Assembly adventures part III
HeadcrasH and the last crusade
Two days before the party we started our trip and went to the next bigger town in order to get on the ICE train. This year we went by train to Stockholm and from there by ferry to Helsinki. In the ICE we were surprised to find out, that there was no proper power support. So we changed seats and after a while we already had real demoparty athmosphere with even a small network :)
In Denmark nothing special happened, in Sweden we were about to switch to the X2000 train. Like the name says, this is a really modern train. In fact we got to an old 60ies vehicle with uncomfortable seats, little space and not to mention: no power support ;) On the way home then we found out, that my personal lamer (StyX) screwed it up and we were never supposed to travel in a X2000. Thus we called this train the FX2000 (fake-X2000).
In Stockholm we had a longer stay and realized: usually all toilets cost money and Sweden has strange Euros. Theirs are called Crownes and look very different from our money. At least there was power support.
At the ferry harbour we met the first sceners, some organizers of the Hype demoparty. On the ferry there was already some kind of a pre-meeting. Around 40 sceners were there, many e.g. from Yodel. We were caught by the evil consuming-hell of this high-end ship and even lost some money at the casino. The next day, after quite a comfortable stay on the ship we drove to the hall. Traditionally, as every year on the first day of Assembly it rained a bit =)
In front of the hall we even met some more sceners except the usual masses of Gamers. Waiting time was very short this time, only the usual security check kept us away from getting in faster.
After setting up our computers in the oldskool area (this time very seperate in a room under the areena-seats) I scanned the hall. This year the Lamer-count was nearby 100%, so THIS sucked. The oldskool area was very cool. It was very silent in there and a cool, creative athmosphere. Apart from that we had couches, free coffee and tea, boardgames and of course sceners only. The only drawback was, that it was very seperated (and badly ventilated).
After I had met some people, I started to work on our 64k intro we planned to release. Many other people were also working on their prods, like e.g. Yodel were preparing a very cool looking demo. After some time I had a very interesting talk with a UK scener, who had brought an Oric machine with him. I never had seen such one before. It's some kind of a mix between a C64 and a Spectrum as far as I understood.
The next time I was completey occupied by hacking the intro. Sometime they switched off the light, which I disliked, as I can't work really fast in complete darkness. So I tried to find someone to lend me a light, but all needed theirs themselves. After some search I finally could convince a guy in the main hall who seemed not be the biggest lamer to lend me his one in exchange for a coke.
So work could go on, but to make it short, after nearly 17 hours of coding like a maniac I cancelled it, as it was obvious that I couldn't finish it in time, or at least not with a result that would satisfy me. So we followed the old tradition never to finish our releases planned for Assembly =) After the exhausting trip and the hard work I thought it would be the time now to have some sleep. As the floor in the oldskool area was wooden and thus not cold, I decided to sleep there, although it was officially not allowed, but who cares anyways. Some hours of sleep, a breakfast, a shower and fresh brushed teeth and I felt like a human again.
Btw, of course I had interrupted my work to watch the gamedev compo, a brand new one. There were some really cool games, the most funny and also impressive one probably "Stair Dismount" by tAAt. Here the task was to push down a figure the stairs it was standing on and to cause maximum damage. This is really great fun and the overall game is cute. Better than Quake anyways. The other games were also very nice, like e.g. Blockofighter.
During the second day I kept on working a bit on several stuff, but mainly just hung around with other sceners. Between that many coffee breaks, which was free at this year's ASM, as I already told =)
Some hours before the deadline, Ctulhu thought we could start another 4k as he already had done some things with SDL under Linux. So he started to put together some old FX with general coding support from my side. Not to mention the intro was crap and just a fun-project, however it came through the preselection. ASM jury is sometimes strange :))
In the evening, shortly after the general deadline, the oldskool music took place. Most selected tunes were actually C64 or VIC20 or other machines and they ruled ! You should get them, if you are an oldskool lover. Shortly after that oldskool graphics and demo followed, again really cool. There were some very impressive demos on VIC20, especially "Impossiblator 2" delivered what the name suggests and rocked hard.
Also new to this year's ASM were the live concerts. Although I missed some, what I saw and heard was so fucking great that I just can tell the organizers: keep it up! C64 powered drum n' bass music is one of my favourites although I usually listen to metal.
Before the concerts I also had met the probably only German scener at ASM except us, XXX/haujobb. What's up with the Germans??? Surprisingly I also met Unlock and some dudes of calodox (Fred and one I forgot the handle, sorry). Didn't know they had planned to come.
Again in the oldskool area this year were the Altparty organizers, setting up a (very small) alternative area. They also organized some independent competitions like analog music and analog ASCII. That was big fun, especially analog music. And the analog ASCII featured some great works actually !
Also the official schedule featured an analog competition, the analog graphics. Rule was, that only people that participated in the normal graphics compo as well could take part. All I can say is, that there are definitely some REAL artists out there in the scene. The pictures were simply cute and featured a wide range of styles and themes. At this point I also have to name the new feature, that allowed to watch all pictures in the intranet also after the compo. This new service was very useful.
I'll hold it a bit shorter with the upcoming compos. We had the two music compos which I liked very much; for more detailed critics ask some music expert =). The raytraced compo featured both stunning as well as just average pictures. You should check the winner picture even if pictures might not interest you too much. Although I still believe that a Flash demo compo is something like a very stupid thing, this year it was not that bad.
In the evening we prepared for the more important stuff: intro compos. We had heard rumours, that Exploder had released another 4k in the legendary "humus" dynasty so it seemed like the compo winner was already decided ;) Finally, the Amiga intros (humus 3 was among them...) were not the best you have ever seen (Assembly was never the place for the latest high-end 4k's) but still good enough to kick all the pc intros. Most intros were only average and featured only one or two fx.
Next up then the 64k compo. Now I was very interested whether our intro might have had a chance. The first shown had nice stuff, still nothing stunning. Then we could read "Squich-AND (Amiga)". The first scenes appeared, the music hammered in our heads. First people began to become nervous. What fuck of an Amiga is this ? Ctulhu started to believe it was the new AmigaONE, however this was impossible. Unfortunately the thing solved in an error by the orgas as the intro was Windows. Still, it rocked so hard and the first BIG applause filled the hall. Also, the intro was completely done by one guy!
Immediately after that a real Amiga intro from Potion (Future visions) was up. They seemed to use alot of code from their Mekka winner "Planet potion" like the vocoder, still it rocked hard and alot of respect for doing such a cool intro again within a much shorter time. Also Noice had done a very nice intro. Finally we had about 4-5 excellent ones, the rest was only around average.
Later that evening again a novum: the split Prize giving. I still think this was a good idea, as it helped shortening the final prizegiving. So the first compo winners got their deserved prices.
The last compo this day was the mobile. So we sat down in order to expect some blocky and choppy anims on mobile phones or GameBoy. I guess everyone, including the organizers were damn wrong. What we saw was of such a high quality, that it must be called one of the highlights of the whole party. Nearly every production amazed everyone again, and even the entries for weak platforms like the new Siemens handy were done so great that the crowd was going mad. Don't miss Doomsday's & Byterapers entry, this one is simply 31337. After the compo Ctulhu and me pulled again out some network cables from gamers (hell, we are so evil...) and returned to the oldskool area. Before we finally could get some sleep there was the wild demo compo. As expected we didn't have too much creative entries. One very cute entry "The way out" was actually a rip of an idea Yodel already had had. A guy being caught by demo effects in his real life. Still, it was done very good. Yodel itself had made a music video they produced in the parking and train areas around the hall called "What's up (in da gangstahood)". It simply was a cool fun-video about gangster-rappers. Maybe they should send this to MTV, both video and music were very professional. Cool was also the label they released it under: Yodel street unit.
Finally we had sleep again. During that we missed the game compo finals, that really hurts hard. What do I travel to Finland for, if not for that??
In the Animation compo, that took place the next morning we had something like an animated raytrace gfx compo, concerning the quality: some excellent, many average ones.
"Project Kerosene" is something to check out, the quality of that one is really amazing. It seemed to be a trailer for a project the guys who did it are working on.
At first I was afraid of sleeping too long, but luckily I just woke up right 10 minutes before the demo compo. So I grabbed myself a coffee and went to the main hall.
I don't actually remember the exact order of the demos, however the first that really brought me off the feet was "Variform" by Kewlers. It was a very consistent designed b&w demo with cool techno soundtrack. Rocked alot. A demo featuring a more cinema alike ambient was "el Ksar el Kabir" by Bandwagon and Armada although it seemed to be a little bit unfinished here and there.
Really stunning 3d modelling could be seen in Moppi's "Halla", a wonderful storydemo with excellent appearance. Check that out ! And of course we all knew it, Haujobb was never dead and they returned at Assembly with their cool demo "Liquid...wen?". Although it did not feature sophisticated stuff, Yodel's "32 degrees in the shade" was a very artish and nice demo that brought some difference in the quite homogenous compo.
Finally Assembly democompo could keep the standards and we really saw nice stuff.
The second part of the price giving was then held around midday, with now the more important compos being processed.
The first two places in the 64k intro compo were no surprise, Potion took #2 (with the obligated winner sentence "Amiga is still alive" :)) and the "one man army" (pouet.net) AND was really excited about winning the first place, although it of course was more than deserved.
With the demos we had Yodel and Armada on places #5 and #4, Kewlers got 3rd. Usually most people probably expected Moppi to win, however they "only" took place #2 while Haujobb could once again reach the top. Nice comeback, however allow me the comment that this first place was maybe a bit overrated. Still, congrats to all.
After that we started slowly to leave. As we were not in a hurry, the main hall was already empty again when we finally left for the train. After the party we had our already traditional holidays in Helsinki before we left for Germany again.
On the way back in Stockholm we had quite a long stop, which we also spent with coding. During that some not very wealthy looking dude wanted to buy my Laptop. Finally I could convince him, that it was not for sale :)
So our 3rd Assembly trip ended and it's time for a sum up. First, for us it was not as convincing as 2000. We can't compare it to 2001, as we missed that. Still, ASMorg are doing alot for the scene and that deserves respect. There ARE alot of sceners, many of them unfortunately spent most of the time at Boozembly actually. That's o.k., but it easily let's you believe there are no sceners when they just show up for some compos and for the pricegiving. The free coffee and some kind of a meeting place in the oldskool area also helped alot to create a relaxed athmosphere apart from the quite commercial appearance of the rest, so this was something I and others really enjoyed.
And of course the seminars and concerts were really a great idea. All we can say is, that we again plan for next Assembly. So we hope to meet all those cute people again and looking at the compos Assembly is by no means dead like so many other big parties.
Till then, signing off.
"did I mention I'm not from cologne ?"
comments can go to firstname.lastname@example.org. thanx.