Demoscene @ SIGGRAPH 2001


At SIGGRAPH 2001 in Los Angles on the 15th August, the SIGGRAPH community was shown a slice of the demoscene. We did not have a massive room, AV equipment was average but it was a huge success. Standing room only, people crowded at the doors, some couldn't even get in (!), and we began with Vincent Scheib's welcome and introduction of Owl (Saku Lehtinen) from Remedy Entertainment. Saku discussed much of the scene's history, including touchy subjects such as cracking, warez, H/P and provided an excellent analogy of the demoscene culture to that of street culture. Comparing the gfx scene with graffiti, coders with skaters and music with hip-hop and dance. Lapsuus / Maturefurk Assembly 2001 winner, on an Amiga AGA, was then presented. We had a few glitches in recording but overall things went well.

Next up was Hannibal (Soren Hannibal), from Shiny Entertainment, who discussed his personal perspective on what the scene has given him. Between remarks on Scavenger and Core Design he discussed the self-taught nature of the scene, showing how the scene provided his computer science like background and created a social network of sceners, which has greatly helped his professional career. It was a great presentation, followed by the VIP2 invite / Pospsy team. Then came Pheon (Aaron Foo), from Sony Computer Entertainment America, who discussed how the demoscene can contribute to SIGGRAPH, pointing out alternative education routes, a 'demoscene education', as well as the democene as a form of real-time expression. It was followed by the 64KB intro .the .product / Frabrash, which was an excellent end to the session.

There were many questions and some concerns (from sceners present) about our effort. One point, which should be addressed, is, once more ppl know about the scene, how do we prevent people from taking advantage of sceners, as these things have already happened. This is a topic which definitely needs some discussion. However, actively publicizing the demoscene to specific similar groups of people does benefit the scene, and enables us to share its richness with others, and exchange/network with other similar, interesting people.

The event was a great success, we even had a few of the computer graphics legends interested in the scene but there is a great deal of work still to be done. SIGGRAPH 2002 will be where the scene steps out from the shadows and into the computer graphics spotlight (read, computer graphics, not average 'Joe'). We've convinced the SIGGRAPH 2002 Electronic Theater Chair to create a 'real-time' category, so demos and other forms of real-time expression can compete with Pixar, ILM and the very best of the CG animation houses on a level playing field. Real-time against real-time, offline against offline, all to present the best of the best in all fields of computer graphics. However, we need your help to submit real-time works to SIGGRAPH 2002. Once again the DOG will help in the capturing and submitting process but we need a show of force to stamp out some territory for real-time graphics. We're (demoscene) providing the steam to further push real-time computer graphics as an art form at SIGGRAPH, as demos are very similar medium to CG animations, albeit real-time.

In short at SIGGRAPH 2001 the demoscene made a lot of ground, we're far from done, with a huge amount of work ahead, but we've gained a glimpse of the importance the scene provides, in the world of computer graphics.

Please, send us your feedback and flames!

Pheon (Aaron Foo)