Interview with Jace / The Black Lotus
1. Can you tell us about you and your group?
I'm Jace of The Black Lotus, personal info: 21 yrz, hobbies are coding, starcrafting, karate, kickboxing, movies, chicks, etc.. I live in Arnhem (The Netherlands) in a very cool house, aka "the scenehouse", cause Balance/TBL, Sick Sjaak/Trepaan and Lenz/Trepaan (my brother) also live there. About da group: me + balance + another bunch of current TBL'ers used to be in Logic Design, somewhere in 1996 we merged into The Black Lotus. At the moment we consist of "the Dutchies" (me/balance/crystal score/etc), lotsa Swedish freaks (very cool guys, but I don't know all of them personally) and some commercial Billy Gates-wannabees :-)) in the UK, working @ Eidos.
2. What do you think about the progress nowadays in the demoscene?
People are far less optimizing than in the old days, most of 'em aren't as "hardcore" as the coders used to be in 1994, 1995, etc. Of course it's a fact that people are coding more and more in C because compilers get better and optimize quite well (imho still by far not as good as a coder's brain). The advantage of this is of course that people can finish their demos quicker, and we all want more demos, right? Another nice trend I see is new, young and enthousiast guys popping up everywhere, forming new groups, etc.. I'm happy about this! With only a young gamerlamer generation the scene would die within 5 years.
3. Do you think 3D is making a better scene or boring one?
Nope, I don't think so. 3D is just one of the many effects you can put in a demo. As with any effect, when bringing it in a boring way (like showing the same vector scene for 2 minutes) it sucks. When combining it with other effects, it can be very usefull to make a great demo.
4. What do you think about making demos under windows?
Well, anyone who knows me personally knows my huge affection to Windows. :-] I know, most of the world is using Windows nowadays.. lotsa utils are only available in Windows. And yes, I wanna have Photoshop, Starcraft, etc etc, So I got Win95 on my compu as well. But still, my opinion is: whatever you make in Windows, I can make it smaller & faster in DOS. But about our demos being released as Windows versions: I can only be happy about that. Finally it works on every sound card around, every single VGA card, and the best thing is: I still code 100% dos pmode asm :-))) I code all my effects in DOS32, then the system shit from nix & balance port it to seperate dos & windows versions.. and of course LOTS more people can watch my stuff when we release it as Windows demos...
5. What platform you think supports the demoscene better? Do you think DOS will survive?
Any platform that gives you the freedom of pumping "rep movsd"-style to the video mem, takes no cpu time (or only 2% or less), and should allow sound output without interference of shitloads of crappy cpu time eating drivers. In other words, I think DOS, Windows, and Linux are all able to support the demo scene.
6. What you think about hardware "support" on demos?
If there would be an overall standard, this could add much power to demos. I think the usage of the FPU has increased very much in the last two years, and I guess it's gonna be the same within 1 or 2 years with MMX instructions. Amongst the 3D cards, the voodoo 3dfx chipset is a widely supported standard now in the game scene. In demos we could do great things with 3dfx as well, but it's a shame you cannot mix 3dfx with normal effects (due to the different 3dfx modes). If there's gonna be a 3D standard that can be mixed with normal demo effects, I'd be happy to use it. But party organizers should then consider making two compo's: one with 3d hardware, one without. (lotsa party orgo's are doing this already, like TakeOver and LowRes)
7. Which is/was your favourite party (if you attended one)?
The parties I attended so far: Bizarre 94, 95, 96, 97, X/Takeover 95, 96, 97, The Party '94, 95, 96 in Denmark, Wired 96 & 97, Lowres 97, Ambience 98. Although The Party in Denmark is the biggest of 'em all and my only chance to meet all the Swedish TBL guys, I still like the smaller (Dutch) parties better.
Wired is always a very cool organized party (scene-friendly, not the big impersonal setup like ASM/TheParty), Bizarre is always a big success, but I also love the attitude of the X/Takeover orgo's, ah shit I dunno. Ambience '98 sure was lotsa fun. But so was Lowres (lowtemp'97). All in all I think the big Scandinavian party orgo's should check out how parties are organized here in the Netherlands and Belgium. They could learn something from it!
8. What is your favourite demo?
303 by acme+statix (arty design and stylish stuff, very original singing by vic)
9. Would you want to contribute to the demoscene with anything?
Of course.. We're always planning to do new stuff. It's just that nowadays I also have to spent lotsa time to other things (like playing starcraft hehehe). But about contributing in other ways than presenting stuff.. I'm always ready to explain or help other guys... I hate the "u're a newbie. u suck. learn yourself" attitude.
10. What do you think about diskmags?
Lotsa fun. Keeps people updated and informed. Especially the non-serious diskmags ruule! (Cheeze is of course my favourite)
11. Are diskmags still necessary?
Not really, most of da info you need can be obtained from all the www pages around or on IRC. But it's still fun!!
12. What do you think about other media like irc, newsgroups, online-mags?
IRC rulez, battle.net rulez, I almost never read newsgroups anymore (FAR too much big mouth people shouting senseless nonsense).
13. What groups do you consider "well-known" and in some way contributed to the scene?
Future Crew - although dead for a long while, I still respect them for the stuff they did in the past, which was brilliant in their time. They sure gave the scene a boost. Other well known groups I respect for their quality products are Orange, Pulse, Acme, Cncd (except for the crap they released at tg97, "Inside" from tg96 was cooler). I like people the best if they don't get a lousy arrogant attitude, even after winning some compos.
14. When do you think to release a new demo from your group? (we would like to know :)
Hehehe :) We plan to release something at Wired.
15. One last question, what are your favourite music bands? ;)
The Prodigy, most goa stuff (hallucinogen etc.), Madonna :) (no shit! not the cheapo crap she used to make, but those last 2 nr's, frozen & ray of light, are kinda nice), chemical brothers, etc.. basically I like trance / stuff with beats / house the most.
29. One last remark. Sceners, please take a minute to think about this: Instead of always meeting eachother on parties just for the competition, it might also be nice to enjoy each other's work without thinking "hmm we can beat this, hmm we should be able to outperform that" etc.. I enjoy creating demos, as well as watching other people's work.