun compo?"

Dude: "If Tomcat organizes it? No way, dude..."

After that, I went to sleep, and was happy to see that the organizers provided free foamies to sleep on. Cool!

After waking up on Saturday, I checked my watch, and was surprised to see that I had only slept about 3 or 4 hours. I packed my sleeping bag and went down. BoyC was watching demos with someone who was looking strangely familiar. After a minute, BoyC put his nametag under my nose... "Ümlaüt Design"... Erm... Procyon was still sleeping. Sp3ct4t0r wouldn't come, since he was a wuss. "Hi, Piel..." I was a bit embarrassed, but since I had just woken up, I was a bit messed up then, so I also sat down to watch some Haujobb stuff, which is very artistic and designish, but still, I prefer fr-08, especially around 8:00 in the morning.

So the first event that day was the fun compo. As usual, nobody wanted to compete in it, since we all knew damn well what had happened last year... After a long period spent with cursing, TC managed to gather 3 teams, each consisting of 4 members. The first event was to drink as much as you could, a beer scored 1 point, and so on, the tougher the drink, the more points you got. The second event was a stretching test. The contestant laid down on two tables, Császár and Nagz started to pull them apart. The bigger the distance, the more points you get. The second event was also boozing. The third event was a bit tricky. One member let the other one sit on his shoulder blindfolded. Now the upper one started to feed the lower one with chocolate pudding. After that, guess what, drinking. Also, barfing was honoured by two extra points.

The last event was a bit chaotic, the contestants had to pop balloons, but as TC said, not all of them. Well, Greenman certainly did a good job, he also did his teammate's job too... After this little event, which was won by the IGYÁ' Team, started the Girlfriend Beauty Contest. Well, I can't say much about this one, check the FLaG site for some pictures...

Time passed, we spent time having fun, discussing, but suddenly Ady started yelling: "Two extra points over here..." What? Simple. ViRex hadn't made it to the loo. Luckily he produced the.. well... ooze under the table, not on Meph's keyboard, but still, the side of the PC, which was lying on Meph's bag, and the bag didn't quite make it... And of course the smell also started to spread, so the mood began to darken a bit. After a short while, we started to forget the happenings, when ViRex gained himself another 2 points. Damn. Luckily, while talking outside with Ady, we were happy to see that ViRex managed to tumble outside, making cleaning up for Vickey much easier (big respect to her for handling the situation!). So when the smell passed by, I sat down and began to generate some textures for fun. I tried to show them to BoyC, but he was too worried about how the compomachine would display the stuff, so he couldn't obviously tell whether they were looking good or not. I also exchanged thoughts about ray-tracers with Zoom/InQ.

And it arrived... Compo time! But first, the sequel of the Intro animation. The little guys were standing in the FLaG 2001 formation, suddenly the 'director' said: "...and cut!" So the dudes started to walk away, aiming for the pub. Suddenly a shot could be heard, and everyone looked towards a lone guy. The dudes seemed to realize something, and slowly, the baseball-bats, guns and chainsaws came out, and they started beating the crap out of the lone dude. After a while, you could se a huge Q on the dude's back, just before the helicopter landed on him...

So first off, music compos. 4-channel virtuosities, styles ranging from metal through jazz to breakbeat. Multichannel productions mainly dominated by jazzy vibes, but containing a really great Elektro tune by KvAzAr, and a slightly weirder one by Hómen. The MP3 entries were a bit more the same though, the best were probably Meph's Liquid Noyz and TowerX's Dark Arena.

A short pause, then the 8-bit domination was released - C64 compos. Although I lack the ability of judging C64 music, I think the entries were cool, so I judged them with simple common sense. The graphics were also fine, a logo, and an unindentifiable something, which was called a fly by the author. The two demos were great, the first one was Coma's unfinished entry, which had a nice bump at the end, the second was a simple intro with a textscroller and a plasma, but had great Vincenzo-music. TC also presented a demo-beta by Resource, which was IMHO better than the first two together (e.g. a phong-shaded face from 3DS Max with lens flare...), but it was a simple preview, not a compo entry.

What followed were the GFX compos. At that moment I realized that I had forgot to pack the wireframe screenshot of my trace into the zip... Man, I felt like... bad. So, feeling a bit broken, I began to stare at the projector. (It looked like usually...) We saw really cool graphics, both artistic and funny, and the raytraces were also great, especially Zoom's fish.

The next compo was the 4K intro competition featuring 2 Java 4k's, NikoN's debut 4K (nice shading) and a foggish something. Up next, 64K intros. What I felt was real outstanding were Vortex by DD (featuring my spaceship-sprite in the loading part), Express by Disaster Area (truly sick and twisted) and Blue by The Invisibles (real great design). The Dilemma intro was cool too, but I felt that it was a bit too similar to the earlier ones.

And then... Demos... First off, the probably biggest surprise was that DD had made a world record by creating a demo viewable with stereoscopic (blue-green) glasses. I unfortunately watched it from a bit left, not directly in the center, so I didn't really 'feel' the 3D visual effects, only in the last part with the floating spheres. The second demo was 54 by Fresh!Mindworx, and it featured a huge 3D model, with a flyby camera. It was a bit like Kasparov, but it was much less boring.

The last was Outer Space by Hardread. I was standing almost directly beside the loudspeakers, so I managed to 'enjoy' the music, which was really cool! The visual side of the demo was a bit simple, 3 hovercars racing. The animation compo featured a somewhat odd animation by Ward (honestly I got a bit scared at the end), a killer little anim by Obi-Van, a weird video by DJ Nick called The Evil Toothbrush, and a demoreel. We also saw Buzk Halaj 3, which featured gore, blood and other entrails, and we also saw the prejuried wild demo by Rigor and TrX.

After that, voting, jurying (most people found it completely useless), waiting. TC had written a cool votesystem program, but the other organizers couldn't use it, so TC became pissed, and angrily threw a chair, right in the direction Procyon was trying to sleep. After waiting some time, and discussing the entries, TC announced the Prizegiving Ceremony. There was no big surprise, maybe only in the 64K category. TC also implemented a little 'bug' in the voting system, which was based on the bars that showed us the points gained.

After the main party we began to have fun by throwing stuff like T-shirts, trial version Maya CD-s, unused party tickets, a furball we found outside, and leftover paper-planes from the pre-compo waiting. Someone found some... well... morally wrong movie, which was shown on the bigscreen, while Noel and Nagz started to do voice-overs. So the party kept its mood until the very end...

Greetz to:
DD - BoyC, Mephizto, Zak, mrmaim, Cete, TrX, Rigor, ViRex; MoSFeT - Ady, Freer, Belfegor, PoTa; Evidence - Hómen, Slinky, Shadow; InQ - Mrc!, Charlie, Magnetic, Zoom; NikoN, FcR, Dr, Fatso, Reptile, Vincenzo, Ebola, Gekko

Gargaj / Ümlaüt Design
(Photos chosen by Adok, taken from the official FlaG 2001 website)