Simulaatio 3D party report
By Maija "DiamonDie" Haavisto
Simulaatio 3D was the third instance of the successful Finnish party first organized in March and November of 2003. The school had been an excellent venue but also rather expensive, so the organizers switched to a new party place Toritorppa, one that has also been used to host several raves. Varkaus is quite a remote location and this year they arranged a scene bus trip from Helsinki via Tampere to pick up the foreign Ryanair passengers. I and ld0d preferred to travel by train, even though we had to switch to minibus at Pieksämäki.
We got a bit lost in Varkaus, but found the party place relatively easily in the end. It was already 23:30 when we walked in and received our fancy pairs of anaglyphic red-blue glasses. The hall was very dark despite the huge bigscreen and almost empty of people, even though the scene bus should have arrived by now. Osyn had hitch-hiked there - quicker than it took us to travel by train! - and she told us most of the people were sitting by the lake shore. On our way there we noticed that the party place was located almost between two different churches, the Adventists and the Pentecostals.
On the way to the beach we met pinza and yessa. She got a call from jaffa who told us that the scene bus was delayed for two hours until 1:30. The shore was a great hangout place, but the amount of mosquitos was completely insane, even considering this is Finland. I took some antihistamine so itching wasn't an issue, but my feet were soon covered with red bitemarks. There were quite a bunch of people on the beach, most of them were rather drunk. After a bit of talking and walking we ended up back at the party place. The scene bus had just arrived, so suddenly everyone was here.
I set up my laptop and watched some Amiga demos being shown on the big screen. Painkiller started to play music, which didn't sound at all bad with the respectable surround sound system. We also got to watch the famous THX commercial with its roaring audio. Synteesi played some d'n'b while Optimus's pictures were being photoshopped on the big screen. I was really tired and had a hard time staying awake. Nystep was already dozing off in his chair.
I went to sleep at about 3 and got up at 11, with about one hour of sleep in between. Sleeping was almost impossible due to the amount of noise and people walking around the sleeping hall to access the toilets also situated downstairs. In the partyhall Bombe was snoring so loudly that it was audible despite the massive volume of the demoshow on screen. I tried to film a short wild entry called "Bombe snores" but unfortunately the sound wasn't continuous enough.
Amiga demos were running on the big screen throughout the morning. I entered my graphics in the compo and went grocery shopping. There was a marketplace in front of the partyplace selling baked goods and loads of plants, but it closed at early noon already. Sceners were chilling on the small patches of grass with wine and other refreshments. The temperature was over 20 C and with hardly any clouds in the sky. The showers were open from 11 to 16 that day, but I don't know many people who went.
I decided to eat at the KGB grill with ld0d and scoopr and bumped into Kusma there. The grill was already legendary in the demoscene due to its pretty clerks and massive meals, mainly Iso Agentti (Big Agent), which was almost impossible to eat in one sitting. KGB had generously given a 10% discount for Simulaatio visitors. We walked a bit by the shoreline and accidentally missed the tiny music compo, which would have had five entries.
Most people had gathered by the entrance of the partyplace drinking beer and wearing 3D glasses. Inside demos changed to the music video of Aphex Twin's Come to Daddy. Pinza was busy on the computer, hurrying to get his music compo entry done. Bombe fell asleep again and loud snoring ensued. The graphics compo started at 17 and it had only eight entries, out of which four were five-minute joke doodles and only two were using anaglyphic 3D (one photo, one painting). The only digital paintings were from me and Reko.
Pinza finished his tune just in time for the music compo, which started surprisingly with a heavy metal tune and continued with hip hop. Using surround sound was allowed in the compo and some entries also made use of it. I was going to write a tidbit about every entry in the compo, but there were so many of them that at first I grew tired and then I moved to the audience chairs, hoping that the compo would eventually come to an end. The compo had a wide variety of styles, but some songs were absolutely rubbish. I liked Ben and his atari and Bad Decoy the most, both with distinct demoscene sounds.
I headed outside with other people and barbequed some corn cobs and champignons I had wisely brought with me from Helsinki. Some local drunks were hanging out on the rocks and were virtually indistinguishable from the sceners. Several people had gone swimming in the lake earlier in the day, at least jaffa, yessa and nystep. I heard someone had also been thrown there. Almost everyone did keep their clothes on during the party and no accounts of sceneboylove happened.
The short wild compo was meant for anything that you can present in 45 seconds. There was one live entry, the rest were videos. Jumalauta's groovy video Shake it bapy started the show and invoked massive applause among the audience. ODD's entry caused the same reaction and had people singing the tune. Miksi napsut was a funny stop-motion animation and perhaps my favorite out of the compo. ISO's entry was really funny too. ABHO had an abstract video of reflections on water and nosfe had attempted anaglyphic 3D by using two cameras. The last entry was contributed by the German visitors and presented an interesting perspective to Finland.
The intro compo had four entries and it started with shadez's anaglyphic intro Lsd on Friday. It was quite nice, even though not as trippy as its name could have suggested. Jumalauta had entered a C64 demo Dungeon Horror, which wasn't quite as bad as it could have been, but still not too good. Visy's C64 entry caused a huge amount of booing before it was even shown and that wasn't entirely unfounded. The prod didn't look too bad, but it barely had any content. Farbrausch's intro was very impressive, probably the most interesting prod from the group for a long time.
The democompo was rather good and most entries utilized anaglyphic 3D. You have probably never seen so many people wearing red-blue glasses at once. The top three demos stood out easily, Breed by Happo and Going Forward by Ananasmurska featured some really nice 3D scenes. Matt Current's Stream MEGA invitation had some good anaglyphic scenes too, but it wasn't the only reason why it was great. I didn't like their GBA demo much, though.
RNO had an Amiga demo featuring tits and romance, with a vocal tune no less. The MFX demo was so boring that I almost fell asleep during it and it couldn't have been only sleep deprivation as the other demos didn't have that effect on me. Jumalauta's and visy's demos probably don't need to be described in detail. The most three-dimensional thing seen during the compo was the helicopter appearance presented in front of the bigscreen by Kakka/Damones.
Like the tradition goes, everyone headed outside after the demo compo. There was a beautiful red sunset by the lake. The scene sat down on the rocks with some locals and the barbeque was lit again. Synteesi and Riotbot were playing DJ sets inside the partyplace and I would have liked to hear them, but I was so tired after having barely slept at all that I had to get some rest. The DJs later complained of messing up their sets, Riotbot was so drunk it took him a while to even handle beatmatching.
I first tried the newly arranged sleeping area 2.0, but the air seemed so hot and stale that I just went back to the original place. Fortunately the second night proved much more successful sleep-wise. The only thing that woke me up was some extremely noisy vomiting that took place in the nearby toilet. I got up at eight and went to brush my teeth in the ladies' room, which should have been fairly unused. Instead it looked like a catastrophe, mostly due to the whirlwind of toilet paper. I thought I'd go outdoors, but just as I got out of the door I found out it had started to rain and people were heading back inside.
The prize giving started at 11. It was held in English and spiced up with realtime graphs á la Breakpoint. Lennu wasn't happy with Jumalauta's prizes and made loud comments from the audience. The prizes were rather good, most winners got 25-75 euros of cash, though the winners of the graphics compo only got t-shirts and boxers due to the low quality of the compo. Other prizes included Breakpoint t-shirts, frying pans, C64 games and Slengpung playing cards. Happo got a nice reward for winning the democompo, 100 euros of cash and a Radeon graphics card, courtesy of Jumalauta who had won it at Assembly and failed to get it sold.
The scene bus drove off right after the prize ceremony, the departure had been moved earlier so that none of the foreigners would miss their flights. That marked the end of the party before it was even noon and our train didn't leave until almost two o'clock. This would have been a nice time to check the city of Varkaus, but it was still raining. MegaMies, ld0d and I ate in the nearby pizzeria and surprisingly we even got fairly decent pizza. Most of the nearby tables were also full of sceners.
The three of us headed to the railway station and sat there waiting for the train. Some wAMMA and Moonhazard guys were also there and a geel, jobe and annie arrived a bit later. Geel amused the locals with his boomblaster and some remix version of Abba's S.O.S. The train trip was tediously long and we had to switch trains in the rain at Pieksämäki, where the new train kept us waiting for a good quarter an hour, but at least that made it pleasant to finally get home.
The Simulaatio organizers set a great example of how a successful demoparty should be arranged. The previous instances had already rolled extremely smoothly, but this party was even better. The organizers had come up with a brilliant unique concept, which also worked well in practice. They did everything to make the visitors feel comfortable and the infodesk was willing to help people with the smallest things. If something didn't work out, the organizers did their best to fix that. They even sent people a SMS notice before the most important compos and before the partybus left. This is how things should be done.