In Focus: Maq of Floppy & Hard Coders

By Magic of Nah-Kolor

Hugi has an audience with the coder who won the demo competitions at Breakpoint (Crush) and Riverwash party (Megademo 1) in 2009. The conversation is not only demoscene related but is also about how Maq participates in saving our planet!


Credits:
Interview done by Magic of Nah-Kolor
Photos and screenshots supplied by Maq




Magic:
Hi Maq! Please introduce yourself to our readers. Could you also point out what you expect from this interview?


Maq:
My real name is Maciej Matyka. I am male, 29. I don't really expect too much as long as you send me all those standard questions :P


Magic:
How do you make a living in real life? What is your occupation?


Maq:
I am assistant professor at University of Wroclaw doing theoretical physics.


Magic:
How did you experience Breakpoint 2009? Can you write down some of your finest memories?


Maq:
One of the best demo parties I've been participating in. Although Riverwash 2009 in Poland wasn't really (and I am serious) worse! I love demo parties that I win :-)


Magic:
So you love parties that you win, that's nice ;-) What is the group Hard coders about? Why didn't you participate under the group Floppy?


Maq:
To be honest going to a party without any prod (better or worse) had always less atmosphere for me. So I would change what I previously said (wrote :P) and say that I love a party where I have something to show and it is not only my beautiful round ass :) Hard coders is a new project of mine and my friend Mae. It was our first try and I hope not the last one. Floppy is kind different to me and didn't fit to the project we did with Mae. No design, hard coding, the newest and most unstable technology available, demo running almost on one machine only - that must have been under Hard Coders label!


Magic:
What can you tell us about your visit to the Riverwash 2009 party except that you won the demo competition? Please give us a small report through your eyes.


Maq:
This was one of the best Polish parties for the last few years. Unfortunately, there are not many I can really compare it to. Anyway, it wasn't really big (the place was rather small) but there were over 100 people! The place is great (the capital of Poland - great choice!). Next time I hope to see more people from abroad and maybe a kind of seminar instead of (too) many musical concerts? I liked Riverwash. I hope to attend parties as nice as this one at least once a year in Poland. What I can promise is to provide a Hard Coders demo once a year, hehe :)



Magic:
Can you tell us something about the making of Megademo 1, the demo that won Riverwash 2009 party?


Maq:
As I wrote somewhere before, this was our (Mae's and mine) first project together. One of the main points there was to show some of the new capabilities that the CUDA technology gives to people as we are. Although I don't really see enthusiasm on the demoscene about this particular demo nor about CUDA technology itself, I really like the demo. The process of creating it, the work both of us put into it, the stress it was because of the need to carry Mae's computer to the party place and put it quickly as the compo machine, all thanks from the organizers we've got because of providing a demo for the competition - all of this made me really content about doing it.


Magic:
Where did the idea come from to use three tracks from which one track, selected via a random procedure, when starting Megademo 1?


Maq:
Originally this idea was brought by Traymuss while working on Crush. But we didn't have time & music to do it well so we didn't. When I started the new project with Mae, both of us knew there was neither much time nor abilities to make any design and fits of effects to music, therefore we took the idea from Traymuss. There was no design to music at all, we made some random effects, put them together and then gave it to three musicians so that they could fit some music into that. Although the music is very, very nice in all three cases I must admit the original idea didn't work well. These days... who cares about exe. Nevertheless I don't think I will drop this idea that easily, I still like it.


Magic:
What can you tell us about coding the 'Stargazer' zoomer with Pouet demo screenshots?


Maq:
This effect was created by Mae and it was not finished until some very last minutes before the Riverwash 2009 party. Finally he succeeded and this is one of the nicest effects in the demo (even though the zoomer doesn't show its full strength in Megademo 1). I am a proud producer of a huuuuge 4096x4096 texture which contains all the screenshots used for this zoomer.


Magic:
A nice touch was including the Amiga Juggler inside Megademo 1. Where did this idea come from?


Maq:
That was something we were discussing with Mae long time ago when he put his hands on realtime raytracing with CUDA stuff. We thought it would be nice to see the original juggler in much bigger resolution and in realtime. This was obviously done before but I think one must admit - we have achieved the highest resolution of a realtime raytraced juggler that was ever achieved on the demoscene!


Magic:
We're in the middle of your interview right now. You put the interview on hold for two weeks because you moved from Poland to Germany. Please tell us something about how you are doing over there, why you went there etc.


Maq:
I am in Bremen at the moment (a year post doc). You may easly google for my name so you can find more info. I will participate in the project on denitrification processes in the global nitrogen cycle.


Magic:
Denitrification processes in global nitrogen cycle?


Maq:
Sounds serious, doesn't it? I am also new to this, exposed to a new topic. Basically, nitrogen (symbol N) in enviroment can be found in many different forms (nitrogen gas, nitrite, nitrate etc.). These different forms of nitrogen can turn between each other. For many, many years people have been interested in how this nitrogen goes from one form to another and what is the global budget of nitrogen. Why? It seems nitrogen can make us more problems than we think CO2 will do.


Magic:
More problems than we think CO2 will do? That sounds like a new threat to our beloved planet! Please explain!


Maq:
Every child knows carbon dioxide (CO2) causes the global warming effect. But not only there is the problem. Because of our (human) agriculture & other activities there is a rising concentration of nitrous oxide (N2O) in atmosphere. Its (N2O) concentration is much, much lower in atmosphere than the one of CO2. But, on the other hand, the capability of N2O to absorb radiation (which is the main mechanism of warming the Earth) is much higher. The other problem is that this gas is responsible for most of the ozone depletion. On the other hand, not to make life that serious - nitrous oxide has many many interesting applications. One may use it in a car engine to increase the amount of fuel & air mixture that is burnt. What does it mean? A big kick in the car's ass ;)


Magic:
Ok back to demoscene related questions... How did the Crush project start? How did you become involved? I mean it has been a long time since your last demoscene release...


Maq:
One day Mr. Acryl and me decided that drinking together from time to time was not fulfilling for us anymore and we decided to make a demo together. That was a spontaneous decision which turned out to be real project for us. The last few years I was simply involved in real life activities. I am still but I have learned a lot about how to organize myself and how to produce anything else than shit.


Magic:
Could you tell us some nice anecdotes about the making of Crush?


Maq:
No way. I am sure Mr. Acryl / Anadune could try ;-)


Magic:
You mean you just gave your physics to Mr. Acryl and you didnít do anything else for this demo?


Maq:
No. I mean that was just hard work for all of us and no anecdotes come to my mind :)


Magic:
Let me rephrase the question. What can you tell us about the making of Crush and how did the cooperation between you and Mr. Acryl of Anadune go down?


Maq:
That was very 'professional'. Any code I sent to Mr. Acryl was quickly turned into a nice looking effect. From the beginning I felt this demo would be much nicer to people from what I was doing before. Mostly, because we are completely different from each other. For example I rarely cared about the way I coded and mostly preferred to have it done than trying weeks to solve the problem. So Mr. Acryl is different than me and I was trying to get & learn as much as possible from him. And I must admit I didn't have problems to motivate myself. I know Mr. Acryl since my visit of one of my first demoscene parties (Rush Hours 1994). I know Mr. Acryl as a person who can make demos. Working with such a legend motivated me enough to start & even to finish.


Magic:
Were you surprised Crush won Breakpoint 2009? Also do you plan to compete at Breakpoint 2010 PC demo compo and try to win again?


Maq:
No, I wasn't surprised... Come on! Of course I was!!!! Anyway, I really knew this demo was a bit better than what I was doing before. Mostly because Acryl & Gosia put much, much effort in showing some of my physics in an appealing way (shaders, blurs, cameras). All this stuff I wouldn't be really able to do if I was alone. I never said I would compete in any demo compo :P


Magic:
What does physics mean to you? And which of your physics would you like to show in a next Anadune+Floppy demo?


Maq:
Physics is my everyday bread these days. It became easier to use in practice but much harder to work on in my spare time. What is physics for me? I just love, love, love to see things moving on the screen in a physically correct way and seeing all this complicated motion but only if I know there is really an equation behind it. Why? Physics was the first thing that brought my codes to an interesting motion on the screen. Next Anadune & Floppy demo? I am sure I would try to surprise you with something neat if I prepared such a demo.


Magic:
Which physics from a demo scene release in 2009 do you really like? Blunderbuss perhaps by Smash / Fairlight?


Maq:
Blunderbuss is beautiful indeed, piece of art. Physics in demos? I don't really think there is anything I really enjoyed. Please point me out anything I missed. Actually I don't watch demos for physics. I never did.


Magic:
For what purpose are you watching demos then?


Maq:
I am watching for my pleasure & taste. I mean if can give me physics it's fine. But it usually doesn't. On the other hand I use much physics by myself. Why? I found many many people interested in it + it gives me such a lot of pleasure to tweak parameters in my simulations and see how movements change. Movements which I wouldn't be able to do in any 3d program because I simply don't have time & pleasure in learning how to use this software.


Magic:
Are you still in contact with the other members of Floppy? What are they doing these days?


Maq:
I have a good contact with Def, who is riding his bike all the time, and I am a little in contact with Zig, who is busy with politics and taking care of his business.


Magic:
You sent me the scena-lodz1999.jpg photo. What can you tell our readers about this party and this photo? Why do you want to have it included in your interview?


Maq:
Hmm... I just came across this photo while looking in my pictures/scene folder in search for illustrations for this interview. To be honest I don't really remember all the circumstances of it, who took it etc. But I am almost sure this one was taken in Bonzaj's old flat during some vacations or pre-party / demo making week. So, you may have a chance here to see Bonzaj / Plastic 10 years ago with his favorite coding book in hands, hehe.



Magic:
What can the demo scene expect next from you? And please take this opportunity to write whatever you want to whomever you want.


Maq:
The demoscene can expect that I won't lose my interest in it. There is a simple beauty in its productions that I cannot find anywhere else. This is also a platform to test some of my ideas and projects I have. Unless there are no party(s) anymore I will always think about new projects (as I always do). Some of them will even be made! So, cu in next release from floppy/hard coders/anything else. And remember, you get what you deserve(d) :P



Links related to this article

Maq of Floppy - official homepage
Maq of Floppy - youtube page
Crush demo at Pouet.net
Megademo 1 at Pouet.net


Magic & Maq